Sunday, 7 February 2016

Review - Supernatural 11x12 "Don't You Forget About Me" - Wayward Daughters and Wayward Sons

-by sweetondean

What a lovely episode. What a totally feel good, lovely episode. Except for those stressful moments when I was screaming at my TV! Totally yelling out “BEHIND YOU SAM” “HURRY UP DEAN!” “NO NO NO NO!” “OMG NOOOOOOO!” and incoherent ramblings along those lines. It did get kinda tense there at the end! But overall, I was left with a great big happy! AND EVERYONE SURVIVED! Except the vampires…obviously!

The whole Wayward Daughters thing has taken on a life of its own. Outside of the show, the women portraying the rolls of Jody, Donna, Claire and Alex (along with Alaina and Ruth) have bonded and have become friends, sharing adorable tweets with us about how much they dig each other. Like so many of us, the show brought these women together and out of that blossomed something special. The characters they bring to life are strong women who deal with problems that many of us can relate to; loss, anger, troubled relationships, weight issues, difficult family dynamics. And they face it all with realistic courage, just as they face the weirdness of the Winchester’s world that they are all now a part of, with realistic courage. They are allowed to be scared, they aren’t particularly happy about what they know, but they face it all down anyway, because that’s the only way to survive – and they’re all survivors. These are highly relatable, down to earth, real women, and whether or not they ever end up in a spin off, having them appear from time to time in our show, as complex characters with their own stories and back-stories, which intersect with and even mirror the brothers and their world, is a treat. “Don’t You Forget About Me” was a treat.

I absolutely love where the brothers are this season. Love. It. It is a testament to how important their relationship is to them, how hard they are willing to fight for it, how much they are willing to forgive each other, how deep their bond goes. It’s wonderful to see them working together, planning, discussing options for the hunt, keeping in touch via phone. It’s everything I hoped we were working towards as the crippling scenarios that they had been constantly repeating were painfully raised. The fact that they both have now shrugged and admitted that, yep they’ll do anything to save each other, and they’ll keep doing it, that they have both put that on the table…well it’s just the best. It’s like fresh air blew through their relationship. The emotional openness they are showing this season is wonderful. Whether it’s Sam’s apology and Dean’s forgiveness, or just being there as an ear if it’s needed, but not pushing, if it’s not. 

This much more contented relationship means we get blessed with moments like the one that opened this episode, Sam and Dean in the bunker. Sam faffing on the Internet like so many of us do, looking at ridiculous photos, and Dean arriving home with lunch - an Elvis burger, and it all feels completely natural and genuine. 

Dean and his bad food, bless him…he was so excited about the prospect of this hideous looking concoction he even bought one for salad lover Sam…who admittedly has been seen eating the odd burger of late! And I couldn’t help but awww a little at Dean’s disappointment when Sam turned his nose up! Awwww. It looked disgusting! But Dean’s giant 5-year-old glee, and tiny flash of being bummed that Sam didn’t share in his wonderment, was damn adorable.

Then Dean got the call from Claire and off the brothers went to went to Sioux Falls, honouring Dean’s farewell promise to Claire “We’re here if you need us anytime.”

If you read my preview this week, you’ll know how much I love Jody Mills (I love Kim too, bee tee dubs). I adore her. She is strong, yet still allowed to be vulnerable, kick ass, yet still allowed to be scared. She speaks her mind and is both a friend and mother-like figure for the Winchesters…she’ll put them in their place if they need it, remind them of how important they are to each other if they need it, and offer them advice if they need it. Her relationship with each brother is different, yet equally as warm. She obviously loves them and they obviously love her. 

Jody’s been in 10 episodes now, since we first met her in season five’s Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, where we watched as her raised from the dead son, ate her husband. We’ve seen her care for and mourn Bobby, try to date - unfortunately Crowley, tenuously embrace the supernatural, fight side by side with the brothers, and offer up her home to two girls whose lives where touched by, and catastrophically altered by the world the Winchesters inhabit. Jody is a fabulous character. Long may she live. Seriously. Like forever. Hear me, Show?

We saw a fair amount of Claire in season 10 as she searched for and lost her mother. We saw her struggle to find her feet in her relationship with Castiel, and even Dean – who she at one point tried to have knocked off for killing her Faginesque carer, but Alex we hadn’t seen since we met her in season 9, though we did hear Jody having difficulty with her over the phone in Hibbing 911.

