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Quick Reaction: 12x14 The Raid

Hello! I'm only 4 days late!

Once again, no drinking (my SPN drinking tradition has really been thrown for a loop by my schedule this year!), but I still took poor notes on stationary that I stole from the hotel! So, yay!

Also, I know that everyone else has had the time to rewatch this episode if they pleased, and discuss it with their friends, but I have honestly not done any of that - I avoided discussion, because I hadn't seen it yet, and I JUST watched it, so I've only seen it once. So, as per usual, I might remember things slightly wrong and no quotes are meant to be accurate - and also I don't know what's already been said by other people or whatever, so I might be late to the game with a lot of my thoughts, but what else is new.

Let's get to it...

We pick up right where we left off. Dean finds out that their run on Ramiel was a BMoL case, and rightfully points out that Cas almost died, and that Wally DID die. Mary acknowledges that and says that she watches him die every night, to which Dean responds with a cold "good", but he's not wrong.

Then we jump to three days later, with Mary and Ketch pulling up to the BMoL's headquarters, which have apparently been shipped over in shipping crates, since that's what it's made out of.

Man, that base is SO ANTI-SPN. Like, it's the antithesis of the SPN feel - which is dirty and blue collar, whereas the BMoL are very much "clean" organized and white collar. It's grating for me to spend time there, because that's like... the opposite of what I like about SPN.

Anyway, Mary is down in the dumps because Dean is ignoring her texts.

Then we get a flashback to their argument. Dean questions why Mary can't just be there with them FOR them... and Mary, rightfully, points out that she's not just a mom. That she's a complete and complex person, (and is not the madonna figure they have mythologize her to be after her death). She then follows this up by telling Dean that he is not a child. To which Dean rightfully fires back with "I never was." Then he makes her choose between them and the BMoL and kicks her out until such a time as she's willing to choose them. It's only after Dean storms out, really, that Mary adresses Sam directly - and she does get points, I suppose, for treating him like his own person who might choose differently than Dean, but Sam tells her to leave and follows Dean out of the room.

Then we switch to Ketch and "other guy" who I was reminded later is named Mick. Ketch tells Mick about how the hunt went, but calls it boring (they used some sort of gas bomb that did the killing for them) and when Mick asks if there's any progress on recruiting the other Winchesters, Ketch tells him that they already have the best Winchester.

Apparently though, it's not their call. The "old men" (or possible "old man") want Sam and Dean, believing that where the Winchester's go, the rest of the American hunters will follow. I'm not sure that's the case, as Sam and Dean have a tremultuous relationship with other hunters, and that's just in addition to the fact that Hunters prefer to work alone and not take orders in the US. Though, granted "go hunt vampires here" isn't exactly micro-managing.

Back to Sam... who is looking depressed in the Bunker. Dean comes in and tries to convince him to take a case in Akron, Ohio, but it genuinely looks like a regular old murder and for once Sam's "I don't think this is our kinda thing" is accurate. Dean is keyed up and angry through and would like to hit something.

Sam suggests he talk out his feelings to Mom instead. Dean accuses Sam of playing his "peacemaker schtick" too often, and always playing the middle - telling him he did it with Cas too. (Am I already forgetting plot points? What plot is Dean referring too, because I'm pretty sure Cas has been good with them all this season... so, is he referring to last season where Sam was wondering if Cas even wanted to be saved from Lucifer? Or... uh, S6/S7 was the last time that Cas was in deep shit with Dean and Sam argued on his behalf... like, that's a really long time to hold a grudge, Dean! Also, Sam was right! You can't be mad at him for not giving up on a friend that you still consider your BFF.

I also found that line amusing because I'm pretty sure that growing up it was Dean who was probably constantly playing the middle between Sam and Dad. But then again, we always get annoyed with traits in others that we ourselves have... or at least, that's what people tell me; personally, I'm flawless.

Dean storms out to get a drink and Sam reads the texts on his phone - which he too has been ignoring - up until the most recent, when Mary tells him that she needs to see him urgently.

So, Sam goes off to meet Mary at BMoL TempHQ. Mary makes her argument from the jump, which REALLY got on my nerves on behalf of Sam, because it's not even an apology or whatever, or a "sorry I'm working with the dudes that nearly killed you, but I genuinely think that agent was rogue and they're super sorry that happened - here they all are to prostrate themselves before you and seek forgiveness" No, it's straight to the salespitch.

Though, it's a GOOD sales pitch, especially since Mary is talking to Sam. And it DOES explain why Mary is working with the BMoL. She IS, in her mind, doing it FOR Sam and Dean - as the last thing she ever wanted for her kids was to have them be hunters. She herself hated being a hunter. So, if some group promises that they can END hunting, and then prove in some capacity that they're capable of it, it stands to reason that she'd want in.

So, in the end, Mary IS trying to do right by her children, the problem is that she's not listening to their opinions on what THEY want. Even though Sam tries to reiterate that he "chose this life", Mary counters with the fact that he also chose to go to school once, and he could do so again. BUT, my argument is that Sam having once chosen to go to school and now chosing hunting actually REINFORCES the fact that hunting is HIS CHOICE. He KNOWS he could leave and chooses not to. Even now, with the BMoL obviously able to send agents and work without the Winchesters fairly effectively, Sam could easily walk away from both hunting AND helping them. Helping them is STILL HUNTING. Sam is STILL CHOOSING HUNTING... arguably, he could just be choosing a retirement plan though (but I'm getting ahead of myself.)

Sam calls the base "low budget mission impossible vibe" and I love him for it, because YES, and that's exactly why I don't like it.

