Okay, let's just dive right in....
Firstly, i don't have a Jody icon (I know, horrible oversight on my part), so Charlie will have to stand in as a representative of her fellow awesome female recurring character.
This episode was really a Jody Mills episode. I mean, from start to finish, it was Jody Mills all the way with the boys as guest stars. And I am not complaining. I really love episodes and characters that make the Supernatural universe BROADER and RICHER.. and having fully formed complex characters that are heroes of their own story (and most importantly, continue to LIVE) is what makes that possible. I think it's part of the reason why I had suh a hard time with S7, when the show became too narrowly focused on Sam and Dean.
Anyway, Jody is awesome. I'm happy... but let's talk about this is something resembling chronological order - though, like usual, I've had copious amounts of wine and only watched the episode once about an hour or two ago, so things aren't going to be perfect and no quotes will be correct.
We begin with our mystery girl being hauled into the police station - why, we never find out. But she's hauled in and put in holding, but then the ONE cop on duty is called out to a B&E. He leaves, because the Sheriff will be back soon... and dude, I'm pretty sure you aren't supposed to make exceptions to these rules!! But, nevertheless, that leaves our mystery girl alone at the station, which means that the vamp looking for her can break in and threaten to drag her back whence she came... only, NOT SO FAST, because Jody comes in and beheads him!
When in doubt, behead. We figure that's Jody's motto, since she couldn't have known he was a vampire from behind.
Being the smart woman that she is, Jody calls the boys - who arrive to confirm that it's a vampire (who is now stashed in Jody's trunk - and THAT's going to get smelly fast.) Jody has healed nicely since that time she was stabbed in the shoulder - and I like the fact that she says that it only hurts when it rains, and we see that it is quite obviously raining. There's something... meaningful about it all, which I can't articulate right now because 1)I'm tipsy, and 2)I'm not very articulate to begin with, let's be honest.
We find out that Annie is a missing girl from 9 years ago, who before that was an orphan living with her grandma. We also find out that she's been going by the name Alex and that she's a "blood slave" who has Stockholm syndrome. She makes them as hunters immediately and won't give up any information... until they convince her that it's either she gives up her nest, or she resigns herself to the fact that she's not ever going to escape her "family."
What I LOVED about this scene was that as soon as Jody understand that Annie/Alex was not thankful because, as she saw it, Jody killed her brother - she reacts COMPASSIONATELY. Dean and Sam see it as a sign of her brainwashing/stockholm thing, but Jody knows that even if it IS messed up that doesn't diminish the fact that Alex is now in genuine mourning.
So, I kind of forget whether Alex gives them the information or not. But the Winchesters figure out what town she came from and they head off to find the nest, while Sheriff Mills stays behind. Sam tells her about deadman's blood before he goes, and they both tell her that she should probably clear out of the Sheriff station in case the vamp nest arrives for Alex before the Winchesters can kill them. The Sheriff decides to head up to her family's cabin.
Also, I love how in character having a family cabin is for the Sheriff...it reminded me of when she showed up at Rufus' cabin to make sandwiches for Bobby and how at home she seemed there.
Anyway... the boys head off to Nebraska to find the nest -
Oh, but meanwhile, the vampires are killing people trying to find Alex... they attack everyone who works at the bus station ticket office and kill them. Good job. We find out that their a "family" of boys run by a "mama" vamp, which is a nice change from the predominately patriarchal vampire nest that we've see on the show. I think the last female-run nest was Lenore's back in S2.
Right, back to the boys... the boys find the house the vampires are squatting in, and they find one brother outside by the woodchippper...good ol' woodchipper, always good for destroying bodies. I wonder if that's realistic? I've seen it so many times now, I feel like it might be. So gross. I'll stop thinking about it now.
They tie up and torture the vampire, who tells them all about his ungrateful runaway teenage human sister, who thinks she's so much better than them... they find out that Alex is a lure - sent out to find skeezy pedophiles and lechers and bring them back to the house to be killed. The way her brother tells it, Alex seemed to quite enjoy her roll... and man, personally, I think she's doing the rest of humanity a favour. Am I too harsh on pedophiles and whatever-the-word-is-for-people-who-like-u
BUT... Alex also mentioned that she was their blood supply when they got back from unsuccessful hunts...which means that Alex's supply of skeevy-dudes weren't their only prey, I don't think... and that's probably part of where this operation starts to fall apart.
Meanwhile, Jody takes Alex up to her family's cabin and, as a result, Alex sees all the family pictures and such that Jody has up of her family...and asks questions. Jody doesn't necessarily answer them outright, besides responding to "how did they die?" with the answer "horribly" which is, IMHO, a really awesome heart-wrenching response. Also, Kim Rhodes is awesome, because she keeps her calm, but you can hear the threatening tears in her voice at just the MENTION of her family.
