Well, color the Res impressed. This was supposed to be a filler episode, something easily digestible after the return and loss (again) of Loki. Surprise! It wasn’t. (As in: it wasn’t easily digestible. It was like eating tree bark. Super misogynistic tree bark.)
This (seemingly) odd titled episode kicks off with a girl getting arrested and thrown into an (seemingly) empty jail cell. The sheriff or whoever leaves her by herself, and her creepy brother shows up to do some redneck threatening. Honestly, people are never going to want to visit the Midwest with the bad rap this show gives us. (On the other hand, did we really need a show to emphasise the bleakness of this wasteland?) Ohio and the lands beyond are not exclusively populated by murderous supernatural beings. (At least, that’s what Res wants you to believe.) Anyway, turns out that creepy bro is a vampire (ugh) and before he can bite the girl, or whatever, Jody chops his head off with her police-issue ax. (Okay, that depiction of the Midwest is definitely accurate.)
For those of you who do not remember, or who just jumped on the Supernatural bandwagon in recent seasons, Jody Mills was first an enemy and then friend of Bobby Singer (#NeverForget) and her son was zombiefied at some point (maybe, neither of us can remember what happened four seasons ago) so she started believing in (although in this world, it’s more like “knowing about”) things that go bump in the night. There’s other stuff about her too – go watch the old eps if you’re really curious – but the important thing to know about her is that her son is dead and that makes her very sad. Because women are defined by their relation to their men and their children. Obviously.
Jody realizes that supernatural things are happening, so she calls the Winchesters. When they interview the creepy girl, who insists her name is Alex, Sam notices she has prominent bite marks on her neck. They figure out she has been feeding the vampires who first kidnapped her (Alex isn’t her real name, she was born Ann) and then brainwashed her. Daughters are not food, people! Perceiving Alex to be a victim in all this, the boys (patronizingly) instruct Jody to take her to a safe location: Jody’s family cabin. In the woods. Miles and miles from civilization. Jesus, did she go full Thoreau? This won’t end poorly at all.
The boys, meanwhile, find the vampire nest and conduct a few interviews, CIA-style (no suits though, sadly). By that we mean they see a vampire putting some remains through the wood chipper and then kill him before torturing his brother (who is a very poor man’s Sam Winchester). The vampire tells them that Alex (who they also sometimes call Alexis) is not a prisoner in their nest, she’s their baby sister. They also call their leader ‘mama’, which is creepy. Alex would also play the honeypot and lure in some meals – the vampire goes so far as to say that Alex enjoyed it too.
Meanwhile, Jody is trying to get Alex to warm up to her. Alex is not exactly the most sensitive person in the world – she has, after all, been raised in a family distinctively lacking in human kindness (also: humans)– so Jody doesn’t make much headway. She does get in a few good lines that convey how much pain her family’s death caused her, leaving out the supernatural events surrounding the event. Jody’s kindness seems to get to Alex after a bit. Eventually the vampires track Alex down and take her back to the nest, where she confesses that she ran away because she feels guilty over all the people she’s led to their deaths. Mama decides it’s time to turn Alex so she won’t feel anything anymore (such effective parenting).
Jody meets back up with the boys and they go after the vampires. Dean is all condescending to Jody because, even after nine seasons, he’s kind of a dick. (‘Yellow Fever’ was on another channel earlier Tuesday, which underscores this point.) He reminds her that Alex is a willing participant in the vampires’ quest for blood, and that their primary goal should be to kill all the vampires and not try to save this one girl. Res really expected Sam to object more to this, because Dean is exhibiting some cold-blooded behavior, but instead he backs his brother up to the usual degree (which contradicts “Metamorphosis,” an episode that was also on earlier Tuesday).
Inside, it doesn’t take long for our intrepid heroes to get captured by the vampires. Dean is knocked out on the floor while the vampires drain Sam of his blood. (Does he still taste different from all those years of ingesting demon blood? Inquiring minds wish to know.) Jody is taken down for a confrontation with Mama, and also so that Alex can drink her blood and become a vampire. Alex, to show character growth and because women who are able to bear children must stick together (you are only as valuable as your ability to bear sons for your husband), asks Mama to release Jody.
Jody realizes why Mama has been so lenient with Alex, and also why she changed the girl’s name: she lost her own child at some point, a little girl named Alexis, and she’s been projecting onto this Alex. Jody recognizes a coping mechanism when she sees it: she’s been doing the same, searching for comfort in various ways (religion, dating Crowley, the usual things). Mama is upset over her empathizing and starts beating the shit out of Jody. Side note: this might be the longest scene with only women on screen in the history of Supernatural.
Upstairs, the other vampires are monologuing instead of killing Dean immediately because no one is good at their jobs seriously what the hell. Old Deany boy’s been playing possum, however, and goes all Mark-of-Cain on the vampire who tries to kill him. He also seems to really really really enjoy it, which is disturbing. Sam reminds him that Jody probably needs their help, and they arrive in the basement just in time to cut off Mama’s head before she drinks Jody’s blood.
The episode ends on a strange note. Jody is going to take care of Alex until Mama’s blood (the second-to-last ingredient in turning a human into a vampire) leaves her system, meaning that she has a child to care for again. Thus she fulfills her primary purpose in society! The patriarchy is content. The boys, meanwhile, argue a bit over how Dean is starting to take an unnatural enjoyment in killing things. Well, more obvious enjoyment anyway. Can’t you boys just get along?
Next week: Lake Michigan's Shore Is Crawling with the Undead. That's Res's suggested working title for the spinoff being backdoor piloted next week. Doc, as a denizen of the Windy City, will have words and opinions about everything. For example: God, CW, just find a new monster. Not everything has to be vampires.