The Winchester Boys are back! And while "First Blood" accomplished the unenviable task of building the framework for the rest of Supernatural's 12th season and the foundation seems solid — it just wasn't a particularly entertaining display of craftsmanship.
The thing is, we've seen Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) escape from prison (in season 2's "Folsom Prison Blues") and we've seen the brothers on the run from every government agency ever (throughout most of seasons 2 and 3) so the dire straits of their post-presidential-exorcism were ultimately kind of... Whatever? I didn't need a Supernatural jailbreak episode to grab my attention after the winter hiatus. I needed something a little more ~supernatural~ to do that.
Even the mid-episode death-fake-out rang hollow. Of course Billie (Lisa Berry) was involved. Of course Mary (Samantha Smith) offered to be the sacrificial Winchester when the terms of their deal came to light. Her salvation at the end of Castiel's (Misha Collins) apparently-smites-everything-now angel sword was surprising if only for the fact that I thought we overcame Castiel's baby-in-a-trenchcoat hangups several seasons ago. Is there something I'm missing (DON'T SAY DESTIEL, DON'T SAY IT) that explains WTF is going on with him?
We know Castiel has loosened up since the season 5 apocalypse. We know he loves them Winchester boys. We know he carries a ton of guilt over not raising Dean "from perdition" soon enough and for screwing up Sam's resurrection, breaking his brain that one time, and turning into a Leviathan-fuelled God-monster who ultimately paved the way for he and Dean to get stuck in Purgatory for a summer. He's a different angel than he was several seasons ago. Do we really have to visit this again?
A world without a Sam and Dean is an enticing concept, and maybe if they had been allowed to go off into Billie's white light (or cold, empty void) for a few episodes, it could have had some real oomph. It was hard to feel the sense of loss and lack of direction that Mary and Castiel tried to embody, knowing full well that Sam and Dean's escape was only a matter of time. They weren't dead. Cas and Mary even knew that.
Supernatural has delighted in drowning itself in real, brutal, painful loss. This wasn't that, and I still have a hard time swallowing that an angel, a rogue resurrected hunter legend, and all of their allies, were just going to throw their hands up and mope. Okay, so Crowley (Mark Sheppard) didn't want to help them. Big deal. It's important for Supernatural to occasional reassert that Crowley is, in fact, a demon, who usually only helps the Winchesters when it benefits him.
The hopelessness and helplessness is certainly what drove Mary to cozy up with the British Men of Letters despite their forever-sketchiness and the fact that every other dumb isolationist hick hunter looked at their offer of alliance and went "nah." That Sam has already tentatively reached out to the B-MOL and Castiel, on his own, as well, says to me that a good old fashioned bro-down is in the works for laster on in this half.
Billie's demise opens the door for more wannabes to try to fill the void left by Capital-D-Death's death at the hands of Sam and Dean. It also makes the casual and not-so-casual viewer wonder what exactly is holding the universe together at this point, and how anything ever gets done with the Winchesters casually slaying anyone who dares threaten to separate their perky, co-dependent a--es.
I mean, really.
Supernatural airs Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW.
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