Supernatural "Blade Runners" Review: Intervention

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Mar 19, 2014

Supernatural S09E16: "Blade Runners"

This was such a weird episode—and a kind of boring one, too, but mostly weird with a totally squandered Men of Letters story, Sam being the actual freaking dumbest hunter ever, aaaand Snooki. I'm actually past the hating-on-Jersey-Shore-out-of-principle phase, so I'll say this: No, she couldn't act, but she was only in the episode for like, 30 seconds tops. It was a cute, if overdone, joke, but it's over now and we survived and as far as reasons why "Blade Runners" was kind of awful are concerned, Snooki's appearance is low on my list. 

So let's talk about the more valid reasons for "Blade Runners" being a general disappointment except for the actual First Blade stuff (me gusta). The episode started out promising enough. Crowley's post-trials blood addiction caught up to him, and after the trail of the First Blade got too muddled for him to bother with, he shacked up with a demon lackey and basically spent the next few weeks getting high and getting laid. Unfortunately, Lola was working for Abbadon, totes told her ginger queen about the First Blade, and OMG if Dean was eager to behead her before, the fact that she keyed Baby is so not helping her case. 

It was pretty much all downhill from Lola's betrayal. Crowley's douchey antics went from amusing to annoying surprisingly quick, and when disgraced Man of Letters Cuthbert (yeah, I'd start going by Magnus, too) decided to add Dean to his magical menagerie of supernatural pets, it was practically a Three (two?) Stooges film watching those two bumble their way into a rescue. Crowley is the king of hell, for cryin' out loud! He's conniving and brilliant and capable. Even when he was borderline human again in Season Gr8's finale, he was still smart, he was just emotional, even hopped up on people blood. Speaking of which, Supernatural, really needs some new substances for people to get buzzed on. Maybe Sam's demon blood thing was slightly easier to stomach because he was typically ripping out throats and being very savage and monstrous about it—which was that entire storyline's point—but Crowley's methodical shooting-up method just skeeves me out. However, I'm now curious as to whether all types of blood on Supernatural are mind-altering in some way, and if so, why isn't there some secret underground market for that? The things this show makes me think.

Sam, meanwhile... also super smart. Remember that time he went to Stanford? It's only been a huge part of his character history since, IDK, the beginning of the series. Hey, and remember that time Sam was raised as a hunter and probably freaking knows better than to openly mention, "Hey Dean, it's time to kill Crowley" when Crowley is standing right there?

At least the dang devil's trap in the trunk held. At least that much of the show's own canon was respected. I mean, we're not talking about minuscule details from six seasons ago; we're talking about things that have been constants throughout the series' entire run (Sam and Dean Winchester are smart, dammit!) and things that happened half-a-season ago. 

But enough about what was sucky. Here's some good news: The First Blade turns Dean into a bloodthirsty killa and it's going to be awesome when he inevitably loses control and you know he's going to get at least one episode to himself to go all Deano the Homicidal Maniac before the guilt-trip sinks in and the brothers finally reconcile for real-real after Dean realizes that hey, not being in control of your own body kind of sucks. Forcing possession on somebody—even to save their life (which they might not want saved, BTW)—is kind of a crappy thing to do. 

And in the meantime, BLOODLUST DEAN YESSSS. I'm still holding out for Abbadon-possessed-Dean, which I'd love to see at some point this season even though that possibility seems to be diminishing, but I'll totally take Mark of Cain Dean. I'm just giddy at the idea of Jensen Ackles getting to play an alternate version of Dean. I've said it before, and a dozen other people across the interwebs have pointed it out, but Jared Padalecki has (flawlessly) played so many different versions of Sam that even the most encyclopedic of Supernatural fans would probably be at least momentarily challenged, to name them all. It's Ackles' turn to play a Dean with a twist, and even though "Blade Runners" was mostly a giant disappointment, it gets brownie points for giving us a taste of Dean Winchester on the First Blade juice. 


– Dumb Winchester Sighting: like half the freaking episode.

– Crowley has Dean programmed in his cell phone as "Not Moose." Love it. 

