Posted in Reviews

Unleashed Review

This review of “Unleashed” contains mild spoilers, but nothing you wouldn’t find out by reading the movie synopsis on IMDB.

I was sick over the weekend, and we spent the day watching the new season of “Arrested Development” and when that was over, I was grumpy and frazzled.  When my depression (grumpy) and anxiety (frazzled) kick into high gear, I prefer to rewatch something familiar.  Familiar is soothing.  However, my husband was home and likes to watch new things.  I decide what we watch most of the time because I’m very much a “mood” viewer and have to be in a certain mood to watch some things.

Rather than tell Will I was frazzled and needed something soothing, I just let him pick something because he doesn’t get a lot TV time and when I’m awake he gets to watch what he wants 80% of the time.  I figure I’ll handle my mood and just suffer through whatever horror movie he picks (he likes horror movies and his queue is just full of them.)

To my surprise he picks “Unleashed” a movie he’s been waiting to watch with me.  This movie was soothing and delightful and funny and sweet.  It was a balm to my frazzled soul – Will couldn’t have picked a better movie for my mood.  I told him after we finished watching it that I don’t expect him to read my mind, so it’s always a pleasant surprise when he does.

Enough about me, let’s talk about the movie!  First of all, the premise of the movie is a woman’s dog and cat turn human.  Kate Mucucci portrays Emma, an orphan with trust issues.  One night her door is left open and the dog and cat run away.  While they are gone they turn human.  Hilarity ensues.

The worst thing to happen in this movie happens in the very beginning.  Emma tells her rat fink, live-in boyfriend about this night sky app she’s made.  He steals the app and deletes her iCloud (I hissed, “Oh, you bastard!” when this happened, because he didn’t just steal her app, but erased her life, too) before leaving with a suitcase.  Emma copes by getting a cat and a dog and moving to California.

Sean Astin plays the cuddly and friendly love interest.  He helps her put up fliers.  Meanwhile, her dog and cat have decided to compete for Emma’s affection, because they both want to be back inside her home, especially one piece of furniture that is very soft  that they like to nap on.  The cat tells the dog that they can’t both be with Emma because humans don’t do that for some reason, so they must compete for her.

Justin Chatwin portrays the cat, and he was the highlight of the movie.  He gets picked up by a modeling agency, because who better to strut down a cat walk than a cat?  He becomes a big deal in a short time in part because he has the haughty and arrogant mannerisms of a cat.  Whenever the dog wants to get the cat’s attention away from Emma, he uses a cat toy to distract him.

The dog, portrayed by Steve Howey, is fun and likable and also provides a lot of funny moments.  The scenes where he and Chatwin interact alone are some of the best in the movie for many reasons.  Both actors really commit to being their animal selves and this works really well for the movie.  At one point they gang up on a bully and it’s a lot of fun watching them work together with their very different dog and cat styles.

The entire cast is likable and fun.  I won’t go on a rave about how great Sean Astin is in everything all the time, but needless to say I loved him in this.  My love for Sean Astin started in childhood and adulthood hasn’t diminished that love one iota.  Kate Mucucci is great as Emma because she has an appealing awkwardness that makes you instantly root for her.  She’s a great character to watch deal with this craziness and you really want her to succeed.  And she does succeed because it is a kind-hearted and lovely movie.

This is a movie I will watch again.  It will join my list of rewatchables because I know if I’m depressed, it will cheer me up.  I’ve read other reviews that complain that there isn’t enough tension in the movie, but that is exactly what I like about it.  This isn’t a tense movie and this isn’t a movie that will exacerbate anxiety.  This is a fun, funny little romantic comedy that focuses more on Emma’s life and pets than on the romance.

I give this movie an A and I deeply wish there were more lighthearted, funny movies like this out there.

