Alternate working title: “Attention CW Powers that Be: THIS is Your Spin-off”
December 2, 2014
Originally published January 18, 2015
THEN: “You betcha!”
Sheriff Jody Mills girds her loins for the horror that is before her. A deep breath. “You can get through this.”
She is standing in front of a Bavarian-style festhaus and conference center. A large banner hanging over the entrance welcomes her to the Minnesota – Dakotas Sheriffs’ Retreat. She starts for the door … and the handle of her rollie bag slides off in her hand.
I like to imagine that her inside her head voice is saying,
Jody is approached by the waif from the Les Mis poster. Pre-rescued-by-Jean Val Jean Cosette listlessly waves an empty coffee cup in the air. Jody asks how old she is and then pulls a few bills from her coat pocket. “Get yourself some lunch.” Cosette smiles in appreciation and bedraggles off to the barricades.
Jody surveys the landscape inside and heaves another sigh. Sheriff Donna Hanscum is ladying the registration table. She spies Jody and beams, beckoning her over. Jody does a full body eye roll.
Donna welcomes her and says she has the scoop on all that Hibbing has to offer. Best burgers. Cheapest gas. *wink* Jody grimaces at her.
Donna cheerily wonders if Sheriff Mills left her smile back in Sioux Falls. Try a kid and a pile of work, sunshine. “But, when the mayor insists you go …” Oh, Donna gets it. She extends a sunny yellow sucker. Jody politely declines. Donna does not falter.
Take it. TAKE IT. TAKE THE SUNNY YELLOW SUCKER.
Jody gives in, suddenly fearful that Donna may just stick the thing straight in her mouth.
They’re joined by a smarmy slicky boy. The smile freezes on Donna’s face. Doug the Dick oozes that Donna is looking good. She proudly plants her hands on her hips and announces that she’s lost six pounds! “Hey, you’re a quarter of the way there!” Donna deflates. Jody’s head slowly swivels in stunned silence.
Doug leans in and wonders if he could get a couple extra meal vouchers … since Donna won’t be using them. Donna flicks an embarrassed glance at Jody who is glaring at Doug the Dick and murdering him with her eyes. Donna hands over the tickets. Doug tells her she’s true blue as ever. Then he grabs a handful of suckers. NO, SIR. THOSE ARE NOT FOR YOU.
Donna plasters the smile back on her face and sheepishly says she and Doug used to be married. Jody eyebrows at her. AWESOME. PLEASE DON’T TELL JODY ANY MORE, SHE DOESN’T WANT TO KNOW.
Sheriff Len Cuse opens the retreat. He’s nervous and awkward at the podium. His audience is already bored and inattentive. He tells them all to partner up. “Be a team this weekend! Go on and make a friend.”
Smarmy Doug gives a sidelong glance to the trim blonde sitting next to him. Jody is standing off to the side of the group on the phone with Alex. Yay! Alex is still with Jody! She reassures the girl that she’ll be fine. “You are capable of not throwing a kegger while I’m gone. Totally, totally capable.”
Jody smiles and agrees that her faith in Alex astounds her too. She hangs up and sees that everyone has paired up. She shrugs, thinking she’s off the hook. Jody turns and nearly walks right into Donna.
Sheriff Mills didn’t get a partner? Donna twinkles and nudges her in the shoulder. “Well, you’ve got one now!” Jody gives her a tight smile, the kind one might give to a toddler who’s had too much sugar. They review the schedule of that day’s panels.
Cops VS. Winter: The Snow Must Go On
Establishing a K-9 Unit
Preparing for a Riot – Why Not Try It?
Why not indeed? Standing next to Donna, Sheriff Kevin asks if she heard about the body. Jody’s ears prick up. Kevin says the trash men found it behind the hardware store that morning. “Eaten. Like, nothing left but the peach pit, you know? Coroner is saying animals out of the woods. Bobcats and the what not.”
Donna gasps. Jody is suspicious. She asks if an attack of this sort is common. Heck no says Donna! She pats her sidearm. When she lived in Hibbing, they kept their critters in check. Jody’s question prompts Donna to ask about tracks or hair. Kevin says there’s nothing. Not even a claw mark on the body. Jody excuses herself. Donna calls out that she’ll save her a seat. She calls her Jodes.
She checks in with Sam and is shocked to learn that Dean is back. “You found him?! Thanks for telling me!” And seriously, boys. Seriously. You didn’t tell Ellen that Dean wasn’t dead anymore and now you don’t bother to tell Jody that he’s not a demon?
