Dear Supernatural Writers: I know you enjoy the tension relief of a Monster of the Week episode every now and again, and believe me, I enjoy them too. But now? SERIOUSLY?! It’s like Plot-us Interruptus. Still, if you have to have a MoW episode, please make sure it includes a familiar face we all know and love. And we loves us some Sheriff Jody Mills. Especially when she’s taking down vampires and saving their Stockholm Syndromed blood slave.
Reunited and It Feels So Good
It did my heart good to see Baby right next to a vehicle from Sioux Falls. Granted, I wish it was Bobby Singer’s road worn 1971 Chevelle, but Jody’s patrol car will do in its stead. I loved seeing the boys with one of the only friends they have left in the world, making jokes and sharing smiles.
After Jody slays a vamp in the opener, like a TOTAL badass, and shows them the decapitated remains in her trunk, the boys have the playful exchange, “I don’t know, Sammy. Looks like Jody might not need our help anymore.” “Ah…they grow up too fast.” “Don’t they?” It was so cute. Adorable even. We haven’t had a lot of that lately. It was welcome.
S is for Sheriff
Can we just talk about how incredible Jody Mills is as a character? I know I’ve mentioned it before here and here but it bears repeating: Jody Mills is an excellent television role model for girls. She’s got it all. If you’ll permit me the slight egoistic moment of quoting myself, I’ll say it again: S doesn’t just stand for Sheriff. It also stands for strong, saucy, smart, sexy and sweet. As always, I have to thank the SPN casting department for giving us an actor that can handle all that Jody is and does it with charm, finesse and an undeniable presence. Kim Rhodes as Jody owns the scenes she’s in. The way she delivers her lines, with such dignity and conviction while still being accessible and downright lovable? Genius. Can’t the spinoff be all about her? I’d watch the crap out of that.
Ix-nay on the Onstertalk-may
Small moment here, but one that really added to the show for me: Sam, Dean and Jody are discussing blood slave Alex, and how they think she has survived her many years living with vamps. Sam mentions the scars on her neck, “feeding scars but…” and here he clears his throat and pauses, looking guiltily around, until we see another officer pass close by. I’ve always wondered how they’ve gotten away with having these discussions right out in the open and not inspired anyone to drag them off to a mental hospital. It was nice to see the show acknowledge that peripheral characters exist who don’t regularly talk about vamp fangs, angel blades and Knights of Hell.
Don’t Lose Your Head
Man! This episode had a LOT of beheading, which I know shouldn’t have surprised me considering it’s a vamp episode, but still! I wonder how this show manages to push the boundaries of violence so hard and not get the censors to shut them down. No doubt: SPN gets away with a LOT in terms of gore, language and adult situations. As this video from their first Paley Fest talk in 2006 shows, they know how to work the system to give us as realistically scary an experience as possible. (Another gruesome sight? The bloody hand sticking out of the woodchipper. At least Dean got a couple of one-liners in about that one. Only a Winchester can find humor in human mulch.)
One Tough Mother
It only makes sense that Jody would feel an instant need to care for Alex, the same way she cares for Dean and, especially, Sam. Jody had a son, and though he died (twice, sadly), she is still a mom and will be forever. The loss of her family still haunts her. When Alex snottily asks how they died, Jody answers with the only word she can: “Horribly.” She uses her mother voice on Alex, corrects her manners, makes her sandwiches, and covers her with a blanket while she sleeps—and there is no way she is going to let anyone, not even the boys, hurt her. In the end, as she’s fighting Alex’s “Mama” for her life and Alex’s soul, Jody relates to the Mother Monster (who kidnapped Alex to replace her own lost daughter) by talking about losing a child and how that pain never, ever goes away. Bravo to Kim Rhodes for taking scenes that could have easily been overacted and portraying them with a quiet soulfulness that breaks your heart.
(Side note: Did anyone else cry when they saw Owen’s bulletin board? I did. As the mom of two young boys I found it crushing.)
Sam’s Tied Up—Must Be Tuesday
As a 43 year old married mother of two, I would be embarrassed to admit how many times I have swooned over and fantasized about Sam Winchester. That said? Those fantasies have never included duct tape. Someone needs to do an episode count of how many times Sam has ended up strapped to a chair. This time, bleeding out so the vamps can have an escape trip snack, he gets to woozily watch Dean save his life. Again.
When Dean frees Sam, he says, weary, “Yeah, I know. You wouldn’t have done the same for me. “ Ouch, Dean. That’s more painful than Jody’s broken knee. And speaking of watching Dean…
“Look at me. LOOK AT ME, BITCH!”
One thing bound and dizzy Sam gets to witness? Dean brutally beheading the vampire that tried to kill them. Lord knows he’s seen that before, but this time? This time it’s different. The Mark of Cain has branded more than Dean’s forearm. It has tainted his heart as well. He relishes the opportunity to kill. Take pleasure in it, more than he should. Later, Sam confronts him. “Nice work there. Look at me, bitch?” He’s not criticizing Dean’s snappy comeback. He’s afraid for his brother, and what his pleasure in being violent means.
Dean? Doesn’t care. And that’s the scariest thought of all, because what makes you care is your humanity. If Dean doesn’t care, what is he becoming?
What Makes a Family?
An underlying theme of this show has always been about what makes a family. On the surface, it seems Alex has one. Or does she? She has brothers who pick on her for being a moody teenager, yet use her as a honey pot to lure vics and make her hate herself. She has a Mama who has cared for her for years and, in her own twisted monster way, loves her deeply, but is willing to make Alex a monster too (her deepest fear) to keep her. Certainly that is not unconditional love. Thankfully, Alex will get a second chance with Jody, who even acts as a mom to her when she decapitates Mama. “Don’t watch this, sweetheart,” Jody says, and we see how she wants to spare Alex horror and pain they way the nest never did. In this case, the writers quite literally reminded us: “Family don’t end with blood.”
I Open at the Close
(Yes. That is a Harry Potter reference. Fandoms collide.) The closing scenes for this episode were beautiful. Seeing Jody acknowledge her pain. Her loss. What grief does to a person, and how it changes their lives completely yet traps them in a moment for eternity. It was truly and deeply touching. She knows that Alex is filling a hole in her life, and yet she cannot resist having someone to devote herself to. “Whatever you want from me, I’ll give it.,” she tells Alex, in the haunting final scene. “If you want, I’m here. But what you’ve been though, the last 48 alone—losing your entire family, everything you’ve ever known or loved. No one can understand that.” “You can,” Alex says softly, and as we cut to black we are left grateful that they found each other, somehow, in SPN’s sick and twisted world.
JODY MILLS LIVES!!!!
Okay, so not so much a moment as a relief. When I saw the preview I literally moaned, “Oh, NO!” aloud. I was terrified that the show was going to kill off yet another character I had invested so deeply in. Thank you to the show runners for proving me wrong. It’s been said that SPN has a penchant for killing female characters, but I’m putting everyone on notice: Jody and Charlie live, or I riot!
(PS: Baby had her birthday recently, so I post this glamour shot in her honor.)
Next week: set-up for the spinoff, Supernatural: Bloodlines. Or, as Dean imagines, “The Godfather with fangs.” Just four episodes left until the finale, kids! Hold on to your hearts.