So, how did the episode start? Oh yeah, crazy gruesome running-over death. The thing that gets me about that is that it wouldn't even be a quick death, realistically speaking. Though I think they made it one in the show. I'm always really glad that Supernatural is on TV and can't show anything onscreen. This was a "blood splatter" episode... that's fine. I can deal with blood splatter.
Enter the Winchesters. Sam is gone for ten minutes and Dean finds a hunt. It reminds me of S4, when Dean hunted nonstop in order to deal with his PTSD from hell. Dean seems to have one setting for PTSD-dealing: Repress and Hunt. It's never worked in the past, and it's not going to work now...and just like in the past, it's probably going to drive a wedge between the brothers...though we'll get to that. First, we get the conversation about Benny - he's a vampire, but he's Dean friend. And obviously Sam is pissed, because what about Amy? And Dean points out that they let the werewolf girl Kate go...and I point out that Dean only let her go because he wanted to have that argument point in his back-pocket for when the shit hit the fan, but surprisingly, Dean and Sam can't seem to hear me when I make this point.
But to make Dean's point (and this is the thing that sort of always gets me with Supernatural that I kind of wish they would emphasize more) CASTIEL ISN'T HUMAN EITHER. And while it's true that angels don't feast on human blood, they are, essentially non-human bastards, the majority of whom Sam and Dean have to kill at some point or another. So, I GUESS, Cas falls in a sort of grey zone...but still, I'm of the firm believe that Amy's death was a reaction to Cas' betrayal - so to bring her up is to bring up Cas for me, and the fact of the matter is that Cas murdered far more people than Benny ever could....and yet Cas can be given a second chance? Ugh, and now I'm sticking up for a vampire. Nevermind, I take it all back.
At least Dean says that if a hunter kills Benny, that's okay, but he draws the line at doing it himself. Fair enough. Sam wanted to give Lenore a chance back in S2, it's not SO ridiculous to give Benny the same shot.
Garth! So, I know some of you don't like Garth, and probably those of you who don't like him, are going to freak out about this episode - and not in a good way. But, hey, the good news is that you are freaking out about nothing - the even more good news is that even if you aren't, I don't really care. (BURN! Seriously though, I like Garth, and you aren't allowed to harsh my mellow.)
I love Sam's "I forgot he was a hugger" mutter when Garth launches himself at them. But I love Garth's reaction to seeing them. This is the thing, Dean was definitely MIA, and Sam dropped out completely - so what did the rest of the Hunting community know about the fate of the Winchesters? Suddenly there weren't any phone-calls asking if they had any experience with MonsterX, suddenly they couldn't get through to the Winchesters if THEY had questions abotu MonsterX... what were they left to assume? Unlike a lot of hunters, Dean and Sam are really of no-fixed address. So, yeah, for all Garth knew, both hunters might have bit it.
Though, by the way Garth reacted to them, I wonder if he knew that Dean was MIA but Sam wasn't... but we'll get to that.
Does no one really question a Texas Ranger being in Missouri?! That was kind of hilarious.
Garth's phones...my friend asked "Is he Bobby now?" just before Sam asked "Are you the new Bobby?" - and he IS! Though, I bet this probably has a few fans upset - I think what people have to realize is that there's a different between function and form. Garth has a very good point - Bobby served an essential roll in the Hunting world and with his death there was a HUGE VOID. I mean, who mans the fake FBI line? Further more, who is their 411? Sam and Dean were naturals to take over Bobby's role - more so than Garth, but they both dropped out of the life, by force or by choice... so what else were people going to do? Garth isn't Bobby, but the fact that he's willing to LEARN to be, is what makes him different than Sam and Dean.
Anyway, back to the episode. Garth tasting the ectoplasm from his boot was disgusting.
The nice thing about this episode is that it's a MOTW, but they manage to weave in enough emotional plot to keep it interesting...which I think was the problem with the MOTW's last year. (Ugh, I know, I should stop complaining about S7 - I apologize.)
