In the midseason premiere of the CW’s Supernatural, Sam and Dean are in The Bad Place, which means it’s up to the ex-Sheriff Jody Mills and her makeshift family of hunters, psychics and dreamwalkers to find them. They are the Wayward Sisters.
If you’ve been watching this show then you know that Jody â€” who lost her son to the supernatural way back in season five â€” has become a mother figure to Claire, Jimmy Novak’s daughter, and Alex, who was once kidnapped by vampires and almost turned into one.
At the beginning of this episode, Claire’s hunting on her own. She’s dressed as a delivery person which is how she’s able to get the jump on some nasty werewolves. (Love how the box she’s “delivering” is addressed to Mr. Werewolf) The opposition gets some licks in but Claire prevails and she’s able to save the girl and take her home to her mother where she receives a wave of thanks. And then Jody calls triggering a reunion.
Jody: “Itâ€™s Sam and Dean. They were on a hunting trip and I havenâ€™t heard from them in a few days.”
Claire does make it back to Sioux Falls where it’s not a tense meeting but there’s clearly some issues going on. Jody’s motherly instincts are to instantly phase into protective mode and Claire, of course, rebels against that. She can hunt on her own, right? She doesn’t need anyone, right?
Claire meets Patience the psychic from earlier this season. Later, Claire and Alex track down Kaia, the dreamwalker we met in the fall finale, “The Bad Place.” Add in Sheriff Donna Hanscum (who was introduced into the action in season nine) and there you have the Wayward Sisters. And there you have this backdoor pilot the CW is hoping becomes the spin-off success that “Bloodlines” wasn’t.
I’m not going to lie. It took me a little to get sucked into this universe. Sue me. I am so attached to the Winchester brothers that it always takes a psychological adjustment on my part when an episode is light on the brotherly goodness. No need to worry, however. By the end of the hour, I was hooked. And I feel like this happened for several reasons:
Kathryn Newton. Newton’s version of Claire Novak is smart, beautiful, surly, rebellious, stubborn, closed-off, strong, independent and damaged. All qualities that will help make her a great hunter. She’s seen a lot of effed up stuff in a very short time and she’s willingly made the deep dive into the hunting world. And it doesn’t matter what Jody says or does, she’s going to do whatever it takes to fight the good fight…on her terms.
In “Wayward Sisters,” Newton is the perfect lead. She’s mesmerizing and she gives a wonderful performance. You can feel Claire’s pain. You can also feel her determination. When she wants you to see it, you can feel her fear. I love the part where Jody asks her to stay back to protect Alex, Patience and Kaia while she and Donna go to check out the abandoned warehouse where Sam and Dean possibly disappeared.
Because of Patience’s vision of her dying, Claire chooses to listen to Jody, which is so not Claire. But she admits she’s scared because of that vision and that’s why she steps back and lets Jody handle things.
I can see Newton (along with Kim Rhodes’ Jody Mills) being the leader of this potential series. She handles everything with such strength. While I haven’t always been the biggest fan of Claire, I am now.
“Wayward Sisters” minds its elder a.k.a. Supernatural. The writers don’t go out of their way to make this so completely different from the OG show. I mean, there’s a different energy and vibe, for sure. But there are some familiar themes.
A rock recap kicked off the hour courtesy of Halestorm and the band’s song, “I am the Fire.”
Claire is the Gung-Ho Hunter a la Dean. Alex does her part hunting-wise, but she also has a day job at the hospital. She continues to lead a somewhat normal life a la what Sam used to strive for.
The concept of family is different here â€” none of these women are actually related. But since we learned from Bobby Singer that “family don’t end with blood”, we do start to see this one expand and evolve.
Here, Patience has visions. Sam was plagued with them, of course. And on the original, we’ve often seen our favorite characters take a turn on the dark side (Soulless!Sam, Demon!Dean, Leviathan!Cas, Lucifer!Cas etc.). Should this “Wayward Sisters” move on to the next logical step, we’ll get to see Dark!Kaia or Alt!Kaia or whatever we want to call her. Which brings me to another similarity: death.
The original doles out devastating deaths like there’s no tomorrow. “Wayward Sisters” served up one of its own. I don’t know if it’s permanent, but that doesn’t lessen the impact, which I will touch on in 3…2…1…
Claire and Kaia. I’m always looking to see which characters connect unexpectedly and in this episode, it was Claire and Kaia. They’re both so very damaged on a whole different level than Alex. And way more than Patience. These two clicked so quickly. I loved their scenes together, which made what happened at the end of the episode so devastating.
The Twist. The Claire/Kaia dynamic was so palpable that when Kaia died in The Bad Place at the hands of that mysterious figure, I was upset. I want to see more between these two women. I feel a bit cheated.
Here’s the thing. The reveal of the hooded figure looking like Kaia was predictable. I guessed it right away and I’m sure everyone else did, too. But that doesn’t take anything away from the fact that should Wayward make it to the CW lineup next season, it’s going to be interesting to see how Claire reacts to this development. Plus, I want to see how Yadira Guevara-Prip (Kaia) does as a villain, if that’s where this is headed.
Jody and Donna. Can you believe Jody has been part of the Supernatural Family since season five and she’s still alive? Thank Chuck the show never killed her off because it’s so nice to see Kim Rhodes step up and potentially anchor a new drama. I’ve been a fan of her work since she was Cindy on Another World and so to see her play a character that’s potentially turning into so much more is supremely satisfying.
Ditto for Briana Buckmaster and her vibrant, quirky character, Donna. Her energy is so infectious. It’s hard not to smile when Donna’s on the scene. She instantly became one of my favorites in her very first episode, “The Purge.” She’s fierce, funny and complex. There’s a lot going on with her that we don’t even know.
Jody and Donna’s energies are so very different but they are badass in their own ways. Donna didn’t get to do a whole lot in “Wayward Sisters” but I know the show is going to rectify that in next week’s episode called “Breakdown.” I’m looking forward to seeing it, you betcha. And I’m looking forward to seeing how Jody and Donna kick some ass in their own series. So please make it happen, CW!
Now I don’t think the episode was perfect. It didn’t go that deep into Alex or Patience, but I guess I’ll have to be patient (pun intended). In a show that potentially has so many lead characters, I hope they don’t ultimately get the shaft. I want to see what badassness Alex can muster and I really want to see Patience’s journey into learning the hunter universe.
Also, even though this was a backdoor pilot for Wayward Sisters, I feel like they could have done a bit more with Sam and Dean. At least up the danger in “The Bad Place” more. I felt like this element was a 3 on a scale of 1 to 100. It was inevitable that the girls were going to save the boys. I just wish it had been harder to do so. That fell a little flat to me. Also, I would have liked to have seen more interactions between the brothers and this new group. But that’s just me.
All in all, I think that “Wayward Sisters” did a good job of setting up story for a future series. That rip in the world has let all these evil things in and somebody needs to take care of them. This means the action might mostly take place around Sioux Falls and won’t look like a road trip around the country.
Something else this episode did is make me want more. Lots more. It also made me care about these characters and curious to learn more about the ones I don’t know so well yet. What more could I ask for?
Supernatural airs Thursdays at 8/7c on the CW.
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