Meet Jack, the son of Satan.
Tonight's Supernatural premiere was a lot of different things. It was the saddest (fake) goodbye to Castiel (Misha Collins). It was a prime example of the biggest differences between the Winchester brothers, and it was our introduction to Jack, a teen with more issues than it might be possible to convey.
But they're not normal teen issues, of course. They're only issues you can have when you're the day old child of Lucifer and a human named Kelly, and you sped through puberty to the point where you're now a teen searching for a guy you only heard about in utero while simultaneously discovering your love of nougat and your penchant for magically throwing things/people across the room.
Jack (Alexander Calvert) may be the son of Lucifer, but he might also not be totally evil, and that's where Sam (Jared Padelecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) are having some troubles. Dean's ready to shoot, and Sam's not so sure.
"Sam doesn't want to be wrong, he doesn't want to be careless if this kid, or whatever this nephilim being is, is gonna be evil, he doesn't just want to be blind to it, but he certainly does see a bit of a chance for redemption," Padalecki told reporters after a screening of the premiere. "He wants Jack to be good, to see the same redemption that I think Sam seeks himself."
Executive producer Brad Buckner referred to Jack as a "child figure" for Sam and Dean as much as he kind of joins the monster-hunting team, which means we're going to see the brothers bust out their dad skills.
"I think Sam is clearly there," Buckner said. "I think Sam relates to him in lots of ways—that person who doesn't quite belong, the person who has been left abandoned, so I think there's already that kind of psychological bonding going on. Dean's going to take a while."
Buckner says Dean operates off his gut, "and what his gut is telling him is this is the spawn of Satan, and I don't know if that character has ever been presented in a favorable light."
"[Jack] is curious and inquisitive, and willing to believe, and that Sam takes, adding up those positives, so he becomes a parent first," Buckner explained. "Dean is more slow to come around, and is determined to get rid of this problem."
But as fellow EP Eugenie Ross-Leming pointed out, Dean has already been playing father to Sam for a long time now.
"They're children of abandonment, so Dean has a lot of practice in being a parent, and not as much practice in being a child," Ross-Leming says. "But I think with the arrival of Jack, we are dealing now with, you know, yes he's the son of Satan, but he's also the son of humanity, so we don't know actually ourselves where he's gonna go, what his destiny is."
Much of this season is about defining good and evil, according to Ross-Leming, who says that Jack's character has led the writers to start re-defining what is good and evil on the show.
"I think this season will be a little more nuanced," she says. "But I think now we're going to have the ultimate evil maybe not be so ultimate, but with shades of what really evil means in mankind terms. I know that sounds sort of lofty, but I think it's going to play out in terms of real character twists and turns."
Jack's powers are still as undefined as his evilness, and it's going to be a "slow rollout" of what his powers actually are. But Buckner says Jack is definitely more powerful than his dad, Lucifer.
"I think early on, Sam and Dean are probably leading the charge because they also don't want to walk down the street and go like, hey be nice to this kid, he's the son of Satan, don't piss him off," Padalecki says of taking care of Jack. "So the situation requires some tact and some covert opps, but we will obviously be influenced by other factors."
While it seemed at first that Jack was in search of his actual father, Lucifer, he eventually revealed that he was searching for Castiel, who he had chosen as his guardian while in the womb. Buckner explained that he learned a lot of things while in that womb, like English and the fact that Castiel was the perfect guy to look after him.
"He's socially and chronologically naive and new to our world, but he also has this ancient wisdom that I don't think even he knows he has, but he has a knowledge that's sort of imprinted in his essence," Ross-Leming added.
Unfortunately for Jack, his de facto father is dead...for now. This is also unfortunate for Dean, who mourned his dead friend to the point of almost actually crying. He even punched the pirate sign right off the door of the pirate fast food restaurant in manly grief and anger.
We know Castiel is definitely coming back later in the season, though we don't know how (especially now that his body has been burned), so we've got a lot to look forward to when he does eventually return and is reunited with his BFF Dean.
However, there are some serious questions about his resurrection.
"I don't know if we've had somebody come back after they've been salted and burned, you know? So there's some genuine concern about what could have made this happen, who made this happen, why they made it happen," Padalecki says. "Can you trust it? Can you trust this version? You know, when I came back, I was soulless. Is this different? There are a lot of questions in the air. Obviously the major emotion is relief and happiness, but as is the case with all Supernatural, the other shoe might drop."
And yes, Padalecki did confirm that while Misha Collins was laid out on that table pretending to be dead, he did get messed with. But we'll probably have to wait for this season's gag reel to find out exactly how.
"Yeah, oh yeah," Padalecki said, laughing. "He felt so vulnerable...I almost felt bad."
Supernatural airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.