– However, what was with all the googly eyed nostalgia and weird crushing on Sam from Crowley this week (you know, more than his usual Sam obsession)? Was that because it was originally Sam's blood he was strung out on? 

– I loved the way Magnus so effortlessly fought off Dean and Sam with his spells. I'd really like to see more spellwork incorporated into their hunting. It makes sense and it seems like the sort of thing that Sam, in particular, would get into. 

– I saw a comic floating around the internet that pointed out how Crowley was looking for the First Blade in the ocean, and oceans are full of salt water, and demons + salt tend to not end well... and now I can't stop trying to rationalize how that worked out. Any thoughts? 

What'd you think of "First Blade"?

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  • alcalde Apr 11, 2014

    This felt like a very, very dumbed down version of the episode "The Most Toys" from Star Trek in which Data is taken by a collector of rare and valuable objects:

    I was originally excited over Cuthbert Sinclair and how he could add depth to the story, but as usual, as always, he was killed off and the whole thing wrapped up in one episode. Sam and Dean didn't even bother searching the house for all of the rare supernatural artifacts in his possession? What about the creatures in his "zoo"? This show is starting to get to be like an 80s sitcom: back then most shows had freelance writers so it was common for everything to "reset" by the end of the episode (the Simpsons even did a good gag based on this observation).

    The show also followed the pattern I laid out before for how to generate a Mad Libs or paint-by-numbers season of Supernatural: there's one MacGuffin they need to find and then they need to find the second MacGuffin (the villain), interspersed with filler episodes while they wait for Bobby/Kevin/Frank/whomever to give them a clue to the location. Exactly as I called it, Crowley took the First Blade away and charged them with finding Abaddon. We'll no doubt have filler eps until Castiel or whomever finds her, usually in time to give us three final episodes actually concerned with the big plot.

    I miss the Crowley we had through the end of Season 5, who was actually a nicer guy. They did a major transformation when Kripke left, starting with Crowley not giving Bobby back his soul. Nice Crowley from season 5 was the reason Bobby got his legs back. Actually come to think of it, Kripke-era Crowley kissed a lot of guys, including Bobby (and took a picture!) but post Kripke Crowley had a son and was sleeping with a woman this episode.

  • JayAtkinson Mar 26, 2014

    I really wish they hadn't killed off Magnus. I think that is what is stopping this show from reaching the heights of its earlier seasons. They kill every villain they come across besides the Big Bads each season, which while okay for most of the ghosts and ghouls and random nut-jobs like in ThinMan, is a shame when they come across someone like Magnus. The show suffers from a lack of recurring supporting characters, as such people popping up from time to time would allow for some stories and cases to emerge without the usual cliche of finding them online and without seeming random case-of-the-week-ish.

    It's even more of a shame that they don't have recurring foes outside of random angels and demons and the Big Bads. In Magnus, they could have had both, a guy whom could have proven an ally and a foil from time to time. Especially given his knowledge of magic. It could have made him a go-to guy for advice and help if they ever needed something magical. But also quite the potentially troublesome foe if they ever found themselves competing again for another supernatural artifact.

    Besides, I found him quite entertaining. Total waste just beheading him in my eyes.

  • renu4102 Mar 25, 2014

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  • RichardCarlso Mar 25, 2014

    Well, Tuesday we get another plateful of angst. Dean refuses to go with Sam on a case and crawls into a bottle of booze instead.

  • ksimpsonnn Mar 24, 2014

    Someone doesn't know what their talking about. Jensen was amazing as always and this episode was far from boring, every minute kept me entertained the entire time.

  • MichelleHood24 Mar 24, 2014

    A great episode I can't wait to explore more into the mark of Cain and it's effect on dean. Rrrrrrrrr Sam he is just annoying me at the moment. The "not moose" contact was brilliant.

  • YuenLoongNgu Mar 24, 2014

    "Not moose" cracked me up too. Nice touch.

  • Panther927 Mar 23, 2014

    my only problem with all this is even though I love dean and jensen ackles. I dont think ackles is a very good actor and I don't think he will properly display the struggle that dean will go through. I totally didn't feel any acting skills from either sam or dean this episode.

