A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 9×19 (Emotions can be the bane of any vampire’s existence)

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Vamp stories have an interesting place in the world of Supernatural. They never quite reach the level of demon importance and are considered a bit of a nuisance to the Winchesters, but every now and then an episode can still revolve around a very common and tragic tale in the vampire mythos. Sam and Dean play the supporting role for once as Jody, an older but enduring character on the show, drives the focal point in tonight’s episode “Alex Annie Alexis Ann”

A young woman, Alexis, is placed in a holding room inside a Nebraskan police station. Left alone, she’s confronted by Cody, a vampire who threatens her, but is quickly dispatched by Jody. Sam and Dean arrive to assist and attempt to track down the vampire’s nest. When they interrogate Alexis, they realize she’s been willingly feeding herself to them for years and a “mother” figure is leading them. Sam and Dean have Jody take Alexis to a cabin outside of town to be safe while they search for the nest.

When they do, they find a lone vampire and capture him. During their questioning the vampire reveals that Alexis lured many humans to their nest to be fed on and likely enjoyed it. Meanwhile, Alexis is stubborn and mean toward Jody until she falls asleep, After being startled awake by Jody’s continued kindness, Jody discovers the vamps have found them. They kidnap Alexis and knock Jody out. Sam and Dean find her and tell her that they intent to raid the nest but that Alexis isn’t their priority because she was a willing member of the group. Jody doesn’t care and vows to save her.

At the nest, the mother vampire apologizes to Alexis for not turning her sooner and makes the offer, which Alexis accepts for fear of disappointment and shame. When they arrive, Sam and Dean and captured by two vampires as Jody enters the basement and finds that Alex is transitioning. The mother subdues and ties Jody up, wanting Alexis to feed on Jody, but Alexis refuses. Meanwhile, the vamps bleed Sam out and reach for Dean, but Dean wakes and stabs one vampire with dead man’s blood and decapitates the other in a manner Sam sees as enjoyment. Jody surmises that Alexis was named after the mother’s former daughter who she still yearns for. This upsets the mother who attempts to bite her but is stabbed by Alexis who had a syringe of blood. Jody then kills the mother. Later, Sam questions Dean about how he appeared when killing the vamp, but Dean dismisses it as “not a crime”. Jody appears and realizes how much she still hurts over the family she lost but plans to take care of Jody however she needs. Jody and Alexis are then seen talking about their pain and understanding what both have gone through.

A self-contained story of this caliber could have been told through any monster median. Choosing the vampire was the safer bet because over the course of many years, it has the most resonance when it comes to creatures and humans struggling with what it means to be human. In this specific circumstance, the details are in the woes of family loss and motherhood coping with that loss. Jody’s plight fit very well in this tale and even more so with an opposing force or, the “mother” vampire, who tried to deny her own emotional state yet named Ann after her own daughter.

There were a lot of cues, mostly the time spent at the cabin that solidified Jody’s role as the heroine of the episode. My only questionable character was Alexis herself. Dean is usually very accurate when he dulls down the basics of villainous characters. I suppose it was easier to believe that Alexis was doomed when she was shown with blood on her lips and I even half expected she would have a gruesome fate. If there’s one thing this show has trained us on, is that struggling moral characters can still die. Luckily, that wasn’t the case and Jody has a surrogate to watch over, at least for the immediate future.

I won’t pry too hard into Dean’s enjoyment with killing the vamp. It’s simply there to keep the focus that Dean is still undergoing severe mental changes and, when pushed to violence, will act on those new tendencies as he sees fit. There are times I forget how much strength a vampire has over a human, but also remember that with Dean’s mark of Cain can come ample determination. I think “bitch” was used one too many times once Dean said it. Felt like a lazy one liner, which Sam conveniently noticed and commented on. Dean’s reference to Sam not doing the same for him when he saved him was thoughtfully appropriate. Very subtle nuances there placed to remind the viewers that several episodes ago, they truthfully stopped being brothers a short time.

Another interesting theme was how the vamps reacted to living with Alexis over the years and agonized over her teen development. It was almost comical how one of the brothers sneered and complained over Alexis’s behaviors, much as a real brother would react with a sister, yet they looked out for her. It helped put Alexis in more of a gray world that Sam and Dean couldn’t just distinguish as good or evil. They painted the picture up in a bad light, but as we age and change, we may not want the life we’ve grown to know over the course of young adulthood. And one can argue that all of Alexis’s victims were deserving of their fate even through we were only witness to one. I wouldn’t be super surprised if we saw Alexis and Jody again, but I’m not counting on it this season.

Overall, I enjoyed this stand-alone episode. It helped draw some focus away from the Demon/Angel plot and got us reacquainted with an old type of enemy as we now draw into the next episode which will be the spinoff episode “Bloodlines”. Expect a lot of new character to intrigue, entice, and possibly annoy you as they drive their fangs and claws into their place in the Supernatural universe. Will any supporting characters enlist in this new series. Who knows. In nine years, you’d think someone would be alive and willing to make the trek. I’ll stay excited. We’ll see how much of a backseat Sam and Dean play out in this war in Chicago. Stay tuned, should be fun.

 

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