Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Review: Supernatural 12x17 The British Invasion - by sweetondean

Oh Mick…we were only just getting to know you…but here’s a hint, don’t start talking about your tragic past, because chances are, you’ll be a goner!

The British Invasion gave us a bit of backstory on the British Men of Letters and who they really are, and through this, touched on a theme that Supernatural has looked at many times over the years, what really constitutes a monster?

Sam and Dean don’t have any clue how awful the thing they’ve stepped in is; not really. It’s ugly and evil and cruel and completely amoral, and they’re in up to their necks without even knowing it…and not only that, they're in some deep trouble! The British Invasion left me feeling super uneasy, 1. because of Mick’s death, which, though I knew we were hurtling towards, still made me gasp out loud at its suddenness, and 2. when Dr Hess dropped Dean’s file on the table, my stomach heaved. I was left with a definite feeling of foreboding as to what’s in store for us and our boys! It’s moments like these I thank Chuck we know we have season 13!

We got to visit Eileen again, which was lovely! I dug that Eileen, and I dig that her and Sam had a little somthin' somethin' vibe going on...and that Dean seemed to be enjoying seeing Sam enjoying himself, even though he teased - big bro duties! Dean seemed to be hanging back a little and staying out of the way when Sam and Eileen were together! Or was that just the hearts in my eyes blocking my vision! 

I like Eileen a lot. She’s a kick ass hunter, and a nice human. She also demonstrated to us the clear contrast between our hunters and the British Men of Letters. Eileen was devastated that she accidentally killed Renny, and the BMoL reaction was to ignore the circumstances and condemn her to die for accidentally killing one of their own. That is their, quite frankly, fucked up code. I worry for her. I’ll be mad if they kill her off camera, because it’s nice to know she’s out there, maybe Skypeing with Sam every once in a while!

I had actually grown to like Mick, he added an interesting layer and a complexity to the British Men of Letters, and I think the brothers were growing to warily trust Mick - or at least not distrust him wholly. Mick’s exposure to the Winchesters reignited his humanity as he began to see there was a different way to get the job done. He had been brainwashed from an early age. Grabbed off the streets - a homeless kid given a home - easily influenced and trained - eager to work hard and do well - thankful for being given somewhere to live with people who appeared interested in him. I feel like he was chosen for the fight to the death with his friend, because the BMoL saw something "special" in him, something they could nurture and use, a ruthlessness, a desire to do whatever it takes to be appreciated and accepted, to follow the rules to the letter. Maybe, after being thrown aside by his family, he equated that attention with love and would do anything to ensure he received it. I feel like not everyone would be given the task of killing their friend, because not everyone would be required to make those life and death decisions in their role inside the BMoL. It obviously screwed Mick up royally, as we saw by the booze and the nightmares, and the flashbacks. I wondered if they started when he began to let go and use his own free will...

Of course that free will got him killed - because he did see another way, a choice and choices aren't allowed when the expectation is that you follow a code to the letter. It reminds me of the angels and how those like Uriel followed orders no questions asked, because that's what they did, that’s what they always did, and it was not their place to ask why, or question what they were being asked to do - just to do it. This is how the BMoL works.

Mick like so many before him, changed how he saw himself and his world from being around Sam and Dean - the brothers are damn good humans, sympathetic, empathetic, loyal, brave and thoughtful, their awesomeness can’t help but rub off on others! But that more often than not, does cause other people/entities some problems, because they are faced with challenging how they have perceived the world, themselves and their situation, they are forced to reevaluate their path - which is never an easy thing.

I’m sad Mick died. He could have been a good guy, given the chance. The BMoL will be less for the loss of him. He gave them light and shade.

I think everything that we saw happening with Ketch was super interesting, because I think we saw the first cracks in his stiff upper lip armour. Without a doubt, Ketch likes Mary. He’s asked her out for a drink before, and he's casually flirted. But I think he also respects her as a hunter, and as a killer. When she said that their romp in the hay didn’t mean anything, and he agreed of course not, you could see, that really, to him it did mean something…at least a little…even if he doesn’t even admit it to himself.

