TV REVIEW: Supernatural Season 8, Eps 1 and 2: “We Need to Talk About Kevin” and “What’s up Tiger Mommy?”

Supernatural_Generic-08-01_AdThe boys are back.  The denim wearing, ass kicking, Impala driving, lady killing, blue steel posing Winchesters are back on British screens (with far less of a wait than last time) for Season 8 of Supernatural.

 

 

 

First a little recap:

Season 7 ended with the final death of Bobby, after hanging ’round as a ghost in danger of going vengeful, just before the now-mad Castiel, the demon on the turn Meg and the brothers launched an all-out assault on Leviathan headquarters and Dick Roman.  The rag-tag team succeeded, although at a cost – Meg was captured by Crowley as was the prophet Kevin Tran.  Dean and Cas managed to kill Dick, but the blast wave sent them both to Purgatory, leaving Sam utterly alone….

So we join Season 8 straight in the action with “We Need to Talk About Kevin.”  Dean appears from a  burst of light in the woods, bloodied and wild eyed.  He makes his way to a rendezvous point, digs up a grave and raises a vampire named Benny (Ty Olsson) and embraces him as they part ways – something has clearly happened in Purgatory.  We move to Sam, who appears to be leaving a woman and dog before making his way to a cabin to be greeted by Dean – who sprays him with holy water, cleaner and does the same to himself, cutting included just to prove he is Dean – even though Sam recognises him straight away as real.

The brothers catch up, and it’s not long before the dysfunctional Winchesters are back to arguing as Dean finds out Sam didn’t search for him while  he was in Purgatory and not only that, quit the life completely.  Dean reveals he believes Cas to be dead (although he never explicitly states it, despite Sam’s questioning).  Dean then goes through the old phones and finds several messages from Kevin Tran, the prophet, who has escaped Crowley and has been trying to contact Sam.  Needless to say, the boys are off to find Kevin.

We get to see some of Dean’s time in Purgatory and Sam’s time without Dean, showing a little of how they ended up the way they did – Dean fighting for his life and being saved by Benny while Sam hits a dog and meets the woman we saw earlier.

The boys eventually catch up to Kevin, who reveals he was captured by Crowley to read a demon tablet.  Like the Leviathan tablet from last series, this tablet reveals the secrets of the demons and how to destroy them (which we see Kevin in flashback using to escape).  Not only that, but the tablet reveals how to seal the gates of hell and banish the demons from the earth – forever.

Crowley catches up to the now trio and while they escape, Crowley casually and cruelly kills Kevin’s girlfriend in front of him.  As the boys rest up from their near miss, Benny calls Dean and while Dean gives him the brush off says he can call him if he needs him.

This was a pretty good opening episode of the new season – while it lacks the impact of Season 7’s “Meet the New Boss,” it sets up the focus of the season nicely.  Dean is back and even more focused than ever.  Sam, who got out of the life, is resigned to come back in, although sticking to his philosophy of a world going on without the brothers – while not actually punching his brother to get the point across.  Crowley is a very welcome return with Mark Sheppard doing a bang up job as the King of Hell.

Sky Living then really gave a treat in showing the next episode straight after! Let’s hope it’s because they wanted to treat the fans and not because they want to get it over and done with.

So next we have “What’s up Tiger Mommy?” which shows the boys on the run with Kevin, who wants to see his mum.  However, we open with a creepy old man who opens a safe deposit box to get a bone (no jokes please) and brutally kills an innocent girl – classic Supernatural opening.  While Dean plays the hard man, he eventually relents and the trio are off.  Sure enough, Kevin’s mother (played by Lauren Tom) is surrounded by demons.  The brothers kick some arse as usual with Sam showing a new trick of a reverse exorcism – to keep the demon escaping from a host.

The trio becomes a foursome (upon Mrs. Tran’s insistence) as they go in search of the tablet, including stopping off for matching anti-possession tattoos.  Unfortunately for them, Kevin’s hiding place was not too secure and it has been pilfered by a security guard.  The guard is already in custody so the boys play the routine of FBI agents to interrogate him.  However, Dean flashes back to Purgatory again, where he interrogated creatures to find the whereabouts of Cas.  Sure enough, Dean half kills the thief, but they get their information.  After some funny stuff with Kevin’s mother in a pawn shop, they are approached by Bo, the emissary for the God of Greed, Plautius.  Plautius has the tablet and is going to auction the item.  The group are invited to witness the auction and bid as guests.

The group attend the auction – with no weapons allowed, they have to come up with a plan to get the tablet.  Initially hoping to just get Kevin near it to read and memorise, this plan fails.  They run into Crowley, who is also bidding for the tablet as well as an angel, Samandrial, or “Alfie,” who asks Dean where Cas is.  While he is here for the tablet as well, he expresses his desire that those in heaven still believe Cas had his heart in the right place.

The group quickly realise that bidding won’t be an option with elven gold, priceless artifacts and millions of dollars being used by the rest of the participants.  Crowley goes head to head with Alfie in a bidding war with some truly memorable bids, but when Plautius turns the tables and offers Kevin with the tablet, they lose to Kevin’s mother who bids her soul.  Crowley desperately bids his own soul, but Plautius reveals Crowley doesn’t have a soul.

Alfie offers Kevin’s mother the protection of heaven over Kevin but she refuses, before she gives up her soul to Plautius – Dean smells a rat and reveals that her anti-possession tattoo is burnt off.  Crowley has possessed her.  Bo has betrayed his master for an island and the group fight it out.  While Sam deals with Bo, Dean manages to get to Crowley/Kevin’s mother and almost kills him/her before Crowley escapes Kevin’s mother and is back in his body.  The boys still have Kevin and his mother but Crowley now has the tablet.

Kevin’s mother is traumatized by being possessed, and Dean is chastised by Kevin and Sam for almost killing Kevin’s mother while she was possessed by Crowley.  Dean reveals he wish he had killed her as it would mean he killed Crowley.  Kevin and his mother give the boys the slip and they go on the run.  The last scene is Dean flashing back to Purgatory and seemingly abandoning Cas.

This was a great episode, with Lauren Tom doing a fantastic job as Kevin’s mother – feisty and funny, a real challenge to the boys.  Crowley once again is superb and the boys are solid.  There is great action and great lines as the mystery behind Dean’s time in Purgatory deepens.

 

“We need to talk about Kevin” Rating: 4/5

Best lines: “Sasha Grey gone legit,” “I knew you’d throw a bitch fit,” “Moose!, still with the pork chops,” “There’s a demon in you and you’re going to your safety school.”

 

“Whats up Tiger Mommy?” Rating: 5/5

Best lines: “Tiger Mom, 9 o’clock,” “you to short stop,” “positive thoughts,” “Is that even a planet anymore?” “Hello Boys,” “Gonna make an omelette, have to break a few spines,” “Listen to Moose, Squirrel,” “three billion dollars; the mona lisa; the real mona lisa – where she’s topless,” “the moon.”

 

Reviewer: Steven Stone

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