SPN 9.16: Blade Runners review
Because it’s late and I’m still recovering from VegasCon, this will be a kind of mini-review of “Blade Runners” [9.16] by that wacky team Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming, and my rating is “could have been worse.”
First of all, I’d completely ignore Snookie being in this episode except that casting her as a crossroads demon is emblematic of a bigger problem, which is making demons in general pathetic and non-scary. Whether working at Castle Storage or Homeland Security or as a reality star, there’s just no threat to them anymore.
That being said, Mark Sheppard got a nice meaty hunk of script to chew on in “Blade Runners.” From comedic moments like crying over Casablanca and stealing candy to the slyly manipulative, he played his role well as usual. His relationship with Sam and Dean became even more intriguing. One can’t blame Sam for his mistrust of Crowley’s friendly overtures, after all he is the King of Hell, and he’s killed more than a few of their friends. However, Dean’s listing in his cell phone as “Not Moose” suggests that Crowley does hold Sam in some special regard. The question is why?
Crowley said to Sam: “You and I both know we shared a mo back in that church, and on some level we are bonded.” Sam wasn’t buying it, and there’s also the issue of Crowley having been in Sam’s head, knowing what Sam knows. They also share the experience of blood addiction – Sam to demon blood, Crowley to human blood. Despite the demon blood addiction, Sam retained his humanity. I couldn’t help but love Crowley’s anguished and frustrated cry that Sam and Dean didn’t know what it was like to be human. The other thing I’m wondering is whether Sam still having some demon blood in veins has any bearing on Crowley’s feelings or intentions toward him.
As for Crowley and Dean, it was clear from the start of the episode that Sam is beginning to worry about their relationship. He thinks that the two of them are becoming too close. He suggested to Dean that once they had the blade there was no reason to keep Crowley alive, and Dean reluctantly agreed.
It was pretty clear once Dean got a hold of the First Blade that Sam has a lot more to worry about than Dean being pals with the King of Hell. They tracked the blade to a former rogue member of the Men of Letters, Cuthbert Sinclair aka Albertus Magnus. Crowley helped get them to Magnus’ invisible fortress which they were magically sucked into. Magnus was for my money the creepiest and most threatening villain the show has had on it this season. That is perhaps because he, like Abaddon and Gadreel, was a direct threat to one of the Winchesters – unlike Bartholomew, Malachi, Metatron and that lot who I don’t care a hill of beans about at this point.
No, Magnus separated Sam and Dean under the (mistaken) impression that Sam was ordinary and Dean was extraordinary, and he offers to make Dean his companion because he’s become lonely. “When you were saying any of that did it feel at all creepy?” Dean asked. Totally, creepy Dean. When Dean refused to cooperate, Magnus cast a spell to remove Dean’s will. Not only would he make him just another object in his collection, he’d make Dean a puppet to do his bidding. “Welcome to the collection, Dean,” he said. So, Dean got a taste of what Sam has gone through again and again – being used and manipulated. I actually liked how it was handled because it has become so common for Sam to used that it has to some extent lost its impact, but seeing Dean helpless and scared was disturbing. I’d like to think that both Dean and viewers made the connection. Perhaps most disturbing though was Magnus’ promise after Dean holds the First Blade: “Next time will be easier. You’ll get used to the feelings. Even, welcome them.”
Meanwhile, Sam along with Crowley had been working on a spell to get back inside the fortress. Tricked by a shapeshifter posing as Magnus, Sam ends up chained to a pillar as Dean as was. Crowley let Dean loose, and Dean used the First Blade to decapitate Magnus. In a tense confrontation, Sam had to talk Dean, who appeared to be in a fugue state, into dropping the blade.
Returning to the Impala, they find a message scratched into the side in enochian, which neither Sam nor Dean even recognize. I mean, what? Really? Anyway, it’s a message from Abaddon, and if Dean wasn’t already set on killing her, this would do it. He looked like he was about to lose it at that point. He’d already been violated once that day, and carving up the Impala was too much for him.
Sam suggested to Dean then, oddly enough within Crowley’s hearing, that there was no reason to keep him alive. Now there’s more than one way of looking at this scene. The first is that Sam was worried about how close Dean was getting with Crowley. One might have expected due to their shared experiences with addiction that he might have more sympathy, but we have to keep in mind that Sam is still feeling the hurt of being tricked into possession, used by an angel to kill a friend, and can’t even trust his own brother. How could he trust the King of Hell?
So, Sam might see the First Blade as Dean’s demon blood and Crowley as Dean’s Ruby so to speak – the manipulative demon urging his brother down the path of darkness and addiction. If so, and that’s logical, then killing him makes a lot of sense. But if that were the case, why would he allow Crowley to hear him make the suggestion? Because Crowley was bound to act as he did and take the blade. With the blade in Crowley’s hands, Dean doesn’t have access to it – like taking the drug from the junkie.
It’s still a risky move, however, and I tend to think that letting Crowley overhear was just sloppy because now the manipulator has the drug. We’ll see. Crowley is holding the blade until Sam and Dean find Abaddon. At which point, I suppose Crowley will return the blade so Dean can kill her. Here’s my concern. Sam has neglected to get his anti-possession tattoo replaced – although given Abaddon’s threat to peel Dean’s off, I’m not sure how affective it would be anyway. Nonetheless, the most logical step for Abaddon would be to possess Sam, right? In a replay of Abaddon possessing Cain’s lover Collette, would Dean kill Sam to kill Abaddon? Is that too obvious of a parallel? This is the Carver Administration, people. Come on.
So, I guess this wasn’t all that short after all. Sorry.