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The Winchesters Premiere Sets Up a New Supernatural Threat and Potential Love Triangle

The CW prequel wastes no time complicating the narrative Supernatural constructed over the course of 15 seasons.
  • Meg Donnelly and Drake Rodger in The Winchesters (Photo: The CW)
    Meg Donnelly and Drake Rodger in The Winchesters (Photo: The CW)

    Editor's Note: This story contains spoilers for the first episode of The Winchesters.

    A centuries-old supernatural presence, an underground secret society, a near-fatal encounter with a terrifying demon... Supernatural is definitely back. The premiere of The CW’s prequel series The Winchesters relies on many of the tried-and-true tropes from the original series, right down to the characters’ effort to find their fathers, both of whom disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

    Family looms large over the premiere, which brings together John Winchester (Drake Rodger) and Mary Campbell (Meg Donnelly) — the parents of Supernatural’s Dean and Sam — at a crucial point in their lives. Upon returning home from a stint in Vietnam, John receives a mysterious letter from his father, who left without warning 15 years prior, telling him to go to an abandoned building on the outskirts of town. There, he encounters Mary, and he watches in awe as she exorcizes a demon from its host. It’s then that John learns about the existence of the paranormal, but rather than run in the opposite direction, he commits to helping Mary find her own father, a lifelong demon hunter who went missing on a recent expedition.

    John and Mary soon realize that their stories are intertwined: Before he disappeared, Mary’s father was looking into a secret society called the Men of Letters, of which John’s father was a member. Centuries ago, the Men of Letters built a monster trap to destroy the Akrida, a malevolent force determined to end humanity and take over the world. The discovery gives John and Mary’s search a larger purpose and establishes the Akrida as The Winchesters’ Big Bad, but in order to get to them, the duo and their fellow demon hunters Carlos (Jonathan “Jojo” Fleites) and Latika (Nida Khurshid) must first overcome a series of less powerful, but still sinister, creatures.

    Though The Winchesters premiere is relatively straightforward in its attempt to introduce these characters and the stakes of their battle with the Akrida, executive producer and showrunner Robbie Thompson promises there are “big twists” to come, particularly as it relates to the show’s relationship with Supernatural. The prequel is narrated by Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles, also an executive producer), but it quickly becomes apparent that the story he and his brother have been told about the early years of their parents’ relationship is not entirely accurate. In a panel before the premiere, Thompson revealed the show will drop “hints” about these thorny questions throughout its first season, before “pulling it all back in Episode 13,” the season finale. Producers teased that this reveal will help differentiate The Winchesters from Supernatural, while also filling in gaps in the franchise’s lore.

    Approaching The Winchesters as a Better Call Saul-style prequel, as Thompson explained, also gives the show space to probe the characters’ relationships. The premiere ably sets up John and Mary’s eventual marriage with stolen glances and flirty moments, as when John accurately predicts Mary likes her coffee black, “the same as [her] worldview,” and Mary, using the same logic, hands him one that’s “too sweet.” But this is still The CW, where the road to happy couple-dom is paved with misdirections: The episode also features a sweet scene between John and Latika, who bond over their relative inexperience with demon hunting. “Maybe we could be nervous together,” he tells her, as the music swells. When the camera cuts to Mary, her jealousy is apparent, the surest sign that The Winchesters is setting up a love triangle, a surprising move considering we know where John and Mary’s journey will take them. It’s a decision that’s likely to anger longtime Supernatural fans, who expect a certain degree of narrative continuity from the prequel.

    The premiere ends with a promise from Dean, who’s seen leaning against his beloved 1967 Chevy Impala as he writes in his journal. “Like I told you, there’s going to be some surprises. Hell, I’m still trying to find all the puzzle pieces myself,” he says. “But I’ll explain everything. And until then, I’ll keep picking the music.”

    Dean’s words serve as both a comfort and a warning for fans. Yes, The Winchesters reunites viewers with younger versions of their favorite characters, but it will also complicate the narrative Supernatural so carefully constructed over the course of 15 seasons. Fans may know how this story ends, but The Winchesters premiere reminds us that there’s plenty to explore along the way.

    The Winchesters airs Tuedays at 8:00 PM ET on The CW.

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    Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.

    TOPICS: The Winchesters, The CW, Nida Kurshid, Supernatural, Drake Rodger, Jensen Ackles, Jonathan "Jojo" Fleites, Meg Donnelly, Robbie Thompson