Another season is upon us!  There’s been a lot of hoopla over “Supernatural” starting a historic season ten lately, a feat that’s very rare in scripted shows.  As a long time fan it’s easy to get lost in the wonder that the show has actually gotten this far.  It’s certainly been a nice distraction for the long summer Hellatus.  Come premiere day though, an episode is in front of us and it’s time to start asking the hard questions like, “Where is this going?” “What’s the theme of the season?” and “Will things EVER improve for Sam and Dean?”  After taking in “Black,” I’m definitely left with more of these questions than answers.      

If I heard Crowley correctly, this episode takes place six months six weeks (thank you wise viewers, I guess he was talking about when Dean got the MOC) after new Demon Dean took off with the King of Hell.  Sam, now wearing a new fashion accessory in the form of an arm sling (written into the story due to Jared Padalecki’s real life injury), has been spending that time alone in the bunker exhaustively searching for Dean.  No doubt Dean’s constant ire regarding not looking for him after he disappeared to Purgatory in season eight has scarred Sam pretty deep.  Even Crowley made a joke to  Sam that they were thinking he hit another dog!  This time Sam is going to all sorts of depths to find Dean and Crowley, including torturing demons.  Color me surprised (sarcasm!).  But what else has it cost Sam?  That question will hopefully be answered in weeks to come, but something isn’t right with him.

Dean himself is in a demonic tailspin.  He’s in North Dakota getting drunk, screwing women, constantly singing bad karaoke and killing people that Crowley sends his way to satisfy the MOC and its bloodlust.  It is rather jarring to see Dean this way, and Crowley is tiring of it as well.  He’s trying to get Dean to move forward with that ruling Hell thing but Dean responded by getting blasted instead and acting totally unpredictable.  He’s trying not to care, or at least doesn’t want to care. 

However, its Dean’s relationship with the waitress in the bar, Ann Marie, is where I saw traces of his humanity.  He isn’t too far gone.  He did care for her.  He dropped his usual demeanor when she was around and even defended her honor when her crappy boyfriend was abusive.  She called him out on his bad behavior at the end though, noticing his lack of control when he wouldn’t stop beating the crap out of her boyfriend, and Dean responded in a way that human Dean at his lowest has responded before.  He insulted her and drove her away.  Remember, he did that to Sam, Bobby and Castiel in “Point of No Return.”  It was his way of telling her he’s bad news and doesn’t want her to get hurt.  He’s chosen not to care about anything, which is why we got that closing scene. 

That brings us to the plight of poor Sammy.  So he has been spending six months looking at old photographs and staring at Dean’s empty bed?  Is that meant to be a reminder that his brother is out there somewhere and needs him?  Either way, it can’t be doing him any favors emotionally.  The look on his face when he saw Dean on the surveillance tape was devastating, as was his conversation with Crowley.  All he wants is his brother back, but everything on that tape told him it wasn’t possible.  Dean had black eyes.  No wonder he was so emotional when he talked to Crowley.  He needed to believe his brother was dead and that he was possessed by a demon.  He didn’t need to hear that Dean was a real demon now, thanks of the Mark of Cain. 

But now Sam has been captured by Cole, whose motivations are unclear, other than he wants to kill Dean.  Judging by his family it doesn’t seem like he’s a demon, but he didn’t say he was a hunter either.  Angel maybe?  All he knows is the way to get to Dean is through Sam.  That means he knows a bit about the Winchesters, which makes his story all that more interesting. 

That brings us then to that shocking final scene.  Admittedly, part of me was wrapped up in logistics trying to figure out how Cole could have called Dean using Sam’s phone.  Even Sam didn’t know his phone number, right?  I know that Crowley called the other guy and Sam now had that guy’s phone, but it wouldn’t have said Sam calling, right?  Anyway, let’s pretend that Crowley sent Sam Dean’s number (maybe that did happen?). 

Cole’s demands are simple, he wants Dean to meet him in exchange for Sam, otherwise Sam dies.  Dean however, has a different plan.  He’s not coming.  Sam can die for all he cares.  However, all that means is Dean will hunt down Cole and kill him.  The absolute coldness in the way Dean delivered that speech is the highlight of the episode, and it goes to show just how far Dean has been corrupted.  Bravo to Jensen for still managing to shock us with a performance like that.  Sammy is no longer his greatest weakness.    There are plenty of ways to spin this.  Did Dean act this way partially because of Sam’s anger last season over saving him through angel possession?  Does Dean have faith that Sam will get himself out of this?  Or does Dean truly not care?  These are all questions that will likely be answered in the coming weeks, but for now, it leaves us pretty stunned and worried for Sam.

07

I’m normally a staunch defender of the angel story, but the adventures of Castiel and Hannah in this episode were just plain pointless.  Castiel doesn’t want to kill another angel, which is why he won’t replenish his grace, yet he kills another angel when things get crazy?  An angel that just wants to leave peacefully on earth enjoying free will?  I didn’t really get the lesson learned there other than the angels have learned nothing about their experiences on earth and Castiel should have stayed in bed.  I wish we could have seen more about what he’s been doing the last few months looking for Dean.  The side plot was just useless and Misha Collins deserves better. 

