Supernatural Review 9×02: Devil May Care

Tracy

While last week’s episode was spent focusing on the angels, this episode shifted gears and shows us what the demons are up to. This puts Abbadon in the forefront of most of the plot, much to the pleasure of much of the fandom. The episode didn’t hit the mark for everyone, though. A new character ended up rubbing a lot of people the wrong way, much to fandom’s disappointment. In a fandom where strong female characters that’ll stick around for more than an episode or two are strongly desired, it’s sad to see one fall short of what we want.

AbbadonRight out of the gate we start off catching up with our demon pals. Abbadon has been resurrected and she’s pretty sick of all the incompetence all around her.  She’s going to fix what Crowley messed up and nobody is going to tell her otherwise.  In my opinion, Abbadon is the best villain since Crowley’s first introduction. She’s unapologetic, incredibly sassy, and she gets stuff done. Sure, the stuff she gets done actively harms our protagonists and she’s evil and very clearly not someone we are supposed to root for, but I still love her.  I’m very glad she’s sticking around for now. It’s great the have a female character on the show that I enjoy even if she happens to be the villain.

Speaking of female characters, we were also introduced to Tracy; whom I and many others very much want to like. In a show that has a tendency to kill off their female characters at an alarming rate, there’s a desire for relatable women that stick around. Her characterization felt off, though. The common complaint on Twitter was her lack of gratitude towards Sam and Dean after they’d saved her. On the one hand, her attitude towards them is pretty understandable. When you put yourself in her shoes, it’s Sam’s fault that her parents are dead and she’s being forced into the world of hunting. It was the same reasoning for why I appreciated Hael so much last episode. From their point of view, the protagonists aren’t the heroes. They’re the cause of their unfortunate state. It’s really hard to fault them for that.

Something fell flat with Tracy, though. Whereas Hael came off as scared and desperate, Tracy came off as almost overly aggressive and rude. Tracy has been in her position a lot longer than Hael, though, so perhaps time has taken its toll on her; the longer she’s had to stew about her situation, the angrier she’s become. The Winchesters are pretty aggressive, too, and we don’t fault them for it. So why are we put off by Tracy? It’s difficult to pinpoint.

Perhaps it’s because we’ve had 8 years to get used to Sam and Dean’s behavior.  They are our protagonists, too, so they are generally aggressive towards people we aren’t supposed to like in the first place. Maybe we just need to get to know her better, then her anger will feel more natural and relatable. As I said earlier, it’s not like her anger isn’t absolutely justified. She has every reason to be mad at the Winchesters. We just don’t know her well enough to appreciate her yet.  I seriously hope that changes.  With Hael we got to see her anger evolve.  We got to see her sad and lonely and desperate before she acted out and hurt Castiel.  There was a progression.  With Tracy we jump in halfway through her story and haven’t been able to see her emotional evolution.

As much as I am put off by Tracy, I do hope they bring her back.  I just hope that when they do, they also give us what we need to appreciate her.  I hope we get to see her emotional evolution and get a better understanding of who she is.  I want to like her.  I want her to be relatable like Jo and Ellen and Charlie.  Please, Supernatural, give us a fleshed out and consistent female character that you aren’t going to kill off in a few episodes.  Fandom craves it.

Author: Angel Wilson

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.


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About the author

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She's contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She's written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.

Comments

    1. If they kill her I’d be more disappointed than if they just left her as is. I’m sick of them killing off all the girls so quickly. Or bringing them back 8 seasons later to kill them if they escaped unscathed the first time around.

      I might be slightly bitter.

  1. This was episode 2.

    I feel like the show is playing a game with many female characters – they almost seem to assume viewers will hate them, so they don’t try hard to make that stop. Last week, it was OK to hate Hael because she hated Cas. This week, it’s OK to hate Tracy because she hates Sam.

    Just as it’s OK to have Tracy in the clothes that emphasized her body, because it was for a case. (we will never see Dean in booty shorts, although I would not complain if we did).

    I think Abaddon is a great villain. I wouldn’t overuse her, but in limited doses she’s genuinely frightening. Crowley was only ever a little weasely and scheming, but never scary. The show hasn’t had a frightening villain since YED. Abaddon is his successor.

    1. I agree about your comparisons with Hael and Tracy. If a women hates our protagonists, it seems safe to hate her. But when you put yourself in their shoes, that’s really not fair to them at all. It’s so sad.

      I adore Crowley, but adore Mark Sheppard so my opinion on him may be biased and I completely admit that.

      1. No, it’s not fair at all, but that’s how it goes I guess. I thought the script did a creditable job of not making her too much of a hate figure. She briefly yelled at Sam after being reminded of the death of her parents. She was fine with him afterward and behaved professionally. It’s just that this got no resolution, so people may just remember the yelling.

        I do feel like something was missing with her characterization, possibly because of lack of time. Still, she fared better than most women, especially in some other Andrew Dabb scripts.

        I have to admit I laughed a little when I read people hating on her for driving Baby. She wasn’t exactly joyriding.

  2. I saw something very different. I saw a bright young Woman who had been waiting till the day came when she could tell the Winchester’s she blames them. But once there it didn’t work out as she meant to. Much respect to the actress for giving that to me with her face and how she spoke the lines. It seemed that the quick change of heart in the end scenes with her was all about self preservation and not a turn around. And she drove Baby, lucky Woman 🙂 Honestly if she does come back it’s Sam who she needs to talk to and not Dean. As for what she was wearing to comment on comments I saw while watching the live tweeting and comments above, who cares? She can look anyway she wants, whether it’s for a case or not. And I so agree she needs more story, more rounding out, but I wasn’t disappointed at all.

  3. Jo met the same resistance as Tracy when she was first introduced. Worse, in fact, so far I haven’t seen a lot of backlash against Tracy, only disappointment the actress didn’t seem to click better. I thought the way they played with expectations, having her dress in Daisy Dukes in order to lure the vampire she then beheads like a boss was clever. And having the pov of someone affected by Sam’s actions, years ago, fit really well with the season’s themes. She has reasons to be resentful. Hopefully we will have time to get to know her better.

    Abaddon was badass, I love Alaina Huffman’s performance.

    I liked how the ep handled Dean’s conflictedness about his decision, both Sam and Dean shown in relation to the world around them, their impact on others, and it seems fitting the ep would close on Dean affirming Kevin as part of the family unit, and an ostensibly peaceful moment between Sam and Dean with unsettling notes. Dean again showing his unease with the whole situation, and he must feel awful, Sam’s telling him he’s feeling good and Dean knows things are not really.

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