Does Supernatural get in right in its second attempt at a spinoff with the midseason premiere?
After a young girl is kidnapped by werewolves, Claire Novak busts in to save the day. After dropping two of them in moments, the takes down the last one with her knife and returns the child to her mother the next day. Only having a few seconds to enjoy a job a well done, Claire gets a call from Jody Mills – Sam and Dean Winchester are missing and it's time to come home. After getting back to Sioux Falls, Idaho, Claire arrives home to see Jody, Alex, Patience. From there, Jody plays the last voicemail that Sam left her where he mentions that the dream walker, Kaia Nieves, might be the key to saving their mother. Jody wants to come up with a plan but Claire refuses to sit and wait and rushes off to the local hospital where Alex works. As it just happens to be, Kaia Neves was just admitted to the hospital that night, giving Claire her first lead to finding the Winchesters. Claire tries to speak with Kaia but the dream walker is less than trusting given what she has recently been through. When Kaia tries to leave through the back door, she is confronted by a monster that Jody and Claire manage to kill in under a minute. Now that Kaia has become a bit more trusting, she goes with Claire and Jody and tells them everything. She was with Sam, Dean, and Jack before they disappeared but the three of them were separated into different dimensions after they evaded an angel attack. Meanwhile, in the blue dimension, Sam and Dean seem to have no plans on how to get back but they do know one things – they are being hunted. Back at Jody's, Patience is about to leave when she has a vision of more monsters coming to the how and killing all of them. They all need to leave before it's too late and somehow find a way to save the Winchesters.
As a midseason finale, and especially as a potential spin off series, Wayward Sisters should have been an easy win but managed to completely miss the mark. The basis of the episode is simple: rescue Sam and Dean and spend more time building characters to make them compelling. What Wayward Sisters failed to do was establish a real threat or make me care about any of the characters besides seeing them as a trope. Claire is the impulsive youth, Jody the moth and the others are just kinda there. While crux of the episode is the relationship of Claire and Jody (which doesn't really work for several reasons), Alex, Kaia and Patience didn't add character depth to the story or give us reasons to care about them. Though they rescued the Winchesters in the end, Kaia's death meant almost nothing when it happened and by the end, the blue world Kaia being the one that killed her meant even less. Wayward Sisters failed to set up its own antagonist that could have set the show apart from Supernatural in a very original way but this felt like more of the same with characters that don't work.
While I've said it throughout the seasons, it has never been more evident that Kathryn Newton can't carry an episode. Newton has spent years playing Claire Novak but her delivery on the punchy comedic lines that Jensen Ackles nails were lost on her. Claire comes across as angry and confused (a good thing) but Newton doesn't have the charisma behind it all to make me root for Claire on an ongoing basis. Kim Rhodes as Sheriff Jody Mills is always good but the best chemistry of the Wayward Sisters was lost in the shuffle between Claire and Jody.
By far, the strongest part of Wayward Sisters (with the least attention) were the scenes between Donna Hanscum and Jody Mills. As Donna, Briana Buckmaster is great. She's funny, charming and immediately likeable. If anything, Wayward Sisters should have been centered on these two. One question, as an officer in Minnesota, why would she even stay in the series? What reason does she have if she does just fine on her own?
Overall, Wayward Sisters just didn't work. It was visually bland and felt no different that Supernatural in any way besides having dull characters. What works about The Flash and Arrow on The CW is that they feel connected and entirely unique at the same time. The Flash is a lighter show and takes place in the day more often while Arrow is a gritty superhero. Wayward Sisters didn't do anything to distinguish itself from the legacy of the Winchesters. If the show is picked up, I hope it goes through some drastic changes before then. Hopefully next week's Breakdown episode will be a return to form for Supernatural.