I like Garth as a character, because he's a play on a stereotype.... or he's a play on making judgments about people based on the way they look/sound. Because Garth looks and sounds like he should be an incompetent hunter, but he's obviously not. He's such a good hunter, actually, that he can take on Bobby's job of being the go-to knowledge-guy for other hunters.
Ugh, the opening to this episode is BRUTAL THOUGH! I think it's the most brutal of the season...
Sam: "Heads up"
*Sam hands Dean a drink*
- Seriously, the amount of joy I get out of dialogue that ISN'T about plot is ridiculous. I love these very little tiny things that solely consist of Sam handing Dean a drink.
Dean: "You want to talk about Benny, fine, let's talk."
Sam: "How about, he's a *vampire*"
- I love the way Sam whispers "vampire" and then looks around. It's... kind of adorable.
Sam: "Don't think that I don't get it. You had to do what you had to do to get out of there."
Dean: "I highly doubt you get anything about Purgatory."
- I think this is another problem that Dean is struggling with - much like when he came back from hell, he pushed Sam away because Sam couldn't possible ever understand what Dean had gone through. He's doing the same with Purgatory. Sam couldn't possibly understand, therefore Dean's not even going to try to explain it. He'd not even going to try to explain Benny and what exactly happened and why it is that Dean feels so indebted to the vampire, WHY he trusts him so much. And because Dean's not willing to make the effort, Sam continues not only to not understand, but also get increasingly frustrated by Dean pushing him away and not telling him things - and the more frustrated and angry he gets, the less likely he's going to TRY to understand.
Dean: "He's my friend, Sam."
Sam: "And what about my friend, Amy? She was what? Because you sure as hell didn't have a problem ganking her!"
Dean: "Well, I guess people change. don't they - we didn't have a problem letting that werewolf, Kate, go."
- And Dean actually makes a good point here. People change - DEAN has changed. But the thing is, so has Sam - because 8 years ago, Sam WOULD have believed Benny too - in fact, he DID (his name was just Eli at the time). Now, Sam proved inevitably to be wrong about trusting those vampires, and it's soured him on ever doing it again, apparently - but he WAS still willing to give Kate a chance.
Sam: "She was different! She- You think Benny's different? He tell you he's not drinking live blood or something? And you believe him. Wow. Alright. You're right. People do change."
- And here we have another problem with the Winchesters... all those silent conversations they can have because they know each other so well? When you know someone that well, you have to be really careful that those silent conversations are actually what you think they are. Sam is drawing conclusions based on Dean's silences, and they may be right, but they're also not the full story.
Dean: "Yeah, I got a vampire buddy and you turn your phone off for a year."
Sam: "Don't turn this on me."
- And Dean isn't helping. He's defensive an angry and, like I said, wanting to push Sam away because he doesn't believe that Sam will understand. So, the quickest way to get Sam to drop an argument is to make it an attack on him - to turn it into something that Sam doesn't want to talk about.
Dean: "Look, Benny slips up and some other hunter puts his lights out - so be it."
Sam: "But it's not going to be you, right."
Dean: "You coming or not."
- And this here, SHOULD have tipped Sam off that Dean owed Benny a lot - that Dean had a LOT of feelings for Benny - because every other time they've let a monster go, it's with the caveat that if they slip up, then the WINCHESTERS will kill them. That DEAN will kill them. This is the one time that Dean doesn't actually think he has it in him to kill the monster... well, the one time besides those times when the monster was SAM. So, yeah, there's your measure.
Dean: "...you're sulking around like a eunuch in a whorehouse..."
- Eunuchs can still have a lot of fun people. Actually, back in olden times, Kings and whatnot used to let Eunuchs hang out with their ladies, because they thought Eunuch=no sex...and the Eunuchs were not about to quash that myth, because "Sure, I'll look after your harum, Sire... I'll make sure those ladies have EVERYTHING they need." Good times.
Sam: "I forgot he was a hugger."
- Aw, so did I.
Dean: "Texas Ranger, Garth? Seriously? We're in Missouri!"
Garth: "What? Come on... I look like a funeral director in one of those." *points to suits*
*both boys consider then nod in agreement.*
- I just love that they AGREE with him, like, yeah, your style is more important than a believable cover story - good point.
"Wow, I heard some chatter you two were back in the batters box, but I didn't believe it until now."
- I so crave Outsider POV. I love stuff like this - the fact that we get a glimpse of the "chatter" that goes through the hunting community.
Dean: "What are you doing?"
Garth: "My job, ombre"
Dean: "And since when is giving advice your job?"
Sam: "Hold up. Are you the new Bobby?"
Dean: "You shut your mouth."
Dean: "YOU shut your mouth."