The question though is, did the episode perform overall?  Yes, it did alright.  The expectation of a season premiere is to set the tone for the rest of the season and I’m not exactly sure “Black” did that.  Or if it did, then it’s going to be one slow and depressing season.  Heck, I know all openers can’t be “Lazarus Rising,” but the air of high stakes excitement was definitely missing.  I’m not sure how I feel about that, but as far as character studies go, “Black” hit the mark.  Sam and Dean are both in very bad places right now, and it’s going to take them being there for each other to slowly pull themselves out of this.  Realistically a lot of counseling too, but I imagine that ship sailed a long time ago. 

I have a struggle as a long time fan though and “Black” just reinforced some of my reservations.  Sam and Dean have been in very bad places for so long that I wonder how do their characters find their way back to a sense of fulfillment?  Enjoyment in what they do?  When do we get to see that again?  How do they go back to the motto, “Saving people, hunting things, the family business?”

Look at poor Sam.  Everything he does results in him getting beat down.  He’s in a no win situation, yet he keeps fighting.  The question is, what is he fighting for?  I think I’ve forgotten.  If I have, could it be he has too?  Right now the reason is Dean and his situation, but what happens when that goes away?  I saw that glimmer of hope when he first saw the Men of Letters library.  It was geek Heaven and it catered to his true calling.  I’d like to see Sam go back to that, to being the real leader of the Men of Letters.  The mastermind for a network of hunters; the guy carrying on the family legacy.    Less isolation, more working with and connecting with people.  It makes his character more interesting.  Watching Sam just move from one miserable situation to another makes his character unrealistic. 

As for Dean, we know this demon thing is going to be temporary.  Where does he find his happiness?  Back out on the road doing the monsters of the week cases?  Leading hunters in the newly organized Men of Letters network?  Going back to kicking ass and taking names?  Or would he be best by Sam’s side in the bunker?  Dean has always been less isolated than Sam, so at this point the guy just needs a purpose.  If the idea of fighting for a cause doesn’t appeal to Dean the demon, is that in some way saying that Dean the human needs a new reason to fight?  A new purpose for being the hero?  Both Sam and Dean do, and I wonder how can having each other be enough?  It hasn’t been doing them much of a service recently. 

But hey, all that speculation is getting ahead of myself.  Sam has to get himself out of captivity first and deal with Dean.  There’s a whole season to see the fallout from that outcome.  But those are the sort of questions I’m always asking when I see these brothers now in dire predicaments.  Where is the purpose?  What is the motivation?  

My overall grade, a B.  What did you think of “Black?”  Did you like this slower, darker character study, or were you hoping for something more? 

Comments  

winmomwannabe
# winmomwannabe 2014-10-08 13:00
I don't think Crowley's speech implied they had been on the road for six months. He referred back to the MOC. I think he meant 6 months since then. Just my opinion.

I liked the episode, but I think there were almost too many spoilers so not much was a shock. They did create a lot of hype this year for the premier which was fun, but maybe they gave us too much. I think that impacted my overall reaction to the episode. Again, just my opinion.

