Mark Watches ‘Supernatural’: S09E20 – Bloodlines

In the twentieth episode of the ninth season of Supernatural, what. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.

Trigger Warning: For talk of misogyny (specifically fridging of women), race.

That was weird, and I didn’t really like it.

I’m all for Supernatural experimenting with the kind of stories they can tell, and I mean that sincerely. Most of my favorite episodes of this show are fucking weird, and I definitely like the concept of focusing a story on the lives of a bunch of people who are affected by a mafia-like monster underbelly in Chicago. That’s not a bad idea! But it’s thrown together so awkwardly that it made it hard to watch “Bloodlines,” as if I had suddenly tuned in to a different show. Right off the bat, the tone of this episode is more melodramatic than usual, and… okay. I realize saying that something on Supernatural is too melodramatic is horribly hilarious. This show is built on that. But aside from Ennis and his story, this honestly felt like I was watching a soap opera? Ugh, even that is a loaded statement because Supernatural is basically a soap opera anyway.

Part of the reason it’s hard to parse my thoughts on this is because “Bloodlines” is another example of the show using exposition heavily instead of telling stories. In just twenty minutes, we have to understand that there’s a group of monster families in a war with one another for territory. It’s likened to the mafia a few times within the script, and I don’t think it’s a bad idea. But how am I supposed to like or care for any of these characters? Aside from Ennis and Violet, none of these people are sympathetic and likable. In fact, they’re all pretty gross if you ask me. I mean, I’ll cop to being biased against a cast of characters where all of them but one are upper class white people. (Possibly. I think Freddie Costa might be played by a Latinx actor.) That doesn’t interest me, and the show relies on that interest to keep me going. Most of this episode is full of rich people snarking at one another about family and loyalty and it’s so boring.

It doesn’t help that we’re introduced to villain who is motivated by revenge that might actually be justified, only to never get any closure on whether or not he’s right. The episode opens with a woman being fridged (SURPRISE, just kidding, it’s Supernatural, this show is an expert at that). Sam and Dean are onscreen for maybe ten minutes. Violet is literally objectified by other characters every time she’s on the screen and isn’t given much characterization beyond that. We’re expected to understand a decades-long feud in very little time. This episode asks a lot of us, doesn’t it? And with so little closure at the end of it, we’re left wanting more, but not because this was such a thrilling experience. I want more because “Bloodlines” gave me like… 10% of a story.

There’s promise here, sure. Most of that is in Ennis’s story, though I have to admit that Tamara’s death is so egregiously annoying because surely this show could have found any other way of bringing Ennis into this world that didn’t rely on a trope like this. I get that this is how most hunters end up in this role, but come on. It’s not like there’s a preponderance of black women on this show, you know? At least the show did give us a black character who lives in a city that has a very high concentration of black Americans, I’ll give them that. I liked the idea of Ennis, a kid who lives in the shadow of his father’s work. I enjoyed that his anger was right on the surface and that the writers didn’t invalidate that. He’s allowed to be furious about the loss he suffered and all the attempts the Winchesters make to keep him out of the action. They even give him the shot that kills Irv, which was satisfying for his character.

But even his story is cut short. Why? Is there more of this coming? Why do I feel like I’m missing a huge piece of the puzzle? Actually, that metaphor doesn’t work; I’m missing LIKE THREE-FOURTHS OF THE PUZZLE. I don’t get it! Is the war in Chicago going to matter? Was this a one-off? I can’t tell!

This was too weird for my tastes, basically. And I’m okay stating that.

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

Mark Links Stuff

– The Mark Does Stuff Tour 2015 is now live and includes dates across the U.S., Canada, Europe, the U.K., and Ireland. Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be the remainder of The Legend of Korra, series 8 of Doctor Who, and Kings. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!
– If you would like to support this website and keep Mark Does Stuff running, I’ve put up a detailed post explaining how you can!
– Please check out the All Mark Watches videos for past shows/season are now archived there!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in Supernatural and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.