Anyway, Sam and Dean kill what's-his-dude... and then take off to try to find Jody, who isn't answering her phone.
And Jody can't find Alex for a minute, but then finds her asleep in her sons room...only, when she tries to cover her gently with a blanket, Alex wakes up and Jody tells her that she made her a sandwich...and it's all very domestic.
Can I just do an aside here - the other thing I love about Jody in this episode is that as soon as Alex told them that she preferred the name Alex, Jody just started calling her Alex. Again, that just sets up from the beginning that Jody is a maternal figure that is a contrast to Alex's previous maternal figure. Jody LISTENS to Alex and respects her desires and feelings... but we'll get to that more later, I guess...
The boys finally get through to Jody and try to warn her that Alex might not be trust-worthy - uh, what else is new? But, they don't actually get the words out, and as their on the phone, a truck pulls up and the vamps are there! They come in through the bedroom window before Jody can get to it and defend Alex...and they drag Alex away... Jody runs out, but is knocked out by a vampire. Luckily, they flee instead of killing Jody.
The Winchesters arrive at dawn to find a slightly disoriented Jody. They argue that they might have to kill Alex too, if she's bloodthirsty in the psychotic way that her brother implied... Jody's super angry about that, but eventually agrees - perhaps just to shut-up the Winchesters. I liked this point too, because, although I think the Winchesters are a bit TOO quick to have human-collateral damage these days, I also like the fact that new hunters, like Jody, perhaps haven't necessarily learned that humans can also be monsters - not the way the Winchesters have. So, basically, as usual, I'm saying that I can see and understand both sides of this argument.
Meanwhile, Alex wakes up back home with mama vamp telling her that they have to move and she's made a mess of everything. Alex is apologetic and wonders why her mother hasn't killed her for all the trouble she's caused. Her mother swears that she'd never hurt Alex, but also implies that Alex is never ever going to escape the family - but when Alex confides in her that she couldn't take the murdering anymore, mama vamp decides that it's because Alex is a human. Her logic is that if she needs to turn Alex, and that she should have done it sooner, so that she won't have a moral conscious anymore... I'm PRETTY sure that's not how vampires work though, but hey, I WILL believe that the hunger just gets to be too much and the feeding feels so good, that they no longer CARE about their moral conscious.
They drive to Nebraska and get ready to raid the nest. Dean once again presses that killing the vampires is their priority, NOT saving Alex. Jody, again, agrees probably just to shut him up.
Then we made fun of the way that Jared "sneaks around" - because K's husband thinks it looks hilariously awkward. K and I just think it's really hard for a 6'5'' guy to try to be inconspicuous. :P
And sure enough, it IS hard, because when Sam and Dean get up to the second floor (leaving Sheriff Mills on the first), Sam gets a gun to his back, and Dean has to drop his weapon in order for Sam not to be shot - and that earns him a two by four to the noggin.
Meanwhile, Jody has heard something from the basement and goes to investigate... she finds Alex, with blood on her mouth and weirdly bloodshot eyes.... and she apologizes, and she's obviously been turned. And that's when mama vamp attacks Jody.
So, Sam gets tied up upstairs, while Dean is left on the floor unconscious. The vamps know about the Winchesters - which, again, I think is awesome, because at this point Sam and Dean's reputation really SHOULD precede them. But, instead of killing them, they apparently need snacks for the road. Since they can't drink deadman's blood, apparently this means draining them until they're nearly dead? Or is it not deadman's blood if the man is still alive when they remove it, even if he dies from blood loss? I'm not sure how this mythological science works!
Anyway, they're draining Sam something fierce.
Jody is tied up in the basement, with mama vamp trying to get Alex to feed on her... but Alex doesn't want to, because Jody has actually only ever shown her kindness and respect. Also, Alex was against all the killing in the first place - she didn't WANT to be a vampire, she wanted to escape. So, yeah, killing the one person who tried to help her escape at their own personal peril is NOT appealing.
And while Mama vamp tries to degrade Jody so that Alex will lose her high opinion of her and feed, Jody puts it together and realizes why mama vamp changed Annie's name... it wasn't just Jody who liked looking after Alex because it helped fill the hole in her that losing her son (twice, I may add) left in her, Mama vamp has obviously lost someone named Alex and replaced her with Annie, even going so far as to change Annie's name to match.
Of course, no one likes to be called out on their weird psychological issues, so Jody gets a broken knee out of the deal - and OH GOD, that hurt to look at... as someone who has knee problems, that's like...the worst. The absolute worst. Knees don't heal right, in my opinion. You mess up your knees and you're basically screwed forever - at least in my experience. Everything that happens to my knees just add more things that are wrong with my knees. So, yeah, have fun going down stairs for the rest of your life Jody.
Anyway, Jody hits so many nerves that she eventually just starts getting punched in the face repeatedly, which is when Alex swoops in for the rescue, showing us that indeed is sticking with her original choice of trying to escape the vampire nest. She injects her mama with deadman's blood, unties Jody, and Jody's able to go over to the table to get her machete.
