The Super Sleepy Dispatch
Recap and Review: Supernatural 10:8
By P.S. Griffin
“Hibbing 911” is a buddy comedy featuring Winchester friend and fan favorite, Sheriff Jody Mills, and Sheriff Donna Hanscum, the Fargo accented, curvy, recently divorced lady who had ten pounds worth of fat, removed by a fat sucking monster in “The Purge”.
It’s a reboot of the Odd Couple too. Jodie is a no nonsense lady and hardened hunter of the supernatural at this point. Donna hides her intelligence, competence and pain with sunny platitudes and self-deprecating humor. So much so that at their first meeting and throughout the first half of the episode, Jody assumes that her new “partner” is something of a joke and annoying like a piece of toilet paper on your shoe that you just can’t lose.
The joke is on Jody however, as Donna proves instrumental in solving the case, and even accepts the truth of the supernatural and the violence of hunting with relative ease. She’s kind of a revelation and a quirky female avatar of Dean. Both use catchphrases and humor to deflect from their inner pain. Both have “loved ones” that delight in mocking them as a form of friendly humor. Both turn to food for comfort. And both are truly badass with a blade.
I think that both actresses, Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster, are strong enough to anchor a spin-off. They make a formidable team. Yeah girl power! Hopefully a friendship with Jody and a true purpose will give Donna the confidence to lose the uber sunny facade.
The episode was directed by Tim Andrew from a script by Jenny Klein, developed from a story by Klein and longtime show director Phil Sgriccia. I assume that the title is a play on Reno 911, a favorite comedy series of mine.
The opening sequence is set in a dark alley. A graffiti artist is spray painting the wall until he’s attacked by a human figure who rips him apart spraying his blood all over his stencil. The resulting bloody dead smiley face is a high point in blood spatter patterns for the show.
Next, Sheriff Jody Mills arrives at the Minnesota-Dakotas Sherriffs Retreat. She is clearly not happy with her weekend plans.
A young girl approaches her begging for money. Jody gives her lunch money after determining that she’s not a minor runaway. Always maternal and on the clock, that’s our Jody! Even the Winchesters enjoy her mothering them just a little.
Jody enters the retreat venue literally dragging with every step. Perky Sheriff Donna welcomes her to the registration table. Their personalities seem to clash immediately which Donna tries to ignore with loads of sunshine. It’s the wrong approach. “Left your smile back in Sioux Falls?” asks Donna with a big smile.
It turns out that Jody felt she was too busy to come. “I left a kid back in Sioux Falls, plus a pile of work…” The kid is Alex from “Alex Annie Alexis Ann”, the Renfield teen that she rescued from vampires, cured from vampirism and unofficially adopted.
Okay. This backstory references Dean in two ways. First he was the first vamped human whose cure we saw (“Live Free or Twihard”). Then of course there’s this season’s demon cure. However the situations are completely different. Both Alex and Dean wanted to be cured of vampirism. We saw Dean choose to be demonic in “Reichenbach” and we saw him repeatedly tell Sam that he didn’t want to be cured (“Reichenbach” and “Soul Survivor”).
Anyhow Donna pretends that she hears what Jody is saying and then forces a lollipop on her. Before Jody can graciously exit, Donna’s ex-husband walks up commenting about Donna’s appearance. “Aren’t you looking good!” Donna is proud to have lost six pounds. However Doug callously tells her that she’s a “quarter of the way there.”
Jody is incredulous as she watches their exchange. Doug wants extra meal vouchers, Donna’s; the implication being that Donna has no right to eat. Donna complies. After he’s left she’s clearly embarrassed; she explains that they were once married.
Chez Winchester, the brothers are trying to research the Mark of Cain with little success. Dean is annoyed by what he’s found instead which causes him to question the Men of Letters’ priorities. When Sam comments that there’s not much lore left to read, Dean replies, “Right, you think these eggheads with all the crap they amassed over the years would have actually collected something important. Ah, here… ‘He-wolf, She-wolf: A Study in Werewolf Transgenderism’, six hundred pages, volume one. But, uh, something important, like I don’t know maybe the oldest symbol known to man… that’s not worth our time, it’s not weird enough.”
