I imagine that some think if we are fans of Supernatural -- upholding our collective rep for being fierce and passionate about our Show -- we should support, love, and enjoy all things Supernatural related. Tie-in novels, anime, comics, even a spin-off. Thing is...I don't love Supernatural because of the genre. I don't love it because of the monster-hunter symbiosis. I don't love it because of the universe in which it's entrenched.
I love it because of two brothers and their story, which just so happens to be set in a reality where there are monsters.
Tonight there was a show on that was very CW: pretty people, quippy lines, captivating setting, a plot that's anchored in the current mainstream popularity. It also just so happened to have two of my favorite brothers as guest stars. So, that was cool. (/sarcasm) In all honesty, I might have checked out Bloodlines on it's own when it premiered next season just out of curiosity -- see how another show handled hunting and hunters. And maybe I just don't "get" how spin-offs are supposed to work. But as an episode of my Show, this was as I suspected it would be for me: a formality.
I can now say I saw the spin-off, didn't miss an episode and we can all move on with the storyline that we've been investing in for the past 19 episodes.
Other than the theme that hunters are born when something awful happens to them, there really wasn't anything that overlapped with our show in this set up. Lore is lore, really. Silver burns monsters and can kill if used in the right quantity. Monsters hide in human form and can appear in mirrors or in a camera. This show really could have stood on it's own as a premiere with all the Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Beauty and the Beast type shows out there. It's curious that they decided to use our Show to spring-board this storyline and concept.
Unless the fact that Chicago being run by five monster families comes up in Season 10 after the angel war is (hopefully) put to bed.... *shrugs*
There really wasn't enough of the boys for me to even comment on their mindset and actions. Sam understandably related to Ennis Ross' loss of his not-quite fiance, Tamara. Dean was all business, taking the whole "work with the bad guy to find the badder guy" mentality in stride as he's had to dozens of times before. Sam didn't want Ennis to become a hunter, repeatedly telling Ennis to let it go, knowing this life would destroy him. Dean was in agreement, but other than ordering the kid not to follow, removed emotion from the equation. It was a reoccurring theme for them when it comes to "outsiders" finding out the truth.
So, if the boys happen to show up in Bloodlines next season in a cross-over -- ala Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel -- that would be interesting. But otherwise...eh. I'm ready for next week.
Nothing really to 'love' in this one for my lists. I'll skip to 'like'.
- Shots of the Chicago skyline -- it was really cool for them to actually be in the city where the story was taking place. I mean, Dean and Sam have been in Chicago several times...but they've never filmed there (to my knowledge) and seeing the Impala on the ChiTown streets was cool. Now they need to come to Lawrence. *ahem* What?
- Dean's, "Your perp fits a certain profile. I could go into detail...but I'm not going to."
- Dean using the "Agent Bonham" alias again.
- Use of the Black Keys' "Little Black Submarines" -- maybe giving us a taste of the kind of music we'll hear with Bloodlines...?
- Sympathetic Sam - it's my favorite Sam.
- Ennis calling David a "transformer" instead of a shape-shifter. That did make me chuckle.
- How the heck did the boys found out about the hunt so fast? I know for a fact that it's at least 9 hours from Lawrence to Chicago, and they're further west. When they show up, Ennis is still telling Freddie the Cop about his monster theory, and as far as it appeared, a man was stabbed to death and a woman beaten. Usually I can just hand-wave because, hey, MotW, it's the boys, whatever. But this time it just seemed...too convenient.
- What was Sam's Agent name? Perth? Dean was a bit muffled.
- What did David call Dean in response to Dean's, "You're with me, Romeo" comment? It drew a cute exchange of looks between the brothers, but I couldn't hear that, either. Maybe my ears aren't all the way better after all....
Ennis Ross, lives alone in the suburbs of Chicago (actually looked like it could be Gary, IN -- just a ride on the El from downtown). Mom gone, Dad a former cop who died on the job years ago. Ennis was going to ask his girl, Tamara -- who he met on a ferry in the 5th grade -- to marry him when they are attacked. She's killed and a hunter is born -- one who is as relentless in the pursuit of the truth as his father (and a couple hunters we know) and apparently has a quick temper.
Ennis spends the episode trying to find the "freak" (a hooded figure with silver claws) who killed his girlfriend and ends up not only finding out about the existence of monsters and hunters, but makes a tentative bond with one of the monsters, picks up wicked-fast how to identify monsters and how to kill them, and ends up shooting and killing the "freak" who killed Tamara -- who, it turns out, was actually a human. Now that he knows the truth, though, he can't just go back to 'normal' life, and despite the fact that the Winchesters leave to deal with their own war, he decides to become a monster hunter. Even though he gets a cell-phone call from his Dad (from beyond the grave...) telling him, "If you start hunting, the monsters will kill you." (omg, seriously?)
