I have now watched 13.10 twice, once on a stream that was rather spotty and once with my husband who is an occasional watcher of spn. I went into the episode trying to have an open mind, mostly because I enjoy my show very much and there was finally a new episode.
Overall, it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, there were parts of it that I enjoyed, and the ending was a surprise. But I would not have chosen to watch this show if I wasn’t already a SPN fan, because it wouldn’t have sounded very interesting or at all a new, intriguing story.
I really love the character of Jody, and the way that Kim Rhodes has played her over the long years she’s been on the show. We’ve seen her at her absolute worst (losing her son), her most vulnerable (nervous on a date, unfortunately with Crowley), her best (helping Sam save Dean) and so many others. We know this character, she’s a really integral part of SPN, one of the few humans who know Sam and Dean’s story (or most of it.) Donna’s entrance cracked my husband up, especially the “I’m from Minnesota” line. It was really funny, and then she started passing out weapons which was also still funny. That’s good, we needed the funny by that point. I probably identify most with Donna, so I usually like her in most of the time. I wish the spinoff was going to be centered around these two, but alas, this is the CW and they skew a little too old for the network.
Kathryn Newton as Claire Novak has improved greatly as an actor, which is good to see. She's still playing a pretty one-dimensional "typical angsty teenager" and honestly to me, that's just kind of boring. “I have to save Sam and Dean,” Claire insists, and I really don’t believe her, nor know why. I have no earthly idea why, truly. That’s the biggest problem here for me, the connection of this young woman to Sam and Dean, since you’re hanging the whole driving force the episode around that point, it ought to make immediate, visceral sense. She tried to have Dean killed a few seasons ago, and still the brothers saved her last season from being turned into a werewolf. Maybe that’s why? This is her payback for that? If so, then she should have had a line, maybe to Jody while she insisted she had to go into the other world. “They saved me, I owe them.” We have no idea if she even feels that way, in every other instance she’s written as a “typical ungrateful teenager” not acknowledging anyone else’s help, assistance or caring. So we’re supposed to magically know her motivation in this situation? Very weak.
I always enjoy Alex, Katherine Ramdeen has given her character a lot of depth in the few times we've seen her. I liked her connection with Patience. Alex is obviously supposed to be the spinoff's "Sam", wanting to have a real job in the normal world, but still wanting to help her family, being quick at research. Clark Backo as Patience didn't have a whole lot to do in this episode, but her annoyance at Claire blowing off her visions was well portrayed, as well as her "this is too freaky, I'm outta here" bit. I did have to say, I liked seeing her get to kill a monster. Yadira Guevara-Prip is pretty good as Kaia (and Alt-Kaia???) I could see her really growing into the role if she gets the chance.
The actual rescuing of Sam and Dean was blink and you'll miss it quick, that monster was all kinds of hilarious, but hey at least we got to see it, right? I did like the bit at the end where Jody says "you guys save the world, we'll take care of Sioux Falls," because they don't get a lot of acknowledgement for what they really do. But Sam and Dean just taking off and leaving when they know what kind of monsters might be roaming around Sioux Falls seems rather unlikely to me. The Claire voice-over at the end was way way too much. We're so spoiled with Jensen and Jared being able to communicate all of that kind of emotional content in a few glances at each other.
My husband’s short review, “Well, I didn’t fall asleep, so that’s something, but I’d rather have seen Sam and Dean on their own show. You know, like an episode of Supernatural. This was a typical CW show for teenagers.” Yep, they're definitely not shooting for us as the audience demo, that is for sure, and totally fine of course. If the spinoff gets picked up, I'll be happy for the actors and hopeful that they don't take up any more episodes of the show I'm committed to watching until the end. And hey, if it's successful, once Supernatural actually finally ends, then J2 will have a show to appear on as Sam and Dean occasionally which would be awesome.
Honestly, I would have enjoyed an episode of just Sam and Dean surviving Monsterland much more than what we got in the second half of the season premiere. Because when it comes down to it, they are why I'm still watching Supernatural.