Were your arms broken? Could you not dial a phone? Okay, well I guess Sam’s arm was, but still! In conclusion, drop a dime for goodness sakes.
Sam puts Jody on speaker. Dean asks after Alex (aww). Jody says she’s awesome. “Already head of the cheerleading squad.” Sam is pleasantly surprised and impressed. Sarcasm, how does it work?
“No, Sam. She smokes grass under the bleachers. But at least she’s not luring men to their death.”
Jody switches gears to the body, wondering if they have any idea what might have gone to “chow town” on the victim. The boys are at a loss. Dean offers that they can head to Hibbing. Jody waves them off, promising to call if it turns into something she can’t handle. Sam tells her to enjoy the retreat. Jody tells him to get bent. Kisses, buh-bye!
She slides on down to the morgue, briskly telling attendant Shelly she wants to take a look at the body. Shelly gives her the stink eye. She’ll be happy to help … just as soon as Jody becomes a member of the Hibbing Police Department. Shelly’s not trying to lose her job for Jody, and she’s got this crossword puzzle she’s working, so.
The two women are just settling into a stare down when the door opens. Shelly instantly brightens when Donna walks in. The sheriff asks how the kids are doing and then says she’s come to check out the vic. Cuse is busy with the retreat and Donna lives to serve.
Shelly says someone ought to get her a halo. Then she nods her head in Jody’s direction and asks what her deal is. Donna stage whispers that you might say Sheriff Mills left her manners back in Sioux Falls. Jody leans back and folds her arms across her chest. SHE’S STANDING RIGHT THERE. SHE CAN HEAR YOU.
Donna quickly says Jody is with her. That’s good enough for Shelly. With a warning, she pulls back the sheet. Jody’s eyes go wide. The smile slides off Donna’s face. The man’s head and shoulders are intact, but from mid-chest to hip it’s nothing but bloody, gnawed bone. “Ooftah.”
And then Donna goes to work.
Honestly, I was worried prior to this episode that she would be treated like a Barney Fife. But by the simple act of asking for a measuring tape and pulling on a pair of latex gloves, she conveys that she is a woman who is competent and good at her job. Don’t let the Minnesota nice fool ya – this is an HBIC who gets things done.
Well played, Jenny Klein and Brianna Buckmaster. Well played.
The downshift from bubbly to business-like does not go unnoticed by Jody. She asks to see the victim’s personal effects. Shelly looks to Donna, rolls her eyes, and complies.
Jody pulls a pair of paint-stained, oversized jeans from the plastic bag. “That string bean wore these? Where’s the belt?” Shelly tells her there wasn’t one. Maybe wild animals stole it. Donna calls Jody back over to the body. She calls her Jodio.
Jody dies just a little inside.
Donna has been hunting since she was a kid. She says she’s seen almost every bite in the book, but she can’t identify the marks on the victim. Jody quietly says she was afraid of that. When Donna probes at her meaning, Jody brushes it off. SHE’S STUMPED TOO. NOTHING TO BE SEEN HERE. PLEASE MOVE ALONG. Donna squints at her but lets it go.
That evening they find Sheriff Len worrying into his seltzer at the conference center’s bar. He’s called away by Deputy Graham before Donna can good-cop anything out of him. Not that Donna thinks Len has any better idea than they do what they’re dealing with.
A WHOOP pierces the air and Donna looks past Jody to the dance floor. Doug is doing the shopping cart with Sheriff Barbie. A cloud dims Donna’s sunshine.
“I used to put the cans in his cart.”
Jody hides her eye roll. Does Donna really miss him that much? She wrinkles her nose and gives a quick shake of her head. Jody is all like, real talk sister. Doug is a dick. She gets a tiny nod in answer. Donna knows … but he was her dick. Jody softens. She gets it. Donna excuses herself to the restroom, “Where it’s less gross.”
Jody walks over to Len and Graham, interrupting their worried confab. They assure her everything is fine. She’s all like, I don’t think we’ve met. I’m Jody Mills. I don’t tolerate krep from zombies, doctor monster faces, vampires, gods, or Winchesters. She’s certainly not going to stand there with her beer getting warm and put up with crap from them.
Donna finds Jody out in the parking lot on the phone with Alex. Things have apparently taken a turn since the morning. ” … why do I hear firecrackers??” Donna observes that Jody’s life isn’t all cupcakes either. Jody throws up her hands and defensives that she never said it was.
Donna notes the car keys Jody is holding. She mockingly tells herself to take a hint. Jody breaks and tells her there’s been another attack. She was going to go to the morgue … but it’s probably closed … and her house is probably in the process of burning to the ground, so.