Loved the Sammy scene with the store clerk. And of course Crowley had some great lines. Next week's episode looks much darker. Yikes.
Alice
# Alice 2014-10-08 20:49
Thanks about the time clarification. I corrected the article. I did this review without the benefit of a re-watch or a copy of the episode at my disposal (not the norm for me). I do think the previews gave away most of the highlights.
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-10-08 13:26
.....
Teresa Jacobson
# Teresa Jacobson 2014-10-08 13:30
First of all, I loved the gas n'sip kid. He was amazing! I got the impression it had been 6 weeks not 6 months but maybe I misunderstood. And poor Cas! When he said "I miss him. " I thought my heart would break! Look how far our fallen angel has come. As for Hannah, something is up with her. Last season she was all about no more angels dying even Metatron and now she's the first one to pull out an angel blade? And that chaos speech she gave...well killing angels who disagree is reminiscent of the psycho archangels bent on starting the apocalypse. Why haven't more angels learned humanity isn't as bad as they think? Hopefully there will be something good to come of all they'very been through. That being said, I'm SO glad Hellatus is finally over! Looking forward to the ride!
debbab
# debbab 2014-10-08 13:30
The episode set up the character studies which according to Carver are to be the central focus this year. Clearly Dean had left Sam a note telling him to let him go so Sam knew he wasn't dead. Sam had hoped there was a possession, but alas it is all Dean/ So this, except for the note, was not knew to any of us that watched. A "Lazarus Rising" would not have worked since we all knew Dean was out with Crowley howling at the moon. Instead, the episode set the mood and circumstance for each of the main leads. Dean hasn't really done anything that out of character, it is just that he is in overdrive mode with the liquor, sex, and porn. The killings all seem " justified" even self defense in most cases. His putting up a wall with a female who may actually feel for him is not new. And defendeing Anne Marie from her abusive boyfriend is in his wheel house. IT is the MoC that needs to be fed. Ackles caress of the shot glass was spot on. Sam is in a frantic and angry place. It gets worse as we question how far he has gone to find Dean which makes Crowley's line about hitting another dog so funny and sad. In compariison to Dean's activities, clearly Sam has done the worse of the two Crowley and Dean together gives the relationship more depth and an opportunity for Crowley to have the best lines of the night-"Dean completes me" oh how he loves to taunt his Moose. So a character study does not need a gottcha beginning to grab my attention. What I had the most trouble with was the Cas narrative. Why is Hanna car sick? We get that Cas is ill and that he does get humanity at this point. He is a listener, but the angels always return to violence despite his patience. Is he that impotent now? Is that why is robe was open when he answered the door in contrast to Dean who dosen't seem to care if he is not wearing pants in front of others. There is a way to handle awkward and then.... So for me, the outline of Cas' character issues could have been shortened and the bad kareoke could have been extended. Sam's injured arm was explained so quickly( he and Cas went up against demons) that you could have easily missed it. It could have been so much more dramatic. Again, Cas is sorry and sorrowful. Overall, the pacing was quick and the dialogues solid with a few new expressions such as" having a brown moment". The acting as always squeezes out more from these characters.Howe ver, because the Cas sequences were not so great, i have to downgrade the episode a bit. I do want to mention the opening sequence, the music used, and the new logo as terrific. Am I interested in the next episode, hell yes. So it works... mostly.
Teresa
# Teresa 2014-10-08 13:42
I was wondering about Hannah's "car sickness" too. What was up with that?
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-10-08 13:45
Me too, that was odd.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-10-08 15:00
Was that supposed to be a light hearted moment as a kind of joke about Cas and his driving skills? I think it was just an opportunity to get out of the car and talk about stuff.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-10-08 15:02
Lol, I am sure you are right. I am so used to angels being literal!:)
njspnfan
# njspnfan 2014-10-08 15:04
let's start some rumors; Hannah had morning sickness and is pregnant with Castiel's mutant angel-human baby who will ultimately team up with Jesse (the Antichrist from S5) to take over the world :D:D:D
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-10-08 15:10
Lets!!!:D Love it. I have to say for a fleeting second I thought maybe her vessel was pregnant. That's just me and my poor spec skills at work. Another one is that I was convinced Ann Marie was the missing female angel. I am the worst.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-10-08 15:14
You mean that whole touched by an angel thing? ;)
Alice
# Alice 2014-10-08 20:53
That's a story line I could get behind! Sounds more interesting than the characters "finding themselves." But hey, I can't knock it until I see it.
dashnjo
# dashnjo 2014-10-09 00:50
Well, as an angel she's used to moving at faster speeds (you know, like a LOT faster) and that's why. He did say he'd take the curves faster ... but otherwise, like someone else said it was just a reason to get out and talk. They could have come up with a better reason ... you know, poor Cas was having another coughing fit.
Prix68
# Prix68 2014-10-08 13:35
I also was feeling a little let down by the premier. I also wondered if it was because I had seen the spoilers and read all the interviews so I already knew a lot of what we saw in the episode. That being said, I disagree that Sam has been totally on his own since he is talking to other hunters (maybe not specifics about Dean, but talking) and has been in touch with Cas. I don't think Dean has been gone 6 months because JC said we were picking up the story 4 to 6 weeks after Dean's death. I thought that Dean, himself, left his number at the roadhouse for Sam in order to tell him to back off. He knew Sam was coming there because of Crowley. Dean seemed to be expecting the call from Sam and said he'd left an open bar tab for him.
My first impression of DD was that he was kind of cheesy but not too much of a threat unless you were a demon. The end conversation with Cole changed my opinion of that.
I do think this was meant to be an exposition episode to set up what is coming but it lacked any real punch for me. I've only watched the episode once, though, so may see it differently on rewatch. I do think I will like the darker character study but I also think the PTB are going to have to be careful because they are walking a very thin line between a great season and total disaster where we don't care about the brothers as much and don't feel as invested in them.
galen
# galen 2014-10-08 13:49
I really liked most of this premier. Angel story was blah however. Highlight of the night was the phone call between Sam and Crowley. True to his nature, Crowley emotionally tortures Sam. Loved Sam's determination to save his brother. Cannot wait to here more about Cole. Convenience store scene was classic
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-10-08 13:59
I didn't love the episode but I liked it pretty well. It was a set-up episode and I think it did what it was supposed to do. I am onboard for the next episodes. Still wish DD was a little less sleazy and more menacing but that is how they are going so I need to suck it up and get used to it.:) I am concerned that Sam is giving every ounce of himself and then some to find and save his brother and he is going to get called "on the carpet" for it. That bothers me a lot. As a Dean leaner I hope to hell it isn't him but I am afraid it's going to be. I may have to avoid the comments for awhile if that happens.:) I am going with the unflappable Nappi school of "don't worry it's all going somewhere good for the brothers".;) Thanks Alice, always enjoy your reviews!
Teresa
# Teresa 2014-10-08 14:09
I agree Leah. I think ep1 was the "slow burn" to the season. I think things will be getting heated next week (fingers crossed.) I'm not as concerned about Sam as I was in earlier seasons just because we've seen both the boys torture demons before to get info. Of course, we don't know everything he's done yet either. :( My curiosity is piqued with Cole character. The phrase "Let's see where this all leads" keeps traipsing through my brain.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-10-08 14:51
:) Yep I certainly do want to see where this is leading. As for Sam and what he may have done or will do, I don't think any of the characters is in a position to throw stones at him for crossing any lines. Well, we'll see soon.
sylvia37
# sylvia37 2014-10-08 16:26
I agree. I don't know what they're going to reveal about what Sam's done, but right now, I feel nothing but sympathy for him. He's in a losing situation and he's beyond desperate.
dellamirandola
# dellamirandola 2014-10-08 14:09
Quote:
Sam and Dean are both in very bad places right now, and it’s going to take them being there for each other to slowly pull themselves out of this. Realistically a lot of counseling too, but I imagine that ship sailed a long time ago.
Alice you may have hit the nail on the head with all Jeremy Carver's hints about how this season is all about the brothers examining themselves - the mytharc this season is going to be the healing power of therapy ;)

I do think this is the whole Carver three-season arc though. When we first met Sam and Dean, they didn't answer the question 'what are we here for?': Sam had avoided it by going to Stanford and Dean was avoiding it by just keeping his head down and hunting, and the subsequent series forced them to answer the question and to struggle with the answers. When Carver rebooted in season 8, he took this to the ultimate degree: Dean was in Purgatory being a pure hunter and Sam was in the soft-focus la-la land of avoidance. He keeps talking about this 'who are they and why do they do what they do?' question as though that's what motivates him too, and he wants to take them further and further into answering it. I do keep hoping that he will find a positive answer to that question and that if he doesn't, we can all kick his ass at the end of this season.