Meanwhile, back at the Bunker, Dean returns to find Sam gone and all the booze suspeciously empty... and then Ketch shows up at the door and bribes his way in with Scotch - which, a)reminds me so much of the way Dean got in to meet Rufus that first time (and makes Rufus' line that Dean will one day end up like him pretty prescient) and b)makes me suspect that Ketch broke in first and got rid of the booze so that Dean would be more willing to accept his bribe.

Back with the BMoL at the TempBase - we're introduced to the team, the only American of which is a guy named Pierce (Pearce? I'll go with Pearce). Who is played by the dude who played Gordan Rimmer in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency! Yay!

They lay out their next case for Sam - explaining that they've reduced the vampire population in the Mid-West Region from 241 to 11, and now plan to go after the final 11.

We then go to Witchita, KS, where we see the vampires freaking out - and then the Alpha arrives. Woo! I love the Alpha vamp! Which is saying a lot, because I HATE VAMPIRES. But Rick Worthy is so good.

Back to Ketch and Dean - Ketch tries to make small talk, but that goes nowhere. Dean brings up Toni, and Ketch says that he had predicted that she'd go rogue, but implies that no one else did and/or they didn't listen to him about it. Apparently he and Toni used to date. (Makes me wonder about the kid they gave Toni).

Ketch then implies that he and Dean share "inclinations" and the BMoL know how to use those inclinations in a positive way and keep Ketch (and WILL keep Dean satisfied). He comes right out and says that he means to say that they're both killers. Now, this is wrong - while Ketch very much seems like the seriel killer type, there's a HUGE difference between being a killer and being a soldier - and Dean is a soldier. They aren't the same thing at all. Dean was only a killer when he was under the MoC's influence and that was WHY that thing was so heinous and a major dark plotline.

However, Ketch IS correct in the fact that playing on Dean's low self-esteem is a great way to manipulate him into doing what you want. Ketch then offers Dean the chance to help him clear out a vampires nest, which of course Dean jumps at, because Dean DOES like killing vampires when he's angry about his life (see S2, S3, S6, S9 and/or S10 I forget which.)

Back with Sam - we find out that Pearce knew Rufus. Then when Mick asks Sam what he thinks of Mick's team, Sam gives him an honest answer - the British members are smart, but Pearce is a poor Hunter, as Rufus only worked with him once.

Back to Ketch and Dean, who are go to the vamp nest. Does Dean not connect Ketch's motorbike with the one he saw earlier in the season? He doesn't seem to put it together yet that Ketch was trailing them early on. I still think the fact that Ketch killed the people they saved/had-mercy-towards will come back to bite the BMoL in the ass (or maybe I'm just really hoping it does, because I really don't like "the low-budget mission impossible vibe")

The only catch with the vampire nest is that it appears to be empty - at which point I realize where the vampires are....

Sam asks Mary if she asked him there for a sales pitch, she says she just wanted to explain - Sam says it was a fairly good sales pitch.

And then we get confirmation that the vamps have indeed gone on the offensive!

Back with Ketch and Dean, Ketch finds the girl vampire hiding in the basement and takes her to Dean. Ketch then proceeds to repeatedly punch her while he asks for information - a level of violence Dean isn't happy with. He gets Ketch to stop and then asks the girl to tell him what they want to know, and promises to make her death quick if she does. She does. The nest is "hunting the hunters."

Back at the BMoL TempHQ, they clue in that they're under attack. Again, it's Sam that catches a vampire, so that it will answer their questions. The vamp tells them that the alpha told them where the hunters were. The BMoL don't believe this, because the Alpha is supposedly been in Morocco for a decade. Sam tells them, in a voice that suggests they're idiots, that that's not correct, because he ran into the Alpha 5 years ago in Hoople, North Dakota. (For those who want to know, that was There Will Be Blood in S7, which took place in 2012, which means we're clearly in 2017 (2019 for the chronological time die-hards)).

One thing I love about this episode is how clearly Sam is actually the one with knowledge and authority here - how Sam's the most experienced and knowledgable in the room at all times. The episode never makes him seem like an idiot, or that the BMoL are cleverer than he is... THEY might act that way, because, let's face it, they're British and all Brits come across that way to Americans), but Sam is always painted as clearly the most equiped to handle any situation thrown in front of him and to do so efficiently and effectively.

Sam asks the room who there had ever killed anything, the only one besides he and Mary to raise their hands is Pearce, so Sam is really not impressed. They also don't have enough weapons, because they keep all the weapons in an out building that serves as an armoury.

What they DO have in that building though is the Colt, which Mick gets out. And this is where Mary's true betrayal is revealed to Sam - and Jared is great at showing us the depth of that betrayal without any lines that actually address it. But Mary confesses that she stole it from Ramiel. Mick says they don't have any bullets, but Sam knows the recipe from "a buddy" and Mary asks "Bobby Singer?" and Sam confirms that - which to me means that Mary really doesn't know the history of the Colt as it pretains to the boys and doesn't realize just how deep her betrayal goes, but... I have no confirmation on that and maybe she DOES know. I don't know, it just seemed odd that she'd have to ask. I certainly think it proves that she's never encountered the Supernatural books.

Mary, Sam, and Pearce go to make a run on the armoury, while Sam leaves the civilians to do the spell.  But Sam is quickly overwhelmed at one door, and Mary and Pearce separate from him to try a different route, while Sam holds back the attack there.

Then, we get Pearce strangely returning without Mary - and we find out that he's a double-agent, having been working for the Alpha vampire all this time in exchange for money.

The Alpha Vampire tells us that he didn't get involved with the BMoL in England, "because it's England" but America is his home, and now he wants them to get off his lawn. And he's awesome and I love him.

Sam shows up then with the Colt - and I DID know this was going to happen - because I knew the Colt would be in the episode and I knew the Alpha vampire would be in the episode, and you can't have the Colt and have the Alpha survive.

