The British Men of Letters did not make the best first impression on Supernatural, not with the Winchesters and not with the audience either. Thanks to Toni and her extreme “questioning” the British Men of Letters seemed to be entirely devoid of morality or sympathy upon first arrival. Fans had every reason to see the British invasion of hunters as villains. But as season 12 has progressed, a different image of the Men of Letters has emerged.
Supernatural Recap: Sam Makes a Choice and Gets a Big Kill>>> Time may not heal all wounds but it can certainly develop characters. While it was hard to believe the British Men of Letters’ explanation of Toni as a rogue agent at first, that really does appear to be the case. There might still be some morally questionable things with the organization but as of “The Raid” there is a very interesting back-and-forth developing between the Men of Letters and the Winchesters. It is a dynamic that Supernatural would be wise to extend beyond season 12.
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It’s not that hard to imagine a scenario where the peace between the Men of Letters and the majority of Winchesters at the end of “The Raid” comes to a disastrous finale. While a character like Mick seems decent and upstanding, there could very well be some corruption at work in the organization. The leaders could be filled with sociopaths like Toni and Ketch. Mick could be the exception not the rule. Even assuming there is no corruption, Sam is not going to be too pleased when he finds out that Magda was killed. Hopefully Supernatural will not go the easy and predictable route and turn the British Men of Letters back into straight villains.
In “The Raid” Supernatural really presents the British Men of Letters as an alternative to the Winchesters. They aren’t better or worse than Sam and Dean, they are simply different. Sam and Mary don’t appear to be foolish or wrong for wanting to side with the Men of Letters and neither does Dean for having such a clear bias. There is no black and white here and that is a conflict that Supernatural doesn’t often tackle.
Supernatural has seen hunters go mad before with some bloodlust. Gordon Walker is probably one of the prominent examples but it is rare that Sam and Dean go up against someone that is not a monster. Sam and Dean have always been portrayed as in the right when it comes to hunting. The show has never made a habit of questioning Sam and Dean’s actions. The Men of Letters, however, do that for the Winchesters and the audience.
There is something seductive and logical about the Men of Letters’ approach as much as there is something sensible in saying they are too heartless in their actions. It’s not a good vs. bad, black vs. white issue between Mick’s mentality of hunting and Dean’s, it’s a gray area. No one is truly right and no one is truly wrong. It’s a complicated sticky issue and 12 seasons into Supernatural, it’s about time the show got a little bit more complex in its morality.
The British Men of Letters don’t just add a new dimension the conversation, they quite simply just add characters. It is rather ridiculous that 12 seasons into the show and no matter how gigantic the threats the boys face, the team is the same four to five faces. Ever since about season 6 and 7, Supernatural has whittled down their supporting cast to basically just Crowley, Rowena and Castiel. While the show should always come back to (and be about) Sam and Dean it really wouldn’t hurt to add new faces.
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There are only so many dynamics and stories to explore between Sam and Dean or Sam, Dean, Castiel and Crowley. Supernatural has been a revolving door of the same characters for years and it is about time they add some new people who stick around for more than a season or two. The British Men of Letters could be the solution. Ketch and Mick have appeared multiple times throughout season 12 and the show has just barely scratched the surface with them. It wouldn’t be hard for Supernatural to phase them out by the end of season 12 but that would do a disservice to the work they have done so far. I want to know more about each and that’s a sign of a good character.
Sam and Dean’s network is going to have to expand and the British Men of Letters are looking like the most compelling and complex method to make that happen. Now that Supernatural is gearing up for another big Lucifer conflict a la seasons 1-5, the Winchesters are going to need every hand on deck. While they might be bloody, the British Men of Letters can certainly lend a couple of those hands. It’s much better to make the British Men of Letters a frequent presence and an uneasy ally than it is to go down the straight villain route with them.
But what do you think? Should the British Men of Letters stick around for a while? Can they be trusted? Do you think the conflict between the Winchesters and the British Men of Letters is actually black and white? Do you want to see more of Ketch and Mick?
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(Image courtesy of The CW)