Supernatural “First Blood” Review (Season 12, Episode 9)

Supernatural returned this week from a more than month long hiatus to try and dig Sam and Dean out of the hole they were written into in the mid-season finale. I’m not entirely sure that mission was accomplished, but at least Sam and Dean are no longer stuck at a black site waiting Agent Jerkface with the itchy trigger finger to decide to take them out back and execute them.

One of the things Sam and Dean’s incarceration demonstrated is just how strongly their respective times in Hell have scarred them. Let’s start with Dean. Before Dean went to Hell, he was cocky and arrogant in the face of almost certain doom. Some of that was obviously a defense mechanism to help him cope, but some of it was the fact that Dean truly did not have a firm grasp of the concept of being cornered. When Agent Henrickson was chasing him and Sam down, Dean was worried about being caught but he wasn’t really worried about being caught because he still had a way out. He still had outside contacts to help him. He still had cards to play. It wasn’t until after Dean made his deal and he realized that there was no way to get out of it that he began to truly understand what it meant to have the walls closing in on you. Then when he went to Hell, he learned (in painful detail) exactly what it means to be well and truly screwed. Dean broke in Hell not just because he was being tortured, but because he was being tortured with only one way to make it stop.

When the Homeland Security agent came in and told Dean that cell was going to be his life for the rest of his life, that genuinely scared Dean. Dean has never been one to be able to sit still for any extended period of time. He’s a man of action. He needs the open road. He needs a mission. Also, despite his declarations to the contrary, Dean is a people person. He prefers the company of the people he’s chosen as his family, but he also likes to mix it up with cool chicks he meets in bars or other dudes he can swap war stories with. He’s always connected with people when he and Sam are working cases despite his gruff demeanor. Dean having nothing and no one but his own thoughts for company is a surefire way to drive him mad.

Then there’s Sam. Poor Sammy. He was trying to be strong, but he was so scared. Sam isn’t any better at being locked away alone with his thoughts than Dean is, but I imagine it’s even worse for Sam because of The Cage. Let’s not forget that Sam’s soul spent at least a century and a half locked in The Cage being tortured by Lucifer. Then, on top of that, not too long ago Sam was once again locked in a cage with Lucifer beating the tar out of him. So being locked in a cage-like room with no way out is probably at the top of the list of Sam’s greatest fears. Coupled with the reality that he was, once again, stripped of any power over his situation, I can see why he would agree to the deal with Billie.

I was interesting to me that no one saved the Winchesters. They saved themselves. Billie helped a bit, but it was mostly Sam and Dean’s ingenuity, training, and skill that got them out of that prison. That was fantastic because it was the show remembering that Sam and Dean are smart. One of the things that’s always attracted me to the Winchesters (other than their ridiculous handsomeness) is how smart they are. Even though Sam is always referred to as “the smart one,” Dean is actually very smart too. It’s always nice when the show remembers that. Their escape also highlighted just how dangerous Sam and Dean are. Don’t let the good looks fool you. I’ve always said that if they decided they were going to become serial killers, they would be great at it. Not only do they know a variety of ways to kill a person, but they’re also pretty knowledgeable about disposing of a body.

It’s also important to note that Sam and Dean are killers, but they’re not murderers. That’s a very important distinction. Agent Jerkface felt justified in wanting the Boys, Dean especially, to suffer and then die because he believed them to be murderers. But that’s not the case. Sam and Dean had a tactical advantage over Agent Jerkface and the rest of the soldiers hunting them down. They could’ve rigged the cabin to blow up when the soldiers got close. They could’ve picked the soldiers off one by one. They could’ve gone for kill shots instead of wound shots. Bottom line is: they could’ve killed everyone but they chose not to. They recognized that those guys were just doing their jobs and they posed no real threat. It’s possible that Agent Jerkface would’ve mounted a massive manhunt for Sam and Dean, but since their arrest was kept off book, that’s unlikely. It’s more likely that Sam and Dean showing him and his team mercy would open his eyes to the possibility that they weren’t the bad guys. That’s what happened with Agent Henrickson. Well, that and Henrickson getting possessed, but you know what I mean. Apparently, the BMoL don’t share the Winchesters’ regard for human life.