“He-wolf, she-wolf: A Study in Werewolf Transgenderism”… is this a jab at the diversity of Tumblr? They’re always posting meta on Dean’s bisexuality and per “Fan Fiction” we know that bisexuality Dean wirh romantic love for Castiel isn’t canon.
Dean is clearly frustrated and venting. Still I note that he’s far better at controlling his Mark related jitters this season. No angry outbursts. No vomiting blood. He’s handling it nearly as well as Cain. Clearly there’s enough demon left to help him withstand the Mark’s effects to his body and mind.
I am both gobsmacked and delighted that Sam is insisting on being proactive about the Mark regardless of Dean protesting too much that he is fine and “normal”. There’s that word again. It keeps getting thrown around like a panacea. Dean needs Sam to have his back no matter what the outcome of his Deanmonic year.
At the retreat the host, Sheriff Len, tells everyone to grab a partner. Donna’s ex partners with a cute young thing he knows from Cufflinks, a law enforcement dating site. Yep. He’s a douche. He brought a date to a Sheriff’s retreat to dangle in front of his ex-wife.
Jody was on the phone again and thought that she missed out on the festivities (whew) until Donna happily pops up behind her eager to partner up. Things perk up when they hear that a partially eaten body was discovered in town.
Jody ditches Donna to alert Sam that there is a potential monster situation in Hibbing. Apparently she knew that Dean was missing and is glad to hear about his return. Dean asks about Alex and is amused to hear that she’s your average weed smoking teenager.
After hearing Jody’s information, Dean rules out vampires because they are blood drinkers not flesh eaters. He offers to come but Jody says that she’s chill for now. Sam signs off with a cheerful “Enjoy the retreat.” Jody tells him “Screw you, Winchester.” She’s one of the closest friends that they have at this point, and it shows.
Dean is sooo bored with the research that he eye begs Sam to go see Jody in Hibbing. Sam acquiesces because Dean’s sad puppy dog eyes are sooo compelling. Me, I assume that he needs to get his kill on.
Meanwhile, Jody starts investigating the case. Her brusque manner immediately gets her on the morgue attendant’s bad side, so her request for access to the body is refused. Luckily Donna enters with the same idea in mind and charms both of them in with friendly small town patter.
The Morgue lady asks what Jody’s deal is; in response Donna both gives Jody a lesson in common courtesy and saves her proverbial ass, “Might say she left her manners back in Sioux Falls… but she’s with me.” Now they both can study the body.
Their examination results are curious and showcase both women’s investigative strengths. Donna is an expert hunter in her own right; however she can’t determine what animal left the unusual bite marks. Jody’s keen observational skills determines that the man’s belt was stolen.
It’s high time for a second serving of blood and guts. This time it’s a beleaguered husband who is taking out the trash in order to sneak a cigarette. He hears a noise and decides to forego the smoke, quickly tossing his trash in the dumpster. When he hears noise inside the dumpster he decides to investigate. Yep. His curiosity killed him. He’s pulled inside and the attack shakes the dumpster like wild nookie, except that blood starts pouring out of the drain hole drilled in the bottom. What wasteful monsters.
Back at the retreat, Sheriff Len is sitting at the bar with a worried look on his face. Jody and Donna ask him about the animal attack. He says that animal control is on it. He fails at feigning a calm demeanor. It’s clear that the attack has him freaked.
His deputy walks up, ostensibly to talk about the raffle, except their faces convey so much more. They move off to discuss things, thereby giving Donna a view of the dance floor where she sees her douche ex dancing with his retreat partner. Jody tries to make her feel better by slighting his behavior which was truly awful. “Doug seems like kind of a dick.” Donna sadly replies, “ But he was my dick… I’m gonna hit the can, you know, where it’s less gross.”
Jody approaches Len and his deputy who are still having a serious discussion about the raffle. Jody pushes him and he admits that there’s another body; they ask her to keep the news to herself.
Donna finds Jody outside on the phone with her unruly teen. Donna quips, “So maybe your life’s not all cupcakes either.” Jody replies that she never said her life was that at all. At this the women bond a little more. Jody tells Donna about victim number two. Since it’s too late for the morgue, Donna invites her to hang out, “So. Fresh corpse, jerk ex-husband, out of control teen. Wanna get blingo’d on my mini-bar and watch pay-per-view?” However Jody declines because it’s been a long day. Donna agrees sadly. Poor Donna it’s clear she’s been lonely since her divorce.
