Saturday, 28 January 2017

Review - Supernatural 12x09 "First Blood"



Welcome back Supernatural! Happy end of hellatus! And happy 250th episode! In a week which saw the anniversary of the death of beloved director and executive producer, Kim Manners, the show coming back with such a fantastic episode seemed a fitting tribute. Everybody truly did kick it in the ass. And 250…perfect. “First Blood” was another shining example of our Show, that in its 12th season really has no right being this excellent, but I’m super glad it is!

For me, this was one of those edge of your seat episodes, one of those ones that without even realising it, you suddenly notice that you’ve creeped forward in your chair and you’re perched precariously on the edge, ready to tumble if the Winchesters do. Which of course they don’t. Because hey, those Winchesters were never going to tumble, because of my gosh, they were the baddest badassed dudes I know them to be. Dangerous, deadly, badassed and massively hot! Hot, hot, HOT! Sorry but they were and I ain’t gunna hide the fact that a couple of times I thought I was going to spontaneously combust from the hotness! I may have omitted little squeaking noises, and by may have I mean I did! I like nothing better than in sync Winchesters. Whether it’s emotionally, as one knows exactly what’s going on with the other; whether its frivolously and the talking at the same time thing which is always adorable; or whether it’s in battle, subtle hand movements, nods of heads and wordless glances telling each other exactly what to do. A well oiled, terrifying team. Sometimes I forget how terrifying they can be… If I didn’t love them so, they’d scare the shit out of me!





Lord, how I hated seeing them locked up in solitary. Knowing their brother is next door, and yet not know if they were okay. Knowing their brother was next door, but not knowing if they were ever going to see each other again. Having their brother so close, yet impossibly far. That right there, without their jailers even knowing, is the most painful of tortures for the Winchester brothers. Even when in hell, there was always the focus and the hope that their brother was out there, trying to find a way to bring them back, trying to find a way to save them. But knowing the one person who is their best bet, the one person they rely on the most is also locked up would make Sam and Dean feel doubly helpless. Sure, they know they have Cas and Mary out there - but we also know that when it comes down to it, the person Dean trusts the most to help him is Sam, and the person Sam trusts the most to help him is Dean - and neither could do a damn thing to help their brother. Sheer torture.

Dean’s never been the best at being alone, and you know what, neither has Sam. For Dean, we know it goes back to a life fearing being left, of feelings of lack of worth. The alone thing has come up again and again, and though he’s made great inroads over the last few years in overcoming (or maybe burying better) a lot of those anxieties as his and his brother’s relationship evened out and other people came into their lives and offered love, being alone with nothing but his thoughts is not a healthy place for Dean to be….like ever. Not just for the reason that being left is one of his greatest fears, but also, being left with nothing but the darkness that we know is in his mind? Nup. Dean feeling trapped and helpless is never a good place for Dean to be emotionally - whether it’s the impending doom of the Mark of Cain, or not being able to help those he loves, he turns inwards and turns on himself. So locking him up, no music, no company, not even any physical torture to focus on…nothing but his mind and what lives within there…I can see it could get real dark, real quick for Dean.




And we’ve seen how dark Sam can get and how hopeless he can feel without his brother. We also know that Sam has equally scary, horrid memories that his day to day generally keeps him from focusing on. But in complete solitude, in complete silence, one day the same as the next and the next and the next laid out in front of you, for a length of time that you can’t predict or possibly comprehend. Mental torture can break people far quicker than physical torture. Being left with your own thoughts is bad enough when you’re just normal, everyday people, I mean, think how much your brain over reacts to stuff when you’re lying awake at night, now imagine if you had the stuff in your brain that Sam and Dean have…. Yikes!

For Dean, making the deal with Billie would make the most sense out of any option in front of them. Before their isolation really started to take it's toll. No one knew where they were, the brothers didn’t even know where they were. Dean couldn’t be sure they would ever get out, that anyone would ever come for them. Dean was already etching the days into the wall…six weeks of being totally alone, without hope and with just his own thoughts. Thoughts of how to get the hell out of there. If he could at least ensure Sam survived… That’s been Dean’s life’s purpose anyway, make sure Sam survives. But beyond that, if he could at least ensure one of them could get out, back to their mother, back to the fight. One Winchester would be better for the world than no Winchesters, right? Even in a space where Dean hadn’t spent six weeks in silence, spinning every single idea he could come up with through his mind, probably over and over and over and over, it would still be an decent (and pretty Dean like) plan.

Of course, exactly the same thing could be said for Sam, because you know, when Billie came to him to say Dean had a plan, Sam would have instantly thought, well if I can just save Dean, if one of us can survive this and get out of here, if I can make sure Dean lives, it’s a good plan. They would’ve both been contemplating sacrificing themselves for the other, if the deal was unbreakable. Bottom line, they’re family, it’s not such a stretch to think any of us would make the same decision if the circumstance arose. 