But man, I love the stand-off and how it's done. First, the Alpha tries bluffing, saying that he's one of the five creatures on earth that the Colt can't kill. Sam knows that this isn't true, because the Colt can kill other vampires, so it stands to reason that it can kill the Alpha. (I love Sam's explanation of "if that were true I'd be dead already." Because the first time the Colt was ever used, it was used to save Sam from a vampire.

Sam suggests a deal - that the Alpha let him and Mary go, and in exchange they'll go back to the way things were - with Hunters only killing the vampires that get out of line. The Alpha asks about what will happen to the BMoL and Sam says that the Alpha can have them. Mary and/or Mick exclaim at this, and SAm says he's just picking a side... and then Mick charges him, and Mary charges the Alpha - and then they're back to where they started, except when the Alpha tells Sam the Colt is empty, Sam points out that the entire exchange before was a deek out, and a cover for Mick getting him the bespelled bullet.

I love that the Alpha's last words were "Clever clever boy" - because goddamn it, Sam IS clever and I'm glad that the Alpha acknowledges it.

Then Sam shoots and the Alpha dies. And I love the fact that Sam got to use the colt, because so far only Dean (and John) have used it, except for that time Sam shot John in the leg. Unless I'm... oh, I am... Sam killed a crossroads demon with it. ANYWAY, it's still awesome. I love the Colt and I love Sam getting a chance to kill a big bad, even if it's a minor big bad.

After all is said and done, Mick is a little shell shocked, having never been in the field before. Ketch doesn't have much sympathy for him, and refuses to allow any accusations that Ketch should have been there - because Ketch was following his orders, trying to recruit Dean, and posits that it was going well until Mick screwed it up with drawing the vampires wrath to HQ.

Dean and Mary chat, and Dean tells her that when he thought she was in danger, he found he didn't care about their argument - and that he knows she's an adult that can make her own choices (just like Dean learned to let Sam make his own choices too).

Sam and Mick talk too. Mick is down on himself because he got 1/2 his team killed, accidentally recruited a double-agent and also didn't preemptively have a plan in case of organized counter-attack. Sam tells him that he's in though.... so, Mick's screw up at least didn't cost him the Winchesters. Mick asks about Dean, and Sam tells Mick to give Sam "some time."

So, I don't think that's going to go well.

I do wonder about Sam's motivations - is it the lure of an end to hunting? Is it that he doesn't feel Mary is safe with the BMoL but also knows that she won't leave? Is it a combination of both? Certainly, if there's a solution that will save lives, it's unethical not to use it... but WILL it save lives, or will the black and white morality also kill innocent people? Like those that Sam and Dean would normally spare? Where's the line there - between mercy and safety? This IS a pretty parelleling storyline to current political affairs - as the Republicans in the states try to sell their country on the fact that those fleeing violence somehow endanger the safety of everyone, of course, they don't - but even if 1 out of 1000 had ill intent, do you sacrifice the 1000 to avoid the 1? Can you live with 1000 deaths for the sake of avoiding a small possibility of danger?

Anyway, that's way too heavy for an SPN discussion, so let's keep it to Monsters... by killing every monster at the border? Presuming guilt instead of innocents based solely on what they are, is that morally justifiable? And where do you draw the line - they killed a girl for having strong psychic powers, while in the past, Sam and Dean have used psychics to help them (Pamela, Andy) - should they have been murdered? Should SAM have been murdered? I DO think that their no-mercy rule WILL be a deciding factor for the Winchesters, and it will bite them in the ass somehow...but I'm not sure how at this point.

I do hope it does though and that they don't end up being legit allies, because the mission-impossible/james-bond style REALLY doesn't mesh well with the aethetics of SPN that I know and love.

FYI: These are the episodes (based on the snow on the ground) that would have been filmed when Daneel had the twins - which is I think why Dean is written so light in it. We'll see next week (*cough*this week*cough) if he's still written light or if he's back to the regular schedule. I know Jared implied at a convention that he had a considerable amount of time off to help with the twins (enough to get itchy to come back.)



This Thursday I have a thing, but I'll try to make it home at a somewhat reasonable time and still watch the episode and post my quick reaction before Friday (or extremely early on Friday).

As per usual, let me know what you thought in comments.... and remember that my spellcheck doesn't work.

Comments

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
quickreaver
Mar. 7th, 2017 07:09 am (UTC)
I'm with you; Sam's decision to join the BMoL isn't sitting well with me, and I'm praying he's not gullibly believing them, nor will he stop seeing those shades of gray that tell him it's what you do, not what you are. *fingers crossed!*
hells_half_acre
Mar. 7th, 2017 07:17 am (UTC)
Exactly. Time will tell, but hopefully the show doesn't disappoint!

(Especially since I'm not liking the Lucifer subplot, but that's another matter.)
quickreaver
Mar. 7th, 2017 07:26 am (UTC)
SO MUCH DITTO.
supernutjapan
Mar. 7th, 2017 08:06 am (UTC)
The Cas thing was when he killed the reaper Billie and Dean was being "worried" about consequences, and Sam was stuck in the middle. A few eps back... the scene in the car, aye?

Yes, the whiskey scene reminded me of Rufus too! And I like that idea that Ketch broke in and disposed of the alcohol. I just thought that Dean had drunk it all up.

BMoL killing off those people will definitely come back and bite them. YES! :D

"if that were true I'd be dead already." I took to mean that without fear of the colt, the Alpha would have attacked and killed him. Just because you can kill reg. vamps, doesn't mean you can kill the alpha the same way.

Awesome ep! Not to worried about Sam joining. He needs to be with the BMoL to find out what is wrong with it, so glad they are going in finally.
hells_half_acre
Mar. 7th, 2017 09:55 pm (UTC)
Yup, you're right. I had forgotten about how Dean was mad at Cas for killing Billie.

