Supernatural, Ep 8.08: “Hunteri Heroici” adds emotional weight to Sam’s backstory while playing homage to Looney Tunes cartoons

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Supernatural, Season 8, Episode 8: “Hunteri Heroici”
Written by Andrew Dabb
Directed by Paul A. Edwards
Airs Wednesdays at 9pm (ET) on CW

The return of Castiel from purgatory last week opened a new chapter in the eighth season of Supernatural; while the story of what happened to Castiel and Dean in purgatory was resolved, the looming question was what the angel would do now. A return to heaven was not an immediately feasible option for the angel, both because of what he had done with the purgatory souls in him, and because of Naomi, the angel who introduced herself at the end of last week, most likely having barred Castiel’s entry. Staying with the Winchesters, and going on hunts with them, thus seems like the most viable course of action for the angel, and this week explores the ramifications of that, adding another enjoyable episode to an already strong eighth season run.

The story of Sam and Amelia gained some real traction this week, and benefitted from having the most resonance with the main plot of the episode, as well as with Castiel’s plight. While the story of how Same spent his year while Dean was in purgatory has been interesting, it has, to this point, been a secondary concern to the overarching story of the week, tying in only due to Sam being part of both stories. Supernatural, however, has had an ability to tie in stories thematically, perhas the best example of which is the Season 4 episode Criss Angel is a Douchebag, and this episode proved once again that the thematic tie-in of all stories is something the show is still able to pull off successfully.

The re-introduction of Amelia’s previously-dead husband Don also brings up some interesting implications, made more sinister by Sam’s declaration that running away is impossible. There are several supernatural possibilities as to what Don is now, including being possessed, being a shapeshifter, and being a leviathan, all of which would require Sam to call on the skills he has, at this point, clearly not told Amelia about, or even practiced since Dean’s banishment to purgatory. If Sam is forced to kill fake Don in front of Amelia, it will add quite a dark pall to his earlier assertion to Dean that he wants out of the hunter’s life.

Castiel’s story was also fascinating to watch this episode. There’s a lot of potential in his story with Heaven, who Naomi and her group are, and what their ultimate plan is. It’s obvious that, whatever their end goal is, it isn’t entirely honourable, or else the cloak and dagger approach would not be necessary. At the same time, dishonest Angels have been a massive concern for the Winchesters, which would make the shady approach understandable. However, Crowley’s actions in the past have indicated he and Heaven are not on the friendliest of terms either, bringing to mind what Naomi and her group are working on, exactly. If it isn’t a way to stop Crowley, then that adds another issue the Winchesters are sure to be blinsided by. If, on the other hand, it is a Crowley based issue, the secrecy suggests there’s some adverse effect to closing the gates of Hell that the angels are aware of, which is big enough to make the Winchesters reconsider doing it. Either way, this is shaping up to be a very interesting route for the show to explore.

Overall , this was a strong episode, nicely tying in the numerous threads and moving the story forward on most fronts. The story of Fred Jones was a very compelling one, particularly given his history with the Winchesters and his ability, and it was sad to see him incapacitated, as he could have been a valuable elder statesman to guide the Winchesters, effectively taking on the roles that both Bobby and Pamela Barnes vacated. The looney tunes aspect of the episode was also played well, with the perfect mix between comedy and horror, a line the show has proven itself adept at walking before, and the numerous homages were fun to see, as was Castiel’s deep interpretation of what the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote really represented (which is also somehow oddly fitting). Seeing how Castiel further acclimatises to becoming a hunter, as well as discovering what really happened between Sam and Amelia, is enough reason to tune back in next week.

Deepayan Sengupta

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