Posted in Reviews

For the Love of Paula

I’ve been re-watching NCIS lately.  The number of shows I can watch without Will is fairly small and he hates procedurals.  Meanwhile, I find procedurals entertaining and NCIS doubly so.  Below are spoilers for season 4 – since they just finished season 15, I imagine spoilers are ok, but for those who have somehow missed it, SPOILER WARNING!

There is a character on NCIS in the early seasons named Paula Cassidy portrayed by Jessica Steen.  For my Supernatural readers, she was in the season 2 episode “The Benders” as Officer Kathleen.  I’ve adored Jessica Steen for ages as she manages to be awesome and interesting and heroic in most of the things I’ve seen her in.  I still think she made a better Weir on Stargate, but that’s a whole different point.

The point here is that in NCIS Paula Cassidy is quietly badass.  Her second or third appearance, while they are hunting for a serial killer, the serial killer kidnaps her.  Everyone is panicked and looking for her and at the end of the episode, they reveal that Paula Cassidy escaped and killed the serial killer with her hands tied behind her back.

How kickass is that?

The next time she shows up, her team is killed by a bomb.  At the end of the episode she saves the rest of the cast and innocent by-standers by tackling a suicide bomber.  She dies.

Now here comes the problem – her death can really be said to have been more about Tony’s emotional journey, something that I dislike because it’s just a little bit TOO Women in Refrigerators.  However, the way it is written feels more about Paula than many of the WIR moments often do.  She expresses feeling survivor guilt as her team died and she felt she should have died with them.  Right before the bomb goes off, she looks up to see her dead teammates smiling at her – this is a touching moment that brings me to tears, but it also is much more about Paula being with her team and being a major fucking hero than it is about Tony.

However, the episode does end with Tony in tears going to his girlfriend.

I love that Paula Cassidy is unabashedly a hero.  She is a great character and while she had a great death, I really wish we’d gotten to see more of her.  She was confident and capable and moreover, the men around her knew it.  Throughout the episodes she’s in she’s funny, fun, tough, and badass.  If only more female characters were written as well as Paula Cassidy.

Posted in Uncategorized

Hidden Cats

Woke this morning with our black cat, Shadow, stretched out on my legs and feet.  I was curled up against a body pillow on one side and Will was curled up behind me on the other side.

When I wake up, I tend to just stay in bed for a few minutes while the cobwebs of dreams clears and I get my bearings.  When I finally decide that the needs of the bladder outweigh the comfiness of the bed, I pull the blankets aside and discover Cecil the Orange was sleeping right next to me, completely buried in covers.  Had no idea little cat dude was even there.

Yes, I know this isn’t a lengthy blog post, but hey, I work from home and the people I talk to the most are basically cats.

Posted in Supernatural

The CW Passes on Wayward Sisters

I’m heartbroken that the CW did not pick up Wayward Sisters for next year.  This decision doesn’t make much sense to me.  The backdoor pilot received intensely great reviews as well as gave it’s parent show a huge ratings bump when it aired.

Furthermore, it continues to trend on Twitter on at #5 since the announcement.  This show has a built-in, already fiercely loyal fanbase.  It makes no sense that this show wasn’t picked up.

Unless you factor into the equation that it was the only all female led cast – even Charmed can’t boast that it’s only female.

I think rather than take a chance that would have paid off big time over the next several years, the CW decided to continue doing the same old thing.  I have to say, that I really think that its reasons for not picking of Wayward Sisters has everything to do with its diversity and nothing to do with how well the show would done.

The backdoor pilot rocked.  It was fucking fantastic, and everyone knows it.  Now everyone knows that the CW doesn’t give a shit about quality.  Although, anyone watching a preview for an episode of the new Dynasty already knows that quality isn’t high on the CW’s list, currently.

The possibility of this show gave so many people hope for a better future, even if it is was only through a television show.  It’s heartbreaking and cruel that with the work of so many fans behind it, the CW decided to not go with it.