I also think it was super interesting that Ketch used the term “survivors” when talking about himself and Mick - that they went to school together and are not friends, but survivors - and when Mary makes the major in murder, minor in mayhem joke - you can see Ketch doesn’t find that funny - it fake agrees, but it seems to cut into him, and make him momentarily thoughtful. Thinking of himself as a survivor of the system that created him is not how you’d imagine Ketch would think. Mick said he was thankful to the BMoL for giving him a home, and yet Ketch considers himself a survivor of his upbringing. I do wonder what Ketch’s background is - what’s his backstory, how did he find his way into Kendricks?

I don’t think Ketch liked killing Mick. I think he did it because, either that was the order discussed before Mick arrived, or he knew that was what was expected of him in the moment as his duty. But though the act was cold and calculated in its execution, Ketch's look afterwards was not that of someone who had no feelings on the matter. He nods to Hess and looks down with almost a touch of regret on his face.

It’s going to be interesting to see how he goes with the kill all the hunters orders. I don’t think he’d hesitate with Sam and Dean, (though I think he mistakenly saw Dean as a kindred spirit), he sees the brothers as renegades, and would happily dispatch them, but I do wonder how he would feel about killing Mary. No matter how hard he’s tried, he can physically separate her from her sons, but not emotionally - as she tells him on more than one occasion. I think he would kill her, not because he’s a sociopath and doesn’t have any emotion, but because that is how he’s been trained. But I don’t think he’d take any pleasure in it. Whether Kendricks saw in young Ketch the streak that turned him into the creature he is now and nurtured it, or whether they actually turned him into this…I hope we find out. 

The BMoL are evil bastards. They think they'e better than everyone else. They think their way is the only way to win a war they seem to think is raging. Of course arrogance and hubris has been the downfall of many in Supernatural - and I expect it will be their undoing too. I do think it’s interesting that Dr Hess said that she had been tasked by the other elders - which means she’s an elder, and I don’t think she looked like she'd aged from when the Mick was in school to present day…which could have just been a make-up thing, but it makes me even more suspicious about these elders and what/who they are, and how elder they are! There’s something super fishy with all this elder stuff! Remember Magnus and how he used magic to remain young? Also…I think Toni wasn't a rogue agent, I think she was most definitely obeying orders.

We also found out more about Kelly and her Nephilin baby and Dagon and her mental telepathy connection with Lucifer. I wonder how Kelly feels about it all now that she knows no matter what, she won’t survive to see her baby, because birthing a Nephilim means certain death. So she won’t be able to nurture the child, maybe change his course away from being the child of the devil, to being a child of a human. That will never happen - because she won’t be around to guide him towards good instead of evil. How will this affect her decision - will this make her ask for help? 

The Lucifer and Crowley show goes on. I can’t believe that Crowley is so dumb to whole heartedly believe he has Lucifer right where he wants him, though if arrogance and hubris is a theme we are revisiting, maybe this is what Crowley is suffering from and it will be his undoing - but I’m hoping that instead, he really is ten steps ahead of Lucifer and that we’ve only seen step one. Whatever happens, like I keep saying, it’s all going to go tits up for Crowley for sure. I really can’t wait for the brothers to find out that Lucifer is not in the cage. Lord, there's going to be fallout. Also, that tongue licking the floor scene squicked me out! Ewww to every aspect of it - including the close up.

