Supernatural “Don’t You Forget About Me” Review (Season 11, Episode 12)

One of the most appropriately descriptive lines in all of Supernatural comes courtesy of Sam and Dean’s surrogate father Bobby Singer: Family don’t end with blood. When I tell people about Supernatural, that’s my selling point. Beyond all the demons, angels, ghosts, vampires, and so on, Supernatural is about family. It’s about the family you’re born into and the family that you choose. It’s about realizing that family can be simultaneously your greatest strength and your greatest weakness. That’s a lesson Jody, Alex, and Claire came to understand in this week’s Supernatural.

Sheriff Jody Mills is one of my favorite characters in the Supernatural verse. She’s smart, resourceful, and tough as nails while also being kind-hearted and loving. Since Jody first showed up way back in season five, Kim Rhodes has done an amazing job of bringing life to the sheriff and I’m always delighted when I know that she’s going to be in an episode. In my review of last week’s episode I mentioned how important it is to re-populate the Winchesters’ universe with regular, colorful supporting characters. This episode does a lot to support my argument. One of the reasons this episode worked as well as it did is the fact that Sam and Dean have history with Jody. We’ve been able to watch their relationship with her evolve, and every time they show up back in each others lives we learn more not only about Jody but about the Boys as well. Although it was a relatively brief scene, I enjoyed Dean and Jody’s conversation in the kitchen after dinner. Jody tells Dean about the trouble she’s having trying to figure out how to be a mother figure toward Alex and Claire despite feeling like she doesn’t really have the right to do that since she didn’t birth them. Dean briefly laments the fact that he and Sam could’ve benefited from some mothering when they were growing up. It’s not like that’s something we don’t know, but it’s just not something we would’ve heard Dean share with Sam or anyone else. However, because Dean considers Jody family, he shared that part of himself with her.

Sam and Dean’s relationship with Claire and Alex is a bit different than with Jody. With regard to Alex, they saved her from becoming a monster but beyond that, they haven’t really had any interaction with her. They’ve had a bit more contact with Claire though, and she and Dean seemed to bond a bit the last time we saw her. In the interest of full disclosure, I do not like Claire. She has an abrasive personality and I don’t find her particularly interesting as a character. Her appearance in this episode didn’t do very much to change my opinion either. Admittedly, Claire has been through a lot. Some of it was due to bad decisions she made, but some of it was due to circumstances outside of her control. Castiel’s intervention in her life set in motion a series of events that ultimately destroyed Claire’s family unit and resulted in her becoming an orphan. That’s tough. I get it. However, Claire’s attitude toward Jody and Alex was ridiculous, and I loved Dean calling her out for it. Dean very correctly pointed out how ungrateful Claire has been and that Jody didn’t have to do any of the things she’s done. Claire’s response to Jody’s kindness was to make her life more difficult than necessary. And Claire’s repeated variations of ‘I told you so’ about the monsters was also grating. I’ve got a news flash for you. Even a broken clock is right at least twice a day. Hold enough machetes to people’s throats and eventually you’ll find one that’s actually a vampire. But Claire’s behavior here was pretty par for the course. She’s had a bad attitude since Cas brought her back into the Winchesters’ lives. That’s why Dean calling her out for it was so important. She’s being a brat toward the only people that give a crap about her, and that’s just not the way you treat your family. Although, I suppose that was the majority of the problem. Claire didn’t view Jody and Alex as family even though both of them had clearly been putting up with her crap for a good while. In contrast to Claire’s negative attitude and anti-social behaviors, Alex showed a surprising depth of maturity and kindness.

Let’s rehash some of what happened to Alex. She was kidnapped from her family, forced into a life of crime by the vampires that stole her, used as a food source when the vampires couldn’t hunt, and eventually turned into a vampire herself. Then, to top it off, the Winchesters slaughtered her family, and she had to kill the only mother she’d ever known. That’s quite a lot. When Jody took Alex in, she (Alex) was in pretty much the same boat as Claire. She was an orphan with no one else and no where else to go. Not to mention that she was also still detoxing from the vampire cure. I’m sure it was a difficult adjustment for both Jody and Alex, but Alex seems to have accepted Jody’s kindness and realized it for what it is: love. Whatever may have happened before between Alex and Jody, Alex clearly loves Jody and her (Alex’s) behavior in this episode was more along the lines of what one would expect from a teenager. Her primary concerns were about the prom, her calculus exam, and figuring out if/when to have sex with her boyfriend. Normal teenager stuff. However, when Alex’s past came back to rear its ugly head, she displayed a great deal of maturity and selflessness that one would not expect from a teenager. After realizing that she was the cause of everything that happened, she was willing to sacrifice the life she’d created and go back to a life that she hated if it meant saving Jody and Claire. Despite how horribly Claire had treated her. Alex also realized that she didn’t want to be around hunting anymore either. She didn’t berate Claire for her decision to hunt nor did she ask her to stop, but Alex did decide for herself that hunting isn’t the future she wanted for herself. The point is, both Claire and Alex have been through a lot, but their responses to Jody’s kindness and love are what separated them. Alex accepted the gift of love and stability that Jody offered, and although she’ll never be completely normal, she was trying. Claire, on the other hand, is hiding in hunting because she’s lonely and desperate to feel like she belongs somewhere. The truth is, if Claire were to give it a chance, she’s already got a place where she belongs, but she doesn’t seem to understand yet that family doesn’t end with blood.

On a more technical note, I sincerely wish the director would’ve cut out a lot of that shaky cam. In the scene where Alex was sitting on a log talking to her boyfriend, the shaky cam was so distracting that it completely took me out of the story. Despite that quibble and my annoyance with Claire, I actually enjoyed this episode. Nancy Won did a great job with this script, and I vote we keep her around. That dinner scene alone was worth the price of admission. Watching Sam and Dean (but mostly Dean) continue to scarf down food while being completely uncomfortable/out of their element was one of the most hilarious things ever. I also love that Jody sent Sam and Dean off with several Tupperware dishes of food. She’s such a mom. I must admit that I wasn’t too fond of Alex in her first episode, but I actually really liked her here. There have been whispers that this episode could (or maybe even should) serve as a backdoor pilot for a spin-off. Unlike Bloodlines (which I like to pretend didn’t happen because life is just easier that way) I would actually like to see Jody’s Home for Girls. Next week celebrate’s Dean’s favorite holiday, Unattached Drifter Christmas aka Valentine’s Day. I’m looking forward to see how Supernatural tackles it this time. So what did y’all think of this week’s Supernatural?