I keep saying this, but it's the tension between these two guys who are bound to one another but are such different people who want such different things that I find keeps the show going - not just the bond between them but the fact that there is just as much pushing them apart as keeping them together. When they are together, they push each other away naturally to some extent. It's when they are apart that they realise they need to go back together. Hopefully that is what will happen in this series. And from what Jensen has been saying, he hasn't felt it as dark as it was last season - maybe that will come across to the rest of us too?
mary9930
# mary9930 2014-10-10 07:41
Thanks dellamirandalo. You summed up exactly how I feel about the brothers' relationship. "I keep saying this, but it's the tension between these two guys who are bound to one another but are such different people who want such different things that I find keeps the show going - not just the bond between them but the fact that there is just as much pushing them apart as keeping them together. When they are together, they push each other away naturally to some extent. It's when they are apart that they realise they need to go back together." I don't see a clear, long term resolution that won't destroy too much of what I love about each of them. Maybe it's why together they can stop the apocalypse. They are so different that their relationship shouldn't work at all but when they are in sync, watch out!!!
Russ
# Russ 2014-10-08 14:52
Can't give the episode an accurate grading as I turned it off half way through and went to bed. That's a first for me with this show.

Maybe the second watch will be different, but my initial reaction that made me turn it off was "Jesus Christ. This show sucks".
Alice
# Alice 2014-10-08 21:02
Not to knock the show, but it was kind of telling that The Flash got a 1.9 and 4.79 million in the ratings and Supernatural got a 1.1 and 2.48 million. That's quite a loss of lead in. I do wonder how much the ratings dropped off in the second half hour. Even I was falling asleep. I have hopes though for episodes to come.
nickmaniac
# nickmaniac 2014-10-09 13:30
I'm curious, though: would new viewers who would watch The Flash be expected to latch on to (and be clued in as to what's going on in) a "veteran" series like SPN? The Flash is (at the risk of stating the terribly obvious) a brand new series with established comic-book origins and tremendous pre-air buzz. Now, I'm not a ratings expert nor have I examined viewer habits, but it SEEMS to me like the loyal SPN viewers have stayed with the show... which, to me, is great.

Just last night I turned on the TV (I'm not in the US) and an episode of Hannibal was on the air. I was curious and intrigued by what was going on, but because I hadn't followed the series from the start (and this episode was only midway through Season 1), I opted not to watch. Wouldn't the same apply (and more so!) to our little show in its 10th year? :D;)
Alice
# Alice 2014-10-09 16:29
Your point is correct, but I'm basing my observation on the pairings previously with Arrow and The Originals. The gap was much closer with those shows, especially Arrow. Even with the premieres! Supernatural had a 90% retention rate most of the time out of Arrow. They usually beat The Originals by a small bit. It's not worrisome, but given that large audience I would have thought more would have stuck around for Supernatural. Take it as nothing more than a one week observation.
Mindi
# Mindi 2014-10-08 14:57
Honestly, I'm disappointed. I'm not a fangirl, and I don't watch much tv, but I have always been intrigued by the relationship of the brothers and some of the funny quirps of the show. I'm Jewish, so my attention was grabbed in past episodes when Dean asked Sam if he forgot to tell him something, and Sam's response was "Happy Purim?" or Dean said "L'Chaim" before drinking a cure for vampirism. I'm also from Ohio, so when they have MOW's from Cleveland or Toledo or mention Athens (Yay! I went to Ohio U!) I'm drawn in. But lately, that's all gone. I saw a little bit of what I miss last night when Crowley called Dean a Jerk and Dean called Crowley a Bitch. That's what kept me entertained. I can care less if Dean is wearing a shirt or what Sam's hair looks like, and I fear the show is losing me. Last night was just the first of Season 10, and I know I am in a minority here, but I guess since season 8 and the Leviathans, I haven't been cancelling plans to be home on Tuesday nights (there's CW online so I haven't missed anything). I would like to get back to the anticipation and the "hurry up and be 9:00" feelings that I used to have. This is completely my opinion, but maybe the writers need to watch the first six seasons over again.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-10-08 15:12
Well this episode did what I wanted it to do.....I wanted to come away afraid for our brothers....and I am. Jensen sold his DD perfectly. If he is supposed to be a conflicted demon than Jensen did a fantastic job of selling that character. Sam was driven, heart broken and in save Dean at all costs mode. And now he is in a lot of trouble. Does Dean really not care? I don't think he really does but now Cole is on his radar. Cole is in bigger trouble than Sam. Unfortunately I am getting tired of broken Cas. And really? Cas spent time as a human, he has lived and worked with humans for years. He goes to take away the rogue angels free will? Huh....
But I am really stoked, excited, worried for this new season. My grade A- only for the angel story
sylvia37
# sylvia37 2014-10-08 16:23
I'm with you, Alice. I'm not sure Sam knows what he's fighting for anymore either. And when Dean gets to be more himself, I think he's going to be in the same boat. I hate to say it, but Jared's injury causing him to lose some of his muscle and weight really made Sam's desperation that much more realistic. He looks so absolutely desolate in some of those scenes. Jared was really on top of his game. And I give kudos to that Gas N Sip clerk for the funniest line of the night. I laughed out loud at his answer to Sam's questions.