But hey, I’m clearly not their target demographic.  I can’t express how angry and disappointed I am in the faceless douches at the CW.  Bad decision, and clearly, one motivated from misogyny.  Screw you, CW.  Screw you.

Posted in Reviews

Altered Carbon Review

As with all of my reviews, there are spoilers, but with this series in particular, I’m going to try to keep most of the spoilers very light.  This television series is can be considered both cyber punk and detective noir, so while spoiling some of the cyberpunk aspects is inevitable, there’s no need to spoil the murder mystery aspect of the series.

First of all, I have recommended this series to a great many people on my Facebook account, but I did mention to my mother that she would probably hate it.  Cyberpunk isn’t for everyone.  In talking about this series, knowing a little bit about cyberpunk is helpful.  Cyberpunk is science fiction set in a dystopian future in an ultra-urban setting, usually with a great divide between the wealthy and the poor causing an inevitable underground oppositional movement, cyberpunk is almost always violent, and has technology that enhances humans in one degree or another.  Bladerunner is one of the best known examples of cyberpunk in film, although there are tons of others.

Altered Carbon hits all of these cyberpunk qualifications, and hits them hard.  I’m not always a fan of cyberpunk because of the dark dystopic future and the ultra violence.  When humans are enhanced with technology, the options for violence can become extreme which is not always appealing to me, but Altered Carbon, while definitely being violent, has so much more going on that the violence didn’t overwhelm me.

In the Altered Carbon future, humans are backed up on discs called “stacks’ that can be removed from one body and placed into another.  They call bodies “sleeves” and the series opens on Takeshi Kovacs being “resleeved” after being killed decades prior.  Since human consciousness can be stored on disc, humans can “needle cast” to other worlds, where their consciousness is sent to another planet and then sleeved in a body.  This allows for quick travel between worlds, especially for the authorities.

Takeshi Kovacs (pronounced Ko-vach) was serving a very long sentence for his crimes, but this sentence was interrupted when an obscenely wealthy man named Laurens Bancroft (portrayed by James Purefoy) basically purchases him to solve the crime of his own murder.  The police think it was suicide, but Bancroft refuses to accept this.  In return for working for Bancroft, Kovacs will get a full pardon and a large sum of money.  This murder mystery takes us through the entire 10 episode series.

First of all, Joel Kinnaman as Takeshi Kovacs is wonderful.  The camera loves him and he brings heart and humor to the role.  Kovacs isn’t always likable and has many hard edges, especially in the first few episodes, but as his history is told and the story moves forward, much of his dislikable behavior makes a lot of sense.  He’s the type of character that isn’t really hard hearted, he’s broken hearted and so he has developed an attitude to keep people at bay.  Kinnaman is likable even in the moments when Kovacs isn’t and this helped me stay interested.

One of the fun things about the show is that one actor can play many different characters.  Actor Matt Biedel gets to play Abuela, a Hispanic grandmother as well as a Russian killer called Dimi the Twin, and a drugged out violent criminal brought into the police station.  His portrayal of Abuela is fantastic, and watching him in this role you really believe that he is Kristin Ortega’s grandmother simply in the sleeve of a very scary man.  The moments between Ortega and Abuela towards the end of the episode are funny but also poignant – Abuela brought me to tears.  Then, in the next episode, he portrays a loathsome underworld figure so well that you forget entirely that he was ever Abuela.  (Yes, I know abuela means grandmother, but she wasn’t given any other name in the series or on IMDB.)

Matt Biedel wasn’t even one of the main actors in the cast, but he still brought depth and life to several characters.  Many of the actors in Altered Carbon get the opportunity to portray different characters, and Martha Higareda, who mainly portrays Kristin Ortega, has one of the best moments in the series when she gets to portray someone else for a little while.  Her performance is amazing and it is the acting that really brings the concept of different people inhabiting a “sleeve” to life.  These actors make the sci-fi concepts real and believable.

