The fifth season of Supernatural continues the show’s vertical ascension to essential viewing, and in turn provides many questions for this autumn’s upcoming sixth season.
We begin in the aftermath of Season 4’s finale, as Sam kills Lillith and, thus unbeknownst to him, has unlocked the gate to free Lucifer from Hell. We must remember at this point that everything which has happened during the mythology of the previous years has been leading to this point, which is a credit to the writers as all the finer details are woven cleverly together, whilst still keep the tone serious and the action relentless.
The show’s main theme this time around is the conflict between Sam and Dean, in light of Sam’s betrayal in the previous season and the subsequent consequences. Early on the brothers and even Bobby become estranged, but ultimately re-unite for the greater good.
Newbie Mark Pellegrino (of Lost fame) joins the cast as Lucifer’s vessel and his seduction by the fallen angel during the season premiere (‘Sympathy For The Devil’) is particularlty well played. Lucifer is painted as a misunderstood and tragic character who was betrayed by his brothers, and ultimately his father. From this point on, Lucifer exudes an onscreen presence which strikes fear into his counterparts, and at times shows his brutal power to devastating effect.
There are also returns early on for mother and daughter hunters Ellen and Jo, who are joined alongside X Files veteran Steven Williams in a town in conflict and confusion over demons.
One of the traits Supernatural has mastered over its five years is the perfect one-off ‘monster of the week’ episodes, which take us out of the show’s heavy mythology and provide some comedic and sometimes bizarre moments. In ‘Fallen Idols’ there is a cameo from socialite queen Paris Hilton, playing herself, in a plot surrounding a Pagan God who has taken the guise of famous faces to claim its victims. Another highlight (‘The End’) throws Dean five years into the future, depicting the world post-apocalypse and the elder Winchester has a chance encounter which makes up his mind on certain issues. The religious connotations are again strong, with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse integrated as the season heads towards its intense conclusion.
Creator Eric Kripke has openly admitted that his plan was to end the show after this series, and after a full-blooded, no holds barred finale you can definitely see why he would have liked to have gone out on such a high. However, with Kripke now departed for the sixth season and the original story arc seemingly complete, it will be intriguing to see where the show goes from here.
Released on DVD and Blu-ray on 18th October 2010 by Warner Home Video.