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Well, I am back on board the Carver train. Imagine my surprise that the writers who gave me back my ticket to ride were Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming, never my favourite writing duo. They got "Blade Runners" right, though. I finally think I can see the arc materializing, and it looks complex and interesting, just as Supernatural should be.

Blade Runners picks up the too long dormant Mark of Cain story thread and weaves it into the current unraveling of the bond between the brothers. Ross-Leming and Buckner also give us a good look at Crowley, allowing us to wonder both at his level of humanity and his capacity for the long con. Crowley is going to be very important to this arc in a way Sam and Dean haven’t yet realized. And I suspect it will be to their detriment.

Crowley needle

The King of Hell opens the episode in rough shape, indulging in his addiction to human blood and human feelings. His minion, Lola, is taking advantage of his weakness and reporting everything she learns to Abbadon, including the search for the First Blade.

But she underestimates Crowley, who is not as off his game as she thinks. I’m not sure Crowley is as off his game as anyone thinks, especially Sam and Dean. Mark Sheppard has described his character as what happens when nobody is looking. I think Crowley is indeed fighting an addiction to human feelings and those feelings are impacting him in unexpected ways. Sheppard is doing a wonderful job showing those nuances in the demon.

Sam Crowley2

But I also think Crowley has his eye on the prize and he’s finding ways to turn his weakness to his advantage. He spends a good deal of time asking Sam and Dean for support and trying to establish a connection between them because of the almost exorcism. The result is Sam and Dean both reacting in disgust at the idea and at Crowley’s condition, and that in turn means they are not taking Crowley seriously.

Dean should have already realized Crowley is far from out of the game when he learned the demon intended to lead other demons to Cain through John’s hunter friend. He was one step ahead of the boys there, which makes it less surprising to the audience he’s one step ahead of the boys in this episode. The question Sam and Dean should be asking is: what is Crowley’s goal?

However, Crowley is a master manipulator, so the boys are too busy telling him off to analyze him. It’s all shades of season four, when Ruby nudged Sam in all the wrong directions using a velvet glove. Crowley’s methods are different, but he’s leading Dean where he wants Dean to go, taking advantage of Dean’s emotional separation from Sam. Lola found out to her cost Crowley is far from losing his grip. Dean is soon going to find out the same.

Fortunately, I now believe that like season four, both brothers’ perception of how the other feels is inaccurate. Their bond is still there, and that bond is still their best defence against forces like Crowley and Abbadon.

The writers have been careful to show Sam’s fear of losing Dean in several episodes, despite his declaration he and Dean are just working partners, not brothers. Sam is no more able to turn off his feelings for Dean than vice versa. In this episode, he is in full brother mode as he snarls to the man he thinks is Cuthbert, “Take me to my brother.”

Dean snarl

Dean is in snarl mode himself when Cuthbert threatens Sam. Both brothers are desperate to protect the other. How they end up doing so is key to the arc. Crowley lets Dean loose, and the elder Winchester takes up the First Blade without hesitation to defend Sam. The Blade’s cost begins to manifest as Dean is caught up in the feelings the blade evokes—feelings that are all about power and strength rather than morality.

The Blade mimics in many ways the feelings Sam got from demon blood which led him down his road of good intentions. Arrogance, pride, revenge – these were feelings that allowed Lucifer to manipulate Sam. And it was Dean’s voice of love that penetrated the red haze of anger Lucifer had cast over Sam.


The situation is reversed in “Blade Runners.” Dean is the one struggling with the attraction to violence and Sam’s voice pulls him back. I like the parallel, but I like even more that the story isn’t a straight parallel and the boys will have to do some growing to reach each other.

Sam has been very angry at the lengths Dean will go to save him, and that anger led him to say some very sweeping things about Dean’s motivations and Dean’s worth. Sam’s anger is justified, but I think he’s also taking for granted he’ll be able to work things through with his brother precisely because Dean has always been focused on him. Dean has stood in loco parentis for his brother far too often for that not to impact their relationship.

