I don’t normally review individual episodes, but as my reviews of the previous seasons suggest, I love Jody Mills, Alex, and Donna Hanscum, and after last night, I love Claire Novak, Patience, and even poor Kaia, too.
Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers…. You’ve been warned, so read on but I spoil the crap out of a lot. Even the ending which you really don’t want to be spoiled. Trust me.
This might be more of a post game analysis than a review, so if you haven’t seen it, this won’t mean much to you.
Right off the bat, this show has me just with the “Then” portion where they show the flashbacks that have led us to our current episode. The music used was “I Am the Fire” by Halestorm and I cannot think of a more perfect song for this show – needless to say, I downloaded the song off of iTunes after my second viewing of the backdoor pilot episode. Starting with Jody telling Alex that she will be whatever Alex needs, I’m in tears and we’re still just watching what happened before this episode even starts.
Wayward Sisters starts off with Claire rescuing a young girl from some werewolves that were clearly the bad kind of werewolves. This scene is super important, because it shows us that Claire is a capable hunter, and pretty funny. The package that has his name on it, is for Mr Werewolf and that really cracked me up. She takes out three werewolves with skill and much weaponry. Claire’s insistence on being a hunter has long been something that defined her, but until now, she hasn’t been shown to be a fighter. Knowing she can actually kick some ass was wonderful to see.
Jody calling her home had me in tears, not just because of the throwback line of the boys are hunting and we haven’t heard from them in a few days, but also because of Kim Rhodes’ delivery. She made the words her own, while also showing us how much she loves and needs Claire. She calls Claire home and I wish I could go help them, too.
Claire is a great character but is by no means perfect – she gets home, cops an attitude with Patience pretty much immediately, and then gives Alex a hard time about wanting to be a nurse instead of a hunter. Ok, Claire, so you are the only one that gets to chart her own destiny? If we have to honor your choices, then you can shut the fuck up about Alex’s decisions.
That said, she and Alex get along in a fun, somewhat kindly antagonistic way. Clearly, they’ve become true siblings – sisters, if we want to reference the title, and I do. Claire sees Alex at the hospital and makes fun of her scrubs, while Alex calls Claire “Biker Barbie” – which Claire takes as a compliment. Alex shows a willingness to help Claire and an accurate idea of exactly how Claire reacted to Patience having a vision of Claire’s death. I couldn’t love Alex more, and on a purely superficial note Katherine Ramdeen is so beautiful she hurts to look at. Later when Patience accusingly tells her that Jody’s burying a monster in the backyard, I love Alex all the more for saying, “Gotta bury ’em somewhere.”
Her nonchalance at this and the monster dissection shows the type of strength she brings to the team. She isn’t easily grossed out – as I reminded my husband, she was raised by vampires who disposed of bodies via wood chipper, so she is not going to be grossed out by much. Claire tells Alex at one point that she left so Jody wouldn’t have to worry, and Alex, so far the realist of the show, said, “She never stopped.” Perfect moment. Just because you can’t see the worry, doesn’t mean it ceases to exist.
The cadence and pacing of the show felt very true to most Supernatural episodes, which I really appreciated. While we don’t see much of Sam and Dean in the Bad Place, Dean eating lizard over a campfire is one of my new favorite brotherly moments.
“Don’t tell me it tastes like chicken.”
“No, Sam, it’s a lizard. It tastes like a lizard.” I guess we know how Dean survived in Purgatory.
That said, the part of the show where the hooded figure kicks both of their asses felt very wrong to me. Seriously? They can’t fight back against a girl with a fucking stick? Also, how exactly did the girl with a stick tie up two unconscious, fully grown, massively tall men? It’s not like they woke up on the ground, they were tied to posts while standing. Sam’s 6’4″ and Dean is 6’2″ and that little slip of thing carried them and then tied them to posts? You couldn’t come up with anything more believable? This type of crap frustrates me because either they are the greatest fighters and hunters in the world – after all they took out how many elite soldiers in season 12? – but yet, one girl armed with a lance can get the drop on them? Whatever, writers. Super lame.
What wasn’t lame was the rest of the episode – Patience tries to leave and go back to her normal life, but another vision of destruction stops her. I have to say I took her father’s words to mean that once she starts down the hunter’s path, there isn’t a good way out, as opposed to never come back here ever again, but maybe that’s just me. Anyway, I really adore Patience because she takes Claire’s hostility and is able to not only stand against it, but she delivers a wonderful “I told you so” to Claire.