So, I guess we can add 'ghost' to the list of monsters, too, huh? And I'm also guessing that his father knew about monsters -- hence the silver bullets in his cop trunk -- and wasn't killed in the line of duty as much as by a monster. It's an okay start for a hunter, even if I did roll my eyes at the phone call. That was a bit much to shove into one very back story-heavy kick-off episode.
Then there's Freddie the Cop. I'm not actually 100% sure he is human, but he was Ennis' Dad's friend. However, he's also being paid for protection and secrecy by one of the monster families, so who knows. He seems mostly connected with one family -- the Lassiters, a shape-shifter family. Not really sure what's up with Freddie...he was more set dressing in this episode than anything else.
Finally, the killer. He was a human whose son had been killed -- he was told by wild animals, but once he finds out about monsters, he's convinced it was one of them. He doesn't care who; all are bad. He's using the hood and the claw to kill monsters, create confusion, and ultimately start a war of the monsters, thinking that the freaks will kill each other off. Tamara happened to get in the way, a fact that Ennis took exception to -- enough to declare that the he hooded dude was the real monster and shoot him. So, since he dies in this episode, he's probably not worth listing, but, there you go.
Okay, so there are apparently five monster families controlling Chicago, prompting Dean's label of "The Godfather with Fangs." I picked up on Djinns, Ghouls, Werewolves, and Shape-shifters for sure. I'm guessing the fifth family are vampires, though they also mentioned the existence of wraiths and there were some other monster-types in the back-roomed bar. But I can't imagine them not having vamps as a family in this whole scenario. Come on.
The primary players are the Werewolf family -- the Duvals -- and the Shape-shifter family - the Lassiters. I thought it was interesting that they called themselves wolves or werewolves and not 'lycans'...maybe I've just seen too many Kate Beckinsdale movies. *shrug*
The back story is that everyone stays in their own territory to keep the peace. The cops are owned, the city divvied up, this is my dance space, that's your dance space kind of thing. But. David Lassiter of the Shape-shifter clan and Violet Duval of the Werewolf clan fall in love and are going to run away together. How very Romeo and Juliet of them. David wants to "go straight" and live like a human (making him, I suppose, the Sam Winchester of the Lassiter family) and he and Violet are going to make a go of it, except Violet never shows up at Union Station (the standard in run away with me meeting locations).
So, David leaves and stays away three years, attending North Chicago University.
Meanwhile, tensions between the families mount as the Lassiter patriarch gets sick and is dying, and the sister, Margo, is hungry for war for reasons I did not understand. She gets her perfect catalyst when her brother, Sal, meets up with one of the Werewolf princes -- and Violet's brother -- Julian (a total ass, by the way) in a monster bar, downtown Chicago. A mini tussle between hot-head rivals turns into murder when the Claw Man shows up, ends up killing Sal (and Tamara) and stirring Margo's vengeance. She calls David home because of the death of his brother, but basically immediately tells him to leave again.
"You're out. Stay out." Okay, then...talk about mixed messages. Whatevs, Margo.
David doesn't want war and in his efforts to figure out who killed Sal and stop Margo from unleashing the hounds, so to speak, he ends up meeting up with Ennis, who is searching for Tamara's killer. Ennis the hunter and David the Shape-shifter make a reluctant truce, bonded by mutual loss and I suspect this is going to be the friendship those who continue to follow the show will be most intrigued by. Ennis tells David that his brother's last thoughts were of him.
Sal had died saying, "David...I'm sorry. I had no choice."
We later find out that his apology was because Sal met Violet at Union Station before David got there and warned her off, saying it was because he was protecting David and they needed to keep the bloodlines pure. Of course, Violet doesn't tell David that. It would be too easy and there must be tragic love and angst constantly pulling at these two. Especially because Violet's brother, Julian, has arranged her marriage to some Wolf in New York (wonder if he lives on Wall Street...just kidding).
SO. The Shape-shifters have Ghouls siding with them and the Werewolves have Djinn's working as hit-men and it's all just so very Don Corleone. The boys help Ennis and David stop the killer -- Ennis shooting and killing Claw Man after he kidnapped Violet and tortured David. Violet goes back to her misery and arranged marriage, despite her obvious love for David. David rejoins the Lassiter clan to help keep the war from happening. And Ennis decides to become a monster hunter, despite the ominous, ghostly warning from his dad.
Just as Sam's starting to think they'll have to leave the bunker and move to Chicago to deal with all the monsters there, Dean gets a call from Cas who says he has a line on Metatron. Sam tells Ennis that they'll call in other hunters and give them the download on the Monster Mafia, warning Ennis not to get in too deep because there's no getting out...and they're off.
All in all, for me? A formality. Like I said, it isn't a bad premise, and had it not been tied to Supernatural? I might have actually liked it. I am just too invested in our boys and this mytharc storyline to care much about Ennis Ross, and the Chicago Monster Mafia. Still, if it all comes into play in the lives of the Winchesters in Season 10, I'll be glad I at least know the premise.
Now, next week...I'm looking forward to that. The first of the final three, building to what will no doubt be a torturous cliffy for the 2014 hellatus.
See ya'll then?