“Family and love” by Garth Fitzgerald IV (Supernatural “Sharp Teeth” Review)

After two of the most plotty episodes we got in this season so far, Supernatural goes back to filler monster-of-the-weeks episodes. The hightlight of Sharp Teeth was clearly seeing the return of Garth (Dj Qualls), who had gone MIA in Season 8. Sharp Teeth, written by Adam Glass and directed by John F. Showalter, tells us where Garth has been all this time and gives us a story about a pack of “nice” werewolves. WARNING: This review contains SPOILERS.

Where the hell is Garth?” This is a question that Supernatural fans have been asking themselves ever since the goofy hunter seemed to disappear off the face of the Earth last season. Garth (who made his first appearance in Season 7, Time for a Wedding) had promised to look after Kevin in Season 8 but he later disappeared and Sam and Dean didn’t have a clue where he was. Thankfully, the writers were kind enough to give as an answer to that question (especially after Kevin’s death) and they did it in a way that may suggest that we’re not gonna be seeing Garth anymore anytime soon. Or at least they didn’t give us a chance to ask about him again anytime soon.

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The episode starts with a chasing between a farmer and some person who seems to have attacked a cow. After that person is hit by a car, the camera shows us his identity: Garth. *Title card*. We see Sam entering a hospital and finding Dean in Garth’s room. It was interesting to see how the brothers dealt with finding each other in a hunt (honestly, sometimes it seems like they’re the only hunters in the world). Garth, who has been handcuffed to the bed, is apparently being charged for killing a cow. After waking Garth up and briefly talking to him, he runs to the bathroom to throw up. Sam and Dean take the chance to discuss Gadreel, Castiel and the Mark of Cain. AND THANK GOD DEAN DIDN’T LIE ABOUT IT! He either learned his lesson or he is just too depressed to even care about it anymore.

After their brief chat, they notice that it’s gone too quiet in the bathroom and realise that Garth has escaped through the window. While Sam goes to talk to farmer Brown (owner of the cow), Dean goes to check if the security cameras have recorded anything of Garth’s escape. It’s made clear that Dean wants to work alone in this case since he tries to lie to Sam and tell him that the cameras saw nothing and that the case is over. However, Sam was waiting for him around the corner and sees the photos the camera took. “I told you we can’t hunt together”, says Dean trying to defend himself. “I hear you”, replies Sam “and after we find Garth and get to the bottom of this I’m gone. But until then, no more games”. We’ll see.

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They storm inside the house Garth had gone to as he tries to calm them down saying that this was all a misunderstanding. This gives as an image of a very violent Sam and Dean in contrast to a very relaxed and laid-back Garth. “Let’s all be adults here and have an adult conversation”. Too late for that, as a werewolf enters the rooms and tries to bite Sam’s arm. Garth defends her and tells them that he’s a werewolf too. Surprise!

After starting on the wrong foot, they sit down for a chat and Garth tells Sam and Dean that the werewolf is Bess (Sarah Smyth), his “beloved“. He introduces Dean saying that “he could start a fight in an empty house but deep down inside he’s just a big old teddy bear” and Sam “can be a bit insecure at times but for good reasons“. Since Sam and Dean aren’t convinced about the whole werewolf thing, Garth tells them that he was bitten by a werewolf in Portland 6 months ago and that he was too scared to tell them. He had accepted his death and was ready “to eat a bullet” until Bess found him (first Cain, now Garth). They’ve been married for 4 months and Garth has been accepted into their pack. They tell Sam and Dean that they don’t eat human hearts and that they’re not hurting people. That’s when Bess first mentions the concept “bitten”. Apparently, “a bitten” is a human that has been turned into a werewolf by being bitten by one, while a “born to it” is someone who has been born a werewolf. She also includes the concept of “generations“. So there you go, Season 9 of Supernatural and still learning things about werewolves!

For further proof that this is a friendly non-dangerous pack, Garth invites Dean to go “pray” with them. Bess’ step mother-in-law, Joy (Eve Gordon), opens the door for Dean and assures him that he’s safe in there. Inside the living room, they’re all singing Bringing in the Sheaves and wow, who would have guessed that Garth could play the piano? Dean still doesn’t trust this and continues to be rude to every single member of the family Garth introduces him to. Sam suggests that maybe Garth is OK. “Well ain’t you a glass half full”, says Dean who, in case you still haven’t noticied, has major trust issues.

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“The road to revenge is a dark and lonely one” (take notes, Dean)

Garth doesn’t give up and invites Dean to have lunch with them. Which translates as a pretty awkward situation in which Dean is the only one with actual cooked meat on his plate. He notices that all of them are wearing silver bullets as necklaces and asks about it. “A constant reminder of how precious our lives truly are“, says Bess. “It burns a bit, but that’s kind of the point”, adds Garth “it reminds us of our fragility“. This talk parallels the one Castiel and Sam had in First Born, in which Cas was trying to convince Sam about how precious life was and how it should be protected at all costs. Garth also mentions that they don’t use the “W” word, and that they’re prefer the word “lycanthropes”. Reverend Jim (Tom Butler), Bess’ dad, tells Dean that a hunter killed his wife after his daughter was born. He didn’t choose revenge, though. Instead, he focused on his daughter.

Meanwhile, Sam keeps talking to the police. Sheriff Pat (Matt Hamilton) informs him that Reverend Jim’s family is “clean as a whistle”. Sam asks the sheriff to call him in case anything else happens.