Ah, good point about what Sam's line and how he probably also meant RIGHT THEN. I still love the line though - perhaps even more so, since it's true twice over.

Awesome ep! Not to worried about Sam joining. He needs to be with the BMoL to find out what is wrong with it, so glad they are going in finally.

Excellent point!! This makes me feel better about it.
raloria
Mar. 7th, 2017 08:14 am (UTC)
As far as Dean calling Sam a peacemaker with the Cas situation, I'm pretty sure he's referring to this season and Cas choosing to kill Billie, breaking their deal to get out of prison. Dean was pretty angry at Cas after that and also gave him the silent treatment like he did with Mary in this ep.

I still think the fact that Ketch killed the people they saved/had-mercy-towards will come back to bite the BMoL in the ass (or maybe I'm just really hoping it does, because I really don't like "the low-budget mission impossible vibe")

I'm hoping the boys and Mary find out about this and I keep wondering how many other people did Ketch kill off? Did he kill that gal in the Hitler ep, too? I'm also worried about Garth. If the BMOL start going after werewolves next, that sure puts him in danger. :(

Btw, I checked about when this ep was filmed and it was the first week of January. Jensen's twins were born Dec. 2nd, during the filming of 12x12. So I'm kind of unsure why this ep was light on Jensen. It does bug me that it took so long for Dean and Ketch to get to the BMOL headquarters. Of course, they very wisely (carefully?) didn't tell us where the compound was, so maybe it made sense that they couldn't get there in time to help. Not that Sam needed the help. *g*

Actually, one of my big issues with this ep is how empty that compound was. If they've been taking down vamp nests who was doing the killing? Just Ketch and Mary??? The place looked pretty empty and the only other hunter they had was Pierce. The other 2 people had never killed anything. Are there other compounds around the US? It's all very unclear.
hells_half_acre
Mar. 7th, 2017 09:53 pm (UTC)
As far as Dean calling Sam a peacemaker with the Cas situation, I'm pretty sure he's referring to this season and Cas choosing to kill Billie

The second person to correct me, but yes! You are right! I HAD forgotten a storyline, just as my niggling suspicion suggested. :P

I'm hoping the boys and Mary find out about this and I keep wondering how many other people did Ketch kill off? Did he kill that gal in the Hitler ep, too? I'm also worried about Garth. If the BMOL start going after werewolves next, that sure puts him in danger. :(

Oh man! Good point - also that girl Kate. I wonder if they'll bring on of those characters back, and if they do, what will happen :(

Btw, I checked about when this ep was filmed and it was the first week of January. Jensen's twins were born Dec. 2nd, during the filming of 12x12. So I'm kind of unsure why this ep was light on Jensen.

Yes, but I think Jensen's twins were early? Like, the original due date was later in December, from what I remember. So, they would have written this episode knowing that Jensen would need time off "around episode 13/14" - and by the time the twins were born early, the episode would have already been written as it was. And if this was filmed the first week of January, they would have done the two week prep before the Christmas break, meaning that it'd be FAR too late for rewrites.

Not to mention, this probably gave Jensen a longer Christmas break with the new babies, which I'm sure would have also been nice for him.

Actually, one of my big issues with this ep is how empty that compound was. If they've been taking down vamp nests who was doing the killing? Just Ketch and Mary??? The place looked pretty empty and the only other hunter they had was Pierce. The other 2 people had never killed anything. Are there other compounds around the US? It's all very unclear.

I didn't have an issue with it, because the BMoL relies heavily on "weapons of mass destruction" (ie: One smoke bomb can take out an entire nest) - they don't NEED a ton of agents to get what they want done. They have Mick to try to persuade hunters to join, they have the two techs to devise strategy, they have at least one guard (probably more that we just didn't see get killed) and they have Ketch, who can use the weapons. Like it was implied, they never expected the monsters to organize and attack them - because when was the last time the BMoL had to deal with organized monsters in Britain? If they've been killing them at the borders for years? Probably... well, not since the 1800s or something ridiculous like that. So, yeah, part of the reason they were under-prepared for the attack was because they were understaffed for an attack - they were only staffed for "business as usual".

Also, they most likely had been hoping to recruit Hunters faster - so the compound would have been made to accommodate more hunter operatives... hence why it felt empty. It was bigger because they had been optimistic when they set it up.

That's my theory, anyway.



borgmama1of5
Mar. 7th, 2017 02:23 pm (UTC)
The Mary/boys storyline is really capturing me, and the looks on the boys' faces when talking with Mary, and Sam seeing the Colt! Jared and Jensen should be getting all the acting awards!

I personally don't think Mary knows the boys' relationship with the Colt, though I don't have a reason to think that, just my feeling from watching.

I completely get Sam's decision to join up--his reaction to the reduction of vamps from 241 to 11 was so clear, he can appreciate results...and Sam being Sam, he will put aside what the BMoL did to him for the greater good. I was bugged, however, by Dean's apology to Mary at the end. Not sure if it was the quickness of his turnaround or the way it was written, it just felt off, he forgave too easily. Maybe I needed to see him worrying about mom as he was driving frantically to get to the scene.

Like raloria, I wondered where the rest of the BMoL team was. Seriously, 3 management types, 2 guards outside, Mary and Pearce and the absent Ketch took out 230 vamps?

Mr. Ketch's indiscriminate killing--under orders--has got to bite the BMoL in the butt before the season ends--it's got to, right? Something has to go wrong, because otherwise if the BMoL has this kind of success continue, there won't be any monsters left for Sam and Dean in season 13...

