Supernatural: The Complete Seventh Season [Blu-Ray]

Supernatural: The Complete Seventh Season [Blu-Ray]
When the seventh season of surprisingly consistent and grim CW series Supernatural opens, the angel Castiel (Misha Collins) has absorbed all of the souls from purgatory and is pronouncing himself God. Having been the driving force behind Sam's (Jared Padalecki) return from Hell in the sixth season, his new power comes as a deep betrayal to the Winchester brothers, who must now wage battle against their ally while coping with Sam's gradual mental breakdown, unable to distinguish reality from delusion. But in addition to becoming all-powerful and struggling with the implications of maintaining his physical form on Earth, Castiel has brought in entities other than lost souls ― referred to as Leviathans ― from purgatory, which eventually escape and hide in human form. This season progresses with the looming threat of the Leviathans remaining mostly on the periphery for the first half, gradually gaining power in politics and corporations in a seeming effort to take over the world via capitalist ideologies. Sam and Dean (Jensen Ackles) return to their hunter roots, travelling through the country, killing off various ghosts and demons that pop up in small towns. Their relationship is put to an additional test when a potentially harmless demon from Sam's past shows up, killing deeply flawed men to feed her sick son. While Sam is willing to overlook this regression, Dean decides to kill her anyways, keeping it a secret. It's this perpetual distrust and tendency towards alcoholism and promiscuity, in an effort to subdue feelings of guilt, which creates friction throughout. This is exacerbated by the eventual demise of their ersatz father figure and confidante, Bobby (Jim Beaver). Existential crisis is key amidst the graphic violence and routine decapitations, since the thematic trajectory is one of identity reflection. Throughout this season, both brothers are routinely confronted with their past, whether it's pertaining to loss or guilt. Unable to trust each other completely, they forge out into the world completely alone, having no purpose beyond the slaughter of various demons. But without a grounding force, what is the point in forging out into the world and fighting? While thematically richer than previous seasons, the gravitation towards monster-of-the-week over core mythology is somewhat disappointing during these 23 episodes. Once the show finally addresses the overlying conflict, everything becomes more engaging, but some of the gimmicks, such as a time-travelling adventure with Elliott Ness, are tedious. Included with the Blu-Ray are a handful of commentary tracks, in addition to a supplement about scoring the music for the Ness episode. There's also the standard diatribe about the stressful nature of directing for television, which has no added surprises or insights we haven't learned from every other box set. (Warner)