Emily Dunbar ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
When it comes to what makes or breaks an episode of Supernatural, “The Purge” was close to being flawless.
There was that monster-of-the-week feeling, which many long-time fans missed from the earlier seasons, from the absolutely disgusting, yet terrifying, fat-sucking creature, the Pishtaco. There was a lovably dorky and happy-go-lucky female sheriff who helped them get through the case, but who, most importantly, did not die! There were laughs as Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) shone as a yoga instructor and poor Dean (Jensen Ackles) was demoted to lunch lady. There were gasps as the Pishtaco took unimaginable and gruesome bites out of her patients at the weight loss resort. Finally, there were the fight scenes and the good ol’ “one-brother-rushes-in-to-save-the-other-at-the-very-last-second-how-lucky!” scenes.
The only missing piece was angel of the Lord, Castiel (Misha Collins), who was inexplicably absent from the episode despite having reconciled in a huge way with both Winchester brothers and having never formally reported that he was departing on a mission. Luckily, he’s in next week’s promo, along with King of Hell, Crowley (Mark Sheppard).
While the laughs were greatly appreciated, this episode did a particularly excellent job of handling the ever-important post-hunt chat. Sam and Dean finally talk out the issues that had been weighing upon them for a couple of episodes, which the audience expected and needed. Dean admitted that Sam saying they weren’t brothers anymore really did hurt him. The audience is accustomed to seeing Sam apologize and chalking up any anti-familial feelings to various worries and the internal battles he is waging within himself. However, for the first time ever, Sam calls Dean out. Sam truly blames Dean for saving him; he calls his brother selfish and unwilling to be alone. And for the first time ever, the audience believes that Sam really doesn’t feel like he and Dean are brothers anymore.
While incredibly heart-breaking, these things needed to be said. One could never argue that Dean saves Sam over and over just because he loves him; there’s definitely an element of selfishness in it. Not only does he not want to be alone, but he also is so used to having a mission, a person to value over himself, that he needs to have important people around so he can protect them. On the other hand, Sam says he would let Dean die if he wanted to, but it’s hard to know for sure. It’s true that he didn’t look for Dean while his brother was in Purgatory at the end of season 7. But he did take on the Trials to close the Gates of Hell when Dean hinted that he didn’t want to survive them. It’s a constant war of feelings for each Winchester: should he or shouldn’t he die? Should he or shouldn’t he let his brother die?
This scene really brought forth some character development for Sam and some realistic progression in their relationship. Dean has always been a little more dependent on Sam than Sam is on Dean. Sam is the one who always had different dreams, for whom hunting was never going to be enough. Dean isn’t one for change, and he’s willing to do just about anything to keep things the way they are.
Because of this back-and-forth, there are definitely going to be a lot of changes at the bunker. Dean knows that Sam doesn’t value his own life and that he still blames Dean for Gadreel and for stopping him from completing the Trials. Sam is aware that Dean knows the truth (and that Dean often cannot handle this sort of truth). The bunker is probably going to feel very chilly.
Overall, this week’s episode was a joy. It was humorous and reminiscent of classic Supernatural, while also bringing some new ideas to the table. The character development was highly anticipated and greatly appreciated, and the tone for season 9 has absolutely been solidified!
The show is going on a mini-hiatus, but when it returns, the boys are back up to their usual hijinks with the whole gang. In addition to the return of Cas and Crowley, there will be a special guest appearance from Jersey Shore alum Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi (fans are speculating that only the likes of supposedly dead archangel, Gabriel [Richard Speight Jr.], could bring Snooki to the Supernatural realm, so fingers crossed that he makes an appearance!).
Season 9 continues to impress. Take the next couple weeks to re-watch the season so far and speculate as to just where the show could possibly be going.
Tune in February 25, when Supernatural returns to the CW with “Captives.”