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Family Don't End With Blood

Featuring a chapter from Nightsky!

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The roller coaster ride continues.  This week we're up, and suddenly there's a potential thrill to this ride.  The question is, will we hit bottom again next week like we did last week?  Personally, I don't care.  I want to hang onto this little gem for a while and not let go.  

Everything about "The Raid" felt like classic "Supernatural."  This is the story I'm invested in, the struggles of the family Winchester.  I'm not interested in watching just what happens each week.  I need that emotional connection.  I need to feel the struggle of the characters and we got to see more than just Sam and Dean, which has been strangely fewer and farther between this season.  As a bonus, we saw how much Mary is hurting over lying to Sam and Dean and trying to get them to understand. We even saw into Mr. Ketch and how he doesn't see eye to eye with the British Men of Letters but does his duty anyway.  Even poor Mick emerged as a sympathetic character, something I didn't have think was possible. 
 
Don't you think it was “old home” week a bit?  There were the tie-ins.   I love the parallel of Ketch's expensive peace offering of scotch to the time Dean first met Rufus Turner in season three.   This is the way true gentlemen communicate, with fine whiskey in their hands and stories to share.  It worked for Mr. Ketch as well as it worked for Dean back in S3.  Heck, Rufus was even mentioned by the other lame hunter that ended up betraying everyone.  I’m surprised Rufus didn’t feed the guy to the werewolves.  I miss Rufus, and Bobby too, who also got a mention this week!  Then there was the alpha vamp himself, reunited with one of his more curious subjects, Sam Winchester.  I love that Sam mentioned their encounter five years ago, something that no one knew about.  Man, has it been five years?  Time flies. 

12.14 424 Sam seeing Colt

The true queen of the “old home” week pageant though was the return of the colt.  When they first showed that a few weeks ago I was like, “Why?  Why dig up that old relic?"  Well Sam Winchester, that’s why.  I never knew I could get so teary over a guy being reunited with a gun.  That's the emotional acting we desperately needed, a whole story told by just facial expressions.  Through Sam's teary face we got the personal history that gun played in his life.  There was the good, when Dean killed yellow eyes and the bad, when it failed to kill Lucifer.  There was the time that Sam traveled back in time and met Samuel Colt.  All those memories  swirling in Sam’s head in just those few seconds and we remember them all with him.  What was even more stunning was the spell for the bullets was finally revealed!  Man, that like happened in season three and they never showed us.  Good job Mr. Berens. 

Dead vampires is good too.  I’ve never enjoyed how vampire lore is handled in “Supernatural.”  The first thing the hubby asked me at the end was, “Now that the alpha vampire is dead, does this mean all the other vampires die?”  “That’s The Originals dear,” even though it really all started with “The Vampire Diaries.”  I was too tired to go into al that.  I really wish though that was true on this show though because the vampire stories have always been the weakest.  The alpha vamp was only the true intriguing character and even his death was something spectacular.  He will be missed, even though we haven't seen him in a while.  He leaves an impression.  

Yes, overall some exciting action with a deep character study.  In other words, my kind of episode.  I'm really late with the review this week and many others have shared their thoughts, so I thought I would just focus on the character studies.   The motivations of each character was pretty clear, but hey, what’s obvious to me is definitely not so for others.  I'm staging my own little defense of all these characters because I didn’t think anyone was wrong in this scenario. 

In Defense of Mary Winchester

In the preview, they showed a very appropriate line from the pilot that Sam said.  “Do you think mom would have wanted this for us?”  Mary’s words to Sam outside the compound reflected just that.  No, she doesn’t.  She wants them to have normal lives which is exactly why she’s working for the BMOL.  I know her boys expect her to be a mother, but hunting is the only thing that seems natural to her right now.  In her eyes, they’re grown men that really don’t need a mama.  They just need a life.  

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Before you wonder how I'm not crucifying Mary, think about it.  How can she possibly treat Sam and Dean as her beloved sons?  They’re adults to her.  The whole childhood is missing.  The milestones like birthdays and graduations aren't there.  There’s no emotional bond.  All she can remember is the type of life she wanted for those little boys that she left behind all those years ago.   That’s the least she can do for them, rid the world of the monsters that have destroyed their lives.  If anything it helps with the guilt. 

Mary's need for space was fulfilled with a purpose, and it wasn't being a Mom.  Hmm, let’s see, who was that other parent that abandoned his boys for stretches at a time so he could kill evil?  John Winchester anyone? I'm sure in reading all about what John did through the years made her think that she should be carrying on his work, his legacy.  What Sam and Dean think matters, but it's not going to stop her from doing what she thinks is right.  It's all for the greater good.  

In Defense of Dean Winchester

All Dean has ever wanted is his mom back.  Unfortunately, he didn’t get that.  Sure, Mary was brought back from the dead, but his ultimate wish wasn’t fulfilled.  He wanted a mother, not a fellow hunter.  To add insult to injury, he’s also never taken lying very well.  He still can't handle Sam acting that way.  So yeah, Mary isn't going to get that break for sure.  