One of the other aspects of the series that impresses is the setting.  The series is simply gorgeous.  Bay City is very much a dark and dystopic futuristic city, with the Golden Gate Bridge covered with container dwellings – who needs a bridge when you have flying cars?  In this world, the rich live in tall structures high about the city, and these buildings that soar above the clouds are breathtakingly beautiful.  Since it took me an episode or two to warm up to Kovacs, the gorgeous setting kept me not only interested but riveted.  I normally watch television while scrolling through my phone or laptop, but with Altered Carbon, I simply watched, even upon second viewing.

While I’m sure much of the acting was with a green screen as backdrop, the setting comes alive in a believable way that doesn’t look like CGI.  The city below is dark with buildings crowding out the sun which contrasts the rich who live above in beautiful, idyllic surroundings.

One of my favorite characters in the show is Poe, an AI who runs the hotel where Kovacs stays during his investigation.  The hotel has an Edgar Alan Poe theme and he brings much humor to the often dry and grumpy Kovacs.  Chris Conner is wonderful as Poe and I really hope that season two will have him returning.  Honestly, I could watch a show that was just about the adventures of Poe – Conner’s character was that fun.

As stacks can be put into different sleeves, there are several characters who portray Kovacs in addition to Kinnaman.  Credited as “Stronghold Kovacs,” Will Yun Lee is Kovacs in many of the flashbacks and is Kovacs’ original sleeve.  The scenes with Lee and Dichen Lachman, as his sister Reileen Kawahara, are some of the best in the series.  Lee shows us Kovacs’ heart by showing us his past, and he brings so much depth and emotion to the role that you cannot help but care for him.  At one point, Quellcrist Falconer (Renee Elise Goldberry) tells him that he is only pretending to be one of the monsters, and the flashbacks show this to be true.  My hope for season two is a lot more Lee – he was truly fantastic.

The way the series ends, it is entirely possible to have season two with an entirely new cast of characters, something I hope they do.  Although, Kinnaman was so great in the role, it’d be wonderful if they figured out a way to bring him back in the same sleeve, although if they handed the Kovacs role over to Lee, that would be wonderful, too.  I would love to see more of Lee’s Kovacs in the future – he knocked me out he was so good. There are many worlds in this universe to inhabit and many different things to explore.

After finding out that the series was also a book, I read Altered Carbon the book, and the series was better.  I almost never like a series better than the book, but the series made a lot of improvement upon the book.  They took the concepts and characters and built upon it in a way that I really enjoyed.  I tried reading the second novel in the Kovacs trilogy, but quit halfway through, as it wasn’t even close to as good as the first book.  My hope is that season two takes a departure from the books and has another noir-type mystery to tell, instead of the war story/artifact hunt that was the second book.

I will say that this series has lots of violence, including violence against women and violence against sex workers.  There was one episode centered on Kovacs going into a simulated torture scenario, but luckily the amount of torture scenes was low as the episode included flashbacks to Kovacs’ past much more than they showed the torture aspect of things.  So be forwarned about the violence in advance.  That said, between the exceptional story, acting, and special effects, this series definitely is an A.

 

 

Posted in Supernatural

Wayward Sisters Review

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.

Posted in Supernatural

In Defense of Claire Novak

Tomorrow night, Supernatural will air its backdoor pilot, Wayward Sisters.  I’ve been waiting for this for a few years now, ever since Jody met Donna in the episode Hibbing 911.  After the god-awful travesty of a backdoor pilot that was “Bloodlines” I wrote a blog entry here about the MANY other backdoor pilots that would be acceptable to me, and then I discovered there was already a Wayward movement – sometimes, many people have the exact same idea.  Sometimes, their idea is even better than anything I could think of – as if the case with Wayward Sisters.

However, in recent days, there has been a huge amount of negativity on Twitter and Facebook about this pilot.  Of course, there are the usual misogynists and MRA’s complaining about how awful it will be for 6 women to save Sam and Dean, let alone giving them an entire series.

