Supernatural: Sympathy for the Devil (season premiere)
by Hemal Jhaveri, posted Sep 11th 2009 1:21PM
(S05E01) It's you chuckle head! You're the Michael Sword! -Zachariah
When we last saw Sam & Dean Winchester, they were staring down a face-to-face meeting with the Big Bad himself, Lucifer. And that's where we pick right back up for the epic and awesome season five opener. So, you'll forgive my fan girl gushing for a bit, but there are very few series that start their fifth season stronger than they did their first, and this episode surpassed a lot of the high expectations I had.
Not only do we get a kick ass fight scene, a possessed Bobby, and a tearful and heartfelt apology for starting Armageddon from Sam, but we finally meet Satan, and surprise, he's a pretty sympathetic fellow.
Basically, it boils down to this: the angles are back, the demons are creating havoc on Earth, everyone's raging for a Apocalyptic war and Dean is The Vessel. Oh and lastly, Sam & Dean are so broken up.
Aside from the emotional fallout of last season, the first episode of this season also establishes the two major plot points that will set up the myth arc of the season. Number one, if last season was All About Sam as fans have claimed, then this season is going to be All About Dean, as he seems to be the angel's "vessel" (which was alluded to it all the way back in the season two episode "Houses of the Holy") to winning this war. Number two, it looks like the Sam & Dean relationship is even worse for the wear than it was before.
You'd think the end of the world would be a dark and gloomy affair, but it's also laced with bitter one-liners delivered with perfect timing. Kripke's unique way of blending dark humor with drama works in this episode. Sam's encounter with his "super fan" and Chuck's shell shocked reaction to Cas's short-lived death are two moments that particularly stand out.
Jarad Padalecki and Jensen Ackles have also really perfected their teary emoting. Yes, the fans do like it when they cry, but this time it's warranted. I'm glad that we get to see the repercussions of Sam & Dean's broken relationship from last season, rather then just starting with clean slate this time around. There will be no going back to things as they were, which is gut wrenching.
One of the best scenes from last night had to be Sam's apology to Bobby over breaking the final seal. Padalecki especially conveys the perfect amount of guilt and vulnerability with just a quirk of his eyebrow and the puppy dog eyes. The guy can tear up pretty much on command and his reaction to Bobby's bitter disappointment is not only believable, but pretty darn heart breaking.
Of course, that scene makes the subsequent reveal that Bobby's been possessed by a demon all the more awesome. You'd think that a fan would be be hip to this trick by the fifth season, but no. They pulled off the Bobby bait and switch perfectly because the previous scene was so totally true to character and believable.
Not only do the two leads turn in great performances for this episode, but the thing that elevates it from being a solid season opener to an outstanding season opener, are the performances of the supporting characters and the introduction of Lucifer. Mark Pellegrino is outstanding as the man about to be possessed by the devil and I can't wait to see more of him.
Finally, this might deserve a longer post on another day, but Kripke also pokes a little fun at the rabid Internet fan base that's made the show so popular. It's pretty brave to not only have a special shout out to all the Sam/Dean slash writers out there (if you don't know what that is, look it up) but to poke fun at the very vocal Sam Girls who think that their favorite character has been getting the short end of the plot stick for the past few seasons.
Now, what do Dean Girls and Sam Girls think of all this? Are you sad that the boys are still fighting? Mad that it looks like Dean is the super special one this time around? Sad that Bobby is freaking paralyzed? Happy that Dean has his GED?
If the first episode of this season is any indication, it is going to be one heck of an angst ridden ride.