It was great to come into these women’s home and see how it was all working out. So much loss and horror between the three of them... What we got was a family – like so many others – with 3 very different personalities trying to co-exist with a parental figure trying to hold it all together! God bless Supernatural and its understanding that family don’t end with blood and just ‘cause you’re blood don’t make you family. Family is so many things and I love how this show continually represents family as something other than the traditional view.

Alex and Claire are two very different young women, and it’s no coincidence that they mirror Sam and Dean. Alex, being like Sam – working hard at school, wanting a life away from monsters, Claire more like Dean – focused on hunting, shoot first ask questions later. They aren’t getting along. Claire feels out of the loop – out of the Alex and Jody show; who have a shared history of heavy trauma and a longer relationship. The household is strained and Jody has her hands full.  Enter the Winchesters!

There was so much to love about the Winchesters coming into Jody’s home and all that followed. The dinner scene might be one of my all-time favourite scenes of the entire series!

I was so thrilled that the boys were getting a home cooked meal. This was something they didn’t know growing up. They lived on the road, eating take out, spaghetti O’s and cereal. Maybe they had the odd home cooked meal at a friend’s place – thinking of Sam’s heaven - or maybe Bobby might have cooked for them, but it’s not something that would have been a regular part of their life, and despite their ability – at least with burgers and grilled cheese – and having a massive kitchen, I’m guessing they don’t do a lot of cooking at the bunker! So their obvious delight at the chicken shaped like chicken instead of a patty or nugget, and 4 pounds of mashed potatoes, was both hilariously adorable and bitter sweet. They were shovelling that food in with gusto, but you just couldn’t help but think of the deeper layer to that scene of their own loss and how that prevented them from ever having a home like they were enjoying in that moment.

Of course that enjoyment shifted to epic awkwardness when Claire turned the conversation around to Alex’s impending sex life. Every time Jody looked to the brothers for back up Sam shovelled something in his mouth and Dean gaped “What?”. Sam’s “Oh we’re going there” when Jody mentioned birth control made me double over. Totally priceless. I had tears through this scene it was so funny and so damn delightful! I loved Jody bringing out the big guns of her mum voice when Sam and Dean tried to bolt. “Sit. Stay.” It was all as delicious as that roast looked!

I also loved the conversations that followed. Dean offering an ear to Jody as she told him about her worries around Claire. Dean giving away that maybe he and Sam could have benefitted with a bit of mum style relationship advice. And Jody talking about the obsessive nature and loneliness of the hunting life… There was so much going on in that moment between Jody and Dean. So many things we could hear that weren't being said. And I loved that Dean went into the kitchen to help dry the dishes! He’s a good egg that Dean Winchester.

Sam’s conversation with Claire was full of the kind of empathy we love Sam for. Claire listened to him because he got where she was coming from, and she knew it. He understands the hunting life, he understands what it can do to you, he understands how it can be a place to get lost in when you’re lost yourself – both him and Dean have leaned on hunting when they didn’t know what else to do with their anger and pain. But Sam also understands what Claire has in that home with Jody, because that was something he never, ever had. He knows the monsters are always there, but family isn' can be taken away. He gently tried to open her eyes, advise her and his gentleness made Claire open to him.

Then Dean played the side of the card with Claire; the, you need to pull your head out of your butt, side! Because like Sam, Dean also knows only too well what Claire has, because he lost that. It was all ripped away from him at 4 years old. He had to become self sufficient at a ridiculously early age. He was the one throwing together a nightly meal for his little brother, instead of a parent cooking for them both. He didn’t get a room of his own until they moved into the Bunker. That was his first room since he was four. So though Claire may have wanted to go “Okay dad”, with accompanying eye roll, the resonated with loss. But once again,  as this show does so brilliantly, it was relayed with as much laughter as sorrow. Dean does a great dad voice and dad look – his I know what you’re up to eyes to Henry was too funny. I think Claire heard Dean though, and Sam. She heard them both.

The Monster of the Week tied back to Alex’s history with the vampire nest, which I thought was great. Alex had to deal with her past again and the guilt associated with that, as her new family’s life was threatened because of her history. Once again, here was a mirror of Sam, who’s been dealing with his guilt of late. Guilt and regret is something both the Winchesters know.

I found myself deeply moved by the story of the vampire who was once a good man. He had been trying to help Alex, when she led him to the nest. I felt so very sad for him, for what happened to him, for what he became, and then for what he ultimately did to his own family. He was not just an evil killing machine like Henry had become, he was hell bent on revenge sure, but for a horrible injustice perpetrated against him. I felt super sorry for that vampire. I like it when the monster has a story that helps you sympathise with them. It always makes the struggle more interesting.

