As I re-watched the first five seasons of Supernatural back to back, I realized how connected and thought through everything seems. I say “seems” because Kripke himself noted in a bonus feature on one of the Blu-rays that they made up the details as they went along. For example: as they did season three, none of the writers thought they would bring in angels or reveal who God is. Now, we cannot imagine Supernatural without Castiel or the angels dealing with their absent father.
There might be some minor plot holes, but the over-arching story of the first five seasons seems coherent. It all started with Azazel visiting baby Sammy and giving him some demon blood. Which, by itself, was triggered by Lucifer’s demand to be freed from his cage. Everything set in motion serves to release Lucifer and start the apocalypse. Along the way, we met the most important religious cornerstones, such as demons, angels, the seven sins, the four horsemen, Lucifer, Michael, God, prophets, deals with demons, reincarnation, resurrection, and much more.
Those are the backbones of the series — its real strength. However, the flesh (if you will — the meat bag) of Supernatural lies in the monster-of-the-week episodes. Of course, ghosts are the most prominent monsters the brothers hunt, but there are also vampires, wendigos, werewolves, succubus (succubi?), tricksters, Jinns, and countless others. Those are the things the Winchesters fight day in and day out.
The creative team manages to implement all those creatures convincingly. They dive deep into the horror elements of it, creating unique experiences with every one of them. But not everything is as it appears, because they also play with our expectations and subvert them whenever they can. This playfulness makes every new season feel fresh and exciting.
Along the way, the brothers met some fascinating people, most of which unfortunately are gone now, but they will forever be remembered. Their father, John, comes to mind first — being such a prominent figure throughout the first three seasons, even after his death. Ellen, Jo, and Ash also died fighting evil, but all three of them brought new, engaging aspects to the show. Other hunters also helped along the way; some tried to kill Sam after they find out he started the apocalypse. Of those hunters, Gordon comes to mind as a particular case. He almost accomplished where every monster before him failed.
On the angel/demon side of things, we met Meg, Ruby, Uriel, and Zachariah. They all made their journey, but they all fade in comparison to Castiel. Such an intriguing character who flawlessly plays off of the brothers. They also raise some philosophical questions, not only about religion and belief systems but about one’s point of view and allegiances. Crowley also had his debut in this era and already serves his purpose.
But most important of all, I want to mention Bobby. The actor Jim Beaver captures the essence of that character in such a great way I cannot put it into words. His caring nature and dedication to the boys is something to be reckoned with. When he sets his mind to something, it gets done. His resourcefulness and wit saved all of them countless times, and we all can learn something from him.
If Supernatural would have ended after five years — back in the day — I would have been outraged and disappointed. With the time in-between, and a thorough re-watch of those seasons, I have to say: it would have been OK. It takes courage to end something at its prime, at the peak, but the brothers’ story was not over yet.
I don’t recollect the coming five seasons (six through ten) in much detail; they all blended together over the years. I don’t know if they can reach the heights of seasons two or four, but I am curious to find out. As I started this journey, I hoped to get to season 14 when the possibly final season arrives. But, as you might have guessed, I passed that deadline.
As the final season airs, I will continue to work my way through Supernatural’s past seasons. Some things cannot and should not be rushed. I want to enjoy the ride, put on some good music, and follow the adventures of the Winchesters.
Carry on, my Wayward Son…
If you missed my reviews of the first five seasons, you can find them here: