Back in season 9, CW had the bright idea of having a Supernatural episode being a backdoor spin-off. (“Bloodlines”) It was panned across the board for being too stereotypical supernatural teen drama and not enough Supernatural-like. Fans gave suggestions as to what would make a great alternative SPN spin-off. One of which was a prequel of sorts where we would see Sam and Dean as teens trying to live, hunt and be normal. A younger Bobby, which the show has stated practically raised them, would be in the spin-off. While we never got that spin-off, in “Don’t you forget about me,” SPN shows off an almost genderbent version of what that would be like.
In her new home of Sioux Falls, North Dakota, Claire, the young orphan daughter of Jimmy Novak, has been taking after Dean and doing some hunting on her own, much to Jody, her make shift adopted mom, Jody’s dismay. Only instead of going around the country in a muscle car, Claire has been hunting around town, convinced that there is a monster somewhere due to four people vanishing without a trace. She has yet to find anything supernatural. But she did manage to terrorize a couple of teenagers who will probably never return to that make-out point again after Claire threatens to slice the head off one them with her Angel blade.
Meanwhile, we get a quick where are they now with God’s sister from the Winchesters. (She is AWOL.) What does she do with her time, anyway? And Dean introduces Sam to the heart attack on the plate, The Elvis. A bacon cheeseburger with two donuts as buns. ......yum?
Back in NC, Jody is now dealing with her other make-shift adopted daughter, Alex. But unlike Claire, she has taken the role of a young Sam, in that she doesn’t want anything to do with hunting. She wants the normal life. The high school. The prom. The social circle that involves dating the most popular boy. And she has it. While Jody is happy to see Alex happy, the discovery of birth control pills in Alex’s bag leaves her worried. Ah, the wonders of being a parent.
At Jody’s home with her girls, the Winchester brothers turn up. The “batsignal” has been set ablazed and the boys have come calling. But instead of finding a monster to bash its head in, Dean and Sam have been dropped head first in a family squabble. Claire is convinced that there are monsters. Alex thinks Claire is losing it and wants nothing to do with monsters. Jody, while believes in monsters, thinks that Claire is going overboard. The boy she attacked early is threatening to sue. This the last thing Claire needs.
This is a great scene because while this all unfolds, the Winchesters are just diving into the food. Makes you wonder when was the last time either one of them had a sit down home cooked family meal. Sure, Dean may cook from time to time but an old fashion, roasted chicken, buns and veggies meal with someone outside of their brother? I am guessing it has been a long, long, long time. Probably not since when Bobby was alive and cooked for them when they would drop in. And how cute were they when took that pile of food home in tupperware? You can imagine Sam and Dean fighting over who was going to eat what because Jody’s food tasted like home. The two of them throwing down paper, rock and sisters over the last of the roasted chicken.
My favorite scenes in Supernatural have always been about the boys being the broken home brothers that they are. Struggling to live through the world of Angels and Demons while maintaining their family bond.
And how is Jody taking the stress of being the mother of two girls with a traumatic supernatural past? Why she takes a page from Bobby’s book...
But just when it looks like Claire may have been chasing dragons, Alex’s math teacher, Mr. Phelps, is found hanging from the high school’s flag pole the next day. He’s drained of blood which makes Claire even more convince that there is a monster in town and it’s a vampire now.
Sam and Dean are slowly believing that Claire is onto something and start investigating themselves. Beginning by going around the school, itself, and asking questions. Even asking the janitor if he has seen anything.
Outside of finding asbestos on the dead teacher’s clothes, nothing comes up. But given that they spent so much time with the janitor, you know mystery show rules says this is not the last we see of that guy.
Meanwhile, Alex is still trying to maintain her “normal” life despite her favorite teacher being murdered. She has a sit down with her boyfriend, Henry. She confesses to him that she was very, very different way back when. Though she does not tell him all the horrific details of what she caused, she still has flashbacks to her life as human bait to her vampire nest. She loathes that past life and feels guilty for every person she indirectly killed. And you feel sorry for her. While she wasn’t murdered, she was also a victim. This is how she survived.
Meanwhile, Sam, Dean, Jody and Claire decide to follow up on the janitor. Like any good detective, they feel something is amiss with him. And turns out that his ID doesn’t match up to who he is. And a different name Richard Beasom pop up with no roots to go with it. Dean and Sam go off to find some more clues leaving Claire and Jody behind. Which is a mistake because who gets the jump on Claire and Jody while they are in garage? The Janitor, aka Beasom.
What’s worse is he’s the vampire that Claire has been looking for!
....or at least one of them. Because while Claire and Jody are being dragged away, Alex learns that her boyfriend is a vampire as well. Down she goes after he attacks her and drags her away to where Claire and Jody is.
