Project SPN Rewatch: Jus In Bello
(As I mentioned in my post announcing this rewatch project, there will be spoilers!)
Season 3, Episode 12: Jus In Bello
Image and episode summary from Wikipedia:
Sam and Dean break into Bela’s apartment in Monument, Colorado to get the Colt back, but she has tipped off FBI Agent Victor Henriksen (Charles Malik Whitfield) about their whereabouts. Police quickly storm the room and take them into custody. FBI Deputy Director Steven Groves (Peter DeLuise) arrives at the sheriff’s station to prepare for the brothers’ extradition, but reveals himself as a demon when he is alone with them. He shoots Dean in the shoulder, but then flees his host after Sam initiates an exorcism. The FBI agents who came to extradite the Winchesters are discovered to have been killed, and their helicopter explodes. A demonically-possessed Henriksen kills the sheriff, but the brothers then perform an exorcism. Henriksen now realizes that the brothers have been telling the truth about what they do, and releases them from their cell. Using their expertise, the brothers protect the station against demons with devil’s traps and salt barriers. A horde of demons take control of the local population, and surrounds the station. Ruby appears in the station—she found a break in one of the salt lines—and warns them that demons are now following Lilith, a powerful new leader who wants Sam dead. Ruby proposes a spell to safely kill the demons, but Dean declines the offer because it involves sacrificing both herself and the virgin secretary Nancy Fitzgerald (Aimee Garcia). After Ruby departs, they allow the demons inside. A recording of Sam reciting an exorcism plays through the PA system. One demon escapes before his comrades are exorcised. Henriksen promises the Winchesters that he will cover up what occurred and will report them as having been killed in the helicopter explosion. Shortly after the brothers leave, a little girl enters the sheriff’s office and asks for the Winchesters. Revealing herself to be Lilith, she destroys the station in a blast of white energy. Ruby reveals this to the Winchesters and gives them hex bags to hide themselves from demons.
This is another episode that I’ve been looking forward to watching again.
In the ‘Then’ section, we get a reminder that the boys are trying to lay low because Agent Henriksen and the FBI are looking for them.
We also get a reminder that there are tons of demons out in the world, that Bela has the Colt, and that some of the demons have some sort of leader rising to power.
So now we open with Sam and Dean, guns drawn, busting into Bela’s room to look for her and the Colt. While they’re in there, the phone rings. Dean goes to answer it, and guess who it is? Bela. She’s a few states away now, with the Colt. Dean tries to impress upon her how important the weapon is but she won’t return it. Again, Dean threatens to track her down but Bela reveals that she’s sent the cops out to get them. And just then, Sam and Dean are arrested. And guess who’s there to see them? Yup, Agent Henriksen.
“Hi guys. It’s been a while,” he smiles.
After the title card, we see that the boys and Henriksen have been brought to the small town’s jail. Henriksen opens the cell where a prisoner is sleeping and tells him it’s his lucky night and he’s free to go. The sheriff tries to stop him but Henriksen isn’t having it. When the sheriff says that this isn’t his first rodeo, Henriksen tells him that he’s never been to a rodeo like this.
“Do you have any idea who we’re about to bring in here?” he asks the sheriff.
“Yeah, a couple of fugitives.”
“The most dangerous criminals you’ve ever laid your eyes on.” He draws a comparison to Hannibal Lecter, telling the sheriff that Sam and Dean dig up graves and mutilate corpses for kicks. They’re not just killers, he says they’re Satan-worshipping nutbags.
You know, when you have an outsider perspective without knowing why Sam and Dean do what they do, it certainly does seem diabolical to be digging up graves and torching corpses!
Henriksen just needs to hold Sam and Dean here long enough to get them transported to a super max facility.
Nancy, the secretary, overhears this and clutches her crucifix.
Henriksen gets on his walkie talkie and says to bring Sam and Dean in. We see the brothers shackled and led into the jail, into a holding cell. Henriksen, Nancy, the sheriff, and his deputy stare as they go by. Dean tells Nancy, as she clutches her rosary, that they aren’t the ones she should be scared of.
Sam and Dean, still shackled together at the ankles and handcuffed, are thrown into a cell together. Dean wonders how they’re going to get out of this.
