Supernatural Season 12, Episode 9
Posted by Dawn and Jaymee
The Road So Far: The last episode, “LOTUS,” saw the defeat* of Lucifer, we lost the human woman expecting Satan’s nephilim baby, and our boys were arrested by the Secret Service for trying to assassinate the “president.” Mary was still mostly M.I.A, Rowena and Crowley have done their patent disappearing act, and the British Men of Letters (BMoL) are always lurking in the background. And Castiel, well, he was left to pick up the pieces and deal with Sam and Dean going missing all on his own.
Dawn and Jay: *Defeat as in we think this is temporary and we will be seeing Lucifer again, soon.
First things first. 250 episodes. Two Hundred and Fifty Episodes!! What a 250th episode it was. “First Blood” was the episode we wanted, needed, the episode we didn’t even know we needed until it was there in front of us, demanding to be recognized for its brilliance. “First Blood” hit so many points we, and the entire fandom, have been waiting for. It pulled on our heart-strings, made us laugh in a way that only the pop culture sass of a Winchester can, and it reaffirmed the many, many reasons we have stayed with this show and supported its many twists, turns, transgressions, and redemptions for as long as we have. It made us once again thankful for the heart and soul the actors, directors, crew, and fans have put into making Supernatural reach a place very few other TV shows have gone, now 12 seasons strong.
Now with that out-of-the-way, let’s start: Blood and Family.
Blood: Dean and Sam
This episode showcased the brothers really taking control of their lives. No longer swept along in the turmoil of “destiny,” being pushed and pulled, torn apart and always reacting to what’s happening around them, they take charge. It’s also the first time we get some true and honest perspective on just how dangerous these brothers really are. You know, after breaking out of a top-secret, not on any map, military compound.
For all of the times we have seen Sam and Dean go up against some mythical creature, god, demigod, demon, witch, King of Hell, angel, archangel, or, you know, Satan, we very rarely see them go up against plain old humans. We have spent seasons with them fighting huge, monumental, apocalypse-level threats, and because of this, it is incredibly easy to forget how truly, practically dangerous the Winchesters are. Our perspective of their abilities is skewed by all the supernatural threats, so it was both terrifying and refreshing to see them put their ample training and natural abilities up against their own kind.
Sam and Dean are truly capable and absolutely terrifyingly dangerous to everyone, human or not. Their skills are shown in a stark light as they face off against some of the United States Government’s most highly trained soldiers. But there is something there besides the danger–there is mercy. Because while the boys make easy work of these soldiers, they do it without mortally wounding anyone. They hold back; they show restraint; they provide aid and assistance and ensure that everyone makes it out alive. They take found objects and Home Alone the crap out of these highly trained soldiers, because they do not want to kill, because they do not kill bystanders, because no matter what the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, or the local police say, they are not mindless serial killers. They hunt things. They save people. That is the family business.
And that’s another thing “First Blood” gave us. It gave us vindication, validation, verification! The Winchesters are heroes. They save people, all people. They saved the world multiple times. We know it, and it felt like finally, they know it, too. The hunter community knows it. The angels, demons, and Alphas know it, and it’s about Chuck damn time the humans knew it. This was monumental for Sam and Dean–to speak to someone outside of the hunter community about what they have done for the world.
Family: Castiel and Mary Winchester
We take what Bobby said to heart, and “First Blood” really solidified it for us: “Family don’t end with blood.” And if you talk to either Dawn or Jay, the Winchesters are made up of four people: Dean, Sam, Mary, and Castiel. This episode made it clear just how much Castiel has become part of their family. The absolute turmoil he went through, the pain and confusion, the isolation; we wept, we cried, we cursed, and we broke down.
DAWN: And now, an appeal to the Academy for Television Arts & Sciences: Please give Misha Collins an Emmy. While all of the actors did an amazing job in this episode, it was our beloved Misha who took our breath away.
We, the fans, were Castiel in this episode. Part of our family was missing. Who can we turn to? Who was left? Crowley flat out says no. Mary hasn’t quite lived up to the standard yet, and she had a hell of a nerve giving Castiel shit. We cheered when he stood up to her–she asked why he had left the boys, why he didn’t turn to her for help, and his response of “You were out” was everything we have been wanting someone to say to her. Castiel stepped up because Castiel always steps up, because that is what family does.
