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Supernatural S09E12: "Sharp Teeth"


Everybody ready for your weekly fill of angst and woe courtesy of the Winchesters? GOOD, because here we go:

Garth had been MIA since last season-ish and Dean assumed he just abandoned everyone on their apocalyptic adventure because Dean's brain automatically defaults to betrayal and abandonment when left to its own devices... or even when forced to interact with other brains, as illustrated by his complete and total inability to understand why Sam is pissed about that whole "tricked into being an angel condom" thing. It just does not compute. But you know what? I ain't even mad. I think I'd be angrier if Dean just suddenly understood. As much as I hate watching the Winchesters waffle around their issues and wallow in the same co-dependent bullshit that's been their trademark since 2005, this time around just feels more real than those other times. These wounds have been festering for a long time. This fight isn't about Dean letting Gadreel possess Sam. It's about everything that led Dean to make that decision in the first place. I don't even think Sam is mad at this point. Dude just doesn't know what to do, and Dean doesn't know what he did wrong and it's beautiful and sad and I love it and Supernatural, don't stop (but also don't drag this out until the freaking finale because srsly no one likes when Mommy and Daddy are fighting).

With that said, I'm torn on how to feel about "Sharp Teeth."


It was fine and a little goofy because any episode with Garth is going to be a little goofy. Sam and Dean had words and Sam begrudgingly reclaimed the shotgun seat—so we're moving slowly toward something resembling Winchester reconciliation—and Garth got a happily ever after outside of the hunter life. But Garth's story might just be where things went south for me. It's not that I wasn't happy for him, but we know so little about Garth's past and why he got into hunting, and compared to literally every other hunter we've ever met on this show—Dean and Sam included—Garth was a downright chipper and kid-friendly vampire slayer. The emotional impact of Garth leaving the life was much less than when Sam and Dean each tried retirement. Garth's approach to hunting always felt like something he did rather than something he lived, and so his decision to leave it behind lacked the weight of when more pathological hunters gave it up. 

However, whether retirement sticks or not for Garth is debatable. It's important, I think, to recognize that Garth was willing to try—and maybe even a little excited by the idea of—hunting as a super-powered were-hunter, and it was Dean who encouraged him stay behind with his new family. Plus, "Sharp Teeth" showed us flashes of a darker Garth, one who was initially so ashamed of being turned into a werewolf that he considered suicide to be the only honorable thing to do. One who, despite Dean hoarding all the guilt over Kevin's death for himself, does carry some sense of responsibility for what happened. 


Will Garth Fitzgerald IV find his way back to chopping off heads and making sock puppets? Probably not in any full-time capacity, but the door is certainly open for him to make an appearance either filling a less-curmudgeonly Bobby role (which is where the show seemed to be taking him up until this episode) or, well, you never know, Joy claimed to be the last of the Ragnarok enthusiasts, but Supernatural has never shied away from raining misery on it's cast of friendly monsters (see: Eleanor, Benny, Amy, and probably others I'm blanking on). Werewolf helter skelter may be in Garth's cards yet. Maybe. Or would that be a big eye-roll plot twist? I don't know. I liked him as a hunter, dang it!


The systematic removal of the Winchesters' external support is starting to mimic what happened in Season 7 in its scope: Garth is out of the life, Kevin is dead, Charlie is in Oz, Crowley is looking for the First Blade, Castiel is... around... sometimes... and possibly not at full-power anyway (IT COULD NOT HAVE BEEN AS EASY AS JUST STEALING SOME OTHER ANGEL'S GRACE, OKAY?), and I just hope that Season Fine doesn't end up quite so hopeless and hard to watch with its dwindling supporting cast as Season 7 ultimately did. That was rough.

"The same, but different" seems to be the law of the land for Fine, with the sense that even though we've already gone down many of these roads with the Winchesters and their associates, this time, the stakes are more personal. Not necessarily higher—it's hard to compete with the apocalypse—but in the past, every major brotherly conflict seemed to be handled with a Band-Aid and a shot of whiskey because Dean was going to hell, or Lucifer was on the run, or Eve was... I don't know, that storyline was awful... or the Leviathan were enslaving humanity, or over and over again, something always got in the way of Dean and Sam working out their crap. Now they're in their own way, and the world is still on the brink of ending, and there's no Band-Aid big enough to hide their largely self-inflicted wounds. Sam agreed to get back in the Impala, but pointed out that he and Dean just don't see their roles in the hunt, in the life, as what they once did. 

It's been nine seasons; of course they don't have the same roles. They haven't had the same roles in at least four, but Supernatural has never seemed to be entirely comfortable with its own changes. That is, until now, which means the Winchesters, in theory, shouldn't be far behind. 



CASE NOTES

– Smart Winchester Sighting: Gold star to Dean for NOT lying about the Mark of Cain. Also, justifying working with Crowley with the "better the devil you know" argument. Sad, but true. 

– Okay, a church full of werewolves singing a hymn about "bringing in the sheep" was kind of hilarious in a twisted way.

– OMG Dean, WTF with the adrenalin you crazy person?

– Not that Sam smacking the hospitalized dude—who for all they knew could've had a head injury—was much better. 

– Do you think we'll see Garth again?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/20/2014

Season 9 : Episode 23

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