Supernatural – Season 11 Episode 12
“Don’t You Forget About Me”
Supernatural takes a further break from the main plot with an episode that broadly serves as filler but manages not to be completely disposable.
I liked that the episode began with Sam and Dean in the midst of some downtime. The most fascinating thing Sam could find on the internet was a strange picture and Dean was taking advantage of some local food that actually looked incredibly tasty. It’s probably really disgusting and would almost certainly make you sick but it did look good.
It’s established that Amara hasn’t been active lately and Cas/Lucifer hasn’t been seen since Dean spoke to him in the previous episode. All is quiet on the Winchester front and the opening proves that Sam doesn’t handle downtime well where Dean really enjoys it.
Things pick up slightly when they are summoned by Jody to deal with a problem. We are reintroduced to Jody’s collection of stay girls and find out how their lives are at this point. Alex has managed to fit in at school and has the most popular guy in school as her boyfriend where Claire is struggling to fit in and has become somewhat obsessed with the Hunter lifestyle to the point where Jody thinks that she’s manufacturing hunts where none exist.
It turns out that Claire was the one who summoned the Winchesters as she believes that there is something supernatural going on. Without going into too much detail there’s the usual trope of nobody believing her and having her turn out to be right anyway. It’s a bit turned around here as we see this from the adult perspective so it does actually looks like the whole thing is in her imagination. Usually audiences see the younger perspective and get frustrated at the adults for not noticing the obvious. It wasn’t Earth shattering in the originality but it made for a refreshing change to the trope.
The interesting thing is that Sam and Dean take on more paternal roles than we’re used to. Normally they are the young guys who are having fun but both of them go out of their way to set a good example to the girls as they know how difficult their own childhood was without proper boundaries and role models. They want Alex and Claire to experience being parented because they were robbed of that growing up. Dean freely admits this and it’s a sign that he has matured in ways that I certainly didn’t expect. Dean’s excited reaction to a home cooked meal completely reinforced the lack of parenting they experienced.
It’s clear that Sam and Dean weren’t expecting to fall into the paternal role as shown by the dinner scene where they are drawn into a conversation about sex and teen pregnancy. Considering how promiscuous both brothers have been since the show started it was hilarious to see them right in the middle of this awkward situation having to agree with the voice of reason when they haven’t been the most sensible themselves.
Dean’s speech to Claire about respecting what Jody has done for her was really powerful. He would do anything for her childhood and gets angry at the fact she wants to throw it away. More so than most Dean understands the lure of hunting but he also knows how important family is and encourages Claire to embrace the fact that someone wants to give her one.
Sam has similar advice but his approach is a more friendly one. He tells Claire the same things but tries to meet her on her level. It’s an approach consistent with his character and creates a nice contrast to Dean’s parenting technique.
The family dynamic between Jody, Alex and Claire was really engaging. They operate on a sort of functioning dysfunction and their relationship feels very real. They bicker and fight but there’s genuine love there. Both Alex and Claire push too hard but suffer an event that pushes them closer together. The whole episode is very much a bonding experience for all of them as they learn to function as a family unit.
Outside of the awkward dinner the episode had some solid comedy beats such as Claire calling Sam and Dean out for telling her off for doing everything they do. Seeing how flustered they got when she couldn’t ask for crime scene information but the fake FBI can was great.
Unfortunately this episode trots out vampires again because it’s related to Alex and forces her to relive her past but it’s not especially interesting. It was easy to see where the betrayal was coming from and what would happen next. Sometimes these parts of Supernatural episodes feel like they’re going through the motions and this was very much an example of this. It’s perfectly serviceable but nothing we haven’t seen before.
A solid character driven episode that showed an interesting unconventional family dynamic forming between Jody, Alex and Claire. Sam and Dean acting more paternal was an interesting change that suggests they are maturing but the whole vampire story was really weak and it was easy to see the twists coming.
• the excellent and realistic family dynamic between Jody, Alex and Claire
• genuinely funny comedic moments that landed well
• Sam and Dean being more paternal
• a dull monster plot that felt by the numbers
• twists that were easy to see coming