There’s no show out there that keeps in touch with past characters like “Supernatural.’ The aptly titled ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ brings it in spades as it puts the not-so-nuclear family of Sherriff Jodi Mills, former vampire lure Alex, and Claire (daughter of Castiel’s host, Jimmy Novak) at the forefront.
With nothing doing on the Darkness front and Castiel in the wind, Sam and Dean get a call from Claire about a potential case in Sioux Falls. When Jodi arrives home with Alex, she’s just as surprised to see the Winchesters as anyone. The tension between the three women is palpable. Some of it’s just two ‘sisters’ on different tracks but there’s also Claire’s track recent track record of misidentifying hunter cases with run of the mill life (or rabies-infected dog). A smart one is Claire, redirecting the dinner conversation towards Alex’s escapes with boyfriend Henry, to the chagrin and utter discomfort of Sam and Dean.
For the Winchesters, the dinner mercifully ends and Dean chats with Jodi about the girls. She’s worried about Claire who, despite being in college, hasn’t attended classes in weeks and is a loner to the nth degree. Wordsmith that he is, Sam tries reaching out to Claire, uniquely qualified to relate to her feelings of being on the outside of whatever bond Jodi has solidified with Alex. “You wouldn’t be the first hunter who was trying to escape something,” he tells her and also points out how monsters will always be out there but family, well, family won’t be.
But Claire’s not wrong. Mr. Phelps, Alex’s favorite teacher, is the first victim. He gets his head bashed in then is hanged atop the flag pole. Sam and Dean are already there with Sherriff Mills when Claire arrives, expecting to be let in on the details. Dean takes her aside, reminding her she needs to respect Jodi and give a damn. The trio don’t find much in the way of a suspect, though Sam and Jodi both get weird vibes from the janitor, Mr. Wheeler. Doing a bit of digging into Wheeler, Sam finds out the man’s using the SSN of a deceased individual and Jodi sends his likeness through facial recognition. But, just like that, he strikes, taking Claire and Jodi captive. Jodi’s able to call Dean during the assault and the two brothers arrive too late. Dean gets a call from a Sioux Falls deputy on the janitor, one Richard Beasom. Missing for three years, his family was found exsanguinated and, coincidentally, his place of residence—O’Neil, Nebraska—is the same place Alex’s vampire family lived.
Speaking of Alex, Dean calls to warn her about what’s going on but before he can pick her up, the boyfriend Henry reveals himself to be a vampire. He takes her to an abandoned building on the school’s campus where Rich is holding Claire and Jodi. There we get the full story: Rich tried helping Alex three years ago but didn’t realize she was the lure for her vampire family. He was turned and, in his ensuing hunger insanity, gutted his family. He wants nothing but to bring Alex the same pain: starting with getting her in a good place in life before he could tear her down. Enter Henry, turned by Rich to help Alex develop something that would be painful to lose. Mr. Phelps was first and Claire and Jodi will be next. Alex tries to reason with Rich, promising to do whatever he says so long as he lets her family go. He thinks about it…then takes a few gulps from Claire’s neck.
It takes a bit of time before Sam and Dean arrive but they do, killing both vampires, with a bit of help from Claire and Alex.
The next morning, a shuffling Jodi comes into the kitchen to find her girls on common ground. Though their attempts at breakfast weren’t too successful, the bond formed between the three is stronger than even, thanks in part to Alex’s willingness to give it up for them. “You were ready to give up your life for us,” Jodi tells her, “that’s goodness. And that’s what’s scary about family. It gives you so much to lose.
The Winchesters come to say goodbye to the newly minted family. Claire’s going back to school while Jodi promised to teach her how to properly investigate but it’s Alex who seems most affected. She promises to be ready if other vamps come calling but also knows that, once she gets her life together, she needs to move on, unwilling to be around the fight against the things going bump in the night. Like many things, the Winchester brothers leave things just a little better than they found it.
- As mentioned, there’s nothing like seeing familiar faces from the past and Supernatural continues to excel in that regard. Love me some Jodi Mills who, by now, is an honorary main character, despite seeing her only once or twice a season. The once angry-at-the-world Claire has found her place and a new family and the same goes for Alex. So it must also be pointed out that seeing familiar faces is good but watching their characters develop is even better. Again, in this, Supernatural is king.
- Fun as it was to see three lovely characters return, the overall story was pretty boring and offered no real movement in Sam and Dean’s trek to beat the Darkness or their own personal development. In reality, they were secondary characters to the Claire/Jodi/Alex familial dynamic. That’s not bad, per se, but it’s not an episode that warrants a second viewing.
- There were a couple good scenes sprinkled throughout the Supernatural hour, beginning with the first scene between the brothers and Dean’s challenge of “The Elvis”…a bacon burger with donuts as the bun. But the awkward familial dinner where birth control, birds-and-bees, and STD catch the brothers off-guard more than a monster’s attack. Their deer-in-headlights glazed over looks and stumbling words was a treat to see, though Jodi probably didn’t think so at the time.