One other note--I just happened to rewatch season 7 and the boys didn't actually meet the alpha vamp in Hoople, ND--that is where Crowley sent them and they found the alpha's girl Emily, and she sent them to Missoula, MT where the boys actually talked to him!
hells_half_acre
Mar. 7th, 2017 09:43 pm (UTC)
Agreed about those acting awards! It's amazing how much Jared and Jensen elevate the material... which was another thing that Robbie mentioned at ECCC - just how fantastic it was to write for those two.

Not sure if it was the quickness of his turnaround or the way it was written, it just felt off, he forgave too easily. Maybe I needed to see him worrying about mom as he was driving frantically to get to the scene.

Perhaps. It seemed understandable to me, but I need less lead time to empathize with emotions.

Like raloria, I wondered where the rest of the BMoL team was. Seriously, 3 management types, 2 guards outside, Mary and Pearce and the absent Ketch took out 230 vamps?

From what I gathered - the mass vampire killing smoke-bomb thing was SUPER effective?! So, it really was just Ketch and Mary basically mass bombing people. I mean... the crew of one bomber took out all of Hiroshima. Sometimes, it's less about the amount of soldiers and more about the weapons. These days, you have unmanned drones take out entire buildings and like...one dude who hopefully programmed it right.

Which makes this storyline also a commentary on unmanned warfare.

Something has to go wrong, because otherwise if the BMoL has this kind of success continue, there won't be any monsters left for Sam and Dean in season 13...

Very good point. This gives me hope that indeed it will and they won't turn into quasi-allies like Crowley.

One other note--I just happened to rewatch season 7 and the boys didn't actually meet the alpha vamp in Hoople, ND--that is where Crowley sent them and they found the alpha's girl Emily, and she sent them to Missoula, MT where the boys actually talked to him!

Oooo! Continuity error!!! Though, Hoople was also a base for him, I guess? But still, OOPS! Poor Bobo Berens, I forgive him.

bratfarrar
Mar. 7th, 2017 11:57 pm (UTC)
A lovely review! and lots of points where I was nodding in agreement. I'm really curious to see how they spin Sam's motivations for signing on--and how he broaches the topic with Dean.
hells_half_acre
Mar. 8th, 2017 02:39 am (UTC)
Yes, the next few episodes should be very interesting!!
kailita
Mar. 13th, 2017 06:04 am (UTC)
I'm not caught up (I'm never caught up) - but MAN, THIS episode. There were problems...but this feels more like what I expected from the show in seasons 9 and 10. OF COURSE it would be Berens. <3 I felt a little betrayed by the mess that was the end of season 11, and he wrote one of those episodes - but besides that one, I feel like he tends to write very solid, character-driven episodes that feel significant.

I am WITH you on that base being the opposite of SPN. I've always been conflicted about the Bunker, because while it's cool for the brothers to have their own batcave, and while I VERY MUCH SUPPORT them having a physical place to call home, it's always seemed much too upscale and high-tech for hunters like them (probably because it is, of course, a Men of Letters bunker). That being said, I like the contrast here, because of course the BMOL are Not With Us. I mean, the other clue is that they're not wearing plaid. ;)

I like your observation about Dean calling Sam out about being the peacemaker when Dean constantly played that role between Sam and Dad. My guess is that that's the only place Dean took that position...so obviously it's been years. And I feel like Sam has been everybody's Unpaid Therapist this season - Cas, Mom, Dean, that girl from American Nightmare, Lily Sunder, etc. He's also been going really easy on Mom...understandably, perhaps. But it was gratifying to see him finally get upset this episode.

(Not to mention Dean's response - which was also intensely gratifying to me, and seemed perfectly in character. With the possible exception of how quickly he forgave her. Though - do you think Dean really held grudges against Dad either? Maybe festering resentment, but all of that would have been unspoken. So maybe he doesn't have a problem patching things up with his parents, at least on the surface. Maybe it's just brothers [and friends] that he outwardly shuns when they disappoint him. </3)
hells_half_acre
Mar. 13th, 2017 06:52 am (UTC)
...but this feels more like what I expected from the show in seasons 9 and 10. OF COURSE it would be Berens.

Yes, love him! I'm still getting a feel for the new writers, but Berens is my fave on the staff currently.

I felt a little betrayed by the mess that was the end of season 11, and he wrote one of those episodes

From what I hear of rumours from behind the scenes, the end of the season was a mess all around with Carver leaving rather abruptly before the season was over and without a firm game-plan in place when he did. Mind you, that's rumour - but still, I'm cutting Berens a little slack for it, considering.

I've always been conflicted about the Bunker, because while it's cool for the brothers to have their own batcave, and while I VERY MUCH SUPPORT them having a physical place to call home, it's always seemed much too upscale and high-tech for hunters like them

I too was conflicted about the Bunker - but I've come around to it, and I think part of the reason it WORKS is because it's not "high tech" it's OLD tech. It's upscale in the way that antiques are upscale. So, you still have the Winchesters tooling around in an antique car with an antique house, and slapdash equipment. The only time it bugs me is when they're like "oh look, there's an answer to all our problems in the library" or "oh hey, we need gold blades, no worries - we apparently have a store room with solid gold blades in it." I feel we've gotten away from the MONEY aspect of their lives that marks them as blue collar, and that's the bit that I still have a problem with - but the rest of it I like. I like that they're in an outdated "high tech" building.

The BMoL meanwhile, is all new tech and top-of-the-line, and that's JARRING.

And like you said - suits =/= plaid. And actually, ever since they started coding the angels and Crowley's direct minions in suits (not to mention Dick Roman), the show has had a pretty clear line of suits=evil, plaid=good. The boys only wear suits as a disguise, to lie to people; it's not a reflection of their true selves. Just to take your plaid comment in a serious direction for a minute ;)

And I feel like Sam has been everybody's Unpaid Therapist this season - Cas, Mom, Dean, that girl from American Nightmare, Lily Sunder, etc. He's also been going really easy on Mom...understandably, perhaps. But it was gratifying to see him finally get upset this episode.

