In Review: Supernatural, “Back and to the Future”

This greatest hits for the Winchesters is a solid premise for their final season.

Supernatural, “Back and to the Future” Broadcast on October 10, 2019

SEASON 15 PREMIERE

Written by Andrew Dabb

Directed by John F. Showalter 

The road so far: Last season is summed up quickly, ending with God unhappy with humanity, especially the Winchester Brothers, so he releases about three billion ghosts on Earth and opens up all the doors to Hell. God leaves, Jack is killed, and Sam, Dean, and Castiel are surrounded by bodies that have arisen in a graveyard that are inhabited by demons (maybe ghosts?) and are swarming the trio to tear them apart. Death by zombies, essentially.

Now: A nearby abandoned chapel is the refuge the three need to take a moment and figure out what to do to get out of their situation. Sam is grieving for Jack’s death, Dean just wants to get away from the zombie/ghost/demons, and Castiel can’t provide any help because there are too many of the creatures and he’d be overwhelmed. This has Dean get testy with him. Opportunity comes their way when eyeless Jack stands up. One of the released demons from Hell discovered this fresh corpse and claimed it. Naturally this upsets the brothers, while Castiel is all set to kill this creature for being a blaspheme. The demon wants to live and says he knows a spell to get them out of their predicament.

This solution is quick and cool, with the — somewhat — reunited four back on the road. I like the premise for this season: every baddie the boys have killed in the previous fourteen seasons are back on Earth and they’ve got to put them back. But that’s not all! Sammy has a wound from last season that’s causing him some pain and Castiel and Dean realize it’s a bigger deal than the Moose is saying. Sam is also the character who’s the human pinata in this episode, with him getting most of the lumps. I really liked the grief that Padalecki had in the beginning at Jack’s passing. Collins doesn’t get much to do with Castiel except to be sidekick to Sammy, though he does have a funny line in the street when ghosts are attacking. Ackles and Calvert are an excellent pair in this episode with demon-inhabited Jack being a great character and Calvert doing a sensational job playing his character. He’s not a wiseass, nor is he Crowley wicked, but there is something about him that should put the viewer on edge and realize he’s not to be trusted. The big top specter is fun, though looks like a low budget version of a character American Horror Story. The returning female ghost is outstanding. I thought it was smart script writing for the brothers to recognize her M.O. when they found a car. The make-up effects are good on a teenager who’s the first victim of the returning ghost, with me actually wondering for a moment if the effect could be shown on non-cable television.

The good: Sam’s grief, demon possessed Jack, the pairing of Dean and Jack, some solid peril for a mother and daughter in their house, and the season’s premise.

Fun lines: “You shot me” and “I like those odds.”

The bad: Castiel not doing much and the brothers acknowledging they’re in yet another end of the world dilemma. This explicitly was telling the viewer that the series has been down this road countless times, and yet they’re going to do it again anyway. I understand why this was brought up, because the characters would mention it, but it took some of the punch of this season opener. It was just too direct to be addressed this way, especially in the last five minutes of the episode.

The final line: This greatest hits for the Winchesters is a solid premise for their final season. Granted, it’s yet another apocalypse storyline, but at least this is being done to wind things up. The acting is good, the effects fine, and new Jack is a scene stealer. Overall grade: B+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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