SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not watched “Lost and Found,“ the Oct. 12 Season 13 premiere of “Supernatural.”
“Supernatural” star Jared Padalecki admits that there always comes a point in the summer before the long-running CW drama is scheduled to go back into production that he wonders just what the show will do now to keep things fresh, interesting and yes, scary. But after the events of last season’s finale, which saw Lucifer’s son Jack (Alexander Calvert) born, as well as the introduction of an alternate world in which Sam (Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) had never been born, let alone saved the world, he felt confident the 13th season would feel “super fresh.”
And things are off to a strong, even if dark, start. After Jack initially used his powers on Sam and Dean to escape the cabin and go looking for his father, the Winchesters were able to catch up with him and turn the tables by saving him from a trio of angels who were hunting for the nephilim, who is one of the most powerful creatures on the planet. In traditional form, Dean originally wanted just to kill Jack — who, as it turns out, might not be able to be killed at all, seeing as how an angel blade to the heart (something which should have slowed down his angel and his human side) barely left a mark. Meanwhile, Sam took the approach of trying to understand and bond with him. Although Dean has come around to allowing Jack into their lives (and their bunker) by episode’s end, Sam will still be the one leading the charge on appealing to Jack’s good side.
“I feel like Sam believes he’s good. With all of the s–t that’s happened – all the wrong roads he’s taken – Sam still has this optimism, this hope. He’s trying to manifest that onto Jack, whereas Dean, especially in this episode, he’s concerned he’s not [good],” Padalecki says, noting that the sense of “feeling out there or different” is something he’s always loved as a storyline for Sam, and that’s something the character has in common with Jack.
“Sam doesn’t want to be wrong, and he doesn’t want to be careless if this kid, or this nephilim being, is evil. he doesn’t want to be blind to it, but he definitely does see a chance for redemption. He wants Jack to be good to see the same redemption that I think Sam seeks for himself.”
“Supernatural,” therefore, will be playing with the “nature versus nurture concept” this season, as the Winchesters attempt to guide Jack toward the reasons behind doing good things and saving people. However, outside forces beyond their control are making their marks on him, as well. Already in the premiere he has formed feelings about angels based on the way they came for him. And in the next episode, Asmodeus (guest star Jeffrey Vincent Parise), the new Prince of Hell, is coming after him, too.
The Winchesters’ feelings about themselves will get “transposed” onto how they “parent” Jack and help him deal with these threats. And executive producer Brad Buckner adds that will lend itself to scenes with Sam trying to give Jack lessons on how to harness his powers and only use them at specific times and for good. But gaining full control is going to be a “slow roll out.”
“Right now he is at the mercy of impulse. He senses something or feels something and wham, a power he didn’t even know he has emerges. He is this tremendously powerful figure,” Buckner says. “He just doesn’t know how to access it on a conscious level.”
Just how powerful is Jack? “The nephilim lore is that the nephilim becomes more powerful than the angel who sired it,” says Padalecki. “In this case that angel is an Archangel, Lucifer.”
The only other being with the level of power Jack has may just be God (Rob Benedict), who, as the Season 13 premiere shows, is still ignoring Dean’s pleas for help. For Dean, this kind of “cosmic loss,” coupled with the physical losses of Castiel (Misha Collins) and his mother Mary (Samantha Smith), who he is convinced Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino) has killed over in that alternate world, causes a nihilistic view and overall loss of hope.
Buckner believes such profound grief causes “such inertia” that Dean may be immobilized at times. This may force Sam to “keep the training running.” After all, as Padalecki points out, Sam is not convinced Mary is dead, so he still has enough hope they can get her back if they can get Jack on their side.
“Who knows if it’s a sensation or a feeling he has or dumb hope, but Jack opened the rift once, so maybe he can open it again,” Padalecki acknowledges. “And Sam sometimes creates his own carrot on a stick to go after, so I think Sam, the way he grieves, is to go, ‘OK well, I’m going to focus on this and see if Jack can do this and guide him because I believe in him the way people believed in me.’ So we see Sam taking that route.”
Executive producer Eugenie Ross-Leming notes these opposing ways will lead to “day to day conflict” between the brothers. But that won’t stop them from getting up everyday and continuing to work alongside each other to do what they have always done best. “Things start to unfold that take their attention and suddenly they don’t have as much time to reflect or brood or grieve,” Ross-Leming says. “They have to go into action, and who they are as people is revealed in how they act with the soon-to-be-revealed crises.”
One of these crises might just be the eventual return of Castiel. After all, the Season 13 premiere saw the Winchesters salting and burning his body, and yet somehow he will still manage to bounce back. “There’s some genuine concern about what could have made this happen, who made it happen, why they made it happen. Can you trust it? Can you trust this version? When I came back, I was soulless,” Padalecki says. “Obviously the major emotion is relief and happiness, but as is the case with all ‘Supernatural,’ the other shoe might drop.”
“Supernatural” season 13 airs on Thursdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.