The Winchesters arrive posing once again as FBI agents. This is a bit gutsy considering they are at a meeting of law enforcement officers. They have a warm meet and greet with Jody who tells them that the second victim was also eaten to the bone.
Donna is introduced cutely as she yells across the room, asking “Jodio” if she wants some java. Deano loves the nickname. Then the Winchesters realize that they know “fat spa” Donna. I remember the wonderful bonding moment that Donna and Dean shared over sugar donuts in “The Purge”.
Jody confirms Donna’s identity saying that, “I hadn’t been able to shake that ray of sunshine since I got here. She’s actually been pretty helpful but it’s just been tough keeping her out of this nightmare stuff.”
Sam wants Jody to babysit Donna while he and Dean work the case; Jody would rather work with them, however Dean convinces her that it’s better if Donna is protected from the monsters. Clearly Jody finds Donna boring. “If she tries to show me her sticker collection, I’m out.”
Donna walks up and immediately recognizes the Winchesters from the fat-sucking case. They greet her with amused respect. Jody suggests that she and Donna hit the Expo.
The Winchesters look for Sheriff Len. They walk up to a group of men and ask for the Sheriff. Three out of four raise their hand. Imagine Dean’s eyeroll. They then ask for Hibbing’s Sheriff and meet Len. They are stuck using their “The Purge” aliases because of Donna.
The Sheriff tells them that there’s no security footage of the killings which causes the Detective to suppress his surprise. He deflects his discomfort towards the brothers; joking that it’s funny that the FBI came all this way to arrest a bobcat from Hibbing, following with how cute it is watching the Feds try to investigate. Dean seems way too annoyed at the banter. He barks, ”Oh pal, the FBI doesn’t do cute.” His aggressive mood and the fact he was desperate to hunt suggest that Dean is experiencing Mark related urges. I imagine that he really needs to kill about now.
Sam steers Dean away from an argument, later suggesting that he be less defensive of the pretend job. Sam plans to hack into the security footage, while Dean tries to work the deputy for more information.
Meanwhile, Jody and Donna are suffering at the hands of a clueless and sexist gun rep who wants to sell the “officer ladies” a girl gun. Both Sheriff’s enjoy showing off their knowledge of fire arms. Then the biggest dick at the retreat shows up. Donna’s ex refers to her as a wolf in sheepskin, and asks if she’s dating. When she says no he asks if she is waiting until she’s in “date shape”, patting her shapely form.
Jody responds like a mother wolf protecting her young. She gets all in his face, chastising him for for the insult and sticking up for Donna, “Oh for the love of God, what is wrong with you? Do you get off on fat shaming chicks? (To Donna: You are so not fat by the way.) And you, you are just a douche!” He has no comeback and appears thoroughly chastened; he slinks away with his tail between his legs, “Well, okay. I’ll just uh, okay then.”
Donna explodes at Jody over the husband shaming, “What the H-E-double hockey sticks Jody? Calling my ex a douche to his face.” Jody responds that she chewed him out because it didn’t look like Donna was going to do it. Donna replies, “What would be the point? We’re divorced. You really think I’m gonna change him now?” Jody is incredulous and, asks, “So he gets to treat you like a doormat forever, is that it?” Donna snaps, ” How about this… until you’ve actually lost a husband, how about you keep your mouth zipped about mine.”
Ohhh. The error of that sentence is apparent on Jody’s face which has been drained of all emotion and reason. Her mind goes to the past, and we see a brief summary of events from season five’s “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid”, including Jody discovering her resurrected zombie son chowing down on her dead husband’s innards. Jody has lost a husband in the worst way.
Donna sees Jody’s vacant stare and her tone softens as she realizes that Jody has suffered a terrible loss. She asks the obvious, “Did something happen to your husband?” Jody curtly replies barely showing any emotion, “We all have our crosses to bear, right?” Donna immediately apologizes and asks Jody if she wants to talk. When Jody declines Donna leaves her alone and goes outside to get some air.
