Mark Watches ‘Supernatural’: S09E16 – Blade Runners

In the sixteenth episode of the ninth season of Supernatural, Sam and Dean run into another snag while pursuing the First Blade. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural. 

Trigger Warning: For discussion of addiction, and racial stereotypes/fetishizing.

I liked this episode and found it to be an interesting experience, but like most of season nine, I felt like I wanted more. The concept at the heart of “Blade Runners” really is one of the better things this show has done. I was so into the exploration of Crowley’s humanity! Of course, you can’t discuss that without getting into how that’s tied to his addiction to human blood. It’s an intricate situation.

But let’s talk about a few things before we get there. First… that appearance by Nicole Polizzi. Did… did she just ask to be on the show? Is that how that happened? Because this was so WEIRD. Not because Snooki doesn’t make sense within this universe; I’d actually argue that Supernatural’s universe is as pop-aware as our own. Snooki as a demon? Even more acceptable. Except that the show invokes her, has her do nothing of any significance, and then Sam exorcises her. Does that mean Nicole Polizzi goes back to normal? What is normal for Nicole Polizzi if she was always a demon? WHY DID THIS CAMEO HAPPEN?

Let me also log yet another giant BOOOOOOOOO to this show re-using that disgusting Asian porn joke. AGAIN. And putting an actual fucking gong after Crowley compliments an Asian woman in a porn magazine. Like, that is so actively fucking racist that I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s egregious! It’s not even a subtle thing. How come there’s no version of this happening when Dr. McElroy hits on Dean? Why doesn’t the show suddenly play Vanilla Ice or Belle and Sebastian? Or maybe we could get the show to record a bunch of hipsters squeeing about the newest cupcake shop in a part of town that they’re gentrifying, and we could just play that every time a white woman is hit on in this show. That’ll totally make things even, right?


So let’s talk about Crowley. It was inevitable that his addiction to human blood would lead to this, and yet it was still shocking to see him in the state he was in. Crowley’s characterization has always hovered somewhere between aloof and humorous. It’s disturbing, then, to see the kind of intensity and desperation we witness here. It’s not just the addiction, though that plays a part in all of this. Those glimpses of Crowley’s human side in the season eight finale are so much more pronounced here, and that means we witness human emotion. Now, I think the show often presents emotional behavior as some sort of feminine-only quality, usually for jokes. It’s supposed to be funny that Crowley is crying to Casablanca or that he’s reading Little Women, and that’s because normally, Crowley is an unemotional man. You can see this same dynamic play out in Dean’s… well, his everything. ALL THE TIME. So while I think this reading is totally supported by the text, I was far more interested in how this manifested in relation to his pairing with Sam throughout “Blade Runners.”

Essentially, there are hints here – and whether they come to fruition is a matter best left to future episodes – that Crowley feels a kinship with Sam Winchester. That’s namely due to the fact that Sam saw a part of Crowley he never showed anyone, and Crowley can’t ignore that this happened. Again, this is largely played as a humorous thing, but I don’t think it’s irrational to suggest that if Crowley had not rid himself of his need for human blood, those feelings would have blossomed. (I don’t know if I ship these two at all, but I’d understand if you did. The chemistry is totally there.) Plus, Crowley is a man of his word… sort of? He does keep his side of the bargain, but he rarely extends that same courtesy to anything that’s not a contract or a deal. So what sort of behavior could we have seen if Sam and Crowley had actually considered being friends? THERE’S SO MUCH POTENTIAL. (Thank you, fanfiction, for inevitably figuring this shit out. I know you already did.)

I’ll have to see how that develops. There’s a lot here in “Blade Runners” that hints to a possible future, so that might be the reason it was hard to feel satisfied by it completely. On top of Crowley’s growth and development, we also get to see Dean wield the First Blade, and IT’S SUPER FUCKED UP. I sort of suspected that there was a reason the Mark of Cain was a big deal, but it’s clear to me now that Dean may actually be the worst person to get this Mark. Given that he already once was tempted by the thrill of death in Purgatory, it seems rather frightening that he now has a Mark on him that fills him with the desire to kill others. The Mark of Cain doesn’t just make the First Blade work; it nearly compels him to kill his own brother. (Like Cain… holy shit, I just realized that was a reference to what Cain did.) So now, Dean is mere seconds away from becoming a killing machine at any given moment, as long as he holds the First Blade. That’s going to be a clear advantage over Abaddon, but what if Dean can’t stop? What if Crowley doesn’t want Dean to stop? SO MUCH POTENTIAL.

Which is why I’m largely uninterested in Cuthbert Sinclair. With so little screentime, he comes off as nothing more than a creepy archetype, meant to sit around and monologue about his creepiness while twirling his… well, he doesn’t have a mustache. His bow tie? The idea of a Men of Letters who was kicked out of the organization is great, but there’s not much of a set-up and not much of a delivery in this character. Like, how can you tell us that this man has a zoo of SUPERNATURAL CREATURES and then not show it to us??? What about his hidden bunker? Do they just abandon in? Does the magic hiding it disappear once Sinclair died? I don’t know the answer to any of these questions, and the episode doesn’t even remotely bother to give them to us. Sinclair plays an incredibly specific role – to tempt Dean with the First Blade – and then he’s gone.

Like I said, I felt like I wanted more out of “Blade Runners,” you know?

The video for “Blade Runners” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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