Supernatural 12.14 ‘The Raid’

Maybe it’s something about being in Season 12, but Supernatural has been pretty fearless this season about being controversial. Last week’s episode, written by Robert Berens, continued this season’s tradition of pushing boundaries and putting fans through a roller coaster of emotions. All in an episode that was well written and paced – and in which a helluva lot happened!

Most of what happened had to do with the ever more entangled relationship between the Winchesters and the British Men of Letters, but threaded throughout all that was the painful struggle that Sam and Dean and Mary are going through trying to figure out who they are to each other. The episode picks up where we left off, with Mary confessing her lies and Sam and Dean hurt and angry. Because they’re played by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, that means their emotions are right there on their handsome faces, and mine are already spilling over as I grab for the tissues.

They are SO HURT. I can’t stand the pain I can see on their faces. Sam is trying to stay calm, but Dean is about to explode, he’s so angry. How many years did he spend wishing that he had his mom – and even more compelling for Dean, wishing that Sammy had his mom? Both of the brothers want things for each other more than for themselves, and I think this is one of those times. Dean must have desperately wished that Sam could have that, and now it’s possible – except Mary just cannot be that mom.

Dean: How about you try being our mom?

Mary: I am your mother, but I am not “just a mom.” And you are not a child.

Dean: I never was.

Me: (sobbing on the floor)

All the kudos to Berens for writing that line, and to Ackles for delivering it with three decades full of emotion, because it SLAYED me.

More kudos for Dean reverting to calling his mother ‘Mary’ instead of ‘mom’. It cut her just the way he knew it would, and it said so much about how hurt he was. So hurt he wanted to take away her power to hurt him and Sam some more by refusing to see her as his mother.

That entire scene was masterful, and intensely painful. We find out that Mary’s motivation for hunting with the BMoL is that she does indeed believe they can rid the world of monsters – which was what most fans assumed. She seems to want a monster-free world as much to assuage her own guilt for how her sons ended up hunters as to keep them safe, but there’s no reason she can’t be both, I suppose.

Samantha Smith gets her turn to shine a little later as we see Mary perhaps finally realizing how much she’s hurt her sons, trying to get them to answer her texts and to forgive her.

Of course, in true Winchester fashion (like Dean’s text to Sam in those dark dark Amelia days), Mary then deceives Sam again to get him to come to the BMoL compound, telling him she needs his help. Sigh, Mary.

Sam does go, his longing for his mother and his love for her still clearly there beneath his hurt and anger. She tells him he can get out, that he can go to school the way he’d planned to.

I sat there shaking my head though, because I just don’t think that’s Sam anymore. He says as much, reminding her that he chose this life. And really, what would Sam and Dean do if they weren’t hunters? It’s their purpose in life, it gives them something to fight for, something that makes them feel pretty damn special. It’s brutal and dangerous, but it’s what they know – and what they’re damn good at. The Winchesters in a monster free world would be like The French Mistake – a monster free world that Sam and Dean elected to leave, where they knew they didn’t matter.

The BMoL compound reminds me of either something from Star Trek or Dark Angel, but I will grudgingly admit it does look impressive. Sam refuses to even sit down, but he does hear them out. And they apparently have made a lot of progress in ridding the area of vampires. (Long way to a monster free world, though, Mary…)

I loved Sam in these scenes – his strength as he refuses to be drawn in, his calm consideration of just who these people are who tortured him so horribly not so long ago. Jared Padalecki did an amazing job, conveying so much with just a look or a gesture.

Meanwhile, the other Winchester brother is going through struggles of his own. He takes some of his anger out on Sam at first, yelling at him to “pick a side,” but I think it’s only an expression of his extreme frustration. He doesn’t know what to do with all that anger without the violence of a hunt, and he knows himself well enough to know that.

Dean: You find us a case… I need to hit something, NOW!

Then out he goes for a drink. No, drinks.

Sam goes off to save Mary, and Dean goes out to get alcohol. When he comes back, he’s cooled off – he calls for Sam with “Lucy, I’m home…” and then finds the note Sam stuck on the lamp. Is that the Winchester equivalent of a bulletin board?

