First Blood: midseason return

“First Blood” is a splendid return for the second half of season 12. Reminiscent of Stallone’s movie of the same name, the Winchester have never been more united or fierce. The episode builds slowly starting with endless days of Sam and Dean sequestered in a black site by the U.S. government for their perceived attempt to kill the POTUS. The credits at the beginning may have given it away that Billie and a deal would be involved in their escape, but the episode moves so smoothly that this credit is forgotten until almost the last scene. The drab prisoners’ uniforms and the constant barrage of bologna sandwiches, corn, and apple juice, combine with the brothers’ isolation create a world the Winchesters must leave…one way or another. Only one way the Winchesters are leaving-dead- so time for a one time deal.There is much running through our favorite woods and apparently a lot of Mcgyver-like contraptions the brothers put together to effect their escape. The scenes are mostly filmed in the dark of night to add to the intensity of the episode’s pace.

Meanwhile, the other players in the Supernatural universe have character development or at least show their points of view. Crowley has one scene in which he deliciously remains unwilling or unable to help find the brothers and compares them to herpes. Castiel continues to attempt to hunt while the Winchesters are missing, but falls short and requires Mama Winchester’s help. This story line is mostly off screen but does show how lost Castiel can be without his “brothers” as well as  demonstrating  how Mary’s hunting skills coexist with her motherly concern for her boys. Both characters are dabbling in introspection. Castiel does utter a line the viewer has often thought about the Winchesters being necessary to the survival of humanity.

Mary resorts to calling the BMOL to help track her escaped sons. Her offer to sacrifice herself to satisfy the condition of the deal and save her boys shows love, courage, and the ferocity of a Winchester-echo John Winchester in “My time of Dying”. While the Winchesters stay true to their hunting code, the BMOL have Mr. Ketch to clean up why the government will not be on the Winchesters’ tail for the rest of the season. This writer is clearly showing Mary is a true Winchester  down to the self sacrifice. Then she has a conversation with the BMOL which takes place after the rescue and makes one wonder- trap, danger, and for whom. Like her sons, she has secrets.

Castiel’s decisive action keeps the Winchesters intact but there will be consequences. Misha Collins gives a performance that reveals so much of how Castiel “feels” towards the brothers. The performance simmers and then boils over by the end of the episode. Wow moment! Yes, there will be consequences for Castiel.

When an episode is directed and filmed as to make it feel simplistic when it is complicated-bravo,(thank you Robert Singer). When an episode re-issues its characters so strongly and true to their origins-bravo. When Dean explains to the government agent, “you’re trapped here with us” and Sam utters,”we’re the guys that saved the world” with a walk off of both toward the camera-bravo. When Castiel exports so much it is moving emotionally. Andrew Dabb writes a fierce episode.He gives words to feelings while the actors give feelings for his words.

Gold nuggets:

  • Dean and Sam in isolation filling the time of nothingness
  • Nothingness is worse than Hell for Dean-he would know
  • Dean’s reaction to prison food, Sam’s opposite reaction-so true to form
  • Sam washing his hand in the river..the reason to be revealed later
  • Dean’s creativity with a screw; Sam’s creativity in the cabin
  • Neither brother kills anything or anyone in this episode( combination of ferocity and Winchester code)
  • The use of dirt both on hands, ground, and the deceptive kind(Boy do J2 make dirt look sexy)
  • Mary drives fast…like Dean but picks a car a la Sam in season 6.Blue/small
  • Superb acting as usual but Misha wins this one hands down.Castiel, Castiel, Castiel
  •  Crowley still enjoys a sweet drink with an umbrella in it
  • Echos of previous episodes way back: Winchesters’ mug shots, being chased by FBI in swat suits, deals, Dean’s eye stare, Sam’s push-ups, Sam’s use of blood to escape Crowley/Campbell in s 6…now it’s Dean’s turn. Dean in the mirror.Serious work to do, boys.
  • Minimal dialogue between Sam and Dean and yet they communicate(We have to talk about this…later- so typical) Sneaky Mr. Dabb!!! Part of the build up to the reveal.
  •  Hints: hand washing in river, time references to midnight
  • Asa Fox’s kids are still hunting

