Supernatural - Season 13, Episode 1 Review 'Lost and Found'.
Disclaimer: I am not a professional reviewer and my opinions are based on my observations as a long-time fan. I’ve never felt confident about reviewing this show largely because of this but I’m going to give it a shot nonetheless.
WARNING: This review contains spoilers for 'Lost and Found'.
So here we are at Season Thirteen, a place I never imagined to find this show when I first started watching Supernatural.
Let me say right off the bat, Season 12 wasn’t great. Mary Winchester’s return, the British Men of Letters (BMOL) and Lucifer’s body jumping were great ideas with poor execution. The much hyped introduction of Lady Toni Bevell as a foil for the Winchester was also a dud. Equally unsatisfying is the unresolved consequence of Reaper Billie’s warning to Castiel before her death. The less said about Mary’s involvement with the BMOL and the general mishandling of the character, the better. Without going into an in-depth analysis of the season, it’s safe to say it felt as if the writers were throwing every idea against the wall to see what stuck.
Despite the scattershot season, Supernatural managed to redeem itself towards the finale with the introduction of what I’m calling Earth-A (as in Apocalypse).
While the concept of an alternate dimension is hardly original, a reality where Azazel never got to play his long game with the Winchesters opens up a wealth of possibilities, not to mention the opportunity to see some old favourites. This, along with Castiel’s search for Kelly Kline, after the angel spent much of the season doing little except extolling family virtues like an articulate Vin Diesel, provides the set up for Season 13. Last but not least, Mark Pellegrino’s triumphant return as Lucifer fills the void left by Mark Sheppard’s beloved Crowley.
Episode 1 of Season 13, ‘Lost and Found’ opens with the fallout from Season 12’s finale. Considering the carnage, it’s a rather low key opening with Sam dealing with Kelly’s child, who for the sake of expediency, has arrived as a teenager. Really does anyone want to see the Impala fitted with a baby carrier? Named Jack, the newborn (Alexander Calvert) is understandably confused by the absence of the father he expected to greet him on arrival. It’s a nice surprise to learn it’s Castiel Jack is referring to, not Lucifer.
And I hope I’m not the only one who thinks Alexander Calvert looks a hell of a lot like Misha Collins.
Watching Sam and Dean’s reactions to Nephilim Jack, is very reminiscent of the boys’ contrasting views to hunting early on in their partnership. While Sam’s approach is to reach out, Dean’s first impulse is to draw which is perfectly understandable under the circumstances. Losing Castiel, on top of Mary and frenemy Crowley, is a blow even for his ability to endure and while we’ve seen Dean dealing with loss before, this time the cuts are especially deep.
One of the great injustices of the current television landscape, is the failure to recognise the brilliant performances of the actors on this show, as evidenced by Dean’s heartbreaking prayer to Chuck/God to restore his mother and Castiel. Jensen Ackles’ performance was a perfect mix of despair and desperation, showing the fault lines beginning to appear in Dean Winchester’s granite moral core. Meanwhile Jared Padalecki conveys Sam's conflicting priorities with a nuanced and subtle performance, as the character struggles to humour his brother’s fears, while keeping his eye on the bigger picture with Jack.
As always in Supernatural, the serious dramatic moments are balanced by humour, which is welcomed in an episode this heavy in emotional baggage. The sequence involving Jack’s arrival at Pirate Pete’s Jolly Treats, where he encounters two contrasting millennials, the entitled douchebag Clark and the responsible loser who doesn’t even get a name, is fun. I loved the Kevin Smith bit of idiocy involving the menu board and the duo thinking Jack’s one sided conversation with Pirate Pete in the nude no less, is the result of a bad trip.
Equally fun is Jack’s brief bonding with Clark, as the newly minted Nephilim begins to discover his powers. Aside from being able to defend himself, he’s boss when it comes to vending machines and the sequence goes to show just how much of a blank slate he is. The scene also reminds us just how much time has passed since the Winchesters first started riding together. In fact, they’re not really boys anymore and may have to cross the generational divide to connect with Jack. After all, Jack did mistake Sam for his dad. Ouch!
We’re also introduced to another lady Sheriff, this one named Christine Barker, mom to the
abovementioned Clark (I’m wondering if there’s not some Clive Barker homage going on here). By the end of the episode, Sheriff Christine joins Jody and Donna as the growing number of lady sheriffs sympathetic to the hunters’ cause. Seriously, if the Wayward Daughters’ spin-off doesn’t work, this is the Charlie’s Angels spin we need.
Once again we get three disposable angels who without their angel blades are virtually indistinguishable from demons. While I appreciate the show’s efforts to depict both camps as guilty of the same conceit, it would be nice to see some characterisation beyond their usual smite first, snark later personalities. The last interesting angel we saw that wasn’t Castiel, was Hannah in Season 11 and she’s dead. The angel Miriam in this episode was downright annoying with her Becky drama and so interchangeable with a demon, I thought the whole mission to retrieve Jack was a joint angel/demon operation. I mean really, by the time she was killed by Sam, I was 100% on Becky’s side.
The episode reaches its epilogue with a funeral for both Castiel and Kelly Kline. Unfortunately, the emotional punch of this is somewhat blunted for the audience because we know Castiel will be back and we didn’t know Kelly long enough to really feel her loss. This may change however, as the season progresses because I suspect we’re going to learn a lot more about her through Jack.
Dean is still shellshocked and angry from the deaths, having written off Mary for good even though anyone who’s ever read a comic book or watched serialised television knows this is premature. Sam on the other hand, sees an opportunity to gain Jack's help in retrieving Mary while Dean’s only interest is keeping the kid close until Jack can be killed. I’m hoping Castiel’s eventual return changes his mind because Jack is growing on me.
In the final teaser, we see Mary on the run from Lucifer on Earth-A before he catches up to her and states his intention to keep her alive. No doubt Lucifer intends to use her as leverage against the boys to get his son back later on in the season.
Aside from the poorly characterised angels, this was a solid episode with all the right beats. Despite Sam and Dean’s disagreements about Jack, the character is one of the more interesting additions to the cast in recent history and he takes his place with the boys quite seamlessly. Watching him grapple with his powers while staving off angels who want to kill him and demons trying to recruit him, has me sufficiently invested even at this early stage. Furthermore, I look forward to seeing Dean overcome his prejudices to protect Jack the way Castiel intended.
Between the Nephilim story arc and what’s going on in Earth-A, the season is off to a strong start because they’re both equally compelling.