The CW’s Supernatural is known for its cliffhangers, but Season 7 just may have been the biggest one yet. How could it be bigger than Dean (Jensen Ackles) being dragged to hell or Sam (Jared Padalecki) letting Lucifer take control of his body and then falling into the pit? Well, how about by splitting the brothers again, only this time Sam has no idea where his brother is and therefore is at a loss on how to even attempt to bring him home.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. When Dean finds himself in Purgatory, he is suddenly in a “more concentrated version” of the kinds of evil he usually only sees in small, weekly doses. His buddy Castiel (Misha Collins) abandons him for reasons that will become known in the season premiere, and he is forced to team up with a character he would normally be hunting.
Naturally, when Dean finally gets out of Purgatory and tracks down his brother in the Season 8 premiere, “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” things look mighty different from how we last left them.
What did Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, and Misha Collins have to say about Supernatural Season 8?
“It’s going to take a little bit of time to warm back up to the relationship that he and Sam had,” Ackles admitted during a recent Warner Brothers set visit for a select group of press.
“There’s also what Sam did for the past year, which kind of compacts the odd element that these two brothers have not only spent time apart, but also what they were doing,” he added. “Dean was in this concentrated war zone, and Sam was really the opposite. Now they have to come back together and pick up where they left off, and it poses kind of a problem.”
While Dean just wants to fall back into old patterns with his brother, Sam has another idea. He has been living the past year in a small town in Texas with a girl he has fallen in love with (Liane Balaban), and he even has a dog.
“Maybe I’ve become a fan girl of the show, but at first I was kind of like, ‘A girl!? For Sam!? What’s he doing!?’” Padalecki laughed.
“But as I learned about the relationship, I was so happy to explore that role and that character. And Sam from the get go has been hoping to kind of reinvent himself as the person he always thought he was.”
Padalecki described Amelia and Sam as a good match because they’re both “kind of misfits and they’ve both gone through loss.” He noted they are brought together by “a bizarre set of circumstances,” but they decide to just go with it, and it seems to be working.
Once Dean returns, though, Sam does follow his brother out the door and on the road again, albeit reluctantly. Most of the Sam and Amelia relationship, then, is witnessed in flashbacks to their life during the past year. The dichotomy between Dean in purgatory as a “hardened soldier” and Sam living a “normal, apple pie life” is bound to pull at fans’ emotions and reopen the question of if we can truly fight our destinies.
“He really commits to it,” Padalecki added about the relationship with Amelia, “and so when it all comes crashing back down, it’s kind of a brutal reminder again of who he has been and who he is possibly meant to be. He isn’t so happy about it.”
Though Sam is fulfilling his obligations, and Padalecki promised Sam would never half-ass a job, even if his heart wasn’t completely in it, Ackles pointed out that the brothers will not be squabbling or tense the entire time.
“At the end of the day, they’re still brothers; they still have each others’ backs. It’d take way too much to break that,” Ackles reassured us.
And then there is Castiel, who vanishes in purgatory, leaving Dean to fend for himself. Collins was cagey about Cas’ reasons, not wanting to spoil the reveal for fans. However, he did point out that Cas’ experiences in purgatory “are actually shaped by everything that has come before.”
“I think purgatory for him is actually kind of a penance, and that plays out a little bit as the season unfolds,” Collins explained.
“We’re seeing a Cas that’s actually kind of close to the Cas in Season 4 or 5. We’re seeing in paying that penance, he’s actually regained a little bit of his innocence and about all of his sanity. His screws are not nearly as loose as they were last year.”
Of course, if and when Castiel gets out of Purgatory, too, and rejoins the Winchesters, the dynamics are bound to shift again, creating even deeper layers for these characters as they struggle to find the true tablet and attempt to potentially close the gates of Hell forever.