In the twelfth episode of the eleventh season of Supernatural, EVERYTHING IS WONDERFUL BECAUSE IT’S THE WAYWARD DAUGHTERS ACADEMY. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.
AHHHHH EVERYONE, I HAD NO IDEA THAT THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN, AND IT WAS SO WONDERFUL, AND I WANT EVERY EPISODE OF THE SHOW TO BE LIKE THIS, AND H E L P.
Life at Home
It’s fascinating to me that this episode doesn’t really get to any sort of monster conflict until nearly the halfway point. (Well, technically, since Claire was right the whole time, the plot was always there. BUT YOU GET WHAT I MEAN.) Instead, Nancy Won’s heartfelt, emotional script chooses to direct our attention to the complexities of Jody’s life, now that she’s taken in Claire and Alex. It is UNMISTAKABLY a version of the Wayward Daughters Academy, and I wonder if the fandom movement influenced the decision to give us a glimpse at a world that could be. Regardless, this is a beautifully solid episode that proves there’s still something interesting about the Supernatural world.
Spoiler alert: It’s these three women.
Now, there’s a theme here that’s certainly familiar, and I think “Don’t You Forget About Me” is somewhat rooted in the idea that these three characters are all able to have a life outside of hunting. In Claire’s case, though, her listlessness is getting the best of her. She calls in Dean and Sam when Jodi refuses to believe that a group of disappearances is linked to something supernatural. Unfortunately, Claire really is missing the mark, attacking random people who definitely aren’t monsters. It’s a manifestation of her existential crisis. Who is she if she doesn’t want to go to school or have a normal job? How can she be a hunter if she can’t even do it well? So she’s caught between these two realities, and she doesn’t fit in either of them.
On top of that, it doesn’t help that Alex appears to be assimilating back into a non-supernatural world much easier than Claire does. As Sam later points out, Alex and and Jodi have had much more time together to grow closer, which doesn’t negate Claire’s concern that she’s not a part of the family, at least not as much as she wants to be. But even Alex has her own problems within this new life, and those come spilling out in the second half of the episode. In the first half? Claire is openly hostile to pretty much everyone. She fights with Jodi. She spills secrets about Alex in order to get the attention off of her. (For what it’s worth, that scene at the dinner table is INCREDIBLE, especially since there’s such an open, direct education about birth control and STDs and I HOPE PEOPLE LEARNED SOMETHING FROM THIS. I love you so much, Jodi Mills.) Even her conversation with Sam doesn’t go all that well. The problem is that she’s not given any solutions to what she perceives as her problem. She wants to be a hunter, and she views everyone as an obstacle to that. At the same time, she knows, deep down, that she’s not good at hunting. She follows bad leads, she makes terrible assumptions, and she’s drawing attention to herself in the process.
The World Outside
And while this happens, Alex’s old life comes creeping back. It’s a creepy parallel because Claire wants what Alex does not: more monsters in her life. As Alex does everything she can to find some kind of normality to her daily life – which includes studying, sports, and a boyfriend – the arrival of her past forces her to admit that she’s still got a long way to go. I think that this episode presented her with a terribly complex predicament, too. It’s not like Richard was merely a member of the nest who Alex betrayed. He is the direct result of her actions back when she used to be a lure.
Nancy Won’s script doesn’t go to great lengths to excuse Alex either, though it is very sympathetic to what she’d done. I think “Don’t You Forget About Me” strikes a fair balance. Richard’s life was ruined by Alex, and there’s no way around that. She was also a minor and under the control of a nest of vampires who could have easily taken her life if she did not do as they said. In one light, Richard’s quest for revenge is sensible. But his extreme set-up for it – which involved turning Henry into a vampire and having him FAKE AN ENTIRE RELATIONSHIP WITH ALEX – is SUPER DISTURBING. It wasn’t about revenge or accountability anymore, was it? No, Richard just wanted to watch a teenager suffer.
Even if Jodi, Claire, and Alex all survive (THANK GOD, I GOT SO SCARED THIS SHOW WAS GONNA KILL OFF ONE OF THEM), this episode still has a bittersweet end to it. The family might still be together, but what Alex went through was just sad. Her “boyfriend” murdered her favorite teacher and broke Jodi’s leg! And whose to say that this is the last time she ever runs across vampires or people from her past? Ultimately, she really might have to get away from Jodi and Claire just to find some sort of peace. For the moment, though, these characters find comfort and safety in one another, and that’s not something that Claire and Alex were used to before Jodi.
PS: I would totally eat an Elvis burger.
The video for “Don’t You Forget About Me” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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