Jan 17, 2011

Supernatural - Season 2

After the shocking cliff-hanger of Season 1, the Winchester family is put into a hospital, with Dean's life hanging by a thread. He pulls through, but at a terrible price, and the Yellow-eyed demon is once again on the loose. Only this time he also has the Colt. Sam and Dean have to find him, while at the same time they both battle their own battles - Sam with the doubts about what his powers mean and what the demon's plans for him and the others like him are; and Dean with the guilt and despair of what hunting has cost their family.

Season 2 of Supernatural goes way further than Season 1 ever did. Although the main story-arc is more central than before, there is still time for a lot of stand-alone episodes, and it is there that the evolution becomes obvious. Gone are the formulaic plots, and this time around almost none of the stories is truly predictable. Both the rhythm and twists are original and fresh, and there are no two episodes that feel alike.

Sadly, the main story-line is a lot more convoluted and... well, angsty than the previous season. The brothers' personal demons tend to get a little tedious, showing for the first time a major flaw in the show - apart from a few awesome exceptions, Supernatural doesn't do very convincing drama. Sure, it doesn't fall entirely flat either, but unlike shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which it imitates in some ways), there is no actual character development throughout the season. Instead, the issues tend to just either be pushed aside, or resolve themselves behind the camera.

That said, Season 2 is still a lot better than the first one in many aspects. To compensate for the loss of... freshness... of the Winchesters, we now have Bobby who makes multiple appearances throughout the season, as well as Ellen (Samantha Ferris) - the owner of the Roadhouse, where Hunters gather - and her daughter Jo (Alona Tal), both of whom are really awesome, and it's a crime that they show up in so few episodes.

There are a few really memorable episodes in this season, such as the opener In My Time of Dying, and the last stand-alone, What Is And What Should Never Be - both of which are basically Dean-centered, and show off his coolness in two drastically different ways. Another great story is Tall Tales, which deals with a homicidal ghost, alien abduction and alligators in the sewers (yes, exactly!), as well as the absolutely hilarious POVs of the Winchesters when they are pissed at each other and tell Bobby different versions of what's been going on. The two-part finale, All Hell Breaks Loose, finally reveals the Yellow-eyed demon's master plan, and puts an end to that story-arc. Sadly, the whole deal with the superpowered kids is ultimately rather underwhelming, but the ending is still epic as hell (see what I did there?).

Season 2 of Supernatural is in some ways less enjoyable to watch than Season 1, but it establishes a lot more of the world, raises the stakes a lot higher for the next seasons, and gets a lot deeper into the brothers' convoluted relationship. It is also a lot smarter, which is also part of why it's a little less enjoyable, but in the end, it's just as much worth seeing as the first season, and I'd even say more, since it closes a big chapter in the Winchester story. The hunt has ended. Now the war is starting.


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