What Sam wants to work out with Dean is his feeling Dean doesn’t see him as a capable adult, a full partner. He wants to know Dean trusts his judgement and he wants Dean to acknowledge the logical result of that trust is that he can let Sam go if that’s truly Sam’s choice.

These are reasonable goals. However, just as Dean did not communicate that trust to Sam in the church, Sam did not communicate his enduring love for his brother in his talks with him. I don’t mean to say Sam doesn’t feel the love, just that his words didn’t convey the complexity of what he feels for his brother.

I think Sam is now fully aware of that complexity, as he still feels the need for Dean to acknowledge his actions hurt Sam, but at the same time he feels Dean slipping through his fingers in a way Sam does not want. Sam knows all too well the seductive pull of power, and this episode opened his eyes to the danger of the Mark of Cain.


In a way, it’s been odd it’s taken Sam this long to eye the Mark suspiciously. But perhaps it’s not so odd when his feelings about Dean are factored in. When Sam finds out about the Mark, he is focused on his anger at Dean, and not entirely clear on whether he’s most angry at the possession, Dean’s lies about the possession, Dean choosing to leave him rather than listen to him or Dean replacing him with Crowley of all people as a partner. Sam’s got so much on his plate, the Mark doesn’t grab his attention as it normally would, and that in a nutshell shows that breaking the bond is not a source of strength for these two.

The Mark I think is now firmly on Sam’s radar as something to worry about. I think it is on Dean’s radar, too, but he’s having to fight this battle on the inside and he no longer feels his tie to Sam is his anchor. Dean has never before really thought his bond with Sam was severed, not even in “Swan Song” when Lucifer looked out of Sam’s eyes.

This time, it’s different. It’s not outside forces breaking the boys apart; it’s their own relationship issues. Dean knows why he can’t accept Sam losing hope and deciding to die, and he knows he doesn’t feel sorry for saving him. But at the same time he knows why Sam finds the idea of possession so horrific, and he knows he shouldn’t have allowed his lies to his brother to stand. Dean has never been good at verbal communication; he shows his feelings with actions.  Sam needs to hear something Dean doesn’t yet know how to say, and Dean needs to see Sam show him his love in a way Sam isn’t used to doing. The result of all this non-communication is Dean losing himself in a way neither he nor Sam want.

Crowley blade

Crowley is using the space between the brothers to ooze in and use Sam and Dean for his own purposes. He’s been upfront that he wants Dean to help him with his succession issues by killing Abaddon. But he hasn’t been so upfront with all that he knows about the Knights of Hell and the impact of the Blade. I think he has plans for Dean past killing Abaddon.


Given Cain’s story, I think it’s very possible using the Blade will push Dean toward turning into a demon, something he’s been afraid of since season three. If Crowley can find a way to control Dean as a Knight of Hell, he will be much more powerful than he was before the rebellion. Cuthbert had the same goal and realized Sam was the key. But as Dean gets closer to Knighthood, will that continue to be the case? Or does Crowley have another means of control in mind?

I think Sam is going to realize he is the key to a lot of plans, and he’d better try to take control of the impact he has on Dean before he loses his brother completely. The love Dean has for Sam has always been messy, but then love *is* messy.

Dean’s boundary issues with Sam hurt Sam, and Sam’s response hurt Dean. The part of love that makes us vulnerable is the way we fear to lose it and the way it lets us know our partner’s weak areas. But love also lets us feel truly known, flaws and all. I think Sam is going to decide messy love is worth fighting for—and that fight will in the end clear up some of the mess for both brothers.

Photos courtesy of


# percysowner 2014-03-21 13:43
I think that you are right about a lot of this. Sam hasn't been able to express to Dean how he loves him. But, and there is a but, Dean and a lot of fans are taking what Sam says and applying it more liberally than I think Sam intended. Sam didn't say they weren't brothers. He said they could function as working partners, but as to brothers... He didn't say yes or no. He left it as a question. A question Dean steadfastly refuses to examine. Dean said they were family and Sam said that led to all the problems BETWEEN US, not all the problems that they have, or that the world has. Yes, Sam told Dean that Dean thinks he's being a savior and all he does is make things worse, but he also said it while talking about Dean saving SAM specifically. I know why Dean and fans take it as Sam dismissing everything good Dean has done, but that's NOT what he said. Dean can't handle nuance and Sam needs to work around that, but as long as Dean is in "I was right. I'd do it again. You'd do it too. Just hit me and then tell me I was right" mode Sam can't even begin to talk about the nuances of what he is saying.

