This Supernatural review contains spoilers.
Supernatural Season 13 Episode 11
After last week’s backdoor pilot episode, we were treated to some more Sheriff Donna action, though in a more muted tone. Donna gets the boys involved in her niece’s missing person case. It’s not your typical case. In fact, the writers incorporated the supernatural element here was really unique, and added to the fresh nature of this episode.
There were a number of elements that contributed to that fresh take. At the outset, we have a Sheriff Donna who is not her bubbly, comedic self. The personal nature of her niece Wendy being abducted by was enough to keep Donna in business mode. We see a side of Donna we don’t usually see when she’s in the interrogation room with a suspect. As she got more intense, I thought we were going to see a bad cop moment, in which she completely loses her cool and bashes the guy’s head in with a phonebook, a la The Shield. To Donna’s credit, she interprets his answers correctly and owns up to her fellows that she doesn’t think he did it.
Sam also had a different mood this episode. He’s still dealing with the repercussions of trying to find Mary and Jack, and the otherworldly adventure that only led to Kaia being killed last episode. Sam’s change in demeanor is shown early on, when he wakes up early but doesn’t leave bed until after 10 a.m., skipping the no doubt heavenly pancakes that Dean has whipped up. It’s actually nice to see these reactions, because we don’t often get that. An argument in the Impala? Sure! But actually seeing how lost he is through that simple act of not getting up in the morning said a lot.
The bad guy in this episode was certainly a new take. It wasn’t a monster hunting for himself, as his M.O. seemed to indicate. It actually lead to a macabre online auction, selling off bits of humans to hungry monsters with internet access. Unique angle and a timer to up the stakes. I dig it.
Visually, we saw a style in this episode reminiscent of horror movies like Jeepers Creepers. The introduction of the Mayfly is shown through extreme close ups on grimy details. Weapons, sharp rusty points, missing posters. Even the old timey music reminded me of Jeepers Creepers a bit, the happy retro tunes contrasting heavily with the kill room in which the dismemberment takes place.
I also enjoyed the fact that Dean had to think on his feet when the “real” FBI showed up. It’s been a while since the Winchesters have had to explain who they are to the actual authorities. Their FBI excuse is not always as iron-clad as they’d like, but it’s come more in handy than their parade of different occupations in the first few seasons of the show.
Having Doug, Donna’s boyfriend, in the mix also complicated things. He was not aware of Donna’s side gig hunting monsters until he became one himself. After Doug is cured, he has a moment in which to be an ally to Team Winchester or peace the heck out of there. We’ve seen both reactions before. Doug fell somewhere in the middle. Although shell-shocked, he doesn’t take anything out on Donna for her secrecy. In fact, he commends her by saying “You’re a damn hero!” but admitting that he’s not capable of dealing with this life himself.
I thought it was an episode with a lot to offer, albeit in a more subdued tone than usual. There was not a lot of time left for levity. This was not a story that needed the Supernatural quirky one-liners. This was a serious story with real physical and emotional scars to leave on our characters. It marked a change from our norm, and sometimes change is good.