Supernatural 9.16 Review: “Blade Runners”

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This was easily the best episode of the Supernatural season so far. It was the funniest, and the most revealing. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a sight better than, say, “Devil May Care”.

We also get the long-waited Snooki appearance, which lasted a total of 30 seconds. She played a demon. Obvious joke there. ANYWAYS!

Let’s get to it.

The episode starts off with Dean trying to get a hold of Crowley, so that he can find out if Crowley has the First Blade or not. Dean is a little frantic and overly dramatic in his attempts to phone our favorite Demon King, which is interesting; how much is the Mark of Cain affecting his emotional state here, even without the Blade?

Crowley isn’t answering the phone (he has Dean listed as “Not Moose” and later calls him “Squirrel”) because he’s getting laid by a lovely demoness named Lola and getting high on human blood. Crowley is growing more and more emotional by the second; when he sends Lola off to get more human blood he ends up watching old movies and crying over a glass of wine.

It’s clear that Crowley is slowly being turned into a human by the shots of human blood. He even makes reference to it being “his cross to bear”, which is interesting messiah imagery. One wonders if that’s part of the set up by the show or just blasphemous statements coming from the King of Hell. It’s something to keep an eye on, especially if Crowley ends up turning human by the end of the season.

Also, and not to get too off track here, but I wonder how much of the set up to Crowley’s human character is worth looking into. When Crowley is at his most human, he drinks a lot of wine and watches old, sad romantic movies, not to mention he is overly emotional. Pardon my stereotyping (I know not all women act like this, just bear with me) but I wonder: is Crowley a woman? Could the demon inhabiting that skin be female? It would be very interesting, because most of the time you see demons and Angels in gender appropriate meatsuits (yes, I know angels are genderless; I’m using conventional gender roles here because it fits my theory better. Don’t touch me!). Just something to think about.

Lola turns out to be a spy for Abaddon, who now knows about the First Blade because of Crowley’s, uh, “medicated” talks to Lola about it. Crowley find out and kills her, but it doesn’t really matter; his, and the Winchesters, cover is blown. Normally, Crowley would just brush it off and take care of it himself but his addiction to human blood has made him a junkie mess. He calls the Winchesters, setting off the episode’s main plot.

Crowley, as it turns out, hasn’t found the First Blade. He searched the Mariana Trench (the deepest part of the ocean, says Sam, our resident oceanographer), and found nothing. He did find out (through more bloody and screamy means, one assumes) that an undersea sub found it first. It changed hands a few times after, until it ended up in a museum/storehouse thing for antiquities. Abaddon knows this too, apparently, and her team breaks in looking for it first. Unfortunately for them (and fortunately for us) it’s already gone; sold to an anonymous collector named Magnus. Sam then remembers that Albert Magnus is the name the Men of Letters use when they are incognito.

There is a really, really funny moment when Dean and Sam and Crowley are trying to find out where the Blade is (before they know its in the antiquities center), and are waiting for a buyer of some sort to get information. Crowley, King of Hell, is trying to break into a vending machine for some candy, and I can’t even explain how well this scene was written and played by the actors. Sam, who is just exasperated the whole episode, just stares at Crowley and smarms about him to Dean; it’s really great, and I’m not doing it justice. Just go watch it like fifty times.

One more note: this dude presumably knows that the Men of Letters were wiped out by Abaddon way back in the day; the fox could’ve been in the hen house, so to speak, for 57 years by now. It’s possible they would’ve been able to decode what the name Magnus meant and tracked him through it. It’s not likely, but why even take the risk?

There is one Man of Letters left: Cuthbert Sinclair (insert whitest name ever joke here). He was the Master of Spells for the Men of Letters until they kicked him out for… well, they never really say. It’s implied that he’s kind of a weirdo, but not really. They eventually track down the spot where Crowley and his demons tracked him to, but there’s nothing there. Dean and Sam call out to him, to see if he’ll let them in, and he does. Magus (as he goes by now) is a sociopath; he keeps a zoo of supernatural creatures and considers them and a long list of items as part of the “great collection” of all time. He, of course, has the First Blade, and when he sees that Dean as the Mark, he just has to have him. He sends Sam away, and begins to train Dean to do what he wants with the First Blade.

Kavan Smith plays Cuthbert Sinclair/Magnus to perfection, I think. He has a real ‘Gatsby’ vibe to him, and takes that character to is inevitable end: a man who has everything has nothing, and that attitude turned everything into a commodity, living or not. His attitude towards Dean when he’s training him to use the First Blade is super duper ‘Sith’ like; after Dean drops the First Blade and is clearly affected by its usage, he utters ‘Good’, like he’s Emperor Palpatine or something. I doubt it was an intentional homage, but dude, it got the message across.

He also uses a spell to drain Dean’s will, so that he’ll be more compliant to Magnus’s wishes. Sam and Crowley had broken back into the Magnus Estate by this point, and after Sam is briefly captured, Crowley frees Dean, who then slices the head off of Magnus. Kind of a quick end for a villain who had a lot more in him, but that’s show biz. Dean, who is still holding the First Blade, turns to Crowley and looks as if he is to murder him, but Sam manages to get through to him. The way that the audio was muffled when Sam was talking to Dean kinda made me think that the spell that Magnus used to drain his will would make a reoccurrence later on, in order to stop Dean from becoming a super duper murderous psycho, but that may be willful projection on my part.

In the end, they lose the First Blade again because Crowley realizes that Dean and Sam are going to murder him with it, and takes it from them. This seems kind of disingenuous on the Winchesters part; without Crowley, this never happened. They’ve become much more ruthless of late (which I like), but I do like Crowley. Sam, especially this episode, is hella rude to Crowley and is ready to straight up gank him then and there before Crowley stops them.

The only problems I really had with this episode were plot related; I mentioned the one about using the name Magnus, and there was also one about demons shooting out a security camera, but it’s really not that important. What I think we should take away from this episode is that both Sam and Dean are changing, and not for the good. Dean for obvious reasons: the Mark of Cain is a parasite, and it’s going to take control of him if he’s not careful.

Sam is changing because I think he’s just tired of everything. He was ready to die and go to Heaven for a reason, and him being back on Earth, I think, just irks at him; it reminds me of when Buffy (SPOILERS) was snatched out Heaven by her friends and never totally readjusted to being a human again. I think Sam just hates being used and thrown away and then having to seek revenge or justice. I think he’s just ready to stop.

We’ll be back on March 25th for “Mother’s Little Helper’, Misha Collins Supernatural directorial debut. Collins is a really good actor and a really good dude, too, so I have high hopes for this episode.

See you next week!

[Photo via Diyah Pera/The CW — © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved]

Hunter Bishop is an aspiring television writer and novelist who spends too much time on the internet. Come visit him on Twitter @Hunter_Bishop!
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  • http://scarletpensieve.blogspot.com Fahim Ferdous Promi

    By the way, Crowley, when human, was a man. This was revealed in the episode, Weekend At Bobby’s, Season-6. His name was Fergus Roderick McLeod.

    • HunterBishop

      I’m not sure how much stock we can put into that; the burning of his bones was faked by he and Castiel, so I don’t think it’d be a stretch to imagine that they faked his identity, too.