We have a young woman with very positive lefty bumper stickers stop for petrol in a small town, middle-of-nowhere truck stop full of creepiness. There’s lots of waiting for something to kill her but she manages to get her petrol with minimal fuss. We do learn her name: Wendy Hanscum. Which makes her a relative of Donna’s.
If you hurt Donna, our lovely sunshiney Donna, we’re going to… do nothing. Because nothing we can do will remotely compare to the epic pain she’s going to serve up. She has a flame thrower.
But when she drives she finds her car has been sabotaged - and she is kidnapped.
Donna, naturally, calls Sam and Dean. Even though it isn’t a supernatural problem, of course she reaches out for help and equally of course Dean accepts without one tiny second of hesitation.
Donna’s grief and worry is really well done here, it’s palpable. She’s joined by Doug the small town cop she’s dating who is very out of his league. More awkwardly she’s also joined by an actual FBI agent so Dean can’t pull his usual “I’m an FBI agent don’t check my credentials” thing so instead says he’s offduty and Donna’s cousin (which Doug is a little suspicious of). The FBI agent is, surprisingly, happy to have them help because he’s dealing with a serial killer known as the Butterfly who has been active for decades, preying on people who he thinks will not be missed. He has a whole board and files full of the investigation and a whole lot of evidence
And wouldn’t there be more people? I mean I get cold cases being abandoned and all that but this is a serial killer who crosses state lines repeatedly, doesn’t appear to have one set pattern of victims and is STILL ACTIVE. It’s not a cold case. He’s not only still active but quite prolific since he has snatched someone else shortly before Wendy.
Sam is leery working with the real FBI since they are actual fugitives even if they have faked their deaths. Also a conventional human serial killer isn’t there thing. Dean has no time for this - Donna asked for help, Donna is one of them; he is not saying no. This is also part of Sam’s ongoing funk of bleakness since Mary and Jack were lost in a different world and Kaia died saving them
Time to do some investigating, with then fixating on a road preacher red herring. He’s quickly dismissed following Donna’s excellent skillfull questioning and the logic of pointing out a serial killer who hasn’t been caught for 12 years doesn’t leave a blood stained t-shirt where it can be easily found
While this shows Donna’s skill it also presents the old ploy of “if you want a lawyer it will take several days and in the meantime we’re going to lock you up in a dangerous place where you will be abused” which police shows like to play with and presents it as a GOOD THING and reasonable tactic rather than a bitter indictment of the injustice of the system and police not only not fighting against such injustice but actively preying upon, encouraging and exploiting it