Meanwhile, upstairs, Dean is surprisingly not knocked out and beats the shit out of the vampires and rescues Sam - though he gets up close and personal with the death and demands the last vampire look at him when he deals the death blow. It's pretty awesome... but, you know, disturbing and obviously a symptom of the Mark of Cain. Sam has to remind Dean that Jody even exists after that, because Dean is so high off the kill.
They run downstairs to see Jody about to take out the mama vamp - and Jody, again, being super awesome, tells Alex not to watch... because Jody understand that monster or not, Alex saw the woman as a mother-figure for the past decade.
Then we take a little break... and we come back to Sam confronting Dean outside of Jody's cabin. Telling him that he's worried about how much he seemed to enjoy killing the vampire. Dean doesn't see a problem with his enjoyment, arguing that it's not a crime to enjoy your job. Sam is disturbed.
We find out that they've been able to administer the cure to Alex - yay! Dean tells Jody that "from personal experience, it'll be a rough few days." And I LOVE the fact that they referenced that one time Dean was a vampire. I just think it's a neat aspect to his character experience, because although Sam's the one that was always afraid of being a monster, Dean actually HAS been a monster - and it always kind of annoyed me that it never came up in any of the Benny episodes - but, I guess it just never really had a reason to.
Then Jody tells Sam and Dean that they weren't altogether wrong about her judgement being clouded when it came to Alex - that she can see now that for the past 4-6 years (depending which timeline you follow), she's basically just been trying to ignore her grief by filling her life with other things - dating, church, I even wonder if her helping the boys and getting into hunting a little was part of it too... but that she realizes that if she wants to move on in a healthy manner, she really does just have to acknowledge and accept the grief and allow herself to mourn.
Then Sam and Dean leave, while ignoring their own issues with the skill that comes out of years and years of practice, and Jody returns to the cabin to check on Alex.
Alex still has weird bloodshot eyes, and I do think that the make-up was a LITTLE incongruous with previous canon, but that's really my biggest criticism of this episode and it's a horribly minor nitpicky one, so whatever.
Jody continues to be awesome and tells Alex that it's up to Alex what she wants to do next, and Jody will help her in anyway that Alex wants her to help...and she also tells Alex that she knows that no one will ever understand what Alex is going through, and what it's like to lose the only family you have ever known all in a 48 hour period like that. Alex points out that JODY understands...and our episode ends. But I have to say that I love the fact that although Jody DOES know what it's like to lose your entire family in one night, she still doesn't assume she knows what it's like for ALEX. Just because their situations are slightly similar, doesn't mean they're the same.... and I love that Jody acknowledged that, and that it was Alex who declared that they were similar enough for Alex to feel comforted by Jody's level of understanding.
And man, can we get the Jody and Alex/Annie adventures now? I figure though, that Alex will probably want to try living a normal life - going to school, moving on, etc... but who better to help her with that then Jody? They can be a little domestic, but sometimes Jody will call home when a weird death gets reported and Alex will go get the guns ready, and she's gotten her driver's license, so she'll be the wheelman and back-up as Jody takes care of things... but "only back-up, Alex." Only does she really listen? No, because if Jody's not back in five-minutes, Alex grabs the shotgun and leaves the car - and swoops in to once again save the day. And Jody would ground her, because she had it under control, she swears, but she knows Alex has a date on Friday and she's been looking forward to it all week - so instead Jody just grumbles and tells her that she's in charge of dinner as punishment - but that's also fine with Alex, because all Jody knows how to make is sandwiches, and there's only so many days a week that you can eat sandwiches for dinner. Alex, meanwhile, having grown up as the only human in a family of vampires, has gotten quite good at preparing meals. Since everyone else in her family only drank blood, the kitchen basically belonged to Alex.... and... okay, yeah, I guess I'll stop now.
To sum up: Great episode. As I told both Kim Rhodes and Robert Berens on twitter, I really love stories that are about the other characters on Supernatural - they enrich the universe and make it seem more real, more like a living breathing thing.
Next week's episode is the spin-off backdoor pilot..., so, should be interesting, I've been the most spoiled for it - and while I'm sure it'll annoy some viewers, since it's not going to be Sam and Dean centred either - I'm interested to see what it'll be like. I figure with 23 episodes in the season, we've got plenty of time for Sam and Dean, and like I've said multiple times, I love it when the show expands the universe to include more characters that you can envision going on with lives that are just as interesting as Sam and Dean's. But, I'll talk bout that episode more next week after it airs, so I don't spoil it for any of you who aren't spoiled already.
As per usual, let me know your thoughts in comments, or if there was anything you desperately wanted me to talk about, or thought that I WOULD talk about, but I seem to have completely forgotten about or neglected to mention...