Standard disclaimer: I have watched the episode once, while taking crappy notes, and drinking copious amounts of wine. My memory will not be exact and quotes (if I use any) will be heavily interpreted and paraphrased. Don't correct me unless it's crucial to character or plot or I ask you to.
Let's get TO IT...
I'm going to get my negative out of the way before I even start talking about the episode, just so that we can go forward with only fun times: I did not like the directing. I think it was Phil Sgriccia directing, so it's very odd that I didn't like it, because usually he's a standard director who I don't even necessarily notice one way or the other, but this episode I definitely noticed, and it was definitely NOT GOOD (for me, in my opinion.) I'm not sure if he was just trying something new or what, but I did not like it. The action scenes felt choppy and unbelievable and the camera work was distracting and took away from the acting. And I'm very sorry that I had this reaction, because otherwise it was a good episode and I think everyone did a good job. The GOOD news is that if this does go to series (and I really hope it does), that means we'll get a different director for each episode and I will be unlikely to have this problem (often) again... let's get Nina in there or something. Sgriccia, though usually awesome, is not David Nutter. But hopefully the rest of the pilot is strong enough for it not to matter.
Now let's talk about everything else!!!
We get a great THEN sequence that reminds us who are protagonists all are - each one of them - (though we skip over the part where Claire was once briefly possessed by Castiel... man, I hope that comes up if it ever goes to series. I feel like it's such a good character point, but it's like they've forgotten.) - and the whole montage is done over a great female vocalist saying "I am the fire" who I don't know, but I'm sure is awesome.
Our teaser death is actually MONSTERS, in a nice twist, when we catch up with Claire hunting vampires in Iowa. It's a very cool heroes' introduction, which I'm sure would have been similar to Dean's if we had been introduced to Supernatural through his eyes instead of Sam's. Claire (in my opinion) is very Dean-esque, though with issues that cause her to be defiant towards authority and craving independence rather than being codependent.
Once Claire sees a little kidnapped girl safely home, she gets a call from Jody, who has the great line of telling her that the boys are on a hunting trip and she hasn't heard from them in a few days. (Again, same 1 negative that I already stated, I did not like the directing choices on this scene, especially given the direct tie-in to the pilot - it should have been shot differently - but again, this is not the fault of the content. And this will be the last time I bring up the directing again.)
Claire dutifully comes home, though it's more for her own purposes - despite her rocky past with Sam and Dean (&Cas) she feels like she owns them for saving her life the times that they have (I guess that last time with the werewolves really cinched it for her, since they really WERE the only reason she was cured instead of killed.)
Claire meets Patience, who is wearing her sweatshirt. Claire also finds out that her room has been turned into storage. (How many rooms does Jody HAVE? I've been living in Vancouver too long, where a one-room "cheap" condo is 250k....I'm guessing things are WAY different in Sioux Falls.)
Jody plays Sam's voicemail for Claire and the girls. (And I do love that it's Sam - because I really love that Jody is one of the few secondary characters who has a closer relationship to Sam then she does to Dean, even though it's evening out as years go by.) Sam left the voice mail three days ago and mentions Kaia in it, so that gives them their lead.
We also find out that Alex has a job where she works night-shift. Claire seems to take issue that Alex isn't hunting, but Alex just goes to her job, because she's used to Claire. Meanwhile, Patience isn't used to Claire and gets rather annoyed when Claire shrugs off her vision of Claire's death like it's no biggie. Jody is super worried though, because she doesn't want Claire to die. Claire takes issue with Jody's worry because she feels it's babying her and not letting Jody realize that Claire has turned into a capable hunter in the past year or so.
Meanwhile, Kaia is rescued from the side of the road by a good Samaritan who calls an ambulance for her. As she's loaded into an ambulance, we see that she is being stalked through the bushes by something.
Alex, meanwhile, is AT the hospital - is she an orderly? She has a stethoscope around her neck for some reason, so is she a nurse? We don't know. She did not have time to go to medical school. and orderlies have no reason to have stethoscopes... for that matter, neither do nurses. She's sterilizing rooms, which to me indicates orderly, but that stethoscope - WHY? Does she just like the way it looks? Do the patients respect her more if she has it? Is it all a PSYCHOLOGICAL GAME?1?!!!
Anyway, Alex is super cute. Just thought I'd mention that. I think Katherine Ramdeen might have gained a little bit of weight, and the result is that she's super hot now? I can't figure out what the difference is, because she didn't really do much for me before, but for some reason in this episode, I'm like "Let's look at her some more please!"
What was I talking about? Oh yeah... Claire comes in to chat with Alex. And they have a great exchange where Alex says that Claire looks like "Biker Barbie" and Claire says "Thank you!" and I love them both a lot.
Alex explains that she doesn't have any interest in hunting, but she helps Jody where she can, and that Claire should help more too. Claire argues that if she had stayed, Jody just would have spent all her time worrying. Alex rightfully points out that Claire leaving didn't change that. Claire is stunned by this, because apparently no one taught her object permanence as a child. (I kid because I love... I know a lot of people believe that if others don't know exactly what they're up to, then they won't worry - when those people are just going to worry regardless.)