Donna tentatively asks if she can help. “Not unless you got any gems on how to handle a teenaged girl. Because mine is … ” Donna finishes the sentence for her. “Kind of a dick?” The ice finally breaks. And just so you know, Powers That Be, I would watch the shinola out of a show that was just Jody and Donna, standing around in a parking lot having beers and shooting the breeze. I’d watch it, Tivo it, and buy the DVDs.
Jody says Alex has so much more inside her. “Really good stuff …” She can see the future that Alex could have. But Jody is also well aware of Alex’s present. She was 17 once. Hair up to roughly Castiel height. Attitude up to Moose height. So why can’t she get through to Alex? Donna asks if Jody let anybody through at that age.
“Joey Demopied. Drove a motorcycle. Smelled like … Yeah.” I’m going to go with ‘sex and candy’. Donna reassures her that Alex will come around. “You did, right?” And now, to review: “Fresh corpse. Jerk ex-husband. Out of control teen … Wanna get blingoed on my mini-bar and watch pay-per-view?” I’d like to think a part of Jody does, but she declines. She’s calling it a night. It’s been a long day. Alone in the parking lot, Donna lets the cheery shell slip. “Don’t I know it.”
The boys arrive the next morning. “I said I could handle it!” “Nice to see you, too.” There is hugging. YAY! HUGGING! Jody asks if they want in on the morgue, but they’ve already made that stop. The flesh was eaten on this victim as well and his wallet was missing. “So what, we have monsters eating and then robbing people?” Jody considers it as a voice rings out from the beverage bar. “Jodio, you take sugar?”
Dean frowns in Donna’s general direction. He’s not quite sure he heard right. “Jodio?” Hee! Jody shakes her head and tells him not to ask. And then recognition dawns on Sam. “You guys know my stalker??” Know her? Dean says she nearly blew the fish taco case for them.
Jody grumbles that she hasn’t been able to shake her ray of sunshine. She admits that Donna has been helpful, but she also wants to keep her out of “the nightmare stuff.” Sam agrees. He asks Jody to keep an eye on Donna so he and Dean can poke around. That is not how the HBIC rolls. “You show up and now I’m a babysitter?” Or, one good cop keeping another out of the krep. Jody heaves a sigh and agrees.
“Fine. But if she tries to show me her sticker collection, I’m out.”
Donna joins them and greets Agents Frehley and Criss with delight. Ain’t this a kick in the pants! Dean eyebrows at Jody. She rolls her eyes back and suggests checking out the gear expo. Donna wonders about their plans for the morgue. Jody waves it away. Eh, let animal control handle it. Donna knows something is up, but she doesn’t challenge. She hears they’re packing some pretty serious heat in there! Jody takes her coffee and mouths to the boys, “HURRY.”
Sam and Dean flash their badges and ask for the sheriff. Three men raise their hands. “Of Hibbing.” Cuse and Graham are surprised that the FBI is running down animal attacks. Dean says they go where the boss tells them to. But don’t try to call him to confirm. He doesn’t answer anymore.
* tear *
The deputy gets shirty, wondering what they plan to do. “Arrest a bobcat from Hibbing?” Sam steps in before Dean can go from MURDERING GRAHAM WITH HIS EYES to actually murdering him. He asks to see any surveillance footage. Cuse says there’s none to be had, but they should help themselves to the bear claws on the breakfast buffet.
THERE’S NO TIME FOR BAKED GOODS! Sam says he’ll take a crack at the police server while Dean takes a run at Graham. Sam suggests trying to be a little less defensive of his *air quotes* pretend job.
“You know, this badge means something.”
“I made it at Kinkos.”
“Yes, you did. Be proud of that.”
At the gear expo, Jody’s eyebrow is about to detach itself from her face and smack this condescending vendor fool. She and Donna exchange a look.
Jody picks up something a little less dainty. The vendor smirks and suggestively asks if she thinks she can handle a big one … Jody draws back the slide and cooly assess the weapon. “Sigma, right? 10 pounds pull weight. Cute. You call this a big one? Hope you drive a Porsche.” The vendor is going to want to put some ointment on that burn.
Slickie boy Doug saunters over, warning the vendor that he’s pulling the wool over the wrong girl. Jody is all like, UGH! This guy! Donna curtly thanks him. The vendor realizes nothing good comes of being a part of this conversation and slowly sidles away.
