Twenty-two years ago, Sam and Dean Winchester lost their mother to a mysterious and demonic supernatural force, so their father, John, raised the brothers. He taught them about the paranormal evil that lives in the dark corners and on the back roads of America…and he taught them how to kill it. Sam, however, wanted nothing to do with this violent and dangerous life, and he left it behind, until the day Dean appeared on his doorstep with troubling news. Their father had gone missing on a “hunting trip.” Sam and Dean have spent the last year cruising the highways of the United States searching for their lost father and encountering creatures that most people believe exist only in folklore, superstition and nightmares. Along the way, they have battled the various supernatural threats–and each other as well, for their sibling rivalries and conflicts were never far from the surface.
Supernatural started off its first season fairly well. Several episodes were cliched and its monster of the week format meant that some episodes were more memorable than others but there were no distinctively great episodes from the first season of the show. However, I’m glad to say that Season 2 is a big improvement over Season One, and whilst the monster of the week format is still around, the show broadens its mythology and depth with some recurring characters, more overarching plots and some better acting from Ackles and Padalecki, who are now well and truly into their roles as Sam and Dean.
Following the first season’s finale of Sam, Dean and their father John Winchester (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) being hit by a demon-possessed driver in a truck, Supernatural’s first episode of the second season sees the three Winchesters being rushed to hospital in an event which turns out to be one of the best episodes of the show that I’ve seen so far (Currently nearing the end of Season 3), In My Time of Dying – where Jeffrey Dean Morgan pulls off some great acting capabilities in an episode that thrusts his character and Ackles’ Dean into the spotlight, allowing for a great opening episode in Season 2 that once again reminds us that literally anybody apart from the two brothers of the show are safe – and it was great to see how the after effects of In My Time of Dying played out against the Winchester brothers – even if the immediate episode that followed, Everybody Loves a Clown, felt underwhelming as it tried and failed to live up to the brilliant series premiere.
The show adds a few more protagonists to the mix as well, with Bobby Singer (Jim Beaver) – adopting a fatherly/mentor type role to the Brothers and the introduction of two new awesome female faces in the form of Jo (Alona Tal) and Ellen (Samantha Ferris) Harvelle who have had run-ins with John Winchester in the past. There’s also the comic relief character Ash (Chad Lindberg), who gets to add a lighter tone to the show in his brief appearances. Jo and Ellen sadly don’t stick around as much as I would have liked and whilst a shakeup of the two brothers hunting monsters format is provided in No Exit – another highlight of the series, when Jo joins Dean and Sam on a hunt against her mother’s wishes – the partnership is cut short which is a real shame.The episodes of Season 2 are generally a lot better quality wise as well. Bloodlust pits Sam and Dean against Gordon Walker (Sterling K. Brown) and examines the whole concept of vampires who don’t drink human blood in a lot better concept that Twilight did – keeping the theme in tone with the show and setting up Gordon to be a minor recurring antagonist for the two brothers to face. Another semi-recurring minor antagonist introduced in Nightshifter is FBI Agent Victor Henrikson (Charles Malik Whitfield) who has no knowledge of the Supernatural and believes that the Winchesters are cold-blooded serial killers following the incident in St. Louis in Season 1 where a shapeshifter framed Dean for an attempted murder.
A larger, over-reaching plot is explored in this season as well. Whilst Season 1 was basically revolving around Sam and Dean searching for John – Season 2 explores demons, in particular the Yellow Eyed Demon (Fredric Lehne) who poses as the primary end-level villain in the series finale – as well as the incident involving the Death of Mary Winchester, and that Sam might through the woods with his suffering just yet – which is a dramatic understatement when you consider the events of the two-part season finale, which sees Sam go through real hell, as well as help setting up the main arc for Season 3 to follow.
There isn’t any really unwatchable episodes in Season 2 – there are however some that don’t quite hit the same note as the better ones in the show. There is Heart for example, revolving around a Werewolf – and Playthings – which are probably the weaker episodes of the Season if I had to pinpoint any. Of course, there are several cliches used in the show as well and you still don’t get great moments of originality – but then again, if you’re looking for a fun horror series to enjoy then Supernatural’s second season is a great improvement on the first and reminds you that the show is certainly worth sticking with in the long run. My review of Season 3 will follow when I watch the last three episodes of that Season – and I have seasons 4-6 on DVD so I should be making quicker progress with this one.