After a couple of Bess’ cousins creepily corner Dean in the kitchen, Garth, who’s clearly not happy with Dean’s beahviour, interrupts to have a mini talk with him. Dean stubbornly insists that “there is no way that all of this is what it looks like“.

Garth: Look, amigo. I know this looks nuts but I found it. Love and a family. Who cares where that comes from?
Dean: I do.
Garth: I get it. When I first got here I couldn’t let go either. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. But when it didn’t, I had to accept the truth. 

Dean proceeds to make Garth feel bad by telling him that he went MIA and that now Kevin is gone, for good.

Garth: What happened?
Dean: When he needed me I wasn’t there. That’s what.

Sam and Dean (finally convinced) are about to leave just when Sam receives a call from the sheriff due to another animal having been attacked. It turns out the sheriff was a werewolf too, and not the kind one. Dean kills him using his knife-throwing abilities and they see that the sheriff also had a silver bullet around his neck, with the name “Bagnarok“. They decide to return and investigate further. Dean goes to the church while Sam goes back to the house. Sam finds the house deserted while Dean finds a book about Norse Mythology in which he sees the word “Ragnarok” again.  After checking on the Internet, he discovers that there are cults within werewolves who want to make this Ragnarok an action plan to exterminate the human race. Sam is knocked out and kidnapped while Dean finds the reverend in the church and discovers that he’s innocent.

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Outside, Garth and Bess wake up tied up and see Bess’ cousins, Russ and Joba, dragging an unconscious Sam and tying him up too. Turns out that Joy is one of the evil werewolves: she slaps Bess and promises to hurt them all. Sam wakes up as Joy expresses his disagreement with the rest of the pack’s decision to coexist with human. “I get it now. Why coexist when you can rule?” adds Sam, mirroring the war between angels and demons this season.

Dean, who’s more clever than people give him credit for, uses one of the werewolves’ jackets to hide his scent so Joy can’t smell him from the distance. Sam kicks off Joy’s gun from the floor right when she was about to kill Bess and Dean enters the place to shoot Joy. And the action ends there, a bit abruptly I must say.

We’re in the next day in Garth’s house. Garth hugs Sam goodbye (we really missed Garth’s hugs) and proceeds to have a heartfelt talk with Dean. And DJ Qualls was right when he said he’s a parallel for Dean:

Dean: You said it. Who cares where happiness comes from? Look, we’re all a little weird, we’re a little wacky. Some more than others but, if it works, it works. You’ve got something here. (…) Don’t let that go, OK? You’ll never forgive yourself.

Dean should really listen to himself.

Final scene and time for the emotional brothers talk by the Impala. Dean tells Sam that he was “messed up” the night hel left. Sam agrees that when they’re together, they “split the crappiness“. However, Sam keeps mentioning the source of their problem:

Sam: Something’s broken here. (…) 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 letting Gadreel possess me? I can’t trust you. Not the way I thought I could, not the way I should be able to. 
Dean: OK. Look, whatever happened. We are family, OK?
Sam: You say like that’s some sort of 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 what? We’re not family now?
Sam: I’m just saying: you wanna work? Let’s w ork. If you wanna be brothers… Well those are my terms.

*Cue sad music*

Untitled-3This could be seen as Part 2 of that first mini-talk we got at the end of Road Trip. Something is definitely broken in the brother’s relationship and Sam has already realised it. Dean hasn’t. And Sam has been trying to let him know without telling him right away. He gave him the first warning in Road Trip, and now we got the second one. Sam talks about “roles“. Their roles on this whole “brothers who hunt together”  thing. Ever since the beginning of this show, Sam and Dean have never really acted like brothers. There has always been some kind of parent/child relationship to them (this is due to the way they were raised by John). Even though I don’t think it’s fair that Sam mentioned the fact that he didn’t finish the trials (after all, he could have chosen to not listen to Dean and sacrifice himself), I do see that he’s realised how unhealthy their relationship is. And yes, I’m talking about the codependency. The “I can’t trust you” reminds us of the conversation Sam and Dean already had in Sympathy for the devil (S5), when Dean said that he couldn’t trust Sam anymore after he went behind his back to work with Ruby.

Dean insists on a phrase that has been used more than a gazillion times in this show “we’re family“. Family. What does that even mean anymore? Dean justifies every and each one of his actions with the fact that they’re “family” and that he has to do anything he can to protect Sam. That was OK when Sam was 22. But he’s 30 now, almost 31.

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The last sentence by Sam ending with the “If you wanna be brothers…” was a bit unclear (could have specified a little more there, Adam Glass). But I think it also shows that Sam is still not ready to tell Dean the truth. Or to put it better, Dean is still not ready to hear the truth. Like I said before, this feels like a Part 2 for the talk. And I believe that there will be more talks on this subject in the future. But I also believe that Dean will end up realising this on his own. Because he has to.

That’s when he’ll be able not only to have a more heatly relationship with his brother, but also to be his own person and look for happiness in life. Happiness found by love is one of the themes that we have seen more often in the second half of this season (Abner with his human family, Cain and Colette, Garth and Bess…). Dean needs to face his issues and break the codependency first so he can actually start to look for himself and for what he wants in this life: family and love.

While I think this episode was a bit boring (as the majority of the fillers in this season), I think it was good for the subtext, the parallels and the relationship between the brothers. Let’s hope next week is another step forward!

FINAL RATING: 7/10

Here’s the promo and the sneak peek of next’s week episode, The Purge:

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voVkpFfPe2o&rel=0] [youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-aBfazAs4I&rel=0]

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