There were some really interesting shots choices and framing in this episode when it came to the brothers, that seemed to highlight and reinforce the unity of our dynamic duo. From the awesome opening scene in the car, where they Skyped with Eileen - shot from below the dash - ala the scenes in Baby, the two of them in frame as Dean drove (that Skype scene was so great), to when they arrived at the bunker to find Mick - walking down the stairs together, talking, carrying their groceries/dinner, and then sitting side by side on the edge of the table, calmly, as Mick raged in front of them - their shoulders actually touching - talking once again in “we”. Then the morning after, sitting at the breakfast table, facing Mick across the other side of the room, both leaning into the table like a mirror image. To the final scene, as they sat drinking coffee in the bunker library, the lights glowing, a definite homey feel to the room. Every scene seemed to reinforce both the togetherness of the brothers, and also their separatness from everyone else - like we are supposed to see how they stand alone, together in opposition to the evil force plotting their demise. Part of the reason I found Dr Hess discussing eliminating the brothers so disturbing was because the scene of Hess talking about killing the Winchesters, was juxtaposed against the warm, harmonious, domestic scene in the bunker - Sam and Dean absolutely unaware that Mick is dead and what is coming for them. It totally jolted through my body. I got such a strong sense of the brothers’ solidarity in all these scenes.

And finally, finally - we get the return of the Colt. Thank goodness! As any conversation around this gun, if happened, happened offscreen, we can only guess at what Dean does and doesn’t know about how it came back into their orbit. But what I appreciated a helluva lot was that its return was a happy scene, a beautiful reunion with Dean and the prized gun, the gun he used to kill the thing that killed their (now alive), mum. There was no drama, no where did this come from - and though he didn’t appear to know what was wrapped in the cloth as Sam handed it to him, when he uncovered it, there was nothing but happiness on Dean’s face at the sight of the Colt - which made me think he knew it was back in play, even if he didn’t realise that’s what Sam was handing to him. And I 100% think Sam got Mick to bring the gun, not just to kill Dagon (or attempt to), but also to get the Colt back into the Winchester’s hands, where it rightfully belongs. That gun was never going back to the BMoL. Like ever! This scene was such a treat, an absolute delight - I love the way the show handled it. Now, if we can just get Mary to give the boys back John’s Journal…

The British Invasion set up a powerful us and them picture between the Winchesters (and I guess all American hunters) and the British Men of Letters. If there was ever an alliance, it was already faltering by the time the failed Kelly grab went down. The differences in their philosophies when it comes to monsters, victims and hunting, was already starting to look insurmountable. Will the BMoL still try to feed the brothers cases, as a trap - or have Sam and Dean already decided that the minute, I mean the second has come and gone, and will distance themselves from anything to do with the evil bastards? Will they change the locks on the Bunker? They should really get onto that!

Sorry I was late….until next ep, thanks for reading!



  1. I always enjoy your reviews. Thanks for taking the time to do them. I love this show. I choose to ignore the negatives out there. That is why I enjoy your reviews so much. I sure hope they write Crowley smarter this time. Plus, I really, really hope Mary takes out ketch. I guess we'll see.

    1. I wonder! It'll be interesting to see what happens with him for sure! Thanks for your comment!

  2. did you ever notice that Lady Toni showed up before Dean stopped Amara. Sam came straight home after the sun had lit back up again...so given that it takes what, around 5 or 6 hrs to fly from England to the US...Toni would've had to have left for America before Dean met up with Amara...given that, if the BMOL weren't certain that the Winchesters would in fact stop the Darkness, why bother coming to America at all? They would all be dead. What's the point of coming after a Winchester then? Seems to me whoever wanted the Winchesters involved in the first place, knew they would stop the world from ending.

    1. Ooooo I never thought of the timing! Interesting!

  3. Great review/analysis as always! I especially loved how you pointed out the camera framing the Winchester brothers as a unit, perfectly mirroring/ visualizing the "we" (also the vs. "them"). Thanks for the screenshots!
    I've probably never waited as anxiously for the saying "hubris comes before the fall" to come true in a TV-show as I do for the BMoL now.
    Sam&Dean being built up as such a well working team, comfortable with each other's trust, doesn't bode well for our poor hearts (cause when does the comfort ever last for SPN fandom!)...

    1. Hahaha! I feel the same! They are so close right now, getting on great, working great together, I feel like we're heading somewhere real bad!

  4. The code seems to say that anyone who kills a Man of Letters must be killed. What happens when a Man of Letters kills another Man of Letters, as Ketch killed Mick? The boys are Men of Letters, too. Seems suicidal for the Men of Letters to start killing each other, endless killing until the last one is left.