  • GirishKrishna1 May 18, 2014

    You don't even have to have watched anything other than Supernatural to realize what a contradictory statement that is.

  • jannel May 18, 2014

    Read my reply below that I just posted below. I might have replied to the wrong comment .

  • jjkrock Mar 23, 2014

    my only problem with all this is even though I love dean and jensen ackles. I dont think ackles is a very good actor and I don't think he will properly display the struggle that dean will go through...

    I have to respectfully disagree. I think Jensen is a great actor and capable of displaying a full range of emotions with apparent ease and agility. If you read recent interviews, there's discussion about how the Mark of Cain is affecting Dean psychologically -- blunting his emotional responses and altering his personality. If Jensen's face is emotionless and Dean's affect seems "flat" recently, I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be that way.

  • jannel May 18, 2014

    Have you seen his on live stage and read the reviews ? Or his past TV /or screen Movies ( besides. horror movies ) he did in the past ? Or a movie which he and his father produce an starred in ? Read the reviews and then
    maybe, you might have a bit more insight. That's why I feel that Jensen should move on from SPN. He is underrated, respectively saying. But its his choice to stay I guess.

  • jannel Mar 23, 2014

    If you have seen Ackles other work you would probably not be saying that Jensen can't act. He is an under rated actor but he put himself in that position.

  • jjkrock Mar 23, 2014

    I agree! Jensen is incredibly underrated. In my opinion, he's been consistently better than Jared since season one, but I'm sure there are people who would disagree...

  • chrissie0707 Mar 23, 2014

    I expect to be alone in this - but I find myself completely, frustratingly OVER Crowley's continued presence in this series. He popped up in ONE episode of S5, and he wasn't going to be anyone, but I'm assuming someone thought "we haven't had a Big Bad Demon to square off against in awhile, let's bring him back." So they brought him back. And then again. And every time, it was to cause just a little more chaos and pain for the Boys Winchester, and after "Let it Bleed" there should be NO EARTHLY REASON he is alive. They were ready and willing to slice and dice Cas, the third wheel of their bromance, yet another douchey, world-shattering season-arc starring Crowley was forgotten. He's still here because Mark Sheppard is awesome. I get that he's awesome. There have been several awesome guest stars, but I wouldn't expect the writing staff to pad the weekly character arsenal just to keep them around. For the sake of his simple presence in the show, his initial sociopathic badassedness has been reduced to nearly unwatchable swill. Just think of the holes left and facts changed by his constant reoccurrence. We know demons were once human, and in "Weekend at Bobby's" casting went out of their way to find a "son" who looked like MS. But Crowley previously stated he was wearing the body of a successful publisher (I think) out of New York. *raises a hand* please, no one say "well, obviously he was lying.". I've had that sort of response before, and he wasn't. We get a different Crowley every year based on what the writers need to keep the guys fighting with each other. I was embarrassed for and of the character, watching this episode. I was SO hoping this season would follow the angels on Earth storyline the S8 finale and S9 premiere so promisingly promised. To me, the show has felt listless since mid-S7. I think keeping Crowley around offers a glimpse back at the glory days - story quality speaking - but he isn't being used in a way in which I can justify his presence any longer. Yes, Sam, it is time to kill Crowley. So jump in your time machine and go back a couple of years, and do it when it should have been done in the first place.

  • jjkrock Mar 22, 2014

    Something else to consider -- Magnus isn't actually "dead" - he's in the veil with all the other recently departed. The possibilities for a spirit with his knowledge and skills are pretty extensive. Not only can be probably get back into his fortress (with the spell, or possibly without it -- I'm sure he considered the possibility that he might die one day and would need a backup plan for getting back home), but he could continue to be a factor in many other ways. He could be an interesting story line if the writers chose to pursue it.

  • alcalde Apr 11, 2014

    Sadly, when have the writers of Supernatural ever been that clever/deep/inventive? Just think back to the last episode and the ham-fisted way they handled Ed and Harry's similarity to Sam and Dean.

  • RichardCarlso Mar 22, 2014

    I doubt we have seen the last of Magnus.

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