This is to be expected – we all know how people freaked out over Ghostbusters having vaginas.  These types of negative comments can be largely ignored, but many of the negative comments came from women who don’t want to watch women, but rather they want to watch men, a sentiment which I find pathetic.

You want to watch for the men only?  Cool, just watch the men, but maybe shut up and don’t ruin it for the rest of us?

One of the recurring comments that the moderate complainers have is about Claire Novak.  The writers did Claire very few favors in the first episodes she was in.  For some reason, television writers can only write one type of female teenager – the sullen bitch.  This is how they wrote Claire in the first few episodes, so it is no wonder people aren’t terribly psyched for her appearance.

Part of the problem is the horrible “Mark of Cain” storyline.  In her reappearance in “The Things We Left Behind” (10.9) she’s loyal to a man who sold her out to be raped simply to pay off his debts.  I know, we were supposed to be aghast that the Mark had Dean killing everyone there, but a group of men who will sit by and listen to a 16 or 17 year old girl being raped deserve a more horrible death than they got.  However, Claire didn’t feel that way (mainly because she didn’t know her father figure set her up) and sets Dean up to be hurt in the very next episode.

This isn’t the best introduction for a character – we all love Dean so this of course made many of us dislike her.  Including me.

However, all of the bad writing and bitchiness they heaped on Claire’s character evens out by the time we reach season 12, and there are little signs of a compassionate human inside here and there.  When she was searching for her mom in “Angel Heart” (10.20), Claire goes from badly written teenage bitch, to lost little girl grieving for both of her parents.  In this episode, she finds out that her mother didn’t just abandon her, but was kidnapped and held for 2 years by a Gregorian angel.

It also helps that the very first thing her mother said to her upon being reunited was “I’m so sorry.”  If you can watch that scene and not cry for both of them, you are made of stronger stuff than I am.  This episode shows that Claire is not only badly hurt but full of love with no outlet for it.  She is also the one who manages to kill the Gregori after he kicks the snot out of everyone else.

Up to this point, Claire believed that her father died so Castiel could have a vessel and Jimmy “has it easy in heaven” while also believing her mother just abandoned her entirely.  On top of that, her lone remaining guardian, her grandmother, died, too.  Then Dean kills the asshole who was masquerading as her guardian (even though he was a monster and deserved to die.)

That’s a hell of a lot of loss for anyone to handle, let alone a 16/17 year old.  It wasn’t until playing putt-putt with Dean that she even found out that Castiel saved the world, so Jimmy’s sacrifice becomes heroic to her, instead of being merely another abandonement.

Her tearful thanks to Castiel and Dean for finding her mother was the very first glimpse we have that Claire wasn’t just a cookie cutter sullen nightmare, but a real girl in real pain from the many losses she’s experienced.

This is also the episode where Castiel gives her a stuffed Grumpy Cat from “the Hot Topical” and while she blows off Cas when he gives her the gift, she puts the stuffed animal in her bag.  When we see her in her room at Jody’s house in “Don’t You Forget About Me” (11.12), she is curled around the Grumpy Cat stuffed animal, which was more than a little heartbreaking to see – and something I didn’t even catch until my 3rd or 4th viewing.

Claire’s complete redemption for me came in “Ladies Drink Free” (12.16) where she is bitten by a werewolf and starts to turn into one.  In this episode she earned a lot of love from me by going by the fake name “Beatrice Quimby” from the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary.  I loved those books.  Also, she beat the boys AND the British Men of Letters to the scene, which shows that she has the raw material for a good hunter.

In this episode, she manages to get a lot of backstory on the case, and when she goes to share it with Sam, saying “I did good,” she’s wanting a pat on the back.  She’s wanting a “Hey, good job” or other simple kudo from Sam, but true to Sam form, he goes straight to the next problem instead of giving her even slight praise.  This is typical Sam who can’t celebrate the death of the yellowed-eyed demon for a few minutes with Dean, but has to press about Dean selling his soul.  Sam does this often – and as pointed out by my husband, Sam never got any praise so he has no concept of how to give it out to Claire.