On the phone, Henriksen calls someone – his superior, it looks like. He tells him that he’s got Sam and Dean. He tells his superior they’ll be at super max by morning but he wants a secure means to transport them. Henriksen is under orders to keep his eyes glued on them until his superior gets there.
He goes to visit Sam and Dean in their cell, telling Dean he’s trying to decide what to have for dinner tonight: steak or lobster. Maybe both. After all, he’s got a lot to celebrate, seeing these two in chains.
“You kinky son of a bitch, we don’t swing that way,” Dean replies, making light of the situation. He tells Henriksen he may not want to celebrate just yet, reminding him of all the times Sam and Dean have slipped away.
Henriksen admits he screwed up in the past, but now he’s going to have them locked up in super max, in solitary. He tells Dean to take a good look at Sam because they’ll never see each other again.
Dean shakes his head, telling him he’s got the wrong guy.
Henriksen teases Dean, saying oh yeah, they fight monsters? But really their father brainwashed them with all that devil talk.
That gets Dean pissed. Henriken says everybody’s got a sob story, but not everybody becomes a killer. As they hear a helicopter approach, Henriksen says now he’s got two less to worry about and he leaves with a smile on his face.
We see Henriksen’s superior show up, handing over some paperwork to Henriksen to do while he goes to check on Sam and Dean.
The superior closes the door dividing the holding cell area from the rest of the jail. As he approaches Sam and Dean’s cell, Dean walks over to the bars.
Henriksen’s boss is an FBI Deputy Director. He introduces himself to the boys. He says it’s a pleasure and he’s been waiting a long time for this – then he takes out a gun and shoots, hitting Dean! Sam rushes the bars and tries to wrestle the gun away, and then we see that the Deputy Director has been possessed by a demon! Sam begins an exorcism but before he finishes, the demon smokes out, promising that this will be a long night.
Hearing the commotion, Henriksen comes in, gun drawn, yelling at Sam – holding the Deputy Director’s gun – to put the gun down. Sam insists that he didn’t shoot him.
“He shot me!” Dean yells.
Sam begs them not to shoot and drops the gun, telling Henriksen he didn’t shoot, to check the body – they did not kill him. Henriksen tells someone to check the body and they confirm that there’s no bullet wound.
Dean says he’s probably been dead for months. When Henriksen asks what they did to him, Dean angrily tells him they didn’t do anything.
Sam tries to calmly explain that he was possessed. Henriksen’s colleague tries to radio out to the chopper so they can fly out tonight with Sam and Dean but there’s no answer. The colleague goes outside and finds his fellow agents dead, on the ground and in the helicopter. When he goes to explore further, he radios in to Henriksen that they’re all dead. Henriksen tries to reach him, but it looks like the helicopter has blown up. And then a demon attacks him!
Back inside, Nancy, the sheriff, and his deputy are freaking out. Henriksen is standing calmly in the middle of the chaos, while Nancy is freaking out about the phones and internet being down and the sheriff wanting to know what happened to his men.
They hear some banging and thuds from outside and the power goes out. In the cell, Dean says that this can’t be good.
The sheriff wants to leave but Henriksen says if they go out there, they’re asking to die too. “Don’t you get it? They’re out there and they’re coming in here. This is a siege. So this might be a good time for you to lock the doors and the windows, take a breath, and maybe deal with this like trained professionals with some sense in their heads.” Okay then.
That gets the sheriff to calm down for a minute. He goes to lock the doors and Henriksen asks Nancy if she’s okay. She shakes her head. Henriksen reassures her that he’s going to get her through this.
In the cell, Sam is trying to tend to Dean’s wound when Henriksen comes by, asking them what the plan is. Kill everyone in the station to bust them out? He clearly thinks they’re behind this.
Dean insists that whoever’s out there is not there to help him and Sam. Sam says everyone is in danger and Dean tells him to let them out to save them all. Henriksen does not want to hear the word ‘demons’.
Dean asks Sam if he has a plan. They see Nancy peeking around the corner and Sam tries to appeal to her for help, saying Dean has been shot and is been bleeding really bad and needs a towel. He promises her they’re not the bad guys. She disappears. Dean tells Sam it was a nice try.