Now I agree Crowley is taking full advantage of the situation and it will blow up in their faces. Dean is vulnerable right now with the rupture with Sam and the Blade is very seductive, especially to a man who has already written himself off because he believes he's a killer and going to burn for Kevin's death. In the end, Meg really hit the nail on the head when she said the problem is always Crowley.
# cheryl42 2014-03-21 13:55
The problem is, as always some fans don't pay a lot of attention to the dialogue only to Dean's reaction to the dialogue. So (again to some) it wouldn't matter if they read the transcript all they see is Dean's feelings were hurt and Sam hurt them. The writers have spelled it out I think very clearly IMO but I am a brother fan so there you go.
Crowely is so playing the brothers. The look on his face showed it throughout the episode (at least after the blood chugging) he planned this whole scenario.
# nappi815 2014-03-21 16:14
nice review gerry:)
cheryl and percy i totally agree. i sometimes feel dean is the fandom...what i mean is, it seems at times that what dean thinks, a portion of the fans think as well, even though a lot of the time, dean has selective hearing when it comes to sam and what he thinks and what actually is are two entirely different things. i agree that it's a reaction towards the way dean reacts. i fear that's the burden "sam winchester" bears. :(
i think sam has shown dean how much he loves him. giving dean the prize from the cereal box, giving dean the samulet, coming back to hunting in the first place because dean said he didn't want to do it alone, jumping in the pit, believing in dean when no one else did including dean himself, telling dean to his face how much he wanted to be like his big brother, trying to lead dean into the light at the end of the tunnel by doing the trials ...hell he even told dean he loved him in sam, interrupted. yes i know he was medicated, but the medication didn't make sam love his brother, it only broke down his inhibitions enough so he can say the words.
neither brother seem to be able to say the actual words, as they are not only men, but winchester men. i always thought though that both brothers have equally shown that they love ea. other through their actions. i never really doubted either brother's love for the other. but they are different and have different views. dean loves his brother to the point of holding on too tight and going to any and all measures to save him and keep him safe. sam loves his brother enough to abide by his wishes even if it kills sam to do it. he loves his brother enough to let him go if that's what dean wants.
i just think neither of the brothers truly understand the other's pov. once they do finally see where the other is coming from, they'll come to understand ea other as they never have before and not only will they change what needs to be changed, but they can accept what cannot. ;)
i have no doubt that's where we are headed. :)
crowley that evil bastard. he's definitely the puppet master in this scenario...i look forward to finding out who/what crowley really is and what he really wants....
# lkeke35 2014-03-21 17:29
Oh, yeah! Sam will die for Dean. But Dean will see the whole world burn to save Sam. It's just different ways of showing their love. Neither of them likes this approach. Above all else Dean needs Sam to live, so Sam sacrificing his life is out of the question. Sam believes his life is worth Dean's. Sam doesn't believe his life is worth the world but Dean does. So yeah. they show each other their love all the time but they are at odds about how its expressed.
# lkeke35 2014-03-21 17:10
Cheryl: I so totally agree with you on this. I think because some fans love dean so much ,they rarely pay any attention to the things Sam says and when he's talking ,they're just waiting for him to get offscreen. I know because I used to be the same way about Dean. I made a concentrated effort to pay closer attention to Dean the character, after reaading about so many fans love for this character i had simply dismissed. A lot of fans think Sam needs to be more clear about what he's feeling and, in a sense, they are correct, but if you pay closer attention, Sam is almost always telling us how he feels and what he thinks. Sam is a very verbal character, who approaches the world through words and in some ways Dean is easier for people to understand as he approches the world through action. He's a a sensory and tactile person.( Something which led me to believe, because I approach the world the way Sam does , that this made him shallow and simple.)