Very true. This whole season I've been like "Hello? Where is Sam's inner life?!" He's very much been the "I have no inner life that you need to be concerned about, tell me more about your inner life instead" therapist-type this season.

Though - do you think Dean really held grudges against Dad either? Maybe festering resentment, but all of that would have been unspoken. So maybe he doesn't have a problem patching things up with his parents, at least on the surface. Maybe it's just brothers [and friends] that he outwardly shuns when they disappoint him.

I think it's more about what he can get away with. I don't think Dad ever gave him the option of shunning him. He was the drill sergeant and you can't shun your drill sergeant. I think Mary gets a hybrid of the two states of Dean's anger - in that he DOES shun her for a while, something that I don't think he'd ever do with dad at all, and Mary LET's him. Her texts to him are all "Please talk to me?" they aren't "Pick up your phone NOW" which is I'm sure what John would have written, if John texted. Actually, possibly that's why John always called. Because the thing is Dean DOES worry about his family, even when he's really mad at them. Even when John took off without any warning, when he called, Dean wasn't like "HOW COULD YOU!?" he instead asked if John was okay. So, I think Dean was honest and he forgave Mary and stopped shunning her because he realized he wanted her to be able to call on him if she was in trouble. But, I also think that Dean shuns those who LET him shun them, and just resents those who don't allow him to cut them off.


kailita
Mar. 13th, 2017 06:04 am (UTC)
"She IS, in her mind, doing it FOR Sam and Dean - as the last thing she ever wanted for her kids was to have them be hunters. She herself hated being a hunter." Did she?? That's what I've always believed, but that's where I kind of feel like S12 is undermining what was set up for us in S4. I liked in S4 how the family business was stifling to her, much like Sam. But episodes like "Asa Fox" seem like they're kind of retconning that, having her hunting even after she's married to John, after they have kids. What's your take on that?

We're mentioning Toni again, which I hope will lead to something. I want them to bring her back, not because I like her but just because I want some explanation for the WEIRDNESS of her introduction. "You know her, she's a little overzealous," is not at all satisfying to me. Is it too much to hope that later episodes with her will shed any light on that violating, random-as-hell sex hallucination? That's too much to hope for, isn't it.

I'm letting this go...but there is NO WAY Bobby had the recipe for Colt bullets. He wasn't getting anywhere with those until Ruby came along in S3...and something tells me that she did not write down a recipe for him. :P

I am...hesitantly interested...cautiously excited...for this impending brother conflict with Sam joining Mom and the BMOL (assuming it doesn't just blow up and resolve in the next episode). Sam's a practical soul...he knows a good deal when he sees one. Though he's also very aware of shades of gray, to which the BMOL seem willfully oblivious - how long is THAT going to take to ignite a disagreement? Sam's been fighting for reformed vampire lives since S2! Maybe he'll convince Dean...though I think actually it would be more interesting (I can't believe I'm about to say this, because I hate it when they fight) if he doesn't. Dean's more emotional...goes by his gut...and I think Dean actually is going to hold the fact that they tortured Sam as a count against them for WAY longer than Sam himself. (That does still bother me. What is Sam's thought process here? "Well, you tortured me both physically and psychologically, but I'm sure you deal ethically with everyone else!") Whether Sam convinces Dean or not, I don't think they'll be joined with the BMOL for any extended period of time. There have been way too many seeds showing that this operation is corrupt at best. And that also makes me nervous, because I don't want another Sam Made The Wrong Choice story, unless we do something new and different with it.

All of this to say...I'm very pleased that we finally have an episode that seems to deal with their inner lives and emotional reactions on any level. I feel like that has been disturbingly absent from some of the previous episodes. But this is very promising!
hells_half_acre
Mar. 13th, 2017 07:05 am (UTC)
Did she?? That's what I've always believed, but that's where I kind of feel like S12 is undermining what was set up for us in S4. I liked in S4 how the family business was stifling to her, much like Sam. But episodes like "Asa Fox" seem like they're kind of retconning that, having her hunting even after she's married to John, after they have kids. What's your take on that?

I think in Asa Fox, she told him that she was just wrapping up loose ends? Anyway, my take on it is that much like all the other hunters we've seen - it was hard for her to leave the life, but that wasn't because she didn't WANT to... it was either morality (if you KNOW something in Saskatchewan is a monster your dad failed to kill in '68, and you know you CAN kill it, do you let it kill more people because you don't want to hunt anymore? Or do you go and do just this one more job?)

So, I think much like Mary joining the BMoL now, the Asa Fox hunt was similar - it was her trying to hunt her way OUT of hunting. Wrapping up all the loose ends, so that she didn't feel the moral guilt of quitting hunting. Back in the 70s, it was possibly about wrapping up her father's unfinished business and then just not getting involved in anything new (unless it directly threatened her family), but now it's about wiping out ALL monsters so that Sam and Dean won't have anything to do, so that there won't be a need to hunt AT ALL.

Is it too much to hope that later episodes with her will shed any light on that violating, random-as-hell sex hallucination? That's too much to hope for, isn't it.

Probably. :(

I'm letting this go...but there is NO WAY Bobby had the recipe for Colt bullets. He wasn't getting anywhere with those until Ruby came along in S3...and something tells me that she did not write down a recipe for him. :P

I actually disagree with you there. YES, it was Ruby that showed Bobby how to get the bullets to work, but there is no way that Bobby just let Ruby make them a bunch of bullets and then didn't even ask for the recipe! He would have gotten ALL the info from her, and Ruby, needing to appear sympathetic and stay in their good graces, would have given it to him, since to refuse would have called into question her loyalty to them.