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I know the episode was a little Dean light (on account of the special arrival of Jensen's twins right around filming time), but how great were his scenes with Mr. Ketch?  He seems to be a “tell it like it is” sort of guy, something that Dean certainly appreciated.  I'm especially impressed with their visit to the cleared out vampire nest.  Dean got to play the level headed one and get things they needed.  Mr. Ketch is definitely hard edged and can learn from Winchester wisdom.  It's nice to see Sam and Dean in this position of the wise elders.  

But sure, despite all those hard feelings, we know that Dean would never let Mary face a dangerous situation.  I'd be stunned if he found out about the vampire attack and decided to do nothing.  Racing to save the day reflects the hero that he is, despite his acting out.  

“Mom, you were... It's not your job to make my lunch or kiss me goodnight. We're adults. You're gonna make your own choices, even if I don't like them. Even if I really, really don't like them. It's just something I'm gonna have to get used to. Okay, Mom?”

How did Dean come around so quickly?  Does this mean all is good now?  Oh, I seriously doubt it.  For one, Dean doesn't forget things.  I think there will still be tension and strife between him and Mary.  He even admitted he doesn't like the choices being made.  But if he realized anything, it's that life is better with Mary than without.  I just wonder how he's going to react to Sam's choice.  Speaking of Sam...

In Defense of Sam Winchester

Anyone surprised that Sam was willing to listen to Mary's side of the story first?  Of course not.  It makes sense, he’s never had that emotional connection with Mary that Dean has had.  He never remembered his mother.  He isn’t taking this as personally, even though he’s still confused as to why she lied.  Dean challenged Sam to pick a side.  Naturally Dean figured it would be with him, but Dean should remember that Sam has always gone for practicality. 

The biggest question I’ve heard this week is why did Sam choose to work with the British Men of Letters, even though they proved to not be the master strategists they claim?  Why work with people that left themselves so vulnerable for a counter attack by the vampires?  That was obvious to me.  Sam isn’t looking for perfection.  Hunting creatures is messy.  He likes that they have a vision and are committed to what they do.  They need his help though.  They need his expertise and more people out there fighting.  They need someone who’s been around the block a few times and thinks about contingency plans.  Most of all, Mary believes in them.  That counts for something.  Sam got to see first hand the reason why she believes in their misison and can’t fault her for wanting a better life for her sons, even though they chose this life.  I'm sure Sam thought that if he was a parent, he'd want the same.  

I know many people didn’t like Sam choosing the side that didn’t follow Dean.  That creates a potential rift between the brothers and everything gets weird on this show when the brothers aren’t on the same page.  It’s also led to a lot of contrived drama in the past.  But I think Sam is right here and ultimately it was Dean that pushed him in that direction.  I think Dean was lashing out and licking wounds when he said that, but hey, one of them had to move forward. Sam is willing to deal with any potential fallout.  Hey, it can't get any worse than it has been in the past.  

As a big bonus though, we did get to see Sam like this:

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In Defense of the British Men of Letters

Suddenly, I’m thinking that Mick and Mr. Ketch are being kept in the dark as much as Sam and Dean.  The “old man” thinks that if Sam and Dean are on board, other hunters will follow?  Really?  Because Sam and Dean are so well regarded in the hunting community that other hunters are lining up to work with them?  No, they’re not dumb.  Get tangled up with the Winchesters and end up dead.  No, whoever is sending those orders, there’s another reason that will be the TBD reveal for later. 

I’m growing to like Mr. Ketch but at the same time, I think he’s being setup as the tragic hero.  His talk with Dean was very revealing.  He’s a guy with homicidal tendencies and the BMOL keep him in check.  They give him a focus where he’d be rogue and off the rails otherwise.  Stories for mercenaries like him rarely end well.  It’s usually kill until you are killed.  There’s no happy ending.  Sound familiar?  That’s the story of just about every hunter too, including Sam and Dean.  However, I see a human side to Mr. Ketch, and you see it with Mary.  He’s taken a real liking to her and I do see their relationship evolving, assuming Ketch or Mary live long enough.  Considering Ketch used to have a relationship with Lady Toni, it is clear this guy seeks companionship.  He certainly knows how to appreciate a fine scotch.  There are a lot of layers under that rough exterior which explains why he and Dean hit it off so well.  Isn’t it interesting how alike they are?  Yes, Mr. Ketch at this moment is a little more unhinged than Dean judging by his brutality toward that female vamp, but Dean’s been there too before.  Sometimes the job just pushes you the wrong way and given his conversations with Mick, Mr. Ketch his feeling some frustration these days.  It did have to feel good for him to put away the fancy gun and hold a machete.  It’s old school, the way he was trained. 

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As for Mick, he really does mean well.  Overall he’s a good guy and believes what he’s doing, but he has a big naivety toward the whole mission.  I think this is a flashing neon sign that he’s being played by his superiors and fed a lot of twinkly crap.  Mr. Ketch certainly sees that happening.  I’m wondering when everything goes south, Mick and Mr. Ketch will actually end up as allies to Sam and Dean instead of at odds with them.  Something is fishy up top and neither of these guys are pushovers.   I’m more excited that all of this is a great segue into Sam and Dean rebooting the US Men of Letters.  That's a story I've been dying to see since season eight.  

Overall grade, an A-.  Who knows, that could be elevated to an A if this proves to be very relevant to the overall mytharc this season.  But a lot of TBD’s were left on the table so let’s see what pans out first.