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Rewatch S9: Blade Runners (9x16)

Back to rewatches! I took a week off because of visiting my ex-pat sister for American Thanksgiving - and then I got obsessed with my "re-edit Leverage" project and have been doing that pretty much non-stop. But, I WOULD like to finish these rewatches sooner rather than later - so it's time to be disciplined about things!

Today, we tackle Blade Runners and its commentary track!

BLADE RUNNERS

Sadly, not an episode about robots.

Dean *trying to call Crowley*: "Where the hell is he? It's not like he has a social life!"
Sam: "Are you actually worried?"

- It's interesting to see Dean's obsessiveness compared to Sam's laid-back attitude about everything. Sam's not working on some deadline - none of their problems have a deadline. Dean's acting like there's a deadline, probably, because he already feels the urge to be united with the blade or just the urge to kill things. Also, Dean just hates being idle, we already know this.
- I also find Sam's reactions to Dean's obsession with Crowley interesting, because one of the insecurities that Sam brought up in the church at the end of S8 was the fact that whenever Sam disappoints Dean, Dean turns to someone else to (in Sam's view) replace him. Cas, Benny... I forget what other examples Sam brought up - but the point is, I'm wondering how Sam's interpreting the relationship that Dean has with Crowley. In this case, Sam didn't even mess up, unless you count being justifiably upset and angry as messing up.

Sam: "Wait a second. Did he drunk dial you?"
- Hehehe

And Crowley is shooting up with human blood. I think it's kind of neat in the Supernatural universe that humans can get high off demon blood and demons can get high off human blood. I still really want to know what angel blood does (this curiousity goes back to S4, where for a brief second I thought Cas was going to feed Dean his blood... which would have been hot.)

Despite the unfortunate facial hair, I think the demon named Aldo is pretty attractive.

Ah, the crossroads - if you go to the shooting location, you can faintly see the outline of the devils trap on the pavement. Probably even more so now that they've used it again.

Snooki cameo... she's so wooden. I don't know what she's like on her own show, but man, I don't think she should go into serious acting. And I do apologize if she reads this and her feelings are hurt - I'm sure you have other talents, Snooki - or maybe you should just study acting for a bit and get better! Just because you sort of suck at something now, doesn't mean you can't practice and get better. (I highly doubt Snooki reads my SPN blog, but YOU NEVER KNOW).

I love the Lou Reed music cue after Crowley kills Lola.

Sam: "Okay, assuming he does show up with it. Crowley is only useful to us until we have the blade."
Dean: "Yeah, so?"
Sam: "So there's nothing stopping us from using it on him, right?"
Dean: "Nothing at all."

- See, here, Sam's definitely testing the waters to see just how far in with Crowley Dean is. If Dean objects to killing him, then Sam knows that they've got major problems.

It was someone on Tumblr who pointed it out - but I absolutely love the disapproving-parents stance that Sam and Dean are in when Crowley comes into the hotel room.

Dean: "What do you call this?"
*nudges corpse with foot*

- I just find that hilarious. I mean, yes, on the one hand, it's very cold for the Winchesters to seemingly so unmoved and uncaring about the dead human - but it also speaks to just how used they are to being around corpses.

Dean: Look at you - you're a mess. You know, we were counting on you and you let us down!"
Sam: "Yeah, and your slimey followers were counting on you to kill Abaddon and you let them down!"
Dean: "The man with all the mojo, captain evil..."
Sam: "Ugh, it's pathetic."
Crowley: "What is this an intervention?"
Sam: "You need to focus, Crowley, get a grip!"
Dean: "What? You're just going to let Hell go to hell?!"

- I do love their intervention for the King of Hell.

Crowley: "You don't know what it's like to be human!"
- Hehehehehe

Crowley: "...you could have at least added some throw pillows."
Sam: "Focus!" *camera focuses* "Okay..."

- Sorry, I just love that little camera gag.

Sam: "What are you doing?"
Crowley: "Still a little tainted by humanity - makes me sentimental."
Sam: "Well, stop."

- I sort of love Sam's look of "is he hitting on me? I am uncomfortable with the King of Hell hitting on me."

Crowley: "You and I both know we shared a mo' back in that church and, on some level, we're bonded."
Sam: "Crowley, the only reason you're alive is because we need your help to deal with Abaddon, because she is an even worse pile of crap than you are. And that is the extent of my concern for you, got it!"