JAY: I really feel that Mary “scolding” Castiel for losing the boys was projection. She was angry with herself, for not being there, for leaving, for abandoning them when it was so obvious they needed her. She took that realization out on the one person who has always and will always be there for Sam and Dean, the one person who everyone always relies on. It was so powerful when Castiel showed her what she was doing, showed her why no one turned to her for help. I think this moment in the episode was pivotal for Mary. I think it woke something up inside of her, some missing piece slotted into place and finally it all clicked.
Mary’s struggles continue, but she is coming along. All her contacts may be dead or retired, but there’s a job to be done. She hunts what needs hunting while working with Castiel to find the boys, which somehow doesn’t seem to be hitting her as hard as it it hitting him. When Castiel reminds her exactly how long they have been gone–6 weeks, 2 days, and 10 hours–it’s like she finally realizes this is real. Her KIDS are MISSING. They are captive and missing. WAKE UP, MOM. It takes Castiel suggesting a return to tried and true methods of going to Crowley and Rowena in order to find them for Mary to really go all-in. Refusing to take the same routes the boys so oft do, she turns down the King of Hell and his mama.
JAY: Which honestly, thank goodness. I am so tired of a Winchester making a deal with a demon, reaper, Death himself, in order to sort out a problem. It always leaves me floundering as to what the consequences are, because nothing is free and often these types of solutions tend to exacerbate the problem.
DAWN: Well, yes, but I am not sure the people they DO make the deal with are the smarter option. In some ways, I feel like it’s far worse.
JAY: You know the more we see of Mary, the more I see Dean. From the way she drives to how she handles situations, to how she shows she cares without really coming out and saying it. “Buckle up.” I really love the depth of her character and how all of the actors who play a Winchesters seem to correlate them together. It’s very clear these two characters have the same familiar attributes and it’s the little things like this that make this show so special to me.
DAWN: I agree, but it just took her so damn long. I am glad she seems to finally be with the program.
It’s not until Dean contacts Castiel that the family gets their first real break. They get a s semi-location, but realize they don’t have the tools at their disposal to fully track down Sam and Dean. Teaming up with the BMoL is the only option Mary seems willing to take, as she seems to trust humans over supernatural beings. Which makes sense–that’s what she knows, or at least knew.
JAY: Lest we point out she is working with an Angel… but I digress. I also find it rather frustrating that Cas is so eager to go along with Mary’s plan since we know the history of the BMoL and the Winchesters. THEN again, I totally understand his desire to get the brothers back no matter the route they must take. I think it is times like these that Castiel feels his lack of his wings and teleporting power more than ever. It’s humanising, and I think that is one of the main reasons we are seeing such a startling level of emotion from the normally stoic angel this episode. He feels powerless to help.
DAWN: Her eldest is likely to disagree. Dean has said more than once that humans are the creatures he really doesn’t understand, and after what the BMoL did to Sam, I can’t see him being for this plan.
So the BMoL have the connections, they have the access to the satellites and the databases to pinpoint the brothers location, though they clearly have no interest in getting their hands dirty, leaving it to Castiel and Mary to hike through the wilderness and actually intercept Sam and Dean.
DAWN: Also, how, with all their connections, did they not know about Lucifer? Leaving soldiers alive is “a bit unprofessional,” they claim? So is not knowing about the Devil on earth.
JAY: Let alone the Devil possessing the President of the United States of America. Bad form, gentlemen, bad form. I mean for Chuck’s sake they need to sort out their priorities!
And another thing about the BMoL: they murder people. Lots of people. They partake in the cold-blooded, brutal murders of innocent bystanders. Because it’s “unprofessional” not to do so, and American hunters are “difficult.”
DAWN: Mr. Ketch is a sociopath, and so are the people he works for.
JAY: I just don’t understand how leaving people alive is considered a loose end that needs to be cleaned up. How do they explain away all the murders? What is the point of fighting the supernatural if all they are going to do is kill as many people as we try to save? I mean really, isn’t that the point of this whole society, to save… Society?
DAWN: Because the BMoL are all about the greater good. But Sam and Dean have been down that road before, and they–and we–know damn well that while it may look greater, it is never, ever good.
JAY: I don’t see how they are truly about the greater good. I think they have deluded themselves into thinking that’s what it is, but really they are just trying to suppress the existence of the supernatural until it’s squashed out. That’s not really good, killing the innocent isn’t right and it makes them the same as the monsters they hunt. I guess not all aspects of the supernatural are bad just like not all ‘hunters’ or MoL are good.