Percysowner: thank you for spelling things out a little more clearly. I too think Sam is onlky speaking of the specific set of circumstances they're in. Not everything either of them has ever done in their life.
# Lilah_Kane 2014-03-21 14:24
I am a fan of both brothers and hey, those people that think that Sam is mean to Crowley are pretty weird considering that Crowley IS the bad guy. And he reminds Sam what happened to him in the past. I love Crowley as a character but damn if people think Sam should be all hugs and fluffy pink bunnies with him. Sam and Dean are hunters and it would be totally illogical to Sam and Dean be nothing but rude, distrusting, chop his head off mood. So, it is better leave those people to do that and us others ponder the evilness of Crowley. (Totally love the character). I for one am one of them that think that Dean will be so screwed over by Crowley and the mark in a bad way. When he held it it gave chills to my spine.
And Sam is now really first time noticing the threat from the Mark. I think when it was dormant, Sam just forgot it in away as the boys had their own trouble going on and still have. I am fairly certain that Crowley will continue to use Dean and in next episode he gets one step closer to the dark side. "Vader voice"
Nice review and totally awesome picture in the end. Dean with black eyes. ;)
I am having also an extra thought because of that picture. If Dean will be the boss of knights of hell. Which color demon eyes he would have?
I thought about it a little myself. Is it golden, white, red or black? Or a new color. The effect on his arm made me think burning lava a bit. Totally new.

Spoilers: Speak of the devil. Clip from next weeks episode:
# Grace232 2014-03-21 14:44
Great review. - and great episode. I am so psyched by the mark of Cain and the parallels/role reversal from season 4. The guys are rocking it, the stories are compelling, and I cannot wait for the rest of the season!
# cheryl42 2014-03-21 14:52
TNT was airing the last few episodes of S8 yesterday and today and I remembered something from GS? when Crowely was reminding Naomi of there time in Mesopotamia. This would mean that Crowely is much older than a demon possessed Fergus Mcloud. Maybe a fallen angel? There is more to Crowely I think than we know.
Dean is in so much trouble. Watching that clip I think he knows it too.

Sorry I forgot Great review Gerry! I really enjoyed it and agree.
# Puck 2014-03-21 14:57
Good catch Cheryl! I was thinking about that the other day. Speaking of "Goodbye Stranger" I still miss Meg. Don't get me wrong: Abbadon is a girl we love to hate even more but she's all fire! More recently Meg seemed like 'Daria the Demon,' and that just makes me smile.
# cheryl42 2014-03-22 11:40
Is Crowely the only demon that can understand Enochian? That is another reason I am suspecting that he might be a fallen angel. The only thing that blows that out of the water is that the blood was making him human. Is that how you shut heaven as well? Kevin didn't get to translate the angel tablets so we don't know. So much ground to cover so little time...
# Puck 2014-03-21 15:21
Nice review Gerry!

Sam is finally seeing himself in what Dean is doing (consciously or otherwise) with the Mark. The good intention is there, but since when have any of these things gone well for the Winchesters? They both know that, Dean is going back to his dark place. He has always had little faith in his own self-worth, but this time it's different. He told Sam at the start of the Trials (thank you TNT for reminding me) that he doesn't care what happens to himself anymore, and I doubt he's changed his tune. Luckily, Sam saw it then and clearly he sees it again now. It's about time he gets a chance to save his big brother. I hope he succeeds.

At the same time there's an imbalance running through seasons GR8 and DIV9. Remember how pissed Dean was at Sam for bringing him to the faith healer? And Dean turned around and did the same thing to Sam. Sam's anger is justified, but again I don't think he's so much mad at Dean as hurt that Dean overruled his decisions. They have to repair the damage, but actions speak louder than words. They have to save themselves before they can save their relationship.

