Episode 11×12 AKA “Wayward Daughters”
Well, the hellatus is over and Darkness is unleashed on the Earth in the form of a woman. Sam has hair glorious enough to rival season 8; Dean has a weird not-quite-consensual relationship with the Big Bad; and Castiel’s not here right now. I’m guessing the Winchesters won’t be getting sunshine and puppies anytime soon…Warning there be spoilers ahead
“Don’t You Forget About Me” begins with the Winchesters, case-less and bored in the bunker, receiving a phone call from Claire Novak (the last time we saw Claire, the boys had sent her to live with Sheriff Jody Mills in Sioux Falls) about a possible hunt. Claire has been testing her skills, looking for hunts on her own, but hasn’t had much luck. When the Winchesters arrive, we see that Alex has adjusted to a non-supernatural life fairly well–she’s in school, has a popular boyfriend, and is in line to be prom queen. Claire, however, has not adjusted so well; she’s dropped out of college and has no friends.
At first appearance, it seems that the Winchesters have merely stumbled into some family drama–some growing pains as the new family unit becomes accustomed to life together. Jody is struggling to be a mom-but-not-a-mom to two teenage girls, and the two teenage girls are adjusting to having a stable home environment.
Jody counts on Sam and Dean to be her backup, to help her parent these two adolescents who have a darker, and more unnatural, background than she ever did. It’s obvious that she hopes that the Winchesters can relate to these girls, and, after the most awkward family dinner conversation ever, they manage to connect with Alex and Claire. But more on that later.
It turns out that Claire was right about monsters in Sioux Falls–a vampire has taken a taste to high schoolers and high school teachers. Alex goes to campus one morning to find her favorite teacher strung up to the flagpole, and very shortly after Sam and Dean discover that the school’s janitor is actually someone from Alex’s past who wants revenge.
Claire and Jody are ambushed by the janitor, and Alex’s boyfriend turns out to be a little more monstrous than the average teenage boy. Their plan is to kill Claire and Jody in front of Alex, because years ago Alex lured the janitor vampire to her former coven and is the reason that he was turned. Revenge is a common enough theme in Supernatural, but this time the vengeance seeker wants more than Alex’s life, he wants to take her family from her. And family, being the strongest theme in the show, is something that Alex doesn’t want to lose now that she’s finally found it.
Luckily, the Winchesters arrive and help the girls save the day. The monsters are eliminated, Alex and Claire have a heart-to-heart with the Winchesters, and they all have the family that they need.
The Big Picture 3 Reasons We Need Wayward Daughters to Happen
ICYMI, over on Tumblr and Twitter, a large section of fans have been pushing for the CW to give us a SPN spin-off with Jody, Donna, Alex, and Claire as the central characters. The name of this movement is “Wayward Daughters,” and here are a few reasons why Wayward Daughters is the SPN spin-off that we need, and, dare I say, the show we deserve.
1. Wayward Daughters has characters we care about.
A few years ago, Supernatural tried to give us a spin-off in the backdoor pilot “Bloodlines,” and the outcry against it prevented the show from ever getting more than one episode. In fact, even back then a few of us on Twitter postulated that a Sioux Falls Hunter High would be an excellent idea for a spin-off:
Why would this work better than the failed “Bloodlines”? The answer is simple: we care about Jody, Donna, Alex, and Claire. “Bloodlines” failed because it attempted to force itself to fit into heavy-handed parallels with the Supernatural pilot that aired in 2005. It attempted to recreate familiar scenarios with characters for whom we had no connection. Wayward Daughters wouldn’t need to attempt to fill the gaps in character development with nostalgia for early seasons of Supernatural because the characters are developed, and it wouldn’t need to heavy hand the parallels to the Winchesters’ lives because they’re already there.
It’s a younger generation of hunters, and that brings me to…
2. Wayward Daughters is for a new generation of SPN fans.
If we time hop back to 2005 when Supernatural aired for the first time, I had just graduated from high school and was embarking on a new life in college.When I began the show, Sam was closer to my age than not, and his decision to leave Stanford to track down the demon that killed his girlfriend was compelling to me. Part of the reason I fell first for Sam (later Dean, and finally Castiel who’s kept my heart since season 4) was that he was close to me in age and I could really see myself in his character. It was the same for many of us, but now, eleven years later, a new crop of 18 year olds are falling in love with Supernatural. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could give them protagonists that they can relate to? That they can see themselves being like? Alex is a high schooler with a past she regrets and is trying to atone for, and Claire has a tragic past that she’s trying to run away from. These two girls have stories that fit seamlessly into that angsty monster-hunting world of the Winchesters, but they give the story a freshness and resilience that would attract a younger audience to the show along with longtime fans of Supernatural.
3. Wayward Daughters gives us what Supernatural cannot.
Bold statement, I know, but bear with me. Part of the reason we love Supernatural is because the boys have given up normal lives in order to save people and hunt things. For them, the house in suburbia and the golden retriever are not possibilities, but for Alex, Claire, and Jody? It is. The supernatural will never leave their lives completely (pun intended) but how they choose to balance a life of hunting with everything else will give us a show that is equal parts Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and something we’ve never seen before. Dean and Sam may be fighting the Big Bad while living life on the road until season 28, but Wayward Daughters has the opportunity to branch out and give us a side to hunting we haven’t seen before: kicking ass, taking names, and still making time to go to volleyball practice.
So here’s a thought: Nancy Won, who wrote “Don’t You Forget About Me,” has also been a producer for Jericho and Everwood and was a writer for Being Human. She’s talented and capable of bringing Wayward Daughters to our screens week-to-week, all the while keeping the spirit and heart of the show familiar to the SPN Family. So with a potential showrunner and an audience for the show already: dear TPTB at the CW, give us what we want.
Until next week, SPN Family.
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