Supernatural: Wayward Sisters

"So who knows how to use a flamethrower?"

Okay. I liked it. It was better than I'd hoped; it was certainly better than the previous backdoor pilot, "Bloodlines," which fell with a very distinct thud.

But the thing is, I didn't love it.

There is no question that I love Sheriff Jody Mills. They keep bringing her character back for a reason, and that reason is that the Supernatural audience loves her and we all want her to find a way to keep on living after the terrible thing that happened to her. It was also good that the main focus of this episode's plot was Jody learning to live with Claire risking her life fighting monsters, something that Claire was determined to do, anyway.

What I liked less about this pilot was the focus on Claire. And it's not that I don't like Claire. Kathryn Newton is a good young actress (see "Big Little Lies") and Claire is a relatively well-established character with an existing conflict with Castiel, and honestly, if they spin off "Wayward Sisters," finding a way to include Castiel in any way at all would be good. I liked her style with the opening UPS delivery to "Mr. Werewolf," and that they softened her too rigid rebelliousness and made her realize that she needed a home and family to go home to, too. (Funny how our parents get smarter as we grow older.)

But I kept getting distracted by Claire's incredible hair. Her ratty one-sided braid made a lot more sense. You can't maintain long, curling, flowing golden locks like that when you're living on the road hunting monsters, now can you.



I liked the obvious attempt to give the "sisters" niches. Alex, the "good" supernatural daughter, now has a job as a nursing assistant, which will come in handy when one of them has difficult-to-explain monster injuries. Anything is better than Dean stitching up wounds with whiskey and dental floss.

I also liked that Alex knows she's not really a fighter, and that neither is Patience, who dropped by in the first place because she had a vision of Claire dead in Jody's arms. Interesting that we got a repeat of that vision that was nearly identical but with Claire not dead, so we know that Patience's visions can be changed. Well, I knew that Claire wouldn't die this time, anyway.

Instead, it was Kaia Nieves, and damn it. Of the four young women they've introduced for this possible series, I thought Kaia had the most interesting and poignant past to overcome, and her death on the other side didn't make me happy. Although Kaia's alternate universe doppelganger has apparently been promoted to possible villain and given a cool costume, so that might work out.


For me, the best character in this episode was Sheriff Donna Hanscum. She's gotten better every time she's visited the Supernaturalverse, and her arrival with a big grin and many, many weapons just made me smile. Loved the bit with the flamethrower. I also liked that they revisited that amazing disintegrating ship at the Larsen Shipyard for the sisters versus monsters battle, because it was one of the best Supernatural locations ever, which is saying a lot since this show consistently gives us amazing locations.

But you know, I was less enthralled with the blue goop monsters. If this story is going to be local, with the "sisters" living together in Jody's nice yellow house fighting off alternate dimension monsters invading Sioux Falls, well, I'm not sure how I feel about that. The real question is, can this group of women replace the chemistry, star power, and family history of my two favorite brothers?

The Winchesters, understandably, took a back seat in this backdoor pilot, but still managed to outshine the rest of the episode with a simple exchange about eating lizard for dinner. It was a reminder that it's not the 'verse or the monsters that has made Supernatural a success: it's Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki as the Winchesters. Okay, and the writing and the consistent mythology, and some amazing guest stars...

I don't know. What do you guys think?

Bits:

-- There was an echo from the Supernatural pilot when Jody said the boys were on a hunting trip and didn't come home. I also liked the little call-back to "Baby" when Jody and Donna were lying down in the car seats in opposite directions.

-- Also liked the scene where Claire and Kaia compared their battle scars, and Claire's "heroic battle with a doorknob."

-- There was a reveal of the immense monster in Jurassic world, and it's not a dinosaur. Although that makes the chicken foot print even more confusing.

-- Donna has a vanity plate: "D-TRAIN." That also made me smile. Like Claire, Donna has found her calling.

-- This week: Mostly Sioux Falls, South Dakota and the Jurassic universe next door, with a little bit of somewhere in Iowa in the pizza delivery teaser.

Quotes:

Werewolf: "Who the hell do you think you are?"
Claire: "I kill monsters. That's who the hell I am."

Patience: (re: Donna's many, many weapons)"Why do you have all this?"
Donna: "I'm from Minnesota."

Donna: "So who knows how to use a flamethrower?"

Sam: "Don't tell me it tastes like chicken."
Dean: "No, Sam, it's a lizard. It tastes like a lizard."

Patience: "I killed a monster."
Alex: "Welcome to the family."

What did you guys think? Lines are open,

Billie
---
Billie Doux has been reviewing Supernatural for so long that Dean and Sam Winchester feel like old friends. Courageous, adventurous, gorgeous old friends.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I didn't love it either but I definitely liked it. I love Donna, Jody and even Claire. I'm okay with Patience and Alex but I like that Alex is a nurse. Makes for dissecting creatures useful. But I didn't love the first episode of Supernatural either and it become my favorite TV show by the 2nd or 3rd episode for the last 13 seasons. I enjoyed the women knowing their limits and who was the badass and who wasn't.