- I am interested in why Crowley was so intent on winning Sam over in this episode, as it seems to be a strategy that he immediately dropped. Was there somewhere he was going with it? Or was it just a bit of fun to keep Sam off balance? Or does Crowley honestly want Sam to like him here?

Dean: "You know, at least when Cas was human, he was an okay guy. Shouldn't have known Crowley would be the douche-version."
- This is a really fascinating line to me, because what Dean is admitting/revealing here is that your state of being reflects who you are as a person. We expect the change when someone goes from human to demon, but we don't necessarily think of it on any other transitions. Human!Cas was still just Cas to us - but that's not necessarily the case. Human!Cas and Angel!Cas could have been entirely different people.

I liked the possession for information thing.

We only ever see Crowley's eyes flash red when he's in other people.

Then the guards get killed and so does the innocent bad-timing bystander girl.

I like the researcher-PhD-woman flirting with Dean and continually keeping him off balance.

So, what I don't really get is why they go straight to Crowley to ask about the Men of Letters. They're standing IN THE BUNKER. They could just go through the personal records. I mean, that's what they do anyway. Crowley's right, they're idiots, and should have throught about inactive members themselves.

I like how the file is called "Dishonoured and Forgotten" - I think that's how I'll mentally file away people that I don't like anymore too.

Of course, they DO need Crowley to track Cuthbert/Magnus down.

I do like the completely invisible fortress - one step up from the Bunker. But yeah, there's a fine line between human and witch, and I think Cuthbert has crossed it.

And we find out that Cuthbert was Henry's mentor, which probably explains why Henry knew so many high-level spells - such as time-travel.

Cuthbert talks like an old man, which is kind of neat. Sorry I'm not writing out the dialogue, but it's more in the mannerism.

And Dean blunders when he admits to being a rare thing to a man who likes to collect rare things. It's that TNG episode with the guy trying to keep Data all over again... collectors can't be trusted with unique humans (or humanoids - in the case of Data).

Cuthbert: "...Be my companion! I have to honest with you, it has gotten lonely here over the years."
Dean: "When you were saying all that, did it feel at all creepy?"

- Haha
- Seriously though, as much as I'm not looking forward to growing old and dying, living forever would suck. It'd  be horribly lonely - especially if you locked yourself away in a windowless/doorless fortress with only kept supernatural creatures (who probably hate you) for company.

Crowley: "Who'd have thunk it, eh, Moose? You and me, on the same team, in the trenches - when this is over we can get matching tattoos."
Sam: "Just to be clear, Crowley, we are not on the same anything..."

- Again, I want to know why Crowley's so insistent on befriending Sam.

Crowley: "If memory serves me, I'm the one who helped your brother find Cain, so that we could find the Blade, so that Dean could receive the Mark. I'm the one that flushed that lout Gadreel out of your noggin, so lately, big boy, I've seen more playing time than you."
- This comes on the heels of Sam calling him useless. But, I just want to point out that while reminding Sam that he helped get rid of Gadreel IS a smart play, reminding Sam that he got Dean the Mark of Cain is NOT a good thing to do. It's not as bad now as it will be later on, but it's in Crowley's best interest for Sam not to associate what is happening to his brother with Crowley - and Crowley SHOULD know that much.

And Dean, already with bloodlust, feels the blade's power for the first time...

And then Cuthbert takes away his will power too... man, what a douche. It's even creepier when he says that "I do this enough, you'll be ready for whatever I have in mind." Because it implies that with repeated use, Dean would just become a puppet.

Crowley: "I did good, eh, Moose? Everything on the list. You're welcome."
Sam: "Remember, stay close, do what I say, shut the hell up."
Crowley: "I'm growing on you, aren't I?"

- So, is it because this is as close to human (barring the final scenes in the church) that we've ever seen Crowley? In the church it also seemed like he was looking towards Sam as some sort of saviour - asking him how he could begin to ask for forgiveness, etc... so, is this a hangover of that? Does Crowley desire Sam's approval for some reason? Or is it a manipulation play? I'm just super confused because nothing really ever comes of it... Crowley cuts and runs at the end of this episode and then seems bent on actively antagonizing Sam thereafter.

And Sam falls for the shapeshifter ploy... and we also get a shapeshifter who doesn't shed its skin. I'm kind of annoyed at the mythology change, but I figure I can probably justify it the same way they justified the change to werewolves - because the alpha-shifter didn't need to shed its skin either, so you could make a case for the purity of the blood-line thing... that shifters within 4 generations of the alpha don't need to shed the skin.