Did anyone else feel very unsettled indeed when Mr. Ketch showed up at the bunker? Of course it makes sense, it’s a Men of Letters bunker, so Mr. Ketch would know about it. But ewww, I did not like him there. I suspect Dean let him in because Ketch already knew plenty about the bunker, and because Dean is wondering what makes him tick. What better way to find out than to drink with him (and all the better if he’s buying)? Dean, much like Sam is doing in parallel, sits back and engages in that same sort of calm consideration.

Ketch gets under his skin though, when he says he understands Dean’s need to get out there and kill some monsters.

Ketch: You’re a killer, Dean Winchester. And so am I. You can’t go too long without hunting, punching, etc. or things get ugly.

Ketch equates the two of them, even though it makes me cringe. And really, the two are worlds apart. Show tells us that without even needing words, which I always find brilliant.

Worlds apart…

But killing vampires? Dean is down with that. The unlikely duo (did it remind anyone else of Dean’s initial affinity for Gordon, also a psychopath in the guise of a hunter?) – anyway, the unlikely duo head off to the vamp nest, only to find it empty except for one newly made not very scary vampire. Ketch decides to beat her up instead of kill her, and Dean visibly flinches watching. He wants to kill monsters, yes, but he doesn’t get off on torture the way at least some of the BMoL do.

So, almost empty nest. Hmmm. Didn’t that seem a little convenient? Mr. Ketch just didn’t seem all that surprised. Hmmm.

The vamp nest is empty because the Alpha Vamp himself has arrived to save the day (played by the absolutely awesome Rick Worthy). I am SO loving that Show is bringing back so many fan favorites in Season 12. Worthy made the Alpha Vamp a character we cheered for when the Winchesters let him live, just because he was so damn fascinating. I was sad to see him taken out now, though another glimpse of badass Sam F—king Winchester I will never ever complain about!

Before that epic moment, the BMoL are woefully outsmarted and outfought by the vampires, all their fancy toys proving not very useful. Sam and Mary are the ones keeping Mick alive, and then Mary asks Mick to go get ‘it’ and holy crap, Sam’s face when he sees the Colt!

All the awards in the world to Jared for the riot of emotions that crosses Sam’s face in that moment. Mary stole it from Ramiel? Now Sam knows what we know, that the whole hunt that got that other hunter killed was a set up and based on a lie. There is a world of hurt on Sam’s face as that sinks in.

Sam remembers how to make the bullets because of course he does, he’s Sam F—king Winchester, and then he shoots the Alpha Vamp right in the head. It was such a powerful echo of the time when Dean shot the YED, and Show even gives it to us in slow mo to play up the parallels even more. With modern day VFX this time.

That was such a great moment that it took me a while to start scratching my head and going hmmm, isn’t that convenient? The Colt would have been useless to the BMoL without those bullets, and who is the only one who knew how to make them? The guy who coincidentally is standing right there needing to save his mom’s life. Hmmm.

I don’t know if Show is thinking that deeply, but there sure were a lot of possibilities for twists and turns and surprises that eventually will come to light in this episode. I guess we’ll see. There were a fair amount of ‘did Ketch bug the bunker while Dean was out?’ hypotheses flying around social media at any rate.

It’s also a bit of a Hmmm that Peirce the corrupted hunter was giving information to the vampires. How did he end up in that situation? Was he playing any other sides? Is Ketch really taking him away to torture him? Hmmm.

The ending was a surprise in itself, and I’m not sure it was a good one. Dean and Mr. Ketch show up after Sam has already saved the day. Mick seems overwhelmed by the whole thing, his triple PhD colleague lying dead on the floor. But Sam, without any more urging, announces “I’m in.”

Me: Huh??? What are you doing, Sam???

At first I was incredulous. It’s not like the BMoL were all that impressive, after all! It’s Sam who saved the day, with a little help from his mum. And they’ve done so many awful things… Then it hit me. Sam and Dean (and Mary, for that matter) don’t KNOW they’ve done awful things. They don’t know Mr. Ketch killed that poor girl Magda in cold blood. They don’t know what “that psychopath” Mr. Ketch has done – we don’t either, but we know it must be bad.

