Alysha Boynton ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
At this point in the series, Supernatural has dipped its proverbial toe into pretty much every genre of television, from horror to romance and even, more recently, the musical. However, as a show that began as spine-tingling and overall very serious, it’s difficult to come to terms with the fact that now, in its tenth season, the show tends to find its steadiest footing with episodes on the comedic side. Shows that last as long as Supernatural has lasted are always forced to evolve, and although to some diehard fans this evolution has ruined the show, many others have learned to embrace the new format and enjoy the show for what it has become.
This week’s episode, “Hibbing 911,” was Supernatural at its light-hearted best, and featured two returning fan favorite ladies, Sheriffs Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes) and Donna Hanscum (Briana Buckmaster), who made an unlikely but delightful team and were the shining stars of the hour. Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) took a backseat for most of the episode, but what little screentime they did have was put to good use, and showed them joking with each other about Sam’s fake FBI badge he made at Kinko’s and actually communicating about the Mark of Cain and how Dean is coping.
The monster of the week aspect of the plot was admittedly very weak, featuring a group of vampires whose defining quirk was that they “don’t waste anything” when they eat someone, and that they followed a Charles Manson-esque leader who abandoned them because he grew a conscience. This was woven in with a Sheriff’s retreat in Hibbing, Minnesota, where Jody and Donna were introduced and then thrown together as partners. The monster subplot was a perfect example of why Supernatural still works; essentially, that the supernatural creatures are no longer the selling point. Sam and Dean have now faced off against just about every creature imaginable, so originality is not even an option anymore. The later seasons have proven that the characters themselves are enough to drive the stories, and bringing back beloved minor characters like Jody Mills, Charlie Bradbury (Felicia Day), and Garth (DJ Qualls) is how they keep things fresh and exciting.
Another reason this episode was successful: awesome treatment of female characters! Supernatural has a reputation for killing off and/or mistreating all of their female characters, and it’s clear the writers are trying very hard to make up for it. Jody had an absolutely incredible scene in the episode where she called out Donna’s piggish ex-husband, also a Sheriff, for fat-shaming and being an overall jerk, and Donna got to tell Dean to “stuff it” when he tried to keep her from going with them to confront the vampires. Not to mention it was Donna who chopped off the lead vampire’s head and saved the day. It doesn’t make 10 seasons of lowkey misogyny forgivable, but with strong, intelligent, take-no-crap characters like Jody, Donna, Charlie, and even this season’s possible big villain Rowena (Ruth Connell), the writers are making a solid attempt to right their past wrongs and give women a legitimate place in the boys club that is Supernatural.
Overall Episode Grade: B+
Sidenote: for everyone who was wracking their brains trying to figure out where they knew Sheriff Len Cuse (Fred Ewanuick) from, he was Clark in Just Friends!