Supernatural: First Blood

"We're the guys that save the world."

This was a good one. And why? Because it was about how utterly awesome Dean and Sam Winchester are, and how important they are to the world. Or the midwestern United States. Whatever.

How do you intimidate two men who have spent decades being tortured in Hell, who are accustomed to fighting and defeating the world's most dangerous monsters? This episode was a lovely reminder, not just of how heroic they are, but that they are also formidable badasses. Unarmed and on the run, they outwitted a contingent of heavily armed and highly trained black ops soldiers with only the contents of an abandoned cabin in the woods.

And they got themselves out of that prison by making the hardest of bargains. I'm sure Dean would have insisted on being the one to die, because he always puts Sam first. And then I knew Mary would volunteer to die for her boys, and not just because she's feeling out of place on earth: most mothers would do the same. But I really wasn't expecting Castiel to kill Billie. What sort of price will he pay for that? She did say something about consequences on a cosmic scale. Honestly, I'm still a little unsure about exactly what sort of supernatural beings Reapers are, but I believed her threat.

(May I add that, while Billie's continuing lust to take Dean's life wasn't very nice of her, I was really happy that there was a continuing Supernatural character with my name. Sadly, not any more. I'll miss you, Lisa Berry.)

Crowley refused to help. Does Crowley genuinely like Moose and Squirrel? Does he really like Feathers? Is he capable of caring? I think he is -- except when not caring is important to the plot. I love Mark Sheppard's Crowley, but his priorities and weaknesses seem to change with the weather.

As much as I've enjoyed the hi-jinks and sarcasm of the Castiel and Crowley show, there was some interesting melancholy and depth to the interactions between Castiel and Mary. It felt like they were both lost, going through the motions of hunting without their compass, which would be Dean and Sam. Alone, Castiel was an ineffective and unsuccessful hunter. Mary did better, but after all, she had years of experience. And I've liked how she's gotten more into the hunter groove as the season has progressed: her clothes, her boots, eating at diners, driving an old car too fast. She rocked that machete. It's a good look for her.

Mary said to Castiel, why didn't the boys call me? Really, Mary. You're pushing them away with both hands and then you're surprised when they don't turn to you for help?


Speaking of help, I don't trust the British Men of Letters as far as I could throw them. (Just to be clear, I couldn't even lift them an inch, much less attempt a toss.) I'm sure they have an unspoken agenda that has nothing to do with their offers of money, weapons and info in exchange for getting American hunters to follow their orders. Not to mention that they're murderers. Dean and Sam wouldn't kill the soldiers because they were human beings who were only doing their jobs, a pointed distinction made pointedly by Sam pointedly tossing that first aid kid on the wounded soldier's chest. Ketch killed them all. Of course, it would be inconvenient in a plot sense if any government entities were still searching for the Winchesters, so there's that.

As usual, the photography was great, stark in the prison scenes, moody in the woods during the chase and particularly whenever we were with Mary and Castiel. That last scene, where Castiel killed Billie, took place on a deserted bridge at night. Little bit of symbolism there, what with the life and death and all.

Bits and pieces:

-- The Winchesters certainly weren't given due process. If they had, they'd still be in prison, and famous. Having them sitting alone in their cells for a couple of months was easier for me to take than torture, even though they both thought it was worse than Hell. Just saying.

-- Happy to have Stephen Lobo from Continuum back (as Rick Sanchez). Sad, now that he's now gone. I never did get to see him as Lucifer. He would have rocked it.

-- Mick and Ketch were impressed that the boys took down Lucifer. Castiel was nonchalant about it.

-- Loved the very Fringe-like typewriter Mick Davies was using to communicate with the home office.

-- Mary picked up a phone call to Dean from Alicia, Asa Fox's daughter. Although how could a cell phone ring that long without going to voicemail? I'm always missing mine.

-- I checked to see how many episodes Billie the Reaper was in, and there were only six: "Form and Void," "The Devil in the Details," "Red Meat," "Alpha and Omega," "Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox," and this one. It felt like a lot more than that, didn't it?

-- Chow time. I liked the little bit of continuity to "Folsom Prison Blues," where Dean actually liked the food in prison, and of course, Sam didn't.

-- Nothing about Kelly this week, except now she has a last name: Kline.

-- This week: Lawrence, Kansas; Lancaster, Missouri; the MoL bunker; several bars and diners in undisclosed locations; and "Site 94" at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. I visited Rocky Mountain National Park many times when I lived in Boulder. I thought it was glorious. Although that might have been because I was constantly lightheaded from the altitude.

