This was a mixed bag of emotions and events leaving "The British Invasion" to rank somewhere in the middle as an episode. While there were some interesting new pieces of information and scenes about characters including the BMoL, and some fine humour from Lucifer, a collection of, well, near-ridiculousness (unintended, presumably) were a bit too much in this viewer's opinion. So, let’s take a look.
Mick, The Code and the Head Mistress of Murder Academy
Tearing off the band aid and diving right in, this whole messy ball of a storyline was the biggest issue with the episode. Which of course is a problem since it was also the driving force of the episode. At first, Mick was almost a, well, I hesitate to say sympathetic character because that’s a touch too far. We’ll just say that he’s been developing in the right direction over recent experiences and wasn’t as awful as he seemingly started out. And then came the dreams, the childhood murdering etc. etc.
Now, maybe this could have worked without making Mick come across as just a boy who killed, which I believe was the intention in the scenes we saw. Maybe it was the actor playing young-Mick. Either way, it all failed for me: the threat wasn’t quite real and the emotional impact wasn’t quite sold in the moments leading up to or after the death of his classmate. Had we had longer than a 30 second relationship between these boys, perhaps the “best friend” bond would have been stronger. Or, if boy-Mick had struggled more with what he was doing. Alas, it seemed all too underplayed in every way and ultimately detracted in a huge way. This was then severely contrasted when adult Mick is seen flashing back and struggling, the emotions of a much more significant depth this time. All in all, it was a disappointment in an opportunity to tell the story of this character – and tell it well.
That flop aside, let’s nitpick just a bit about the Headmistress herself. There have been villains on Supernatural before: in a multitude of shapes, colours and species. Among them, we’ve certainly seen some very deliberately maniacal, comically evil bad-guys (example: Dick Roman). But I think, after this episode, the BMoL take the cake for ridiculous villains, and the unfortunate thing is that it wasn't intentional. After this episode, in particular Headmistress Hess, these people are practically twirling their moustaches while tying the maidens to the train tracks. The so-called “Code” is egregious at this point, when it allows the murder of a person because of the accidental shooting of someone in the frontlines of battle. Bullets fly in war, and baby, those hunters have their own Code. Beware.
“The code is what makes a young boy kill his best friend. When I was a child, I had nothing. I owed you everything, and I obeyed. But I'm a man now, Dr. Hess, and I can see the choices, and I choose to do the right thing.”
One thing about the entire messy situation worth mentioning was Mick’s speech at the end, abruptly interrupted though it was. As many have been in the past, Mick was influenced by the Winchesters and was able to finally break away, standing up for himself in the end. He was not exactly strategic in how he did this, unfortunately, but he died a good man refusing to do the dirty work of the BMoL. RIP Mick.
Can’t overlook that teaser Mick left us with either:
“Did you know your key opens every chapter house in the world?”
Well, you don’t say? I can only imagine how this factors into to the immediate future….
Eileen, Kelly Klein and Mother Mary
It was delightful to have Eileen make a return appearance. Unfortunately for Eileen she has a nasty new fan club vying for her head. Despite some great interactions between Eileen and the boys, the actual storyline here was, at least as far as I’m concerned, just a tad sloppy. The tracking of Dagon and her “cleaner” were all peripheral, which I suppose is fine to get a lot of information in – if it’s done well. It wasn’t. Watching the demonic Dermott delete Kelly’s name from the medical data base was unnecessary. Why did they use her real name in the first place? And that extra MoL was just deadweight for the sake of shooting someone, which was overdramatic in the moment. Though, I did feel for Eileen, clearly horrified by what she’d done. All of these imbalances in plot aside, I do love Eileen and she was a great addition to the episode. Not only is she a well-conceived character with fantastic chemistry – with both boys, Sam in particular though – it’s been a while since we’ve seen a familiar, strong, experienced female hunter in this capacity. So let’s keep her around! Although Mary might technically fit this bill, she hasn’t been hanging around with the boys much, so I don’t include her in this umbrella.
Speaking of Mary. It was supposed to be shocking to see she’d slept with Ketch, though I can’t say I was that surprised after the initial scene of them reporting in and him complimenting her. Am I the only one? Beyond that, was that her wedding ring on a chain she picked up off the bathroom sink? It’s not relevant, I’m just curious. Past speculation on her jewelry, Mary’s comments to Ketch were almost nostalgic, about how she was once built for a life with relationships – but let’s be clear, not with him. Curiously, I am not 100% he wasn’t disappointed by her statement. Not that I think Ketch (who would shoot his coworker in the back without blinking and then chat over the corpse) would be the snuggly type, but it seemed to catch him off for a millisecond. This is all going to play out very interestingly when Ketch is commissioned to kill the boys, that’s for sure.
It was a different scene for both Supernatural and these characters themselves, a rare moment of emotional vulnerability (to a degree) and as a result, somewhat intimate conversation, that was refreshing to see. Both seem to like each other and have an understanding of each other. This was enjoyable to watch, specifically with Mary who we haven’t gotten to know much of as a women (rather than a hunter or a mom) over these few months, all things considered. Thoughts?
This leaves us with the Kelly Klein storyline. I won’t linger: it was terrible and I’m tired of this plot. What was the plan after taking Kelly anyways? To kindly ask her to hold still while aborting the unborn child? Kelly in general feels like we’re “treading water” – and while we’ve had some good entertainment and other plots at the same time, after all these months, I hope it’s a massive payoff.
Dogs on Leashes
Crowley and Lucifer are two egos struggling for dominance and it has been an entertaining tug-of-war – mostly. Although I have trouble fully believing Crowley to be so readily fooled, I am interested to see the grand finale of this battle. Certainly one of the highlights of this episode was having Crowley parade Lucifer out and watching Lucifer manipulate Crowley’s speech, topped with a flash of those glowing eyes and a wink to the crowd. This is the charismatic devil we know and love!
“I say this -- anyone who does not support this one true king, can be assured of suffering unendurable and everlasting agony.”
Curiously, there was a strong and consistent use of the ‘dog’ and ‘master’ metaphors in this episode. Both with Crowley and Lucifer, as well as with the BMoL. In Crowley’s case, the dog (Lucifer) appears fully submissive and leashed but is nearing escape and far from submissive. The BMoL are eager to harness the American Hunters (dogs) and have them submit fully to the mastery of every command of the BMoL issues. Dogs bite, of course (Lucifer will bite hard, I suspect) and even if the BMoL manage to leash the Hunters, so to speak, I suspect it’s going to be a bit like leashing a tiger – not a dog. Thoughts?
In general, this was a serviceable episode certainly with surface enjoyment. Some humerous moments between the boys and the underworld show, and interesting character opportunities between Mick and Mary. And we finally had an open acknowledgement that Castiel has been missing for a while too. Time for a reappearance – maybe with the cavalry just in time, or some ramped up angel-juice. Only time will tell. Again, "The British Invasion" was more about laying groundwork that any actual plot and action – the death of Mick being one exception.
One fantastic moment in this episode that I would be wholly remiss if I failed to mention? The end scene where Dean and Sam hold the Colt in their hands again and recognize the full circle journey of the Colt back to the Winchester house.
“Welcome home, sweetheart.”