'Supernatural' Review: "Bloodlines"

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The CW

Supernatural’ season 9 summons its 20th episode of the year in “Bloodlines,” as Sam and Dean spin off to Chicago and partner with Ennis (Lucien Laviscount) to discover that the city is secretly run by five monster families, who themselves are headed for war.

Previous ‘Supernatural’ installment “Alex Annie Alexis Ann” saw the boys reuniting with Sheriff Jodi Mills to liberate a captive girl from a nest of vampires, though the situation quickly proved more complicated. So, what does the 20th season 9 episode bring? Is 'Bloodlines' worth following to the fall?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Supernatural’ season 9 episode 20, potential spinoff “Bloodlines”!

A night on the town in Chicago sees Ennis Roth taking his girlfriend to a fancy restaurant with plans to propose, though the maitre’d quickly overlooks him to tend to a well-dressed man named Sal, as Ennis is stunned to see Sal’s bodyguard with a monstrous reflection. The maitre’d escorts Sal into a hidden portion of the restaurant solely for monsters, wherein Sal reveals himself as a shapeshifter and ends up confronted by the club’s werewolf owner Julian (Sean Faris). The pair come to blows, just before a mysterious hooded figure with a Freddy Kreuger glove cuts power to the room and attacks

Outside, Ennis takes his girlfriend away from the restaurant and prepares to propose, only to be interrupted by a bleeding Sal and the hooded figure. The hooded man throws Ennis’ girlfriend into a wall, killing her, just before stabbing Sal in the heart with his glove. Sal tells Ennis to apologize to David, that he had no choice, just before slipping off. Elsewhere at a Chicago university, a professor slips into his office, shapeshifting into a younger man named David (Nathan Buzolic) and pilfering answers to a math test, before his sister Margot calls to inform him that Sal is dead.

Ennis provides his statement on the attack to an older friend on the force named Freddie Costa (Stephen Martines), who urges him to drop the monster angle. Sam and Dean interrupt, pulling their usual FBI routine to interrogate Ennis, though they ultimately downplay the existence of monsters. Later, Freddie meets with shapeshifter family head Margot (Danielle Savre), believing the werewolf family responsible for Sal’s death, just before David arrives home. David sees Margot preparing to go to war and urges her to investigate the matter first, as Margot points out that David’s ex girlfriend Violet (Melissa Roxburgh) is engaged to the werewolves’ Julian, while he himself has been out of the family for years.

Julian meets with the head of the Djinn family to arrange protection, even as Violet (his fiancée) urges him to stave off the possible war for his own innocence, though Julian disregards her opinions. Meanwhile, Ennis returns home and looks through his police officer father’s old trunk, finding a mysterious old gun with five silver bullets hidden beneath. Ennis takes the weapon to the scene of the trashed club looking for clues, only to be confronted by the maitre’d, who reveals himself as a vampire. The man quickly overpowers Ennis, though Sam and Dean appear and behead the monster before he causes any real harm. Sam reluctantly explains the nature of their work, urging Ennis to stay out of it, while Dean observes that the club must have belonged to monsters.

After Ennis returns home, Freddie rings the bell looking to discuss the shirt torn during the initial attack, though Ennis remains suspicious that Freddie appears to have forgotten certain details of their relationship, confirmed when Ennis sees Freddie’s eyes glowing through his phone’s camera. Ennis leads Freddie upstairs and points the gun with silver bullets, to which “Freddie” reveals himself as David looking to investigate his brother’s death. David explains that five monster families secretly run Chicago and deduces from the silver flecks on the clawed shirt that werewolves didn’t kill Sal, after which he flees.

Later that night after researching Julian, Ennis goes to the man’s estate to find Sam and Dean already waiting outside, while Violet leaves the mansion to find David waiting to talk to her. David presses that Julian should sit down with Margot to avoid a war, though the talk quickly turns to a night from years earlier when David and Violet planned to run away together, but Violet never showed up. Soon, the killer from earlier attacks and kidnaps Violet, drawing the attention of Sam, Dean and Ennis in the process. The estate security goes off, for which all four flee in the Impala together. David explains the monster families to Dean, as the four agree to work together to retrieve Violet.

