20 January 2018

REVIEW: 'Wayward Sisters', the back-door pilot for a potential female led Supernatural spin-off

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With CW's Supernatural now in it's 13th season, the longest running horror/sci-fi show has been steadily preparing itself for an expansion. You could say Wayward Sisters is 8 years in the making, with Sheriff Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) making her debut appearance in season 5x15 Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, and re-occuring in every season since. Jody eventually adopts former vampire Alex (Katherine Ramdeen) in 9x19, and in the following season Castiel's vessel's daughter Claire (Kathryn Newton) joins them. Sheriff Donna Hanscum (Briana Buckmaster) first appearing in season 9 meets Jody in 10x8. The newest additions to this extraordinary female ensemble include Patience (Clark Backo), a psychic, and dreamwalker Kaia (Yadira Guevara-Prip) both introduced in the current 13th season.

The mid-season finale left Sam, Dean & Jack in a bit of a pickle. During an attempt to rescue Mary, the plan goes awry, leaving the trio separated and in need of rescuing. It's up to the Wayward Sisters to bring them back home. 

Wayward Sisters opens with Claire Novak on a hunt. She's able to take down a small pack of werewolves without any real difficulty and saved a little girl in the process, before getting a call from Jody Mills - "Sam and Dean were on a hunt, and I haven't heard from them in a few days." And with this new take on the iconic quote, the Wayward Sisters episode kicks off. Claire returns to Jody & Alex in Sioux Falls, where she meets Patience. Claire & Alex soon locate Kaia, and Jody calls Donna for back-up, assembling the team. Each character is given a chance to shine: despite having guest appearances in several episodes throughout the past few seasons, this episode sheds light on their personalities and their family dynamic. If anything, Supernatural finally honours it's much loved female characters, giving them the attention they deserve.

We see several team ups within the episode: Claire & Kaia, Alex & Patience, Jody & Donna. Each character brings something new to the mix, whether it be their supernatural talent or their personality: despite heavily featuring guns, we are still shown glimpses of their supernatural potential, but also their individual characteristics (no two-dimensional women here). Patience & Kaia are still finding their feet in this strange new world, however Alex & Claire are there to reassure & encourage them every step of the way, creating a wonderful sisterhood we rarely see depicted on screen. This also goes for Donna & Jody, two women who have each-other's backs, whether it concerns mundane day-to-day events or a monster shoot-out. If anything, this episode proves how much potential a Wayward Sisters series has: a female led show about remarkable individuals, saving people, hunting things. It successfully establishes the new characters, and grants more depth to the existing ones. 

In today's social and political climate, it's more important than ever to have an all-female sci-fi/horror/fantasy show. The CW has already proved it can successfully depict several female characters within one show (I mean, it's really not that difficult) with shows like Supergirl, the only other show I watch which features multiple women in a single scene: women who are complex, vulnerable, strong, weak - relatable women. This episode of Supernatural proved just how much potential Wayward Sisters has as it's own show, the possibilities are endless. If given this opportunity to flourish, we could witness character growth, different dynamics within the group, each individual mastering their own unique talent and much, much more. We could even expect other characters from the show to guest star, such as Billy, Rowena and Amara - hell, maybe even Charlie.

With a huge existing fan base, there's no doubt that a female-led Supernatural spin-off will garner the attention of the audience. The prospect of a women-centric sci-fi show is very exciting, it's a huge, symbolic shift in television - not to mention the possibility of women directors, writers and crew at the helm. Let's tweet, tumble, insta and pin - give it the support and encouragement it deserves. After all, imagine how truly wonderful it would be.

I feel the need to mention the personal significance such a show would have. I have been watching Supernatural since I was 12 or 13, it has in some ways shaped my teenage years and continues to influence my young adult life. It's one of the reasons why I got a degree in film, and I even went to a Supernatural convention a few years ago (the best weekend of my life). If someone had told 16 old me that there may someday be a spin-off focusing on the female characters, it would have felt too good to be true. Yet, here we are - and I couldn't be more excited.

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