- Not gonna lie, I really enjoyed the instant replay of Sam getting the bullet from Mick. They did a similar thing in that one S8 episode with enchanted money(?), which I enjoyed then, too, even though it made no narrative sense because literally no one needed the passage of the coin explained.
What was cool about this iteration was that the cinematography made it seem like the replay was being focalized through the Alpha Vampire himself--his retracing of the visual field when he realizes that something is amiss, and yes, the Colt is loaded.
It's like those psychological experiments where you perceive images on a screen that flash by too quickly to enter into conscious recognition, but the experiment shows that somewhere in your mind, your eyes and brain processed that information, and subliminally, it's there. When you're an Alpha your eyes and brain do a similar dance--but he's able to return explicitly to what he's seen, with greater clarity than a human might. It's just not quite enough.
- I loved seeing the seams of the British operation. It's clear where the Winchester school of hunting falls short of the broader project the BMoL (or even the late American MoL) envisioned, but an over-reliance on cool gadgets and intel certainly has its flaws as well--all the eggs in one basket, blindness based on the assumption that one's information is infallible (or useful, period). I feel like that's a conversation that happens a lot in science/technology/society studies--or just like, the general phenomenon when your perception of your knowledge or preparedness renders you vulnerable in ways that very knowledge makes you unable to conceive.
- That's probably what brought Sam on board more than anything, tbh. The BMoL vision of the future isn't easy to argue with, but I think Sam's days of that particular brand of idealism are well behind him. The toys are cool, information is beautiful, etc. And as Sam said, it's not a small thing to have created an opportunity to kill the Alpha. But I think what really got him going was wanting to fix something he sees as broken. Preventing future death tolls--saving people--but also re-negotiating the nature of their potential partnership.
That is, not submitting to the BMoL hierarchy and infrastructure so much as coming in to assist something that has a lot of room to grow and even more edges to sharpen. That's what I think Sam would be interested in.
(And where it's suddenly okay to kill all vampires is concerned, I think Sam would have raised questions if they'd actually gone to Wichita and executed their raid. But when the vampires became the aggressors, and came to the BMoL, the game changed. I'm not quite sure why Sam disliked that Baton Rouge guy so much, to be fine with the BMoL carting him off to parts unknown in handcuffs, but even putting aside this guy's act of betrayal, Sam already kinda hated him. XD Apparently, Sam can hold a grudge! The way he acted around Baton Rouge guy reminded me of the way he acted around Ronald Reznick. I'd believe that displays of confident incompetence stir dark things in Sam. I really would!
It makes me wonder what the case between Rufus and Baton Rouge guy even was. I can't see Rufus telling Sam some heavy story about some incompetent hunter that wouldn't be filtered through a lot of, well, Rufus-isms. But who knows? Maybe the came up from Baton Rouge to Omaha and was part of that mess.
- I enjoyed Dean's part in this episode, too. I mean, he didn't do a whole heck of a lot, but in my mind, that's actually how I do see Dean spending a lot of his down time, lol. He's allowed. I thought it was interesting to watch him get into that headspace where he stops following threads/acting with respect to them and just kind of spirals toward whatever cut-and-dry thing he wants. Like, he never forgets about all those threads when he lets Ketch in; he knows what Ketch is playing at. He just decides not to give a fuck. When he joins Ketch for the vampires, their relationship is totally unchanged--there's no trust between them, they didn't actually bond over being killers, yadda yadda. Dean already knows Ketch is good at his job, so where a job is concerned, there's plenty of professional trust between them. It never extends to trust or kinship beyond that, though. Dean's just decided that for the moment, it doesn't have to.
Also worth noting: How Dean acts when he's drunk--or at least under the influence. He's clearly not wasted, but come on. The guy went out to do some day drinking, came home with the intention to do some afternoon drinking, and did actually have a decent amount of scotch. I'm not saying he only went with Ketch because he was under the influence, or that any of his decisions were altered by this--that would be silly. He was fine. But I do think that it makes it easier for him to drop pretense and just go after what he wants. It's recklessness, but not in the 'rah rah let's kill vamps i r blunt instrument' sense. His is more particular than that. It's difficult to describe--but I thought this episode was a great picture of what it looks like.
- And the exchange between him and Mary at the end! <3 </3 It wasn't him saying, "I was wrong, I shouldn't be mad at you, everything's good!" To me it felt more like he was letting her go. Not showing her the door--they already did that--but letting go of whatever relationship he was hoping they might have, or whatever person he hoped she might be. Because it doesn't matter. He knows he'll jump to save her no matter what she does, or what kind of person she ends up being; that's just who Dean is. Even if Mary isn't the person Dean wanted her to be, or hoped she might decide to be, Dean knows who he is. When it comes to saving people (or making the effort to come, since he doesn't technically do any saving) there doesn't actually have to be something in it for him. That doesn't mean there's some pining, unrequited bond that requires no reciprocation, though; frankly, it probably means something closer to the opposite. I don't mean that Dean doesn't care at all about Mary and that she's just some rando to him now--that will never be true! But I think there's a difference between admitting your desires were unreasonable ("you were right all along, Mary") vs. letting them go.
- Also, I love the way this episode built suspense/plotted its use of its 42 minutes. SPN isn't always super great at that, but I think that both Berens and Dabb usually do this well in their episodes! And it was nice to see Berens do more with Sam and Dean as characters than I feel like he usually tends to/has a chance to. (Which is fair enough, because his episodes tend to either develop supporting characters or do world and/or plot-building work. Particularly in later seasons, this is the role I saw Edlund doing, too.)
* Thinking about Berens and Dabb in the same sentence makes me think of Red Meat. *___________* Speaking of things that are absolutely fucking magical. *______*!!