Supernatural returned last week with Sam and Dean trapped in The Bad Place, with no hope of being rescued. Or so they thought. The backdoor pilot of the CW stalwart’s potential spin-off served as the mid-season premiere, with all the good and bad that comes with it. I’ve seen a lot of reactions to the episode, both on social media and in blog posts (some of which were written and decided upon before the episode was even available). I have been as excited as anyone for this possible new series, which would be the first all-female led sci-fi/genre show ever, but I will admit that it’s with some trepidation and excitement combined that I write this review. One thing the Supernatural fandom cannot be accused of is passivity or a lack of passion. Articles about Wayward Sisters were inundated with comments, social media was a playground of opinions, and it seems that, before anyone even saw the show, the line was drawn in the sand. Either this show was the greatest thing to happen or the absolute worse. There seems to be no in between. And that’s me: the in between.
The show opens with my baby girl Claire, who’s all grown up and killing werewolves, until she gets a call from Jody, who tells her something that will be familiar to anyone who has followed Supernatural closely from its very first episode: “The boys are on a hunting trip, and I haven’t heard from them in a few days.” It’s a beautiful callback (if a little corny), and sets the tone for the rest of the show. Now, this is a familiar feeling show, but not the same as other Supernatural episodes we’ve seen, and that’s good. Unlike the previous attempted spin-off in Bloodlines (following mobster monsters in Chicago), this feels like home… when you come back after moving out for the first time. Nothing is exactly what you’re used to, but you still feel comfortable enough to kick back and relax.
Jody introduces Claire to Patience, and there is immediately tension between the two, Claire thinking Patience is a fraud at worst, and soft at best. Patience tells Claire about the vision she had, and after some arguing about Jody’s overprotectiveness and Claire’s recklessness, the women listen to Sam’s voicemail telling them about Kaia. Claire goes to see Alex at her job as a nurse at a local hospital, and they find that a Jane Doe was just brought in after being found on the side of the road. Turns out it’s Kaia, who tries to run from Claire (and all of this shit), but is immediately attacked by some nasty ass monsters from The Bad Place before being saved by Jody and her excellent timing.
While Alex, Patience, and Jody are autopsying the blue gooey monster in Jody’s garage, Claire and Kaia are talking and comparing scars. The connection and chemistry are beautiful, and DreamHunter is born, coming soon to fanfics near you.
Kaia tells Claire what she knows about the gross monsters and where they came from, and Claire takes her to tell everyone else. After Kaia says it’s likely that Sam and Dean are dead, we pop on over to our brothers, who are nomming on some lizard (fun fact: it does not taste like chicken) while searching for the door back to our universe. They hear a big ass growl and decide it’s time to get the fuck outta dodge (but with a snack for the road), and once they leave, we see some Assassin’s Creed looking motherfucker watching them ominously. Now, I won’t say that I didn’t miss seeing more of the boys in this episode, but I will say that the women more than held their own, and my attention. That being said, Dean’s review of lizard meat and reluctance to leave food behind was probably my favorite part of this whole episode. The two run around the woods for a while, but soon enough get their asses kicked right quick by the ninja who has been tracking them.
Back in our world Patience “I Just Want to be Normal” Turner has also decided to skedaddle, since Claire didn’t take her death omen as gospel. Patience came here to do one thing, and that one thing was not witnessing a monster autopsy, or get entangled in Dean and Sam’s shit. If there is one character who isn’t really clicking with the ensemble, it’s gotta be Patience. I don’t feel any depth from her, which sucks. When she’s with the other women, she instantly becomes wallpaper. Hopefully this is something that just takes some time to pull out of her. Alex tries to convince Patience to stay, telling her that she doesn’t have to be a fighter to be helpful and useful, but Patience has made up her mind to go back to her dull existence and heads out, only to have another vision. She runs back to tell everyone the Bad Monsters are coming and that they need to go now. Claire puts up some token “I don’t follow ANYONE’S RULES!” resistance, but eventually they all leave, which is good since the house is quickly invaded by red-eyed slimy bug men. Patience has a nice “I told you so” moment before the troop makes a pit stop to meet up with Donna, the rootinist tootinist sheriff in Minnesota. I fucking love Donna, and all her guns. The group figure out where Kaia last saw the boys, and Jody asks Claire to stay behind and protect the girls while she and Donna go check it out. Claire isn’t all that pleased to be left behind to babysit while Jody and Donna get the good action, but she agrees.
