Supernatural has returned for its ninth season and, much like the beginning of previous seasons, the Winchester brothers are facing nearly insurmountable odds. Last year at this time they were separated, with Sam having spent the previous year alone – and then with a new girlfriend – after Dean had been accidentally sent to Purgatory.
This year’s premiere, however, picked up shortly after the season 8 finale (this is one of the few times that has happened in Supernatural’s history, because usually the premiere jumps forward in the timeline). Sam was lying in a hospital bed when the episode began, having gone into a coma after the brothers chose not to let Sam finish the Angel Tablet trials. Sam was at death’s door (in a very literal way, as Death himself appeared to reap Sam), but Dean refused to accept his brother’s inevitable demise.
When a prayer to a newly-human Castiel didn’t result in a miracle cure for his brother in the Supernatural premiere, Dean put out an open prayer to any angel willing to help Sam. While several angels turned up to get information about Castiel’s whereabouts, one angel – Ezekiel – was willing to help Dean. But weakened from the Fall, he couldn’t simply heal Sam. Instead, he and Dean concocted a plan to allow Ezekiel to possess Sam until both the younger Winchester and the angel were fully healed.
During a recent visit to the Vancouver set of Supernatural, we had an opportunity to chat with stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles about the secret guest now residing within Sam, Dean’s struggle to keep the secret from his brother and where Castiel (last seen on his own and having gotten rid of his signature trench coat) will end up next. Check out some spoilers below and make sure to watch the video as well.
The Angel Surprise. When asked what they thought about Sam’s, ‘cure’ in the season premiere, Jared said “I was really excited about the angel turn, obviously, I thought that was kind of cool, fun idea. A fun way around that we haven’t yet done. We’ve had angels bring back and had Death bring back, but to have an angel kind of embody Sam, I thought was a fun, scary thing to play. So I was really excited about that.”
Ezekiel’s New Vessel. We saw that Ezekiel has the ability to take over Sam’s body and communicate with Dean when he wants, although Dean has made it clear that Sam is never to know that he’s being possessed by an angel until Ezekiel can leave him be. But we will be seeing Ezekiel “through Sam” again, Jensen warned. “It’s fun for [Jared] as an actor because [he] all of a sudden gets to play [two people]….one moment he’s Sam and the next moment he’s playing a completely different character.”
Secrets Redux. It’s a well-known fact among Supernatural fans that secrets between the Winchester brothers never end well. The only people who don’t seem to know that are the Winchesters themselves. Case in point: Dean is keeping Ezekiel’s possession of Sam a secret from his brother and will be doing so for several episodes. How will Sam react when he finds out? Jared hypothesized that “when I think it comes to fruition, I think obviously Sam’s not going to be happy. I mean, we see Sam with Death kind of making good with it. Kind of making the decision to finally go, like, ‘alright, I’ve done some good. I can walk away’ and Bobby telling him, you know, ‘you’ve done your bit. No one gets to leave a legacy like that, so be happy’. So we see Sam kind of come to terms with ‘you know, I’ve led a good life, and I’ve done my damnedest and I’ve done some bad, unfortunately, but I’ve tried to do good’. And so we see Sam come to a point where he’s happy to move on. I think with the fact that Sam finally found that place, I think he’s going to be unhappy, obviously, that his brother lied and has been lying to him. That never works out well.”
Dean’s an Island. Dean’s in a very difficult position at the beginning of season 9. He can’t tell his brother the secret he is keeping from him and he doesn’t have Cas around for moral support either. So who is Dean leaning on? Unfortunately, the answer is no one, according to Jensen. “It is a bit of an eggshell situation for Dean that he’s not used to…well, I say that but he probably has at some point in the past 9 years. But, yeah, as far as leaning on anyone, he doesn’t have Cas, and he doesn’t have his brother, he doesn’t have his support system like he used to. He’s got his car and his music. The beginning of the season has been a little difficult for him because he kind of feels like he’s on an island of his own and that’s a situation that he doesn’t like to be in.”
Castiel’s Human Journey. In the Supernatural premiere, we saw Dean tell Cas to find a way to survive as a human and start looking out for himself, because he’s no longer powerful enough to defend himself against the angels who are hunting him. Unfortunately, Castiel, like Dean, is going to find himself alone, even after he reunites with the brothers. “He’s got to come to terms with, you know, his kind of new-found situation. Cas has always been a very useful tool for the boys. And, you know, now that there’s a big change there, in his adjustment the boys are going to kind of have to adjust to him and his situation as well,” Jensen said. “So he runs into an issue with a female and then [Dean tells] him to get his ass back to the bunker. But then because he’s there and because of what Sam’s going through with his situation there’s a bit of a conflict there.” Factions of angels are hunting Castiel, Jared explained, and Ezekiel feels it’s unsafe for Castiel to be around them. Jensen went on to say that “Cas doesn’t have the power that he needs to defend himself or to protect himself or to protect us, so Dean literally has to sit down with him and be, like, ‘you gotta go’. That then sends Cas out on his own to fend for himself, which we come to find out…I think in the last episode [episode 7], we come to find out where he’s been and what he’s been doing and that’s pretty funny.”
A Familiar Vibe. Jared brought up season 4 when discussing how excited he is about this season’s mytharc. “ I think the storyline for this year…I truly am so excited about it. I’m really excited to sink my teeth [into it]. Both into what I get to do with Sam and Ezekiel and what not but also just the angels on earth and the different factions of warring angels…I’m really into it. It has a sort of, I don’t want to say season 4 feel to me, but it has this feel that the boys aren’t just doing monster of the week type thing or just one-off Dorothy, Changing Channels type things, but we actually have another war going on that we need to try and figure out.?
A new episode of Supernatural airs on October 15 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on The CW. Stay tuned for more from our set visit before episode 9.04 of Supernatural, which will signal the return of Charlie and provide more backstory on the Men of Letters….complete with some Wizard of Oz mythology added in!