'Supernatural' preview: Five things to know going into season 8

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Image Credit: Ed Araquel

The big question going into the new season of Supernatural — one of many — is how the brothers’ relationship will be effected by Dean’s return from Purgatory. (Did Sam abandon Dean?  Is Dean damaged again — like after Hell?) The sneak peek scene released a few days ago also called into question what happened while Cas and Dean were down below that resulted in Cas not making it out of Purgatory at the same time as Dean.

Clearly, there are lots of questions, and we’ve got some teases from stars Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, and Misha Collins on set in Vancouver.Let’s talk about Dean…
As we know, at the end of last season Dean and Cas get sent to Purgatory. But now that Dean is out, “what happened there has changed his outlook and his perspective on things,” says Ackles. “These guys are always kind of at war with the evils of the world, but he got a heavy, heavy dose of it down there. He was surrounded by the things that he kills when he’s topside. It was almost a concentrated version of what he’s used to.” The result? A warrior that doesn’t know how to shut down now that he’s back on Earth. “He’s a solider that just got back from war. It’s going to take him a little while to adjust to the lack of threat, and the lack of combat,” Ackles says.

So, did Sam abandon Dean?
Even though Sam did pull the plug on the search for his brother after he went poof in the finale, as Jared Padalecki sees it, Sam had no other option. “Sam was like, ‘You know what? I was in a room and Dick Roman vanished and Castiel vanished, Kevin Tran is gone, I have no Bobby, I have no [Cas], I have nothing. I’m going to take off the hunter garb and just live a normal life because I have nothing to tie me back,” he says. The result? A cozy life in Kermit, Texas, with a girl named Amelia, a dog, and a no hunting. “There’s absolutely nothing holding Sam back from a normal life so he really commits to it, and so when it all comes crashing back down [after Dean returns], it’s like a brutal reminder yet again of who he kind of has been and is possibly meant to be. He isn’t so happy about it,” says Padalecki.

Does Sam still want to be a hunter?
Um, not really? “Sam is saying [to Dean] ‘Listen, let bygones be bygones. I’ll help you out but when this is done, I’m out for real. I’ve experienced life without hunting at all,’” says Padalecki. Of course, this perspective is nothing new for Sam. In fact, that’s how the series began. But the big difference is that Sam is not on this current journey seeking vengeance (like he was after Jessica died) — just peace. “[Sam is going to try to] help [Dean] out in the task at hand and hopefully then do his own thing again,” says Padalecki. “We both believe that we’re onto something that will end our hunting careers forever, so Sam’s like, ‘You know what? Perfect. Because I know what it’s like to not have an anchor into the hunting aspect of life so I would love to actually not have a need for that hunting aspect of life, and if this can solve that, then I’m in.’”

WHERE’S CAS?!?!
You won’t see Cas for a bit, but luckily, Misha Collins was on set when EW stopped by (whew!) and filled us in. “Cas comes back. I think we’re seeing a Cas that’s actually kind of closer to the Cas in Seasons 4 and 5,” he says. “[He] has regained a bit of his innocence and all of his sanity. His screws are not nearly as loose as they were last year.” More info to come after fans see more of his story unfold this season…(In other words: Keep a close eye on Spoiler Room.)

Who’s Benny?
Benny is a new character who will have a connection with Dean. They spent time in Purgatory together, and Ackles describes their “odd” relationship one Dean never would have imagined having before going to Purgatory — because Benny is not human. “He’s been at war with this guy,” he says. “On paper, it’s not the kind of character Dean would allow to live, much less team up with. But Benny really earned his stripes with Dean. He earned his trust, which is really difficult not only for Dean to understand, but even more difficult for Sam to understand when Dean comes back.”

Supernatural Season 8 premieres tonight on the CW.

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