Lead droppings:

  • Knowledge of the show lets me recognize re-used scenery, woods but the exterior shots of “Colorado” are pretty damn beautiful
  • Baby was not in the episode. She must have had a vacation week. Seriously, it would have felt forced. Certainly there is enough to propel the story telling for the remainder of the season. Now if only the CW would re-think the time change. What followed IMHO was not good T.V. Not worth kicking SPN to an earlier slot to lead in. But that review is for another day…if ever. No coming attractions since CW in a hurry for next show.
  • Billie. She becomes a plot device, but seriously not sure if this is Lisa Berry’s last appearance. She just nails Billie with texture.
  • Did anyone think of Kevin Tran while looking at the Medical Examiner? The character being used as a tool? and his naivite? Stuffed in an morgue drawer- why does this make me lol?
  • Winchesters on autopsy slabs-cuts both ways

“First Blood” is a reset for the second half of season 12. If this is your first experience with Supernatural, you can get into it quickly b/c the characters are so well drawn.Always accepting of new family members.

Showrunner Dabb, writer Dabb- solid way to start the second half of season 12.Hope it continues as strong. Thoughts???

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4 Comments

  1. “The credits at the beginning may have given it away that Billie and a deal would be involved in their escape”

    I thought about her when they both died.

    “Boy do J2 make dirt look sexy”

    Lol, they do!

    “Crowley still enjoys a sweet drink with an umbrella in it”

    I love those small touches. I call him the King of the Tropical Delight lol.

    “Now if only the CW would re-think the time change. What followed IMHO was not good T.V. Not worth kicking SPN to an earlier slot to lead in.”

    Yes, especially after the ratings Riverdale got. They should give SPN back its 9pm slot.

    “but seriously not sure if this is Lisa Berry’s last appearance. She just nails Billie with texture.”

    I really hope it’s not her last appearance. I love her so much 😦

    “Did anyone think of Kevin Tran while looking at the Medical Examiner?”

    I DID!!!! I miss Kevin Advance Placement Tran. The Med Ex had that same cute aura about him 🙂

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  2. I enjoyed the episode.My only gripe is that the writers had Dean say isolation was worse than hell. Was that a political comment now that The Donald said torture works? I agree that torture doesn’t work, but to compare hell to ANY torture us humans can think of is ridiculous.

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    1. Dean’s comment about the isolation being worse than Hell reflects his psychological need to interact with others in contrast to Sam, who has been alone before and coped. Even in Hell, Dean there was interaction, even if unpleasant. Sam exercises and seemingly finds ways to fill the nothingness. Dean looks for something-even a loose screw- for interaction. Dean is curled up in a corner at one point almost in a fetal position wheras Sam his found in his bed-different stances. Billie always threatened Dean with sending him to the nothingness, perhaps because she knew his profile. Sam has been on his own before save for Bones, the dog. Different reaction.Nothing is gratuitous in the writers’ room, so I wonder if the seeds of a Dean melt down are not being planted here.
      As for the political infusion into Supernatural, this episode and LOTUS can’t help but make one think about current political teapot boiling in Washington D.C. Supernatural has always been able to seep social commentary into episodes so why not here. These episodes were filmed prior to the inauguration and may very well be in response to the campaign statements of Mr. Trump and other politicians. The writers seem to shy away from admitting such connections; Misha does not. Misha does not use Supernatural as his platform but certainly through his visibility on the show and his twitter and other social media his views are known. The art imitating reality aspect of these episodes stands out and I am okay with it as a viewer. Someone needs to hold up a mirror. The court has ruled on the definition of torture. The rule of law is crucial much like the Winchester code, therefore the BMOL must be dealt with by the writers.

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      1. “The art imitating reality aspect of these episodes stands out and I am okay with it as a viewer. Someone needs to hold up a mirror. The court has ruled on the definition of torture. The rule of law is crucial much like the Winchester code, therefore the BMOL must be dealt with by the writers.”

        Agreed!!!!!!

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