“First Blood” (12.09) starts six hours after the end of the midseason finale “LOTUS”, in which the Winchesters were arrested for the attempted assassination of President Jefferson Rooney.
Winchester recap: “Six hours to midnight.”
The Winchesters haven’t said one word since they’ve been locked away in a secret government facility. The national security expert who visits them on their first day tells them they will break eventually. No one will torture them, “it doesn’t work”, but after enough time in complete isolation with nothing to occupy their minds, they will talk.
Six weeks into their captivity, Sam and Dean are found dead at the same time in their cells. They wake up on morgue slabs and escape the facility. With a stolen cell phone and map, they figure out their approximate location and call Castiel, asking him to meet them along State Route 34 as soon as possible because they’re “on the clock”.
Sam estimates that they are six hours away from midnight and he’s worried when he tells Dean they have to talk about the way they got out. “Okay, we will, alright. Later.” After taking down five highly trained soldiers, the counter-terrorism expert and the Secret Service agent, they finally come out the woods to find their welcome party: Mary, Castiel, and Mr. Ketch and Mick Davis who found them thanks to the satellite they borrowed from some of their friends “in all the right places”.
Mary, Castiel and the boys are on their way home when the car is stopped. “It’s time.” They have a deal and Billie’s waiting. Dean explains that there was no way for them to make it out of the facility alive so he made a call to Billie. After talking to Dean, she went to see Sam and the brothers made a deal. Come midnight, Billie would reap only one of them permanently which would allow the survivor to continue to fight instead of having both Winchesters rot in a cell and still die there in the end. The pact is bound in blood and there will be consequences on a cosmic scale if it’s broken. Mary decides she’s the Winchester that will die but Castiel stabs Billie with an angel sword. The Winchesters mean too much to the world and to him and he’s not letting any of them die. Ketch goes after the witnesses Sam and Dean spared and kills them all with Davis’ blessing.
Overall grade : 7.5/10
“First Blood” is an improvement on “LOTUS”. It has excellent cinematography and it features the brothers showing off the skills that made them living legends in the hunting world. I enjoyed the way the prison scenes were filmed, to create a constant parallel between the brothers and show the way they were reacting to their circumstances. I liked subtle touches like Sam wincing at the mention of torture, something he’d experienced recently, while Dean remained inexpressive. I absolutely loved the Winchesters’ adventure in the woods. I love the Hunter Winchesters and watching them kick (so much) butt was an absolute treat.
As always, loved to see the King of Hell waltz in with his hilarious lines. “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, well, in the immortal words of Laurence Tureaud, I pity the fool.” Come on. He’s got so much style, I can’t stand it. I always say this, Crowley is alive partly because he’s wicked smart. He doesn’t underestimate the Winchesters. In season 6’s “The Man Who Would Be King”, he said : “ Am I the only game piece on the board who doesn’t underestimate those denim-wrapped nightmares?!” He knows their worth. Always has.
On to the BMOLS. It seems Antonia Bevell is the only member of the order I dislike so far (and I rather enjoy the actress). I’ve already expressed my appreciation for the stylish and very pompous Mister Ketch. I can now say with almost certainty that Mick Davis doesn’t bother me. I still don’t like the way the BMOLs are trying to butt into Sam and Dean affairs and regiment the way our lonesome cowboys roll, but the storyline isn’t too painful because I enjoy the actors. One for the win column.
I liked Wally, the hunter who told Mick to shove his “soft” “limey paper pusher” hands where the sun didn’t shine. Mitch was pitching him this concept of a “new world, a better world” where the BMOLS would share lore, money and weapons with the American hunters in exchange for their cooperation. He was prettying it up because it sounded to me like this deal meant a complete loss of independence for the hunters who would allow themselves to become hired guns who take orders from the BMOL : “when we call, go where you’re told and do what you’re told”. Sounds like a poisoned apple, but after seeing what they were able to do to help her sons, Mary seems tempted.
Now Castiel… Dabb and Co have described this season as the season of Bad Ass Castiel. We’re 9 episodes deep and so far, he’s staying meekly in the shadows when he’s ordered too, failing at hunting miserably and “running away” from the job. He looked weak, tired and on the verge of tears. Someone gets him a White Castle burger and a box of tissues. This is getting depressing.
The deal : “Come midnight a Winchester dies.”
The episode showed us that prison taking a toll on the brothers. Sam looked a bit traumatized and Dean looked like he was turning into a zombie.
Dean also explained why they made the deal. “We were already dead. Being locked in that cell, with nothing. I’ve been in Hell. This was worse.”
I don’t see how a couple of weeks in solitary was worse than the carving and tearing into his flesh Dean described. I understand the deal, not the reason chosen to justify it. As always since “Alpha and Omega”, Dabb’s big debut as HBIC, massive decisions concerning the brothers are half-baked in the narrative if not completely glossed over. Yes they’re Rambo, the Terminator and everything in between, but also complex, complicated and messy people who always managed to infuse some tension into their crazy decisions. Here it was treated as something kinda mundane which ended up being more about Mary and Castiel’s emotions, and of course, Sam and Dean got to talk about their motivations on screen with everyone but each other.