Garth: "Bobby was gone. You two were MIA. It was a weird time. Somebody had to step in and pick up the slack. Alright, let's just get back to work and we'll talk about this later, alright?"
- Again, it's the Outsider POV that I love. And the fact that the writers didn't ignore the fact that Sam and Dean's lives have an effect on the rest of the world/hunting community. And not just in the "you unleashed lucifer!" aspect, but also just in the other stuff. Their losses are also losses for the hunting community, and whether they are currently hunting or missing is NOTED. The fact that Bobby died would have left a HUGE hole in the hunting community, and it's awesome that they acknowledge that and acknowledge the fact that it's not up to Sam and Dean who fills that hole. (this is starting to sound dirty.)
Sam: "Is that gum or is that ectoplasm?"
Dean: "Ectoplasm is usually black, right?"
Garth *tastes it*: "Ugh, definitely ectoplasm."
- I just love the fact that he tastes it, and both Sam and Dean make grossed out faces. It reminds me of my first fandom (Due South) which had that as a running gag between the two leads.
Garth: "So, Dean, give me the skinny - where were you this past year?"
Dean: "Alright, I was in Purgatory."
Garth: "Like the Purgatory Purgatory?"
Dean: "No, the one in Miami"
Garth: "Man, that's balls.
Dean: "That's not how you say balls."
- So, yeah, there's a gay bar in Maimi called Purgatory. It's an awesome fact. No matter which one Garth actually believes, his response is amusing given the context.
Sam: "How do you know all this?"
Garth: "I went to college."
Sam: "You went to college?"
Garth: "Yeah, college and then on to dental school."
Dean: "You were a dentist?"
- I love this, because it gets back to what I like about Garth - which is a play on judging people. Hunting is a very blue collar activity in Supernatural. It's the working class saving the middle class from the forces of evil, when it comes right down to it. It's why Sam's initial attempt at escape was to go to college - much like real working class kids do to try to escape their working class lives. Sam having attended college is an anomaly in the hunting community (Kristy's surprise at learning about it tells us that) - the fact that Garth not only went to college but had a middle class job before becoming a hunter is actually pretty flooring for Sam and Dean, again, they've been judging Garth based on the fact that he adopted the trappings of a hunter - beat up car, blue collar wardrobe, etc, and so just assumed that he was like them, or Bobby, or their father and came from a working class background.
Garth: "Yeah, for like a hot minute. Where do you think I got my first case?"
Dean: "Let me guess - tooth fairy."
Garth: "Yeah. Man, I felt terrible when I ganked that SOB."
Dean: "You killed the tooth fairy?"
Sam: "Yeah man, I mean, it's not my proudest moment, but it happened!"
- I love this origin story.
The mirror in this episode for the main storyline moves away from the "what does it mean to love a monster?" theme of the last three episodes and moves onto the "holding grudges only poisons yourself" theme.
Dean: "So first the mom goes natural born killer and now it's the son? What do we got a ghost with an oedipus complex? I don't know what that means."
- I love Dean, but I'm sure he DOES know what an oedipus complex means - he knows enough that it involves mothers and sons, anyway.
Dean: "Is that Bobby's hat?"
*Dean takes hat*
Garth: "What are you doing?"
Dean: "That's not how you wear it!"
- Garth's face here is just brilliant. You can see how angry he's getting with Dean, but then you can also see him let it go and return back to the case.
Oh, Sam flashback time! Sam's flashbacks come at such odd moments - like they can't really find things to trigger him that make sense.
Now it's time for awkward dialogue in bed. WORST PILLOW TALK EVER...actually, pillow talk scene we'll see in another few episodes is worst.
We learn about Amelia losing her husband in Iraq after he enlisted without discussing it with her first. Personally, if your husband enlists without talking to you about it, I think you've got massive problems in your relationship. But, the point is, I think, that Amelia and Sam have both lost soldiers in combat.
Garth: "You're such an idjit."
Dean: "Idjit's supposed to be said angrily, not happy. If you're going to butcher it don't say it at all!"
Garth: "Whoa then, okay. None of my business, but does this have anything to do with you and Sam?"
Dean: "You're right. It's none of your business."
- Again, Garth is actually quite brilliant. He recognizes that Dean's issues aren't actually with him - they're being caused by something else. Guessing it might be Sam is a good guess. I think in this case though, Dean is upset because he doesn't deal well with grief. He's not only still grieving Bobby at this point, but he's also grieving Cas - a fact that he's been trying to ignore for the past 5 episodes.
In the comments to my last post, ashkiryn
made a really good point when I asked the question: Why is Dean being so unsympathetic/unempathetic to other people's grief/pain/love? She pointed out that it's quite possible that it reminds him of his own grief over Cas, that he doesn't want to feel empathy, because then he'll have to awknowledge his own pain - which he's steadfastedly trying to ignore until it goes away - much like he did back in S2 when John died.