And Cuthbert/Magnus is taken down with the First Blade...

And Dean goes into a barely controlled power/bloodlust trance. Sam's able to pull him out of it though, yay!

Sam: "What language is that?"
Crowley: "It's Enochian. The message isn't for you. Its for me. 'Be Afraid. Your Queen.'..."

- So, two things here. 1)It annoys me that Sam wouldn't recognize Enochian. It's been 7 years narratively since the introduction of angels, and 6 years since they started being more heavily exposed to Enochian. Also, Sam spent an unknown eternity locked in a cage with two angels whose first language is Enochian, granted, he may have been being tortured in English by Lucifer the whole time, but my point still stands. 2)Demons don't usually use Enochian - but Crowley DOES know it, which does direct the message.
- Now, those two things being said - there's a couple of brilliant justifications/consequences of those two points. Someone in the fandom figured out that it's not ACTUALLY Enochian, it's English spelled out in Enochian letters... which might be why Sam doesn't recognize it. He knows the letters, but they aren't forming Enochian words, so he can't understand what it's supposed to be. It might be like trying to spell English words using Chinese characters - if you sound it out, it might someonewhat sound like english, but it's not going to make any sense to someone who speaks Chinese or an English person who sees it written out. Also, apparently "afraid" is spelled wrong.
- (FYI: "eat spicy food" in Mandarin sounds like "enchilada"... at least in the sentence structure that I first heard it. It wouldn't in other sentence structures, since, as I understand it, the "da" sound was a grammar thing and might not appear in all instances of people saying "eat spicy food".)

Sam: "Listen, you said Crowley was only useful until we got the blade - we got the blade."
- Why talk about it?! Why didn't Sam just take the demon knife and try to do it himself? Does the demon knife even work on Crowley though? Maybe Sam needed to talk about it because they figure the only way to kill Crowley is with the First Blade - so he'd need Dean to do it? But still, Sam threatened Crowley with the knife just earlier, so they obviously figure it will work on him. So that can't be it! Seriously, Sam should have just killed him and then if Dean argued, Sam would be like *shrug* "Sorry, too late now, and you SAID we didn't need him after this."

So, what do you think happened to Cuthbert's zoo? Did Sam and Dean leave them all their to starve to death? Also, he's a HUGE collector - supernatural antiquities... did Sam and Dean go back to empty that place out?! Sam knows how to get in. They better have gone back and emptied it out. I think that'll be my headcanon, otherwise I'll be mad that they just left everything there.

CUT SCENE:
Sam and Dean in the bunker going over the records... it's the scene we see in the show, except extended. When Sam asks "Where'd you look?" Crowley tells him he doesn't do his own legwork, so Dean tells him to make a call, and then Crowley asks one of them to open a vein - they give a look, and Crowley is annoyed and says it's for the spell to make the call (ie: the blood bowl).
- Definitely not really needed, since Sam having to cut his arm doesn't factor into any of the later action (and from the look Dean gives Sam, I'm pretty sure it WAS Sam who ended up opening the vein.)

COMMENTARY

Brad Buckner - Writer
Eugenie Ross-Leming - Writer
Mark Sheppard - Crowley

Mark talks about what a fan-hit the "Not Moose" caller ID was.

They also talk about how great the girl with Crowley was - how she wasn't just a pretty face, but also cunning.

Then our commenters forget that they're commenting and they just watch the show...

Then Snooki comes on and they talk about her. She was serious and prepared. Mark then talks about how small she is.

Buckner talks about how getting Snooki to guest star was also a ploy to make an exposition scene slightly more interesting - especially since they've done summoning of crossroads demons before.

Mark tells us about how the scene was shot on the DoD lands and the history of them - which is pretty cool that he knows that! Mark's a cool guy.

They talk about how it was hard to find the right tone for Crowley - to not become bored or comedic, but portrays an emotional truth.

Mark then talks about the Lou Reed song and the complicated/old fashioned syringes they use. Mark: "[Crowley's like]18th Century Iggy Pop."

Mark talks about the weird dynamic where Crowley has so much love for the boys, but knows full well they intend to kill him eventually.

Buckner talks about how it's interesting that after hundred of years, Crowley doesn't have anyone but the Winchesters - that's there actually no one else he can call for help, even though they want to get rid of him eventually.

They all talk about how smart Jensen is and how great he is at facial expressions. Jared too... and Mark talks about how much fun it is to work with them.