Violet awakens chained up in an industrial complex, as the hooded figure reveals himself as an ordinary man looking for revenge after the death of his son by monsters. Violet insists that it couldn’t have been either of the two families that killed the man’s son, just before the man overhears Sam, Dean and the others infiltrating the compound. The man hoods up once more and manages to capture David, chaining him up beside Violet and torturing both with his silver claws.

Seeing David tortured, Violet breaks free by shifting into her werewolf form and attacks the man, though David stops her from making the final kill. Sam, Dean and Ennis arrive overhead as the man apologizes for killing Ennis’ girlfriend in pursuit of the monsters. Seeing only one monster in the room, Ennis coldly guns the killer down. In the aftermath, Ennis tells David that Sal’s last words were an apology, confusing the shapeshifter.

The next day, David escorts Violet back home and asks her about his brother’s words as Violet remembers that she had indeed intended to meet David on that night years earlier, only for Sal to head her off and forbid it, not wanting to mix any of the monster family bloodlines. Violet keeps the truth hidden but kisses David before saying goodbye. Afterward, David visits with his ailing father, who warns him not to let Margot start a war with the other families for Chicago. David informs Margot he intends to rejoin the family, to the others’ celebration and her chagrin.

Sam and Dean drive Ennis home, continually urging the man to stay out of the monster fight, just before Dean fields a call that Castiel has a line on Metatron, and the brothers drive off. Ennis decides on his own not to walk away, taking over the monster killer’s hideaway to begin his own war against the families. An unknown caller reaches his phone, in which a voice that sounds like Ennis’ deceased father urges his son to stay out of the fight, lest the monsters kill him.

OUR REVIEW:

There’s no arguing the fact that ‘Supernatural’ has been on the air for near of a decade, and even before the most agreed-upon declines after season 6 or so, it wouldn’t prove unfair to point out that 23 episodes is a tall order for a season that could probably tell the same stories in about 13. Yet such is the way of TV, and thus we look upon “Bloodlines” less like an episode of the ninth season and more as the backdoor spinoff pilot the network intends it to be. We were hard-pressed to imagine a spinoff could offer very much that hadn’t been done to death by the Winchesters, though “Bloodlines” at least proves interesting in some regards.

Monsters have become increasingly sympathetic over the course of ‘Supernatural,' surely owing in part to the fact that the drama’s own budget and aesthetic paint the creatures as humanoid with slightly more monstrous forms hidden. Particularly after characters like Benny, it isn’t difficult to imagine swapping ‘Supernatural’’s focus to that of a few more benevolent creatures, and pilfering a few notes from ‘The Godfather’ to tell a Chicago tale of rival monsters certainly seems like a fresh enough perspective. Werewolves battle shapeshifters, Djinn, Ghouls, and whatever else make up the individual houses. Considering the more scenic backdrop, there’s definitely enough to play around with in a potential series whose characters prove reasonably memorable to boot.

Somewhat less effective is the character of Ennis Roth himself, ostensibly our series lead, as the episode again leans on the trope of fridging his girlfriend as an introduction to the world. Laviscount’s youthful contrast with the character seems like it would take a bit of re-working going forward, as would his motivations for joining the Chicago monster battle, considering he got his revenge against a human killer in the end, an act of murder neatly glossed over by the other characters. Considering what hunters would likely represent to the various monsters, we have to wonder if “Bloodlines” might have been better served to flip the script by having hunters as the villains altogether, save for Sam and Dean, though we expect Ennis would at least ably walk that line to be a bridge between the two sides.

The CW elected not to give ‘Bloodlines’ its own pilot in the manner it had ‘The Flash,’ and seems like something of a toss-up whether or not the lineup could have enough room for another ‘Supernatural,’ though ‘Bloodlines,’ at least, seems reasonably fresh enough to explore in the future after a few tweaks. We now return you to your regularly scheduled ‘Supernatural’ season finale buildup!

Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of scary ‘Supernatural’ action? What did you think about the future 'Bloodlines' possibilities? Give us your take in the comments, and join us again next Tuesday for an all-new recap of ‘Supernatural’ season 9 episode 21, spinoff-planting “King of the Damned” on The CW!

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