Billie Doux said...

Anonymous, that's an excellent point. I didn't love Supernatural during its first season at all. It just grew on me and kept getting better, and I couldn't seem to stop watching and then suddenly I was obsessed. :)

televisionandotherrantings said...

Your comment about Claire's hair amused me because it reminded me a bit from Season 12 :

Sam: Did you cut your hair?
Mary: I'm gonna keep it short if I'm gonna go out on a hunt, you know? Why give the bad guys the advantage of long pullable hair right?
Dean: Wow. I've been trying to tell Sam that for years.

This kind of thing you kind of have to keep within a suspension of disbelief with these genre shows as people are always going to look more fabulous than their occupation would probably allow. This leads nicely to the next point of how the show set-up kind of has a Coulson and Skye/Daisy feel where we have the older person as the lead while the younger individual is the one with the more focused character development. Perhaps like Agents of SHIELD the dynamic will grow to work over time but who is to say. Don't think the emotional content of this episode worked as well as it was aiming for but it wasn't bad.

Also since Castiel was brought up it's been weird that we haven't had any scenes with Claire and him since Season 10. That dynamic was interesting and it's a shame that Castiel is always indisposed whenever Claire showed up in an episode. Definitely let their be a Cas episode if the spin-off happens.

Best part of the episode was the Sam/Dean cookout. That was hilarious.

While on the topic of Supernatural's early beginning there did seem to be some integration of stuff from the early set-up (including a direct reference to line about being gone for a few days). Sibling and parental angst and guilt twas the house that Supernatural was built upon and would thankfully be mocked from time to time as the show evolved into the madhouse that it is.

Though speaking of the show it's kind of why I'm hesitant about the idea of a spin-off of this show in the first place. Supernatural really was one of those lightning in a bottle things where all the elements aligned to create a show that was successful and has run a really long time (some of which is Jared and Jensen as you said, while they aren't necessarily by favourite characters all the time the actors long commitment to the show is very rare in the industry and we wouldn't be where we are without them). It also seems like one of those shows that managed to combine a lot of disparate elements and characters together in wacky fashion so siphoning some of that stuff into another show seems kind of limiting. It's the same problem with the Doctor Who spinoffs where the main show is so vast and all encompassing and the spinoffs are a bit more limited in scope by comparison.

So yeah if we get that spin-off I hope for the best but I won't be at a loss if it doesn't happen. Though hopefully some of the lingering questions do get addressed if doesn't go to full series. There's nothing that says the Wayward group can't have another episode focusing on them.

Mamab3 said...

I loved the episode. One of the best if the past couple seasons. Claire probed the gals of SPN can kick it in the ass and not just be set dressing to be killed off. Patience and Alex are good but Jodi, Claire and Donna are my favorites but let's face it, this generation is a young one making Donna and Jodi a bit old to be main characters. My take: Jodi = Bobby, Donna=Rufus, Claire=Dean, Alex=Sam, Patience=Garth & Kaia=Crowley speaking character traits here. I can't wait to see more! Great job, writers, actors, directors and staff/crew!!

Sue Kelley said...

I liked it. I enjoyed watching it, especially Claire and she usually annoys me. I wouldn’t mind seeing it as a series. But replace Supernatural? Uh uh. As Billie said, and what I’m not sure the CW executives realize, primarily what makes Spn work is Dean and Sam’s relationship as portrayed by Jensen and Jared. Unlike others I did love it from the first episode. I loved it even through “Bugs” and the monster truck, through Sam’s snippiness and Dean’s death wishes, bad angels and (relatively) good demons, Leviathans and Marks of Cain, because of Jensen and Jared/Dean and Sam. I’m not sure that can be duplicated. I’d give Wayward Sisters a chance but IMHO it’s going to have to stand or fall on its own merits because unless J&J are going to guest star every episode, it’s not going to carry the element that has made SPN last 13 seasons.

Last night my mother”s caregiver was watching with me. She’d never seen it before, and she asked me if it was like Walking Dead or Vampire Diaries. Well, I’ve never watched either. I said “Kind of, but it’s different “. So she watched the ep and we got to the part where Sam and Dean were discussing lizard as dinner, she sat up in the chair and her attention dropped off her phone . When the ep was over (and remember she knew nothing about the show but that ep and my 2 sentence synopsis of 13 years) she said “I’d watch that show just for those two guys.” And she’s my age, 50 something, so it wasn’t just all hormones at the sight of two gorgeous guys :)

Anonymous said...

I liked it...The plot and creatures were awful but these backdoor pilots are huge experiments....An example if anyone saw the difference between The Originals backdoor pilot and its actual pilot. I see the potential. Jody and Donna are fan faves and Claire is a little irritating but will probably be the one that has the most character growth if the story continues. Alex and the Psychic are a bit one note right now but you can see that decent writing could get alot out of this series..I wonder if Mary Winchester would fit in with them.
Would have been cool to see Claire call for Castiel.