Donna tells Doug to save his flattery for other female people. He shrugs. He and Sheriff Goodhill just met. Doug asks Donna if she’s on Cufflinks, the dating site for cops. No, she isn’t. She looks sad and a little wistful as she says she’s not quite there yet.
Doug nudges her in the side. Still getting in date shape, huh? Jody nearly swallows her tongue in shock. Donna hunches her shoulders and tries to collapse into herself. She puts the cheery mask on and plays along because that’s how she deflects the hurt. Jody is done. DONE. “Oh, for the love of God!” She turns on Doug and gets in his dance space.
“What is WRONG with you?!? You get off on fat shaming chicks?”
“You are so not fat, by the way.”
Preach it, sister. Amen. Jody turns her righteous wrath back on Doug. She pokes him in the chest with her finger. “You are just a douche.”
Doug walks away, thoroughly cowed. Donna has been silent, her expression a mix of horror and embarrassment, both for herself and for him. It’s Jody’s turn to be surprised when Donna rounds on her. “What the H – E – Double hockey sticks?!”
Jody is all like, solidarity! Sisterhood! And it’s not like Donna was going to do it! Donna angrily asks what’s the point? She and Doug are divorced! She’s not going to change him now! Jody gets her back up on general principle. So Doug gets to treat Donna like a doormat forever, is that it?
“How ’bout this? Until you’ve actually lost a husband, you keep your mouth zipped about mine!!”
Lost? Try watched as her zombie child ate her husband alive.
Jody looks like she’s been kicked in the chest. She’s right back in the stunned horror of that moment. There’s no way Donna could know, but oh, nooooooooooooooooooo she did not just even! Donna reads the look and realizes she went too far. She quietly asks if something happened to Jody’s husband.
“Well, all have our crosses to bear, right?”
There’s an ocean of hurt in Jody’s voice. My heart! And no, she does not want to talk about it right now. Donna apologizes and excuses herself to get some air. She walks out on the back deck of the conference center. She spots drops of blood on the concrete walkway.
Instantly on alert, Donna follows the blood as it leads behind the building. She sees Sheriff Goodhill on the ground by the trash cans in a pool of blood. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN YOU, DOUG. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN, YOU! Sheriff Cuse is crouched over her body. Then Donna sees his rows of vampire teeth. She ducks back behind a tree, hyperventilating and shaking in fear.
Dean and Jody watch as Goodhill’s body is wheeled through the lobby, but Jody is more concerned with the living. She asks Dean how he’s doing and gets snark in reply. Jody doesn’t engage. She’s just saying … “I make a mean bowl of chowder if you ever need to talk.” Both of those boys could do worse than sitting in Jody Mills’ kitchen with a bowl of hot soup in front of them. Fact. Dean quietly acknowledges her care and concern. He’s genuine when he tells her he appreciates it.
Sam joins them to report that the files from the surveillance server have been deleted. The server that only Cuse had access to. Donna interrupts before they can go any further down that road. She’s still shaking and the tone in her voice is brittle and bright. CAN THEY TALK A SEC. ALONE?
Before Donna can say anything, Jody apologizes for butting in with Doug. WHAT? OH. DOORMAT. THAT? IT’S OKAY. WE’RE OKAY. Donna’s voice drops to a whisper. She tells Jody what she saw behind the building. Sheriff Cuse and a mouth full of shark teeth. Like some kind of … Jody finishes the sentence for her.
They break into Cuse’s hotel room. There are three large, mostly used tubes of sunscreen on the bed. Jody says she’ll explain later. Donna checks the notepad on the desk and does the old impression trick. The door rattles and Donna snatches the page from the pad. Jody pulls the machete from her belt. Sam and Dean walk into the room. The blade was one thing, but Jody’s announcement that Cuse is a vampire sends Donna over the edge.
“WHAT THE CUSS??!? A VAMPIRE???”
Dean gestures to Donna. Hey, Jody wanted to talk? Have this talk.
She fills Donna in while the boys change into their flannels. The four meet up outside by Baby. Donna suddenly makes a connection. While they were at the weight loss spa …
“Monsters. Sucking on your fat.”
Donna allows herself a few moments to quietly freak out again and then bucks up to do the job. She hands Sam the slip of paper. He keys the address into his phone and turns up an old farm outside of town. Sam condescends that, with all due respect, vampires aren’t the johns Donna throws in jail on a Friday night. Dean seconds. She’s sitting this one out.
“Stuff you, Dean! Or whatever your real name is!”
Jody smiles with pride and admiration. “Hanscum’s good.” Sam tries to protest. “I said, she’s good.” Baby is all like, ‘Haven’t we already had this argument, kittens? And didn’t you lose it the last time, too? Respect.’
