Credit: Carita Rizzo Photo: Jensen Ackles on the Supernatural Set on September 27, 2012

The time is here, Supernatural fans: The premiere of Season 8! Tonight, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, we'll finally get to spend more time with our favorite eye candy demon-battling brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester.

But what has become of our beloved WinBros since the Season 7 cliffhanger, and what's going to go down between Sam and Dean in tonight's premiere? Warner Bros. brought Wetpaint Entertainment to the set of Supernatural so that we could get answers to our burning questions, directly from star Jensen Ackles. Below, he talks about Dean's hardened, post-Purgatory outlook, the dramatic shift in his relationship with Sam, and what we can expect to see all the way in Episode 7!

Read spoilers at your own risk! For more on Wetpaint Entertainment's philosophy on spoilers, click here.

How is Dean doing in the premiere?
Jensen Ackles: As we know, in the end of last season, Dean and Cas (Misha Collins) get sent to Purgatory. We find that Dean has gotten out, and the time that he spent there and what happened there has changed his outlook and his perspective on things. These guys are always kind of at war with the evils of the world, but he got a heavy, heavy dose of it down there, because he's surrounded by the things that he kills when he's topside. It was almost a concentrated version of what he's used to.

He's come back a hardened warrior, and ready to use those sharpened skills in the real world. So he's a soldier that just got back from war. It's going to take him a little while to adjust to the lack of threat, and the lack of combat. It's almost like in The Hurt Locker, when Jeremy Renner's character comes back from war and he's sitting there looking at a cereal box aisle, and it's just so foreign to him. But what isn't foreign is being on the ground, fighting. I think Dean is feeling a sense of that.

It's a year that he spent down in Purgatory, so he was down there for a whole year doing this. Fighting and battling non-stop, covered in blood, covered in mud, covered in dirt for twelve months. Now he's back — he's got his car and he's got his brother. It's like, wow — I didn't realize how easy I had it up here.

How does that change his relationship with Sam?
It's going to take a little bit of time to warm up to the relationship that he has with Sam. There's also what Sam did for the past year. These two brothers have not only spent time apart — it's what they were doing. Dean was in this concentrated war zone, and Sam was literally just the opposite. So these two have really been living two different lives this past year, and now they're having to come back together and pick up where they left.

It poses a bit of a problem. We get a sense of what happened to Dean in Purgatory in flashbacks. We're in Episode 7 now, and we're still continuing to peel that onion. Also we start to get flashes of what Sam was doing topside for the year. In this episode in particular, we get a big chunk of what he was doing while Dean was away. That information is sensitive, especially to the relationship that he has with his brother, because maybe he wasn't doing what his brother would want him to do. So just having all of that information come to light is going to obviously pose problems with the relationship. 

But at the end of the day they're still brothers, they still have each others' back. It would take way too much to break that.

Benny doesn't seem like the kind of guy that Dean would hang out with. Can you talk about that relationship?
Yeah, I'm really excited about that relationship, just on a personal level. It's not only introducing a new character who I think is really cool, but he's a really fantastic actor. He and I clicked right off the bat, and the character is I think a really great kind of contemporary for Dean.

It's a foxhole relationship in a sense. He's been at war with this guy. At first, it's not the kind of character Dean would allow to live, much less team up with, but Benny really earned his stripes with Dean. He earned his trust, which is really difficult not only for Dean to understand, but even more difficult for Sam to understand when Dean comes back. So not only is it a unique, odd relationship for Dean to have after many years of fighting these things, but now to explain that relationship to his brothers is going to pose some serious questions and some difficult things ahead. 

For that reason, I think it's a great addition to the story.

Supernatural premieres tonight, Oct. 3, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.