Season nine of The CW's Supernatural got off to the rare start of having both Winchester brothers physically together on (even if they were emotionally and spiritually separated for the majority of) the premiere, so it was only fitting that when LA TV Insider Examiner visited with them on set in Vancouver* earlier this month, the boys sat side by side to talk about how the season premiere, "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here," set up the conflict and emotion to come for the season.
We have seen countless times before that either brother lying or simply keeping some bits of information from the other ends in a rift between them, even if just for a short amount of time. Last season there was a bit more of an even playing field with both keeping something from each other-- Dean's (Jensen Ackles) secret being his friendship and bond with Benny and Sam's (Jared Padalecki) being the seriousness of his relationship with Amelia-- but this year it's much more one-sided, as Dean has struck a deal with an angel (creatures who we have learned can often just be devils with wings) in order to heal Sam. We've seen similar deals before, too, and they usually come with consequences. Though it's too early to know if Ezekiel (Tahmoh Penikett) has darker motives and may have played Dean a little bit with just how much he could help Sam versus use Sam to help himself, the weight of the lie will certainly take its toll on the brothers.
"Dean is harboring some secrets from Sam as we know, as we like to do. We were just talking about that-- there's a scene coming up in…today's work [in episode 9.08] where something's said like 'Well, you really, you brothers have each other, and that's what counts right?' Yeah, but the brothers are constantly lying to each other, hiding something from each other!" Ackles said.
While we have also seen characters possessed before, Padalecki pointed out that the angel turn here excited him as an actor because it's a bit more unpredictable but also because the ramifications are so much greater because of the place Sam got to in his mind first, dealing with death.
"Sam's not going to be happy [when he learns what Dean did, though]. We see Sam with death kind of making good with it, kind of making the decision to kind of go 'All right, I've done some good, I can walk away.' And Bobby telling him 'You've done your bit; nobody gets a legacy like that.' So we see Sam come to terms with 'You know, I've led a good life; I've done my damnedest, and I've done some bad unfortunately, but I've tried to do good.' So we see Sam come to a point where he's happy to move on, so I think with the fact that Sam finally found that place, I think he's obviously going to be unhappy that his brother lied and that he's been lied to. That never turns out well," Padalecki said.
Plus, Sam may have woken up at the end of the season premiere, but Padalecki promised that is not it for Ezekiel ("Ezekiel stays around for awhile…It's not like [snaps fingers] Sam's better! I like that it's kind of like a work in progress and that slowly but surely, Sam is kind of healing-- presumably," Padalecki said). This puts Dean in the unique position of not knowing if his brother will be present in his own body when he needs him.
"It is a bit of an eggshell situation for Dean that he's not used to…He doesn't have Cas, and he doesn't have his brother, so he doesn't have his support system like he used to…He's got his car. He's got his car and his music, so the beginning of this situation has been a little difficult for him because he kind of feels like he's on an island," Ackles said.
Speaking of Castiel (Misha Collins), Ackles went on to say that the boys have to come to terms with Castiel in his human state, but first Castiel has to do that for himself, and that is not an easy thing to digest for anyone.
"Cas has always been a very useful tool for the boys…and now there is a big change in him, and in his adjustment we're going to have to adjust to him and his situation as well," Ackles said.
"He runs into an issue with a female, and then I tell him to get his ass back to the bunker. But then because he's there and because of what Sam's going through with his situation, there's a bit of a conflict...And Cas doesn't have the power that he needs to defend himself or protect himself or to protect us, so Dean has to literally sit down with him and be like, 'You've got to go.' And that then sends Cas out on his own [for a bit]."
Castiel and Ezekiel do know each other from "the past," per Collins, who also added that Cas "knows him to be a good guy," so at least we shouldn't have to worry about Ezekiel tinkering around with Sam or using Dean during a vulnerable moment in order for some kind of nefarious, selfish gain. What we saw with him taking on angrier angels with less stellar motives in the season premiere should indicate the kind of stand-up guy he is.
"There's a big war in heaven, and we're not in heaven, but the war that was in heaven is now on Earth and hardcore, so there are factions of angels that are out for Castiel, so I know Ezekiel probably feels that it's unsafe to have Cas around because if Cas is a beacon for angels to show up then [everyone's in danger]," Padalecki said.
The guys may have aid from a new angel on their side, but they also have something else going for them this season: the home base of the Men of Letters bunker! It has such a deep meaning for the mythology of the Winchester lineage, and it provides such a wealth of knowledge about various historical time periods, cultures, and creatures, that this season it is getting expanded.
"We get to see a lot more of the Men of Letters bunker," Ackles said.
"There's a giant garage, which it's about time! I've been begging for that ever since we introduced the Men of Letters because it's like 'Come on, really? Just leave the Impala out on the street? Cover it up with some bushes and stuff?' So baby's finally got some place to sleep. And now we've got a kitchen; we've got more bedrooms; we've got a computer room, so we've expanded that set, which is great because it's always fun when you can flesh something like that out."
Supernatural airs on The CW on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. Click here for our video chat with Ackles and Padalecki and stay tuned for more from the set as other episodes unfold!
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* Travel and accommodations provided by WBTV