So, off to interview lady, and then lady's son takes a shovel to his former-business partner's head... and I'm probably getting things in weird orders, but you'll have to forgive me. WINE.
Maybe they wet to lunch before the guy took the dude's head off with a shovel? In anycase, let's talk about LUNCH NOW: Garth likes to eat. I hate it when people talk with their mouth full, so this was a little hard to watch for me... but I'm sure it was harder to film for the actors...especially DJ Qualls.
But here's the thing: Garth just asks DEAN where he's been for the past year. Dean says Purgatory...Garth asks how he got out...Dean changes the subject. I wonder how Dean DID get out. I mean, Benny made it sound like there was just a door that Dean had to walk through - but I'm thinking that Dean getting out had something directly to do with Castiel not getting out or something...it just seems odd that Dean would avoid the subject so much.
We also get Garth backstory! Garth went to college! Garth was a dentist! Garth's first hunt was the tooth fairy! Ah haha. Oh Garth. The thing is, it's hilarious, but Garth treats it like it was a harrowing experience - AND IT WAS. I mean, think of the relative benign stuff that Supernatural has twisted over the years... the pagan Christmas gods playing bad-Santa springs to mind.
Anyway, dude takes other guy's head off with a shovel. So the boys split up. Dean and Garth and Sam off to do something or other...or interview cougar lady. (Seriously, if Sam had been soulless, he could have totally gotten some.)
And here we have the Bobby-thing again. Dean had even confiscated Garth's Bobby hat at the crime-scene. Ouch Dean. But Garth brings him to task. Before we get to that though, I have to say that Garth trying to get Dean and Sam to talk to him isn't knew to the character - really, he's very forth-right about what he is thinking and feeling, which is what I like about the character (and what saves him in the end). Garth just believes "better out then in" and lives by that.
Anyway, Dean of course, takes exception to Garth trying to "be Bobby" and tells him to cut it out. But Garth points out that "Bobbly belongs to all of us, not just you and Sam." - which is true. Bobby, being the one to man the phones and have all the books, was a touchstone for many hunters...and while it's true that Sam and Dean were his "sons" and no one is ever going to come close to feeling the loss like they do, other people do still feel the lose, and Dean dismiss their feelings as being less than his. They're different, but they aren't less. And since Garth took up part of Bobby's job, he misses Bobby in a way Sam and Dean don't - because he's ILL EQUIPPED to handle Bobby's job.
Think about it, Garth is the new "Bobby" to a legion of Hunters, but Garth has to consult Bobby's books/journals in order to help them - furthermore, by the time Bobby died, Sam and Dean were on par with his knowledge - they were actually dealing with problems that SURPASSED Bobby's knowledge. Sam and Dean, therefore, would have been the wiser choices to take over for Bobby in that respect - EXCEPT, what made Bobby a good "Bobby" was that he was STABLE. Sam and Dean are ANYTHING but stable. They are the most unstable, unpredictable, and unreliable hunters out there probably. They may be "good in a tight spot" (Gordon, I believe described them that way, though I may be misquoting) but I highly doubt that any hunter feels that they can count on them to be there from one month to the next - and to always be reachable in a crisis. Because Garth is so emotional stable, it makes him physically stable as well, and therefore reliable for hunters to call up in a way that Sam and Dean aren't.
What I'm trying to say is that Garth isn't a replacement for Bobby for SAM AND DEAN. He's a replacement for Bobby for people who didn't know Bobby - or only knew him casually. He's slowly setting himself up to be someone else's "Bobby"... it's just going to take him some time to get there.
Anyway...um, I got off on a tangent, and some of that I should have saved for the end of the episode, but I'll probably be talking about the brother's relationship then, so maybe it's just as well.
Dean sees the error of his ways and feels bad for upsetting Garth, who obviously loved Bobby too. And then they find the information on specters. Specters are from disturbed graves - and sure enough, a grave has been disturbed. The Unknown (Civil War) Soldier.
