Those of you who’ve kept up with my Supernatural coverage will likely remember how I’ve stated that I’ve been a fan of the seemingly never-ending horror series since the pilot episode first aired back in 2005. As such, I’ve been witness to all of Sam and Dean Winchester’s adventures, some of which have been better than others.
By that, I mean the first five seasons remain the untouchable A-material in my view, though I do think there’s been much to enjoy in the time since. Don’t worry, the devout among you need not fear that I’m going to dismiss the latest offerings, but now is as good of a time as any to confess that I didn’t love season 12 as much – more specifically, anything to do with the British Men of Letters.
Fortunately, though, the thirteenth go-round is a vast improvement. But before I dive any deeper into this review, let’s take a peek at this synopsis sent over by WB pertaining to the latest Blu-ray collection, which can be found in stores now:
Last season, the Winchesters were reunited with their resurrected mother, Mary,who joined forces with the British Men of Letters. But things turned from bad to worse, with the return of Lucifer and the surprising revelation that the Devil was expecting a child with a human mother. In Season Thirteen, Sam and Dean find themselves facing Lucifer’s offspring, a creature of almost unimaginable power – one that could save the world… or destroy it.
In other words, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) are roped into doing the “my two dads” thing now that Lucifer’s (Mark Pellegrino) son plays a huge part in what unfolds. Basically, we have a nature versus nurture situation in which the Winchesters at first debate over whether they should kill Jack (Alexander Calvert) or mentor him so that he becomes a force for good.
As a result, this development yields a year of Supernatural that’s more so reliant on its own ever-expanding mythology than most previous ones. Don’t get me wrong, the boys still work some cool cases here and there (“The Scorpion and the Frog,” “A Most Holy Man”), but this chapter in the saga is very much serialized. Therefore, newbies need not apply – but then again, I’ll forever tell neophytes to begin with season 1 if they’re even the slightest bit curious.
Like I said, this trumps season 12 due to the concurrently running plots involving Jack and the desolate alternate reality known as Apocalypse World being balanced decently well and intersecting perfectly in the end. Compare that with last year’s juggling of Lucifer’s reemergence and the British Men of Letters’ boring appearances, which often felt like watching two different TV shows, and it becomes clearer why I was more satisfied as a viewer this time around.
Still, current showrunners Andrew Dabb and Robert Singer have room for improvement, as they sometimes allow for major characters like Jack to go absent for several episodes at a time, not to mention leaving various threads dangling for longer than they should.
For example, it’s revealed that Gabriel (Richard Speight, Jr.) has, in fact, been alive since his assumed demise back in season 5, but when he returns as part of a cliffhanger, it’s not for a while until you see him again. Normally, you’d expect for such a major revelation to be picked up on during the following week, but no dice in this instance.
Something else that mystified me were the introductions of exciting new concepts such as the Empty (an ethereal plane predating creation itself) and the Shedim (an ancient race of beings confined to Hell) very early on in the season, only to never be reprised. Call me crazy, but both could be likened to the old Checkhov’s gun motif, and should’ve been explored to their potential. Granted, they could come back in the future, though professional writers shouldn’t wave steaks of this magnitude in front of us without paying them off in the very same season.
On the plus side, though, this set contains “Scoobynatural,” the epic (mostly) animated crossover with Scooby-Doo that easily rises to being one of the best episodes the series has ever produced. In the opinion of this critic, seeing Sam, Dean and Castiel (Misha Collins) teaming up with Shaggy, Scooby and the rest of the gang in a subversive mashup is worth the price of admission alone. Rest assured that lovers of both franchises will be impressed, even if there is overlap on the Venn diagram.
So, should that appeal to you, then you’ll probably want to check out the in-depth featurette taking us inside that particular installment. Truthfully, this is one of the meatier Blu-rays I’ve reviewed this year when it comes to bonus content, so be sure to set aside enough time to enjoy everything that’s provided.
Personally, I really loved watching the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con panel in its entirety. You really get the sense that the cast and crew are like family, therefore this came off as being more informative and entertaining than most other panels you’ll see on other series’ Blu-ray sets. Not only that, but classic rock icons Kansas set the stage by playing the show’s unofficial theme song, “Carry On Wayward Son,” live!
Despite any gripes listed, Supernatural: The Complete Thirteenth Season should make for a welcome addition to any aspiring hunter’s shelf. The crossover with Scooby-Doo may be the major draw, sure, but you also have the final two episodes that’ll forever change the series. With that in mind, it’s recommended that you watch through to the end.
Come for the crossover with Scooby-Doo, stay for the Supernatural you've grown to love - but with a few major twists.
Supernatural: The Complete Thirteenth Season Blu-Ray Review