Mark talks about how the MoL dungeon is the last place that Crowley wants to be, but he finds it familiar -
Mark: "It's safe for Crowley, I guess."
Ross-Leming: "Yeah, well, isn't that true - whenever we're in darkness... sometimes you don't break bad habits because at least you know them."


Buckner talks about how S9 was very much about evolving the relationship between Crowley and the boys, and how he has a very different relationship with Sam than he has with Dean.

Ross-Leming: "We like to write myth-episodes, I think, more than necessarily the particular villain of the week - unless the villain of the week is really connected to a myth episode, because we just like the continuum and the evolution of their relationships, all the players - so it's something we gravitate towards."
- Okay, in my opinion ALL villains of the week MUST be seen as connected to the main mythos of the show in order to be good episodes - because if you're talking about writing the evolution of a relationship, that happens at all times that the characters are on screen, whether they're killing the main villain or whether they're sitting in a laundromat waiting for their clothes to dry. They don't cease knowing the situation they're in, nor do they cease evolving their relationship. If you aren't writing every scene with that in mind, then you aren't writing well. What do they say while waiting for their clothes to dry? What do they talk about? How do they talk about it? What words do they use? What does that tell us about their state of mind? What does that tell us about what they might be thinking about the future? ALL MOTW episodes should be connected to the main myth, because the main myth is ALWAYS the Winchesters - it's not whatever big bad they're working towards - it's THEM... killing Azazel didn't stop Sam from needing to be saved. Likewise, killing Abaddon didn't mean that Dean was in a good place... the hell trials weren't about closing hell, they were about Sam's motivations for hunting.. etc etc. As long as the Winchesters are in an episode, you are always writing a myth-arc episode, even if most of the focus is on a subplot MOTW.

Okay, sorry, I'll stop complaining - I just think that the writers losing sight of the fact that all episodes should be evolving the relationship between the brothers is part of the reason the show will never be as good as it was from S1-5 - but that's just my opinion.

Buckner talks about the tricks they use to make exposition scenes more interesting, and this episode is full of them - cameo (snooki), video cut-aways (guard-aftermath scene), overly flirty/comedic explosition (Dean and the PhD woman)...

Mark asks Bucker and Ross-Leming how they write together. Buckner explains that they outline together, then they separate and each write half, and then they trade halves, correct each other's mistakes, and then that's it.

Mark asks how long it takes them to write an episode. Ross-Leming says that the longest part is laying out (outlining) the story and presenting it to Jeremy/writers' room for approval.... and then the shorter part is actually writing it. But they don't actually say how long it takes, except that the first part takes "several weeks."

Mark tells us that there were a bunch of eagles at the DoD lands. Also, the sun came out at one point so the small airport nearby started having small planes taking off and landing, which made it tricky to get their dialogue in.

Ross-Leming talks about how Mark is really helpful because he'll correct them if they've written something contradictory to Crowley's character or past. Mark talks about how fun it is to get a script and discover what's in store for him.

They talk about the relationship between Crowley and the boys again, and about how the power switches back and forth between them. And how it's all psychological, rather than holding each other at gun point.

Mark talks about how Crowley is always one step ahead.

Buckner and Ross-Leming talk about Dean and whether he had the DNA of a killer/warrior-mentality even before the Mark... and how Dean is always at war with himself. Ross-Leming thinks that Dean is fundamentally not comfortable with who he is. Dean goes into denial about it though, and so it never goes away - and that's something that Crowley can prey on.

Mark mentions that they actually did the 'hide in the hallway' shot "in real time" - so it was one fluid shot.

Mark talks about whether Crowley is one step ahead or whether he was just buffing - and how Crowley will never reveal which one it is. It's better for him to claim omnipotence.

Mark talks about the keying of the car and how Alaina got more hate-mail about that then anything else.
Mark: "They did it too. I mean - that's not paint - that's through the paint, to the metal"
Buckner: "No!"
Mark: "Yes, I swear."
Buckner: "Oh, Jensen must have died."
Mark: "He was like 'REALLY?!'"


Buckner thinks that Sam hates Crowley more than Dean does. Sam's just done. Dean kind of still jokes with him.

And that's it! Relatively short one today - I either missed a bunch, just didn't have much to say, or there wasn't actually that much to talk about!

Let me know what you thought in comments or if there's anything I glossed over that you think I should have expanded upon.

And as per usual, please forgive spelling mistakes.

