This was a pretty painful season to watch thanks to the fact the characters that we’ve spent two seasons coming to love are pretty systematically broken down. Whether the episode is primarily comedic, action or angst, you’re constantly aware of the fact that Dean is under a death sentence and Sam is desperate to save him. The characters shift accordingly and the two actors are beyond superb at portraying the varying levels of denial, acceptance, brevado and terror. It’s superb, but extremely depressing.
The show again made an attempt to introduce more supporting characters, two new women joined the cast and I wasn’t overly taken with either of them. Ruby the Friendly Demon felt a little too convenient, popping up exactly when needed and lacking any real chemistry with anyone. Bela had better chemistry and an interesting background but the conclusion to her story was awful, possibly a victim of losing several episodes off the season due to the writers strike. Neither worked as well for me as Ellen or Jo did and I missed them. Thank goodness for Bobby who continues to steal every scene he is in and shamelessly tell the boys what “eejots” they are.
Plot wise, there’s some great classics in this batch. Despite the depressing overall theme, there’s lots of laughter to be had from Supernatural’s take on classic TV tropes like Groundhog Dag, a Christmas special and the Ghostfacers reality show. The season opener with the seven deadly sins is a great opener and Jus in Bello is a good mid-season big episode which neatly resolves the FBI plot. There are very few throw-away episodes, even the most ‘monster of the week’ episodes still have a great mix of fun, action and angst.