Supernatural, S9 Ep12 – Sharp Teeth

Garth staring at Dean

When Garth went AWOL back in season eight, I figured it would just be ignored or brushed off with a line of dialogue next time they managed to get D.J. Qualls to revise his role. But I guess with Kevin dying it would be hard to overlook Garth bailing out on him, leading to Kevin staying in the bunker where he meet his untimely end. I’m glad Garth’s back, and most importantly, I’m glad he didn’t die (seriously, his survival floored me—was I even watching the right show?).

Dean at dinner table with Garth and other werewolves

There’s not enough pie in the world to make this OK for Dean.

Turns out Garth was bitten by a werewolf during a hunt, but right before he was going to take himself out, as per hunter tradition, a werewolf named Bess found him and they fell in love. This gave us an interesting look at werewolves. And by interesting I mean “possibly contradicts previously established canon.” We’ve only had a couple werewolf episodes before, so I guess we don’t have too much for the writers to step on, but the first time we saw a werewolf, it was like a classic horror movie: the person changes at the full moon, has no control over it, and doesn’t even realize they’re changing. But last season they introduced a new piece of lore: purebloods, werewolves bitten up to four generations away from the Alpha werewolf. And now we have born-werewolves. They can change at will like purebloods, but it wasn’t made clear how born-werewolves came about. Are they purebloods who had children, creating a pureblood lineage that doesn’t degrade after the fourth generation?

And what about Garth? Was he bitten by a pureblood, or just a random wolf? Was the wolf from Bess’s family/church group? After nine seasons it can be hard to keep track of what’s canon, but as the fans have proven, it’s possible. I wish the writers had tied this new werewolf lore in with what had been previously established. That said, the Ragnarok thing was pretty cool, though anyone who knows Norse mythology was way ahead of Sam and Dean on this one (the wolf eats Odin and brings about the end of days, you can kind of guess where they were going with this).

Sam tied up against a tractor

I wouldn’t trust Dean either if hanging out with him usually involved getting tied up in barns.

Though the werewolf stuff was kind of cool, and it was great to see Garth again, the biggest thing about this episode was Sam and Dean working together again. They didn’t want to, but they did it for Garth, and at the end they reached a sort of truce, but at a cost. Garth had found family with Bess and her werewolf kin, and Dean respected that because family is the most important thing to him. His father raised him to put family first. At this point, family is all Dean has. But as Sam pointed out, everything that’s gone wrong between the two of them has been because of that family bond. Sam and Dean are unhealthily co-dependent, but Dean especially depends on having his baby brother to make him whole. Sam was able to get out, to make a life for himself during college. But Dean, even though he’s the only one of them who remembers life before hunting, he never got to be his own person. He never got to enjoy life as an adult without hunting hanging over his head. Garth described Dean perfectly this episode: “He could start a fight in an empty house, but deep down inside he’s just a big ol’ teddy bear.” It’s true, Dean can kill you with a dish towel, but he’s just a little boy inside looking for love. And he needs Sam to feel complete, because Sam has been everything to him for so long. But Sam won’t have it anymore.

Will they ever be able to repair their relationship? Dean does seem more open in recent years. It’s like a whole new Dean, and I like this new version of Dean who hugs people and doesn’t kill every monster in sight. Also, that scruffy depression-beard he’s got going on works for him. Oh, yes. But there’s a long way ahead for him and Sam before they can be back on equal footing. Sam doesn’t trust Dean, so even though they’re going to work together again, they won’t be working as family, as brothers. Why can’t these two crazy kids just work things out?!

Next week, Sam and Dean go undercover at a health spa. I think I’ve read that fan fic before…