The first draft of this article looked something like this:

Finally!! Longest. Hellatus. Ever. Speaking of long, look at Sam’s hair. Yay!! It’s back! Woohoo!! Dean still looks great all dirty and bloody. Yes! October is here!!

But since that’s not as much fun to read as I originally thought, I decided to do something similar to my season 7 finale review. It’s not my typical review format but it’s the best way I’ve found to organize my thoughts, worries and predictions. So here we go!

Sam flashbacks
So Sam spent a whole year living a normal, apple-pie life. He found a girl, adopted a dog and stunk up the Impala. I can’t quite decide how to feel about all that. On the one hand, I’m proud of him for living his life and finally realizing that the weight of the world doesn’t have to sit on a Winchester’s shoulders.  I can even get behind giving up hunting, it’s a terrible life at the best of times, but when you have to do it all alone? Bobby’s dying wish (sort of…he was already dead, I suppose) was that Sam and Dean would learn to just let go when it’s their time to leave this Earth. And maybe that’s what Sam way trying to do; just let go of it all. Let go of his past and let go of his brother. And that’s where my other, less understanding side comes in. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that Sam didn’t even attempt to look for Dean. I can’t believe he didn’t search high and low for answers. He had absolutely no idea where Dean was and he wasn’t even a little curious, or worried, for that matter?

It was obvious how much this hurt Dean. Sure, he got to live a normal life at one point, too, but he was haunted by the loss of Sam and spent months trying to figure out how to save him. It must have been quite a blow to realize that his brother didn’t even look for him.
So this leads me to my first of many questions: is there more to this than meets the eye? I’m hoping this isn’t simply serving as a wedge to drive between Sam and Dean. I hope we get to know a little more about Sam’s thought process so we can understand his decision. Do you think there is something more to Sam’s decision or do you think he finally got sick of the Winchester death cycle and decided to follow Bobby’s advice?

Dean Flashbacks
Dean had a very different kind of year. He spent it fighting and running for his life, and I think he kind of enjoyed it. Not that the whole experience was a picnic. He was scared, there’s no doubt about that. He was being hunted, after all.  Even once he got out of Purgatory he was on edge. But when he described it to Sam, it was almost like he appreciated the experience. The thing that struck me most about Dean’s description of Purgatory was that he called it “pure”. That got me wondering what he meant by that. What is purity to Dean Winchester? I would guess it’s a place where there is good and there is bad and you know what side you’re on. In Purgatory, Dean was surrounded by all the things that go bump in the night. And they were hunting him. That doesn’t leave much room for grey area; either kill or be killed. And we all remember Dean’s time in Hell; how he learned to torture souls and how he enjoyed it. Perhaps the simplicity of life in Purgatory is the purity to which Dean was referring?

Dean may have enjoyed his time in Purgatory in some way but he didn’t like it enough to stay. It didn’t take our new blood-sucking friend much time to convince Dean to escape. It’s clear that Benny was an ally for Dean toward the end of his time in Purgatory. So if we’re going along with my theory about Dean’s definition of purity, that would make Purgatory-Benny good. But once Dean brought Benny top-side, did he suddenly become a part of that dreaded grey area? Dean seemed to care about him; he hugged him, for goodness sake. So why hide him from Sam? Sam handles grey area like a pro.  Do you think Dean is hiding Benny from Sam out of shame for saving a monster? Or maybe it’s to keep Sam from knowing something else that Dean’s not proud of.

Our second-favorite prophet managed to keep himself alive for a whole year. Not too shabby. Unfortunately for him, he won’t be able to hide out anymore. Now that he holds the secrets to closing Hell forever, he’s in it for good. As far as Dean is concerned, that is. Kevin had to make a tough call leaving his girlfriend behind with Crowley. There was no way he would let her live. But can I just take a morbid minute to express how awesome the slow-mo-neck-snap was? Ok, moment over.