That does still bother me. What is Sam's thought process here? "Well, you tortured me both physically and psychologically, but I'm sure you deal ethically with everyone else!"

Part of me wonders if Sam is joining, at least partially, because he doesn't trust them with his mother. He's SEEN how unprepared they are, and he knows that what they're offering is too tempting to Mary for her to NOT work with them - so, part of me thinks that HAS to factor into his reasoning somewhat. Like, "Okay, this is what they're offering and it SEEMS like a good scenario - but I don't trust them, and I certainly don't trust them with my mother's life - but I'm not going to be able to watch them or protect my mother if I'm not part of their organization."

But then, that might be wishful thinking on my part - because that would make more sense to me then "maybe that one psycho member really WAS a psycho? And they're all really great guys." :P

All of this to say...I'm very pleased that we finally have an episode that seems to deal with their inner lives and emotional reactions on any level. I feel like that has been disturbingly absent from some of the previous episodes. But this is very promising!

Yup! I was disappointed with the episode after this a little, but we'll see where it goes...
kailita
Mar. 14th, 2017 04:32 am (UTC)
I need to watch the Asa Fox episode again, because I think I could buy into your theory. Sam tried to leave hunting several times, but couldn't quite do it. It stands to reason that Mary might have the same problem. I remember feeling like the S12 writers were trying to set it up like, "Mary only looked domestic, but that was never the life she wanted! She still loves hunting, she never stopped!" But maybe I'll get a different vibe on rewatch, knowing the story trajectory.

I LOVE your take on Sam wanting to join the BMOL to protect Mom. It would have been great if they had written in even just a sentence about that in his explanation to Dean in the next episode. But even without that being stated explicitly, I think it's a believable subtext...I would love to see what Jared could do with that, even without the lines to back it up.

"I also think that Dean shuns those who LET him shun them, and just resents those who don't allow him to cut them off." That's an interesting thought. Mom's texts vs. Dad's texts, and Dean's responses to them both, are fascinating to me. I wish we would devote more time to exploring and contrasting these parental motifs! (Nephilim/Lucifer do not count!)
hells_half_acre
Mar. 14th, 2017 04:24 pm (UTC)
I think part of the problem is if they outright said "I want to protect mom" or "I don't trust them to keep mom safe" - it gives the impression that Mary might be less capable, that she's a defenseless woman who needs to be protected. It's a catch-22 with trying NOT to be a sexist show. I think that it's a fine motivation, because I see it as one that they'd have if it were dad or each other... but you also want to make sure that the audience knows that Mary can take care of herself, and the boys know that too.

Anyway, yeah, I totally see Mary's current hunting as both "unable to stop hunting, despite her desire to do so" - both because of hunting itself and because her boys are hunters. I mean, she really only started hunting when they were in prison, before that, she was just driving around seeing who was alive and dead from the people she used to know. But what is she realistically going to do with her time? In the 70s, she at least had two little boys to raise - now is she just going to read books in the library while they hunt all day?

Agreed about wishing they'd take more time to explore parental motifs (and Lucifer doesn't count.) :P
marlowe78
Mar. 13th, 2017 09:51 pm (UTC)
Heya. Dropping back in, just more randomly, I'm afraid. But this (and next) ep were interesting and enjoyable enough to discuss them further, so you get the (dubious?) pleasure of my views on them now.

I loved a lot of things about this, and most of them are "small" things.
Like Ketch saying "But we already have the best Winchester" and there is no doubt whatsoever that Mary, a woman, is the best in the business.
It speaks to me that they never sow doubt in this series that women can be just as tough as a hunter than any man, even tougher in many cases. That it's never an issue for the Winchesters (or the viewers ) if a sheriff or a chief medical examiner is female. It's so natural for the characters in the show that there is no difference in the gender, not when it comes to hunting. I really love that. It never brags about it, or makes an issue out of it. It#s just... the way it should be. Love it.

Also loved Dean being pissed and angry, and Sam being hurt and they both freezing Mary out. I like Mary for being sure of her way, and she can't KNOW how wrong she is, how NOT rogue the woman who tortured Sam was. So from her pov, it does make sense, right?
I always like it when Dean is being so angry he's getting irrational and unfair. It makes him more human, more "real". Of course he is being silly if he accuses Sam of always being in the middle and being peacemaker, and of course it's silly to still have a grudge from 2 years back. But it's real, people DO keep grudges that long, even if normally they don't come out and usually don't even influence a relationship. But sometimes, you get so pissed that you just throw what you have in your mind, no matter how irrelevant and wrong.
Is it Mary's fault that she died when Dean was a kid, and is it her fault that his childhood was a mess (or better, non-existent)?

Of course not! And I'm sure Dean doesn't think so, when he calms down. But it's very human that unconsciously he's blaming Mary for dying, maybe even for making a deal with YED which she could not have predicted as having THIS outcome. Not her fault.

Also, I was doing a little "yay" in my room when he yelled "I never was", because he usually doesn't come out and say it like that.

" He comes right out and says that he means to say that they're both killers. Now, this is wrong - while Ketch very much seems like the seriel killer type, there's a HUGE difference between being a killer and being a soldier - and Dean is a soldier. They aren't the same thing at all. Dean was only a killer when he was under the MoC's influence and that was WHY that thing was so heinous and a major dark plotline."