Burn the bones... but when is it ever that simple? This time, it's cop on cop violence.
This time it's Sam and Garth that head off to investigate the library, while Dean heads over to the hospital to stop another murder.
So, let's talk about Sam's flashbacks...
Sam has a flashback problem - in that he seems to zone out at the strangest and longest of times. I mean, seriously, the human brain isn't actually like a TV show - you don't have to "watch" the whole scene in order to remember it. An entire memory can happen in less then a second, between one step and the next. So, yeah, it sort of annoyed me that they actually had Sam stop and zone out. He has more flashbacks than PTSDean!
What do we learn from Sam's flashbacks though? Amelia's husband died in Afghanistan. That sucks. What sucks more is who the hell enlists without talking to their wife first? Seriously... based on that, I'd say they probably had a pretty crappy marriage to begin with. But hey, whatever. Anyway, super sad times...so Amelia moved to get away from the pity and condolences. But then, she told Sam, so now she wants to one-night-stand him, because she doesn't like the pitying look on his face. This is where my friend shouted out "That's not a look of pity! That's just Sam's FACE!" Which is true.
My friend's husband complained that Sam was wearing a t-shirt in the post-sex cuddling scene. Well, maybe "complained" is the wrong word - he pointed it out as odd. :P To be fair though, I do have a friend who immediately puts on a shirt after sex, because he's not comfortable sleeping shirtless. Personally though, I think it was a case of them not having time to put the tattoo on Jared.
Anyway, who didn't see this coming? As Bobby said, "how come whenever you clean up a mess, you always end up muddy?" - or whatever the heck the line was. Sam and Garth discover that it was a penny, and meanwhile Dean gets the penny and becomes possessed.
This is the other thing about the episode...no one comments on the green/black good trailing out the people's ears. What's with that? Also, what kind of drunken idiot teenager doesn't hang on to a 1859 penny in order to see how much they could get off a coin-collector?
Let's talk about the "Fell on Black Days" sequence where they follow the penny through the murders. Mainly, I want to talk about it because this is possibly the first time that Supernatural has used a song that I actually listened to a LOT in my youth. My older brother and sister were fairly big Soundgarden fans...they bought the European edition of Superunknown so that they could get the extra tracks.... anyway, yeah, um, crazyness. I really like that song. (My fav soundgarden song remained "Burden in my Hand" though). Anyway, I was kind of distracted with all the flashbacks that the song was giving me, but I think I liked this sequence.
So, flash forward to Sam and Garth charging into the hotel room to find a possessed Dean - and BAMMO, all the stuff comes out. Dean is pissed at Sam for not looking for him.... which, you know, fair enough. But, he also brings up demon-blood, Ruby, soullessness, the whole "not telling me you were alive" thing. Firstly, Dean's possessed, so I'll forgive him for holding Sam accountable to decisions he made while soulless. Everyone knows those decisions don't count. HE HAD NO MORALS. Geez. I mean, my dad has no morals, and I don't necessarily forgive him for that, but if I found out he was born without a soul, then I probably would.... or at least, I'd be more understanding. Secondly, okay, I guess since Dean's possessed, I should forgive him for everything he says here - but dude, S4 was totally Dean's fault too - Dean KNOWS Sam, and he approached him in the exact wrong way. Secondly, Sam's already atoned for the whole demon-blood/Ruby mistake...remember? When he submitted himself to unknown tortures for eternity/18-months? Thirdly, "those aren't mistakes, those are choices!" seriously?!? What do you think mistakes ARE?! Mistakes that aren't choices are called accidents. Mistakes that are mistakes are when you make THE WRONG CHOICE. Ugh, Possessed!Dean, you don't even know the definition of WORDS.
That all being said, Possessed!Dean does have a point - Sam didn't chose the hunting life. He was forced into it by his father, by circumstances, by divine plan, and by necessity...and it cost him EVERYTHING HE LOVES INCLUDING YOU. So, cut the kid some slack that he wanted to see how the other half lived. Geez.
