"I think Sam relates to him in lots of ways, that person who doesn’t quite belong, the person who has been left, abandoned. So I think there’s already that kind of psychological bonding going on," says Buckner. "Dean’s going to take a while. Sam I think comes at any problem more from scientific method. He examines the evidence, and if the evidence leads you to one conclusion, then that seems sort of obvious. And Dean operates off of his gut, and what his gut is telling him is this is the spawn of Satan. And I don’t know if that kind of character has ever been presented in a favorable light. We’re conditioned to that Omen kind of thing, and this kid has got qualities that while he obviously can be potentially dangerous, he is curious and inquisitive and willing to believe, and that Sam takes as adding up those positives. So he becomes a parent first. Dean is more slow to come around and is determined to get rid of this problem."
“Sam doesn’t want to be wrong, and he doesn’t want to be careless if this kid, or this nephilim being, is evil. he doesn’t want to be blind to it, but he definitely does see a chance for redemption. He wants Jack to be good to see the same redemption that I think Sam seeks for himself.”
“We find out that the nephilim lore is that the nephilim becomes more powerful than the angel who sired it,” Padalecki said in an interview with press for a screening of the premiere. “In this case that angel is an archangel, Lucifer, and it’s another playing with Joseph Campbell’s archetpyes, the ultimately powerful being who doesn’t really know how to – going back to Yoda and Luke Skywalker – just trying to figure out how to even access [the powers] much less hone them. And in his particular instance, it’s almost a knee-jerk reaction. Early on, Sam and Dean are leading the charge because they also don’t want to walk down the street and go ‘Hey, be nice to this kid. He’s the son of Satan. Don’t piss him off.’ So the situation requires some tact and some covert ops but we will obviously see him be influenced by other factions.”
Losing Castiel hits Dean particularly hard this season. “It’s another nail in the coffin about the loss of hope,” said Buckner.”He has to come up with a reason to have purpose; every battle, he feels like he’s swimming backwards. When I was watching the show this time again, you just feel that there’s a growing hopelessness and futility to his existence, and could lead to a certain kind of nihilism. For him it’s a personal loss, but it’s also a cosmic loss of what’s the point of being here when you scream at the wilderness and get nothing back.
Unbeknownst to her sons, Mama Winchester is still alive in the alternate apocalypse world — but so is Lucifer, and he might have a fate worse than death in mind for her. Rather than killing her in the premiere’s closing minutes, Lucifer declared that maybe he needs Mary. “He knows a way he could make use of her,” Buckner shares. “He’s an opportunist, and he thinks there’s a way he can use her to his own advantage.” As such, Mary is “a pawn in his big-picture game,” Ross-Leming describes. “The angels, generally, are middle management. They sort of do what they’ve been told. They’re not policy makers, but Lucifer is a big-picture guy, so he always has a plan.”
As Sam and Dean tracked down Jack (Alexander Calvert), the son of Lucifer (Mark Pelligrino), while trying to repress their emotions, an overwhelming sense of sadness created a unique character study in what made each of the brothers so different. By the end of the hour, Dean lost all hope, breaking down and punching a wall until his knuckles bled as his prayers to God fell on deaf ears. On the flip side, Sam tried to think of literally anything they could do to fix what had been irrevocably broken, whether that meant figuring out a way to get their mother back or if it just meant saving the son of Satan and helping him find the good inside of him.
Executive producers Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming theorize that this exploration of what makes the brothers different on a fundamental level as they deal with grief and the loss of hope is why the premiere (and subsequently the entire season) will stand out from past Supernatural seasons.
The idea is that it’s a hard reset on Cas,” Collins says. “He remembers right up until the moment that he was killed, but he’s infused with a little bit of the old Cas. He’s back to full power.”Speaking of the old Cas, Collins says our favorite trenchcoat-wearing angel comes back with a “slightly different wardrobe” that he describes as “more like the original Cas.”