The uncomfortable problem is that the pov of the Show right now is like the omniscient pov in a novel. We, as the viewers, know all these horrible things about the BMoL. But the Winchesters don’t. If they’re believing (and it’s a big if) that Lady Toni was rogue and not following orders, seeing the good things that the BMoL are trying to do might be enough to convince Sam to give them a try. It’s uncomfortable and frustrating for me though, because I know more than Sam does about the BMoL. And I don’t believe for a minute that Lady Toni was just ‘rogue’. Yeah, they sent her back, but they seemed more irate that her methods didn’t work than that she used them.

Either Sam makes a reasonable decision from the facts that he has, or he’s decided it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the BMoL at any rate, but he says yes.

Sam: You’re saving the world. I want to be a part of that.

I don’t like that he says yes without consulting Dean, but his ‘give me some time’ seems to indicate that Sam won’t be going behind Dean’s back as much as trying to convince him to come over to that side too. I know some fans felt that this was Sam ‘choosing a side’ that wasn’t Dean, but I didn’t see it that way at all. Sam and Dean are in a good place with each other, neither of them very sensitive to the other’s ribbing. They both called the other out for leaving without letting their brother know where they had gone, and they didn’t do it in anger but with a reproachful smile that said hey, I care about you, don’t do that to me.

At least I hope that’s what’s going on. I’m not at all in the mood for Dean feeling betrayed by Sam and Mary, his only family. Dean has been very hurt by Mary’s lies and by the feeling that she didn’t just want to get away, she wanted to get away from them. He has a hard time accepting people’s decisions when he thinks they’re bad ones, as Sam has certainly learned a time or two. Yet when he thought he was going to lose Mary, he came running without a second thought – it’s family, and that will always mean the most to Dean Winchester.

Dean: I know it’s not your job to make us lunch or kiss us goodnight. When I thought you were in danger, that’s all that mattered.

One last little quibble – it really struck me when Mr. Ketch brought Pierce out and implied that he was going to be tortured, and Sam and Mary both said ‘good’. I get that he’s a bad bad guy and he doesn’t deserve to just head home, but torture? Of a human? That doesn’t seem like something Sam Winchester would be down with. Was it the emotion of the moment, that Pierce had almost gotten his mom killed? I don’t know, but it bothered me. And a lot of other fans too. It’s a tiny thing, but yeah.

That was all wiped out by the previews for next week though because holy crap, Dean in glasses!!!!! That is NEVER not a good thing.

One thing I’ll say for Supernatural, even in its twelfth season, I can’t wait to see what happens this week! What did you think of this episode? And where do you think the story is going??

Thanks to @kayb625 for capping!

–Lynn
Pre-order our new book, Family Don’t End
With Blood, with chapters written by many
Of the Supernatural actors, at
Familydontendwithblood.com!

15 thoughts on “Supernatural 12.14 ‘The Raid’

    • So many good visual clues in this episode. I loved that Dean was wearing the red “murder shirt” that we associate with demon!Dean for his whole conversation with Ketch.
      Also on a purely esthetic side hot damn that blue leather jacket Sam was sporting!

      I’m upset with Mary but as soon as she said “they can rid the world of monsters I thought, there it is. That’s what this is all about.
      I think she feels enormous guilt, stemming all the way back to her deal with the yed. Which I still feel they need to talk about.
      Especially with the comments about Sam going back to school. Cause what caused that? Jess’s death. Why? Cause of the yed.
      Whether or not Sam knows that whole thing was started by Mary’s original deal to bring John back, I think Mary assumes he doesn’t know. All she sees is how everything that led her boys into this life she didn’t want for them–her death, Jess’s death, John’s death, the special children – – all of it leads back to her mistake.
      And in true winchester fashion, she reacts to that with somewhat…. Misguided… Consequences.

  • I hated Ketch!!! so much that I really really wanted to go in and kick his ass for calling Dean a killer when Dean is anything but. Ketch dude really does bring out the psychopath vibes or is he a sociopath? Anyway Dean’s emotions really broke my heart in this episode.

    Also a monster free world? What happens when there are no monsters? Will they go on to the human monsters next? Because really this whole thing keeps reminding me of the movie ‘minority report’ where people are arrested even before they commit crimes. Also they have pretty much all the secret, classified information about everything, even the secret facility in America which is not even their own country.

