“Years ago, Sam and Dean Winchester lost their mother to a mysterious and demonic supernatural force. Subsequently, their father raised them to be soldiers, teaching them about the paranormal evil that lives in dark corners and on the back roads of America. And he taught them how to kill it. This haunting series follows the Winchester brothers as they travel the lonely and mysterious back roads of the country in their ’67 Chevy Impala, hunting down every evil supernatural force they encounter along the way. At the start of the fourth season, Dean has been freed from Hell, but he can’t remember how or why, or what happened while he was there. It soon becomes clear that Sam has secrets of his own, including what happened in the four months Dean was gone. As the brothers answer these questions, they also face a dire threat. There are whispers that an evil demon will soon be freed from its prison.
As part of my catchup of the awesome show that is Supernatural, I have chosen to cover as many of the seasons as I can. I’m currently on the seventh season of the show in catchup and am watching the tenth live, so as a result it’s been a while since I’ve seen the fourth. However, after a quick Wikipedia refresh I was able to write up this review for the blog.
Dean Winchester wakes up in a coffin; four months after he was sentenced to hell save for the burn of a hand print on his biceps. His brother, Sam (Jared Padalecki), who is being mentored by the demon Ruby (Now played by Genevieve Padalecki) and surrogate father, Bobby (Jim Beaver), believe him to be dead, and are starting to settle into life without him, so are naturally shocked when he returns. However, they’re not as shocked as Dean is to find that he was brought back from hell by the Angel Castiel (Misha Collins), having previously believed that Angels don’t exist. This presents a bigger problem however, as the Angels have arrived on Earth for the first time in thousands of years to prevent demons from freeing the fallen Lucifer from hell.
But the demons are lead by Dean’s killer, Lilith, and to make matters worse, heaven has its own agenda, one which may not have pleasant consequences for the Winchester brothers, especially as Dean is having growing suspicions that Ruby may be manipulating Sam into using his demon powers for an unknown purpose.
Season 4 is Supernatural at its near-finest, bested only so far by the fifth season in terms of sheer quality. There’s plenty of awesome moments to be had here as the series is moving more and more into serialised territory, introducing the new concept of Angels into the fray to keep things fresh as things take a considerably darker turn, with the stakes being raised once again. No longer have the brothers got to just kill a Demon or find their father. Now, they’ve got to prevent the Apocalypse.
There are several notable episodes from the fourth season of Supernatural. The first and last episodes of the season, respectively, are some of the show’s finest moments and would probably fit in most people’s top 10 episode lists, with Lazarus Rising and Lucifer Rising being pulled off incredibly well. Even with the mostly darker tone of this season, the show still finds plenty of time to be humorous, with the great The Monster at the End of this Book (S4x18) introducing more meta elements of the series into question, with Sam and Dean finding out that their lives have been recorded as part of a book series Supernatural, written by author Chuck Shirley (Rob Benedict) who has become a fan favourite character in the series. Speaking of fan favourite characters, this season also sees the introduction of Misha Collins’ Castiel, the angel responsible for bringing Dean back from hell, and thanks to some good acting from Collins, Castiel has quickly become one of the series’ strongest additions of new cast members.
Jim Beaver once again reprises his role as Bobby Singer in the supporting cast that is mostly strong. Katie Cassidy is replaced in the role of Ruby by Genevieve Padalecki, who makes an interesting, conflicted character and begins to develop into a good female lead for the series, or at least until the more serious parts of the show starts to kick in demonstrating a lack of depth, so as you can imagine that isn’t really enough. Jo and Ellen Harvelle don’t really play a major role in this Season – in fact, they don’t feature at all, and as personal favourites, I would have liked to see them feature more prominently. The inclusion of Anna (Julie McNiven) could have been a great addition to the Angel storyline, but ultimately there was a lot of wasted potential there.
So on the whole, the fourth season of Supernatural is probably the strongest the show has been (note, I haven’t seen all of Season 7, 8 & 9), apart from the fifth and boasts some excellent episodes that vary between very dark and very funny, but never bad. The cliffhanger at the end of Season 4 was one of the strongest ones that the series has given us so far, and sets the tone nicely for Season 5.