Meanwhile, the Winchesters are on the case. Dean approaches the Deputy at the Expo. The Deputy makes another demeaning joke, asking if he’s there for some teenie weenie paw cuffs. Dean takes the high road this time, telling the Deputy that they got off on the wrong foot, then implying that Washington needs his help. The Deputy’s demeanor visibly changes; he shrugs and agrees. Dean tells him that he’s “going to need you to be totally straight with me.” The Deputy proceeds to tell him that Sheriff Len changed the password yesterday, but ameliorates this news with “(he’s) a straight shooter. I’m sure he had his reasons.” Dean reassures the Deputy that the Sheriff’s actions were reasonable.
Meanwhile, Donna’s getting air and cooling off after her spat with Jody. Expert hunter that she is, she immediately spots a blood trail and follows it to a gruesome scene. Sheriff Len has monstered out with teeth galore over the corpse of her ex’s Cufflinks date. She’s horrified, terrified, scared. She sensibly hides before he can see her. Then she runs for Jody.
Me, I am mystified because the choppers looked to be pure vampire; however the killers appear to be meat eaters. Could there be two monsters in town?
It’s back to the retreat where everyone is watching the newest corpse being wheeled by. Dean and Jody watch and talk. Neither of them believe that the problem is animal attacks. Neither is disturbed enough to eschew small talk. Jody lightly asks how Dean is doing, referring to him as “kiddo”. Dean gives, the usual fine, fine but she persists. “Word around the campfire was you went off the res for a while there.” Dean comments that she and Sam have been passing notes; in other words, he doesn’t disagree. Jody doesn’t push Dean further except to offer friendship and food. “I make a mean bowl of chowder if you ever need to talk.” Sam interrupts this tete a tete to inform them that he’s hacked the system and the images from the security camera are gone.
Then Donna runs in and asks to speak to Jody alone. She’s a basket case. Jody assumes that she wants to talk about the spat so she apologizes about what she said. However, Donna isn’t looking for an apology. She tells, Jody “We’re okay.” After a pause she says what’s really on her mind. “You ever think there are things out there, things that don’t end up on the police blotter?” This piques Jody’s interest and soon Donna has told her about Sheriff Len and all of his pretty, sharp teeth.
Jody leaves Sam a message and the two ladies go surveil the Sheriff’s room. Jody quickly picks the lock and they enter. Donna finds several empty tubes of sunblock and the impression of an address on the notepad which she reads by rubbing a pencil over the paper. Jody promises to explain the sunblock later.
They are interrupted by the sounds of the doorknob turning which prompts Jody to pull out her trusty machete. Donna fixates on the machete and pulls out her gun. The Winchesters come in. In short order Jody blurts that the Sheriff is a vampire and Donna saw his teeth. Donna is still fixated on the machete, until the vampire bit registers. ” She just pulled out a machete… What the cuss!? A vampire?” Dean asks Jody to give her the talk.
We cut to the brothers sans FBI suits with the officer ladies at the Impala. Donna has had the talk and intuits that the Winchesters were at the spa hunting monsters. Dean concurs, “Monsters. Sucking on your fat.” Donna sighs, “I knew losing 10 pounds that fast was too good to be true.”
Donna tells them that she has an idea of where Sheriff Len might be and shows them the pencil rubbing. Sam googles it and determines the address is for an abandoned farm ourside of town. Dean tells the girls to stay behind to which Donna replies “Stuff you, Dean! Or whatever your real name is.” Dean is surprised by her spunk. Jody tells him that she’s good. Dean accepts the inevitable but tells them to stay back because he and Sam are taking the lead.
It’s worth pointing out that Dean isn’t sexist. His protective nature isn’t just reserved for Sam. He hates the idea of anyone living the life he leads and tries to dissuade them from hunting and shield them from the realities of the supernatural.
They weapon up upon arrival and Dean hands Donna a machete with the instructions to “Swing hard. With vamps, heads gotta roll.”
They approach the structure and Sam sees Sheriff Len inside. He signals to the others and looks again to see the Sheriff gone. Suddenly, the Sheriff appears at the window telling Sam to “Run!”
Wise words delivered too late. The group is trapped by some other monsters. Sam and Dean are knocked unconscious, and the girls are captured by two strapping monster dudes. Where is Marked Dean’s super duper strength and spider senses when you need them! The hippy check that Jody met early on takes a peek at Sam saying, “Well, hi there, Sunflower.” Ha ha! Sunflowers are tall and skinny with big heads.