The Plan
Now that Kevin has the directions and the brawn (Sam and Dean) he can go about helping them close the gates of Hell forever. Not to mention banishing all the demons from Earth. Not a bad deal, right? Shockingly Sam was less on-board than I expected. I think most of his apprehension was that Kevin didn’t choose this for himself. He made this pretty clear with Dean.
Sam: “So free will’s just for you?”
But if every there was a job to get on-board with, this is the one! We’re talking ending suffering here. Ridding the world of evil and letting the door hit them on the way out. I understand and respect his concern for Kevin but there is too much to be gained from this.
We know there’s one demon that won’t like this plan at all. Crowley is not going to be happy when he finds out what Sam, Dean and Kevin are up to. And I look forward to all the impending doom that comes along with that. What can I say; I’m a glutton for punishment. But does this mean Crowley is essentially going to be this season’s big bad? That is not a complaint on my part, just a question. If this season is about closing Hell forever, it makes sense that the major opposition would come from the King of Hell. I just wonder who else might get involved. The angels? God? Death? Closing the gates of Hell no doubt screws with the natural order of things. Where would evil go when it dies? So many questions…
Don’t worry; I haven’t forgotten our favorite, feathered friend. What happened to Castiel? We know he can’t be dead because Misha Collins is still a part of the show. But we do know that he didn’t make it out of Purgatory. Dean made it clear that something happened to his down there, but what? Last season he was not the Cas we knew and loved, he was a space-case and didn’t seem capable of protecting himself or anyone else for that matter. I’m curious to see how he’s changed and how he’ll find his way back to Earth.
So there you have it, all my thoughts, questions and concerns as we begin season eight. As usual I’d love to hear any and all of your thoughts about this episode and predictions for the rest of the season.

Here are some random thoughts and funny quotes that I can’t not mention. (Sorry for the double negative)
*Am I the only one who felt like they were taken back in time to Wendigo with Dean running around the tent like a crazy person?
*I have to know how Dean got Benny into his forearm. That is just strange.
*I want to know more about Sam’s lady-friend Amelia. He talked about it as if it was over. She seemed to know it was too judging by the look on her face when he left.
* That Brotherly hug gets me every time!
* Sam: “Nothing says family quite like the whole family being dead.”
* Dean:  “I was knee-deep in God’s armpit”
*Dean: “31 flavors of bottom-dwelling nasties.” (Always so eloquent.)
*Dean: “So, you’re looking for a soul train?”
*Dean: “Yeah, Asian kid, yea high, at a university. That should be easy.”
*Seeing Sam so broken up about the dog was so sweet. It also seemed like it could have been about a little more than the dog.
*Sam: “It’s a burger”
 Dean: “It’s a treasure”
*Dean’s bored face while Sam was talking through tracking down Kevin was so funny. It just kept getting better and better the more Sam talked.
Dean: “How many words of God are there?”
Kevin: “I just became a prophet like a year ago.”
*Crowley in Wisconsin among the goats is an image that will stick with me for a while.
* Crowley: “Where’s your angel?”
  Dean: “Ask your mother.”
  (Again with the eloquence)
Kevin: “There’s a demon in you and you’re going to your safety school. But it’s ok…”


Susan Ladigo
# Susan Ladigo 2012-10-05 21:32
I have a question that has not be addressed. If prophets have archangels attached to them, as we were told in "The Monster at the End of This Book" Season 4, then why is it that Crowley can get to Keviin? Just thought I would put that one out there.
# kaj 2012-10-06 03:43
I have a question that has not be addressed. If prophets have archangels attached to them, as we were told in "The Monster at the End of This Book" Season 4, then why is it that Crowley can get to Keviin? Just thought I would put that one out there.
I have a question that has not be addressed. If prophets have archangels attached to them, as we were told in "The Monster at the End of This Book" Season 4, then why is it that Crowley can get to Keviin? Just thought I would put that one out there.
Hi Susan,

From what I understand, God did not leave heaven until season 5, right? So, with Chuck he assigned Raphael to protect him. But after Cas turned vengeful God last season and he killed so many of them I assume that lots of angels are dead. And in season 6 and 7, Cas never talked about other archangels beside Raphael and God is still missing. So, maybe there is not an archangel left to do the job?