The following escape was breathtaking. Running through the trees, the boys looked strong and fierce and fucking magnificent. Good grief! I kept thinking, Dean would feel kinda at home in that forest, as the surroundings were so Purgatoryesque! (Of course the location was probably Purgatory which kinda helped!). They we like one organism, speaking without saying a word, having shorthand conversations about the mysterious thing they weren’t talking about, calculating the hours to dark so they could set a trap.

I let out a gasp of glee when Dean said the line from Cool Hand Luke about a failure to communicate…that is one of my all time favourite movies! Then the whole, “We’re not trapped out here with you, you’re trapped out here with us” thing…GOOD GODALMIGHTY! Badasses Dean Winchester to infinity and beyond! I nearly lost my shit! Like…nope, I can’t even. I’m not sure if I squealed or growled…probably both. And I can picture Jensen reading that line in the script and being so damn stoked! He would have freakin' loved it. He loves badassed Dean.




Then one by one Sam and Dean took the highly trained soldiers down, without killing anyone - inline with their saving people means all the people revised code - and without even breaking a sweat, before walking off shoulder to shoulder with the mighty confused terrorism expert asking who they are, and Sam stating matter of factly, “We’re the guys who saved the world”. HOLY. HELL. Just went I thought they couldn’t get any hotter or more awesome. Bloody great big heroes! How I love my heroic boys. Of course, it’s also brilliant to see them stating their importance to the scheme of things, owning who they are and what they do. You’ve come a long way, Sam and Dean Winchester, and I like it.



While all this amazingness is going on, Cas and Mary are trying to go on with life. They don’t know where Sam and Dean are, they’ve run out of options and don’t know where to go next. Cas is feeling more and more awful and guilty and useless, he can’t help his friends, he’s not the hunter they are or that he’d like to be. I really felt for Cas in this episode, his life is so intrinsically wrapped up in the Winchesters’ world that he seems to question everything, including his own abilities and worth, when they brothers are stripped from him. Yes, because they’re his friends and his family, but also I think he questions who he is and what his purpose is when they’re not around. Well he questions that when they are around too, but at least then they can reassure him that he’s important to them. Seeing him sitting sad and alone in the bunker was truly heartbreaking.



Mary of course was off being Mary. I don’t need her to be making those boys pie or anything, but I do wish she’d at least give the appearance of caring a little more. Okay I know she cares, and I know this is probably an unpopular opinion, and I know she’s trying to work things out in the weirdness she finds herself surrounded by, but the world is bigger than just her and I really need more from her in relation to her family. I’m hoping this incident with Sam and Dean, and seeing the photo that Dean treasures and keeps by his bed, may be the wake up call that makes her stow her crap a bit (as Cas would say), and open herself up to actually having a relationship with her sons. Because they didn’t call her, because right now, why would they? As Cas said, she was out. I think the boys probably equal parts want to let her do her thing, and are not really sure she wants to be involved in their lives anyway…hunting or otherwise. Okay I’m done. 




Then we have the British Men of Letters coming to assist, who just got a nice little in with the American hunters by helping locate the Winchesters. As Mick said, it’s good business. They want the American hunters to let them into their world and take their orders from the British Men of Letters, and that just ain’t gunna happen. The American hunters value their independence, that spirit of freedom they have, like Sam and Dean riding the back roads, answering to no one but themselves. But if the BMoL can get the Winchesters onboard… Not that I think Sam and Dean are going to capitulate any time soon, but if Mick and Mr Ketch continue to show themselves to be allies (yeah right), and maybe get Mary onboard….though Mary could be playing them to get more information as to what they really want….time will tell on that one which way it goes. I really liked Wally, by the way, and his soft hands line!

I just don’t know where we’re going with the British Men of Letters, I absolutely have zero trust in anything they’re doing - I’m siding eyeing everything! I think Sam and Dean will end up trying to work with them and then find that they do not like their methods. The boys were careful to not kill one of those soldiers, and Mr Ketch went and killed them all. Leave no one behind who can identify anyone or cause problems later is their method - and that is not how the brothers work the work, at least not anymore. But I won’t deny I did quite enjoy Mick and Mr Ketch in this episode, I find them far more intriguing than Lady Toni was. I loved how blown away they were by the Lucifer thing (I didn’t think they had a clue about that), and maybe that’s an eye opener for them as to the level of hunter they’re dealing with when they deal with the Winchesters. And Mick listens to The Specials, which was kind of awesome.




