Directors: Robert Singer, Kim Manners, Phil Sgriccia, Charles Beeson, and more
Writers: Eric Kripke, Sera Gamble, John Shiban, Cathryn Humphris, and more
Starring: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Samantha Ferris, Jim Beaver, Chad Lindberg, Alona Tal, etc.
Release Dates: 10/2007 – 05/2008
Because of the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike, the third season of Supernatural only has 16 episodes. Unfortunately, the number of episodes is not the only thing that declined during this season. The quality, in general, dropped to a gut-wrenching level — at least sometimes. I don’t like to write negatively about things, but I think the third season is an excellent place to talk about some of the flaws of the show. But let’s start with…
The best episodes of the season do not focus on the overarching theme. Instead, they tell unique and exciting stories of their own. This begins as early as “The Magnificent Seven,” which centers on the seven deadly sins. The episode showcases the kind of demons that escaped from the gates of hell in the finale of Season 2. The crown jewel, however, belongs to “Jus In Bello” which features the big bad, who will be around for quite a while: Lilith. She is a terrifying demon mainly because a little girl — Rachel Pattee — portrays her (creepy children can also be seen in “The Kids Are Alright”).
Other notable episodes feature the return of Gordon — portrayed by Sterling K. Brown — (“Bad Day at Black Rock”) who is always a welcome change of pace. The Christmas Special in Episode 8 dives deep into the brothers’ past and shows us more about their relationship. This chapter in Supernatural’s lore also gives us a glimpse about their life on the road with John and how it was growing while continually moving around. Finally, we have “Time Is On My Side” which explores immortality and Sam’s heartbreaking attempts to save his brother from certain doom.
If you want a fun and light episode, which features the Trickster, I recommend “Mystery SPO.” It might start as a funny, quirky episode, but in the end, it gets very dark, very quickly. Unfortunately, Sam’s six months alone are never mentioned again, which is a shame. It could improve the brothers’ relationship and help Dean understand what Sam feels. Which brings me to…
One thing that suffers most from the writers’ strike is definitely the overarching story arc of the season. We know that Dean made a deal with the crossroads demon and that he has a year to live. We, as the viewers, know that each season covers a year in the lives of the characters. This knowledge means that there cannot be any resolution until the end of the season. Everything in between does not feel like any progress at all, more like treading in the water.
Two good things come with it though: the acting of Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. They both get to explore their characters a bit more. Sam dips his toes into the dark side, and Dean has to deal with death more and more. As good as the acting and those explorations are, though, their conversations do not have any kind of progress. They circle around the same point all the time. Which is unfortunate, because the next season shows them how to deal with those things perfectly.
Two characters I am not so sure about are Bela and Ruby. Though I appreciate that the writers include more female characters, they feel incomplete. On the one hand, I want to know more about them, where they come from, and what makes them tick. On the other hand, they often get in the way of the brothers’ story. Ellen, Jo, and Ash from last season were not as intrusive. They added something to the episodes they appeared in. The creative team did not use those characters to their full potential, which is unfortunate, because Ruby and Bela both were portrayed by great actresses (Katie Cassidy and Lauren Cohan, respectively).
OK, I want to briefly talk about something that bothered me the most this season: the male gazing, combined with the macho behavior of the brothers and other characters which sometimes bordered on homophobia. I don’t understand why they are doing this or which person gave those things the green light, but I feel like the third season handles these themes very poorly. Dean calls Sam’s behavior and interests “girly” and literally says at one point, “Could you be more gay?”
As a gay man, those things feel very offensive and have no place in a 21st-century series. At this point, I almost turned my TV off and was tempted to end my rewatch of Supernatural. Then came “Ghostfacers!” — the episode, which features a gay character. It felt a bit forced, and other characters make fun of him. But I appreciated the effort.
The third season features some of the best and worst episodes of the entire series so far. I’m glad I watched the season, because it’s part of Supernatural‘s story, but that does not make it any better. I mean, the brothers don’t even hug one another. Dean is dying, and they can’t even hug? But let’s move on.
When you review something, you always have to look at both sides of the coin, and this season was an excellent opportunity to mention this other side.
Blu- ray Extras
- Behind the Scenes Material
- Ghostfacers! Confessionals Mini-Featurette Gallery
- From Legends to Reality
- Supernatural Impala Featurette
- Gag Reel
- Dean cheated death two times now (“Faith” 1.12, “In My Time of Dying” 2.1) and died once (“No Rest For The Wicked” 3.16)
- Sam cheated death once (“All Hell Breaks Loose” 2.22).
- Season One
- Season Two
- Season Three