But not to worry. They said they will bring angels back this season. I guess we'll get the answer. Maybe from Ben Edlund's script. :)
# Ginger 2012-10-06 08:36
I think the archangel guarding a prophet canon was discarded last year -- the year the writers randomly chucked canon to suit an episode. I hope than tendency has ended.
# KELLY 2012-10-06 22:00
I thought Raphael was the last archangel, so there was no one to tether to him.
# E 2012-10-07 09:43
Hi Susan, regarding the archangels, we know for a fact that Raphael and Gabriel are both dead. Lucifer (he may be fallen, but he's still an archangel) and Michael are in the "cage." General christian belief is that there are 4 archangels (3 if you discount Lucifer); two are dead and the rest are indisposed. Some parts of christianity believe that there are more archangels (some include Uriel, who's also dead) and others who have not been introduced into the Supernatural universe. Furthermore, in season 7, Cas said that he couldn't raise anyone from the garrison, implying that all of the angels were dead. I think we will find that this is not true as the season progresses, but I think we can assume that the angels have been severely depleted leaving none around to help defend Kevin from Crowley (poor kid!).
# nancyL 2012-10-05 22:11
Sofia, I remember saying this last season after 'Meet the new Boss', I loved this episode. Then season seven was a bust. Please Mr. Carver, let season eight, be as good as it's first impression. Pretty please, with sugar on top. :lol:

That being said, let's talk about episode one.

I loved your description of Sam's year. '...stunk up the Impala'. :lol: If Sam isn't installing ipod docks, he is allowing a dog in the Impala. Bad Sammy.

We learned in 'Exile', that Dean did try to get Sam out of the cage, of course not knowing that 'the lying liar that lied' had already done it. Maybe Sam did try, but ran into a roadblock or maybe he was led to believe that doing so may do more harm than good to Dean. It is only episode one, we have twenty two more to go, to get more answers.

Purgatory was different (then Hell) for Dean, because he had no control of his 'stay' in Hell. He was either being tortured or he was doing the torture. Obviously in Purgatory, he was able to be mobile and had more freedom and control.

Dean would never want to stay in a place, where Sam wasn't. His first thoughts upon returning were of course, where would Sam be?

Kevin's girlfriend was toast, as soon as the demon took control of her. Crowley had no intention of letting her go.

Do you know what was better than the hug? Dean telling Sam 'come here', and Sammy practically jumping into his big brother's arms. :-)

Yes, Sofia, Dean was in full snark form. I would love to have a contest between Buffy and Dean, to see which one would win a 'Snark off'. :-)

Sam talking 'geek' and Dean waiting for the simple word translation. :-)

And Susan Ladigo brings up a good point. The whole point of putting Chuck in the room with LIlith was to get the archangel protecting him to scare Lilith away. So wouldn't Kevin have an archangel of his own? Another thing, why didn't Sam or Dean do an exorcism to get the demon out of the girl?

Bring on Episode 2.
# Darya 2012-10-05 23:38

And Susan Ladigo brings up a good point. The whole point of putting Chuck in the room with LIlith was to get the archangel protecting him to scare Lilith away. So wouldn't Kevin have an archangel of his own? Another thing, why didn't Sam or Dean do an exorcism to get the demon out of the girl?
Maybe because Kevin is more a "keeper of the word" than a prophet. Chuck got visions of the future and was like an eyepiece to the Great Plan, while Kevin can just read the Word of God. And there was a garrison to protect him, remember? And Hester being the leader would pretty much put her on the powerful angel list. They were all killed by the Leviathans and Meg killed Hester.
As for the boys not exorcising Channing, I don't think they knew she was possessed when they met her in college, and then there wasn't really any time to draw a containment circle or anything when Crowley was standing right next to her chatting.

