‘Supernatural’ Review: “Blade Runners”
‘Supernatural’ season 9 summons its 16th episode of the year in “Blade Runners,” as Sam and Dean partner with a depleted Crowley to track down the First Blade, reaching back into Men of Letters history to obtain its whereabouts.
Last week’s ‘Supernatural’ installment, “#THINMAN,” saw the boys' investigation of a mysterious murder bringing them back together with "Ghostfacers" Ed and Harry (A.J. Buckley and Travis Wester). So, what does the 16th season 9 episode bring? What strange and unexpected challenges will the Winchesters face next?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Supernatural’ season 9 episode 16, “Blade Runners”!
Dean continually finds himself unable to reach Crowley, while the deposed Hell king languishes in a hotel room with a fellow demon named Lola, injecting himself with human blood and binging on the subsequent emotions. The next day, Lola meets with one of Abaddon’s associates to reveal that the Winchesters have have attempted to contact Crowley about the First Blade.
In an attempt to locate Crowley, the Winchesters summon a crossroads demon that turns out to have inhabited the body of Nicole “Snooki “ Polizzi, before pressing the demon into admitting that Crowley has been rumored in the oceans of the western pacific. Meanwhile, Lola returns to the hotel room for Crowley, though he has already learned of her treachery, and kills her on the spot, before injecting himself again. A while later, Dean gets a call from Crowley that he needs the brothers’ help, while Sam poses that they really only need him until they’ve found the blade.
Crowley returns to his hotel room to find Sam and Dean waiting, before they chain him up and berate him for his apparent addiction to human blood getting in the way of their mission, and subsequently tipping off Abaddon. Sam and Dean relocate Crowley to the Men of Letters base, wherein Crowley reveals that the blade had since been recovered from the ocean floor, making its way through a number of collections and pirates since. Later, Sam and Dean meet with an antiquities dealer in the park, though when he refuses to divulge any information, Crowley simply possesses the man’s body to learn the blade has been housed in a Kansas museum of antiquities.
At the museum, several demons infiltrate the building and possess two guards, going to open a vault before an assistant catches them in the act, and they slash the young girl’s throat. The next day, Sam and Dean overlook the crime scene, deducing from the security footage that they were demons, though the vault doesn’t seem to have contained the blade. Talking to the museum’s head reveals that the blade couldn’t be authenticated, and was thus sold to a private collector named Magnus, something Sam recognizes as a past alias for the Men of Letters.
Sam and Dean ask Crowley’s help in identifying any Men of Letters that might have survived the 1958 massacre, and after negotiating himself some better accommodations, Crowley points them toward a list of disavowed agents. One in particular, Cuthbert Sinclair had designed the various wardings for the base, but was kicked out in 1956 for his eccentricities, and Crowley himself couldn’t find the man after that. Crowley leads the boys to the spot where the trail went cold, and believing the man to still be in hiding, Sam and Dean simply announce their presence, and identities as legacies to the Men of Letters. Suddenly, a smoking doorway appears from nowhere, and allows them entrance.
After dismembering some guard vampires, Sam and Dean find themselves face to face with a still-youthful Cuthbert, who prefers the name Magnus, and apparently knows enough magic to keep himself youthful and keep his enchanted mansion and monster collection hidden for so many years. Magnus admits to having known the boys’ grandfather, but when Sam and Dean ask to borrow the First Blade, showing Magnus the Mark of Cain on Dean’s arm, Magnus performs a spell to teleport Sam out of the mansion, wanting to keep Dean for his personal collection.
Outside, Sam reluctantly partners with Crowley to find a spell allowing them back inside, while Magnus chains up Dean and places the First Blade in his hand, activating the Mark of Cain and sending a rush of anger through Dean’s body. Meanwhile, Crowley’s help enables a spell that gets both he and Sam back inside the mansion, though Sam quickly finds himself caught by Magnus as well. Magnus begins to torture Sam, while Crowley slips in to free Dean, and Dean subsequently uses the blade to kill Magnus, shaking violently with rage all the while.
The three return to the Impala to find it vandalized by demons with a message for Crowley to “be afraid,” before Sam reminds Dean they no longer need to partner with Crowley. Overhearing, Crowley turns the tables and takes the blade for himself, thanking the brothers for helping him get sober, and subsequently realize they might try to kill him as well as Abaddon. Crowely assures the boys he’ll return the blade when they find an opportunity to kill Abaddon, admitting, they’ll never fully trust one another.
We'll try to get through as much of this as possible without questioning why Snooki was there, but why was Snooki there? Darn it.
We kid. With or without Castiel, it's been nice to see 'Supernatural' season 9 moving through its central plot points a bit more organically than the first half of the year, even wedging in a few ham-fisted reflections of the Winchester brothers' current squabble with last week's "Ghost Chasers" reunion. It isn't exactly a break in the narrative to have Sam and Dean paired with Crowley, or to have the First Blade out of their grasp yet again by the final moments, but when getting there proves intriguing enough, without any weighty digressions into Winchester wollowing, we're hard-pressed to complain.
In particular, Mark Sheppard has been performing a thankless job for years with Crowley's witty and graveled antagonism against the boys, and it's especially refreshing to see his through-line from the season 8 finale paid off in such an amusing fashion, at least one that affords so many colors to play within the span of a single hour. Die-hard 'Buffy' fans would argue that its own resident English baddie Spike had his fangs worn down to nubs from overexposure, but with 'Supernatural''s consistently lower batting average, colorful Crowley is always better than no Crowley.
No sign of Castiel this week either, though we can already see the seeds planted for next season with Dean shouldering the residual effects of this season's endgame macguffin. Feel free to pre-stamp your bingo cards with an assurance the Mark of Cain will put further distance between Sam and Dean, with Dean no-doubt downplaying its effects in the coming weeks, with Castiel espousing the seriousness of the threat with even more gravelly overtones.
This sounds perhaps more jaded than we might have intended on the outset, but "Blade Runners" doesn't seem to have accomplished much more than a return to status quo by the end, even dispatching a semi-interesting villain in Magnus, a remnant from the Men of Letters days who apparently leaves behind a treasure trove of artifacts and creatures that will now languish in invisibility for eons to come, or at least until someone remembers next season. Don't get us wrong, "Blade Runners" is well-constructed overall, and perfectly solid by 'Supernatural' standards, but also, Snooki. Take it away, Sasha.
Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of scary ‘Supernatural’ action? What did you think about the depths Crowley had fallen to, or Dean's new predicament? Give us your take in the comments, and join us again next Tuesday for an all-new recap of ‘Supernatural’ season 9 episode 17, “Mother's Little Helper,” on The CW!