Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dull Edge: Supernatural Review, Episode 9x12, "Sharp Teeth"

After the high-octane intensity of the recent episodes, it's FILLER TIME!  "Sharp Teeth," written by Adam Glass and directed by John Showalter, was took one of the most fun, quirky characters, Garth, and turned him into a sweet, skinny guy.  And I think removed Garth from Supernatural.  Quit doing that! Kevin's dead, Charlie's in Oz, and now Garth is a werewolf living in a good Christian pack.  At this rate all we'll have is Sam and Dean standing there staring at each other across the Impala, endlessly talking.

From "The French Mistake" (written by Ben Edlund):
BOB You know, the part where they hit the window is the good part.
KEVIN Well, we can clean up, reset the window, takes about 95 minutes, basically. So, we'd have to blow off the scene where they sit on the Impala and talk about their feelings.
BOB Ha. Right. You answer the hate mail.

Episode by the Numbers!
1) Man is saved/changed by love of a good woman:  check
2) A tremendous amount of clunky exposition and virtually no action: check
3) Dean clenching his jaw, raspy voice, and wanting to kill everything in sight: check
4 ) Monster talking about why they are good monsters, even if they used to be bad: check
5) Sam tied up: check
6) Unexpected (but not really) villain who gives one of those lame this-is-why-I'm-killing-you speeches which give Dean enough time to bust in and save the day: check.
7) Talk at Impala at the end, which was by far the best part.

THEN:  Dean tricked Sam, Kevin is dead, "I'm poison, Sam!" "Go" , the mark of Cain will make the First Blade work. Montage of Garth being delightful, including my favorite moment.  When he looks at the funny papers and says, "Marmaduke, you so crazy!"  So we're in for delightful shenanigans?  Uh, no.

NOW:  Wisconsin. A dark farm.  A cow howls in pain.  The farmer comes running, gun in hand.  A tall skinny man runs out.  The farmer shoots at him, but misses.  The man is Garth, and he runs into an oncoming car.

As usually happens, Dean and Sam both arrive to investigate the case.  They find Garth unconscious in a hospital bed. Dean's ready to pump Garth full of adrenaline to wake up him, but Sam slaps Garth in the face, which does the trick. Garth wakes up, hysterical, and runs into the bathroom to puke up what sounds like an entire cruise line buffet.  While waiting, FOR ONCE they have a straightforward conversation. Sam tells Dean about the Gadreel trace, Dean tells Sam about the mark of Cain. Sam doesn't seem to care, except Dean was on a hunt with Crowley.  Both are tentative, and Sam is decidedly wary throughout the episode.

The vomit-a-thon has stopped.  When they investigate, the window's open and Garth's hospital robe is on the ground.  The car belongs to a Beth Myers.  They go into her apartment, bust in, and find Garth.  A female werewolf jumps out, but Garth begs the brothers to chill, because he's a werewolf, too.  If I hadn't seen this 50 times in the promos I might have been surprised. I was soooo hoping this was a misdirect.  My bad. 

Garth takes Dean to meet Beth's pack.  Beth was born a werewolf, whereas Garth is a "bitten," which is a nice callback to the Alpha story in season six. Garth got bitten, became a werewolf, yada yada, met Beth and turned his life around.  Wait, wasn't that the last episode?  No, wait, it's only similar, not exactly the same.  Right.  What is it with this damn show that keeps saying that getting with a good woman is the only way to change your life?  Not moral reasons, not intellectual choices, but the love of a good woman.  Excuse me, I have to go imitate Garth and puke.

SPN_912 Bess
"Meet the wife."

The pack turn out to be humble hymn-singing Christians, their leader Reverend Jim, Beth's father.  Her stepmother, Joy, is a sweet home-maker type who assures Dean that he's safe.  The next scene is great: Dean sits at a large table, surrounded by polite werewolves eating bloody entrails, hands and faces bloody.  "There's pie!" Joy assures him.  Heh.

spn_912 family dinner
The werewolf equivalent of the Atkins diet

Joy is a fourth-generation werewolf (they prefer "lycanthropes").  Forgive me if I don't remember exactly what happened for a bit, Dean going to the Reverend Jim's church to find there's a cult that wants to destroy mankind, Reverend Jim shows up and is all, no, that's not the way we are, we're good now.  The brothers are called to see a ripped-up deer, the sheriff is a werewolf, Sam gets hit by a tire iron and wakes up tied to a tractor.  We good?

Oh, right, short heartfelt scene between Dean and Garth where they compete to see who's guiltier of Kevin's untimely demise. "It's on me," Dean declares.  No it isn't, it's on the angel you let into Sam and then lied about to both Sam and Kevin.  Especially Kevin.  You'd explain that spell to Kevin, he might still be with us.  But let's not cry over spilled prophets.

