20 January 2018

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

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The longest running horror/sci-fi show Supernatural has been steadily preparing itself for an expansion. You could say Wayward Sisters is 8 years in the making, with founding member Sheriff Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) making her debut appearance in season 5x15 Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid.

Who are the Wayward Sisters? Jody adopts former vampire Alex (Katherine Ramdeen) in 9x19 and takes in Castiel's vessel's daughter Claire (Kathryn Newton) in season 10. Sheriff Donna Hanscum (Briana Buckmaster) first appears in season 9 and meets Jody in 10x8, a crossover fans were begging for. The newest additions to this extraordinary female ensemble include a psychic named Patience (Clark Backo) and a dreamwalker named Kaia (Yadira Guevara-Prip), who were 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 successfully takes down a small pack of werewolves without any real difficulty and saves a little girl in the process before receiving a call from Jody: "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, the psychic who turned to warn Jody after having a vision. Claire & Alex soon locate Kaia, the girl in Patience's vision, 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 we didn't have as much screen time as we would've hoped, but this episode really focuses on their personalities and their family dynamic. If anything, Supernatural finally honours it's much loved female characters by 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 is more important than ever to have a diverse all-female sci-fi/horror/fantasyshow. The CW has already proved it can successfully manage several female characters within one show (I mean, it's really not that difficult) with shows like Supergirl, which is pretty much the only other show I watch which features multiple women in a single scene. We need to see more Women who are complex, vulnerable, strong, weak - we need more relatable women. Wayward Sisters has the potential, so why the hello not? This episode of Supernatural proved just how much potential it has, the possibilities are endless! If given this opportunity to flourish we would finally be able to honour Supernatural's female characters and their stories. We would be able explore their abilities, discover their personalities, see them grow and evolve, all the while enjoying the fact that we finally have an inspiring female-lead show. With support from the fans and actors alike I'm sure the show could feature a couple of guest stars too, 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. I couldn't be more excited.


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