They arrive at the farm and Dean breaks out the machetes. “If you’re going to swing, swing hard. Head’s gotta roll.” Sam gets eyes on Cuse sitting inside the barn. He warns them to run, but it’s too late. The last thing Sam sees before he goes down is Dean unconscious on the ground and Jody and Donna each in the clutches of a vamp.
Cosette swims into view as Dean comes around. He’s on his feet, bound to a pillar. Jody, Donna, and Sam are similarly trussed. Cosette says it’s all love. “All of you will become all of us. We won’t waste one bit.” I don’t know what Cosette has been smoking in her castle on a cloud, but wheeee! the colors are really pretty.
Dean calls her Mufasa and tells her to cut the circle of life crap. She’s a vampire and she’s scum. End of story. Jody can’t believe she gave Cosette lunch money. Len pleads with Cosette to let the others go, but the vamps want Len back in the family and off the blood bags.
Cosette says Len found her crying on the curb after the Thenardiers kicked her out. She got in Len’s van, “and the rest is wavy gravy.” Jody calls him the nest’s Charlie Manson, but Cosette corrects her. “Charlie couldn’t hold a candle to Len. He taught us everything.” And then one day he disappears.
Cosette tells Len they won’t stop. They’ll keep killing the good people of Hibbing until he comes back to the fold. “It’s your nature to eat people. A vampire who doesn’t feed is like a tiger eating salad.”
Len tries to stall. He says he got a conscience. After so many years of gutting people, he made a choice to protect them. As Cuse talks, Dean works the rope binding his hands against a ragged nail in the pillar. Donna is able to pull her glasses out of her pocket. She pops one lens from the frame and snaps it in half. She begins methodically slicing at her rope. Man, that would never work with my coke bottle lenses. I am so screwed if I’m ever attacked and held hostage by a vampire.
Cosette is all like, that’s a lovely story and you tell it so well. Now fang up and eat somebody. Jody tells Len he doesn’t have to do this. He agrees. He tells Cosette to kiss his aspirations. Cosette picks up a machete and takes his head. She tosses the blade on the ground next to his bloody nugget.
Dean breaks through the rope, picks up the machete, and starts slicing and dicing. Jody kicks Cosette, knocking her to the dirt. The vampire hisses and fangs out. With a cry of effort, Donna neatly slices off Cosette’s head. Jody goes wide-eyed in surprise. Donna? Sheriff HBIC cooly surveys the body.
“Hakuna matata, lady.”
Donna looks at Jody and gasps as she realizes, sweet Garrison Keillor, she just took down a vamp! Dean walks up behind her and admiringly says, “That’s what I’m talking about!” Donna breaks into a huge, saucy smile. In my head!Fic, she and Dean totally make out in Baby’s backseat.
Outside by the car, Dean relieves Donna of her machete (although sadly, not her pants). She’s okay, other than feeling like she wants to hurl. “I just. Chopped off. A vampire’s. Head.” Jody beams at her. “You were great at that!”
Holy cats. I just want to hang out and have a beer with these ladies every week. EVERY WEEK. DO YOU HEAR ME, THE CW? HEY, DO YOU KNOW WHO WATCHES SUPERNATURAL? GROWN ASS 30 AND 40 SOMETHING WOMEN WHO WOULD ENJOY WATCHING A SPIN-OFF WITH OTHER GROWN ASS ADULT WOMEN WHO HAVE SUPPORTIVE FRIENDSHIPS AND KILL MONSTERS. THE JODY AND DONNA SHOW. MAKE IT SO.
Sam and Dean are having a more subdued conversation. We cut back and forth between the two pairs. The Family Theme plinks underneath and I die. The rookie and the veteran, both trying to get their footing and make sense of their place.
Knowing now what’s out there makes Donna’s world seem … bigger. And darker. Jody offers that, if Donna wants any pointers, she’s willing to fill her in. Donna says she’d like that. WE’D ALL LIKE THAT, PLEASE.
For Dean, the darkness feels like it’s beginning to recede. He says that for the first time since he’s been back, he didn’t feel like the Mark was pushing him. Sam pings. First time? Dean can’t really explain it. Just that he feels like himself again. Sam huffs out a shaky breath. He wants so badly to believe. And he wants so badly for Dean to know he trusts him. “Okay. Then let’s go with that.”
They all climb into Baby. Dean lingers before opening his door. He rubs at his arm – at the Mark – through his jacket. He wants to believe, too.
This post originally appeared on the Hearst site chron.com.