In the end I snickered, chuckled, and laughed through Sam's annoyance with Crowley. The demon is being so over the top again that I'm sure parts of his routine were a ruse for the Winchesters just like him leading Dean on to meet Cain. Some of it seemed genuine, so we'll just have to see where it goes. I'm ready for a return of the trench coat, but if Misha directed the next one (YAY MISHA!!!) then I doubt Cas will be a big player. Why can't Bobby just show up and kick some Winchester ass over all this?! Don't deny you wouldn't want to see that! :D

At any rate things always get worse before they get better so as much as my spidey-sense flared up over Dean being drawn to the effects of the Mark I bet he will face much worse before Sam brings him to his sense and/or he can redeem himself. This whole story arc reminds me of "The End," "On the Head of a Pin," and yes as Gerry pointed out: "Dream a Little Dream of Me." I foresee more clenched fisted finishes before the season is over.
# Sylvie 2014-03-21 15:33
Nice review Gerry. There is so much more to Crowley, I think he is not a regular demon, maybe not really a demon at all. He's the only one we've ever seen smoking out in red and not black. Maybe he's some sort of fallen angel, and as Cheryl42 pointed out, he and Naomi knew each other in Mesopotamia, so yeah, that predates Fergus McLeod by a good millennia! And as Meg always said, when is everyone going to realize that Crowley is always going to be the problem? See, if she was still around she'd be helping our boys, cause Crowley is a very dangerous MoFo. :P
# CastielsCAT 2014-03-21 15:58
I love this review! Crowley is definitely wanting to control Dean and I think he has no use for Sam in his plans. I saw his fawning over Sam as a deliberate ploy to get Sam to react rashly. It worked too. Sam demanded that Dean use the blade against Crowley., which was horrific to me because dean never saw any reason for Sam to risk himself using demon blood. It gave Crowley the excuse he needed to keep the blade until Dean needed it. The blade is a pretty big carrot.

Crowley undoubtedly knows more than he's saying. Cuthbert's fate suggests that Dean will not be easy to control. Crowley's hubris is that he believes he is always in control. He started out this season in bad straits. I think it's debatable whether he will survive this or not.

I don't see Dean becoming a demon myself. He's now the alpha hunter, alpha killer seeing less gray than he did before. I think Purgatory Dean was a brief taste of this. The guy that felt no remorse at killing to achieve his goals. The goal was noble, saving Cas, finding the demon tablet, killing Crowley; but the means were not. Indiscriminate killing and torture regardless of who or what as long as the goal is reached. I keep thinking of the Purgatory Dean mantras... you're either in or you're out, I'm the man with the mojo and the plan, when is decapitation not my thing. Chilling.
# cheryl42 2014-03-21 17:42
I think you need to rewatch that scene with Sam and Dean at the car. Sam just told Dean that Crowely needed to die he didn't tell Dean to use the blade. Sam saw what the blade did to Dean he wasn't about to let Dean hold it again until they had a better understanding of what it was doing to Dean. And judging by the promo from the next episode Dean is worried about it's control over him as well.
That is what the blade did to Cain. It turned him into a demon. I just watched FB again. Cain became a demon that ruled and trained the knights of hell. What broke the spell that the blade had him under was evidently the love of Collette. So I would assume that the love of Sam is going to have to get through to Dean just like it did in Cuthbert's house/zoo. Even Jensen said that they needed to open a window or something because the story was going very dark for him.
# Sharon 2014-03-21 16:24
I do not know if Crowley was ''fawning '' over Sam , it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Crowley does feel a connection to Sam especially since they do share history and a ''mo'' as Crowley put it and blood literally . I just think Crowley has not survived this long without being very very clever and with a enormous survival instinct. The First Blade is a big prize and so would be manipulating the person that can use it so Crowley certainly is not going to miss that opportunity esp if getting rid of Abbadon is a result .
# eilf 2014-03-21 16:44
Sam did not demand that Dean use the blade to kill Crowley after he saw how it affected Dean. He was holding the blade out of Dean's line of sight. He said that they didn't need Crowley now the blade was found. Sam had literally just talked Dean down from his possession by the knife.

