Supernatural is well into double digits with its season count and there's no real sign of it slowing down soon. Despite the advanced age of the series, Supernatural season 13 has felt like a bit of a fresh start. While not a complete "reboot," the season 12 finale was so explosive (and murderous) that it really did shift the entire course of the series. The first few episodes of season 13 felt like an almost completely different show.
Roughly halfway through season 13, the show does feel slightly more familiar -- the main reason being that Castiel is finally back (as we all knew he would be in the end). Yet there's still something off about season 13. Here are five things that Supernatural season 13 is still missing and needs to find sooner rather than later.
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A Sense of Family
Castiel might be resurrected and Mary Winchester is still alive but Supernatural season 13 is bereft of that core sense of family that brings the series together. Sam and Dean are still at the heart of the show but there's something very strained about their relationship in season 13. After multiple episodes Sam and Dean do finally agree on the fact that Jack is worth saving and protecting. It's not enough yet.
Supernatural has broken the core group apart far too much. Sam and Dean have been fighting way more than working together. Castiel is alive (but imprisoned) and meanwhile Mary is in a completely different dimension. Cas had one episode with Sam and Dean before being thrown into Hell.
One of the reasons to watch Supernatural, if not the chief reason, is the interactions between the characters and the familial love they share. It's something that's not present, so far, in season 13. But hopefully this feeling of distance exists to make the eventual and lasting reunion all the stronger.
A Core (and Interesting) Villain
Supernatural isn't in danger of running out of villains in season 13. There's been a plethora of recurring baddies that have been introduced but so far, they've existed mostly as potential. There are a bunch of characters who are after Jack but none of them has emerged as the main villain, which is strange because Supernatural almost always has a Big Bad each season. There's a villain who drives the action and manages to be oddly charismatic as they do it. In season 13 that formula has been traded for a bunch of smaller villains with little to no personality.
The closest that Supernatural has got to a Big Bad in season 13 is Asmodeus. While the Prince of Hell obviously looks the part of a Supernatural baddie he hasn't really acted as one. His screen time has amounted to little more than scowling. In his brief appearance the new Michael was more interesting and engaging than Asmodeus.
Ketch is back and working with Asomodeus, which is a definite step in the right direction. Still, Supernatural needs to step up its villain game greatly if the show is going to feel more exciting. Supernatural season 13 is a little rudderless without a main villain and Jack's existence as the only significant ongoing plot.
Most of the Humor
Season 13 has also been a profound time of depression in Supernatural. The show has been largely missing its sense of humor. There's none of the inherent fun that usually permeates the series. This darker tone does make sense as the season began with Sam and Dean mourning Castiel and Dean being convinced that Mary was dead. It's hard to have fun in those circumstances but Supernatural has usually found a way to balance the lightness and the dark of its world. In season 13 it's been almost all dark. The only "fun" episode, the cowboy-centric "Tombstone," included Jack accidentally murdering an innocent man.
With an animated Scooby-Doo crossover on the way and the promise of Sam and Dean spending time in a world of dinosaurs, the wackiness is coming. It just can't get to season 13 soon enough. All the aggressive brooding, especially for Dean, needs to go.
Mystery and Horror
In addition to Supernatural missing a sense of joy, it also could use a few more surprises and thrills. Horror isn't as essential to Supernatural as some other elements, although the show was built on creepy monsters. It's still a relatively big part of the show's DNA, one that has been ignored in season 13.
There's been very few surprises and thrills in season 13, although a couple episodes have gotten close. The aforementioned "Tombstone" and the heist-focused "The Scorpion and the Frog" come to mind. The angels hunting Sam, Dean, Jack and Kaia was far more thrilling than it should have been too. These moments have just been too few and far between.
With the opening of the multiverse Supernatural has an opportunity to do new and unexpected things with their mythology. There can be brand-new monsters and magic that hasn't showed up yet in the show. It's a chance that just needs to be seized.
No Real Supporting Cast for Sam and Dean
If Supernatural gets back to its familial roots this issue could disappear, or at least be less noticeable. However, in its current state Supernatural lacks a real supporting cast for Sam and Dean. Yes, Crowley and Rowena died in the season 12 finale.
Still, the show could really stand to pad out its supporting cast, finding replacements for Crowley and Rowena or bringing at least one of them back. It's not just Crowley and Rowena whose presences feel missed in season 13. The show could use analogues for countless other recently deceased characters like Charlie, Death and Bobby. Even Jodi falls into this camp a bit since it's very likely she'll be moving to her own spin-off and will be less available for Supernatural.
Season 13 has introduced a fair number of characters who could be a part of Sam and Dean's hunting team. Jack is the only one who showed up more than once and seems semi-permanent. Constance and Kaia (while great) are destined to belong on Wayward Sisters. Supernatural season 13 should be used to set up the potential spin-off but that's come at the cost of the show rebuilding its own supporting cast.
This, like all of these other problems, is not catastrophic. The problems plaguing Supernatural are small and more importantly simple. Season 13 isn't even on course to becoming one of the show's worst years. These are just slight tweaks that need to happen in the back half of the season to bring the show back up to level of quality it usually brings out.
Do you agree? How have you felt about season 13 so far? Do you think the show is missing these elements? What, if anything, would you change in season 13?
(Image courtesy of the CW)