-- We saw Dean shaving, but shouldn't his hair have gotten a lot longer? (It would be harder to tell with Sam.)

Quotes:

Rick: "Assault, murder, multiple counts of desecrating a corpse."
Camp: "The same corpse?"
Rick: "No. Different corpses."
Loved the readout of the official criminal records for the boys. A blast from the past.

Crowley: "Sam and Dean, they're like herpes. Just when you think they're gone, hello! the boys are back, leaving a trail of bodies in their wake. So, wherever they are, whoever has Sam and Dean, in the immortal words of Laurence Tureaud, 'I pity the fool'."

Mary: "Seat belt on. I drive fast."
Maybe Dean didn't get that from John, then.

Mick: "You American hunters, you're a different breed than our sort. You're surly, suspicious. You don't play well with others."
Castiel: "Well, that is accurate."

Dean: "What we have here is a failure to communicate. Because we're not trapped out here with you. You're trapped out here with us."
By the way, "What we've got here is failure to communicate" is a famous quote from Cool Hand Luke, a great Paul Newman movie about a very difficult prisoner.

Camp: "Who are you?"
Sam: "We're the guys that save the world."

Castiel: "This sad, doomed little world, it needs you. It needs every last Winchester it can get. I will not let you die. I won't let any of you die. I won't let you sacrifice yourselves. You mean too much to me, to everything. Yeah. You made a stupid deal, and I broke it. You're welcome."
Awww. And yes. Thank you, Castiel, for saving all three of them.

I very much enjoyed it. Three out of four still-living Winchesters,

Billie
---
Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.

6 comments:

Mallena said...

Billie Doux I like, Billie the Reaper, not so much. It was time for her to go because she's done nothing but threaten the boys. I guess it wasn't very nice for Castiel to kill her like that, she did save the boys in the end. I don't know, the plot felt contrived in this one and I'm getting tired of deaths that don't mean anything because we know that Sam and Dean are always brought back. Reapers are a type of angel, they clarifed that a few seasons ago, by the way. Now if they would just clear up the veil and fix Heaven, because I think that it is still closed, which doesn't sound like a good thing.

Robin Vogel said...

I burst into tears during Cas' speech about how valuable Sam and Dean are to the world. Someone needed to say it! And for that matter, ALL the Winchesters going back to Mary's parents! I was really afraid we were going to lose Mary in last night's episode; it would have been typical to say adios to yet another female. But I heaved a sigh of relief that she survived and all three were okay. Cas, I wanted to hug the hell out of you! You might be an ineffectual hunter, but you came through when the Winchesters needed you, thank God! And Crowley, you go to hell and stay there for your failure to assist our boys in their time of need. . .or did you?

jenallday said...

Glad to have the shown and the reviews back!

Sad Castiel, damn. His perfectly heartbroken gorgeous face was almost too much for me. Cas needs those boys as much as Mary or the world does.

Anonymous said...

I feel bad about this, but I found this episode incredibly lacking. The writers don't seem to give a hoot about anything but providing a neatly tied up package with a bow at the end, and it doesn't require any sacrifice for anyone. (I mean, aside from the name, why would anyone care about Billie? The actress did a great job and I was waiting for something fantastic to happen...and waiting... and waiting... and waiting...) The writers had set up a really exciting scenario with the Winchesters being taken to some kind of Black Ops camp, and then what? They waited to bore the boys to death? Well, apparently it worked. Come on, writers...

Marianna said...

"We're not trapped out here with you. You're trapped out here with us" is a play on a quote from Watchmen, another prison scene.

As fun as this episode was, I felt like there were a lot of holes. For one thing Sam and Dean have been held prisoner by the authorities before, as you pointed out, so I feel like they should have a plan for what to do in situations like these. (I don't know what; maybe some explosive blood magic learned from the MoL library... or just a really good story to give.) Secondly shouldn't a simple locater spell have told Cas and Mary where they were? When the phone rang and Alicia was on the other end I thought maybe Mary would ask her for help with a locater spell or something fancier, but no. Thirdly the deal they made with Billie the Reaper seems against the Winchester code. They don't mind sacrificing themselves, but they never risk each other. They both could have guessed the other would have taken the fall, which would be unacceptable.

Mallena said...

Marianna, I'm with you on this one. I can think of many other shows that did prison escape episodes like this one; and they did them 10 times better. Maybe the producers should go watch some Alias episodes. Sam and Dean thinking that a few months in Solitary is worse than Hell? Right. I'd have used that time for napping, contemplation, and going over in my head every book I read, or show that I had seen, while belting out show tunes at the top of my lungs.