THEN: Vampires. New methods of killing vampires. More BMoL fun toys. Sammy's "obvious reasons." The Colt. Mom wouldn't want her boys to be hunters (look at them, they're such cute little babies!!!!!) Mary's an excellent liar. So where does that leave us?
It leaves us exactly where we left off last time, and now we get to hear the discussion that we only saw at the end of 12.13. Mary insists she's not blind to their faults, but the BMoL have a better way of doing things. And then Sam interrupts her justification with one simple question: "When? When did you start working with them?" She's forced to admit it was before their disastrous lake house hunt and that the BMoL, not Wally, sent her after Ramiel. The guys are not pleased, and point out that Cas almost died, and Wally did die.
They are not pleased, but since this is a continuation of 12.13's amazing scene, they are very, very hot. And therefore I am pleased.
Mary's all, "I know he died, I burned his body, I told his wife, I watch him die every night" (even though she didn't actually witness his death) and Dean says "good" and he's cold as fuck and I adore him.
Three days later, Mary pulls up at some kind of high-security but low-rent compound, like a more upscale version of Camp Chataqua, and is ushered in by security.
Looks pretty secure, doesn't it?
Oh, she's not alone - Mr. Ketch is riding shotgun. He complements her on her hunting and reveals yet another matte gold BMoL weapon: the AVD (advanced vampire something? anti vampire something? I've forgotten). We get a flashback of the weapon in use, apparently releasing a gas that kills vampires but not humans. What gas would that be, that kills the undead but doesn't kill the living?
Or maybe it's a giant Advil Cough and Cold. The deluxe gold version.
The interior is bizarrely futuristic and yet low-tech, like it's made of really nice shipping containers. Mary takes a seat on what is presumably her bunk and takes out her phone, showing us that she's been texting Dean (and only Dean, as far as we can tell at this point) for three days with no answer. At least she hasn't sent the poop emoji. That's a relationship ender.
And then we happily flash back to that earlier argument. She tells Dean "I'm doing this for you; I'm playing three decades of catch-up here." Which makes no sense, if she's talking about catching up with her childrens' lives. So maybe she means catching up on all the monsters she could have been killing. Either way, Dean's not buying it. He reminds her that she's been gone their entire lives. And things get uglier.
Dean, I'm trying.
How about for once, you just try to be a mom?
I am your mother, but I am not just a mom. And you are not a child.
I never was. So between us and them -
It's not like that.
Yeah, Mary, it is. And you made your choice. So there's the door.
OH SNAP. Let's break this down.
Mary says she's trying: The Russian judge gives her a 5 out of 10. What are you trying, Mary? To rid the world of monsters so your sons don't ever have to hunt again? Good attempt. To build a relationship with them? Let them know what you're doing? You're kind of failing at that.
Dean telling Mary to try to be a mom: Not cool. She was ripped out of Heaven, where she was the mom to two babies. She's their mom. That's the only mom she knows how to be. And now suddenly she has these two grown up (fucked up) men who are supposed to be her sons and who don't technically even need a mother, except for the fact that they never had one and never got to stop needing one.
You are not a child/I never was: CRAP. This is heartbreaking. Because they're both right. Dean does need to understand that he's never going to have the relationship his 4-year-old self had with his Mom. Mary does need to understand that Dean stopped being a child the night she died and hasn't had a normal relationship since, especially with his family, and he is MESSED UP.
Dean called her Mary: CRAPPITY CRAP. That's cold. That's the special Dean Winchester variety of cold. That's "If I didn't know you, I'd want to hunt you" levels of cold.
So Dean stomps off and Sam, who never had a mother to cut the crusts off his sandwiches, is left with Mary. He gets up and says "you should go," and I can't tell if it's "I don't want you here, you should go" or "Dean doesn't want you here, you should go." Either way, he's broken up, seemingly on the verge of tears, and she goes.
Let's look at that scene again, just because we can. I'm really loving this dark shirt on Sam.
Mary butting heads with Dean because they're so much alike, just like Sam and John fought because they were so much alike, is fabulous. Because this plan of Mary's is such a Dean plan. Secretly go off and work with the enemy in order to accomplish something you think is more important than your own safety? It's like she trained him.
