"Supernatural" began its sixth season with an unspectacular episode. Considering that Season 5 ended with a confrontation between the Winchester brothers and Lucifer himself, any situation is likely to pale in comparison. Topping Lucifer as a villain is also going to take some time and creativity. This episode did not accomplish either goal, but given last seasons ending, that would have been asking for a bit too much.
Approximately one year after the failed Apocalypse, Dean has settled into a nice suburban life, complete with his girlfriend Lisa (Cindy Sampson), her son Ben (Nicholas Elia) and his new best friend Sid (Russell Porter). After being touched by a Djinn at his local watering hole, Dean begins to hallucinate, seeing his old arch-nemesis, Azazel (Fredric Lane), known for years on the show as the yellow-eyed demon. Sam (Jared Padalecki) comes to his rescue and reveals that though he returned nearly a year earlier, he did not bother to contact Dean, who finally had a normal life.
Ultimately, Sam leads Dean to a new band of hunters which consist of some distant cousins and the Winchestersrecently resurrected grandfather (Mitch Pillegi). Together, they draw out three Djinn, and eventually it comes down to the two Winchester boys doing what they do best: fighting evil. The grandfather does capture Djinn for reasons that are not yet clear, making his identity and motives questionable. In the end, despite Sams wishes that Dean join the family and resume life as a hunter, Dean decides to stay in his new life anyway.
Season opening episodes tend to greatly pale in comparison to the final episode of the previous season, so the fact that this one does not match the intensity of last season is not surprising. Following the Apocalypse is a tall order, and while this entry was nothing special in the canon of "Supernatural" episodes, it succeeded in reuniting Sam and Dean while introducing viewers to a new band of hunters who will undoubtedly show up in future episodes.
The opening montage, with Bob Segers Beautiful Loser playing as a backdrop, was fitting. The classic song Carry on Wayward Son by Kansas has been used in this role before, but this song seemed to highlight that no matter how much Dean gained by finding a surrogate family, he still had lost much.
Though predictable, integration of golf clubs, and the huntersreaction to them, was mildly humorous. Humor was a scarce commodity in this episode, so drawing attention to the golf clubs just prepared viewers for Sam grabbing one and using it as a weapon.
What Didnt Work
When writers dip into old bags of tricks, it can either be a nostalgic experience, or it could be a sign that they are running out of ideas -- it seems that the latter is the case here. How many times are we going to see a woman levitated to the ceiling and burned? How many times can Azazel plausibly come back? Granted, these were hallucinations, but viewers have seen these images repeatedly already.
Even the Djinn story line was reused, but this time it was the children of the Djinn Dean killed before coming back for revenge. After fighting angels, demons and Lucifer himself, a recycled monster type from a previous season does not generate as much fear, nor does it represent any originality whatsoever.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
Supernatural stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. Exile on Main Street was written by Sera Gamble and was directed by Phil Sgriccia.
Supernatural airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.
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