I think it shouldn't replace Supernatural just yet but run alongside it for at least a season or two. It would increase exposure for the series and crossovers are all the rage right now. Bet they regret killing Charlie

percysowner said...

This isn't really about replacing Supernatural. SPN is probably closer to ending than not, if only because the Js are getting older and have families and no longer need to work the hours that are required on SPN. Supernatural will end when they want it to, whether or not WS becomes a series WS will just try to fill in the hole that will be left when SPN ends. I'm pretty sure the CW would love Supernatural to go on forever, since it's one of the CW's top rated shows.

Castiel is a tricky character to bring together with Claire, because he is very popular and the show kind of wants to forget all the bad things he did in the past. So Claire either has to look like a pouty child who just can't see why it's not okay that he got her father killed, which was the way they went the one time Cas and Claire met, or the show has to actually examine the fact that Cas kind of kidnapped her father, let him go, talked an 11 year old Claire into letting him inside her (or else her mother and father would be killed) and then extorted her father into being taken away again, instead of Claire being the designated vessel. So far, the show doesn't want to go anywhere near the real ramifications of how Cas destroyed Claire's life, so Claire gets to be whiny and rebellious, instead of righteously angry. This might change in a Wayward Sisters spinoff, but it might not and that works to the detriment of Claire's character, IMO.

Dragonfire said...

It's an excellent show. I really liked it, and I'm excited for the rest. I love seeing the family dynamics with more than just two people, (That's hard to write, by the way, a lot harder than just two or three people, and the really managed to pull it off) and crossovers sound like they'd be amazing.
But.
Despite the fact that it's a good show, it is never going to be Supernatural. Supernatural is unique in that it managed to pull off what it did through a combination of incredible actors, well-written plot, consistent and amazing mythology, and incredible cast dynamics. No other show is ever going to replace Supernatural in any way shape or form, and so the best that Wayward Sisters can hope for is to be known as a good show in its own right, not the replacement for Supernatural

Chatter said...

it was simple but i liked it

magritte said...

I enjoyed it. As a Supernatural episode, it was slightly odd to have so little Sam and Dean, but all the women in their lives (except Mom, of course) coming together to save them was kind of fun. The extradimensional monsters weren't interesting but they were mostly a vehicle for Claire's character development. It wasn't until close to the end that I guessed that it was intended to test the waters for a spinoff show.

As to its potential as a spinoff show, I'm cautiously optimistic. Although Bloodlines' feuding monster families was a fresher concept, the show didn't succeed in presenting engaging characters. Wayward Sisters is way ahead in that regard, partly because they can rely on previous character development, but the relationships between Jodi and her adopted daughters was very well portrayed. We haven't really seen that much of Alex before, but she came across beautifully in the episode. Successful TV series depend more on character than plot.

Is it really intended as a replacement for Supernatural, or to run concurrently with it, like Angel did with Buffy for most of its run? Though the pilot makes me think the focus may be on Claire, I think it would be much more interesting if they do place more emphasis on Jody and Donna. We've seen lots of young blonde girl action heros on TV in recent years, but middle aged women? Not so much. It would make it a little more Fargo and a little less Buffy and that would be refreshing.

I don't know if the extradimensional aspect of this episode is going to be the emphasis of the show, functioning as a sort of hellmouth-on-the-prairie. If they had planned to do that, they wouldn't have killed off Kaia, I think. I'd see it as more about moonlighting as a monster-killer while holding down a county sherriff job and keeping a mismatched family together. Because of their jobs, Donna and Jody may be able to find monster cases that wouldn't cross Sam & Dean's radar.

Shari Houtman said...

I'm so clueless, I had no idea it was a backdoor pilot until I read the review. I just thought it was one of those episodes like The Zeppo or The Lower Decks. In that light, I thought it was a good episode. As a pilot, I love the characters enough that I'd give the first season a try but as several other commenters have said, I watch Supernatural because of the relationship between Sam and Dean. At the risk of mixing my metaphors, Wayward Sisters would have a long way to go to even be in that ballpark.

TheShadowKnows said...

As soon as I saw that Evil Kaia was keeping her cowl down (how the heck could she even see to fight?), I knew we were going to be treated to a moment when she threw back her hood so we could all say, "GASP! It's a GIRL!" (as Roger Ebert - R.I.P. - used to put it when he was reviewing a movie that pulled the same lame trick). Admittedly, her obviously female body was doing nothing to create any doubt in that department (although that was usually true of the movies Ebert reviewed too).

I confess I didn't necessarily see, "GASP! It's EVIL KAIA!" coming.

Patryk said...

Donna makes the ensamble for me. We really do need some comic relief that's also scary competent. They did suprise me by killing Kaia and immediately introducing her evil doppelganger so well played show.

I hope the actual show will be more grounded with 3 of the cast having jobs outside hunting and everyone living in the same town probably needing to pretend to be normal. So not every plot will have to be supernatural related.

434444334 said...

I loved it I want this too be a show soon

Austin said...

Just catching up. Was there a romantic chemistry between Claire and Kaia or is that just the warm-blooded male in me?