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We’re at that point in a typical season of Supernatural, with five episodes remaining, that there’s bound to be one final filler episode. Last season it was the fun and touching “Pac Man Fever” with Charlie and Dean battling zombie Nazis. This year we’re treated to the return of another female character – Sheriff Jodie Mills – but the mood this time around was a lot less festive. “Alex Annie Alexis Ann” focused on a runaway girl named Alex who grew up among vampires as a blood slave, which is a new wrinkle for the vampire lore on this show. Basically Alex would lure people back to her “family” (i.e. nest) of vampires for them to feed. Feeling her soul chipped away with each victim, Alex runs away from the nest and straight into the holding cell of Jodie’s police department. Still dealing with unresolved grief over the death of her family, Jodie vows to protect Alex from the members of her family now hunting her.
This Supernatural episode will be remembered for two things: 1) fleshing out Jodie’s character and 2) showing how the Mark of Cain is affecting Dean. I’ve discussed this show’s propensity for killing off its best female characters, and with Charlie alive but off in Oz, there’s not a whole lot of X chromosomes left on this show outside of Jodie. We knew her history and the gruesome way in which her family died. This week’s episode let that part of her story breathe a little bit. It felt organic and added another layer to an already well-developed character. With Kevin gone, I wouldn’t mind seeing Jodie brought into the fold a little more in Season 10. Mind you, no one will ever replace Bobby, but Jodie could be a nice influence on the brothers going forward. Put her in the bunker and let her soak up the reservoir of monster knowledge there and suddenly she’s a valuable addition to Team Winchester and not just a twice-a-season visitor.
Dean had a couple moments tonight that really stood out. There was obviously the “Look at me, bitch!” line that felt inspired by Jesse Pinkman, but I also loved when Dean said, “I know, Sammy, you wouldn’t do that for me” as he untied Sam. The Mark of Cain is making Dean more bloodthirsty and turning him into your 87-year-old grandmother who doesn’t “give a fig” about people’s feelings. I just loved the flippant way in which Dean acknowledged Sam’s grievances because I think it reflects how fans are feeling at this point. Can Sam and Dean ever return to the fun-loving brothers we saw in the opening moments of the Season 5 finale? Probably not. There’s a whole ocean under that bridge. But can they return to loving each other enough to stand being in the same room together? Because here’s the truth about guys: we get pissed about something and then we get over it. We don’t drag it out. The way Sam and Dean have bickered this season implies that they just don’t like each other anymore, which makes me sad. They’ve been through too much to be best buddies, but they’ve also been through too much to have outright disdain for each other. I hope a change in attitude before this season bows out.
When we look back at Season 9, we won’t remember “Alex Annie Alexis Ann” and that’s okay. Some episodes have to lay the foundation for others to flourish atop. The next time we see Jodie we’ll remember that she’s dealing with grief and helping Alex find her way. We’ll look back at the final four episodes and remember that the Mark of Cain made Dean a little sadistic. Momma and her family of vampires were creepy and intriguing for an hour of television. Once they served their purpose, they were tossed out like so many other spare parts on TV shows that log 23 episodes per season. At this point we’ve been trained not to focus on the throwaway characters moving the story along. It’s the impact they have on the overall arc of the show that’s important. In that regard, you have to consider “Alex Annie Alexis Ann” a necessary stepping stone to the finale. That’s not bad for filler.
Line of the week
“Even dating. We know how that worked out.” – Jodie
Next week on Supernatural
The backdoor pilot for the Supernatural spinoff we’re probably all going to hate-watch.