Back to the BMoL compound. Ketch tells Mick Davies that another nest was terminated and there were no complications. To the point where he found it boring. Davies thinks boring is good, but Ketch disagrees. We learn that Ketch thinks Mary is just the bestest Winchester ever but Davies still wants to recruit Sam and Dean. Well, I know who's side I'm on. Davies points out that it's not their decision. "The old men" and someone whose name is possibly "Lyman" want Sam and Dean on board, and Davies is just following orders. They believe if they get the brothers on their side, other American hunters will fall in line. I guess the BMoL weren't watching during the earlier seasons, so they missed Gordon and Tim and Reggie and Roy and Walt. At least Show made a point of showing us earlier in this season that the Winchesters do have an enthusiastic fan club, so this isn't too far-fetched. Good on you, Show.
Back at the bunker, Sam's idly messing around on his computer and hiding his phone from Dean (ruh roh!!), who has found a hunt that isn't really a hunt at all. Dean insists that Sam find them an actual case, "because I need to hit something. Now." Which kind of reminds me of MoC Dean needing to beat the crap out of something. Especially since Dean is wearing the Red Shirt of Bad Decisions. Mmmm.
Sam invites him to talk about it, as always, and Dean declines, as always, but then talks anyway. He's hurt and angry, and Sam agrees that he's hurt and angry too but maybe they should talk to her about it, because she's Mom, she's family, they owe it to her. Dean does not agree and decides he needs to go get a drink (no, drinks) and he complains about Sam's "peacemaker shtick" with Cas and now Mom. He tells him "You're always playing the middle, Sam. For once, why don't you pick a side?"
Huh. I don't think that's true. I mean, yeah, Sam does often see both sides of an argument (for example, all monsters should be killed vs. only bad monsters should be killed, in case anybody has forgotten that one) but I don't think of him as someone who can't pick a side. It's just not always the side Dean would have him pick. But I can also understand why Dean wants someone to be seething in righteous anger along with him, and is annoyed to get Sam the Mediator instead.
I'm wearing this shirt, Sam. Don't fuck with me when I'm wearing this shirt.
Anyway, Dean flounces out, and Sam picks up his phone, revealing several unread messages from Mary. The last one says Sam - we need to meet. It's urgent. Well. I'm glad to see Mary's been messaging Sam, not just Dean as I assumed. But I'm not glad if she's just trying to alarm him into meeting with her.
Does Sam's face look more angular in this episode? Like his nose is pointier? Or is it just me?
Mary's message works, because we see Sam pulling up to the BMoL compound in a new sporty car. I miss his crappy old pickup, and I wonder where he got this thing. She's waiting for him outside. She apologizes for "messing up" and says, again, that the BMoL are doing good things, and they have a shot at "a world without monsters. A world where you can have normal lives." So that basically confirms my suspicion that she'll do anything to stop her boys from having to hunt, even if it means working with the people who kidnapped and tortured and tried to kill them. Sam gives her a sad little smile and tells her he chose this life, and she brings up college, and the possibility of a different future. He leaves his new car outside, with the keys still in the ignition, and goes inside with her.
Oh, sad little smile. You give me life.
She shows him their command center and he seems impressed. He gives Mick Davies the side-eye and refuses to shake his hand, which is surprising, but also brings me joy.
Side-eyeing you so hard right now, Davies.
Especially since Mary, who refused to shake Crowley's hand, is there to witness it. That's right, Mary. As far as Sam's concerned, these people are lower than the King of Hell himself. "I really dig the whole low-budget Mission Impossible vibe," he says, "but I'm gonna head back." Mick entices him to stay by inviting him to a briefing where they'll discuss how they're going to "exterminate every last vampire in America."
You have his attention.
Meanwhile, Dean returns to the bunker and calls out for Sam. I'm going to stick with Dean for the time being, rather than going back and forth like the episode did. He actually calls "Sammy?" and then "Lucy" in a Ricky Ricardo accent, so either he's still drunk, or his mood has improved since he stormed out. There's a note, allegedly from Sam (but it's not in the same handwriting we saw in "Regarding Dean" so I have my suspicions), that says "went out, back later." Dean's a little annoyed, but more annoyed to find no booze in the place. Then there's a knock on the door. Dean assumes Sam forgot his key, but in fact, it's Ketch, who points out that the locations of the BMoL bunkers certainly aren't a secret to him. And he brought an unspeakably expensive bottle of Scotch. So naturally Dean lets him in. I would too. (I am, in fact, drinking orange juice and vanilla-flavored vodka at this point in the episode. My tastes are considerably less mature than Dean's. But if someone showed up at my door with an unspeakably expensive bottle of Scotch, I'd probably let him in. Unless I suspected him of being involved in my brother's kidnapping and torture. Well, I don't know. I still might. It does sound like good Scotch.)
Dean and Ketch drink the expensive Scotch and I don't know about you but I could watch this man drink for hours.
You know what I'm talking about.
