Supernatural S9 Ep20 – Bloodlines

Supernatural s9 ep20--Ennis Ross leaning over a river

This episode was the backdoor pilot for the (hopeful) Supernatural spinoff, Supernatural: Bloodlines. So reviewing it as just a regular Supernatural episode isn’t quite fair, because it was really more of the first episode of Bloodlines instead. This was our first look at where the writers and producers hope to take the Supernatural franchise beyond the adventures of the Winchesters, and it was massively disappointing.

Sam and Dean did the usual pop in and out that the main characters of a mother show tend to do in the pilot of a spinoff. They were there for some exposition and a last minute tease of the next episode of the main show, but other than that this episode belonged to the spinoff’s new crew. The concept of the show is fascinating—five mafia-esque monster families secretly rule Chicago—and the characters have some potential, though unfortunately there is a great lack of diversity among the cast. Despite the fact that the lead of the show, Ennis Ross, is African-American, almost everyone else is white, and they all look basically the same. Everyone is young, pretty, and clearly created in the lab The CW has in their basement. There were times when I got some of the male characters confused because the actors looked so much alike.

Supernatural s9 ep20--Ennis Ross and girlfriend Tamara

Run from the terrible plot line, run!

Also, I wish I could applaud the writers for including two female leads in the cast, but unfortunately they’re already off to a horrible start in the misogyny department. The episode begins with rookie cop Ennis Ross watching his girlfriend-almost-fiancée get killed by some mysterious figure. So within the first five minutes, a woman is fridged to further the main male character’s storyline. Awesome. Supernatural always does this, starting with their own first episode where Mary dies at the beginning, and then Jess brings things full circle at the end. Most of the male main characters, and several recurring ones, have gotten into hunting because their girlfriend/wife was killed. John’s wife, Sam’s girlfriend, Bobby’s wife, even Kevin Tran’s girlfriend was murdered to give his story more “emotion.” These women didn’t exist as their own characters, and neither did Ennis’s girlfriend.

To make matters worse, after killing a woman, the show then repeatedly calls another one, Violet the werewolf, a bitch (a word that really needs to be taken away from the Supernatural writers immediately), because that is her place in the pack. She later gets kidnapped and tied up to act as a damsel in distress. While she does then come to the rescue, in a way, by breaking free with her werewolf powers, none of this bodes well for how the rest of the show will go. Especially since Violet seems to exist purely to be put upon, threatened, and then have a boring Romeo and Juliet style romance with David the shapeshifter.

Supernatural s9 ep20--David the shapeshifter talking to Violet the werewolf

“Exposition, exposition, I love you, exposition”

The biggest weakness of the episode was that it was trying to cram too much in all at once. This should have been a two hour pilot, or perhaps even have spread some of these plot points out over several episodes, but because they have to try to get this all in in one go, it came off as rushed and poorly paced. And the exposition, oh god. Every minute was crammed with obvious exposition, with characters at times essentially stopping the action to say “so this is what’s going on here.” It was scene after scene of it, and there were too many characters being introduced to properly get to know any of them. I only remember the main cast’s names because I’ve seen them written down in articles before, otherwise I would have no clue who any of them were. Ennis the stereotypical rookie cop and David the snarky shapeshifter have potential, but everyone else was lost in the rush of getting in all the back story.

But the cherry on this exposition sundae was the very ending, after Sam warned Ennis about getting into hunting, telling him not to do it. Ennis, however, explained in a completely random and unnecessary voice-over that he won’t be giving up. That alone made me groan, but it was about to get worse. The last few seconds turned me against this show with a single phone call. Ennis picked up to hear yet another dire warning about getting into hunting, but this call was from—gasp—his dead father! So…he’s going to go looking for his father now? Just like Sam and Dean did in the first season? And his father was obviously a hunter too. Did he have a journal Ennis can use to help solve all his early cases? When does he get an Impala?

I have no interest in seeing where this goes. Maybe if things had been given time to be developed at a better pace I would have liked it more, but cramming it all in to fit this episode did not work. If this spinoff is picked up, I might watch the first episode to see what it’s like on its own, but I’m not holding my breath.

Next week, back to the real show. Dean looks for the First Blade, Cas is back in the game, and Abaddon shows up.

Supernatural s9 ep21--Cas hugging Dean

 

 

Watch “Bloodlines” on Amazon Instant Video.