Claire wants access to the hospital system to see if Sam and Dean have shown up anywhere. She tells her to check for rock-star aliases, and Alex says that she's check for all names up through 80s hair metal - and did I mention that I love them? But, as she talks, she checks the system again and discovers that a Jane Doe matching Kaia's description was just brought into Sioux Falls, where they are.
Claire goes to check her out, but upon seeing Claire and realizing that her trials are not over, Kaia flees the hospital... only to run into the monster stalking her outside. Claire comes to her rescue, and so does Jody, and between the two of them they kill the beast, which bleeds blue.
They turn Jody's garage into a makeshift morgue and do an autopsy. For some reason in my notes I have "Nursing Diploma" written down, I think I was still trying to figure out why Alex was wearing a stethescope when she was just in high school two years ago... I should just let it go.
Out on the porch, Claire and Kaia have a chat - which devolves into Claire showing off her battle scars to put Kaia at ease. It works, and their ADORABLE together, and SUPER SHIPPABLE. Kaia though, is super pessimistic about the chances that Sam and Dean are still alive if they're in the Bad Place.
Then we get our first glimpse of Sam and Dean, who are cooking a lizard over an open fire. Dean is the taste tester, and I love their exchange where Sam is like "Don't try to tell me it tastes like chicken" and Dean is like "It's a lizard. It tastes like lizard!" And I love them. Sam is certain they can find the door, but Dean is losing hope - pointing out that the passage only stayed open for a few hours the last time, and it's already been two days - so Sam should just eat the lizard, because this was most likely their retirement... (I'm sure Dean actually meant that they'd have to wait and see if Jack rescued them or something... which I'm sure he would eventually, because it's Jack.)
Back with the ladies - Patience is ready to go back home, because she is the only upper middle-class person and Claire was RUDE. And there's a possibility that her father might forgive her, since it hasn't been that long. Alex questions her decision to go - indicating that even though Alex is against hunting herself, she isn't necessarily for other people fleeing when they can be helpful in some way. So, Alex is very much a "you must be helpful in every way that you CAN" type of person, and just views hunting as something she personally cannot do.
In this exchange, Patience refers to Jody as "your mom" (in the context of "your mom is burying a monster in the backyard right now" - which I LOVE), and I love that Alex doesn't correct her or even bat an eye at the label. Jody is Alex's mom now, not just her temporary guardian.
Alex insists that Patience doesn't have to fight to help - pointing out that she herself doesn't fight, just helps where she can. And now I also ship Alex and Patience, because they can be the two little helpers and I love them... this secondary possible pairing works out to my benefit when my Claire/Kaia ship moves into a trope that I personally don't like at the end of the episode.
Before Patience can leave though, she has another vision - this one is of the Bad Place monsters attacking Jody's house. She immediately comes in and tells them all that they have to leave. Claire argues that they should stay and fight, but Patience is adamant that there will be too many of them.
They leave, and set up a webcam to view the destruction when the monster do attack the empty house and Patience is proven right.
In the morning, they stop at the side of the road and are joined by Donna, who gets the fabulous introduction of Jody saying that she called in back-up, and when jokingly asked if she had called in the National Guard, Jody says "better" just as Donna shows up, with personalized plates that say D-Train.
She presents them with the weapons stash in the back of her truck. Patience questions "how do you have this stuff" to which Donna responds "I'm from Minnesota." And I love her. I have read some of the press around this episode, and in one of them someone mentions how Donna is set-up to possibly be the brawn of the group - and personally, I am on 100% board with that. 10/10, will watch.
Kaia tells them approximately where they were coming from and where they were heading when they were run off the road, and that they ended up in a shipyard. Because they're local to the area, both Donna and Jody immediately know the exact location based on that information.
Jody asks Claire to stay behind and keep the other girls safe while her and Donna go ahead. Claire, surprisingly to Jody, agrees.
We then jump back to Sam and Dean, who are attacked by a mysterious hooded figure and knocked out.
Then we're back with Jody and Donna as they find the derelict (BC) ferry in the shipyard.
Then back to Claire, who has another conversation with Kaia. Claire admits to being scared by Patience's vision - because it's one thing to assume you'll die hunting, and another thing to be told that you definitely will and soon. Kaia is supportive and says that if Claire wants to go to try to save Sam and Dean, Kaia will go with her.
Jody and Donna find the door, and Jody gets ready to jump in, despite Donna's protesting that they should tell the girls first - Jody argues that if she goes in and rescues the boys, then Claire won't, and maybe Claire will be saved - Jody "can't lose another child." Which tells us that in the short time that Claire was with Jody, Jody DID bound with her immensely, despite their troubles.
Before Jody can take the plunge though - they hear monsters, and Jody can't leave Donna without back-up, so backs away from the door.
We return to Sam and Dean, who wake up tied to trees - the mysterious hooded figure comes in and hits a skull, which rings out loudly, and then leaves again. Dean rightfully guesses that it was a dinner bell.