But then Nancy comes back with a towel! Sam thanks her as she approaches slowly. She passes the towel through the bars to him and he grabs her, pulling her close. She screams and Sam lets her go when the sheriff’s deputy comes in, pointing his gun at them, saying he’ll shoot if they try something again. He and Nancy back out.
Dean whacks Sam, asking him what the hell that was all about. Sam holds up something of Nancy’s – a crucifix or rosary.
Later on, Dean is getting hangry. He remarks to Sam this this is something the demons haven’t done before, coming right for them like this. While Dean tends to think this is because he and Sam are just so awesome, Sam does not seem to share that opinion.
The sheriff comes back, and unlocks the cell. He tells them it’s time to go. Sam and Dean back up, sensing something is not right, and Henriksen comes in to ask the sheriff what he thinks he’s doing.
The sheriff tells Henriksen he’s not just going to sit around to wait to die. They’re going to make a run for it, but Henriksen says it’s safer here. Then Henriksen shoots the sheriff in the head! Sam and Dean grab him, and shove his head in the toilet, which, thanks to the rosary Sam stole earlier, is now full of holy water. They exorcise the demon from Henriksen.
Sam holds off the sheriff’s deputy at gunpoint. The demon in Henriksen taunts them that it’s too late, they’re already coming – then the demon smokes out. Nancy and the deputy saw the whole thing go down. So now do they believe?
Nancy asks if Henriksen is dead, but at that moment he comes to. Sam says hey and wants to know if it’s really him in there.
Henriksen is shaken, saying that he shot the sheriff. And of course, Dean takes this opportunity to point out that he didn’t shoot the deputy, smiling, while Sam gives him A Look.
Henriksen says one second he was fine, then Dean jumps in to say let me guess, some nasty black smoke jammed itself down your throat.
Sam tells Henriksen that he was possessed. That’s what it feels like. Dean says he owes him the biggest “I told you so” ever, and hands Henriksen back his gun. Henriksen gets the keys and uncuffs Sam and Dean. At last!
He asks them how to survive.
While Dean gets patched up and goes over the station’s blue prints, Sam uses spray paint to make some devil’s traps while Henriksen and the deputy stock up on weapons. Dean tells them the weapons won’t do much good. They need lots of salt. Nancy says there’s road salt in the store room.
Dean tells them they need salt at every window and every door. Henriksen and the deputy go to get it. Dean asks how Nancy’s holding up. She says she’s okay and reminisces over going to church when she was little and being told to stop being so literal about the devil.
When the deputy returns with the salt, Dean asks where his car is. It’s in the impound lot out back. Dean’s gotta go out there and get something out of the trunk.
We see him enter the lot quickly and carefully, opening his trunk. He retrieves some weapons and we see, in the distance, a lot of demons headed his way. Dean sees them coming and hurries up. He looks behind him and sees the demons making their way to him. He gets back inside just in time.
Inside, the others are finishing up lining the doors and windows with salt and Sam finishing a devil’s trap. Nancy sees the demons slamming into the building, so far unable to enter.
The group stands together in the station, waiting. They hear the building rattling while the demons try to get inside. Then everything goes quiet.
Dean hands out some necklaces that he says will keep them from being possessed. When Nancy asks what about her and Sam, the boys show off their anti-possession tattoos (is this the first time we’ve seen those?).
When Henriksen asks how long they’ve had those, Sam answers, “Not long enough.”
Later that night, Nancy looks out the window and sees a crowd gathered outside. They’re all possessed.
Elsewhere, we see the deputy climb onto a chair to look out a window. When he leaves, we see a part of the salt line has been removed! Oh no!
Henriksen and Dean are talking. When Henriksen muses that it turns out demons are real, Dean tells him so are ghosts, werewolves, vampires, changelings, evil clowns that eat people…”Okay then,” Henriksen answers.
“If it makes you feel better,” Dean says, “Bigfoot’s a hoax.” Hahaha.
That doesn’t make Henriksen feel better. He asks Dean how many demons are out there. Dean says a lot.
Henriksen tells Dean that his job is boring, frustrating, you work three years for one break and maybe you can save a few people. Maybe. That’s the payoff. He feels that now that he knows about all this stuff, he’s wasted his life.
“You didn’t know,” Dean tells him.
“Now I do,” Henriksen says. “What’s out there, can you guys beat it? Can you win?” Dean thinks about it.
