Supernatural S11E12 “Don’t You Forget About Me” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on E4 on Wednesdays at 10pm
Writer: Nancy Won
Director: Stefan Pleszczynski
Essential Plot Points:
- The cold open of the week stars none other than Claire Novak, and she’s trying her hand at hunting alone – though not with great success. Convinced that she’s on to something, she calls up Dean to ask for the Winchester’s help.
- Meanwhile, Sheriff Jody Mills is picking her adopted kid/former vampire’s pet Alex up from school, where it looks like she’s managing to live a normal enough life including a boyfriend and homework.
- Jody comes home to the unexpected Impala in the driveway, but isn’t too pleased to find out that the Winchesters are there to help Claire with her missing persons case; a case that Jody doesn’t believe even exists.
- They all talk it out over what would likely win the award for “most awkward chicken dinner ever” as Alex makes fun of Claire’s past attempts at hunts, and in return Claire outs Alex’s plans to take her boyfriend out to Jody’s cabin. It’s clear the girls aren’t on the best of terms.
- Sam tries to talk Claire out of losing herself in her hunting – that it’s more important to keep a hold of the family she’s found.
- The next morning, Alex goes to school only to find her teacher dead and strung up from the flagpole.
- Claire saunters into the crime scene, knowing that it proves she might be onto something here. But even if she is, Dean’s not going to let her get away with treating it like her own personal playground.
- Jody and Sam talk to the first on the scene, the custodian. He doesn’t seem particularly perturbed by the whole thing, which doesn’t sit quite right with Sam.
- What with the murder and all, school’s out, so Alex and her boyfriend Henry are hanging out in the woods instead. Alex chooses it as the perfect place to confess that she’s done some dark stuff in her time.
- Claire wants to go and help Sam and Dean with their fake FBI shtick, but Jody has other, more socially acceptable plans for her, namely re-registering for college. But just as they’re about to get in the car, the creepy custodian from early turns up and violently captures them both. Turns out he’s a vampire.
- Jody manages to get a call in to Dean just before she’s knocked unconscious, and they rush to go help her. Unfortunately there’s nothing left but Jody’s cell.
- Dean calls Alex so he can get her and keep her safe, but plot twist! Her boyfriend is a vampire too.
- Seems like her past is coming back to haunt her. For the second time that night, all Dean finds is a cell phone.
- By searching the custodian’s office, Sam manages to pinpoint the closed-down pool on the school map where he likely took Jody and Claire. Sure enough, they’re in there, along with the bodies who went missing. Claire was right.
- The custodian, Richard, explains how three years ago he saved Alex from a pervert at a bar, only to be set upon by a group of vampires as repayment. Driven mad by bloodlust, he slaughtered his own family. This is his revenge.
- Sam turns up just after Richard’s chowed down on Claire, but luckily not by enough to kill. In return, she and Dean team up, stabbing him in the back and lopping his head off. Sam lets the girls deal with Henry. Not your typical bonding moment!
- In the aftermath, Claire swears not to be so reckless a-hunter; instead, Jody’s going to teach her the Sheriff ropes. Even better – looks like Claire and Alex are finally getting along. Maybe Jody won’t have her work quite as cut out from now on!
It’s been a while since Sam and Dean sent Claire Novak off to live with Jody Mills to try and have something resembling a stable lifestyle, and with this episode we finally get to see how things are going! Predictably, they could be better.
For Jody, it’s all about becoming a mom and a protector again. After losing her own family all those years ago, it’s great to see her slide back into the role of a proud mom as she picks her adopted daughter Alex up from school, or as she cooks them all dinner, or even as she gives The Talk to Alex at the dinner table to the Winchesters’ abject horror. Dealing with two teenage girls, especially teenagers with such disturbed pasts, was never going to be easy, but if anyone can handle it, it’s Jody Mills.
For Claire, giving up the “rebellious teen” angle was always going to be a challenge given the kind of life she’s had, so it’s no surprise that she’s ditched college and opted to dive into solo hunting head first, even with the disapproval of her new caretaker. Or maybe that should be because of that disapproval. Claire wants to prove that she can do things herself and do them well, but unfortunately with her misjudged hunts it’s become a bit of a “girl who cried wolf” situation, so of course Jody and Alex don’t believe her when she’s actually right.
That really doesn’t help Claire’s mindset that she’s still an outsider to Alex and Jody’s familial relationship, which is one of the main drivers for her actions in the first place. And so it goes round and round.
For Alex it’s almost the exact opposite, or at least it seems that way – she’s doing well at school, has a great boyfriend, friends… she’s managed to become a whole new person, practically unrecognisable to the Winchesters when they see her. Of course, this being Supernatural, happiness is often nothing but an illusion, and that turns out to be the case when her past comes back to haunt her. You can’t help but feel for Richard, a guy who was only trying to help a girl seemingly in need and got turned into a vampire for his troubles, but still, in the words of B-99’s Jake Peralta, “cool motive, still murder”. If there’s one silver lining, it’s that both Alex and Claire discover through this series of horrific events that they really do have a family that’ll look out for and lay their lives down for them no matter what – and isn’t that the core of the show?
It’s a shame Sheriff Donna Hanscum doesn’t make an appearance this episode; with her included we could have had the full “Wayward Daughters” ensemble. Still, three out of four ain’t bad. For those not in the know, the Wayward Daughters fandom movement started when the CW was looking to start a SPN spin-off show. A lot of viewers enjoyed the camaraderie between Sheriff Mills and Sheriff Hanscum and suggested it would make a great pitch, which was only heightened when Jody took in wayward girls Alex and Claire. With the full backing of Kim Rhodes (Jody Mills) and Briana Buckmaster (Donna Hanscum), it’s grown into a massive campaign; whether it’ll ever make it to our screens is to be seen, but it’s a kickass campaign none-the-less.
- SPN is bringing the focus back ’round to the girls this week! It’s been a while since we’ve seen Jody, Claire or Alex, so it’s a treat to finally see them all interacting together as a semi-cohesive family.\
- The entire dinner sequence is a joy to behold, from Sam and Dean overwhelmed at being served a proper home cooked meal to their quietly horrified reactions to talking sex at the table.
- The first bunker scene – we’ve got Sam talking about a weasel riding on the back of a woodpecker to Dean producing the “Elvis” burger, a heart attack on a plate in the form of two glazed doughnuts and meat. Beautiful stuff.
- Dean’s personality really shines through this episode – he isn’t too hot on talking to Claire about the emotional stuff, but he’s all ready to tell her off for disrespecting her adopted mother. He’s a real Dad this episode.
- Sam piling up the Tupperware at the end of the episode.
- Most of the “bad” in this episode comes from what it’s lacking! For one, we would loved to have seen Donna Hanscum make an appearance to bring us the first episode with all the Wayward Daughter members present.
- Castiel would have been a great addition to this episode as well, given that he’s so heavily tied into Claire’s storyline.
And the Random:
- That photo Sam talks about, with the weasel and the hummingbird? It’s real.
- Dean tells Claire that her Caddyshack review is way overdue, referencing their conversation at the mini-golf in season 10’s “Angel Heart”.
- From the same episode, the grumpy cat plushie that Cas gave to Claire from the “Hot Topical” can be seen on her bed. Awww.
Review by Jessica Anson