There’s nothing like saving the leader of the free world from being possessed by the Morningstar himself and being dropped into a Gitmo-like Blacksite to rot for all your goodwill. Well, it’s Sam and Dean lot in life to get screwed and that’s where we find our favorite bro-skies as Supernatural returns.
From the start, “First Blood” has already happened. It begins—and ends—with Mick Davies, the Men of Letters: UK Branch representative reporting in to his superiors about the Winchesters’ ordeal after saving the President from Lucifer’s nefarious plans. He’s in the same place as when we last saw him, trying to recruit American hunters to the cause. It’s not going so well but good old Mick is still giving it the college try and, unlike his co-workers—the high strung Antonia (shipped back to England) and high-functioning sociopath Ketch—Mick is actually pretty likeable. He has a smoothness about him and, in certain regards, reminds me of Crowley if the former King of Hell lost his killer humor. And, judging by the way things ended, he’ll be an integral part to the second half of the season.
Oftentimes, when a show comes back from hiatus, there’s a lot of work to get viewers back into the swing of things. Supernatural has never had that problem, using toe-tapping tunes in the “Road So Far” montage to get us back up to speed. Additionally, the first episode of the new year gives us an idea of where things are going to end for that particular season. Unlike The Flash where this week’s episode hinted at a half dozen episode storylines (in addition to the primary driver—saving Iris from a future death), Supernatural is much more singular in its approach. Not that there aren’t a few bits of storyline chum thrown out, in two particular cases. First, after her sons escape the Blacksite and surrounding area, we’re left with Mary entertaining Mick’s offer for American hunters and the Men of Letters to work together. Her involvement in a joint effort—especially if she’s able to convince Sam and Dean to sign up as well—would go a long way in helping Mick organize his initiative on the American shores.
Secondly, and from a supernatural perspective, more harrowing, is Castiel shanking Billie. Turns out the reaper was the linchpin in Sam and Dean escaping their Blacksite prison.
Six plus weeks of solitude made the boys desperate and they make a deal with her: kill them both, albeit temporarily, which will allow them to escape the most substandard of blacksite prisons and one of them is hers for the taking. When it’s time to pay up, Mary is ready to take their place when Castiel, who has been in a different place this season, takes it upon himself to help the Winchesters out of their contract. More than that is his emotional speech after doing “what had to be done.”
“This world: this sad, doomed little world; it needs you. It needs every last Winchester it can get and I will not let you die. I won’t let any of you die. And I won’t let you sacrifice yourselves, you mean too much to me. To everything.”
Despite some of the stereotypical aspects of the government agents infighting, a lack of the usual humor we see in Supernatural, Castiel’s confession gave “First Blood” the umph the rest of the episode didn’t quite deliver. It’s one of the most heart-felt on-screen moments of Castiel throughout his tenure on the show and hits us all, Winchesters and audience alike, with the reminder that family isn’t only about blood.
- Though there was a decided lack of humor in “First Blood”, Dean did offer us a few pop culture references. When speaking to agent Sanchez on the walkie talkie, he quotes the legendary “What we have here is failure to communicate” line from Cool Hand Luke, originally spoken by the Captain, later reiterated by Paul Newman’s titular character at movie’s end. Luckily Dean doesn’t share Luke’s fate after uttering those infamous words…
- Soon after his quotes, Dean channels his inner Rorschach from Watchmen, reminding Sanchez that the Winchesters aren’t trapped out in the wild with Sanchez and his men, rather it’s the other way around.
- I briefly touched on the ludicrous nature of this government blacksite but more insane than the ease at which the Winchesters escaped, is that the United States government, with its hand in everything, has no clue about the supernatural world? That, more than anything kills some of the strength of the government agents, relegating them to more incompetent caricatures.
- Let’s not forget Mr. Ketch. The Men of Letters “cleaner”, he’s responsible for the uglier aspects of the job, including eliminating witnesses such as the entire blacksite contingent of agents, soldiers, and doctors. Let’s also not forget he murdered Magda, the gifted teen whose religious family treated her like an even creature (episode 4 of this season, “American Nightmare”). It’s only a matter of time before Sam and Dean get wind of this and, when they do, Mr. Ketch is going to have to answer for actions. In addition, it’ll probably screw up any type of collaboration between the American hunters and the Men of Letters, a collab I might add, only makes sense.
- After making short work of their opposition, Sam and Dean are walking away when the beaten agents ask who they are. Sam’s response reminds me so much of the iconic Buffy the Vampire Slayer when, without turning around or slowing down, he says “we’re the guys who save the world.”
- So being locked in a small prison cell for six weeks is worse than 40+ years of being tortured and broken in Hell? Sorry, Dean but I know hyperbole when I see it and that, my friend, is as over the top and insane a statement as I’ve ever heard. Sure, I have never been locked in a cell for 6 weeks or spent 40+ years being tortured over and over again but, if given the choice, I’d take the 6 weeks (or more) to the latter every day of the week…twice on Thursdays.
- Killing a reaper has to come with consequences. Though Castiel is an angel, like everything, he can die. Will Billie’s death signal more reapers setting their sights on Cas and the Winchesters? I’m thinking yes and, when that happens…
Supernatural: “First Blood”—4/5