(Sidebar: Often Jensen does this thing where he doesn't purse his lips around a bottle or glass, he just kind of opens his mouth and pours the drink in. IT DOES THINGS TO ME.)
Dean is beautifully surly, telling Ketch that he knows he's trying to recruit him and his brother ("you've already got Mary," sob) and that maybe they would have had better luck if that cray bitch hadn't tried to kill them. Ketch agrees that bitches be cray, and he warned them she'd go rogue, and he knew she would because they used to "date." (Sidebar: Could Ketch be her baby daddy?) This interests Dean, and me too, because does it mean the only reason she considers Ketch a psychopath is because he's her ex? Is he really not that bad? Oh, wait. Magda. Yeah, he's that bad.
Ketch explains that he doesn't give a rat's arse whether Dean joins the BMoL or not, or even whether he lives or dies. But the thing is, it's a good organization for people "with our inclinations." And once again someone is pointing out to Dean that he's a killer. (Is it foreshadowing? I don't know. As you're aware, I've given up on trying to scry their foreshadowing.) "And if we go too long without something to track or trap or punch or gut, well, things get a bit ugly, don't they." Oh, Mr. Ketch. You would have loved MoC Dean. He says the Men of Letters point him in a direction and off he goes and wow, it honestly didn't occur to me before this. Ketch isn't a Man of Letters. He's a hunter. By deed if not by title. Do the BMoL have the same attitude toward hunters that the Americans did? Are they considered apelike, reprobate killers? Hmmm. But Dean's even more interested, and he accepts Ketch's offer to join him on a vampire hunt.
If you were watching this in episode order, you'd know the hunt is in Wichita. Dean and Ketch show up just as Ketch gets a message from Davies asking where are you? which he ignores. It's very bright sunlight, but Ketch says they should move fast because the sun will be down in an hour. Okay, we know the sun on this show doesn't work the same way our sun does. We've seen it so many times. He's assembling some kind of gun, although I don't know what gun kills vampires, and Dean calls it "fancy." Ketch asks to borrow a machete instead. Probably not because he prefers a machete. Probably because he's trying to befriend Dean at this point, my prediction I'm just spitballing here. At this point, I'm pretty sure Sam and Mary and the BMoL are going to show up at the same hunt and Dean's going to see Sam working with them and get pissed. (Spoiler alert: nope.)
There are supposed to be ten vampires inside, and Dean says ten to two is good odds. But when they get inside, the fortress is empty. Except for the one vampire survivor we saw earlier, but I'm going to talk about later, who Ketch procedes to punch in an attempt to get her to spill the location of the others. Dean stops him, because all of a sudden Dean has a problem with punching monsters, and instead he questions her and tells her he'll kill her quickly as a reward. She says they went "hunting for hunters."
Over at the BMoL compound, Sam is meeting the crew. Ketch is missing, but in addition to the BMoL's security specialist (Serena) and weapons/spells guy (Alton), there's a hunter named Pierce from Baton Rouge. Sam refuses to sit, but watches with interest as Serena shows how most of the active vampires in the northwest region have been killed. (Sidebar: It must have been quite an adjustment for the BMoL to deal with an area the size of the U.S.; I wonder if they're more understanding now that they see how much territory the American hunters have to deal with.) They explain that all vampires are connected, all the way up to the Alpha. And when they find a nest, they watch it and find connections before they go wipe them out. The remaining vampires are, conveniently, located near Wichita, Kansas.
Cut to Wichita (see?), where a vampire is reporting that her whole nest has been killed. The vamp she's talking to gives her a glass of blood, calling it fresh. (Sidebar: That blood isn't fresh. Fresh blood is what pulses out of a human's veins. Anything that's been around long enough to go into a glass is going to be cooling, and starting to coagulate, and I don't think any vampire would accept it. I think it would be offensive.) He assures her she's safe, because this location is a fortress (yeah, that's why I called it a fortress earlier, sorry about that), and no one gets in without him knowing about it. Oh, except someone just showed up. Surprise! It's the Alpha vamp! Yay! He's the coolest.
Back at the compound, Pierce from Baton Rogue is fangirling at Sam. Seems Rufus told him all about him. Aw, Rufus. I miss you. Mick comes over for a private chat and Sam points out that Pierce is a useless goof who calls himself "the Hunter King of Baton Rouge." Davies explains they're having trouble attracting the "top shelf of American hunters, like you."