I agree wholeheartedly, and for some reason I didn't have the feeling that Dean believed Ketch's sale-pitch. I don't think he sees many similarities even though he was just before asking Sam to go kill something. Which might lead to the conclusion that he likes killing, but I'm pretty sure it's more than what Ketch is referring to, and that Dean knows this.
What I really loved about this scene was the differences you could see in the people. There was Mr Ketch, who surely killed a lot of things in his time and is probably a really badass killer. His face is smooth, his clothes impeccable, he looks like he came out of a manicure. It doesn't make him less dangerous, but still, in comparison, there is Dean. Who has crincles in the corner of his eyes, who looks dirty and rough and world-weary in a way Mr Ketch doesn't even come close to. There is the impeccable Brit, and then there is the rough cowboy, and yet it's not all about appearance. Dean has seen and lived through things that Ketch can't even imagine, and it made him a much bigger threat than Ketch could contemplate. Though probably Ketch is the one who could even come close, since his Boss Mick is apparently not as sharp as he thinks he is when it comes to his research. So I saw this shot with the two of them, looking so completely different, as a very deliberate show of telling the viewer that no matter how many things Ketch kills, there are decades of "experiences" Dean provides and can fall back on. Even if he would hate it, probably.

tbc
marlowe78
Mar. 13th, 2017 09:52 pm (UTC)


"I still think the fact that Ketch killed the people they saved/had-mercy-towards will come back to bite the BMoL in the ass (or maybe I'm just really hoping it does, because I really don't like "the low-budget mission impossible vibe")"

Hell yes I hope! If they budge that up, I'll be really pissed at the writing-team! But yeah, I think that will probably be the reason Sam will fall off the MMoL wagon quickly, because those are HIS people. the ones he saves, the ones he's doing all this shit for!

" which to me means that Mary really doesn't know the history of the Colt as it pretains to the boys and doesn't realize just how deep her betrayal goes, but... I have no confirmation on that and maybe she DOES know. I don't know, it just seemed odd that she'd have to ask. I certainly think it proves that she's never encountered the Supernatural books."

I don't think she knew. She never looked at the gun as anything but a weapon, not as the thing that actually saved her sons, killed off the enemy that she had put on them. Also, when she gave it to Mick I think there was a line about how she#d heard stories of the weapon, nothing more.
Sam did give her the journal of John, and maybe it was continued a while by the boys but I'm pretty sure it left out a LOT of things. I mean - would she be as flippant if she knew the true depths her sons had fallen to? Meaning Hell and the Cage? Or that her father wanted to kill her children?? I truly doubt it. Though we don't know her all that well, so... maybe. But I don't think she knows the true meaning of this gun to her family.


So, I'm off to bother you on the next ep ;-)
marlowe78
Mar. 13th, 2017 10:57 pm (UTC)
Oh, just remembered:

Concerning the lack of alcohol, I thought it was Sam who spilled it down the drain, because he'd be the one to bring a smelly, heavy, probably moody drunk Dean back to bed, or if not that, at least would have to deal with him in the following days. So my guess was Sam doing it, but your idea has a certain creep-appeal.
hells_half_acre
Mar. 14th, 2017 01:39 am (UTC)
Hmm, I disagree with you there. I think Sam's long since stopped caring about Dean's drinking habits. And also, I don't think Dean really gets sloppy drunk anymore - or at least, doesn't anywhere that Sam has to deal with him. Also, Dean would probably be way more annoying without alcohol than with it.

But, that's just my opinion.
hells_half_acre
Mar. 14th, 2017 01:37 am (UTC)
But yeah, I think that will probably be the reason Sam will fall off the MMoL wagon quickly, because those are HIS people. the ones he saves, the ones he's doing all this shit for!

Yes, Sam is the poster boy for "It's Not What You Are, It's What You Do" - to condemn those people to death is to condemn Sam to death, and no Winchester would stand for that!

Sam did give her the journal of John, and maybe it was continued a while by the boys but I'm pretty sure it left out a LOT of things. I mean - would she be as flippant if she knew the true depths her sons had fallen to? Meaning Hell and the Cage? Or that her father wanted to kill her children?? I truly doubt it. Though we don't know her all that well, so... maybe. But I don't think she knows the true meaning of this gun to her family.

Agreed agreed. I have a feeling that besides maybe some minor notes here and there (to correct misinformation) Sam and Dean didn't add anything to John's journal, and instead kept new information in their own journals - and John never mentioned the gun in his journal either, given that Dean and Sam didn't know anything about it when they found it.
hells_half_acre
Mar. 14th, 2017 01:33 am (UTC)
It speaks to me that they never sow doubt in this series that women can be just as tough as a hunter than any man, even tougher in many cases. That it's never an issue for the Winchesters (or the viewers ) if a sheriff or a chief medical examiner is female. It's so natural for the characters in the show that there is no difference in the gender, not when it comes to hunting. I really love that. It never brags about it, or makes an issue out of it. It#s just... the way it should be. Love it.

Oh my goodness, yes. This is something I absolutely love about the show - and I think I've mentioned it in the way that Sam and Dean will always refer to women with the same respect they'd show men when they call them by their titles - Sheriff, Doctor, etc. They never make a distinction and, even when they make friends with them (such as Jody or Donna) when it comes to sheriff-matters, they'll still defer to them. It's fantastic.

But sometimes, you get so pissed that you just throw what you have in your mind, no matter how irrelevant and wrong. Is it Mary's fault that she died when Dean was a kid, and is it her fault that his childhood was a mess (or better, non-existent)?

Exactly. And I think part of why Dean brought that up was to drive home the fact that there's information that Mary doesn't have when it comes to how best to deal with them - or what to expect from them - or how NOT to condescend to them. Calling Dean a "child" IS insulting to someone who never had a childhood - but then again, how can Mary know that if they don't tell her, and how can they tell her if it's horribly traumatic and they're trying to preserve her opinion on John, etc. It's a catch 22 and I love how messy and human it makes everything.

So I saw this shot with the two of them, looking so completely different, as a very deliberate show of telling the viewer that no matter how many things Ketch kills, there are decades of "experiences" Dean provides and can fall back on.

Agreed completely! Well said.
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