The final season premiere of Supernatural takes the stakes to an all-time high. With God gone and all the souls released from Hell, the Winchesters have their work cut out for them.
On Supernatural Season 15 Episode 1, we pick up where Season 14 left off. The Winchesters and Castiel fight their way through a graveyard full of zombies set to Bob Seger’s classic “The Famous Final Scene.” With the unlikely help of a demon, they work to contain the problem, and come up against some familiar faces.
Sam, Dean, and Castiel are able to wade through the zombies to a crypt at the edge of the graveyard. Castiel is tasked with carrying Jack’s body, as God (or “Chuck”) personally killed him at the end of the previous episode. After a quick assessment of their situation, the three men conclude that they are out of options. That is, until Jack rejoins the conversation, now possessed by a demon who introduces himself as Belphegor.
Talking to Castiel and the Winchesters, “Bel” assures them that they all want the same thing—to put all the souls back in Hell. He likes his job as a demonic “button-pusher,” torturing souls day in and day out. He frames himself as a low-level demon, but over the course of the episode, he offers solutions that require high-level magic. With spells that no one has ever heard of, Bel quickly allies himself with the Winchesters and makes himself a key player. Sam and Dean have had limited success working with demons in the past, so I think it’s safe to say that Belphegor is not all he appears to be.
In demonology, the name “Belphegor” belongs to a demon who is one of the seven Princes of Hell, some of the most powerful demons of all. According to Supernatural, these are the only four Princes of Hell to exist, and all are dead. However, they were distinguishable from other demons by their memorable yellow eyes. Other high-level demons also have specific eye colors, like Lilith’s white eyes or the red of a crossroads demon. This may come into play later, as Bel chooses to stay in Jack’s body, which recently had its eyes burned out. Until Belphegor is forced to find a new host, we won’t know just how powerful he is.
Containing the Ghosts
Bel provides the Winchesters with a spell to neutralize the situation. It won’t send the ghosts back to Hell, but it will contain them within a mile-radius of the cemetery. While Dean and Bel work on acquiring the spell ingredients, Sam and Castiel take charge evacuating the town. At the same time, they must fight the spirits that have been set loose, some of whom are quite familiar.
Long-time fans will recognize two of the ghosts as Constance Welch and Mary Worthington, two spirits Sam and Dean fought back in Season 1. Constance appeared in the pilot as a Woman in White, the spirit of a woman whose partner has been unfaithful, who then kills her children and self out of grief. Mary appeared as the iconic “Bloody Mary” four episodes later, appearing in mirrors to kill people hiding deadly secrets. Back in the present, Sam also faces up against the ghost of a clown, which is his worst nightmare. It appears to be the ghost of John Wayne Gacy, who appeared briefly in Supernatural Season 14 Episode 13. However, this is never actually addressed in the episode.
The fight against the ghosts only makes a limited amount of sense. We only see about five ghosts causing trouble, while Belphegor estimates roughly three billion escaped. While the spirits do get a few good licks in, the climax has them literally running after Sam and Castiel instead of teleporting or using their powers. That seemed like a stretch of logic that really pulled me out of the episode.
However unlikely their success might seem, Belphegor’s spell is not a permanent fix. The town’s residents are waiting to go back to their homes, under the impression there is a gas leak. The ghosts are from all around the world, so the normal procedure of salting and burning their bones just won’t cut it this time. The premiere didn’t wrap up either of these issues. Hopefully we can address them next week, when the ghosts begin to band together.
Dean and Castiel
Of course, it wouldn’t be a real season of Supernatural without some angst, a grudge, and poor communication. The relationship under the most strain this season seems to be between Dean and Castiel. The end of Season 14 brought two major character deaths that shook the group to their core. As previously mentioned, Chuck killed Jack with a quick snap of his fingers. Before that, Jack accidentally used his powers to kill Mary Winchester, Sam and Dean’s recently resurrected mother.
Dean and Castiel seem to blame each other for these deaths, and with good reason. When Jack killed Mary, he only had limited control over his powers, as he lost his soul regaining them. Castiel reveals that he knew something was wrong with Jack, and had seen him unthinkingly kill his pet snake weeks before. He chose to hide this information from Sam and Dean, which very well could have saved Mary’s life. Seeking revenge, Dean goes after Jack with a special gun given to him by God. Ultimately, he cannot bring himself to pull the trigger, but Castiel is clearly affronted by Dean’s intent to kill Jack—who for all intents and purposes is their son.
In an interview with EW, Jensen Ackles (Dean) confessed that the grudge between Dean and Castiel will be buried and fester over the course of the season. In the premiere, the two are short with each other as soon as the danger clears, and quickly distance themselves. I certainly hope this doesn’t go on for too long. Dean and Castiel have one of the most interesting bonds on the show. While the resentment on both sides is valid, I’d hate to waste the last season watching them fight. Hopefully the divide will end quickly, and ultimately show how strong Castiel’s “profound bond” with Dean really is.
Next on Supernatural
Between the season previews and the seeds dropped in Supernatural Season 15 Episode 1, we have a good idea where the season will head from here. Obviously, the threat of the ghosts in Harlan, Kansas remains to be dealt with. Belphegor may be more powerful than he appears, and Dean and Castiel will need to patch up their relationship. But another thing that needs to be addressed is Sam’s festering shoulder wound, left behind by the gun he used to shoot Chuck.
Sam’s injury is no average gunshot. The weapon he used, The Equalizer, operates on “a wave of multidimensional energy” rather than normal bullets. In this episode, we see that Sam’s wound does not bleed, and cannot be healed by angels. When Castiel tries, Sam sees visions of himself with black eyes, fighting Dean in the red light of the Bunker. He keeps this detail to himself, but Castiel is shaken nonetheless. He warns Sam that he has never felt the kind of energy contained in Sam’s wound.
The important word here may be “multidimensional.” Supernatural has repeatedly explored the existence of other dimensions. In Season 13, the Winchesters have to travel to a dimension they call the Apocalypse World, a version of history in which they were never born to stop the first Apocalypse. It’s possible that Sam’s visions are something similar, flashes from another reality where history unfolded differently. This may explain some shots from the latest Season 15 trailer, such as the reappearance of “Samifer,” The Mark of Cain, and a bearded Dean. As for my current theory, I’d love to see a world where Sam was the one to take on the Mark of Cain, and who turns into a demon as a result.
Bel also tells Dean that all of the cells in Hell are now open—including Lucifer’s Cage. Lucifer is already dead, but this universe’s archangel Michael could still be a problem. It also means long-awaited freedom for Adam Milligan, Sam and Dean’s half-brother. After over a thousand years in Hell, Adam may well return as a foe rather than a friend. It would be understandable for him to hold a grudge, seeing as his brothers freed Lucifer a few years ago without the slightest concern for Adam.
As far as season premieres go, I’d say Supernatural Season 15 Episode 1 was a success. It lays a lot of interesting, intricate groundwork for the rest of the season. These final episodes will have a fine line to walk between new material and nostalgia. I think the premise of facing their old enemies could be a fantastic way to wrap up. But nothing is going to mean as much to me as the fantastic final shot of this episode. As Sam and Dean stare down into the trunk of the Impala, contemplating the work ahead, there is a quick cut to the final moment of the pilot episode, and we see them as young hunters once more.
What did you think of Supernatural Season 15 Episode 1? Do you have any predictions about where the road ahead will take the Winchesters? Let us know in the comments, and share your thoughts with us on Twitter!
Catch Supernatural Thursdays on the CW at 8/7c.