Supernatural S12E9: “First Blood”

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We did it, guys–we made it through yet another hellatus! Everyone rested? Seen the new Ackles twins? Caught up on Misha’s Snapchat poetry readings? Celebrated a renewal for season 13 with Jared? Ready for the emotional distress Andrew Dabb has all but promised us?

Buckle in for episode 250, everyone.

We start off the second half of season twelve six hours after the midseason finale left off, with Cas calling Mary to fill her in on what’s happened, while Sam and Dean go through the incarceration process. An FBI agent who seems particularly trigger-happy gives an anti-terrorism specialist a rundown of the Winchesters’ rap sheet. He then explains to the agent, then Sam and Dean themselves, that he won’t torture them for information. That just letting them sit there alone, with no company or human interaction with anyone other than himself, will break them and he’ll have all the information he needs soon enough.

And that’s where they stay for six weeks, two days, and ten hours.

The rest of the episode is sandwiched between scenes of British Men of Letters member Mick writing out a report on a typewriter (I don’t think we’ve seen a character use one since Metatron, which doesn’t bode well for his personality or intentions), discussing the trials and tribulations of swaying American hunters to the BMOL cause. Most are stubborn and unwilling to follow orders, and he’s getting frustrated with the lack of headway he’s making.

In the meantime, Cas and Mary are dealing with the brothers’ disappearance in the tried-and-true way Winchesters (both blood and honorary) deal with their feelings: hunting. Well, Mary is hunting– Cas is having trouble dealing with his guilt over leaving the brothers defenseless against the federal government. He tries to solve a case he knows Sam and Dean would have taken care of in no time, but isn’t able to; when Mary offers to go with him and help, Cas refuses, saying that he’ll just get in her way.

Back in the mysterious government agency, the specialist who was convinced he’d be able to break Sam and Dean learns that he won’t get the chance; a guard brings them one of their daily meals, and discovers both brothers in their cells, dead.

This would be a blow straight to the heart for any other show, but might I remind you that we’re watching Supernatural, so instead of panic and disbelief, we start sifting through theories on who the Winchesters struck a deal with this time. Sure enough, Sam and Dean come back to life in the morgue and escape the secret government agency known as Site 94 looking like they just jumped out of the Hatch from LOST.

Personally, I had been expecting more time in Site 94, and would’ve liked the writers to explore Sam and Dean’s thought processes through something other than montages of meal times and Dean keeping track of how long they’d been there. This is something the Winchesters have never really faced before, and it’s bound to have intense psychological effects (and inspire a few escape attempts, even if they do fail), but unfortunately, we never really got to see what those were or how the boys handled them. 

Once they’ve escaped, Dean manages to get in touch with Cas (whose voicemail message, “This is my voicemail, make your voice…a mail” deserves all the awards), and gives him and Mary their general location– Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, and tells him to meet them along the highway (with one caveat: they have to hurry up, because he and Sam are on the clock). Cas and Mary immediately head for Colorado, and after deciding they need backup, join forces with Mick and Mr. Ketch, who help them find Sam and Dean with thermal imaging from a satellite.

The FBI agent assembles a team to go after Sam and Dean, and he’s confident that he’ll catch them until they manage to knock one of the soldiers unconscious and steal his weapon and radio. He tells Dean that they’re trapped with them, and Dean delivers one of the best, fiercest lines in the episode, “Well, what we have here is a failure to communicate! Because we’re not trapped out here with you. You’re trapped out here with us.” Seriously, look this scene up, because Jensen’s delivery is goddamn perfect.

Dean quickly proves that he and Sam are men of their words; they stumble upon an abandoned house in the middle of the woods and booby-trap it to high hell, enough to incapacitate–but not kill–every single member of the FBI team. Just a few moments later, they have an emotional reunion with Mary and Cas that gets cut short by what Dean had referenced earlier with the, “We’re kind of on the clock here” comment.

Turns out, Dean had called Billie while in Site 94 and struck a deal with her: she’d kill both brothers and then bring them back one last time so they could escape, and in return, she’d get to kill one Winchester permanently. It’s unclear which brother had been planning to sacrifice himself (although, knowing both of them, it was probably going to be Dean), but before either one of them can, Mary says that she’ll do it. Billie is all for this, and Mary’s holding a gun to her head when Cas stabs Billie with his angel blade, killing her instantly and breaking Sam and Dean’s deal.

There’s a touching moment between Cas and all three Winchesters that I go into more detail on a few paragraphs down, but that’s not where the episode ends. Instead, we’ve got Mick talking to another hunter, offering his same shtick from earlier, “Let me paint you a picture,” he says, “Of a world without monsters or demons or any of those little buggers that go bump in the night. Of a world where no one has to die because of the supernatural. Of a new world, of a better world.” The hunter he’s talking to is interested, but the most surprising part isn’t that Mick has finally found a hunter to hear him out; it’s the fact that the hunter is Mary.

For all my nitpicks with “First Blood,” one thing’s for sure–Misha goddamn Collins came out swinging in this episode. How haunted and guilty Cas felt about what happened to Sam and Dean was palpable and heartbreaking throughout the entire 42 minutes, all leading up to his actions at the end of the episode. Although I was definitely upset–but unfortunately, not surprised–at Billie’s death at Cas’ hands, I still found myself tearing up over Cas’ explanation of his actions:

“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.”

Tears, you guys. Real tears.

All in all, Supernatural’s 250th episode was a solid start to the second half of season 12. I’ll miss Billie, and I’m not really sure what’s going on with next week’s angel situation, but I’m still looking forward to #251 and beyond.

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