Claire’s awesome, but she’s as flawed as Dean (who is also awesome). Also, Alex the younger sibling wants a normal life, while the hot headed, older sibling hunter doesn’t understand that. Sound familiar? Wonderful parallels to early Sam and Dean here. (This isn’t my observation, but my husband’s, but he’s super accurate.)
Kaia is a humanizing element to Claire’s hotheadedness and impulsivity, and watching them compare scars served not only as a bonding point, but also shows us that Claire has hunted ghouls and vampires in addition to werewolves, and clearly survived the encounters. Also, her tripping and bashing her head against a doorknob was another moment where Claire’s sense of humor got to show through her attitude and bravado. More of Claire being funny, please.
Kaia is also the one that Claire shares that dying didn’t really phase her because as long as it is while she’s hunting, she dies for a good cause and because she’s helping to make the world a better place. It also must not be too terrifying when you know that heaven is real. However, knowing it is going to actually happen really does scare her – and she steps up to save Sam and Dean anyway. Because that’s what heroes do and she knows they’d do it for her. Kaia agreeing to go with Claire to a place of her nightmares, a place she hates so much she used drugs to escape from sleeping is also unbelievably heroic, too. I love these two so much.
I’m a little too happy with this episode and a little bit too excited about the potential for a series. As a general rule, I’m not a huge fan of backdoor pilots. Usually, they steal attention from the main characters and feel contrived. This backdoor pilot flowed with the universe really well. Honestly, while it’s a great pilot in and of itself, it’s also an excellent episode of Supernatural, too. It manages to be new and interesting (like most of Supernatural season 13) while still expanding the world we already know and love. For contrast, I watched “Bloodlines” once and have never bothered repeating the experience. Awful, awful pilot. Like, were they trying to make it as horrible as possible?
That said, and this is a major fucking spoiler so turn away now because its a doozy – Kaia fucking dies (because of course, I love you Supernatural, but you really are “women in refrigerators” a little too fucking much for my tastes) and then we find out the hooded figure is the “Bad Place’s” Kaia. Who apparently can open dimensional rifts? Cool concept, but I really adored the sweet and kind Kaia that Claire befriended, not the murderous Kaia in the hood. There had to be a better way of getting Claire to stay in Sioux Falls than killing off a potentially awesome character like Kind Kaia.
However, this type of ending is also a good one because it returns to us an actress we love – with a character that I hope can be redeemed because Kaia as a series regular and ally is more my taste here.
The possibilities for this series are huge and I really wish and hope that this gets picked up for fall.
OH!!! I forgot the best part! Donna Hanscum shows up with a flame thrower and teaches Patience how to shoot a gun (although, clearly more training is needed). Donna brings a certain humor to the show, but she also brings a deadly capability that I forever adore. Her ex once called her a “wolf in sheepskin” which is really quite accurate and quite a compliment coming from anyone else.
Donna is nice and sweet and wonderful, but she will kill the fuck out of you. I love her and her relationship with Jody. I really hope if the series gets picked up that they figure out a way to include her in every episode in some big way. She’s just too interesting and too awesome to not give more screen time. Also, she has a lot more hilarity than just a Minnesotan accent, and I can’t wait to see them expand on that.
Jody telling Donna that she can’t lose another kid is one of those lines that shows that Jody and Donna know each other very well at this point. Jody isn’t emotionally closed off, but she also doesn’t broadcast her sorrow, so clearly these two have had quite a few heart to hearts. I love it when so much backstory can be felt with a simple line. Much like Castiel and Dean watching Tombstone together, some of the best moments of Supernatural aren’t the monster hunting, but the relationships between the characters.
I was incredibly excited about this backdoor pilot, and the entire WaywardAF movement has meant a lot to me. I’m not sorry to say I teared up several times during the show simply because of it being a dream realized. With such high expectations, I thought for sure I’d be disappointed, but I not only wasn’t disappointed, I was really impressed with how well it all came together. We’ve got new monsters we’ve never seen before and dimension walker!! How cool is that?
Also, I love Dean warning Jody that more monsters must have made it through the rift and Jody saying to Dean that he and Sam can save the world and she and her group will take care of Sioux Falls. Just so brilliant and something that should set the MRA’s fears and the fear of so many fangirls who complained about only wanting to see Sam and Dean, to rest. The pilot of this show doesn’t mean that Sam and Dean are going to be gone – they are still saving the world, but our Wayward Sisters will make sure their neck of the woods is safe.
Can this show get greenlit already?????
A+ for this in spite of my complaints about killing off women and Dean and Sam being beaten up by a girl with a stick.