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Review: Supernatural 12×17 “The British Invasion”

Written by Katie Young

Great Britain: A nation of orphaned street urchin pickpockets, archaic boarding schools, and evil spinsters who head up shady institutions. At least that’s what this week’s episode of Supernatural would have you believe, as we got a little insight into Mick Davies’ past. Plucked from the pages of a Dickensian yarn (although it was 1987) and taken into the Hendricks Academy of Witchcraft and Wizardry…I mean Men of Letters Training, baby Mick was made to fight his best friend to the death by the shrewish Dr. Hess in order to prove his commitment to the cause. Cor blimey, guv’nor, strike a light! I went to a state school, so for all I know fancy public schools do only have a 50% survival and graduation rate, but it seemed a little harsh to me.

Much of “The British Invasion” was spent demonstrating Mick’s metamorphosis from a scared little boy who learnt to follow orders unquestioningly, into a man who followed his better instincts, only to have him killed in the final moments of the episode. I have a couple of issues with Mick’s death. Firstly, it seems a cheap trick to give a character some backstory and development only to have them dispatched immediately. We’d only just started to see Mick as a potential ally for the Winchesters, so to spend time putting flesh on the bones of his character only to get rid of him before we’d had chance to really invest in him emotionally was a waste.

Secondly, what exactly is it that the BMoL want? Sam was kidnapped and brutally tortured by Toni, only to be released. Then Davies was tasked with bringing them into line, and finally it’s been decided they need to be exterminated. On what grounds? Unless I’m missing something fundamental about their motives, the British Men of Letter want monsters dead. The Winchesters kill monsters. They might let little things like basic decency muddy the waters now and then, but surely that’s what Ketch is for – to mop up any strays the Winchesters give a pass to. I don’t understand what’s driving the conflict in this case. If the plot was specifically focused on Kelly Kline and her unborn Satan spawn, with the Winchesters bent on saving her, and the MoL intent on killing her, that would make some kind of sense. But it’s not.

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Speaking of Kelly, she was finding that being pregnant by the devil is not exactly a cakewalk. With Dagon, Prince of Hell as her birth coach, Kelly wanted to see a doctor about the pains wracking her soon to be extensively scattered body, a request which meant curtains for the poor medic in question, and also allowed the Winchesters to track her down with the help of Eileen, the deaf hunter from last season’s excellent “Into the Mystic”. Now, I loved Eileen in that episode, and it’s really great to have a deaf character who kicks ass, played by a deaf actor (Shoshanna Stern). But here, although she was the one who traced Kelly where the boys and Cas had failed, her main function was to make a fatal mistake which ultimately led to Mick’s death. She also seemed to be crushing hard on Sam, and while no one can blame a girl for that, it was a shame to reduce her character to a potential love interest who screwed up their shot at stopping Kelly. The fact she’s now gone to Ireland to recover makes me wonder if there’s a bullet in Ketch’s gun with her name on it.

And while we’re about Ketch and romance, what the flip was all that about?! Ketch and Mary Winchester doing the nasty was something I didn’t see coming, and if my instinct serves me, the purpose of this particular tumble and the conversation about having both hunting and family that followed, was to evoke feelings in Ketch where there’s only been ice cold murderousness before. This was reinforced by a fleeting glimpse of something in his expression as he looked at Mick’s dead body after shooting him the head. Now, I’m no psychologist, but Ketch has repeatedly been referred to as a psychopath, so I’m assuming that Amara resurrected Mary with a magical vagina, because one encounter was enough to give Ketch a total personality transplant…

Meanwhile in Hell, Lucifer was playing the faithful hound for Crowley’s benefit while secretly plotting to escape his human meat prison in time for the birth of his son. The pantomime of him declaring his subservience and loyalty to the one true king while winking and mouthing contradictions to the gathered demons was funny, but also kinda ridiculous. I really hope Crowley isn’t actually as dumb as this scene made out. And why are there only ever like four or five demons around at a time? Whatever happened to the ‘hordes of Hell’ and ‘we are Legion’? Plus the suited and booted servants of Hell tend to be buffoons these days and it takes away from their menace considerably.

So Mick is a goner, the Winchesters are on Hess’ hit list, and Ketch will now be tasked with killing the woman he is apparently developing feelings for. Kelly knows she won’t survive the birth of the baby she’s fought so hard to keep, Crowley is probably about to have the smug slapped off him, and Cas is still MIA. But other than Lucifer is rising (again) and the Brits are bad, I still don’t really know what the theme of this season is or how the main arc has progressed. This episode highlighted how disjointed and incoherent the various plot threads are, and just how much stronger this show is when it concentrates on solid, standalone Monster of the Week episodes.

Final Grade: D

+ Cas’s voicemail message did make me laugh even though it flagged the fact that his story line is as absent as he is.

+ I like Eileen even though she was woefully under-served here.

+ Dagon and Crowley should get married and run Hell as joint kings of sass. I also loved Lucifer’s skin-crawlingly gross act of submission, even though it was undermined by all the later tomfoolery.

– The dialogue in this episode was spectacularly bad in places. “He’s got the ‘can drink gold medal'” WHAT? And WTAF was Sam’s accent supposed to be when he was calling Kelly? And why did she fall for it? Did everyone eat a bowl of stupid for breakfast in this episode?! Gah!

– I’m still massively confused about the BMoL’s goal. What exactly is it they want the Winchesters to do? Apart from die, that is…

– Each week I become more convinced Mary should have stayed a memory.

Extra Thought: I am still not seeing any link between the Winchesters reneging on their deal with Billie and the current mytharc. Where are these cosmic consequences?

So what did you think? Was this episode ten points to Gryffindor, or a soggy biscuit? Tell us in the comments or sound off on Twitter!

 

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Katie Young

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