While this happens, Dean and Sam come across the kidnapping sight in the garage for Jody and Claire. Panicking, they go looking for Alex as well and only find her phone. The two scramble to figure out where the girls are, with Sam returning to the janitor’s office to look for any clues while Dean goes elsewhere looking for his own clues. Sam comes across a map to the old part of the school. Remembering that he had discovered asbestos on Mr. Phelps, he calls Dean telling him he thinks he knows where the girls have been taken to. The old, abandoned part of the school where there was still exposed asbestos floating around.
The boys dash off to the rescue.
Meanwhile Claire and Jody find themselves tied up in the abandon part of school along with all the missing people that Claire had been investing. The missing people are dead and drained. Food for Beasom and Henry.
Henry drags in Alex to join her family much to her horror. Beasom reveals why this is all going down. Three years ago, he was a victim of Alex being a human lure. Thinking she was lost and alone, he had given her twenty bucks and drove her home. Or at least where Alex told him to drive. He did had no idea that it was a trap for him. He had been almost drained to death by Alex’s nest. Left barely alive, he stumbled his way back home. Not quite turned, yet, the blood cravings in him were too much and he murdered his wife and son. Drinking them whole and leaving him completely a vampire now. Realizing what he had done, he vowed to find Alex and make her go through the same pain. The pain of taking everyone she loved away from her. He even turned Henry and convinced him to seduce Alex into thinking that she was special.
As Henry put it, “That’s what’s scary about family, it gives you something to lose.”
Jokes on them, according to Claire. She claims that Alex hates her and couldn’t care about what happens to her new “family.” But it turns out Alex does care and offers to be Beasom’s slave and do whatever he wants if he lets Claire and Jody go. Beasom doesn’t go for it and bites Claire, leaving her dead.
That’s when Sam and Dean come bursting in like cowboys and start swinging.
Pop goes Henry’s head. Pop goes Beasom’s head. Luckily, because Claire didn’t drink any blood, she is going to be fine. A little battered but fine. And now she knows that Alex gives a damn about her.
Returning back to Jody’s home, the girls are grateful to be together. Alex says that she is willing to leave because she is convinced that other vampires will come looking for her and she doesn’t want harm to come to Jody and Claire. But Jody and Claire won’t let her leave. They are a family now. A broken, make shift family. But a family none the less. Much like the Winchesters with their extended family.
And this is where I see this episode being a great start for a SPN spin off where Bloodlines failed. For all it’s monsters, demons and angels elements, Supernatural is really about broken families and people trying to find them. You have two brothers who will do anything for each other. Kill, die and even destroy the world. And how they will do the same for those they love. Doesn’t matter if they are blood related or not. Family is family is family. Bobby meant just as much to the boys as their own flesh and brother father did.
Thing is, we didn’t any of this with Bloodlines. Sure, there were family troubles but it was less about the struggle to find and keep them and more like a mafia in that these families were keeping the status quo. Meanwhile with Jody, you see the same struggle Bobby had with Sam and Dean under his care. Keeping them safe and letting them do what they want (within reason). Helping Dean with his need to hunt. Helping Sam with his need to have something normal. In this familiarity, you could easily have a spin off where Alex’s nest does go hunting for her and Jody and Claire trying hard to protect her. Meanwhile, other monsters pop up and all three fight them too.
Another thing I’d say about this episode that works that doesn’t work in Bloodlines is that in Bloodlines, being a monster was seen as glamorous and powerful. And while that works on other supernatural shows, that has never been a theme in Supernatural. Being a monster in Supernatural sucks. Full stop. You are either constantly hiding and running either from yourself or from hunters. Life is a constant war zone. You are not living the high life in the fancy part of Chicago. You are staying in flea bitten motels, downing bottles of Jack Daniels to keep away the cravings so you can shake off hunters and at least feel a bit human.
And in this episode, we see that with Beasom. He was turned into a vampire and his life became a living hell. He murdered his wife and child because he could not control himself. He went on the road not for fame and fortune but for revenge. He lived the life of a janitor just to get close to his prey. His life was hard and full of blood. Was he happy? No. Was he living in some mansion with butlers and maids? No. He was a dog on a hunt.
If the producers of SPN want another go at a spin-off they must remember this, Supernatural is about broken families and how everything tied to the supernatural just sucks. In other words, just go with Jody and the girls and call it a day.
* Dean giving Henry the big brother/father hairy eyeball when it came to Alex.
“Oh, yeah, he got the message.”
“Damn right he did.”
* Claire dressing like a young Dean complete with pendent necklace.
* Dean and Sam being delighted in taking so much food home. And being even happier that there was four pounds of chicken left on the stove for them. :D :D!!!