When we finally find out about the deal the brothers made with the Reaper Billie - well I didn’t think any Winchesters would die, but I also wasn’t expecting Cas to kill Billie! I know a lot of people liked her, and initially I was a fan too, but recent interactions with her have shown her to be so vindictive, and sure she had every reason to be pissed with the brothers, but I always kind of felt she should rise above her personal bitterness or something! Anyway, I was pretty damn gob smacked when Cas drove a angel blade right through her, but I wasn’t sad. I am interested to see if we get a new Reaper any time soon, I love the reapers, they’re one of my favourite beings in the show. I’m also interested as to whether those cosmic consequences come into play and what on earth they might be. Oh and Cas… telling the Winchesters he wouldn’t let one of them die because our sad little world needs them (true)…and how much they mean to him. Awwwww…and then he called them stupid, which was kind of awesome.

Oh, oh and Crowley! The only one who never underestimates the boys. I loved him. I want him to be the King of Hell again. Sassy and nasty. “I pity the fool”. Brilliant.


So our People’s Choice winning show is back and it came back with a doozy! I absolutely loved “First Blood”, it felt like a damn movie! It had an amazing slow burn build into that fantastic escape scene. I loved the script - it was pretty serious for the most part, but it still managed to have a few good gags - and the brothers…well colour me eternally surprised at how they can get more and more awesome, and more and more stunning! They even make prison jumpsuits look damn fine! Bless the Winchesters. I’m so glad our Show is back!

Let me know what you thought of the episode!

Until next time…

-sweetondean


8 comments:

  1. I too loved this episode. It was so good to have badassed Winchesters back in action. When I saw that the boys were dead I was like okay how'd they do that?! I was imagining all sorts of scenarios in which the brothers had a plan to use the wall dust to mix some sort of poison that would slow their hearts enough to make them seem dead or something like that (I know, my brain runs away with me sometimes). Billie never figured into it for me at all so I was completely clueless there for awhile.

    When the boys escaped I was like yes! You go guys! Then when they were running through the forest and Dean left a foot print behind I thought that was sloppy until I realized that they were leaving a trail intentionally. They really are hunters to the core and it was fantastic to see that they only incapacitated their jailers as opposed to taking them out all together. It was reminiscent of what happened to the boys in Jus in Bello. They left everyone alive and then the bad guys came and took them out. Sigh. Even if those FBI dudes would never be allies it sucks that Sam and Dean spared them only to have them taken out by Mr. Ketch. Lady Toni was right about him being a psychopath.

    I had a couple of nitpicks about this episode too, however. When the boys were captured and they had no idea where they were why couldn't they fire off a prayer to Cas? I think it would be a good thing if the show finally nailed down exactly what powers Cas still has. We know he has his grace back even if it's not his full grace. We know he can't teleport because his wings are trashed but what does this mean for his other powers. The show is going to have a couple Cas-centric episodes and it'd be nice for them to explain what he can and can't do anymore. Just my opinion but its like this new Cas needs to be fleshed out all over again since he's essentially a new character.

    As for Mary...hmmm. I don't quite know how to feel about her. It bothered me when she up and left the boys although I feel for her because being brought back after so long being dead has to be disorienting. It just seemed like she was kind of disconnected when she found out they were missing. I expected it when she offered herself to Billie because I habe no doubt in my mind that she still wants to go back to heaven where she could be with her family as they were. Her talking to the BMOL guy threw up lots of red flags for me. She can't possibly trust the guy or at least I hope she's not naive enough to try. I think this can go only one of two ways: she's trying to ferret information out of him or this is going ro come back and bite her on the ass in a big way. I guess we can only watch and see.

    I was sad to see Billie go but like you i felt like she'd taken her little vendetta too personally. I could see where she was coming from about what's dead should stay dead. That is probably the Reaper creedo but it felt too personal when she interacted with Sam and Dean and now Mary. It's like she assigned herself to personally reap the boys like they were her sole mission and she was obsessed. I do wonder about the repercussions that she was talking about before Cas took her out. I wonder if this will be something that affects Cas of if it affects the Winchesters since they were the ones to make the deal.

    Last but not least, Cas taking out Billie and that speech he made. Yes! The world definitely needs all the Winchesters it can get! So awesome!

    Okay this reply has gotten out of hand so I'll quit now. Loved your review as always!

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    1. Praying to Cas wouldn't have helped him find them but at least he would have known that Dean and Sam were ok. Also since he can communicate with Dean in his dreams (and presumably Sam as well) it would have broken up the monotony and given them hope that someone was out there looking for them. But Cas's powers aren't very clear so maybe that wouldn't have been possible.

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    2. I agree with you that praying wouldn't have helped find them and I agree that maybe it would have been good that he could have broken up the monotony of them being alone, made it easier for them to bear their isolation. In essence, I agree with you on all points stated above. Now if the writers would just do us a solid and let us know what powers Cas does have that would be awesome. Lol!