As for Dean, I'm not sure how I feel about his quasi-demonness at the moment. I mean, the karaoke is funny and him blowing off Crowley is funny, but really, what does it mean? And as much as I love Mark Sheppard, I'm really hoping that Sam eventually gets to stab Crowley in the brain, for what he did to Sarah, if not for what he's done to Dean.

As for Castiel, I didn't find those parts particularly exciting, although they didn't take away from the show for me. I kind of feel sorry for Misha in that is seems like they're grasping at straws to find ways of keeping him on the show without actually having him be part of SamandDean. My husband, who watches the show because I do, told me this morning that he was actually more interested in what happens to Cas only because Sam and Dean are the stars and they'll get out of their situations eventually, they always do.

I guess I'd give it a C.
Fazzie
# Fazzie 2014-10-08 18:03
Thanks for the review, I thought it was a good set up episode in terms of the mini arc of DD which I feel the first three episodes are going to be, not to mention setting the tone of this season.

If we had seen a Sam half as broken in the start of season 8 as we saw with Sam and that demon I feel there would have been a lot more understanding for Sam in regard to him not looking, but as is I think that for the boys to heal their relationship we need Demon Dean. We need him for Dean to vocalise everything that he has held in for years and with that being the case I kind of feel the majority of this season will be how Sam not only deals with what he has done to find Dean but whatever Dean says to him. Because really how do you cope with someone you care about who says things are true and hurt but aren't in their right mind. We never got a true non passive aggressive response from Dean about Sam's words in the purge and it is needed for the air to be cleared. As do Crowley's words to him, he mentioned Sam hitting the dog, so Carver is he throwing in that Sam is looking simply because Dean was gone or he's looking to also help with the guilt about not looking before and his anger about Dean hanging about with Crowley.

As for the end of the episode, part of me kind of hopes for once the writers allow Sam to rescue himself. It would be nice not to have him as a complete damsel in distress that he now needs a demon to rescue him. Also it would be good to see his reaction to Demon Dean, if he turns, to see him turning up to simply kill Cole and not rescue him because how many times has he said that Dean shouldn't put his or others lives on the line for him? To see Demon Dean just taking out Cole to satisfy his blood lust rather than help Sam would be something I would like to see Sam have to react too, not out of spite but to see how Sam would react to that change in the brotherly dynamic even with Dean being different. I hope this leads to a large amount of emotional story for Sam, it is something he has been lacking for a long time.
CEMartin
# CEMartin 2014-10-08 18:17
The Angels get progressively weaker as the show goes on. Apparently, the writers dont have access to netflix to refresh their memories...
Trucklady
# Trucklady 2014-10-08 18:37
Some seem to be confused in the timeline here. The very beginning gave a caption that it was 4 weeks later which I took as 4 weeks after Dean died. Crowley did make a reference to Dean about 6 months of helping him but he was referring to the beginning of his helping him get the mark and then the blade to resurrecting him.

As for the Js, outstanding acting as we all have come to appreciate and expect from them. Jensen has taken the Deanmon to an entirely different character and in such a convincing way. His karaoke was just comical. I sat wondering how hard that must have been for him to sing off key when we all know that he sings quite well. And there is Sam, why is it that he didn't see the set up coming with Cole? I'm thinking he is so hell bent on finding Dean and fixing him that his guard is totally down and hunter instincts are clouded at the moment. I am enjoying this season right from the start and look forward to where these story lines go this season. Cas and Hannah and somewhat slow moving but I am sure this is just set up for things to come. No matter what, I love the show, love the actors, and love the writers and show runners for taking us to 10 seasons in such an awesome beginning.:)
buffsgirl
# buffsgirl 2014-10-08 20:53
I may be in the minority on this one but I LOVED the Season 10 opener. First of all the Pat Benatar kicking things off was fantastic. The new title card was inspired and downright awesome! I found the storyline interesting and I am looking forward to seeing where they are going to take this season. Crowley is my favorite character on the show and his scenes were SO good. I agree with others who commented on how great the gas n' sip extra was. Now THAT is the way to deliver your lines (code brown..... almost made me choke on my wine). I do agree that Cas' storyline this episode wasn't the strongest and I hope they focus more on his internal struggle with losing his grace and less on the whole angel politics. I did find it strange that he is willing to die in lieu of stealing another angels grace but then was so quick to use the angel blade on the angel by the fire.

However, all-in-all I really enjoyed the episode, have already re-watched it, and am looking forward to what is to come!! :)
Alice
# Alice 2014-10-08 21:05
Ooh, I forgot to mention the title card! I thought that was the best part. I think it's my favorite title card of all the seasons.
love2boys
# love2boys 2014-10-08 21:41
My favorite title card too.