    Ketch better not compare himself to Dean again.

    Mary in this episode made me cringe when she said, “you’re not a child.” How many times do you think John Winchester said the same thing to Dean? That line made me want to hit someone (preferably Ketch). David Haydn-Jones is doing remarkable job as Ketch.

    The alpha Vampire was pretty badass although Sam killed the guy. I didn’t like Sam saying ‘I’m in’. You were totally right about season 12, about us having the omniscient POV. I wonder what Sam’s reaction would be if he knew about Magda’s death and the deaths at the secret base. Seriously they think they can remove any human in their path!

  • I’m wondering if Sam isn’t going in to kill two birds with one stone; find out more about what the Brits are doing AND keep a closer eye on Mom. I too hope he tells Dean, but won’t be surprised if he holds off doing so for a little bit. He’s done that before. I can see that going either way. I’m particularly interested what Dean’s reaction will be when he finds out they have the colt (if Sam didn’t take it back from them). The whole season has been like that – every which way and doing a great job of keeping me guessing. It’s super stressful!

    The performances from everyone were simply stellar. Jaren and Jensen in particular just killed me this ep, but everyone was fantastic. I think I might even be on the verge of liking Mick. And I’m dying to find out who these ‘old men’/old man Brits are who are giving the marching orders. So many directions things could go! Can’t wait until Thursday. Hopefully we’ll find out at least a little which way the wind is blowing.

  • Thank you for your review. I just about agree with every word.

    Mary is being promised Utopia. A world without monsters. I’m surprised that Sam of all people is falling for that. They have been offered paradise before. And all it would have cost them would have been their freedom. I realize he doesn’t know what we know but, Sam has now been involved in two botched hunts with the BMOL’s. How could he be impressed by their competence? I really can’t see Sam choosing them and Mary (who has now lied to him several times) over Dean. We’ll see what “I’m in” entails going forward. But I sincerely hope it doesn’t mean hunting with his new buddies behind Dean’s back.

    The set up…I really believe that whole incident at the headquarters was a set up. If it wasn’t than it was kind of a preposterous sequence of events that miraculously put Sam, the Colt and the Alpha Vampire all in the same place. The only way to rid the world of vampires for good is to kill the Alpha Vamp. Why did Mary steal the Colt? The Colt of all weapons? Because it was the only weapon that could kill the Alpha. Who knows how to make the gun work? Oh right that would be Sam. That whole fight at their headquarters was all too convenient.

    Sam’s decision….I am having a very hard time with his decision to buy into Mary’s and the BMOL’s plan. He was brutally beaten and tortured by one of their operatives. They have done nothing (other than the magic egg…that didn’t work) to show that they are anywhere near as skilled as he and Dean are.
    Mary lied to him about the hunt. Wally was killed. And it wasn’t Mary that watched Wally die, it was Sam. And then Sam finds out that not only did Mary lie about working for the BMOL’s when they faced Ramiel she lied about why they were there in the first place. To steal the Colt. And not only that when Ramiel asked for his stolen property back she just stood there silent. And then turned the Colt over to a foreign country. Then she lies to Sam about an “urgent” matter. She has done nothing but lie to and deceive him almost since they met. Now I know Sam didn’t ever have a mom but he has to know mom’s don’t behave that way.

    I too was very uncomfortable with Sam and Mary condoning the torture and execution of Pierce, especially Sam. Pierce is a human and an American Hunter. If anything they should have told Mick and Ketch that they take care of their own. Just like the hunters did with Bucky. It’s easy to say “good” when you don’t have to get your hands dirty.

    I realize Jensen wasn’t in this episode very much because he was a little busy with babies but when he was on screen he was riveting. From his hurt and anger with mom then Mary, to his tension filled cat and mouse with Ketch you could cut the tension with a knife. Those were some really wonderful moments fantastically written. And of course family always comes first with Dean. That is why I hope and pray that this isn’t a wedge between the brothers. Imagine how Dean is going to feel when he finds out about the Colt and that Sam has chosen his other “family” over him.

    I wish we didn’t have to go back to the Baby Mama Drama. This Winchester Family Drama is far more intriguing.

