Welcome back once again Castiel! You were sorely missed. It seems Supernatural has the fan appeasing formula down: (1) Castiel disappears with the notion he is dead, (2) Sam and Dean are lost without him, (3) Castiel returns as a clean slate unable to remember much of anything, (4) Fans go insane, (5) Repeat. And you know what? It still hasn’t gotten old. As a character who was initially going to be written off, Castiel remains one of if not the fan favorite whose simple presence brings us rabid fans to tears. Much like any other episode that is Castiel-centric, “A Little Slice Of Kevin” makes up for the misstep Supernatural had last week – and the misstep Supernatural had last season.
As much as I’m rejoicing the return of Castiel – and hopefully for a longer period of time – this episode focused more on the mythology than the previous six combined. With angels and demons making their grand return as the true puppeteers of the series, the Supernatural we know and love from the first five seasons is back and boy did we miss it. In fact, one of the only things last season did was show us just how much we missed the whole Apocalypse arc and the masterful storytelling that Eric Kripke so graciously decided to share.
Season 6 wasn’t necessarily bad, but even after clinging to as much of the Christian mythology as possible, it felt contrived, rushed, and most of all, subpar. It’s still a little too early to judge, but with just one episode, season 8 has managed to do the one thing season 6 couldn’t do: instead of trying to tie in new mythology into the preexisting one, they’re taking the preexisting one and fleshing it out.
Part of what made the first five seasons so successful – and damn good – was that they used already established ancient mythology as the story progressed to bring the series into something far larger than it seemed. Things like the Four Horsemen, the Seven Deadly Sins, Lilith, Lucifer, and even angels made jaws drop left and right with the realization that these two brothers were involved in a predestined fight of the millennium. With the way this season is going, they’re bringing in the only touched upon elements such as prophets and the Gates of Hell and adding new, but familiar concepts like the Word of God. It is clear that showrunner Jeremy Carver knew what made Supernatural as successful as it was and he is intending to bring it back.
My favorite part of the “returning to its roots” thing is how seamless and given it was for Castiel to go in with Dean and Sam into the facility where they were keeping Kevin. No arguments, no pleading, nothing was even discussed as to whether Castiel would accompany them. Even more nostalgic was the childish angel speaking aloud in how much he missed television while nonchalantly revealing information on the current case. In those five seconds – and a brilliant name-dropping of Chuck – the trio was back and in rare form. When Castiel cleaned up, it was as if he cleansed himself of the wacky and psychotic persona that plagued him in the previous two seasons. We knew he was back and everything was in his own words “better.” Now where’s Bobby?
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