I liked the episode better than last year's season opener. I, who have every episode Seasons 1-8 (except Bitten and Man's Best Friend...) memorized, have been unable to rewatch Season 9 episodes. I had a disaster-in-the -making feeling all last season, and no hope for joy. And the brothers moved farther apart than ever and Dean died his worst death yet. This season 10 opener kind of felt like it could maybe go towards hope for the brothers... I thought J2 did really good jobs too. I am going to wait and see what happens!
Scullspeare
# Scullspeare 2014-10-09 00:20
Black was a mixed bag–the Sam and Dean storylines have tons of potential, which I’m very much looking forward to, but the pacing ground to a halt every time the episode switched to the angel thread. I’ll echo Alice and say Cas deserves better.

I thought Cole made a great impact for a new character. I liked the contrast between the warm family man in his first scene and the dark ‘hunter’ he morphed into when he stalked and kidnapped Sam. Can’t wait to see where that’s all going.

As one of the fans irked by Sam’s decision not to look for Dean in Season 8 (or should I say, the writers’ decision to have Sam not look for Dean; either way, still not buying it!) I have a feeling Sam’s dogged hunt for his brother this year will fall into the “careful what you wish for” category. Eeep. Still, I’m on board.

On another site, I saw a comment from a fan who said she’d hoped Demon Dean would be “darker and less douchey”. I’m not sure I would’ve used those exact words but, for me, dark Dean is far more fascinating. I think Jensen rocked the final scene–that Dean was both downright scary and heartbreaking. I hope that's the DD we see more of-and I’ll keep a box of tissues handy. :(

I also loved that they gave Mark Sheppard some darker moments as Crowley. I like his smartass side as much as anyone but the King of Hell should also be a scary S.O.B. and I’m thrilled we got a glimpse of that last night when his patience was wearing thin with Karaoke King Dean. Here's to more of the same, especially when his plans go pear-shaped (as they no doubt will ;))
dashnjo
# dashnjo 2014-10-09 00:46
Well, Hellatus is finally over! Yay! But, I agree the episode left me with a lot of questions (although to a certain degree don't they need to or what's the point of the next 22 episodes) and feeling a little disappointed. On the one hand, I'm happy that Sam is willing to do whatever it takes to find Dean, thus making up for him not even looking for him when he was in Purgatory, but I'm uneasy about the lengths to which he's willing to go. Yeah, the girl in the beginning of the episode was a demon, not a human, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been but it's also unsettling seeing him torture so there's that. Dean wasn't nearly as demonic until the end as I thought but maybe for the first time in his life he doesn't have to save Sam or stop the Apocalypse or the list goes on and he's able to just do whatever he wants without worrying what Sam thinks, or Cas thinks and anyone else does for that matter. He's always been a hunter and now he's just him ... and Crowley doesn't really seem to be able to keep him in line, which is kinda funny. As much as he waxes about how Dean is his best friend I didn't really get that feeling from them. Yeah, Dean's willing to have fun with Crowley but do something serious ... not so much.

I agree about Cas in this episode ... maybe it was just too early for the angel storyline so much in the first episode though. I would have liked to see Cas with Sam trying to find Dean and then maybe something happens and Cas can't defend himself well enough so he decides he needs to leave so he's not a liability for Sam. Supposedly that's the part of the reason why Cas isn't helping Sam now according to what I've heard Misha say but that wasn't dealt with explicitly so it was unclear why he was on his own even though he had been helping Sam prior to the episode. Then next week have Hannah (ugh) show up at his doorstep asking for help. Cas could have left before Cole nabbed Sam since obviously they had no idea that Cole is after Dean for some reason. I don't have a problem with the storyline itself but I just think it was a bit much for the first episode and almost totally separated him from the boys entirely. I do wonder though, as Carver said that this season it's about you are what you are (paraphrasing) what that means for Cas. The second to last episode last season had Josiah saying something along the lines of Cas isn't an angel (right before he died in Cas's perfect heaven) and the last lines he said in the episode about art and love (there was something else, but can't remember right now) coming out of chaos and Hannah saying those are human things that make me wonder where he actually sees himself at the end of the day. I have a feeling it will be a slow burn I just hope he's not off on his own without the boys the whole season because as much as I love Cas his story and what he learns needs to be intertwined with the boys or even I'll lose interest. And that would suck!
Daisymae
# Daisymae 2014-10-09 08:01
What stood out for me was when Crowley told Sam he knew about the dog. This meant that Dean was telling Crowley personal stuff about the their relationship and this was extremely hurtful for Sam. This means Crowley and Dean were actually getting close and it must be driving Sam crazy. Poor Sam indeed.
nappi815
# nappi815 2014-10-10 07:18
I don't know about that necessarily. doesn't seem like demon dean is a caring and sharing type. I've always thought and still do think that someone put that dog in front of sam's car because he was out of his mind and severely depressed. I also know that crowely seems to know more than anyone else on this show and is always one step ahead of everyone....I also know that Crowley has it out for moose so anything he can do to taunt him, he will do....

I think Crowley knew about sam hitting the dog long ago.
Gwen
# Gwen 2014-10-09 08:17
I enjoyed the episode. I loved Sam, loved seeing him so determined to find his brother. Poor Sammy is so heart broken, so tired and so lost. Sam ripped my heart to shreds. The scene where he was talking to Crowley on the phone...oh, my poor poor boy. Jared was absolutely fabulous. I am really looking forward to finding out more of what Sam has been doing in his attempts to find Dean. The scene where Sam and Castiel talked about when Sam broke his arm, how Sam was 'out of...', I'm guessing he was going to say 'out of control'...had me so intrigued and worried too.