Mary tells Sam that she just brought him here to see what's going on. "So it wasn't a sales pitch?" he asks. "Because it was a good one." Er, I don't like that. But as they walk past a monitor, we see the security guard outside is just about to get jumped by a vampire. Serena notices his absence on the security video, and then, since the vampires outside know exactly when she's looking, they pick up his body and put it in front of the camera. It's the nest from Wichita, obviously. Presumably all ten of them. The vampus put the security guard's hand on the screen to open the gate. (Sidebar: the home button on an iPhone, which recognizes your fingerprint, supposedly only works if the finger is attached to your hand and your hand is still attached to your warm living body. I don't know how they tested this, but I do know that if it's true, it means the BMoL high tech security is less secure than my fucking four-year-old iPhone.)
Sam takes charge, ordering them to "lock this place down" and grabbing a machete that's conveniently lying on the table. There's a lot of running through halls and green lights flashing red and another guard being killed outside. Sam and Mary run into a couple of vampires and Sam punches one out while Mary beheads the other. Meanwhile, the two dead security guards from outside have woken up as slavering vampires themselves, still with security access and that's odd. When Dean was turned, he didn't just wake up as a slavering bloodthirsty vampire. Neither did Gordon. (Ha ha ha ha continuity.)
Sam stops Mary from beheading the punched vampire, who happens to be the only other one with a speaking part, i.e., the one who handed over a glass of congealing blood and said "this place is a fortress." They tie him up and he tells them "our father" is the one who revealed their location. Sam recognizes he means the Alpha, and Serena says that's impossible, because according to their intel, he's been in Morocco for a decade. "Wrong," says Sam. "I met him five years ago in Hoople, North Dakota." Was it five years ago? Season seven? If we assume each season is a year, even though we know that's not really the case, but that's how the show's timeline seems to work, because it ignores those two year-long jumps? It doesn't matter. What matters is that Sam is smart and awesome and more knowledgable about the vamps than the BMoL. And oh so pretty.
Mary chops off the vamp's head and everyone starts freaking out because they're surrounded and there is no contingency plan and Serena's idea is to get a message to England, for fuck's sake, and wait for someone to fly over? And she's their security specialist? Oddly enough, no one suggests they call Dean. I don't know where the BMoL bunker is, but I'm sure Dean is closer than anyone in England. Mary asks "who in here has ever killed... anything?" Pierce, the Hunter King of Baton Rouge, raises his hand. So that's three hunters against the same number of vampires Dean and Ketch expected to handle easily (with the two turned security guards replacing the two dead vamps). But suddenly it's really, really awful odds. They go over their weapons and determine it's not enough, and the AVD is in the armory. If they could get to it, and release the gas in the vents, it would probably kill the other vampires but not the Alpha. Although... how do they know the Alpha is here? They know he told the nest about their compound, but that doesn't mean he came with.
Sam asks if they've got anything stronger, and Mary looks guilty at Davies and asks "where is it?" Where is what, you might ask, if you didn't watch "Stuck in the Middle With You." Or pay attention during the THEN. Davies produces a case and opens it, and it doesn't glow this time, but oh, Sam's face when he sees the Colt. He cycles through surprise and realization and anger, and then Mary admits she stole it from Ramiel and he gives us shock and betrayal and then just sets his jaw like okay, here's the gun my mom risked my life to steal, let's do this. Davies points out that it won't work, because they have no bullets, and Sam goes through several more emotions (Sidebar: has Sam really forgotten who taught them how to make the bullets? Or did he think here's the recipe we got from a demon who I thought was trying to help me and I banged her and drank her blood and she tricked me into raising the devil and no, wait, I'm not going with that version of the story, I'll say it came from Bobby?) and gives Davies the bullet recipe and required spell. Which of course he knows by heart.
Sam Winchester slowly shredding my heart.
Mary says she'll go to the armory to get the AVD, and Pierce offers to go with her as backup. Sam fights off a horde of vampires (mmm, we likey), Davies makes the bullets and mangles the pronunciation of the spell, and Mary grabs the AVD. Back in the command center, Pierce bangs on the door and says "it's bad out there," but not because the vamps got Mary. Because he's working for the vamps, and the Alpha just stabbed Alton in the back. And then he kills Serena. Whoops. As Sam gives us an unfortunately uncappable post-exertion huff after killing some unconvincing animatronic vampires, the Alpha tells Davies that he didn't really care about the BMoL killing his children in England, but now they're in America, and "America is my home, and it is time you get off my lawn." An anti-immigration joke? Huh.
Sam finds Mary in the armory and we get a flashback of Pierce knocking her unconscious and stepping on the AVD and crushing it because apparently it's made from a fucking beer can.
Sam looks extra good in all of these BMoL compound scenes, I've got to say.
