With fall in the air, the 11th Season premiere of Supernatural is close at hand.  No matter what you may have thought of season 10, the finale set up many new storylines for this coming year.  Dean no longer has the Mark of Cain, he presumably killed Death (though we know it’s never that easy), The Darkness has been released, Rowena has the Book of the Damned and the Codex in her possession, Castiel is under Rowena’s attack dog spell and is out to destroy Crowley, who seems trapped with no escape (but he’s Crowley – He’ll always escape) and a human Metatron has the Demon tablet and an unknown agenda.  That seems like a whole lot of story mileage for Season 11.  

On the surface, it may seem like another run of the mill season of Supernatural:  We have a bunch of players clamoring for power, the brothers must face a threat that’s worse than ever before, and on and on ad infinitum.  However, the information we’re getting about the upcoming season seems to be telling a different story.  But first things first:  Unfortunately, there’s no way to discuss this season without mentioning spoilers that have been released.  So, to be clear - THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SEASON 11 SPOILERS. 

Right now, there’s no way to know how the season will unfold.  But from what we have learned so far, it certainly appears that the storylines could shift Supernatural in a very interesting direction.  Specifically, that direction would be reminiscent of earlier seasons, but have a higher level of sophistication as a result of all that the Winchesters have endured, and how far the Supernatural universe has come in 10 seasons.  In essence, these plotlines could be true game changers that may give us a year filled with lots of scares, compelling mythology, and brotherly moments.  And that’s when Supernatural is at its best.  The following list details some areas to watch out for in what could be one of our show’s best seasons in recent history.  

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Sam’s Visions:  We haven’t seen Sam have any kind of visions or premonitions since season 2, but this season they’ll make a return of sorts.  Of course, we don’t know much about the type or context of these visions, or if Sam will be the only one to have them (Dean may as well), but just their existence is exciting.  What will be even more interesting than why Sam is experiencing them, is the effect they might have on him. 

Seeing the vison’s effects has the potential to be very important for Sam.  Viewers don’t always get to see Sam’s perspective, especially in recent years, and these visions could be a much needed gateway into Sam’s thoughts and feelings.  Being able to see the inner workings of Sam’s psyche without supernatural influence (via hallucinations or angel possession) would be a breath of fresh air.  In addition, if Sam turns to a higher power while he’s having these visons, we might get to hear him have actual conversations (albeit possibly one sided) that would flesh out where he’s at emotionally.  After everything Sam has been through, he deserves the chance to get it off his chest.   

The other reason these visions could be vitally important is that they might also provide answers to long standing questions regarding Sam’s past:  Was he purified by the trials (like he thought) or does he continue to have demon blood inside of him?  Does he still have latent powers that could possibly be harnessed if needed?  Does he have a connection with Lucifer? Does he have abilities he knows nothing about yet?  Now, this storyline may not answer any of these questions, but the onset of a visions plot does have the potential to give us some substantial information about Sam, and through it, maybe we’ll indirectly learn more about Dean as well.

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The Stable Relationship of Sam and Dean: We’ve heard numerous times that this season will feature the brothers united against the common threat of The Darkness.  This is great news because at some point, we all get tired of the brothers fighting and deceiving one another.  Having Sam and Dean on the same page and working together could be a game changer in that for the first time in a long time, we may get to see the brothers’ bond in the absence of some catastrophic thing being wrong with one of them or without massive conflict between them.  Of course, that’s not to say we won’t see any conflict - this is Supernatural we’re talking about – conflict and angst kind of go with the territory.  But keeping the brothers’ relationship stable leaves room for all the things we haven’t seen enough of in recent years: jokes and banter, simple brotherly moments, and best of all, kick ass hunters in sync with one another.   

This is important because if Dean and Sam aren’t fighting, we may get the chance to see all of their many strengths – instead of the weaknesses that have led to some poor choices in recent seasons.  We may also see how those strengths complement one another when the brothers are working a case.  Whether it’s Sam’s head for research, or Dean’s ability to think quickly on his feet, or the many other things that make Sam and Dean – well, Sam and Dean, we just may get the Winchesters showcased at their best this season.  

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The Darkness Unleashed: The Darkness is said to be an entity more threatening than the brothers have ever had to face before.  Yeah, we’ve heard that a time or two.  Not to be negative, but the writers need to be very careful with The Darkness, lest we have another mother of monsters or Leviathans on our hands.  But having said that, The Darkness made the list because it does have the potential to be the best foe since Lucifer - that is, if done correctly.  If the Darkness actually does wreak havoc upon the earth, and we actually get to see its effects, it could be truly terrifying, but the key here is seeing its effects.  We can’t just be told it’s happening (a bad habit the writers often fall into), we have to see what The Darkness is capable of.  If it’s as evil as we’ve heard, it should be scary as hell.  Wait, scratch that.  We’ve seen Hell.  It should be much, much scarier.  

