Dear friends: I hope you will permit me this one-off recap format change. The fact is that this past week was not so much an SPN episode as a Padalecki/Ackles cameo laden backdoor pilot for the series Supernatural: Bloodlines which hopes to get a fall season from the CW. Thus, I don’t have many favorite “SPN moments”—but I do have a lot of questions. Please let me preface this by saying the following: I think the premise of Bloodlines is intriguing and has true potential, I went into it and remain very open-minded, and I want to at least try to support anything SPN (and their amazing writers, directors and production crew). Truthfully, I think the episode was a bit rough, but almost all pilots are, and there have been many shows with so-so pilots that have gone on to be very good. And while I expected them to honor SPN canon, I also realized that this show plans to be a standalone entity that cannot always be governed by SPN rules. All that said, here’s what I want to know.
1. Why not create a spin-off with an established character?
I voted last week for a spin-off set in Sioux Falls with our own Jody Mills (teamed up with Alex, her new not-vamp charge) as badass chicks fighting supernatural crime. I’d love to see what Garth is up to after finding puppy love and starting his new life as a family man whom, for all of our sake, I pray is still fighting the good fight. As Entertainment Weekly suggested, I would have also enjoyed a spin-off featuring Krissy Chambers and her buddies (as last seen in Season Eight’s Freaks and Geeks) as teen hunters, or, and this would have thrilled me, a prequel series about young John Winchester featuring the handsome and talented Matt Cohen. Hell, my favorite idea yet is in their list: a show featuring all of the characters we have loved and lost, verbally and, perhaps, physically duking it out in Heaven (and probably Hell.) The biggest problem I saw with Bloodlines is that I needed an established character to hook me in—someone to care about right away to so that I could be patient through the set-up. Calling this a “spin-off” seems a tad disingenuous. It is more a standalone show, which is not necessarily a bad thing at all. It was just confusing to fans who expected more SPN relation and less canon derivative independence. And speaking of that…
2. How did Sam and Dean not know about the monster families controlling Chicago?
Seriously, I had a problem with this. The boys, and, especially, Bobby, had no idea about this? Their nationwide network of hunter friends didn’t know? Monsters never let it slip? They didn’t hear about this at all while Dean was in town eating delicious Death pizza? I know, I know. I’m probably being nitpicky about a show that requires suspension of belief enough that I wholeheartedly accept that Dorothy is real and Dean can become a real life Doctor Doolittle. What can I say, beloved show of mine? You raised my expectations.
3. Why are sirens one of the five ruling families?
According to TVGuide.com the five ruling families will not include, surprisingly, vampires, despite their appearance in the pilot. The five families will include werewolves, shapeshifters, djinn, ghouls and…sirens? Really? I’m wondering about this. First of all, vamps have been an integral part of the Superverse. They have appeared in many episodes—as recently as last week. We met their Alpha. We even watched Dean become one, temporarily.
Sirens have appeared in precisely one episode: Season Four’s “Sex and Violence”. Sirens are scary and manipulative and even need a very specific weapon and method to kill them, so on paper they are great monsters to feature. Lord knows I would love to see more powerful women on an SPN show. But I’m leery about female characters whose prominent feature is using sex as a weapon. I am very interested in seeing where they go with this. Based on what I’ve seen on SPN, I would have preferred the Amazons taking this role. Hopefully, Bloodlines can prove my fears unfounded.
4. Is werewolf change driven by emotion and not the lunar calendar canon now?
Werewolf woman Juliet, I mean Violet, was able to change at will when her long lost love David was threatened by Weirdo the Monster Slayer. How is that possible? It has been said to me that this is the rule now, because in the Season Six episode “All Dogs Go To Heaven” Sam mentions that when he and Samuel were hunting werewolves they witnessed changes outside the full moon. And we saw Garth wolf out when his ladylove and his friends were about to be killed in an act of Ragnarokian devotion. I just want it confirmed: is this the new rule? Because, to me, that changes the balance completely. IMO, monsters cannot become too powerful, or it makes their defeat even less believable. Speaking of which…
5. How are shapeshifters changing without shedding their skin?
It must be said—the VFX team once again did an amazing job in making this process look cool. And shapeshifter David had a funny exchange with Ennis about him and his family.