With regard to Dean never making Sam use his demon powers, in 'It's the Great Pumpkin' episode Dean could have stopped Sam from using his powers - which Sam was cornered into doing because he had lost the knife. It was use the powers or die because Dean didn't lift a finger to help him. Dean had the demon killing knife by his foot, he knew it was there and he did nothing, and he could see how much strain Sam using his powers was putting on Sam. If Sam's power had failed him at that moment he would have been killed by Samhain because Dean left him to get on with it.
# lkeke35 2014-03-21 17:34
I always saw that scene as Dean being somewhat in shock. He'd heard about Sam's abilities from Sam and the angels but I don't think he's seen them in effect at that time. I thought that was his first time seeing Sam do something like that. Since that's one of my favorite episodes, this is an excellent excuse to go watch it again.:)
# eilf 2014-03-21 17:42
Oh totally, and if you have any inclination to be fair-minded about the brothers' motivations that is what happened. (Of course he had seen Sam pretty much do this before in the 2nd/3rd episode of the season so it wasn't exactly new to him) But Dean having all that time to react and not doing anything because he was so shocked could easily have resulted in Sam dying, and then where would Dean have been? For all Dean knew USING his powers could have killed Sam, but Sam had NO options since the knife was where Dean could get to it and Sam couldn't. I don't put that down to Dean having some ulterior motive of not caring for Sam (as it appears it would be thought if it were Sam not helping Dean) or wanting to see his brother defeated, it was just what happened in the moment.

Anyway I said I wouldn't say any more about it, so I really do have to stop now :D
# eilf 2014-03-21 17:11
Hi Gerry, I like your review and I think it is a fair and generous take on both boys mindsets and motivations. I am still very wary of what the show is doing with the characters but this episode made me a tiny bit hopeful that the storyline may not be as worryingly one-sided as some people close to the show have made it seem (whether the fandom does is another matter). I apologise however, I shouldn't have commented on ancient history in my last comment.
# Gerry 2014-03-21 17:44
Thank you, Eilf, and other posters who enjoyed the review. I'm so happy to enjoy analyzing what's going on again. :) I have always loved both boys and I like being able to understand both boys. I finally feel I have the information to do that. I think Carver has a very ambitious plan in place and I'm rooting for him to pull it off. I still won't love all the ways it's unfolded, but it very well may be worth the journey.
# eilf 2014-03-21 17:55
you're welcome! I admit have pretty much abandoned the journey, it is giving me ulcers.;) I am going to wait till the end of the season and watch them all if it looks like the story they seem to have cued up has followed through.

I had to see what happened in this episode though because the storyline for Dark Dean is kicking off and it looks like it has so much potential and such a growth curve for him as an individual! And over the past many episodes I find that these writers are the ones who actually seem to remember what motivates Sam is as a character (and want to include him as a character in their stories) so they get my thumbs up even though I KNOW I am in a minority :D
# lkeke35 2014-03-22 13:06
I read somewhere online that. Sam is the smartest dumb person on television and that just made me crack up. I realized something. That a writer, it doesn't matter who, can only write characters that are as smart and clever as they are. It's just not possible to get into the mindset of a character who is significantly smarter or more clever than yourself. A writer can try but then what you end up with is someone like Sam, who is supposed to be ferociously intelligent ,who keeps saying or doing dumb things. I think the writers created a character who much much is smarter than them
# LEAH 2014-03-21 20:55
Hi Gerry, thanks so much for the insightful review. I agree with most of your observations, and I especially loved this section:

"This time, it’s different. It’s not outside forces breaking the boys apart; it’s their own relationship issues. Dean knows why he can’t accept Sam losing hope and deciding to die, and he knows he doesn’t feel sorry for saving him. But at the same time he knows why Sam finds the idea of possession so horrific, and he knows he shouldn’t have allowed his lies to his brother to stand. Dean has never been good at verbal communication; he shows his feelings with actions. Sam needs to hear something Dean doesn’t yet know how to say, and Dean needs to see Sam show him his love in a way Sam isn’t used to doing. The result of all this non-communicati on is Dean losing himself in a way neither he nor Sam want."

I am now looking forward to the rest of the season with anticipation. I hope we have some resolutions by seasons end but I have a feeling much will carry over to S10. On that note - YAY for season 10!
# mary9930 2014-03-22 09:30
Oh Gerry, the things you say: The Mark I think is now firmly on Sam’s radar as something to worry about. I think it is on Dean’s radar, too, but he’s having to fight this battle on the inside and he no longer feels his tie to Sam is his anchor. Dean has never before really thought his bond with Sam was severed, not even in “Swan Song” when Lucifer looked out of Sam’s eyes.