They sneak back into the command center as the Alpha monologues about what he's going to do to Davies, and Sam grabs the Colt. However, it's not loaded - Davies has a bullet in his hand. The Alpha recognizes it and claims he's one of the five creatures it can't kill, but Sam indulges in some badassery and says "if that were true I'd be dead already." The Alpha's next defense is "that gun can't save all of you," to which Sam responds "who said I was here to save all of us?" He offers Davies to the Alpha if he'll just let him and Mary leave, and go back to the way things were before - hunters and vampires, cops and bank robbers, a fair fight. Considering how little the Alpha cared about his British children being killed by hunters, this doesn't seem like a bad bargain. (Also, Sam's low and quiet "you can have him" is unbelievably sexy.) Mary asks "what are you doing?" and Sam says "picking a side" and okay, I love this, even though it's not what's really happening. What's really happening is that Davies attacks Sam, surreptitiously giving him the bullet, which Sam slides into the gun as Mary attacks the Alpha. The Alpha throws her off and then extends his fingernails, a clear threat.
Sam. You and I both know that gun isn't loaded.
I like the way Sam's jacket and the screen behind him give this a sci fi vibe.
If the Alpha's watching along with us, he sees the flashback of Sam getting the bullet. "No," he laughs, as Sam cocks the now-loaded gun and he figures out what happened. "Clever, clever boy." YES, SAM WINCHESTER IS A CLEVER CLEVER BOY. He shoots the Alpha in the forehead and there's a rather silly view through the bullet hole and he falls over dead. Sad. I always liked him.
But if it means I get this view of Sam, I'm okay with it.
Aftermath! Davies surveys the carnage, and accosts Ketch, who showed up with Dean during the commercial, telling him that people died. "I don't know how it is in your ivory tower," Ketch says, "but down here in the muck, people die." He tells us what we all knew; that he was making a play for Dean Winchester, and came pretty close until Davies blew it with his distress call.
Meanwhile, Dean tells Sam and Mary that when he heard the compound was being attacked, he drove here like a bat out of hell. Sam asks why, because he didn't know Sam was there, and he doesn't care about the BMoL, and then he gets it.
"When I thought something might have happened to you," Dean tells Mary, "nothing else mattered." He apologies and says they're all adults and she's going to make her own choices, even if he doesn't like them. Aw, that was nice. A nice ending to this episode. It's over, right? We're done and we're happy, right?
Dammit. Wrong. Ketch marches out with Pierce the Hunting King of Baton Rouge, saying they have unpleasant ways of dealing with rogue hunters (do you have any idea how many times I've confused rogue and rouge while typing this? it is way too many), and all three Winchesters say "good." This doesn't sound like the Sam and Dean who let Roy and Walt live after literally murdering them, or who let the police take Gordon instead of taking him out themselves. say, at some point, that they don't hunt people? Or was that fanfic?
But it gets worse. Sam has a private talk with Davies, who is apologizing for his team's complete lack of skill or talent or common sense, when this happens:
I'm in. Look, tonight was bad, no doubt, but the Alpha vampire is dead. You're changing the world. And I want to be a part of it.
And your brother?
Give me some time.
Oh, hey, what? No. Just no. First, the BMoL didn't do diddly squat tonight. The Alpha vampire is dead because Sam took charge of the site, Sam knew how to make the bullets, Sam tricked the Alpha into thinking he was turning on the BMoL, and Sam shot him in the forehead. This is ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. The only reason I can accept for Sam joining the BMoL is because he wants to keep an eye on them. I mean, yes, Sam has a long history of working with those who hurt him. But that's when they can accomplish something together. Sam has nothing to gain from the BMoL. They need him more than he needs them, and they're going to use him to recruit others. I just can't.
Second, because when did Sam Winchester turn into a kill all the vampires type of person? Sam who wanted to save Lenore the vampire, and Amy the kitsune, and Jack the rugaru, is suddenly willing to wipe out every single vampire in the U.S.? Once again, no. Just no.
Ugh. Anyway. Let's forget that happened and talk about the good things. A bit more of that gorgeous scene from the end of 12.13. The excessive amount of pretty. The fact that the brothers were separated, but Sam didn't get shuffled off into the background. The fact that Dean was drinking while wearing the Red Shirt of Bad Decisions. Oddly enough, this episode even gave me slightly warmer feelings toward the BMoL. Ketch is a hunter, a misunderstood loner. Davies is willing to admit when he's out of his depth and apologize to those he harmed. They still suck, but they're not cartoon-character evil. These are good things. Let's dwell on these things.
And remember, no spoilers for next week, please!