CW's Supernatural debuted last week its eighth season and 150th episode, "We Have To Talk About Kevin" — but it looks like producers are doing a good job of keeping the sci-fi TV staple fresh. First of all, a reunited Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) must reconcile their year spent apart, one dead in Purgatory and the other "well and truly alone" for the first time in his life, respectively. Although the handsome brothers had previously agreed to move on if either of them ever died, the revived Dean evidently resents Sam for pursuing a lady love instead of looking for him and continuing to save innocent people. This tension sets the stage for the season, which will no doubt question whether they can regain each other's trust and explore the possibility of a new relationship between two now entirely different persons, significantly altered by their experiences, whose details are withheld from one another (and us!) for the time being.

In a series of flashbacks, which producers Jeremy Carver and Robert Singer assure will continue to reveal snippets of their solo journeys in the next 13 episodes, we discover that an aimless Sam ran over a dog with his truck, which he subsequently adopted, and Dean forged an alliance with a vampire, Benny (Ty Olsson), so as to escape Purgatory. But that's only the tip of the iceberg: we know there was a woman in Sam's life ("there was" and "then there wasn't," he says cryptically), which we suspect might be the veterinarian that treated the injured dog; and Benny isn't finished with Dean yet — though Dean wants to keep their relationship a secret from Sam. There is also the mystery of the missing angel Castiel (Misha Collins), last seen in Purgatory with Dean, and the enigmatic tablet that embarks the prophetic Kevin and the Winchester brothers on a season-long quest to close the gates of Hell forever, raising questions about whether this will only trap demons or human souls as well.

“We’ll be telling that story of Purgatory pretty steadily through the first seven or eight episodes,” Carver told Entertainment Weekly. “By episode seven or eight you’ll start to get a really good understanding of what happened in Purgatory to Cas[tiel].” As director of the premiere episode, Singer explained the contrasting aesthetics between Dean's and Sam's flashbacks, which spell very differing stories for the clashing pair. “[Purgatory has] a real lack of color and high contrast, a desaturated look to help [convey] the harshness of the place. We wanted to contrast that with Sam’s flashbacks, which are diffused and have filters and are a little more dreamy, so you get a sense that Sam’s past year was kind of nice and warm and Dean’s was cold and stark.”

Singer, who said that Sam's dog will soon be revealed as Riot, also claimed that episode "Bitten," which is filmed in found footage style, will be “pretty unlike any episode that this show has ever done before,” while "Heartache" will see Ackles (Dean) himself go behind the scenes to direct the third episode.

Catch "What's Up, Tiger Mommy?," the upcoming episode of Supernatural, on Wednesday, October 10, at 9 E.T. on CW.

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Watch interviews with the stars of Supernatural at Comic-Con 2012, plus the Season 8 promo, below:

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