Review of Episode 8×01: We Need To Talk About Kevin
Overall: A solid ep. A few new elements and characters were introduced (second tablet, Amelia, Benny, and the dog (yes, I’m counting the dog as a new character—he’s cute!)). It felt well-balanced, though—not over-stuffed, like the season six premiere, when it seemed like the writers were just throwing tons of stuff at the screen, hoping some of it would stick. The pacing here was good, and the storyline that was set in motion (a way to potentially lock up all demons forever) was epic enough to last the whole season, and would even make a good wrap-up for the series, if this happens to be the final season (I’m spoiler-free, so I have no idea if that’s been decided yet).
Dean: Loved his “arrival” back on Earth, scaring the crap out of a couple of campers. I figured it was him, so I wasn’t particularly worried for them. He did seem totally like he just came out of a war zone–shell-shocked, covered in blood and dirt, and completely on edge. I wondered what was wrong with his arm. Then they showed it pulsing and glowing and I thought Castiel was inside it somehow, but I couldn’t figure out why Cass’ (or Jimmy’s) remains would be on Earth. And then…Out popped Benny the Vampire! And they hugged and everything. Benny called him “Brother.” Very interesting.
I thought the reunion with Sam was pretty great. There was a certain comedy to it that worked for me, because we’ve been here SO many times. Back in season four, the “brothers reunited/back from the dead” scenes were still genuine tear-jerkers, but at this point, it’s almost ridiculous. The fact that the show acknowledged this with a bit of humor really made the scene shine.
Dean is an all-business, rarin’-to-go hunter in this ep, which fits the life he led in Purgatory. I loved the scene where he was looking into the vending machine at all the candy bars. Like Benny said, “So many choices…” Really, the main thing I didn’t like about Dean in this episode was his judgmental attitude toward Sam. How is what Sam did with Amelia any different than what Dean did with Lisa? It’s the same situation, so Dean’s attitude didn’t make sense. The only thing I agreed with Dean on is that Sam should’ve made some attempt to locate Dean/get Dean back before giving up and choosing the normal life. It was a little hard for me to believe that Sam would not do this, and I hope that, through flashbacks, this behavior will be explained.
Sam: He seemed kind of meek in this episode. Softer and more domesticated, much like Dean in early season six. The way he stroked the dog was very sweet. In the opening scene, he appeared to be trying to sneak out in the night, and yet his girlfriend, Amelia (Is she the veterinarian they showed later? It was dark, I couldn’t see her face that well), was awake and aware of him leaving, but did not try to stop him. If they had broken up earlier that day, why was he leaving in the middle of the night? I hope they show more flashbacks to illuminate this situation—how the relationship developed, why it ended, and whether it was a coincidence that it ended right when big brother Dean came back to Earth. (Sam DID have psychic abilities, once, remember?)
Sam didn’t seem to give in to the guilt trip Dean tried to send him on (which is nice—it shows Sam had made peace with his decisions), and yet was reasonably willing to rejoin Dean and pick up the hunt for Kevin. I’m definitely curious to see where Sam’s head is at right now. I think we need more flashbacks, and I’m hoping we get them. The flashback to bringing the dog into the vet was brilliant—I loved Sam’s desperation and devastation: everyone he ever loved was taken from him…and then he hit a dog. You could feel how hitting the dog was the last straw, how close to the edge he was, how badly he needed one thing that he could actually fix. It showed a great contrast to the calm, at-peace present-day Sam we saw for much of the episode, and reminded me of the episode “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” which helped me reconcile an emotionally-disconnected season four Sam with a Sam who had just lost his brother. These time jumps are difficult for my brain to handle, and the more flashbacks we get explaining what shaped the boys’ current emotional states, the better.
One final note about Sam: It was interesting that Dean, who’s been fighting non-stop in Purgatory for a year, couldn’t beat his demon without help, and yet Sam, who was completely out of practice, vanquished his demon with little-to-no difficulty. I’m not sure what to make of this, whether it was some kind of statement that Sam is a more natural/better hunter, or if I’m just reading too much into an action scene. Given the storyline, it would have made more sense if Dean just totally beat the crap out of his demon and then went to help Sam, rather than the reverse.
Crowley: He still calls Sam “Moose.” How can you not love this guy? =) Glad he’s back, as always, and I’m even more glad the focus is back on our old, familiar nemeses—the demons. Season six’s “monsters behaving badly” arc didn’t work for me, and the Leviathans have always seemed just a little bit cheesy to me. Demons can say funny things (like “meat suit” and “I’m wearing a pediatrician”) and still be pee-your-pants scary. The Leviathans, for me, somehow crossed that fragile line and became more silly than menacing. I’m not sure why, but if they are out of the picture and demons are back front and center, I won’t be complaining.
Kevin: Is it just me, or does he rock even more this year than last year? I always loved him and the innocent nerdy-ness he brings to the show, but he was off-the-charts awesome in this episode. It’s clear how much he’s learned, and how much he’s grown, and I’m glad he’s got an important role to play this season.
Amelia (??): I get the feeling she’s the vet, but I’m not sure. If she is, then I have a problem with some of the things she said to Sam. It was clear from Sam’s distraught state (and the fact that he brought the dog to a hospital) that he did not mean to hurt the dog. Not many people intentionally hit dogs on the road. Her guilt trip did not ring true, and I didn’t find it realistic that a vet would try to force someone who had just hit a stray dog into adopting the dog. I think it was supposed to come across as tough love, but it didn’t work for me. And I’m NOT one of those girls who hates any potential love interest for one of the brothers. I loved Jess, I loved Sarah, I loved Jo, I loved Lisa. Heck, I even liked Ruby and Bela. Right now, though, not that impressed with vet-lady. Hope that changes through more flashbacks and a better understanding of her character. Also, if Amelia is not the vet, then I apologize to her character!
Castiel: What the heck happened down there? Where are you? We need you back! I can’t survive a season of this show without my favorite angel…
Benny: Oooh, one of my favorite parts of the show, and definitely the most intriguing thing about the episode for me. Dean has a secret Hell-Buddy. Or rather, a Purgatory-Buddy. They hugged and everything. I always wanted a storyline where somebody Dean really bonded with in Hell (like a brother-bond, not a torturer-victim/master-pupil bond, as he had with Alistair) came up to Earth as a demon and interacted with Dean. I wondered how those types of Hell-bonds would play out once Hell was no longer a factor. And now we get to see a very similar storyline involving Purgatory, so I’m mega-excited. Dean let this Benny dude go, likely knowing full-well Benny is going to eat the first person he meets. So un-Dean-like. I need to see more of what they went through together, and how this bond formed. Keep the flashbacks coming!
Final thoughts: Dean: I love you but stop guilt-tripping Sam. Sam: I love you but please explain why you didn’t try to find your brother. Crowley: Never change. Kevin: Keep rocking. Castiel: Come back. Benny: Tell me more. Vet-lady: Be nicer. Dog: Stay.