Thursday, January 30, 2014

Supernatural, Season 9, Episode 12: Sharp Teeth

Garth… oh dear, the character I have most wanted to be killed for so very long.

In rural Wisconsin, something is causing cows distress. The farmer shoots at the man he assumes is responsible for the cow worrying but misses and the cow worrier runs – on to the road where he’s hit by a car. Like the only car for miles around – sometimes Loki just decides it’s not your day. And since the cow worrier is Garth, I agree with Loki.

Garth is taken to hospital and both Winchesters go to visit him (there’s a pillow right there guys if you want to make sure he’s not going to follow you home…) Tension between the two brothers is still very thick. Garth is also handcuffed, accused of killing a cow, but is unconscious on pain meds. Dean has issues with Garth walking out on them when they needed him and plans to wake him with an injection of adrenaline – and Sam slaps him awake instead.

Gah, now he’s awake!

While Garth vomits horribly in the bathroom, the Winchesters awkwardly bring each other up to date until they realise Garth has done a runner through the bathroom window. Time to investigate.

Sam talks to the farmer who has not just lost a cow but a range of lifestock – all with their organs ripped out. He connects with Dean who pretends the CCTV saw nothing – yeah Sam doesn’t buy it, Dean is trying to avoid Sam for his own good because everyone around him dies, blah angst blah issues that will never be dealt with etc etc.

They track the car Garth left in (and the owner, a woman called Bess) and catch up with him – breaking in to the house guns drawn. The woman, Bess is a werewolf. And so is Garth

Garth the werewolf. Oh dear, this may be the worst addition to dubious shapeshifters since the weresloth.

Garth got bit on a hunt and was ready to commit suicide when he met Bess – and fell in love, got married and even joined her pack. Garth doesn’t hurt people – but yes he does mangle cattle which is still admirable restraint for a bitten werewolf: and yes you can be born a werewolf, like Bess is. And they’re all totally peaceful and friendly – Dean is suspicious so gets invited to a prayer meeting.

Which involves hymns. And a very smiley mother-in-law and a whole pack of smiley people including Bess’s father, pack leader and reverend. Everyone tries to make Dean welcome and Dean is having none of it – though Garth does manage to get him to sit down to dinner with them. With raw hearts on the menu. Awkward dinner continues with a discussion on spirituality, not liking the term “werewolf” and wearing silver bullets as jewellery to remind them of their mortality and the death of Rev Jim’s first wife to a hunter and his decision not to seek revenge with an added revelation of a 4th generation werewolf.

Sam does his own research away from the awkward family dinner and learns the local police consider Rev Jim and co to be good people.

Dean just isn’t buying the whole happy happy families routine despite Garth’s desperate attempt to convert him.

Dean and Sam meet up and Sam doesn’t see any problem – they have found happy, friendly monsters before after all. Dean makes a very obvious attempt to get rid of Sam before they get a call about another cattle mutilation. A very fresh cattle mutilation. Very fresh – as in still warm. And the Sherriff grows claws and fangs. Dramatic villain speech! He draws a gun – and Dean throws a knife and hits him in the heart. Oh wolfy, should have shot them in the back. Examining his body they find one of Rev Jim’s silver bullets on him – only this has “Ragnarok” carved into it

Norse mythology! If one thing can make up for the presence of Garth, it’s some good mythology.

Dean thinks this is enough to go on a killing spree, Sam not so much, especially since the killing spree will include Garth (I wish to note I am perfectly fine with killing sprees that include Garth).

Dean goes to explore the church while Sam goes for Garth. Dean finds an old book with the word Ragnarok in it and decides to do some research – on the internet, in the church he’s just broken into. Really, Dean? While Dean is begging to be caught, Sam finds Garth and Bess missing and their flat showing signs of a struggle – as he tells Dean while Dean recites Norse mythology 101 focusing on Fenris (I find it highly unlikely Dean – and certainly Sam – have to actually research Ragnarok). But there’s more, Dean has also apparently googled up a cult called the Maw of Fenris – a cult of werewolves that worship Fenris and plan to make humanity extinct

Sam gets clonked by some of Rev Jim’s creepier flock and Dean confronts Rev Jim – who claims that they’re against the Maw of Fenris and they only keep the book around as a relic of their past hatreds. Dean examines Rev Jim’s bullet and finds it untouched – Ragnarok has not been carved into it. Jim insists the Maw is all over – except for the unpleasant fact of his missing daughter and son-in-law.

Cut to Bess and Garth tied up when the goons drag in Sam – and look, step-mother is also involved and doesn’t like her stepdaughter that much and she’s hella pissed at Garth for bringing hunters to town (especially since she’s the last of her bloodline after hunters killed the others). She also smacks Garth around a bit which makes me like her at least a little. When Sam wakes up she has a whole villainous exposition which is not only contrived and boring but completely unnecessary since the whole “last of my bloodline thanks to you” pretty much sums up her motives and we hardly needed her to explain, at length, why she doesn’t like her hubby’s peace and love philosophy (the hitting people with guns makes it clear).

Anyway she has a very predictable plan of killing Bess and setting up Sam and Dean so Rev Jim will lose his shit when Dean arrives and starts stabbing and shooting – well that was over quickly.

Everyone says their goodbyes, Dean wallows in his angst a little more. He apologises to Sam for the latest ruction between them. But Sam isn’t willing to accept a simple apology – Dean has just done too much infantilising of Sam, making decisions for him, going to extreme lengths to “protect” him that Sam doesn’t feel he can trust Dean anymore; and invoking “we’re family” doesn’t cure that.

Meh. That pretty much sums up the episode to me. I’ve seen worse and it wasn’t completely awful, but it was shabby even for a monster of the week episode of Supernatural. Some monsters are good guys, sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference…they’ve done it before and they did it a lot better.

And it felt… lazy? Take the research- Dean’s research actually involves google – and, really, after everything the Winchester’s have faced, their upbringing, their education, I find it highly dubious that either of them actually have to research Ragnarok, which is hardly an obscure element of mythology. I find it more obscure that a basic internet search engine is actually a source for them. The villainous monologue came off as pure filler – and the supposed dichotomy of the preacher’s wife with the sweet country accent being evil doesn’t work because how many times has it been done? How many people didn’t expect the sweet preacher’s wife to be evil? Anyone? And when she said the word “stepmother” well, that’s definitely team evil! It’s a rule far too often – non-biological parents = inferior and step-mothers = EVIL.

Also, I hate Garth. Maybe this episode would have been more interesting to those who really wanted an update on Garth’s life.

The only surprise in this episode is that Bess didn’t end up dying tragically to give Garth his very own fridged woman.

The light at the end of the tunnel is Sam and Dean actually seeming willing to work through some issues and make this latest family drama between them something that will become more meaningful.