Supernatural returns this Wednesday (The CW, 9/8c) with the Winchesters having spent a year apart from each other. While Sam was striking up a romance with a woman (Covert Affairs‘ Liane Balaban), Dean battled it out in purgatory with an unlikely ally. And that’s just the beginning! Below are five things executive producers Jeremy Carver and Bob Singer think you should know about Season 8.
IT’S TIME-TRIPPY | The flashbacks have “allowed us to tell slightly different kind of stories” like delving into Sam’s romance with his ladylove Amelia, says Carver. “Supernatural, I don’t think, spent a lot of time on relationship stories. It’s a really nice mechanism to do that without imposing that on the forward momentum of these other stories that we’re telling.” Flashbacks will also reveal how Dean spent his time in purgatory, a place most writers would not dare to venture for fear of it not measuring up to viewers’ imaginations. “We said, ‘We are going to go there because there’s a really, really strong character thing going on down there,” explains Carver. “And the look of it is super cool.” Visually, the “lack of color and high contrast, desaturated look” is meant to convey a feeling of “there’s no good place to lay your head down, no green leaves,” says Singer. “We wanted to contrast that with Sam’s flashbacks, which are diffused and have filters and [are] a little more dreamy so you get a sense that Sam’s past year was nice and warm and Dean’s was cold and stark.”
DEAN HAS A NEW FRIEND | By now, you’ve probably heard that Dean came out of purgatory with a buddy, a vampire by the name of Benny (Ty Olsson). But what might surprise you is the nature of their relationship and how their experiences down there have shaped the elder Winchester. “Dean came out of purgatory with a bit of a surprising reaction to it,” previews Carver; Singer describes the character as “a little more brutal” now. As for Benny, he’s “playing a very important part both in his physical presence and psychological presence,” says Carver. “The idea of Benny hangs over our brothers pretty heavily. He’s a guy who has a tremendous, tremendous bearing.”
SAM’S IN THE DOGHOUSE | With truly nobody left, Sam actually kept the brothers’ promise to not look for each other should one of them disappear – you know, the one they always break – and didn’t search for Dean. Instead, he left the hunting life behind, even ditching his cell phones, and “found a real solace, a real comfort” in Amelia, says Singer. Needless to say, this does not sit well with Dean, but as his own secrets about the past year start to come out, “those tables turn as to who has to answer for what,” says Carver. “While Sam’s trying to be really forthcoming, saying, ‘My mindset is different,’ Dean is being really less than forthcoming,” points out Singer. “The fact that he’s judgmental is probably not all that fair to Sam, given what Dean’s not saying.” Regardless of who’s right or wrong in this scenario, he adds, “everyone will get their licks in.”
BEING A PROPHET IS TOUGH | As seen in the preview for the new season, Kevin has big news for the Winchesters: He’s spied a way to close the gates of Hell forever. But that’s easier said than done, especially when the Winchesters have been MIA for a year. Plus, being a conduit for the word of God has some downsides. “We’ll learn more about how he personally feels about being a prophet…[and] the personal cost that it has for him,” reveals Carver.
YOU’LL STILL HAVE FUN! | Despite the harshness of purgatory, demons and brotherly issues, there’s still fun to be had this season. Case in point: An upcoming episode will tackle the question of “What happens when you find yourself living in a cartoon universe?” teases Carver. (Sadly, it’s not animated, but will deal with “cartoon physics in the real world.”) Also on tap are adventures in LARPing (that’s live action role-playing, for the uninitiated) and an hour consisting almost entirely of Paranormal Activity-style “found footage,” which is “pretty unlike any episode that the show has ever done before.”Follow @VladaGelman