  • Enjoyed your review, however I didn’t like the episode, for several reasons and I suppose it didn’t help that I watched after reading what a lot of others said so I was looking out for specific parts. My main problem is that I have absolutely no interest in the BMOL storyline, I hate the whole concept – all powerful weapons, all monsters killed, 241 vamps killed in a few weeks, it just makes IMO Sam and Dean almost irrelevant (I know that it is only until we find out how bad the BMOL are etc but whatever that is how it looks now). Therefore it is difficult to even get through an episode where both Mary and Sam (Dean as well in part) are involved so much in this storyline. I did love the first part where Dean especially said what he thought to Mary and Sam sided with him. Apart from that I thought the Alpha Vamp was totally wasted, he was IMO a really good character and it should have been a much more dramatic kill. I struggle to see how the writers are going to get out of the “wonder weapons” that can kill everything scenario. It was the same problem the show has had with fitting in Cas without him being too powerful and they have not managed to do that very well in the most part as far as I am concerned! Another major problem I have is Mary, I have read a few reviews that have understood where Mary is coming from but I just cannot stand her – why bring back their mother to make her such an unsympathetic character – IMO anyway! By the way just because I loath how they have written the Mary character, this does not mean I have anything against the actress! So if we now have the story going where Sam and Dean take different sides I will probably have to bow out for a bit I just can’t face that storyline based on BMOL and Mary – having the brothers on different sides can only work for me if I am interested in the story and can see how it came about and I cannot believe in any form whatsoever that Sam would work for the BMOL!!!

  • Great review! You always make me think even more than I was already thinking and there’s just so many thinks happening!! 🙂

    My emotions are all over the place about Mary. I just can’t seem to stay happy that she’s here. I am happy for Dean & Sam but see only sadness down the road in this situation. And I get it, I lost my Dad when I was 10 years old and have grown up with an imagined version of who he was. If he were to appear in the present with me now I’m sure who he is would not match my version of who I imagined him to be. So it is with Mary and her Boys. And that is going to be a constant source of pain for them.

    And the BMoL…these people have been sneaky and untrustworthy from the jump. Torture? yeah, we do that. Lying? yep, that too. Sure, they’ve managed to keep England monster-free…but how many Lenores have they killed? Monsters who just wanted to co-exist in the world without killing humans? And again we’re in the gray area.

    And yeah for seeing Rick Worthy again!! 🙂 Every week I look forward to who might show up on our Show!

  • This episode left me a bit confused and really hoping that the writers weren’t going to put a wedge between the brothers. That’s just tired and old. I’m thinking (hoping?) that Sam saying count him in is just him playing them to see what else they have and know. Sam’s very smart and so far the BMOL haven’t proved to be as efficient as Toni bragged about. Mary is clearly a good hunter but incredibly naive and in for a few rude surprises with both her boys and the BMOL. The acting was great ( when isn’t it?) and I really felt both the boys pain and disappointment with “Mary”. The season ended will be coming soon and -as usual-I’m dreading it. They’re called cliff hangers for a reason.

  • I’m with the many folks on Tumblr who think that Sam is “in” with the BMOL to find out more about their organization so he can take it down, if necessary, from the inside. It’s the only explanation that makes sense.

  • As always Great review! I’m with most everyone else who think Sam is doing this to keep an eye on BMOL and Mary. Sam is too world “weary” to be taken in by the “fanciful” world the Brits and his mother are talking about. Both Jared and Jensen were stellar in this episode and I have to admit I was very excited it was so Sam centric. Knowing Jensen was deep in the heart of fatherhood with the newly arrived twins, it was nice to see Sam’s POV. And boy he did not disappoint.

    This is how I wrote in my review about his scene with the revealing of the Colt: And who save their asses? BAMF Sam Winchester, who thanks to Bobby (and lest we forget, Ruby) knows how to make bullets for The Colt. When Mick opens the case and Sam first sets eyes on The Colt, I was worried for a moment he was going to fall over. “How much more can this man take?!” is the thought that ran through my head. But even after hearing from Mary that it was what she stole from Ramiel (and almost killed Cas), Sam gathers himself and does what he’d been doing a lot lately. Taking all his pain, confusion and anger and pushing it down inside him because he has a job to do.

