Supernatural Retrospective – Part 23 (Brief aside on Bloodlines)

Part 22 (onto the boys)

Brief commentary on that backdoor pilot.


Oh Bloodlines.

If there is one thing I will never understand, it’s some of the fans who proport to love S9 of this show, yet hate Bloodlines.  Because Bloodlines is everything wrong with S9 all boiled down and concentrated into 1 episode. (ok I’ll admit concentrated doses can make a difference)

Contradictions within itself – In S9, we have one episode where somebody went to heaven, then another episode where everybody’s stuck in the veil.  In Bloodlines, early in the episode we have: “I know what killed her was nothing human.”  Late in that same episode?  It’s revealed that it was a human that killed ‘her.’  Yes, given that this was a line delivered by a character it could be handwaved to an extent.  The problem is that a pilot, is an invitation.  It’s an invitation to the audience to give up some of their time to come along with you on this adventure.  It’s a damn harder sell to the audience if you establish in that pilot that they’ll have to do part of your job as a storyteller.  Yeah, plot holes and stuff will occur, but one should work real hard at making those difficult for the reader to find, not obvious.

Retcon contradictions within the world –  In S9, it’s revealed that Abaddon’s plot… doesn’t make a lot of sense everything else shown about Supernatural.  In Bloodlines, it’s revealed Chicago is run by monster families.  How has this never EVER come up before in the 9 years we the audience have watched the show? They were in Chicago for both the start (1.16) and end (5.21) of Kripke’s run and yet this never came up?  How are they still in charge after all the disruptions Lucifer, then Eve, then Leviathans caused to the world?  Yes obviously it was because Kripke didn’t think about that but the idea of creating a seemingly-real world is that one should create foundations for the audience to place their suspensions of disbelief.  Take advantage of your own canon.  Have monster families ONCE run Chicago in the past (which would add layers and additional meaning to Elliot Ness being a hunter in episode 7.12) but have since been disrupted by all the previous seasons’ events.  After a “quiet” year (S8 didn’t do much for monsters world wide), followed by “angels falling,” the families start looking to regain their old prominence.  See?  You have the grounding for a new show that has a reason to stay in one location which maintains the illusion of a cohesive world.

Contradiction with the spirit of the show – In S9, the boys aren’t active agents, they’re not working towards any goal, what sign is there that this is the same show other than the two main actors?  In Bloodlines… well I can’t top Bardicvoice’s excellent analysis here.

Nebulous villain and arc – Well, in S9 the villains were nebulous in their plans and goals.  In this episode it’s more nebulous as to how the old hunter is that much of a villain.  After all, Sam & Dean have had innocent people and monsters harmed or killed during their work (even ignoring Soulless Sam’s tally) – should they be shot on sight?  (Irv really should have been arrested and prosecuted.)  We’ve just spent the last several parts looking for the arc of S9, what was the arc of Bloodlines?  By the end of Supernatural’s pilot, we at least had 2 intertwining arcs set up: find Dad & find Jess/Mom’s killer.  At the end of Bloodlines?  Ennis hears his [believed] dead father’s voice on the phone.  Is he going to go looking for papa?  Is daddy going to come to him?  David is “returning home to run the business.”  And then what?  What will it entail?  Like S9, the audience is given nothing concrete, nothing solid to latch onto and get pulled into the story.

And that’s… what I can think of so far, but hopefully it’s enough that you can see now how the missteps and mistakes made throughout the season all continued to happen within the backdoor pilot of a whole new series.

By all means, toss out your own reasons for hating Bloodlines, and let’s see if such a factor was in the season as a whole.

Part 24 (_)


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