Supernatural: The Complete Fourth Season

Supernatural: The Complete Fourth Season
When season three ended with Dean (Jensen Ackles) being vividly ripped to pieces and dragged to hell by hellhounds, it was a sure bet that season four would arrive with a resurrection of some sort anchoring yet another season-long demonic battle. Well, there was indeed a resurrection some time after Dean's death, albeit one without a quick explanation, creating a bit of initial confusion in the world of the Winchester brothers. Eventually, Castiel (Misha Collins), an ass-kicking angel, arrives foretelling of Lilith's (Katharine Boecher) intention to break multiple earthbound seals, thereby unleashing hell. Meanwhile, Sam (Jared Padalecki) has been playing around with his dark powers, urged on by seemingly friendly demon Ruby (Genevieve Cortese), stepping ever closer to his destiny as an evil superpower. While season four has a slightly more ominous tone than those preceding, with more brotherly dissonance and over-the-top, battle-in-heaven plotting, trademark inappropriate humour and convention defiance pop in every once in awhile, keeping the series in check. For example, Dean and Sam run off to fight demons in a small town where the local strip bar has sirens for strippers that deceive the local men into handing over their money and killing their wives. Another episode features a little girl bringing her teddy bear to life, only to find him suffering an existential crisis, repeatedly attempting suicide because life was nothing more than a series of meaningless tea parties. In addition to these amusing diversions, the series takes the cheesy route in introducing a long-lost half-brother, only to kill him off within an episode, essentially mocking familiar plot devices. This is part of the fun of Supernatural, as it's a fairly unconventional and unsentimental series about unlikely renegade heroes that don't always make the right decisions. And what other series would be so bold as to feature an episode titled "Criss Angel is a Douchebag"? The six-disc box set includes all 22 season four episodes, along with commentary tracks from creator Eric Kripke and writer Sera Gamble on three key episodes. Also included is an amusing gag reel, along with a rather lengthy and involved three-part supplement on heaven, hell and purgatory, giving mythological context to some of the themes introduced in season four. (Warner)