This is the part of the episode that was absolutely, positively, 100% NOT ok. Sam and Dean let all those soldiers live because a) as far as they knew, they were just trying to recapture two guys who escaped from a secure facility, b) they were just doing their jobs, and c) probably most importantly, they were human beings. Why exactly did the BMoL feel the need to go in a slaughter more than a dozen innocent people? If the MoL are supposed to keep records of the supernatural and protect humanity from monsters, the BMoL have completely lost sight of their mission. They murdered all those people for no other reason than they laid eyes on the Winchesters. Is there a time that would ever be ok? No, is the answer you’re looking for. There’s NEVER a time that would be ok. The BMoL are lying liars who lie. They claim they’re trying to bring about a world where people are safe from monsters, but they’re playing a little fast and loose with the definition of monster. Their actions in this episode also highlight the fact that they have an agenda that they’re not sharing when they pitch their sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns world to the American hunters. Anyone who works that hard to reassure you that they’re “just here and happy to help” is up to something nefarious and it should raise all kinds of red flags. I sincerely hope the Boys don’t get too deep in with the BMoL before they find out what those suckerpunks are really up to.

I am SO done with Mary. I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. I really did. But I’m done. She walked away from the Boys because she said she needed some time to sort everything out. Ok. That’s reasonable. But you’ve had time, and all this time, you’ve been doing what? Sitting in Lawrence, drinking coffee, and lamenting the years you’ve lost? Driving around looking up all the people you used to know just to see that their lives have moved on without you? What’s the point in all that? It’s not like she can just walk up to anyone that knew her more than 30 years ago and ask them if they want to have lunch and catch up. Color me harsh if you want to, but she had no right to jump down Cas’s throat. None. At least Cas was there. Unlike her. I’m not saying that her presence would’ve stopped Sam and Dean from getting arrested, but acting as if Cas was somehow responsible was a low blow. She apologized for it later, but the damage was already done. Attacking Cas that way didn’t make her look like a concerned mother. It made her look like a self-righteous jerk who was taking out her feelings of guilt on Cas.

I’m disappointed Mary’s storyline has had such little emotional impact. I was looking forward to watching the Boys and Mary get to know each other. I was looking forward to Mary attempting to navigate the 21st century. I was looking forward to watching a different kind of Winchester family dynamic. Alas, none of that has come to pass. Mary has been separate from the Boys for most of the season thus far. She keeps saying she “needs a little more time,” but for what, exactly? What has Mary been doing that she couldn’t have done with Sam and Dean? What questions has she been asking that she couldn’t ask Sam and Dean? Where has she been that she doesn’t get in contact with them for weeks at a time? The narrative has done absolutely nothing to explain and justify Mary’s continued absence from Sam and Dean’s lives, and I’m done trying to figure it out. Maybe the powers that be have something big in store for her during this last half of the season, but they’re going to have a lot to do to get me invested in the outcome of her story. I’m already rolling my eyes at the fact that she’s willing to sit and listen to the guys who, not that long ago, kidnapped, tortured, and attempted to murder her sons. Especially considering the fact that the BMoL literally didn’t do anything to help her and Cas get Sam and Dean back. Nothing. Borrowing an infrared satellite to tell them where the Boys were on the road isn’t really helping. The Boys had already told Cas which road they were going to be on; all he had to do was drive down the road and he would’ve found them eventually. Although, given the poor decisions Mary’s made thus far, it’s pretty much par for the course.

All in all, this was an ok episode. I am pleased to say I enjoyed it much more than I enjoyed the mid-season finale. I am bummed that Cas killed Billie, though, because I really enjoyed her. Admittedly, her animosity toward the Winchesters and constant taunts about throwing them into The Empty was wearing a bit thin, but she was still an interesting character that I would’ve liked to spend a little more time exploring. Plus, Lisa Berry is just fantastic. I was pretty much indifferent toward Cass. It seemed like his whole purpose in this episode was to tell us how completely lost he is without the Winchesters in his life. In other news, water is wet. Also, Cas killed Billie to stop Mary from killing herself, but why? I get that he probably didn’t want Sam and Dean to carry that weight around with them, but Mary’s not supposed to be here anyway. Her sacrificing herself would’ve simply put things back the way they were and prevented whatever the cosmic repercussions Billie warned about. In the end, I think Cas probably did more harm than good. It’s also frustrating to me for the show to be unable to decide whether they want Cas to have angelic powers or not. His whole story about being unable to find a vampire in a small town left me scratching my head because Cas can sense monsters. Or at least he could the last time I checked, but who knows what powers he’ll have or not have this week. I did appreciate the fact that Crowley refused to help Cas rescue Sam and Dean. The show sometimes seems to forget that Crowley is a demon and he’s always looking out for Crowley first. He totally would’ve helped if it would’ve been in his own best interest to get Sam and Dean out, but since it wasn’t, of course he didn’t help. Like I said, this was an ok episode, but I’m hoping we can pick up a bit more momentum as the season progresses. Just as an aside, I loved, absolutely LOVED, the fact that when the agent asked the Winchesters who they are, Sam’s reply was, “We’re the guys that saved the world.” Damn, straight.