  • I’m with you on wondering what on earth Sam was thinking when he said “I’m in.”

    I mean, the circumstance is a little different than French Mistake, in that if they’d stayed in a monsterless world, monsters would still continue to be monstrous in the other reality. So it’s kinda apples and oranges.

    But I do wonder what’s going through Sam’s head. Is he “in” because he’s keeping an eye on Mary and the BMoLs? Does he want his big mitts on their toys? Does he need to be sure they don’t use the Colt bullet recipe for ill? And what about the monsters he knows who are actually decent folk?? I think that last one is my biggest qualm: what ever happened to “It’s not what you are, it’s what you DO.”? (The fact he was fine with torturing the rogue hunter makes me think Sam still adheres to idea.)

    I just hope we don’t get episodes of deliberately obtuse dialog, to make for friction between him and Dean. *crosses all crossable appendages!)

  • I can wholeheartedly agree to everything positive you’re saying about the episode. The whole cast’s perfomances especially were stellar, Jared and Jensen especially nailed every single scene. And that’s probably alos where Show’s problem lies. With actors that good, a lot of confusing, inconsistent or just sloppy writing gets kind of evened out, at least for an episode. I find the way the writers have forced Sam and Dean to change, adapt, evolve, grow during the last seasons fascinating. Having fictional characters live for such a long time span, going through so much, is probably pure gold for anyone writing them, finding new aspects and deeper layers of their personalities etc. And Show is lucky enough to have the perfect cast in Jensen and Jared, who not only impersonate Sam and Dean, they care for them deeply.
    Sam Smith has probably drawn the short straw here though. I was thrilled (yet slightly preoccupied) to have “Mom” back. What a table-turner! But then, the confusion started. So Mary isn’t the glorified mother with the aureole around her golden hair Dean remembers (and John maybe implanted in his sons’ minds with his stories). Big surprise ;). I actually found the first episodes’ “deconstruction of Mary W.” quite entertaining. Butbthen, from episode to episode, I couldn’t shake the feeling that Show had brought back a character without having any idea who she was/is. The things we know about Mary (the “real” Mary from the time travel eps), and wha vwe get to know about what she experienced as “Heaven” doesnt add up with her behavior now. I am glad we see a strong female character making her own choices and now being reduced to one role or the other. But having said character acting so naive it hurts, demanding a respect for her decisions (as a parent – the role, I’d say, she declined openly right before) she herself does NOT grant her children (so she knows what kind of life is right for them? What if her idea of a “good, meaningful life” does not overlap with that of her sons? Has she bothered to ask them? Listen to them? No, cause she was busy lying to them and being useful to a pretty shady group of strangers…). Mary obviously is a very skilled hunter. She obviously had that idea of getting out though, and failed to do so (and off we go with the lies…). Now she’s a guilt-ridden fighting machine who doesnt want to be NEEDED as a mother, but respected as one nevertheless. She tells her sons straight on that they are not kids anymore- but treats them as such by manipulating them (well, that’s a Winchester book thing), and making decisions for them. Her character stays as confusing as it has been since the start of season 12 though. That can, of course, be a good thing, as it keeps us on our toes; and I do hope there is some bigger picture involved here. I dont want to see another promising female character sacrificed for emotional melodrama…
    The episode had great emotional moments. My first raction, though, was pure annoyance. It was the first episode since I started watching I couldn’t get myself to watch again a second time for days. (until today, actually). Maybe being a mom myself makes me extra sensitive about female characters and mother-roles. Or i just had a very very bad early morning the first time I watched it?
    All in all, I am thrilled by the whole season’s themes, and the ever present discussion of very up-to-date societal, even political, issues Show manages to weave into a “science-fiction” genre story. They still manage to make us think, ponder, discuss, wonder… and get all emotional about it, right? Go Show!

  • Didn’t bother me one bit that Sam said “good” about Pierce. I think he’s grown a lot as a man and a hunter, and with the betrayal of another hunter like that … I can totally see Sam not giving a damn about him.

  • Did anyone else kind of get a deja vu moment when Mr Ketch brings that bottle to the bunker? It was Dean meeting Rufus all over -good booze =conversation I guess.

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