Okay, seriously though, I can see why Dean is hurting over the whole Sam-not-looking for him. We're ALL wondering the same thing to some extent or another... how could he just hang it all up? There HAS to be something more. Who was that shadowy figure outside his place in Kermit, Texas? Why was he heading up to the cabin if he never got Dean's message? There's still mysteries to Mr. Samuel Winchester - no matter how much he claims to have been open and honest with Dean.
But again, I'm getting way ahead of myself. Dean beats Sam up. It's all very homoerotic. Especially, I'm thinking, for Garth, who doesn't know who the heck Sam is talking about when he brings up Benny...but apparently Benny was more a brother to Dean than Sam or Cas ever were, because Benny has never betrayed him (yet.)
Garth gets between them and tries to remind Dean that Dean's spent his whole life protecting Sam, so he definitely shouldn't want to kill him. I like the fact that Dean spending his whole life protecting Sam is like a FACT of the Hunting community. Roy and Walt knew it too... and Garth knows it, and it's not like Dean and Sam have ever told him their history.
And then Garth punches Dean, and I love how it hurts his hand so much.
So, Sam lives with a bloody nose. Garth destroys the penny, because he's immune to the specter. And then Sam has another flashback.....
And we see him telling Amelia about Dean. About losing Dean and not knowing what to do, so he just drove away... and that makes him and Amelia in the same boat. Although I'm not a wincest shipper, I do love that Sam and Dean are constantly being compared to married couples. They are platonically married. :P Also, Dean and Don? Seriously? Are you TRYING to make it this blatant?
So, was it just me, or when Amelia said "Do you want to talk about it?" and Sam answered "yes." Did you get the feeling that Amelia has meant "I'd much rather just have hot sex, thanks" only Sam totally missed the implied sentiment and was all like "yes!" and then Amelia was like "Shit! Seriously?! You would rather talk about your dead brother than have hot sex with me? Ugh." with her eyes, only Sam missed that too, and was like "Do you want to talk about Don, because I totally want to listen." And then he held her hand and Amelia was like "Oh god, no." but again, only with her eyes.... poor Sam.
Anyway, time for the brothers to talk to each other over the roof of the car. Does Dean apologize? At this point, I can't remember. I don't think he does. Sam though, points out that A)He can leave at anytime, thank you very much. He's got no reason to stay with Dean if Dean doesn't want him around...and B)Dean has to be prepared for Sam to f*cking reciprocate some friend-killing if Benny doesn't stay true to his word. And Dean is all like "sure, bro" but his eyes are like "oh my god, is this how you feel every time I kill one of your friends?! This is horrible! I'm a huge hypocrite and will never forgive you!"
Okay, that's unfair to Dean...Dean's not a HUGE hypocrite, he's just a small one. And he didn't kill ALL Sam's friends, just two of them, or something... and one of them definitely had it coming, and the other one arguably had it coming...but hey, Benny arguably has it coming too.
I do think that this season has an interesting dynamic though, because Sam CAN leave at any time. There's nothing, besides guilt, holding him there. And it IS guilt holding him there (as far as we know)...I mean, he SAYS it's because he wants to close the hell-gates, but I think it's more because he does feel guilty that Dean needed saving and Sam didn't know/try. So, yeah, one last hurrah to show his brother that he loves him and apologize (but things are never that easy for the Winchesters). And maybe Dean KNOWS that Sam can leave at anytime and he desperately doesn't want him to, so he might be preying a bit on the guilty-conscience that he knows Sam has.... I don't think PTSDean would fair well on his own, and I think Dean knows it.
ETA: Oh god, I just realized that there were a whole bunch of funny things I didn't comment on. But right now, the only one I can think of is: "We won" - oh Dean, I love you.
That was surprisingly long...sorry.
So, next week seems exciting! I am looking forward to it.