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  2. Agreed, agreed, and agreed... badassery, hotness (honestly, dirty bed-haired Winchesters are in their own league), smartness, and all the treats that make them so different from the BMOL: they are above awesome. And they are not bragging about it- Sam's matter-of-fact "we're the guys that saved the world" was perfect.
    I think they were once more established as the ones who show what being human SHOULD mean - as opposed to thise who have long trespassed the red line between humanity and inhumanity (not monsters, because unlike humans, they dont have a choice. Humans do. And I think Show has been playing with that for a while now).
    Amen to what you have to say to Mary. I get her confusion and anger and most of all her feeling of being lost (the line when she told Cas all of her friends and contacts were gone...); and I quite like how she trets her sons as the independent adults they are, and expects them tondo the same with her. But there's the problem. You can't just slip out of your role of being a parent. Once a mom, always a mom, no matter how much circumstances change, and how old your children are. You can change the way you fill the role, but you'll still be stuck with it. Being a mom of kids both adult and still younger ones, thats at least what I know about it. But then again, Mary's situation is quite special (and fucked up, lets be honest). She was a mom for a very short time, then had her peefect family life up in Heaven- and now ther eshe is with these two giant grown up men who are practically strangers. I dont want to be in her shoes. But yes, sometimes it does seem like she doesnt care that much, or is too caught up in her own - whatever she's doing... to notice what it does to the men for whom she is, above all, still a long missed idealized mom.
    Cas is a mystery to me this whole season, and I got the impression he also is for the writers, but I guess we have to wait and see. His speech was great (as was Misha), it just didnt quite fit into his more angel-y behaviour lately- So, obviously when it comes to the Winchesters he's still pretty human and gets emotional like any of us (very understandable...). The said Winchesters' faces after his deed and the speech were priceless (and mirrored my own).
    Crowley is the King. Always will be for me.
    The BMOL are an annoying example of "dont amass too much power in the hands of a few, it will eventually be abused and turnend against those who you were meant to protect with it in the first place". I cant help it, I always see A LOT of political and societal statements , warnings, and parallels in Supernatural (season 7 was one huge example for it if you ask me). It's one of the things that draws me to the Show: it's really multi-layered. And yes, it has the badassest hottest smartest guys.

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  3. Attempting to post using a different browser... which me luck!

    Loved you review, as always. Looking forward to listening to the podcast.

    My thought was not that the 6-8 weeks was effective torture but that the boys felt that was enough time to hope for outside rescue. After that, Dean called Billie because he wasn't going to spend the rest of his life in that jail. IMO, he probably said it was worse than hell so that Cas and Mary would feel better (rather than focusing on not being able to rescue them). Neither Sam nor Dean showed real distress in their cells. It was rough. But they are also smart enough to recognize that 'they were not getting out of that cell alive'. And they have better things to do (like resolve the Nephilim issue, continue hunting, etc..).

    Perhaps it's because I feel like it's a disservice to the boys to suggest that isolation would break them. They didn't look remotely broken. Just savvy.

    And YES, the hotness was off the scale. I LOVED LOVED the mad skillz of these boys.

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    1. Oops... and this is SnazzyO..and the other browser worked!! *insert Handel's messiah here*

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  4. For the first time I did not watch one episode until "First Blood". Didn't even go on Twitter or any other format. I watched all of them at once. It was wonderful. No hiatus blues. I agree with your assessment of this episode. It was awesome and sexy as hell. I hope they make Cas a little tougher though. I love his character but he needs a win and soon.

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  5. loved this ep from start to finish. Will say this though....dont believe dean summoning billie was him giving up....i saw it as him taking action. While i totally believe that the solitude was worse than hell as dean told mary, i think his patience for any probable rescue wore thin....two months and no angel....if it didnt happen by then it wasnt going to any time soon enough. Dean isnt one to let other handle things...he was going to come up with a plan and he had plenty of time to think about one.

    There is no way these boys would ever agree to let the other spend eternity in the empty...i think the plan was to kill billie all along...consequences or no...they wouldve dealt with it....at the very most both boys wouldve gone with billie...cas or mary or both wouldve rescued them.....that would be a midseason break or season finale story..so dabb went the way of cas instead..and in doing so dabb doesnt have to do another cosmic consequence storyline because cas killing billies didnt break the winchester blood oath...it was just an angel on angel kill...which has been done many times before.

    I think the speech the boys gave mom was reaaly meant for billie....providing her with a logical reason for the boys taking the deal and not suspecting foul play.....dont know for sure that going back on a reaper deal even would cause cosmic consequences.....she was only a reaper...she couldve just been a smart one using that threat to scare the boys..given their last bout with a consequence.


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