Jody and Donna head out, and Kaia and Claire bond some more. Claire tells Kaia that she’s a little relieved that Jody asked her to stay behind, since the whole “knowing you’re going to die” thing really puts a damper on hunting. Claire is conflicted though, since Dean and Sam saved her life, and she wants to help them if she can. Kaia tells her that if she goes to help Jody and Donna, Kaia will go with her (another nod to Supernatural canon).
Meanwhile, after Jody and Donna see Baby at the abandoned shipyard, the two head in to find the door to the Bad Place. Once they find it, Jody tells Donna that she’s going through because otherwise Claire will, and Jody simply cannot handle losing another child. Before she can go, though, they’re interrupted by more Bad Monsters. They do what they can, but eventually have to resort to hiding in a car, which is when Claire & Co. come to the rescue. Claire, Kaia, and Jody head back to the door, and Claire and Kaia head through, hand in hand. Jody rejoins Donna and the girls as they kill the rest of the beasties.
Meanwhile in The Bad Place, Sam and Dean are tied to a couple trees, all trussed up to be dinner for the beast that the Assassin Ninja summoned. They may not be on the menu, however, because Claire finds them in record time thanks to Kaia, and cuts them loose. They all go running to the door but rather than immediately diving through head first, the four hang around just long enough for Assassin Ninja to fucking kill Kaia, who pushes Claire to safety. This and the giant fucking monster coming at them is enough impetus for the three to return to our world, leaving Kaia in her nightmare forever.
Once they’re back, Claire is comforted by Jody, and Patience realizes that her vision wasn’t about Claire, but Kaia. Patience may need to practice interpreting her visions a little bit. The crew heads back to Jody’s house to literally pick up the pieces and Sam and Dean head back out. Claire and Jody talk, and Claire tells Jody she was right about Claire heading into things without thought or plans, getting the people she cares about killed. Then we get Claire’s journal entry voiceover, saying that she’s staying this time, while Somewhere Else, there’s another interdimensional door open and Assassin Ninja hops out, and waddaya know, it’s ANGRY SMIRKY KAIA.
Okay, so overall, I really loved this episode and think it fit really well within the Supernatural universe (almost too well, since one of the two women of color was killed to further a white character’s narrative). The fact that Kaia (or some version of her) is back on the show doesn’t really matter, she was still needlessly killed as far as we know, but I’m interested to see who this Assassin Kaia is, and if she was the reason that Kaia could never go anywhere else, and showed physical signs of being there. I’ve seen a lot of talk about how Sam and Dean don’t need or want anyone’s help to do anything, and I can’t disagree with this view more. Sam and Dean are nomadic and loners not out of choice, but out of a need to protect the people they love from harm. Whatever this show started out as, the prevailing theme for almost its entire run is that of found family. Sam and Dean may be resigned to an early grave and a lonely life, but that doesn’t mean it’s what they want. And yes, they usually would be able to eventually figure out a way out of the scrapes they get into, but they have never made it back to Earth without help from someone, be it Cas or Benny. They may be fantastic hunters, but they can’t open portals to other universes, regardless of how badass they are. Wayward Sisters didn’t feel like a usual Supernatural episode, but that was the point, and if there is one thing we can use more of, its strong, flawed, badass women on television. Supernatural is about found family, and Wayward Sisters is the culmination of that theme. Dean and Sam’s lives may be that of no ties and hunting, but it seems that Wayward is going to look at it another way, trying to balance “real” life with hunting and monster killing, and I for one cannot wait.