Instead, he pisses her off by asking why she’s lying to Jody.  I will say that the exchange between Sam and Claire where she tells him to stop treating her like a child and he tells her to stop acting like one was pretty perfect.  She deserved that line, but Sam could have picked a better time.  Especially considering she runs away (still acting like a child, Claire) and immediately gets bitten by a werewolf.

This episode really redeems Claire because the way she handles being bitten shows her true colors.  Dean tries to tell her she can deal with it and she says to him “I can barely keep it together on a good day,” which shows a self-awareness that I didn’t think she was capable of.  It’s understandable that Claire is kind of a basket case.  I was in my mid-30’s when my father died and was a complete wreck for years.  That same loss as a child multiplied by 2?  Holy hell, Claire’s actually functioning pretty well.

Another great line between her and Dean here is Dean telling her she doesn’t get a vote and she responds, “It’s my life.  I get all the votes.”  Dean is so used to controlling Sam and Castiel and the others around him that he cares about, I think this is the first time anyone has ever told him no so perfectly.

However, what really makes this episode for me is something super small.  As she is turning into a werewolf and freaking out about it, she realizes she should call Jody and let her know what’s happening.  She says in the small voice a much younger girl, “She’s going to be so mad at me.”  How perfect a line is that?  It shows very clearly that she does consider Jody her mom, without those words being said.  Claire is pretty much dying, and she’s worried about Jody’s anger without the realization that any Jody anger springs from love.

It was that moment that I realized that I really liked Claire, in spite of the typical sullen teenage BS the writers kept heaping on her.  After she turns back into a human she even jokes with Sam and Dean about “craving a milk bone.”  This episode takes Claire and makes her not only likable but understandable.  Her mom (Jody) wants her to go to college, but she’d rather learn a trade instead.  That’s a normal family thing to have happen, just with the hunter spin on it to make it Supernatural.

She continues to be likable even to the end of this episode where she calls Jody and comes clean about not looking at colleges, but rather hunting instead.  She also calls Jody her mother, but she still has enough insecurity about being loved that she practically whispers the word.  She goes from being a brat to being a complex character in one fell swoop.

Also, she makes a joke!  Not the funniest of jokes, but still, it shows there’s a sense of humor hiding in there somewhere.

I get people hating on Claire, because the first several episodes with her, she was a total pain in the butt and more than little unpleasant, but her story didn’t end there.  She grew as a character and she lowered her defenses enough for us to see the broken-hearted girl within – and kudos for the actress who portrays Claire, Kathryn Newton, who flawlessly shows us the vulnerability of Claire over several episodes.

I would groan when I saw it was going to be “a Claire episode” but honestly, given all the character has been through and the fact that Sam, Dean, and Castiel destroyed her family – and hey, they saved the world a lot, but they did tank her life completely – she’s much nicer to them than I would have been.

Furthermore, from the promos I’ve seen for Wayward Sisters, she not only feels loyalty towards Sam and Dean, she’s determined to save them.  That’s a huge evolution for the character.  She’s gone from seeing them as the enemy to seeing them not only as allies, but as family.

So, I do understand hating Claire, but I really think that given her evolution, it’s short-sighted.  She has so much potential and Kathryn Newton is such a fantastic actor that I am more than happy to see her continue to grow surrounded by supportive women like Jody, Donna, and Alex.  I’m also excited to see her interact with the two newer characters, too.

The harsh Claire judgment makes sense to me in the first two episodes where she’s reintroduced, but this character has grown and changed enough as her story went on, that I think this potential Wayward Sisters series (please, please, please, PLEASE let there be a series!) can show her as not only likable, but heroic. I personally cannot wait for this episode to be available on the CW app (we don’t have cable) and I’m sure I’ll watch it several times.