I thoroughly enjoyed DD and I am very excited to see next week's DD, the trailer is awesome... and terrifying. What is Dean going to do??? As usual I loved Crowley. The convenience shop guy was wonderful. I loved his scene with Sam. Cole is a good character, looking forward to finding out more about him.

Low point for me was the angel storyline. Like with last season, I was completely bored by it.

It wasn't my favourite premiere by far but it has definitely kept my excitement for S10 bubbling away nicely.
BookLady
# BookLady 2014-10-09 22:20
I found Black to be bleak. Just dark, depressing, sad.

Cas is dying. And, he is once again involved in angel disputes that are a no-win for him. He's fallen far from being a warrior of the Lord or a member of Team Free Will when he had purpose and feeling of rightness and making a positive difference. I also felt that the amazing story line he had last season was abandoned for something that makes no sense and is uninteresting. But, I haven't been a fan of the angel wars from the start. It detracts and does not add to the story of the Winchester brothers.

On the other hand, Crowley's story is closely tied to theirs. His plotting has not only separated the brothers, but set them at odds. For that, he must die. For his triumphant cruelty to Sam in this episode, he must die horribly. That being said, he has not been given the satisfaction that the yellow-eyed demon enjoyed due to Demon Dean's indifference to his grand plans or the respect due to him as the King of Hell. His favorite is not acting as one should. How disappointing for him!

At first, I saw Demon Dean as a magnification of Dean's worst traits. Jensen has said that he thinks Dean is an asshole at times and Demon Dean is all that and more. To me, two of Dean's strongest positive values are his loyalty and his caring for others, especially for Sam. I'm sorry, but I saw none of that in Demon Dean. I realized that like Soulless Sam, Demon Dean was someone pretending - pretending to have fun, pretending to be a buddy, pretending to a lover, but in reality there is a vacuum in Demon Dean, a nothingness that was revealed at the end of the episode. I know that Dean's soul is supposed to be twisted, but I think caring (sometimes too much!) is so much a part of Dean and his inner being that his soul is terribly damaged. It is difficult for me to see how Sam or anyone else can repair it.

Saddest of all is Sam. He cannot catch a break. He is hurt in every possible way - physically, emotionally, spiritually. Only his will to do right by Dean is keeping him going. To hear him refer to someone who was his beloved brother as a monster broke my heart. Like Dean in Season 4, Sam wants to save his brother's soul, even if that means he cannot keep Dean alive and whole. Yes, Sam is determined, but mostly I saw grim despair.

Black is a most appropriate title for this episode. It was devoid of light and joy. If this premiere episode is an indicator of the tone of Season 10, it's going to be a dark one!
PSG
# PSG 2014-10-09 23:44
A good review Alice. Yes the MOL Avenue is the perfect place for Sam to settle and utilize both skills and interests. Case in point beatingdean, Crowley and the collective intelligence network of hell to the trailer of the YouTube witness in Miracles. I can't remember the last time I saw Sam on top of his game like that.
nappi815
# nappi815 2014-10-10 07:46
I really liked the episode and am excited for the season and the inevitable healing process to come. angel stuff boring, but I like cas so I muddle through those parts:), jared incredible as usual. Jensen too. I will never tire of watching these two be the Winchester brothers....

what I like most and find most interesting so far though is sam's story and where they take it. I am in the minority as I totally understood where sam came from in s8. s7 noted how unstable sam was. his head was broken and levi sam asked how this guy could still function. he wanted to trade vessels with levi dean because sam's was so unstable both mentally and emotionally. sam begged dean in slice girls...don't get killed. we can see how on the brink sam was...then bobby died. then bobby died again and not soon after dean exploded with cas right before his eyes. sam lost it and had no one to bring him back. he admitted to imploding and running...he couldn't take it anymore...and he believed his brother was dead. with that, what was holding him together...most likely his brother...was gone...and bam...into a million pieces. dean and bobby and past history have repeated gone on about not bringing ea. other back from the dead. what's dead should stay dead...and sam honored this agreement. problem was dean didnt' die, so he saw things in a different light. but sam didn't know dean didn't die....it was a mistake and a mistake dean didn't allow sam to forget.

by the end of s8 we learn from sam how his biggest sin is letting dean down. he won't do it again. he can't. his words....

now look at sam now. this time he witnessed dean's death. he carried his dead body to his bed. but this time he doesn't accept it. metatron put the blade through dean, but sam declares Crowley got him into this and he will get him out of it. sam didn't let his devastation break him this time. because when that happened he ended up disappointing dean. no this time sam is more determined...he 's not taking dead for an answer this time....kind of like s4 sam but a little different too in that I think sam's learned from s4 and won't repeat those mistakes. but sam won't stop until dean is saved.

I just find sam's mental turnabout so very interesting. i'm eager to see where the story goes.

I tell you one thing though....and I don't think there's any way around it.....if these boys do go, they better damn well go together because I think this is one aspect about their relationship that will never change...don't know if it's good or bad....but hey, it's a Winchester thing and that's one of the reasons we love them so much. ;)
Ginger
# Ginger 2014-10-10 11:44
I share your concerns as a long-term viewer, Alice.