Back with Claire, Jody has failed to pick up the phone, and Claire is rallying the remaining troops to be the second wave.
Jody and Donna are trapped in a defensive position inside a car. (Also, I ship them too.) And then someone comes in with a flame thrower and kills the monster stalking the car.
The someone with the flamethrower is Claire, who nearly immediately spots the door and goes for it.
Donna gives quick gun lessons to Patience.
Then Claire goes into the Bad Place, taking Kaia along with the promise that she'll protect her. But... much like the British drafting Canadians (and Newfoundlanders) in WWI, this is not going to work out well for Kaia.
Claire cuts the boys down from the tree and they make a run for the door.
Meanwhile, Donna, Jody, and the gang defend the door on the other side.
Then we get this moment that I have to ignore, but for some reason when Sam, Dean, Claire and Kaia GET to the door, they pause for a moment instead of running straight through - I guess this is also a negative, but I think it comes down to directing as well. It'd make more sense for the mysterious hooded figure to be between them and the door, or for the figure to be just behind the door, and then attack as they ran up... that way, their pause would have made sense.
But, regardless, the hooded figure steps out of the darkness and aims a spear at Claire. Kaia pushes her out of the way and take it in the gut instead. Dying shortly after, much to Claire's dismay.
On the other side of the door, Patience surprises herself by successfully killing a monster.
Then Sam, Dean, and Claire, rush out of the door just before it closes. Claire breaks down in grief, while Jody holds her, thus mirroring Patience's vision, except that Claire is just crying, not dead.
We join back up with everyone in Sioux Falls, as Jody walks Sam and Dean out to their car. They tell Jody to tell Claire thank you from them, as soon as she's recovered enough from her grief to leave her room. They warn Jody that the rift was open for sometime and there might be more of those monsters that had gotten loose. Jody tells them not to worry about it. She says "You guys save the world, we've got Sioux Falls covered." I'd argue that Sam and Dean, except for rare occasion, really only have the contiguous US covered and not the world at all, but I do recognize that this is an American show, so contiguous US = the world, according to popular culture. (I'll assume Canada is covered by some guy named Gordon, who has properly registered all his guns.)
Jody goes to check on Claire. Claire tells Jody that she was right - that Claire blames her own impulsiveness and lack of plan on the fact that Kaia was killed. And that she understands why Jody worries, because Claire never wants to feel this way again... at first, I was like "Uh, Claire has lost BOTH her parents, she's definitely felt grief before." but then it occurred to me that parents abandoning you and then dying is much different than someone dying who is a DEPENDENT, someone who you were caring for. So, yeah, fair enough there.
Donna, Patience, and Alex have a chat, where Patience is like "I killed a monster" all stunned with herself, and Alex laughs and says "welcome to the family."
Then we get a voice-over from Claire, as she writes in her own hunter's journal about her experience. And about how she's going to stay with Jody, because she needs the support of the family - and because she thinks they're all super awesome, though she's letting them believe that it's because she's broken over Kaia's death, rather that she just loves them. It's a LITTLE on the nose, but whatevs.
I'm also a little surprised that they're going for a Claire POV on the spin-off, because I'd have thought that Patience would be the better audience surrogate, since she's the novice middle-class protag (all other protags are blue-collar, which is actually FAIRLY rare on American scripted shows.) BUT, it also occurs to me that SPN set out as a Sam POV, but by S4 had shifted into majority Dean POV, so if the series DOES get picked up, we may have the same thing happen where the POV shifts depending on the storyline. It ALSO makes sense to have a Claire POV based on the cliffhanger they leave...
...which is the fact that a new doorway has opened up in Sioux Falls, and the mysterious hooded figure steps out of it - only to reveal themselves to be EVIL KAIA! dun dun DUN!!
Fans of the enemies to lovers trope, rejoice! Non-fans (me), please shift your attention to how cute Katherine Ramdeen is and how her and Patience can be cute little helpers for their kick ass moms, Donna and Jody.
So, over all, a really strongly written back door pilot in my opinion - each character had their own distinct voice, which I think is super important when it comes to building interest in an ensemble cast. We start out with a tragedy and a love lost, SPN style, in the death of Kaia (our new Jess), but with the twist that a version of her then returns as a possible big bad, already giving a very personal connection to the enemy that Claire has to eventually face. So, INTRIGUE!
I really do hope that it gets picked up for a series run. We'll all cross our fingers - it's gotten a LOT of press, and I know the fanbase is already strong for it, so I think the CW would be foolish not to at least give it a half or one season try.... especially as it's more than likely that SPN will be ending sometime after S14 (my personal speculation only, could be wrong) so the time for crossovers and special event episodes (which the CW loves for it's DC shows) is very brief.
And next episode we get MORE DONNA! Yay!!
As usual, let me know what you thought in comments. And remember, I like liking things, so state negatives first, but always finish with positives. :)
This entry was originally posted at https://hells-half-acre.dreamwidth.org/551110.html.