Hell's Half Acre (hells_half_acre) wrote,
Hell's Half Acre
hells_half_acre

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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.
Tags: quick reaction, season 12
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