Previously on Supernatural, “LOTUS”
The 250th(!!!) episode of Supernatural’s impressive run, “First Blood” carried on immediately after the events of “LOTUS” as the Winchesters were hastily transported and locked away in a black site. There they were given but one “conversation” with a senior official and left to endure the pains of isolation. All was well in the first half of the episode as this massive shift in the narrative of season twelve had some strong legs: between the montage that focused on Sam and Dean’s emotional breakdowns, a few scenes featuring Castiel and Mary’s shared misery, and the foreboding notion that the spawn of Lucifer is gestating at parts unknown, there was a scant level of promise that the remainder of the season was going to be unlike anything viewed in the show’s history.
For years now the Winchesters have skirted on the edge, and in spite of their craftiness, people had been keeping tabs on their murderous activities. It would have been a surprisingly rational path to take the show, having Sam and Dean contend with the encompassing influence and resources of the federal government. Although they’ve eliminated hordes of vampires, werewolves, leviathans, ghouls, vengeful spirits, demons, angels and have rapports with God and Satan, the Winchesters are having all kinds of difficulty with the Men of Letters. Imagine them going toe to toe with Uncle Sam as America’s Most Wanted! Alas, it would have been intriguing.
Instead, Dean and Sam somehow managed to die in their cell and revive themselves in the morgue and gave the G-Men the slip. From that moment on, the next 10 minutes of “First Blood” were part-The Fugitive part-Hard Target and all ‘meh’. After what appeared to be yet another layer of in “LOTUS” was brusquely wrapped up by showrunner Andrew Dabb with the liquidation of every member of the facility and concealment of the Winchester’s imprisonment. After the seemingly impossible task of exorcising Lucifer from the President and their sudden arrest, most of the winter finale was stricken from the record and in less than a full episode everything was back to status quo.
It was essentially a soft reset within a season that was designed to be a soft reset for the series.
What was especially confounding was the dour nature, vindictiveness and plain old stupidity of Secret Service agent Rick Sanchez (Stephen Lobo). We only had an episode to get a feel for the guy and he appeared to be a fairly stand-up dude (save for his penchant to quickly “get rid of” threats to the President). In “First Blood”, Sanchez has foregone (resigned?) his responsibilities as Head of the President’s detail and incessantly demands that Sam and Dean be killed. Like, obsessively so. Whatever training Rick had to become the protector for the Leader of the Free World went out the window along with his brain, and ultimately he and his team were rewarded for their amazing ineptitude with a visit from Mr. Ketch (David Haydn-Jones).
Questionable characterization and outright dismissiveness of plot aside, “First Blood” was actually a solid episode that gave average fans everything they come to expect from the CW’s cornerstone, with a few surprises for good measure. Though his contribution was brief in the episode, Misha Collins had more than enough time to showcase Castiel’s increasing frailty and dependence on Sam and Dean to give his life on earth meaning. Cas has proven his love to the family time and again, but now his loyalty might can placed them in greater danger now that he’s killed Billie (Lisa Berry) rather than have either one’s soul lost to him. It was the angel’s rashness and desperation to keep the Winchesters whole that motivated Mary to place her allegiance with the Men of Letters, who promise a more secure future for humankind.
Six episodes remain and though one minor story with potential was cast aside in “FIrst Blood”, two new disasters loom in Sam and Dean’s lives. The shadow of death has never looked darker for the brothers; they’ve gone to hell and back with relative ease but what awaits them (if it lives up to the hype) could be worse than any visit Down Under.
Supernatural - S12E9 - “First Blood” | Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Mark A. Sheppard, Misha Collins, Ruth Connell, Samantha Smith | Writer: Andrew Dabb | Director: Robert Singer