“Honestly? I think the world’s gonna end bloody. But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight. We have choices. I choose to go down swinging.”
“Plus you got nothing to go home to but your brother,” Henriksen comments. Dean nods, and then asks Henriksen what about him. Is he rocking the white picket fence? Henriksen says no. He’s got an empty apartment, a string of ex-wives. He’s right where Dean is. They smile at each other.
“Imagine that,” Dean says. I like this moment of understanding between these two. Even while Henriksen has been out to get Sam and Dean, he’s never been a bad guy. He’s been a law enforcement officer doing what he thinks is the right thing, which is probably what anyone without the knowledge of the supernatural world would think is the right thing. To outsiders, Sam and Dean probably do seem to be criminals, but like Henriksen says, now he knows what’s really out there. And it turns out that he and Dean are not so different from each other. They’re two men trying to do what they think is right, who are both so committed to doing what they do that their personal lives are pretty much non-existent. There is only the job.
They hear a crash. Ruby! Henriksen asks how they kill her but Sam says they don’t – she’s here to help.
Dean is not all that happy to see her. Sam frees Ruby from the devil’s trap and she enters the station. Sam goes to fix the salt line by the window that was broken (how else could Ruby have gotten in?)
They ask Ruby how many are out there, and she says 30 at least, so far. Dean is not happy to hear this.
He asks who sent them, and Ruby turns to Sam: “You didn’t tell Dean?”
Oh that is not what Dean wants to hear! He doesn’t like the idea that Sam and Ruby are keeping things from him.
Ruby tells Dean that there’s a new up-and-comer. A demon named Lilith, who considers Sam her competition and therefore wants him dead.
Understandably, Dean is pissed that Sam knew about this and kept it from him. While Dean starts to get upset, Ruby tells them to sort this out later. She says they’ll need the Colt to get out of this, and then the boys have to tell her that they don’t have it.
Sam tells her it got stolen, and Ruby is so not impressed. Thankfully, she says that she knows one other way to get them out of this – it’s a spell (remember, when she was human, Ruby was a witch), and it will vaporize every demon within a one-mile radius – herself included.
Dean asks Ruby what they need to do. Ruby says this spell is very specific and calls for a ‘person of virtue’. Dean says that he has virtue, but Ruby tells him he’s not a virgin.
Dean laughs. “Nobody’s a virgin”.
Ruby, silently, looks at Dean, then looks at Nancy. Nancy looks away.
Of course. The meek religious girl is a virgin. Kind of a cliché!
Dean is a little flummoxed that Nancy’s a virgin.
Nancy asks what she can do. Ruby tells her to hold still while she cuts her heart out of her chest! Dean gets angry. Ruby says she’s offering a solution, but Dean says she’s offering to kill somebody.
Ruby asks what they think will happen to this girl once the demon gets in – they’ll all die.
Nancy pipes up while the others argue. Nancy asks if this will save all those people out there. Ruby says if their bodies are okay, yeah. Nancy says she’ll do it but everyone else protests.
Henriksen says they don’t sacrifice people. “We do that, we’re no better than them.”
He and Dean have an Eye Contact Moment.
Ruby says they don’t have a choice. She turns to Sam and says that he knows she’s right. Dean looks at him, asking him to tell Ruby this isn’t right.
“It’s my decision,” Nancy says.
“Stop!” Dean yells. “Nobody kill any virgins!”
He pulls Sam aside to talk in the hallway. He asks him to please tell him he’s not actually considering this.
Sam says they’re talking about 30 demons, innocent people who will die along with everyone. Dean says that doesn’t mean they stop acting like humans. He says he’s not gonna let Ruby kill some nice, sweet, innocent girl who hasn’t even gotten laid. If that’s what it takes to win wars, then he doesn’t want to win.
But Sam asks where that leave them. What do they do?
Thinking, Dean says he thinks he has a plan. It might not be very good, but it’s better than killing a virgin.
What is this plan? To throw open the doors, let them all in, and fight.
We then see everyone getting ready to fight. Ruby tells Sam and Dean that this won’t work and she leaves. She tells Sam she was going to kill herself to help them win but she’s not gonna stand here to watch them lose. She really tried but clearly she bet on the wrong horse.