I didn't see an overall story for any of the characters, except Cas, in this premiere. Carver is intent on telling these personal stories with the supernatural and the Winchesters as a backdrop, but they aren't really stories, IMO. They are "conditions." I don't know what the Winchester story is going to be after Sam finds Dean, cures him, and Dean is left with a soul and the MoC. I guess the need for the MoC to be sated is Dean's reason for hunting now -- oh, wait -- wasn't Dean always committed to hunting?

Sam is desperate to find Dean this year, because he thought Dean's body was being used by a demon. Quite a change from S6, S7, S8, and S9. Once found, he cures Dean. Sam's story has to be more than find Dean and cure Dean. What happens after that?

The King of Hell is really just a bad human who is looking for a BFF. Crowley's plan for Hell was vague. As the King of Hell, Crowley turned Hell into a DMV waiting line, and that is supposed to torture souls so much that they turn into demons. Hell is now a well-oiled machine, I guess, that doesn't need his attention, so he is hanging around with the Winchesters looking to be loved.

I enjoyed the Dean/Sam/Cas portions of the episodes, though. I was flat-out bored with the Cas/Hannah/ange ls story. Let me see if I have this right. Cas is dying because he has used grace, but he won't kill another angel to get their grace; i.e., leaving Metatron alive. Hannah was a dick angel and made very wrong choices, so Cas was forced to kill a harmless angel, but he did not take his grace as a temporary fix so that he could help Sam find Dean. And then there was stuff about freedom and following orders and the same old angel story that's gone on since Lucifer was put back in the cage.

As I understood what was shown last season, if Cas would have taken Metatron's grace, then Metatron would be a human and would just live his life on Earth as Cas did when he lost his grace. What is so wrong with that? He could read all the books he wants to read, and even take a hand at writing. As far as Daniel was concerned, Cas was forced to kill him to save Hannah, but he did not take his grace. Why? Where do angels go once they are dead and gone? Would Daniel have minded losing his grace, since he was dead already?

I gave the episode a 7, as I did like it all except for the Cas/Hannah/ange l story which, I thought, stopped all momentum completely.

As far as Cole, I think he is just a plot device being used to get the two brothers back together. My guess is he will be gone in maybe three episodes. My thought in watching that portion of the episode is that Carver still has the idea that the real evil in the world is cause by humans, and I felt that Cole was depicted as a real psychopath (while Crowley was incredibly human and the dumb Abbadon followers weren't much of anything.)

Personally, I still love Supernatural, but I wish Carver would get off the 'personal arc' feelings stories and get back to a show about the supernatural.
E
# E 2014-10-10 15:59
I had to wait to give a comment because I got rid of cable and had to wait until it was on the CW website to see the episode. NO CABLE TV.... :o we'll see if I survive this decision. As long as I can get the episodes eventually, maybe I'll be able to manage.

Anyway... a decent episode. I wasn't blown away, but I thought it was competent and well written and nicely balanced, although Cas's side of things was pretty much a snooze. I like Cas and I like Hannah (first angel since Alphie that I've liked) so I hope this part of the story picks up, because right now it's dull as dishwater.

Demon Dean?... yeah, not so happy there. He's just regular Dean with out the gooey underneath part that made Dean likeable... so basically he's not likeable or at least I don't like him. And not in that "he's a demon and not supposed to be likeable" way, but in that "I wish I didn't have to watch this...lets fast forward" unlikeable. So, Dean is basically a douche who says awful things but is still noble enough to beat up the abusive boyfriend and kill other demons. What a cop out. He's not even as scary as Season 2 Dean who killed the vamp with that saw and threatened to kill Duane in Croatoan. If they'd even have gone THAT far with Demon Dean I'd have been happy, but no... he just kills other demons and humans that deserve it. Lame. They are so wishy-washy with Dean as a character, but they have no problem what-so-ever throwing Sam under the character assassination bus on a regular basis. If the only thing Sam has done is torture a demon and they make a big fuss out of it, I'll be one unhappy fan-girl.

By FAR the most interesting part of this episode was what is going on with Sam. For the first time in AGES his agenda is clear and his mindset is being explored (well, for one episode anyway. I hope it continues). It does bug me on a conceptual level that Sam suddenly has all these hunters to call and ask questions (Mike) of now that he is actively looking for Dean. Where was "Mike" in season 8 when it would have made sense for Sam to call for info then? It makes Sam look even more lame now knowing that all these hunters were out there had he even attempted to look for Dean back then. And all that research. Without a dead body at his feet, Sam had no reason to think Dean was irretrievably dead so a little research would have made him look like less of a moron now. Still, what's going on with Sam was absolutely the best part of the episode for me. Hello driven, stubborn, smart and slightly scary Sam; we haven't seen you in FAR too long.
NOLANOLA
# NOLANOLA 2014-10-13 08:36
well well well, a New MEN OF LETTERS/HUNTERS NETWORK, hum, I do believe I pitched that as a SPIN OFF, but hey nobody listens to me. Alice you can get TPTB to listen to YOU.
Dion7
# Dion7 2014-10-22 12:32
I actually liked this episode very much. True, it's not as good as Reichenbach which has more action in it. It feels very much like an introduction, and I don't have any problems with that. I agree that Castiel's story wasn't as interesting as it could have been. My favorite part of the episode is Sam finding out that Dean is a demon, he looked so devastated. I do agree though that we need to see a new reason for Sam to fight. Dean has always been pretty certain of his own role, he feels it's his duty to rid the world of evil. I hope that Sam finds a new reason to find and the bond between the brothers improves.