It’s been filler-city for the better part of a month on ‘Supernatural’ and this week is no different. With that said, we get a bit of vampiric fun this week as the Winchesters reunite with Sheriff Jody Mills and her retreat partner, Donna Hanscum.

Hibbing, Montanta…

Sam and Dean can find nothing on the Mark of Cain

A place I’d never even heard of is holding a joint Sheriff Retreat for Minnesota & the Dakotas. Mandated to attend by her superiors, the Sioux Falls Mills is immediately hit with the overt sunshininess of Donna Hanscum of Stillwater, the same Donna Hanscum the Winchesters met last season in the “The Purge.” It doesn’t take long for Mills to see it’s not going to be a fun time for her but things pick up when she hears Deputy Graham tell his Sheriff Cuse (the hosts of this great Retreat) about the body of a street tagger found that morning. When it’s mentioned that “not even a claw mark [was found] on the body,” Mills puts a call in to our favorite hunters as a case they’d be interested to take. Unable to find any information on the Mark of Cain, it’s the perfect distraction and they arrive at the Retreat in their familiar FBI garb and break down the two murders (a second one occurred the night before) when the Winchesters see Hanscum. They tag Mills to run interference and the brothers chat up Sheriff Cuse and his deputy. They get the idea that Cuse is hiding something and Dean’s hunch is all but confirmed by Graham, who says the Sheriff changed passcodes used to access the server.

While the brothers are working the case, Mills and Donna take in the sights of the Retreat. During a firearms perusal Doug—Donna’s ex-hubby—talks down to the jovial sheriff for the second time in as many days. Mills lets him have it but Donna’s not really appreciative of the help, stressing that Mills can have a say when she loses a husband. The words trigger a gruesome memory of the fate of Jody’s family and Donna recognizes the look just a bit too late. Mills eventually finds Dean and chats about how he’s feeling since being back while, after following a blood trail, Donna is formally introduced to the world of ‘Supernatural,’ catching Sheriff Cuse and his nice, sharp teeth, kneeling over the bloodied body of one Sheriff Goodhill. She takes the information to Mills and, when the two women end up running across the Winchesters, both searching for clues in Cuse’s room, they break down the reality of things that go bump in the night for Donna Hanscum.

Donna is ready for action

She takes it in stride and doesn’t back down when the brothers head to the address found in Cuse’s room, an abandoned farm outside of town. They find Cuse but instead of attacking, he warns them to run but it’s too late. A trio of vamps get the jump on the hunter quartet and truss them up inside. Led by Starr, the homeless girl that ran into Mills in front of the Retreat, we get the story of one majorly dysfunctional “family,” Cuse wasn’t always the lawman he is today, running into Starr during Woodstock, showing her all the ropes. But he turned over a new leaf, wishing to help people since he’s killed so many. Starr is going to kill until he rejoins the fray but Cuse stands by his convictions, accepting death instead of returning to his roots. During the “family meeting”, Dean’s able to get free, killing the two brothers while Donna, also cutting her bindings, takes out Starr. She even gets her own snappy “I killed the baddie” retort.

Case closed, Donna’s still wrapping her mind around the things going bump in the night while Dean admits to Sam that he’s back. “For the first time since I’ve been back,” he says, “I didn’t feel like the Mark was pushing me.” Sam accepts it but, as they get into the car, Dean rubs his forearm in the spot where the Mark lies.

More to Come

  • It’s always fun to get a blast from the past and Jody Mills is that blast. One of the few Winchester allies still in the land of the living, Mills provides a tether for Sam and Dean to a world filled with violence but also a reminder of why they do what they do. It was a genius move to include Donna Hanscum and her bubbly lovability as well. It turned what would have been a forgettable episode into a somewhat fun romp back into vampire territory.
  • Unlike some of the previous fillers, there isn’t much foreshadowing on future events/emotional moments until the very end. Dean admits to Sam that he’s finally back to being himself but, as we watch him get into the Impala, something tells me he’s not being honest with his younger brother. Sooner or later, the Mark is going to remind Dean it’s there and in a big way…