Loved this episode, especially the Purgatory shots, and I'm with you- the hug gets me every time,though many people have found it reserved. I like this Sam but think there's more to him than meets the eye.
Adding another quote to your list, Sofia: "Cliff notes? I went to Purgatory, Sam hit a dog." Dean can summarise effectively.
# percysowner 2012-10-06 00:30
And Susan Ladigo brings up a good point. The whole point of putting Chuck in the room with LIlith was to get the archangel protecting him to scare Lilith away. So wouldn't Kevin have an archangel of his own? Another thing, why didn't Sam or Dean do an exorcism to get the demon out of the girl?
As far as we knew there were four archangels, Michael, Raphael, Gabriel and Lucifer. Mike and Luci are in the cage, Raphael and Gabriel are dead. The garrison sent regular angels to protect Kevin and they failed miserably, being slaughtered by Crowley's demons.

My only guess on not exorcizing the girl is that neither she nor Crowley was trapped. Exorcism takes some time and since the demons weren't constrained by a Devil's Trap all they had to do was book on out. Yes, Kevin would have been safe for a while, but his girlfriend would still have been possessed. Plus the boys seemed to have given up exorcism and moved onto killing demons and the hosts.
# Bevie 2012-10-06 16:20
I'm thinking all the archangels are in the cage or dead at this time in the story. Unless the absent God returns and brings some back who is left to guard Kevin?
# digyd 2012-10-06 00:22
I know I can't wax eloquent right now because I am about to watch my recording of Grimm. That also means I don't have time at the moment to read all the comments that I'm sure are really interesting. I will say this. My thought on Dean finding purgatory to be pure? The very point of purgatory is to purge, and I suspect Dean got a chance to purge himself of most or all the negativity he gained from being in hell.

Sam not looking for Dean? I said it before and I will say it again that I believe that it is too soon to call this one. I would bet anyone that there is something much deeper going on here.

Benny? Love him already. I hope he hangs around for a bit. Kevin? He rocks. I love all the same things you did and I cannot get that safety school comment out of my head. Lol!

Loving this so far and if it were not for the fact that Monday and Tuesday will be insanely busy at my job and I am already tired just thinking of it, I would say, "Please Wednesday hurry up and get here!"

Thanks for your thoughts. Can't wait to come back to read the comments everyone else has made.
# Amy 2012-10-06 13:45
So Sam is bad for 'stinking up the impala?'/doushi ng it up with an ipod? Maybe you'd like it better if he just ditched it in a junkyard?
# percysowner 2012-10-06 15:42
Dean has been a bit of a hypocrite about Sam and the Impala. When Dean went to Hell he GAVE the car to Sam. IMHO, he was a total jerk about Sam actually trying to make the Impala Sam's by installing ONE item an Ipod. The same thing with the dog. Even if Sam should have searched for Dean, he had possession of the car that had been his home as well as Dean's. Dean was irretrievable, Sam fixed the car and had a right to have whoever or whatever he wanted in it. The dog didn't scratch and ruin the seats. The dog didn't chew up the car. The dog just was and smelled like a dog.

If Dean wants to tell Sam that the car belongs to Dean and if Dean dies then Sam has no right to it, great. As long as Sam has a right to it, he has a right to use it as he sees fit, barring wrecking it deliberately. Only Dean is allowed to destroy it when angry.
# anonymousN 2012-10-06 16:02
Only Dean is allowed to destroy it when angry.
# Daisymae 2012-10-06 17:33
Sam said that there was a girl and then there wasn't. When he left Amelia it must have been before Dean called then. Right? I'm confused.
# digyd 2012-10-07 09:10
Of course you are confused, Daisymae. I believe everyone is confused and I believe that is the point. It has only been 1 episode. If we understood off the bat, what fun would that be? I'm gonna go rewatch it now and see what else I didn't see the first 3 times I watched it. :lol:
# LEAH D 2012-10-07 12:00
Hi digyd, and can I add what a pleasure it is to WANT to rewatch episodes again.
# Daisymae 2012-10-07 16:52
Jim Michaels on the Winchester Radio Podcast said that when Sam left Amelia he was going to the cabin, where he hung out at times, and did not know Dean was there. Dean said he couldn't get Sam on the phone so he just went to the cabin to wait.