THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON
Directors: Robert Singer, Kim Manners, Phil Sgriccia, Charles Beeson, and more
Writers: Eric Kripke, Sera Gamble, John Shiban, Cathryn Humphris, and more
Starring: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Samantha Ferris, Jim Beaver, Chad Lindberg, Alona Tal, and more
Release: 09/2006 – 05/2007
Network: The CW
The first season of Supernatural built a solid ground for the show by introducing the main characters and the world they inhabit. The second season can now take this groundwork and continue to build upon it. Every piece feels like a natural evolution of what came before.
A yellow-eyed problem
The first episode “In My Time Of Dying” continues shortly after the car crash. The Winchesters are in a hospital. Dean is dying, Sam barely survived himself, and now fights for his brother’s life, and John continues to fight Azazel. The episode could be interpreted as a microcosmos and prepares the viewer for what’s to come. Motifs and themes repeat themselves throughout the first seasons, which create a bit of a cyclic tale. These things will become more transparent as we make our way through each season.
To save Dean, John makes a deal with Azazel. John sacrifices his soul so his son can live and continue the fight. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, as always, acts the hell out of his scenes. You can feel every beat and every punch.
Throughout the season, Dean has to deal with the choice his father made and the responsibility he inherited. It is not clear, yet, what Azazel’s plan for Sam is, but if push comes to shove, Dean has to kill Sam. At least, that’s what John thought. As the brothers go through their daily lives and their fights, they find more and more ways to talk about their feelings (e.g., “Children shouldn’t play with dead things” or “Croatoan”). By spending so much time on the road together, they learn much about each other. A lot of things even do not have to be said or explained; their behavior and looks sometimes are enough. Honesty and trust are everything they need to deal with the challenges the world throws at them.
Of course, every relationship goes through some rough patches at various phases. “Tall Tales” captures these things perfectly, and we meet the Trickster for the first time. However, despite all the tricks and banter, as soon as there is a job to do, the brothers get focused and get it done. The little moments between them make Supernatural so fun and engaging to watch. They are relatable characters, trying to do the right thing. But sometimes, the right thing comes at a high price.
The People You Meet
For the first time, the brothers have a headquarters: Bobby’s junkyard. It is a safe space. They can do their research there and rely on Bobby’s expertise. Especially after John’s death, Sam and Dean spend weeks there to mourn. Dean also rebuilds the Impala there. Bobby is such a great character. Every time he appears, he has this presence, not unlike John had. He also gets to show off some skills when it comes to demons, for example in “Born Under a Bad Sign.” One does not challenge Bobby.
Other people they can count on are Ellen, Jo, and Ash from the roadhouse. When I started watching the season, I thought they might be more intrusive, but as it turns out, their appearances are sprinkled throughout the season and always handled with care. For example, when they hunt the ghost of a serial killer in “No Exit,” all three from the roadhouse bring something new to the table.
Another interesting new character is Gordon. Appearing first in “Bloodlust,” he seems a bit quirky until you realize he has lost it completely. He proactively kills all supernatural beings – evil or not. And Gordon is smart, able to drive a wedge between the brothers. Their trust and belief in each other get tested quite a bit in “Hunted.” It will not be the last time we see Gordon.
Before we talk about the finale, I want to acknowledge some of the best single episodes the season has to offer. Don’t get me wrong, there is not one bad episode in this season, but the following add a new aspect or amplify on a theme further.
In “Roadkill,” we have an encounter with a ghost who does not know she is a ghost. “Heart” revolves around a similar theme but more tragic as Sam falls in love with a werewolf he has to kill in the end. And “Folsom Prison Blues” is just cool to watch. As is “Crossroads Blues,” but this episode also educates us about something that plays a more prominent part later in the season.
“Houses of the Holy” continues in the tradition of last season’s “Faith” and challenges the brothers belief system and is a truly magnificent episode that allows a deep-dive into Sam and Dean’s core principles. In “What Is and What Should Never Be” (2.20), a Djinn shows Dean a wonderful world of possibilities. Both episodes are heartbreaking and should be on everyone’s best-of list.
One Devil’s Trap to rule them all
Every once in a while, we meet other psychics who have been chosen by Azazel. The interesting thing about this exploration is the different kinds of people who are chosen. How do they deal with their powers? How do they use them? Andy (“Simon Said”) and Ava (“Hunted”) are prime examples for other gifted.
In the finale, we learn that they are contestants in Azazel’s nasty game. Only the strongest can survive a death match. Last Man Standing is the game; the price no price at all and the stakes too high.
As the contestants’ fight for survival progresses, you can feel the panic. Behind every corner lies another twist, another turn, and another betrayal by a character we thought we knew. In the end, Sam dies a tragic death in his brother’s arms. But Dean cannot live without Sammy, so he makes a deal. He gets one year before his soul is dragged to hell for eternity. But that must be handled another time. Now they have to kill Azazel once and for all.
I love the idea of Colt building a giant demon’s trap to secure a gate to hell. Everyone rises to the occasion, and even John comes to help out and witness the death of his nemesis. In one headshot, everything seems to be over. But the brothers don’t have time to breathe. In just one episode, the creative team manages to raise the stakes to a whole new level. What has escaped hell? What kinds of demons have the brothers to hunt now? And what about Sammy’s powers?
The second season of Supernatural ends with a boom and has earned it. There were no bad or even weak episodes throughout the entire season. It helps that the creative team finds a balance between horror, comedy, family drama, and suspense. In every episode, we learn something new about this world and the characters in it. But there still are questions to be answered, deals to be broken, and death cheated once more.
– The Devil’s Road Map
– Jared’s original screen test
– Webisode Gallery
– Gag Reel
Dean cheated death two times (“Faith” 1.12, “In My Time of Dying” 2.1) and Sam once (“All hell breaks loose” 2.22).
1. Season 2
2. Season 1