I wished I disagreed with that. I still want them going to preposterous lengths to save each other. That's what fuels their drive to find a way out when all seems hopeless. I know Dean will feel anchored to Sam again but now I kind of wish I waited & binged watched this whole season :(
# Gerry 2014-03-22 10:49
Hi Mary! I do believe that the point of the arc in the end is to show the boys just how deeply they are connected and that they need to work things out with each other, not ignore or walk away. I'm not thinking Sam is going to just watch Dean get taken over by the Mark, when he himself knows what that is like. Sam and Dean have basically changed places with their season four selves, which is a good thing for growing mutual understanding even it's painful for both them and us.

I think tense story lines are easier to binge watch, because you don't have to spin your wheels in a painful spot. You can hurry on and see where the writers are going. But ratings depends on us using the week by week route, so I'll keep watching the old fashioned way. :)
# Scullspeare 2014-03-22 14:46
Over the past few episodes, I’ve started an experiment in how I watch Supernatural. On first watch, I avoid the credits; I don’t want to know who wrote it until after the fact. One reason is that I’ve had some real issues with the storytelling this season (not the story–I have no agenda there; I’m happy to go where they take me as long as it’s entertaining and well-told. But, for me, it’s those two elements that have, on occasion, been seriously lacking). Not knowing who wrote it, I hope to leave my biases at the door (like everyone, I have my favourites, and my not-so favourites) and judge the merits, or lack thereof, of an episode more objectively.

The other reason is I’m trying to figure out who best knows Sam’s voice. Robbie Thompson writes a great Dean; Bob Behrens brings out some really nice layers in Cas–but who writes Sam well? To date, I don’t have an answer (although I loved the comment further upthread about Sam being the 'dumbest smart person on TV, because the character can only be as smart as the writers. :D ) I’d love other fans’ input, although I doubt this is the right thread for that. Mea culpa.

Thanks Gerry for this great review; like you, I thought Blade Runners was an entertaining episode, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn it was written by Ross-Leming & Buckner, a team that can tell a good story but has a nasty habit of ignoring canon in the process. They created a fantastic character in Magnus (the first villain in a long time I was really sorry to see dispatched so quickly), contributed an awesome expansion to the Men of Letters lore (Magnus is gone, but that secret lair and his zoo–shudders–st ill exist, right?), and finally (finally!) gave us some much-needed progression in the Mark of Cain storyline.

The writers have been careful to show Sam’s fear of losing Dean in several episodes, despite his declaration he and Dean are just working partners, not brothers. Sam is no more able to turn off his feelings for Dean than vice versa.
I too loved how they portrayed the brothers’ relationship in Blade Runners. The cold war continues but while working the case, they are the dynamic partnership they’ve always been. And when one is threatened (as each was over the course of the hour), the masks come down and their love and concern for the other is clearly evident). They’re not telling us anything we didn’t already know–S&D are both hurt and angry (in many ways justifiably) and lashing out, but you don’t stop being brothers just because you say ‘we can’t be brothers any more’–ugh!–but I loved the way their love and concern for each other was illustrated here.

I’m not sure Crowley is as off his game as anyone thinks, especially Sam and Dean.
He is a master manipulator indeed. While I agree that Crowley’s addiction is real, I also think he’s using it as just another means to test allegiances and move pieces around the chessboard in the current power struggle for Hell. He certainly did that with Lola, and Sam and Dean are no exception–but they’re much more valuable chess pieces.

I only wish that in one of the arguments between Sam and Crowley, Sam had thrown the deaths of Tommy Collins and (especially) Sarah Blake (from Season 8’s Clip Show) back in Crowley’s face. The King of Hell was at his nefarious best (or is that worst?) in orchestrating Sarah’s death and throwing that into the mix would have given those Sam-Crowley exchanges a lot more emotional weight.