Mary: “I’m a Winchester.”
A few words on Mary. First, her reaction to finding out what happened to the boys.
“You left them!”
That is rich coming from you, Mary Winchester. “Left them”? Way to project your issues onto the available punching bag.
“If they needed help, why didn’t they call me?”
Wait. You mean the woman who needs space and can’t be bothered with her real flesh and blood children because she’s still grieving her babies in the clouds? Why in the Vince Vicente Hell would they do that? Girl, please.
Second, Mary’s decision to sacrifice herself. I wasn’t surprised. My mother always says she’d take a bullet for me. I guess Mary’s gesture didn’t mean as much to me as it could have because it’s not like she’s been thrilled to be on Earth anyway. How much of it is love, how much is I-can’t-wait-to-go-back-to-John-and-dem-babies? A little of both? I don’t know. Still I was grateful she stepped up to the motherly plate and I was fully prepared to let her go.
Best Dean moments
“You’re trapped out here with us.” The sheer badassmofory.
“Failure to communicate.” Psycho Dean… activate!!! This is the boogeyman monsters tell their children about. I call him, The Decimator, and I can’t get enough of him.
“This chicken ain’t half bad.” That was Dean in “Folsom Prison Blues”. “I love a man who can handle his meat.” The line is from Ellie in “Trial and Error” and I couldn’t agree more. That healthy appetite is one of the things I love the most about Dean. He tears into food the way he tears into life. I just want to stroke his hair and feed him grapes. Okay, chocolate covered almonds. I know my boy doesn’t do fruits…
Like I said, the reason Dean made the deal didn’t work for me, but I appreciated the way the episode let us know he was deteriorating psychologically. The zoned out zombie look was brutal, the mirror scene was poetic. He’s determined to maintain his humanity and do everything he can to recognize that face in the mirror but do you see the reflection? That twisted, deformed image represents his state of mind and the future between this walls. Deep. *grabs a handful of chocolate covered almonds for my prince *
Best Sam moments
The badassmofory. The strength, the skill, the control. Whew! Sam could have snapped this guy’s neck easy, but that wasn’t the plan. Ethical, kind-hearted warrior.
The Sam Mary hug. The way he lept toward Mary, I thought he was going to pick her up. I stop caring about Mary a while ago but it makes me happy to see Sam like this. My sweet baby. Enjoy your mama.
Clear body, clear mind. They’re each holding on to their sanity the best way they can. Dean refuses to turn into the mountain man and Sam refuses to let himself go (that includes entertaining mystery meat).
They both reacted strongly to Mary putting the gun to her head but there’s a desperation in Sam that Jared played so, so well. He almost made me care. Almost.
Best Winchester moments
Smart!Winchesters. The boys who grew up reading coordinates only needed a map and a couple of mountains to find their way. This one is goes out to you John Winchester.
The brothers getting ready to slay.
“We’re the guys that saved the world.” Louder for the cheap seats! Thank you.
Look at them baywatching in those woods. Oooh wee!
“I don’t get it. They both died on the same day?” The temporary winsync death. Listen, this SamnDean Girl will enjoy her winsync where she finds it. And it’s not morbid if they’re not really dead. May this be foreshadowing for the way it ends for them. Drop dead at the same time cause after season 34, I’ll be tired of them deals you feel me?
Final verdict: “We’re the guys that saved the world.”
This episode was better than the last one. Some magnificent Sam and Dean action. I thoroughly enjoyed every second the smart, badass Winchesters. They’re the best and I love it when the show treats them like the geniuses and quasi-Terminators that they are. Unsurprisingly, they were the best part of the episode. I wasn’t impressed by wishy-washy Mary and I do not understand why Castiel radiates so much pain and weakness these days.
The episode followed a trend started in “Alpha and Omega”. Moments that should be important for the brothers completely glossed over. Just like after Sam found out Dean survived the soul bomb, or when Sam was delivered from Toni, in “First Blood” the brothers don’t have time to talk about the deal, react to finding each other after months of captivity but they get to hug the entire main cast, except each other of course. This is bogus and it’s sadly becoming a common occurrence.
A real surprise and a true heartbreak, the death of Billie. Go gently into the night, my Queen (I hope the cosmos avenges you somehow).
Or come back because the Horseman’s demise taught you how treacherous those people can be and you had an ace up your sleeve because you saw it coming. Pretty please? Yeah. Step 1. Definitely denial.
The Winchester Brothers Report by Vee
12.01: “If he is not in one piece I will take you apart.”
12.02: “The only thing we had was each other.”
12.03: “Family hunting trip.”
12.04: “I hate you so much right now.”
12.05: “What do you think this is? Tickle party?”
12.06: “Where is my brother?”
12.07: “The brothers that rock together.”
12.08: “Impeach LOTUS, find Rosemary’s baby.”