Sam breaks a devil’s trap and salt line, letting her out. Ruby holds out her knife, walking through the demon crowd announcing that she’s leaving. They part, watching her go.
Back inside, Sam and Dean throw open the doors. Everyone is in position. Dean yells out, “Let’s do this!”. Everyone scrapes away the devil’s traps and breaks the salt lines, guns ready.
Then the demons charge in. The fight begins! This is a really good battle scene. Of course, it starts to look bad for our heroes right away, but between the guns, the holy water, the salt rounds, they do okay. I like seeing Henriksen and Dean battling, back to back.
Things look bad for Sam but he fights them off.
From a safe vantage point, we see Nancy and the deputy watching the battle.
“When this is over,” Nancy says, “I’m gonna have so much sex.” The deputy turns to her. “But not with you,” she clarifies. Then the two of them move out, while the fighting continues inside.
Nancy and the deputy close the doors and line the doorways with salt, from the outside. This will trap the demons inside.
In the station, Sam and Dean and Henriksen are surrounded. One of the demons comes forward, and approaches Sam. She throws the boys against the wall.
Dean calls to Henriksen: “Now!”
From his position in the station, where he’s fighting off a bunch of demons, Henriksen presses play on a tape recorder, which broadcasts the words for an exorcism throughout the station. Good play boys!
One demon manages to escape before Nancy can finish the salt line, but they trap the others inside. The possessed people are unable to escape the building, and the demons smoke out due to the exorcism.
They did it! They survived the battle! Henriksen walks over to Sam and Dean, and the three of them share a moment.
The lights come back on. The people on the ground, no longer possessed, begin to stir.
Later, as things are getting cleaned up, Henriksen tells Sam and Dean that he’d better call in. When Sam asks what he’ll tell the FBI, Henriksen says he’ll tell the least ridiculous lie he can come up with in the next five minutes: Sam and Dean were in the helicopter when it caught fire and they died. They can’t even be identified with dental records – there’s nothing left of them.
“Rest in peace, guys,” he tells them. They shake hands. “Now get out of here,” he says.
As he goes to make the call, Sam and Dean exit the station.
Later, a little girl walks into the station. Nancy greets her and the little girl says she’s looking for two boys, brothers. One’s really tall and and one’s really cute (hahahaha).
Smiling at her, Nancy asks for her name.
“Lilith,” the little girl says, her eyes turning white. OH NO!
Nancy and the deputy realize that this is the Lilith that Ruby was talking about earlier. Henriksen tries to do something but there’s no time. Before he can do anything, Lilith raises her hand and the station fills with white light and Nancy, the deputy, and Henriksen scream.
The next morning, at their motel, there’s a knock on Sam and Dean’s door. When Dean goes to open it, it’s Ruby. She tells them to turn on the TV.
They see a news story about the tragedy at the station, believed to be a massive explosion caused by a ruptured gas main.
The newscaster says that everyone in the station died, and names Nancy, the deputy, and Henriksen among the dead.
Sam and Dean are in shock. Dean in particular looks dismayed.
Sam says it must have happened right after they left, and Ruby says the smart money is on Lillith.
She tosses them a couple of hex bags that she says will protect them, for now. When Sam thanks her, she tells him not to.
“Don’t thank me. Lilith killed everyone. She slaughtered your precious little virgin, plus a half a dozen other people. So after your big speech about humanity and war, turns out your plan was the one with the body count. Do you know how to run a battle? You strike fast and you don’t leave any survivors. So no one can go running to tell the boss. So next time… we go with my plan.” Then she leaves.
Sam and Dean look at each other. The end!
This is another great season three episode. I loved that there was finally some understanding between the boys and Agent Henriksen, and the idea of the siege and that battle were really well done.
Jus in Bello is a Latin term for justice in war and, according to Google, relates to guidelines or rules for fighting well/fairly once war has started.
This was a great episode, and then the gut-punch of everyone Sam and Dean saved in that station dying anyways…tragic. There are no rules for fighting fair in this war, and when Ruby berates them for trying to spare lives, which ended up costing more lives than her plan, you know that Sam and Dean feel terrible. This episode shows how high the stakes are – it isn’t just Sam and Dean who have their lives on the line here; everyone who might possibly help them is also in trouble.