Even though the brothers arrived to help the women and end the fight, it was Jody’s, Claire’s and Alex’s strength and courage that shone through and kept them alive until the brothers arrived. They stood firm together, worked as a team even in the limited capacity they had, they never gave up, and they put their lives on the line for each other without question. Each was willing to do what was necessary to try and save the others. They were heroic in their will to do the best they could to stay alive. And I appreciated that it was Claire who took Henry’s head off for Alex…saving Alex going down a road there may be no return from.

In the end, once again we’re reminded about what is the heart of Supernatural – family - and what’s so scary about it, it gives you so much to lose. This is something Sam and Dean know only too well, because they’ve lost their family over and over, from their parents, to Ellen and Jo, to Bobby, to Charlie… And that’s why they cling to each other so tight, because they’re all they’ve got. That’s especially why Dean clings to Sam so tight…Dean briefly had that family life he’s yearned for ever since, the one he thought Claire was disrespecting, and the thought of losing the last part of that, Sam, is too much for him to bear. As it is for Sam too – as he said last week, he wouldn’t do what he does without Dean, as he said to Charlie, he can’t do it without Dean...and he wasn’t just talking about hunting. That’s why they both hang on so tight. I feel the need to hug these two forever!

But as Sam and Dean left, Sam arms filled with ribs and two lots of sauce so he didn’t have to share, we were left with a lot of hope. Hope that maybe Claire might go back to school, she might end up hunting, but she might take her time getting there. Hope that Alex may be able to forgive herself. Hope that this family will get a fresh start and a second chance at some kind of harmony. The monsters will always be there for all of them, but for now, they have each other. They have family.

I adore these women, and I adore their stories.

This was writer Nancy Won’s second episode, can you even believe that? Only her second! Every character was perfect to who we know them to be. Her Sam and Dean were so on point it felt like she’d been writing them for years. She put so much depth into the scenes; they were so meaty and yet had so much humour. The laughter, the tension, the pathos, it was all balanced perfectly, and once again, our magnificent cast did a magnificent job, putting more than was written into every look and every line uttered.

I loved “Don’t You Forget About Me”; it made me feel real good.

I’ll finish again on some cute behind the scenes shots of our wonderful cast! Thanks for reading, see you next time!

You can follow sweetondean on Twitter @AmyinSydney
For advice on attending conventions check out sweetondean's spncontips tumblr


  1. I really loved this episode. The dinner was probably one of the funniest scenes ever, not just for SPN but any show. Sam's quiet talk with Claire contrasted with the dressing down that Dean gave her I think went a long ways to redeeming Claire to herself. These were two men she respected even if she didn't realize it until just then. And she listened to them.
    Poor Alex. I was heartbroken for her. She just wants to escape her past. The vampire wasn't just some random monster. She did that to him and she knew it. No apology was ever going to be enough. Good thing she has Jody and now Claire in her life to have her back.
    I am a huge fan of Nancy Won as well so far. Seems to me like she did her homework. She writes the brothers perfectly. I hope she stays with the show for it's entire run.

    Thank you, great review as always

  2. Lovely review Amy, as always.

    I adored the episode... and particularly loved the parallels between Alex and Sam, and Claire and Dean. I thought it was clever to tie the monster back to Alex's past and make it so personal. When it was revealed that Alex had been played by her popular boyfriend, I thought back to Sam always being surrounded by demons, who were manipulating him... it was all so terribly painful and familiar.

    I also love that Claire finally connected with Jody and Alex, even if it took almost dying to do so... and that their awesome little family reflects that of the boys with their surrogate dad, Bobby. And I think it's kinda a reflection of the SPNFamily in general, lol... a big crazy dysfunctional family that has a lot of love and loyalty.

    I don't know... I'm probably rambling. But I enjoyed this episode on so many levels. The dinner was so bloody hilarious! One of my favourite scenes ever, which is saying a lot, because there have been so many amazing scenes to love in our show! :)

  3. Great review Amy, I always look forward to them. I loved the episode. I absolutely loved the dinner scenes, omg Jensen's facial expressions, I laughed so hard!! I'm still undecided about Claire, I like her sassy ways sometimes and other times I feel like giving her a dressing down. I was glad Dean said what he said to her, it was time somebody did! Dad Dean made me laugh so hard, that look he gave to the boyfriend lol! Liked the parallels between Alex and Sam, and Claire and Dean and the family feels Jody always brings whenever she's around. All in all a good solid episode. Bring on next week!!