The action picks up when Dean regains consciousness and realizes that they are all tied to beams inside the barn. The monster girl… okay free range hippy vampire… is cooing over Dean, “It’s all love, pretty boy. All of you will become all of us. We won’t waste one bit.” I wonder why she doesn’t consider turning him, and then wonder if he can be turned because he took the cure and/or has the Mark.
Dean is not biting, “You’re a vampire. You’re scum. End of story.” She takes his belt despite Dean’s manly “I’m not in the mood,” and she goes on about “using every part of the buffalo.” How and Why? Vampires don’t eat usually. In fact in most lore not being able to eat food is a sign of turning. I shiver at the thought of another fallen writer resorting to LOL!canon, even as I rejoice over the fact that Klein managed to forego both sexy hijinks and torture in this outing.
Sheriff Len begs Hippy Vamp to let these people go; after all he covered up the nest’ kills. She is unrepentant and unmoved by his words. “We didn’t want favors, Len. We wanted you.”
Sheriff Len tells her thst he’s reformed and living on bagged blood. Surprisingly Donna calls him out on this because she saw his teeth. Sheriff Len swears that he didn’t bite and the teeth were a reflex to smelling fresh blood. I believe this because of dearly departed Saint Benny. Somehow Dean is stone cold in the face of Len’s redemption. Does the Mark just want him to kill, kill, kill despite any grey areas? Dean certainly trusted Benny over both Martin and Sam.
Hippy Vamp is upset that Ken isn’t feeding. Apparently he was the nest leader and their maker. He taught them everything about the green, hippy vampire lifestyle. They’re pissed he abandoned them to go straight and incredulous that he became a cop. Awww! Sheriff Len just wanted to save lives not take them! This reminds me of that excellent nineties vampire cop show Forever Knight. She then asks Len if he’s feeling dirty because they’re going to have themselves a bloodbath. Lady, vampires drink blood for sustenance. Don’t waste it by bathing in it like Countess Balthory (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_B%C3%A1thory).
Sheriff Len is still trying to save the humans. He tells Hippy Vamp that he didn’t get boring. “I got a conscience… even if I used every part, like I taught you, it’s still wrong.” He wanted to protect people instead of gutting them; however Len says that he will come back to them if they spare the humans. Sadly this is not the most convincing show of support. So Hippy Vamp tells him that he’s the one that is going to do the killing here and now. She pushes him towards the captive warm blooded bodies of our four heroes.
It’s Jody’s turn to talk now and she tells Len that he doesn’t need to kill them. He agrees telling his children to “kiss my ass”. He is summarily decapitated by Hippy Vamp, seemingly without remorse. She tells him, “We love you brother, but we don’t’ know who you are anymore.” After the deed is done she opines, ““Can’t say we didn’t try,” Things are about to get physical.
Happily Dean has been steadily rubbing his rope restraints against a nail. He starts pulling furiously once things come to a head, and especially after Len loses his. Donna too has been surreptitiously cutting her restraints with a broken glasses lens.
Dean breaks free first first and decapitates the two boy vamps with surprising speed without breaking a sweat. He’s about to decapitate Hippy Vamp before she kills Jody when he sees her head sliced off in one clean stroke by Donna, who already has a catchphrase “Hakuna Matata, lady.” Apparently Hakuna Matata is Swaziland for “Don’t worry. Be happy.” and a song in The Lion King (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hakuna_matata).
Dean is impressed enough to complement her skill with a blade; “That’s what I’m talking about,” Donna smiles at him, her blood spattered face beaming. The girl is a natural hunter and meshes surprisingly well with Dean.
Back at the Impala again, Donna is now one of the gang. Jody asks how she is. Donna is nonplussed of course. She feels like vomiting. She can’t believe that she decapitated a vampire. VAMPIRE! She’s disoriented from the knowledge of the supernatural. “Knowing that these things are out there, makes the world seem… I don’t know bigger, darker.” Jody commiserates, tells her that she did great, and that she would be happy to show her the ropes. Donna smiles at that. She’ll be a great hunter. Maybe this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Meanwhile Dean and Sam are having their brotherly moment nearby. Sam wants to know how Dean feels. No surprise since he seemed nearly superhuman in the barn, and Sam is operating under the assumption that killing feeds the Mark and leads to more uncontrollable violence; rather that the truth that feeding the Mark helps Dean to maintain control. Dean’s reply is interesting. “Yeah. Yeah, you know for the first time since I’ve been back, I didn’t feel like the Mark was pushing me.”