Tags:

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
borgmama1of5
Dec. 9th, 2014 06:54 am (UTC)
I remember that when I rewatched this, the episode came down to Dean's interaction with the Blade, and Sam talking him down from its power. It felt like the point of the episode was to get to that scene, and the rest didn't really make an impression, other than a fleeting thought that Crowley was really messed up...but retained just enough of his smarts to realize the female demon was betraying him.
hells_half_acre
Dec. 9th, 2014 07:02 am (UTC)
Yeah, I really think that the point of this episode was to tell us that Dean + MarkofCain + FirstBlade = Not Good ... and everything else was just dressing.

But when I first watched the episode, I also thought that maybe Crowley's behaviour was leading somewhere too - in which case more of this episode WOULD have had a point, but the fact that I know that his behaviour here is seemingly an anomaly with his behaviour in the latter half of the season (and so far S10) means that this episode really does have little to no point, character or plot-wise.
shadowsong26
Dec. 10th, 2014 03:40 am (UTC)
I don't have much to add about this episode, 'cause you pretty much hit all the points I would've made, heh.

I am interested in why Crowley was so intent on winning Sam over in this episode, as it seems to be a strategy that he immediately dropped. Was there somewhere he was going with it? Or was it just a bit of fun to keep Sam off balance? Or does Crowley honestly want Sam to like him here?

I remember when this aired, I was pretty sure Crowley was courting Sam as some sort of long game/insurance against Dean for when he inevitably bit the hand that fed him, but...IDK, that doesn't seem to have been borne out by the narrative? Or, at least, he does use Sam as that insurance, but he doesn't play on any personal feelings/affection/attachment in order to get Sam on board with that...so IDK. I think I mentioned it before, but at this point, Crowley's game could be pretty much anything and I'd find it credible, because I have zero clue where his head's at.

So, what I don't really get is why they go straight to Crowley to ask about the Men of Letters. They're standing IN THE BUNKER. They could just go through the personal records. I mean, that's what they do anyway. Crowley's right, they're idiots, and should have throught about inactive members themselves.

Because the Plot demanded it? IDK. You're right, this is kind of an Idiot Ball moment.

I had totally forgotten how creepy Cuthbert is...

I didn't know that, about the English in Enochian script--that's actually really, really cool for a long list of reasons, most of which you hit here and the rest of which are related to a project I'm working on completely unrelated to SPN...

I've kind of given up on trying to figure out why they keep letting Crowley live...because it stopped making sense somewhere along the line in S8, when he went straight-up arc villain on them. (S6 and its constantly shifting arc plot aside, he doesn't tend to do that. And they actually did try to kill him then, so....yeah.) Ah, well.

I agree, I really hope they emptied out Mr. Creepy's lair.

Anyway. Like I said, not much to add about this episode--although it has another subplot that goes nowhere (Crowley trying to win Sam over, which you'd think would be a potentially major one that annoys me more, but, no, the one that really bugs me is still Jerome.). But there is a super-creepy bad guy! Those are always fun. Anyway. Solid plotty episode, yay!
hells_half_acre
Dec. 10th, 2014 08:03 am (UTC)
I've kind of given up on trying to figure out why they keep letting Crowley live...because it stopped making sense somewhere along the line in S8, when he went straight-up arc villain on them. (S6 and its constantly shifting arc plot aside, he doesn't tend to do that. And they actually did try to kill him then, so....yeah.) Ah, well.

Same. I mean, basically I agree with everything you said in your comment before this too.

Anyway. Like I said, not much to add about this episode--although it has another subplot that goes nowhere (Crowley trying to win Sam over, which you'd think would be a potentially major one that annoys me more, but, no, the one that really bugs me is still Jerome.).

I'm the reverse of you. Jerome doesn't bother me at all, but this unexplained subplot that goes nowhere really annoys me - probably because it has to do with the main characters and this is such a character-driven show.
cappy712
Dec. 11th, 2014 09:02 pm (UTC)
Great review and I agree with the taunting from Crowley towards Sam.

I was wondering why Sam talked to Dean about we have the blade now - Crowley is not needed - why talk why he did just go after Crowley but then again it would change everything.

thank you for taking the time and reviewing.
hells_half_acre
Dec. 11th, 2014 09:50 pm (UTC)
Maybe he left the demon knife in the car and Dean was supposedly their only potentially lethal weapon? But still, if they're working with Crowley, I can't imagine Sam leaving the demon knife anywhere where he can't reach it quickly. :P

So, yes, a tad unbelievable.

Thanks for reading!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )