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Supernatural "Black" Has a Great Hook That Doesn't Quite Stick

Marshall Lemon | 8 Oct 2014 18:00
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Supernatural Season 10 opens with the best premise it's seen in years, but it's hard to tell if that will pay off.

Supernatural is not the same show it was 10 years ago. That's not a bad thing at all: it's just the nature of the beast. Eric Kripke originally planned for five seasons that would escalate a story of two brothers hunting ghosts to an apocalyptic war between Heaven and Hell. And those were five glorious seasons, but once it reached the supposedly definitive ending, no one, creators or fans, were ready to say goodbye to Sam and Dean Winchester... So the writers stumbled forward, trying to come up with threats that could stop characters who fought Armageddon.

The results have been mixed. Other than the surprisingly good Leviathan storyline from season seven, most episodes are still variations of the angel/demon wars from five years ago. Season six tried making the fan-favorite Castiel an evil God (it didn't stick). Season eight saw the Winchesters try to kick all demons off of Earth, only do to the same to angels in season nine. To its credit, Supernatural still puts out some great, pulp-horror adventures. But it clearly backed itself into a creative corner, offering little that can surprise or shock any longer.

But season ten? Well, I have some good news and bad news. The good news is that "Black" introduces the best Supernatural premise we've seen in years, shaking up the Winchester's bromance with a massive game-changer. The bad news is "Black" doesn't take full advantage of those changes, and since the episode ends in a cliffhanger, we can't be sure whether Supernatural has finally regained its footing.

First, a brief recap of season nine: After Heaven's angels were cast to Earth, Dean and Sam Winchester found themselves turning to Crowley, the King of Hell, for assistance in controlling the chaos. The end result was Dean receiving the Mark of Cain, a symbol bestowing great demonic powers at a high personal cost. When Dean was killed in the finale, Crowley revealed what that cost was: Upon death, the wearer of the mark is transformed into a demon.

When season ten opens, four months have passed. Sam and Castiel have been looking for Dean ever since Crowley spirited him away, but haven't had any breaks. As it turns out, Dean and Crowley are now demonic partners, and have been celebrating the transformation at bars and karaoke clubs. But now Crowley wants to get back to managing hell with an unstoppable Winchester at his side, while Dean isn't as ready to commit as his demonic side implies. Meanwhile, several angels are refusing to return to Heaven, Castiel's condition is worsening without an angelic grace, and a well-armed enemy arrives with the intention of killing Dean Winchester for good.

Want to catch Supernatural for yourself before you read the rest of our review? It airs on The CW Tuesday nights and if you missed out, you can watch it on The CW's website or Hulu.

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