Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, Supernatural


It's good to have the Winchester brothers back.

Supernatural returned for its eighth season tonight with "We Need to Talk About Kevin," which picked up a year after Dean (Jensen Ackles) landed in purgatory and Sam (Jared Padalecki) was left all lone.

Cue 365 days later, a hardened Dean is out of purgatory, and he didn't escape alone, and Sam has given up hunting and found himself a nice girlfriend. But when Kevin (Osric Chau) the prophet needs help, they hit the road and pick up their new season-long mission in the process.

Here, executive producers Jeremy Carver and Bob Singer spill what's next for Sam and Dean and what to expect from the rest of the season.

While it seems like Dean was piling on Sam in the premiere for not looking for him and giving up the life, don't expect it to stay that way. "What happens is that these brothers start to discover more about what they've done in their past year and might those tables turn in terms of who has to answer for what," Carver teases. "I think everybody will get their licks in. No one is going to be a beaten dog for too long."

Of course, Sam spent the last year with his new girlfriend Amelia (Liane Balaban), someone he doesn't share too much information about with his brother. "It represents something to him, it represents essentially another way, another life, and that's very much where he is coming into this season right now," Singer says. "So, it's something he'd rather to keep to himself than share."

While we saw how they met (she was the vet who saved the dog Sam hit, which he later takes home with him), expect flashbacks to share more about the relationship. While Singer says there won't be flashbacks in every episode, Carver says they will factor heavily into the first 13 episodes of the season.

As for Benny (Ty Olsson), Dean's vampire buddy he left purgatory and seems to have developed a close friendship with, expect him to eventually cause a rift between the brothers.

"I think you'll see Benny playing a pretty important part in his physical presence and I guess his psychological presence. The idea of Benny I think hangs over our brothers pretty heavily, certainly as the year goes along," Carver explains. "So he's a guy who has a tremendous bearing and he's really working out wonderfully. A really complex character and…has a really interesting wrinkle into our brothers' relationship this year and how we deal with something like this."

Of course, the premiere didn't show us how Dean and Benny went from reluctant allies to friends who call each other "brother," but Carver promises that the flashbacks will fill in the blanks. "I think the intriguing question hopefully the premiere asks you see this warmness, but when they meet, you see this reserve and general distrust. How did they get from that to that embrace? And that's what the flashbacks are telling us. So everything you're saying is all part of the stew of purgatory.

One of the most intriguing part of the premiere for us was Dean describing his time in purgatory as "pure."

"I think that one of the last things that you might expect going to a place that's so horrible [is] that someone might have actually considered it something of a happy experience," Carver says. "I think you have to ask yourself why you think it's happening and what is this thing inside of himself that he connected to, this primal side of himself. I think a lot of that is that we use Benny as sort of that thing that is represented of Dean in purgatory."

Finally, the brothers' new mission was revealed by Kevin to be a way to close the gates of hell forever, banishing all demons from Earth. Carver says this will be a "season-long arc," but hints that it could extend beyond season eight. "The questions that come up in this quest and the series of reveals and the series of discoveries are meant be under-paintings for questions, secrets and things that will be explored in future seasons." Singer adds, "Jeremy's hell-bent on multiple seasons." To this we say: Hell yeah.

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