Ennis: “Who are you?”
David: My name is David Lassiter. I’m a shapeshifter.
Ennis: You’re a what?
David: We shift…our shape. It’s kind of all there in the name.
And I know we’ve seen shifters change without the gooey, flesh-colored remnants left behind. But admit it: Season One’s “Skin” and Season Six’s “Two and a Half Men” were made infinitely cooler with the splattery grossness. Again, it’s a balance issue. What chance do you have against a monster that powerful, that can change on a whim? The need to retreat to the sewers gave this monster a bit of a vulnerability that made it that much easier for hunters to defeat them. At least sometimes.
6. Why are Ennis and Sam’s hunter beginnings so similar?
Both had a normal life with a woman they loved and wanted to marry. Both lost their loves in the supernatural fight against monsters. Both have a missing father that knows more about the struggle than they do, and both of their fathers are absent and will need to be searched for.
I wonder about that choice. Are we supposed to relate Ennis to Sam? Ennis seems a likeable enough character, and I can see investing in him. But he is not Sam, and never can or should be, so the connection doesn’t allow Ennis his own origin story. I hope as Bloodlines progresses that Ennis is more fleshed out and has his own tale to tell. That would be far better for the show, in my opinion.
7. Is David the new Dean in terms of great one-liners?
So if Ennis is the Sam of Bloodlines, it stands to reason that David is the Dean. At least in the case of snappy comebacks. My favorite lines from this handsome, witty duo?
Dean, to the cop: “Listen, detective, your perp fits a certain profile. I could go into detail, but I’m not going to.”
Dean, to David: “All right. You’re with me, Romeo.” David retorts: “Sounds good, Buffy.”
Dean: “So, you’re telling me there are five monster families that run Chicago? What is this, Godfather with fangs?”
David: “What’s with the NRA Christmas in here?”
Add in the former shapeshifter definition and it seems that David is our new quipster. There were some very humorous pop culture zingers interspersed into the drama of the episode, and that was welcome. That’s the writing I expect from Supernatural, and I hope that Bloodlines will continue along as merrily in that tradition.
8. How did a mere human, even one with silver Freddie Krueger style hands, take on an entire bar full of monsters?
Okay, I am giving writer Andrew Dabb major props for including this in the script. Sharp silver hand blades as a human weapon against the creatures of the night. Genius. But they don’t imbue the wearer with super strength and agility. He managed to infiltrate a bar filled with baddies and not only make it out alive but kill a bunch? He managed to push a girl against a wall and instantly kill her? Unless he was hopped up on a cool steroid/amphetamine combo I am going to have to really, REALLY, suspend disbelief. Or call shenanigans. And now that we’re talking about the superhuman…
9. How did Sam watch the killing of a human being and not shake in his shoes?
Dean, I get. He’s changing from the Mark of Cain such that he can identify a bag of parts labeled “Susan” with a smirk and a bit of a chuckle.
Causing Sam to make an adorably disgusted face.
But when Ennis gets his revenge by shooting the man who accidentally killed his fiancée dead? Right in front of the boys? Why doesn’t this bother Sam more? Is it because he thinks it will prevent the oncoming monster mafia battle? Is it something more sinister? I give the writers and actors more credit than believing it is an oversight. So what gives?
10. Why doesn’t the PadaHair get its own starring credit?
I don’t know if Supernatural: Bloodlines will receive a season pickup. What I do know? The PadaHair is still one of my favorite entities in an episode of Supernatural. Period. I mean, how glorious is this?!?!?!
I sincerely hope the CW doesn’t pull a FOX and kill a show before it really gets a chance to find its footing. As I said, I think Supernatural: Bloodlines has potential unto itself, and I am curious to see if the SPN universe can be successfully integrated into it. What are your thoughts? Do you think Bloodlines deserves a chance? Let us know in the comments!