Poor Sammy. He’s actually surprised by this. Anyone reading these reviews knows all of the hints that have been sown repeatedly about Dean not being okay, or even really cured. Dean tells Sam that “All I know is that back there, killing those vamps. I felt like me again.” Sam thinks that this is all good. Dean’s “Yeah.” Isn’t very convincing; especially combined with his furtive glance at his right forearm, the Marked forearm, which he then starts to rub as if he’s reassuring himself it’s still there or perhaps petting a purring cat who’s been well fed.
I know that Dean has often gauged his worth by how many people he’s saved through hunting; however, this is different. Now he’s more obsessed with the killing than the saving. Another in a long line of clues that this Dean is not old Dean. He’s still Marked. He’s obsessed with killing baddies. He’s not vomiting blood when he doesn’t. This sounds to me an awful like the guy we met in “Black” and “Reichenbach”, without the bad karaoke of course.
Additional Thoughts: This was not a strong monster of the week episode. I am not sure what to make of vampires eating flesh. However the episode was enjoyable as a character study. I love that Donna has been taken into the fold. Her common sense, hunting background, and beaming, blood spattered face after making her first kill, a decapitation no less, tells us that she will be a great hunter.
She’s a far cry from the rest of the next generation. Charlie is a joke. I have no faith in Krissy and friends since they lacked the smarts to know they were being played. I really don’t mind Garth, mostly because he was presented with obvious limitations; he was not long for this world, and his final screw-up landed him in the proverbial dog house forever. It made sense in their world that his luck would run iut. Despite trying so hard to fill those boots, Bobby he ain’t.
Donna and Jody both make sense in Dean and Sam’s world. It will be interesting to see how Cole further develops. He may be no match for Dean these days but he has enough training, brawn, weapons experience and derring do to be a good hunter.
So let’s talk about the elephant in the room. The storyline gave us yet another monster that wants to be a good member of society. This has been an ongoing theme since season eight. However, in season ten we are being bombarded with storylines of monsters or demons not being accepted by family and their kind because they dare to march to the beat of their own drum.
For instance, Dean was rejected by most of Crowley’s demon minions from the start, andstart by Crowley when it was apparent that Dean refused to be useful. Then his real family and best friend decided to torture the demonic out of him or kill him, rather than accepting his new license on life.
Crowley is a laughing stock in hell because of his sabbatical with Dean, which is really a symptom of his partially cured state. The poor bloke wants emotional connection to others; he wants relationships. After realizing that his new BFF Dean was all about Dean and not really into Crowley, the king was verklempt. It is no wonder that he’s tempted to believe that his mother loves him and has his back, no matter how obvious she is in her duplicity. Like Dean, Crowley is now a human-demon hybrid and his interests are not aligned with demonkind. He would rather have Dean Winchester than Hell.
And of course this takes us to Castiel who gave up heaven for Dean on multiple occasions. He too has been changed by his close experiences with humans and his time as a human. His time with Hannah this season highlighted how out of sorts he was with the heavenly host, until she herself was changed by her time with Castiel because the plot demanded that he think about Claire. Seriously isn’t his failing grace and Dean’s dilemma enough for the angel to contend with?
Sadly, like Sam and Cas in “Soul Survivor”, Len’s family wasn’t keen on his new life choices. When they couldn’t change him back to the Len they knew, he was summarily and brutally decapitated. It sounds cruel but in fact it is not unlike the stances that Sam and Cas took in regards to demonic Dean. Dean was brutally tortured and injected to force a cure, and the option of killing him was on the table.
I can only conclude that the Road this season is supposed to teach Sam and Cas that they need to accept Dean as he is. Their support is necessary for Dean being successful at marrying the hunting life with the Mark and all that jazz. Furthermore their support and love will make it easier for Dean to love himself and accept his new life. Although in retrospect, the guy seemed pretty happy and good to go as a demonic entity.
The writers keep hitting these points over and over… I have to assume that thethatse hints, the subtext and all of the clunky anvils will mean something further down the road.the. Let’s face it. They are so focused on the subtext that they are having trouble giving us a great story.