So if the Darkness is to be frightening, we also need it to be sinister.  We need a lurking shadow and a shrouded entity - an evil whispered out to the world, affecting people in startling, shocking ways.  What we don’t need is The Darkness as some sarcastic, fast talking, smarmy human.  Even if the Darkness does manifest itself as a human (which based on reports is a distinct possibility – though I shudder to think about it), here’s to hoping we’ll get to see the Supernatural side of it in action;  In fact, a few ominous, spooky special effects showing us its massive power wouldn’t hurt either.   

As to the motivation of the Darkness, that has the potential to be very compelling as well.  It could even be game changing if it opens up a whole new mythology, or expands on the one we already have, but please, no motivation like eating people or something just as silly.  If the Darkness existed before God and the archangels like we’ve been told, then its motivation should be pretty darn sophisticated.  If it is, then I can’t wait to see this Darkness.  

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Castiel, Crowley, Rowena, and Metatron’s Agendas:  Out of all the possible game changers on the list, this one is the most “iffy.”  Too many times we’ve seen Castiel underutilized or the King of Hell whine about his state of affairs, and Metatron has yet to have a real plan about anything.  We have to remember, there was a time when Castiel was an angel warrior and Crowley was breaking innocents’ necks (remember Kevin’s girlfriend?).  All of these characters, (yes, all of them) have the potential to be interesting players if their agendas are revealed in a prompt and compelling way.  The good news is that spoilers say Crowley will be back to his scheming ways, and Rowena is likely to make a huge power play using her witchcraft.  The bottom line is, if these characters are actually doing something this season, that is, less talking and plotting and much more action  – then every player will be relevant and more importantly, interesting.

And let’s not forget about Death himself.  The ramifications of killing - or even temporarily immobilizing - Death could be calamitous.  If we get to see those consequences on the world, on reapers, or even just on Sam and Dean,  then Death – who is always compelling and fun to watch -  could be a more prominent player this season - and that could be a very good thing.

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Backstory:  It appears this season we’ll be delving into the Winchesters’ past, even all the way back to their childhoods.  This is a very exciting prospect.  Episodes like “Something Wicked,” “A Very Supernatural Christmas” and “After School Special” revealed important backstory that was and continues to be an essential part of who the Winchesters are.  If we get something along those same lines this season, we’ll learn something new about Sam and Dean, which would serve to give the characters even more depth.  After 10 years, how great would it be if the writers peeled back more layers of the guys that we didn’t even know were there?

In addition, if we get the return of any past characters (either “real” or imagined) which we know is likely, they may also give us new insight into the brothers.  But even if they don’t, we fans are unabashedly sentimental:  It would be really satisfying to see some familiar (and much loved) faces visit the Supernatural world again.

This backstory also has the potential to help Sam and Dean reconcile part of their pasts, or perhaps even something about themselves.  Even more importantly, it may be used as a device to help the brothers understand one another in a new light (as it did for Sam in “Dark Side of The Moon”).  Of course, for viewers, this means more touching scenes and brotherly moments, so let’s bring on the backstory.   

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Saving People, Hunting Things – The Family Business:  Sam and Dean can’t fight the Darkness all the time.  We have to have monster of the week episodes.  With the brothers united this season, we may get a return to what they used to do best - saving people.  Sure, the Winchesters have continued to save people throughout the run of the series, but earlier seasons had the guys going from town to town helping people every chance they got.  These days, most episodes have the brothers consumed with saving the other from a life and/or soul threatening affliction, or the focus is on the regular and recurring characters squaring off against one another.  The Supernatural universe seems to have gotten smaller and more insulated, and the average person in peril seems to have suffered for it. Spoilers indicate a season 1- 2 vibe this year, though, and with the brothers at peace with each other and relatively free from supernatural conditions, they may just get back to the heart of the family business again.

Showcasing Sam and Dean as the heroes they are, risking their lives to help unknowing strangers would return the show to its earlier roots, and by default would be a game changer, especially in light of more recent days of killing meat suits and racking up body counts as collateral damage.  Of course, Sam and Dean won’t ever stop risking their lives for one another as well, and let’s be honest - we like it that way.  As a wise cos play character once said, “But to be Sam and Dean, to wake up every morning and save the world.  To have a brother who would die for you. Well, who wouldn’t want that?” Indeed.

There you have it.  These are six possible game changers for a show about to go into its 11th season – proving that Supernatural has the power to continue to reinvent itself.  The potential of these upcoming storylines is almost limitless. Between The Darkness, Sam and Dean’s solid relationship, and the past and present colliding to shake up all the major players, this season of Supernatural is one to watch closely.     

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