You know I’ve not yet seen the movie this episode draws its title from but I did see Dredd which I’ve heard has a lot in common with it. So I’ll draw more comments from that movie than the actual Raid film. (I promise! I’m trying to get around to it.)
Overall this was a solid, decent “workhorse” episode advancing the arc and characters towards the season’s end state. So there’s not a lot to talk about here with this one save that I was a little unnerved by the casualness of our characters towards the extra-judicial fate of Pierce Moncrieff. Don’t get me wrong, traitors should be hanged, but it’s a bit of whiplash to watch the show outright have the characters voice such a fate as “good” when the boys suffered a similar fate just 5 episodes previously. Some debate between them might have been nice even if one side was just “let’s leave him for the cops to find and take the blame for these deaths.” Again it’s hard to tell if one of the boys becomes a demon or goes off the rails if you don’t put in some effort to establishing those rails.
This episode also makes me sadder that the season wasn’t more tightly plotted. There is a lot of ways you can go with the BMOL as antagonists (note I didn’t use the word “villain”) but as it is the show’s structure is demonstrating our boys being slowly seduced to their way of doing things since earlier moments in the season have so clearly established the BMOL as quite wicked. Yes, as Alfred Hitchcock pointed out tension is created by showing the audience the bomb under the dinner table. So yes there is some tension in the scene since we the audience know Mr. Ketch killed that nice psychic girl while Dean doesn’t (way back in #12.04). Yet our meta knowledge that there’s still 9 more episodes to go into the season kind of plays against it. Not that keeping mysteries about the BMOL would have worked out much better given how badly such efforts were done in previous seasons. I just wish the season had been a more complex debate between philosophies with no real “good” or “bad” side to choose.
Now onto 2 canon things! First, I’m sure some might point out that the map of the midwest in the episode looked awfully infected with vampires when episode 1.20 said they were nearly extinct and 7.22 established the Leviathan as probably infecting them with bad food. Well it’s been 11 years since the former episode and 5 years since the latter. It’s a known fact of real life that population numbers are not static and will fluctuate over time. Even given major setbacks, the transmission of vampirism as shown in the show is easy enough that a bounce back in the numbers is entirely plausible. It’s a very minor extrapolation to guess that vampires have been on a recruiting spree, especially given that we were told as such back in episode 6.05. This isn’t a canon problem.
Now for an exhibit A in principles of canon, let’s look at the Alpha Vampire’s final moments.
- The Alpha says he’s one of the things the gun can’t kill. Now canon has established that there are a few things the Colt can’t kill given that it showed us Lucifer getting SHOT IN THE FACE and him not dying* then him giving the explanation. So that’s about as solid a canon fact as one can have.
- Sam shoots the Alpha. Here we have solid character motivation. Sam watched a vampire being shot in the head before (1.20, again) and his logic is sound in his reading of the Alpha’s hesitation. He’s also in a desperate situation with no other real options so even without the logic Sam had no reason NOT to fire. (I actually wish instead of his explanation his line before firing was a more succinct, “Got no better ideas.”)
- The Alpha dies – meaning his earlier line was clearly a lie, we’re shown a contradiction and in stories the audience will always gravitate towards believing what is shown than what they are told.
- Well did the Alpha have motivation to lie? Yes! His life was at stake! He had every reason to lie in this situation.
And that, my friends, is perfectly executed canon maintaining the rules of the world and motivations of the characters.
Also the reveal that the Colt’s bullets have to go through a ritual opens up further the possibility of my wild theory that Ruby may have sabotaged the Colt back in episode 3.04. I really want to get this idea floating in the heads of the show runners just for the story options it could open. I mean, can you imagine if it was loaded with bullets made from an angel blade? Or maybe these bullets? I think then even those 5 things might die to it then.
Anyway, not much else to talk about, at least not any better than Alice already covered in her review. I’m giving the episode…
Had the season started stronger and more coherent such that the BMOL were more crafty and seductive in their efforts this episode would have gotten a shell or two higher. As it is we have the usual S12 problem of some parts trying to zig while others zag, undercutting fine outings like this one.
I still kind of want to see a “hunters-around-the-world” spin off.