I’m also concerned about the amount of intel Crowley has been able to gather about the Men of Letters through Sam and Dean. He’s been taken back and from the bunker several times (I’m sure Sam and Dean are covering their tracks but this is, after all, Crowley), with this episode, he's now been allowed outside the cell and into the bunker proper, and had a front row seat (and gathered up the necessary ingredients) as Sam figured out a spell to access a heavily warded fortress. Hmmm... Anyone else think that all adds up to the bunker being in jeopardy as we barrel towards the season finale? :(

When I finally read the credits, I can’t say it surprised me to learn Serge Ladouceur was the director; the episode looked fantastic. There were some unique camera angles and perspective shots used throughout that told me someone who knows cameras intimately was in the director’s chair.

And kudos to the effects team, too–loved the effect used as the door to Magnus’s lair opened–and to the set designers; the unicorn skull was awesome!

GERRY: Quote:
I have always loved both boys and I like being able to understand both boys. I finally feel I have the information to do that. I think Carver has a very ambitious plan in place and I'm rooting for him to pull it off. I still won't love all the ways it's unfolded, but it very well may be worth the journey.
No sure if you watch Revolution, Gerry, but Kripke has continued his penchant for in-jokes on that show. Last week’s episode featured a reference to the “Carver Re-education Camp.” I’ve spent the past week puzzling over just who is getting re-educated–Car ver or us? ;)
# Gerry 2014-03-22 19:48
Hi Scullspeare, thanks for such a detailed comment! Re: the Revolution questions, i tried hard to watch because, Kripke, but I finally dropped it after a few eps this season. I thought it took Kripke a loooong time to find out what the show is about and build on that. Apparently, things have gelled, but it may be too late. I'll always love Kripke as a story teller, though. And I love the way he embedded in jokes into Supernatural!
# Daisymae 2014-03-23 14:56
I am also very worried about the Bunker. What were the boys thinking, really? I always thought Crowley didn't know where he was. Giant mistake. Also, what if Dean isn't saved? What if he becomes a demon or knight of hell? Isn't this what all the demons have wanted- for a Winchester to be in hell or a player? We have Season 10 so all does not have to be resolved now. And this is something we have all been afraid of, for a brother to become totally evil. Also, I'm always wrong about this stuff so don't get upset.
# Bluepony 2014-03-23 17:50
Gerry thank you for a wonderful review. I always enjoy reading your reviews and than going back and watching the episode. It adds another layer to the show.

"Dean is in snarl mode himself when Cuthbert threatens Sam." This sentence made me laugh because another site was trying to decide if the growling was coming from Dean or Magnus.

But this statement was very telling, "The writers have been careful to show Sam’s fear of losing Dean in several episodes, despite his declaration he and Dean are just working partners, not brothers. Sam is no more able to turn off his feelings for Dean than vice versa. In this episode, he is in full brother mode as he snarls to the man he thinks is Cuthbert, “Take me to my brother.” I agree with you that when Sam was disavowing Dean as his brother, which he agrees with Deans statement that that is what he has done in the next episode, he thought he would have more time to fix the relationship. I fear that time has passed and now he may just have to look for a way to connect at all.

Eventhough Dean and the blade are one scary combination, I can't wait for DarkDean. This has reinvigorated this story to a level I am once again waiting on pins and needles for the next episode.
# kaj 2014-03-24 07:08
I start to look at Sam and Dean like two people talk using different language. Dean is talking in Japanese and Sam is talking in Latin. Both talk about the same thing and mean the same thing but can't understand what each other is saying.

Dean : Sam, Watashi wa, anata o aishiteimasu!
Sam : Dean. te amo etiam
Dean : Watashi wa anata nashide wa ikite ikenainode, watashi wa sore o shimashita
Sam : Non possum ego a me putas? Donec non sum tibi, Dean!
Dean : Naze anata wa watashi ga nani o itte iru rikai dekinai nodesu ka?
Sam : Quare non potest intellegere, quae ego loquor tibi?

See... How can they understand each other if they use different language to speak to each other? So, to solve the problem, Dean has to learn Latin and Sam has to learn japanese. OR they use the same language that they both understand. It's not that they aren't on the page of the same book, they are. But somehow, they perceive the words on that page differently.