Back at the barn, Beth and Garth are chained up, and Sam's tied up.  Must be Tuesday.  Do you think having Sam tied up keeps the fights from being short and simple?  Sam's bigger than anyone in the cast ever and he could take out most of the villains without trying too hard.  They probably wouldn't need this trope if Jared Padalecki was 6 feet even.  Then Jensen would be "the tall one."  Boy, I bet that gets Jensen pissed.  But I digress.

spn_912 lame villain
"I don't need this gun, I'm going to exposition-dump you to death."

Outside, Dean fights with and ices two cousins. At the time, I'd wondered why they'd mostly shot Garth in the dark, especially when he wolfed out.  Now I know why:

SPN_912 Garth werewolf
Garth makes a really sucky werewolf. The sweater vest doesn't help.

Joy blathers on about being in the Bad Werewolf Cult which will exterminate humans--evidently she hasn't run the numbers--and repeatedly slaps Beth.  Earlier Beth said, "she couldn't have been more of a mother to me."  Mommy Dearest slaps her again.  Sam kicks the gun out of her hand with his long, lovely, strong legs...gimme a minute...okay...Dean busts in, ices yet another cousin, then he shoots Joy through the heart with a silver bullet.

spn_912 lame villain two
"Shit! I just bought this blouse!"

The next morning, Beth is consoling her father.  Garth sees Sam and Dean to the door.  Sam and Dean hug Garth and leave.  Sam's driving a really cool bright blue Dodge Charger.  "Send me a postcard," Dean says, and Sam gets out of the Impala.  Then Dean thinks, and also gets out of the Impala.  "Hey," he calls to his brother.

Dean: That night that we went our separate ways--
Sam: You mean the night you split?
Dean : Fair enough. I was messed up. Kevin was dead and I...I don't know what I was.
Sam: Okay.
Dean: Hell, maybe I still don't. But I took a piece of you in the process and for that... *Somebody changed the playbook, man. Right is wrong and wrong is more wrong. I just know that when we rode together....
Sam: We split the crappiness.
Dean: Yeah, so....
Sam: Okay.
Dean: Okay. Sam: Something's broken here, Dean.
Dean : I'm not saying it's not. I'm just saying...we put a couple of W's on the board and we can get past all this.
Sam: I don't think so. I wish, but...we don't see things the same way anymore. Our roles in this whole thing. Back in that church...talking me out of boarding up Hell...or tricking me into allowing Gadreel to possess me. I can't trust you. Not the way I thought I could. Not the way I should be able to.
Dean: Okay, but...whatever happened...we're family.**
Sam: You say that like it's a cure-all.  Like it can change the fact that everything that has ever gone wrong between us has been because we're family.
Dean: So...we're not family now?
Sam: I'm saying, you want to work, let's work. You want to be brothers.... Those are my terms.

SPN_912 Dean end
"Sammy, don't be so meeaan!"

* How about a nice "I'm sorry" right there, Dean?  Would've worked wonders.
** "We're family."  You told Kevin you would die for him.  He's dead.  You told Cas he was family. Then kicked him out of the bunker without explanation.  Walter White's mantra "I'm doing this for my FAMILY."   Which kind of means nothing here, but it's what I hear every time the word "family" comes up.

Dean comes closer to an apology, but here's the thing: he's still not really apologizing.  He told Garth, "Kevin's death is on me."  If you mean, "Kevin's death is my fault," that's right, but why are you erasing the part where Sam's possessed body, his possessed hands, killed Kevin?  And the others?  And now Sam knows about it?  I still can't believe Dean doesn't get how violating that is.  Particularly Sam, who keeps trying to do the right thing but ends up doing the wrong thing.  He drank demon blood in the mistaken belief that killing Lilith would prevent Lucifer from walking the earth.  Both brothers make mistakes, but it was Souless!Sam who actually did shitty things to Dean.  Like throwing him to the vampires.

Do I think Dean hurts?  Oh hell yeah.  He's heartbroken.  Sam is his whole life, and Dean can't evolve past that point.  Which means Dean will always be let down, because his brother is a grown man with different needs.  Dean is not Sam's whole life any more.  Sam told Death that when he died, "This time will be final.  And nobody gets hurt because of me."  We know he meant Dean.  And now not only Dean, but others have been hurt because Dean could not respect Sam's choices, his autonomy, the fact that Sam is a separate person.  So Sam doesn't trust Dean.  Frankly, I don't trust Dean either.  Sam gazed at Dean during this scene as if he was thinking, "Oh, shut up."

SPN_912 Sam
Sam is so done with this crap

Next week promises the boys in workout gear.  I don't care if the episode sucks donkey balls because BOYS! WORKOUT GEAR!  DEAN IN A HAIRNET!

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