Maybe it’s just me, but Supernatural has this comforting presence that I missed dearly this past month and a half. Whether an episode is remarkable or merely okay, at this point, the show still evokes a feeling of say, reuniting with a long lost friend. It has everything to do with Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles).
Sam and Dean have been saving the world (and sometimes messing it up) for the past 12 years. They don’t get credit, they don’t get medals, and they often don’t get recognition from even their fellow hunters. Most importantly, they don’t ask for it, and they don’t acknowledge it themselves. Until last night. “First Blood” is a pretty good mid-season premiere in setting up the Winchester’s mindset for the rest of the season. We already know the British Men of Letters will be the Big Bad, but we still don’t know the exact nature of the threat they represent. Sure, they’ve got a black and white view of the world and tend to kill people that upset that worldview. But if this mid-season premiere is indicative of anything, it’s the flawless partnership between Sam and Dean, and a good reminder of what those two are capable of.
Excusing the somewhat iffy nature of how Sam and Dean got arrested in “LOTUS,” once they’re locked up, it’s down to business. Though the audience is unaware of the Winchester’s plan, it’s cool to see the brothers so in sync. No arguments, no angst. Dare I say it, it’s like these two have been doing this all their lives. Their escape is smooth, their take down of the captors swift. Even a cheesy Cool Hand Luke reference didn’t stop them. What’s more, there wasn’t any joking around about what really happened with the president. Sam’s cool explanation about the president being possessed by the devil was the only way to put it. Show’s maturity. However, it also shows the Winchesters aren’t playing games anymore. When the government guys ask them who they are, Sam replies “we’re the guys that save the world.” This feels like a new thesis statement. Sam didn’t say saved the world. That wasn’t a reference to season five or season 11. The brothers save the world, continually. Always. It’s an ongoing process for them. What’s more, Sam and Dean finally feel like they’re on the same page on that matter. It’s the hunter’s life, and it’s calling to them.
That sentiment is echoed in Castiel’s (Misha Collins) role in this episode. With the Winchesters gone, Cas is at a loss of what to do. He tries his hand at hunting, fails. He tries tracking the brothers, can’t. In short, he gives up. Cas is the mouthpiece for the rest of the hunters — they can’t do this without the Winchesters. Even one of the hunters from “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox” calls Dean’s phone to ask for help. When Cas kills Billie in order to save a Winchester, it’s another thesis statement — I will stop the Winchesters from making stupid decisions (like conducting deals with supernatural beings) by making a bad decision myself. Billie did say something about cosmic stakes. The Spawn of Satan is about to be born, what’s another cosmic crisis? I sort of like Cas’s stance at the end, but it doesn’t make up for the rest of episode. His attitude was odd, his lack of motivation out of character. Add on the frustrating inability to define Cas’s role nowadays (doesn’t he have cosmic powers of his own? Teleport, damnit!) and we’ve got one awkward angel that still doesn’t understand the world around him, despite having been on Earth for eight years now.
Mick, though. Now that is a cool dude. Writing daily reports on a typewriter like he’s some evil version of Dana Scully and trying his very best to recruit the American hunters. I like him as a bad guy for the Winchesters to go up against. He’s charismatic, funny, and a little oblivious to what exactly he’s going up against. Getting Mary on his side is just the first step. From a villain’s standpoint, it’s a good first step.
Speaking of Mary, I was about to become real angry with Supernatural at the end there. Please, show, just once let a secondary character complete a full arch and not end that arch by dying? Mary didn’t die, by the way. It’s a plea for the future. Mary teaming up with Mick makes a lot of sense. Mick is promising to get rid of the supernatural once and for all. Mary has been tired of the supernatural/hunter’s life ever since she got back. Obviously, this is going to create a lot of friction between her and the brothers, but again, this season is a lot about the personal. I’m excited to get to see more of Mary’s story.
All in all, “First Blood” did it’s job. It’s a decent premiere episode. Though the plotting was awkward and the dialogue a bit dry at times, it set up some interesting developments for down the road. And hey, I’m excited to be talking Supernatural again. See ya next week.