demons & possessions

[TV Review] Supernatural Season 4 (2008)★★★★★

Castiel with his wings in Supernatural season 4

Supernatural continues its dark road trip driving towards epic levels.


The fourth season of Supernatural becomes even more epic by adding Angels to the hellish party. Resurrecting the Devil, a new angelic ally, old and new friends, lots of other monsters besides demons, a lot of fun, serious moments and a story arc that expands the Supernatural universe which deepens it to epic levels, this season is going to by a hell of a road trip. 

This fourth season consists of 22 episodes with each a duration of 44 minutes. The series has a monster-of-the-week structure, while the big story arc about Sam and Dean continues and the big nemesis of the season must be fought. 


Plot

It has been four months since Dean has been dragged to hell by hellhounds. Sam is on a mission to destroy Lilith when Dean miraculously wakes up in his own grave and has to dig himself out. Together with Bobby he tracks down Sam and they pick up where they left off, hunting things and saving people. 

But things are becoming even more pressing after an Angel called Castiel tells them that Lilith wants to open 66 seals to free Lucifer from his cage and to start the Apocalypse. Luckily they get the help of demon Ruby, medium Pamela, angel Anna and Carver (Chuck) Englund who is a prophet of god. 

While the line between good and evil gets thinner, the relationship between Sam en Dean is beginning to crack up a bit, while both are keeping secrets from each other. And on top of this, can they trust every new friend or ally?


Why you should watch it

The dark secrets Sam and Dean are keeping from each other makes this season more interesting. Their characters are even more fleshed out and they develop into three dimensional beings with both good and bad inside of them. This reflects on their take on monsters and hunting.

The black and white thinking is getting harder to uphold and this makes their decisions more complex. Also the tables concerning hunting are turned, now Sam is the one being more aggressive and determined, due to his demon killing abilities, that may derive its power from the dark side. While Dean is more toned down. 

Although monsters and Sam and Dean aren’t that black and white anymore, the demons versus angels are. New to the party are the Angels, who in fact are real, and so god must be too, a question they have struggled with previously. Castiel, Cass, their new angel friend has some big answers for the brothers concerning their destiny and lineage, which sets Azazel in a whole different perspective as it does their mother Mary. This new epiphany turns the whole story upside down and is the begging of a new epic story arc that has a whole lot more in store for Sam and Dean.

Asides from Cass, who is a great new addition to the series, Bobby gets a lot more screen time and has become an important member of the Supernatural family, and gets as close as father can be for the brothers, his loving term Idjit as a shining example. And let’s not forget his own-made bunker, a protected place against all the supernatural and his personal library of all sorts of old books about the occult. Bobby proves to be even cooler than they thought and we learn also a lot more about his dark past.

While most of the episodes concern hunting down Lilith, and Sam and Dean’s destiny, there are a lot of monster-of-the-week episodes to enjoy. Of course ghosts are a big element in all shapes and sizes, but also a Rugura, a Siren, magicians, real ones and entertaining ones, witches, Samhain, a wishing well, a Shapeshifter and much more turn up.

Also the appearance of Chuck the prophet who writes pulp fiction (but real) books about Sam and Dean, about what they really experienced, is a new fresh and original addition to the story. And the discovery that Sam and Dean have a younger brother called Adam is life changing and almost surreal to them. 

With emphasis on the bigger story arc, the seemingly standalone episodes connect really well to the bigger storyline, and to Sam and Dean as individuals. It’s fun, it’s full of action horror, scary and thrilling moments and the story thrives while it develops in a natural but engaging way.


My favorite part

The episodes where Dean goes back in time (yes, now there’s also time travel) and finds out more about his parents, especially about his mom and her side of the family is a big revelation and a well-crafted episode, giving him and us more insight into his life and making it more intriguing for us. 

Also the throwback to their time at high school shares a whole new take on little Sam and Dean. The wishing well delivers some great fun especially the big teddybear that has come to life and is depressed and wants to end his life is disturbingly funny.

Halloween is particular fun while a disturbed shapeshifter changes himself into old movie monsters. The episode where Sam and Dean get stuck in an alternate universe where they both work at an office and have to deal with monsters totally unbeknownst to them delivers some laughs. 

But the biggest and striking(ly handsome) addition is Castiel who stirs things up a bit. Due to his powers, like sending Dean back in time, transporting himself anywhere, healing abilities and much more, the series and Sam and Dean are leveled up making their fight against the big baddies a little bit easier and even the odds a bit.

Cass is maybe also the best example of the inner struggle between good and evil, or rather is struggling to determine what in fact is a good thing to do. It wholly depends on your personal point of view. He being an angel, a warrior of god’s army that isn’t made to protect humankind but to protect gods plan which isn’t all that good for mankind at all. He wonders aloud and speaks his mind, making him his own conscious, a very handsome jimmy cricket. He is an angel who doesn’t look down on people, tries to understand them and has a soft spot for Dean. 

Especially funny is the end credits of the sixth episode where Jensen Ackels goes nuts on the song Eye of the Tiger, while playing his air guitar, climbing out of the window of the Impala standing on the roof playing and play-backing. It’s so much fun and shows how much fun the crew has together and that reflects on the whole series. 


Ratings

Rating: ★★★★★

Epic factor: ★★★★☆

Scare factor: ★★★☆☆

Gruesome factor: ★★★☆☆

Entertainment factor: ★★★★★


Read more about Supernatural:


Cast and crew

Supernatural is created by Erik Kripke. It stars Jared Padalecki (Sam), Jensen Ackles (Dean), Jim Beaver (Bobby), Misha Collins (Castiel) Genevive Padalecki (Ruby), Rob Benedict (Chuck), Julie McNiven (Anna) and Steven Williams (Rufus Turner).

Music: Christopher Lennertz, Jay Gruska. Cinematography: Serge Ladouceur. Production company: Kripke Enterprises, Warner Bros. Television, Wonderland Sound and Vision, Supernatural Films. Original Network: The CW.


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