“The Essential Supernatural: On the Road with Sam and Dean Winchester” by Nicholas Knight (Insight Books, $50)
“Supernatural” started in 2005 as a simple horror television show. It has become a tangled multi-season series with angels, demons, witches, vampires and the (human) brothers — Dean and Sam Winchester. Their jobs are to actively hunt that which goes bump, rip, and mutilate in the night.
“The Essential Supernatural” by Nicholas Knight is a guidebook to the series which helps since the show’s writers have created a mythology in which the term “meat-sack” has a very specific definition and where normal humans are definitely prey for the supernatural.
The Winchesters, in particular, are at the top of the menu. While evil would like their opposition permanently destroyed, the Winchesters’ “meat-sacks” or bodies are desired by a pair of archangels, the leaders of the “warriors of God.”
“There are four archangels — Michael, Lucifer, Raphael and Gabriel — and they are God’s most terrifying warriors, able to obliterate a “regular angel with a simple snap of their fingers,” says Knight.
Hence, angels have a hard life in “Supernatural.” One fan favorite, Castiel, was introduced in the fourth season but, in the seventh, ended up possessed by Leviathans and drowned in a reservoir.
This did not stop him from returning later in the series.
Death is seldom permanent in “Supernatural.”
Knight says, “How many times have the Winchester brothers died God only knows for sure — quite literally. When Dean and Sam wind up in Heaven after getting murdered by a misguided hunter, resident Heaven expert Ash reveals that the brothers have been there and have had their memories wiped by angels (presumably in order to keep them alive long enough to become Michael’s and Lucifer’s vessels).”
In one episode, Dean dies “over a hundred different ways when he repeated the same deadly day over and over again thanks to the Archangel Gabriel.”
Collateral damage in the shape of a high body count has cost the brothers many friends. “The Essential Supernatural” lists many who are eaten by demons, come back to life and have to be executed. Some died violent deaths becoming ghosts that have to be destroyed before they become malignant.
Besides explaining the show plot by plot, “The Essential Supernatural” includes photo cards, stickers and behind-the-scenes looks at the weapons and the third main character — Dean Winchester’s beloved Chevy Impala sedan.
It’s the Winchesters’ home away from home when the brothers are on the road killing monsters and other “Supernatural” beings.