The Supernatural hellatus is now upon us. Fortunately, we only have to wait a month before we learn the outcome of the midseason finale cliffhanger. With ten episodes behind us, I thought this was an opportune time to look back at the first half of Supernatural’s seventh season and put together a midseason review. But I wanted to present a more complete picture of opinions than just my own, because the Supernatural fandom is the collective totality of so many voices (and even factions). So I’ve solicited the opinions of many well-known writers and fansites in the fandom and put together what I hope is is a fair and comprehensive look back at the season so far. Our goal is really to explore three main themes: (1) what season 7 has been doing right so far, (2) what fans are taking issue with this season, and (3) some thoughts on the rest of the season.
What’s promising right off the bat is that a lot of the writers involved in this review are very optimistic about season 7. I think that Danielle Turchiano put it best when she told me that she felt a bit hesitant about season 7 after an uneven sixth season. However, “From the first few moments of the seventh season premiere, “Meet The New Boss,” I was re-hooked anew. Season six was meant to reboot the series a bit after Eric Kripke’s five season arc came to its explosive end two years ago, but it was in season seven that really felt like the tide had turned”.
Strong Season Premiere. In fact, several writers, including myself, agreed that the season 7 premiere of Supernatural was very good. In its history, the show has had two stand-out season premieres: season 2’s “In My Time of Dying” and season 4’s “Lazarus Rising”. AOL TV’s Laura Prudom thinks that “Meet the New Boss” deserves to be added to the list: “I thought that the season premiere was one of the strongest openers to date, up there with “Lazarus Rising” and “In My Time of Dying”. It was well-plotted and paced and how compelling the show’s Castiel-centric episodes can be.”
The season premiere was amazing and managed to weave together multiple storylines in a manner that didn’t feel jumbled or rushed. Castiel’s “possession” was explored and Sam’s slow descent into the more pronounced madness of episode 7.02 was subtle and poignant. The season’s big bads (the leviathans) were also introduced to the audience right off the bat, which I thought was far more effective and satisfying for the overall season arc than delaying the introduction of Eve had been in season 6.
Back to Being Brothers. After the distance between Sam and Dean in season 6 (and even seasons 4 and 5), it’s been so refreshing to see the brothers back on the same page. More than anything else, I’ve always firmly believed that the Sam and Dean relationship is integral to the show. Supernatural, and its fans, hurt when the brothers are at odds. Despite the whole Amy situation (which I will come back to), I haven’t been worried about the brothers being out of sync in season 7. In fact, even during the Amy situation, I knew everything would be resolved.
Sure, the brothers are occasionally at odds for keeping secrets (think back to how Dean dealt with his father’s death and Sam trying to coax John’s last works from him), but none of those secrets – save the one about Ruby – have ever really come close to destroying the brothers’ relationship. I am overjoyed that the boys are back in sync and dealing with their problems together. Dean may say that he can’t or couldn’t trust Sam because of his unstable mental state, but there’s still no one in the world that Dean loves and trusts as much as Sam. And while it may have looked like the boys were at odds on how to handle the Bobby situation in “Death’s Door”, they were really just acting like themselves – with Sam the one who wants to deal with a crisis head-on, while Dean just wants to deny that it’s happening at all.
Individual Episodes Have a Very Early Supernatural Feel. In addition to the outstanding season premiere, there seems to be agreement across the board that the first half of Supernatural’s seventh season has contained several good episodes. Episodes like “Slash Fiction”, “The Mentalists”, “How To Win Friends and Influence Monsters” and the recent midseason finale have all been singled out as impressive. Laura said “I think that when Supernatural is firing on all cylinders, its best episodes this season (the ones mentioned above) have generally been more solid than most of last season”. Alice Jester, from Winchester Family Business, agreed: “‘Slash Fiction” is an old school lesson on how you amp up a mytharc, and the devastating “Death’s Door” is nothing short of pure brilliance.”
There’s also a fine balance to be found between recognizing that the show has progressed from what it was in season 1 and going back to what made many fans fall in love with the show. That’s not to say that the show has to completely disregard or forget seasons 3 to 6. In fact, it should remember the widening in the scope of the show while still finding a way to make it about the Winchesters as individuals and a unit. Thus far, I think it’s achieved that in season 7. Vinnie, from Winchester Brothers, perhaps put it best when she told me “Not to take anything away from seasons 4-6 because, let’s face it, those seasons gave us great arcs with great scenes with great characters, however the current season of Supernatural is going back to the gore and the scare and the bare bones brother duo that made it popular the first few seasons. It’s also the most realistic – if a show about demon hunting brothers with biblical ties can be realistic – the show has ever been. It’s showcased that they are fugitives that have to hide, that they’re homeless and they have almost nothing. They are hunters and they are the hunted.”
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