Sam and Dean learn the meaning of hard time in this week's episode of Supernatural.
The Winchesters just can't catch a break. After successfully saving the life of the president, Sam and Dean are hauled off to a secret underground prison where they appear to be the only inmates there. The feds want answers but neither of them is talking. Unfortunately for Sam and Dean, the feds have one thing that the two of them don't have: time. Sooner or later, everyone talks. Meanwhile, Castiel searches for the brothers but isn't having any luck. He reaches out to Crowley but the king of hell is more than fine with letting them rot away. Even if he wanted to help, he doesn't have anyone that high up that could do anything about it. Castiel reaches out to Mary Winchester but she doesn't have any contacts that would be able to help either so she decides to get back to hunting rather than sit on her hands. Six weeks later, the agents discover Sam and Dean both dead in their cells from unexplained circumstances. Their bodies are taken into the morgue for examination when they suddenly wake up and get use the opportunity to escape. Using the stolen prison doctor's phone, they finally get their one phone call and use it to call Castiel; the feds are on their tail and they need help now.
Returning from hiatus, First Blood was not the best welcome back episode for Supernatural. To start, the story itself was far too ambitious for Supernatural to fit into a single episode. Sam and Dean stuck in a secret government prison, where no other prisoners are held, felt empty simply due to how nothing was happening. I completely understand that this was meant to illustrate how isolated Sam and Dean were from everything but it always felt like the story was told out of order. Had the episode started with Sam and Dean being found dead in their cells, it would have been much more exciting and the story could have lead up to that moment and then continued into their inevitable escape. Instead, we were treated to the relationship between two agents that acted more like regular detectives rather that seasoned veterans at the top of the respective field. Rick Sanchez wanted to kill the boys and pretend it never happened. What motivated him to have no interest in two brothers that were arrested while attempting to assassinate the president? Overall, this lead to a crawling pace throughout the show while the Winchesters barely had any conflict. They wanted to escape the prison so they did. They said they would take down Sanchez and his soldiers so they did. We knew they were desperate in prison but we didn't get to see that they were desperate enough to make a deal with Billie. Dean even went so far as to say that the prison was worse than hell (doubtful, but he said it).Showing that conflict and how desperate they were to make a deal with a reaper would have helped First Blood a lot.
While not usually a problem in Supernatural, the lore seemed to be tossed right out the window for plot convenience. The Winchesters were trapped in a secret prison facility and Castiel was completely unable to locate them the entire time. In previous seasons, one of them would pray to him and he would instantly show up. He has his grace back but the only thing that he seems to use it for is to heal the boys after he fails to save them. In addition to that, the search team for Sam and Dean was meager at best. I didn't even think that they took them seriously with only four soldiers and two guys in black North Face jackets. Where were the dogs to track them or anyone willing to use a phone to call for backup? Oh well, they're dead now so I guess that's that.
For all of First Blood's shortcomings, it absolutely nailed one thing: Billie is dead. Going all the way back to season eleven's Form and Void, Billie was an empty threat to the Winchesters that was never going to lead the story or characters anywhere that they haven't been before. As a character, she had no growth and just reminded us that she existed from time to time. Castiel may be kinda tame at this point but killing Billie is a sign that the show is willing to move on from a character that should have been gone long ago.
Overall, First Blood was a messy return from Supernatural but Billie is dead and Mary Winchester not dying at the end was a great twist. We'll see if it can keep up that momentum in next week's, Lily Has Some Regrets.