Supernatural, Season 9, Episode 20: “Bloodlines”
Written by Andrew Dabb
Directed by Robert Singer
Airs Tuesdays at 9pm (ET) on The CW
Over the course of its nine seasons, Supernatural has built a rich world of monsters around the Winchesters, mostly framing the creatures in relation to Sam and Dean or their acquaintances. Watching how the monsters interact amongst themselves and how they co-exist in the same space, however, is a fascinating concept that the show has been unable to explore due to a number of factors, including the larger scope of the storylines already present. This week’s episode, which functions as a backdoor pilot for a spinoff series, works with such a premise, setting up a potentially fascinating show in the process.
The idea of a power struggle among resident monsters is a fascinating idea. While the larger fight between Angels and Demons has been well documented in the nine seasons of Supernatural, they have also been shown to be only one part of a large number of supernatural entities. With vampires, djinn, werewolves, shapeshifters, and various other creatures all coming up on Hunters’ radars only when they kill humans, it’s entirely plausible that they would seek out their own niche, and would co-operate to live in a city as big as Chicago in harmony, however fragile that harmony may be. It will be interesting to see how the show handles these power struggles going forward. While there are already hints of discord and power-hungry individuals on some sides, the presence of five distinct groups is bound to add flavour to the fight. It’s likely that some groups, particularly those who have a more difficult time getting new members in their ranks, will be more invested in the idea of peace. It’s also likely that the five groups will have more than a simple verbal agreement in place to ensure co-operation from all the factions. How the power dynamics thus work in a city as big as Chicago, and how they adjust under pressure, as well as which groups exert dominance, and how all the factions assert their authority, are all promising storylines. In addition, seeing supernatural creatures like werewolves and djinn working together as a group will also be fun to see.
How the humans react to the presence of monsters in their midst, and how that affects the peace in Chicago, will also make for an intriguing plot. This episode already displays two possible ways humans might react to this knowledge, but that is only two of a myriad of possible reactions humans might have to knowing that monsters are not only real, but all around them. Survivors of supernatural encounters on Supernatural have generally been victims of somewhat isolated attacks, with many of them unlikely to encounter other creatures unless they become Hunters, or are otherwise unlucky. The presence of multiple creatures in Chicago, however, who not only reside in the city but hold power in it, is bound to significantly alter a human’s reaction to this knowledge. Likewise, how the monsters react to humans will also be worth keeping an eye on. As David points out this episode, keeping human casualties low is in the best interests of all the monsters, as a low profile is the key to survival. However, if a large group of humans or Hunters come in and threaten the safety of the creatures, they will have little choice but to defend themselves, yet will have to do so in a way that avoids exposure. In addition, if only one entity is threatened by humans, it will be worth seeing how the other four factions react, and how it affects the balance of power.
Overall, this episode opens up a lot of exciting possibilities for the Supernatural spinoff show. The character of Ennis is distinctive enough from the Winchesters that his very presence ensures the show will be able to differentiate itself. While Ennis and Sam share a similar past, the fact that Ennis falls into the middle of the brewing war in Chicago without knowing much about monsters makes him worth watching. It will be interesting to see how he learns more about supernatural entities, as this is a journey the Supernatural audience has not seen a character go through in-depth. Even though the Winchesters have learned about monsters during the show’s run, they have had John’s journal as well as a Hunters’ network to tap into, resources that are not available to Ennis. In addition, with Ennis having to consider the ramifications of the monster alliance, he is in a unique position as a potential Hunter, and how he handles himself, as well as how he learns more about supernatural creatures, will be worth keeping an eye on. It’s always fun to see a Winchester investigation from the opposite perspective, and this week’s episode is no different in that regard. While this episode does not do much to advance the stories or characters in Supernatural, it sets up a potentially engaging and distinctive spinoff, and seeing what stories it follows up on, as well as how the spinoff escapes the shadow of its parent show, will make the new series worth a watch.
– Deepayan Sengupta