The reunion is beautiful. First SPN hug of 2017, Sam and Cas! We don’t see them hug often enough. The relief on both Castiel and Mary’s faces at having their boys back is heartbreaking, and made even worse by how it’s reflected on the faces of both Sam and Dean. Two months of isolation, two months of not knowing. These expressions, that relief, it was felt by everyone, the fandom, especially when Sam slammed into Castiel in the kind of embrace those two have faltered on in the past. It’s different this time; this is their family and they would do anything for one another.
Damn if this didn’t feel like a happy ending. We know better though; nothing is ever this easy, and it’s time to pay the piper. Nothing says supernatural intervention like messing with a Winchester’s car, so when Mary’s Chevy goes dead in the middle of the getaway, Sam and Dean finally come clean about how they escaped middle-of-nowhere-ville prison.
For all the progress we’ve made so far, old habits die hard, and nothing is harder to kill than a Winchester. Breaking out of a super top-secret government facility isn’t easy, and no matter how amazing our boys are, all things come with a price. A blood pact. A blood pact with a Reaper who specifically has it out for the Winchester line and who will not play. Dean and Sam together make a deal with Billie, and she is here to collect:
Come midnight, a Winchester goes bye-bye. Like, permanently. And that is something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time.
According to Billie, reneging on this particular deal means “consequences on a cosmic scale.” As threats go, it sounds like a good one. But with several spurned apocalypses behind them, killing the big daddy Death, and the spawn of Lucifer gestating away as we speak, what’s one more cosmic consequence? The looks in the Winchesters’ faces, though, make it clear that this could indeed be a Big One, and someone has to step up.
The brothers do their usual thing, backed by the logic that one brother is better than none is their logic, but Mary interrupts, offering herself as the sacrifice. Gun to her head, tears in her eyes, and damned if we didn’t think she was really going to do it.
But oh, Chuck, what happens next:
JAY: My very first thought was, goodbye to another fantastic, strong, independent, female character. We sure do have a lot of trouble keeping those around, let alone one of color. I loved Billie, I loved to hate Billie and I think Lisa Berry did a fantastic job with this character. If we are being totally honest I am really, really going to miss having her around.
DAWN: I am going to miss her like crazy and not just because I needed Billie/Crowley like I needed breathing. Billie was not just a strong female character; she was one of the show’s only strong women of color. That’s been something the show has lacked, and I thought we’d have Billie around for a long time. I understand the decision, and I see why it was needed. But that doesn’t mean I won’t miss her.
Shocked? Yes. Surprised? Not really. This isn’t the first time that Castiel has stepped up to save the Winchesters. It’s not the last time he will do it either, of this we are sure. It is, however, the first time he emotionally exposed himself, really ripped our damn hearts out with his reasoning. He finally explains what this family, his family, means to him and why he goes the lengths he does to protect them. Mary was absolutely correct when she said that angels were watching over Dean. We figure she just never realized that it was going to be one, very specific, slightly awkward angel, and that he would be watching over them all.
JAY: I’M NOT CRYING YOU’RE CRYING! Freck. FRECK. Castiel, sweet Jesus, I know we complained about you being an emotionless rock, but, Chuck, if this is how deeply you feel things, please save me from your emotions. I don’t know if my heart will ever recover from seeing the pain, anguish, dedication, devotion, sadness, and all the other emotions you just gave me. Jesus, Misha Collins….Jesus.
DAWN: I literally clutched at my heart. Mainly to keep it from falling straight out of my chest and onto the floor. This moment was gutting, and beautiful, and it was everything. EVERYTHING.
So this leaves us with a lot to think about (and a lot of feelings). This episode was perfection, and now we have high hopes and lots of questions for the rest of the season. If the writing can keep up this momentum, if it can keep up with the (always) stellar acting, we have no doubts this is working up to be one of the best seasons of Supernatural yet. We do wonder though:
- Have we skirted one disaster for another?
- What is going to happen now that the blood pact is left incomplete?
- Will the retribution be taken out on Castiel, who broke the pact, or the brothers who instigated the pact?
- Is Mary back for good?
- What is going to go on with the BMoL?
- WTF is going on between Mary and the BMoL?
- Will the BMoL’s “clean up” of the government soldiers come back to bite our Winchesters in the ass?
What questions or feelings are you left with? Share them in the comments below.
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