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DVD Review: Supernatural: The Complete Fourth Season

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Written by Pirata Hermosa

When Supernatural first started, it was about two estranged brothers, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) Winchester. Sam was going to college and trying to forget about the death of their mother, while Dean was busy following their father and trying to hunt down the demon that killed her. But everything changed when their father went missing and the demon that killed Mrs. Winchester killed Sam’s girlfriend. Vowing to track down the demon and find their father, the two set off for an adventure that would bring them face to face with monsters, demons, and creatures of ancient lore.

While the first two seasons served up storylines more along the monster-of-the-week mindset, seasons three and four made a more dramatic turn bringing the Winchester back-story to the forefront. Dean had a year to live as he traded his soul in order to save his brother’s life. Most of season three covered their attempts to find the demon that owned the contract to his soul and how they might find a way out of the deal. In the season finale, they failed to find an answer and Dean was dragged to hell by the demon Lilith.

Season four starts off four months later. Dean has been in Hell for what has seemed to him like forty years, and suddenly finds himself back on Earth. He remembers every moment of the torment that he suffered, but has no memory of how he managed to escape. Having a hard time dealing with the loss of his brother, Sam turns to the demon Ruby (Genevieve Cortese), who Sam believes is trying to help them. Not only does he become romantically entangled with her, but he is consuming her blood to give himself powers. While Dean is occupied on finding out how and why he escaped from Hell, Sam is finding it harder and harder to keep his newfound powers under control and hidden from his brother.

But what is the one thing that can save a man from Hell? It’s not another demon or blind luck that saved him. The angel Castiel (Misha Collins) was sent down to pluck him from unending torture. Dean has a destiny to fulfill. He is the only person who can stop Lilith from breaking the seals that bind Lucifer to Hell and stop the oncoming apocalypse.

It may seem like the cavalry has arrived to help the brothers combat the forces of evil, but the angels aren’t those written in fairy tales with fluffy white wings overflowing with love and good thoughts. No, these angels are Old Testament, feel-the-wrath-of-God, smite-your-enemies-by-wiping-out-the-entire-city angels. They have their own hidden agenda and they don’t mess around. And when they learn of Sam playing around with dark forces and demon blood, it’s all Dean can do to protect his brother.

Even though season four has a pretty heavy feel to it with the main overall thread, there are still a number of independent episodes that break up the tension rather nicely.

Some of my favorites were:

“Wishful Thinking” is about a town with a real wishing well. Wishes are coming true, but they aren’t exactly what the wisher asked for and are slightly perverted. You’ll never look at your stuffed animals the same way again after watching this one.

“Monster Movie” takes place in a small town during Oktoberfest. It’s filmed in black and white, which fits in perfectly with the fact that Hollywood’s most classic film monsters are prowling the streets.

“After School Special” brings the Winchesters back to one of their former high schools. It contains a number of flashbacks to their childhood and gives you an inside look of how they grew up to be the men they are now.

The Special Features on the DVD are:

1. The Mythologies of Supernatural: From Heaven to Hell is the most interesting extra feature on the DVD. It’s divided into three sections: Paradise, Purgatorio and Inferno. Each section has several small documentaries on how the writers came up with their storylines, and also involves scholars, and authors on Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and Hinduism. It discusses issues about free will, angels, miracles, the war between good and evil, and the origin of Lilith.

2. Creator Commentary on “In The Beginning,” “When The Levee Breaks,” “Lucifer Rising.”

3. Extended Unaired Scenes from “Lazarus Rising,” “In The Beginning,” “Heaven And Hell,” “On The Head of a Pin,” “The Monster At The End of This Book,” “The Rapture,” and “Lucifer Rising.”

4. The Gag Reel is a rather long set of clips from the show. There are a couple of practical jokes, a lot of farting, and then a lot of random laughing during the middle of takes.

Supernatural is one of the better shows currently on the air. It’s a well-written show that does an excellent job of balancing its darker moments with just the right amount of levity and inside jokes. It reminds me of a Joss Whedon show, slightly more serious and just a little cooler. Some of the episodes are as good as or better than any horror film you might see in the theatres.

I don’t want to spoil the cliffhanger for anyone, but I can’t wait for Season Five to start because Lucifer and the Apocalypse are coming.

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  • Phillip Winn

    Yeah, can’t say much without spoiling the final moments of the season, but heck yes, I’m eager for season 5.

    Interesting that you see it as like a Joss Whedon show. I hadn’t made any comparison, mainly because I don’t think the dialog is as clever as Whedon would right, but thematically, I think you’re right.