You’d think that after surviving Lucifer and the apocalypse, there are not many interesting places Sam and Dean Winchester could go. With five seasons now behind them, that book has been closed. Now one year later, a new chapter begins with the episode entitled “Exile on Main St.”
Dean is now a family man. Cue Bob Seger’s song, “Beautiful Loser.” A nice montage that compares clips of his hunter life to his suburban one plays out to the song.
It perfectly describes what Dean’s life has become: barbecues, a steady job, and family. Living with his girlfriend Lisa and her son Ben has become his cookie cutter life. Did I mention that he drives a truck? The poor Impala has been hidden under a tarp this whole time!
However, Dean begins to get the unnerving feeling that something is wrong as he begins to see claw marks all around his home. That’s when he runs into the yellow-eyed demon, Azazel.
Now the yellow-eyed demon has been dead since the end of season 2, so it was as much of a surprise to Dean as it was to myself to see him again. As Azazel attacks Dean, Sam appears out of nowhere to save him.
Dean’s shock continues as Sam reveals that the yellow-eyed demon he has been seeing is a hallucination. A creature called the djinn has poisoned him. Dean can’t believe Sam is alive and never told him. Sam admits that he wanted Dean to have his “apple pie life,” but because of the djinn he knew he had to reveal himself.But wait. Another surprise? Turns out, Sam has been hunting with none other than their grandfather Samuel Campbell and some Campbell cousins. The last time Samuel Campbell was alive was before the brothers were even born. He was killed by the yellow-eyed demon. Whoever brought back Sam, also brought back their grandfather as well. The question is who? The angel Castiel has been absent from the scene. Was it him?
However the Winchester brothers’ have bigger problems and that is facing off against a group of djinns. As the group of hunters fights, Dean is poisoned again. He has a nightmare that has the yellow-eyed demon killing his girlfriend Lisa in the same manner that his mom was killed. It brought me back to the pilot, as did many other moments in this episode. The show does a good job of alluding to past events and reflecting on them.
Does Samuel Campbell have an alternate agenda? Why did he capture the female djinn before Sam and Dean got back? I’m curious to see where his storyline takes us this season. It’s nice having another father figure in the boys’ lives, even though I foresee a conflict between them in the future.
The final talk between Sam and Dean after defeating the djinn was reminiscent of the pilot. The roles have seemingly reversed for the two brothers. Dean has become more caring of those around him and Sam has become a hardened hunter. Like Dean had done in season 1, Sam reminded Dean that he was a hunter. It is who he is. Yet surprisingly, Dean decides he’d rather stay with Lisa and Ben. I was shocked to say the least. I was expecting him to jump right back into the Impala and drive off.
This episode brought back memoires of the early seasons before the angels and demons story overshadowed the creatures the two brothers hunted. I was slightly disappointed Bobby didn’t have much to do and Castiel didn’t appear at all, but I’m sure their storylines will be more significant as the time goes on.
The episode stuck strictly to Dean’s transformation after a year and it was a solid look at that. With all types of creatures running amuck on Earth, I have no idea what’s ahead for the boys and that makes me excited to watch for what happens next. When will Dean get back in the hunting game? Will we ever find out how Samuel Campbell and Sam Winchester were pulled from heaven and hell? Is there a bigger force out there waiting for the brothers down the road?
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.