Garth: "...I know sometimes, Bobby, he'd-"
Dean: "You're not Bobby! 'kay? You're never going to be Bobby! So stop!"
Garth: "Bobby belonged to all of us, Dean. Not just you and Sam - now I'm just trying to take what he showed me and do something with it. That's all!"
- Garth calls Dean out on another thing he's doing - which is a very cliched male hero thing to do - and that's to act as though HIS pain is the ONLY pain. It doesn't matter to Dean what Sam might have been feeling during the past year, because Dean is too busy feeling upset because Sam didn't look for him. He doesn't question why Garth is suddenly trying to take on so many of Bobby's qualities, because he's too busy thinking of his own grief for Bobby. Garth is actually doing the same thing that Sam did after John died - try to be the son that John wanted him to be - and Dean called him on it then and then felt like a tool when he made Sam cry. Garth misses Bobby, and he's trying to honour him and miss him a little less by emulating him. But yeah, Dean can't see past his own grief long enough to realize that Garth's actions are coming from the same sadness.
Dean: "What, did you learn that in college?"
Garth: "Nope, civil war re-enactments. Once a year. Every year. Don't hate!"
- Dean says "college" here like it's a bad thing. He used to do that to Sam too - and it's a classic trope of working class vs. middle class fights - where suddenly education becomes a bad thing. It's the ol' jocks vs. nerds. And I think he's falling into that trope because he feels threatened by Garth, because Garth IS intelligent and Garth has shown himself to be more than capable of calling Dean on his shit. Dean has Sam so emotionally turned around that Sam's incapable of calling Dean on his shit, but Garth is another story altogether.
Garth: "I kinda feel like we should say something, right? Don't you? Just - a little-"
Dean: "Sure. We won." *lights it on fire*
- Heheh. I do love Dean.
Guy in holding has an asthma attack. Would they really take an inhaler away from an asmatic? It's hard to fake an asthma attack - but I think Tyler Posey did much better on Teen Wolf. (Speaking as someone who grew up with an asthmatic brother).
Garth: "Sam, if you ever need to talk, I want to let you know that I'm here - About anything, you know, about life, Dean, you-"
Sam: "I'm okay, thanks."
Garth: "It just seems like you and Dean are talking but no one's listening to each other-"
- Like I said, never underestimate Garth - he can and will not only figure out what's really going on, but also call you on it.
SAM FLASHBACK wieder einmal!
Amelia doesn't need your pity SAM!
The biggest problem I have with this flashback is that Sam actually stops and leans against the stairs while he thinks - that's not actually how human thinking works. You don't think in "real time" - you think VERY VERY QUICKLY.
Sam: "Dean, what the hell? We went to the hospital. You're not answering your phone!"
Dean: "You should have looked for me when I was in purgatory."
- Okay, Sam, your brother isn't answering his phone, you walk into a hotel room and he's sitting like an automaton at the end of the bed with his phone ringing out beside him and a gun in his hand. He has green goo pouring from his ear. Do you actually believe that there's nothing wrong with him?
I like the montage in this episode - I know some people didn't, because yeah, the audience isn't actually so stupid as to not have put the sequence of events together...but I LOVE Soundgarden and the song Black Days. I mean, seriously... this song just... Soundgarden is one of those bands whose music I'd gladly have sex to.
Dean: "You never even wanted this life. You always blamed me for pulling me back into it."
Sam: "That's not true."
- And here's the problem with psychological issues: You PROJECT. We learned in S7 that Dean blames HIMSELF for pulling Sam back into the life because he didn't want to be alone.
Sam: "What do you want me to say? That I've made mistakes. I've made mistakes, Dean!"
Garth: "That's not Dean, Sam."
Dean: "Shut-up! Mistakes - well, let's go through some of Sammy's greatest hits. Drinking demon blood - check. Being in cahoots with Ruby. Not telling me that you lost your soul. Or how about running around with Samuel for a year, not telling me that you weren't dead while you were doing all kinds of crazy- Those aren't mistakes, Sam. Those are choices!"
- I like Garth trying to get Sam to understand that what Dean's saying isn't actually how Dean feels - it's twisted. Sam doesn't get the message though.
- Also, choices and mistakes are the same things. The choice is the mistake.
- You can tell this is mostly the specter talking and NOT DEAN, because of the things he's blaming Sam for. We already know from S6 that Dean did not consider Soulless!Sam to be Sam at all. He treated him as an entirely separate person who was NOT his brother and when Sam was back, he was adamant that Sam do the exact same thing and not blame himself for Soulless!Sam's actions either. And we know THAT was Dean - so yeah, this is definitely not Dean and Sam should have seen it here. But, because Sam is already so guilty about abandoning Dean and Kevin (given Dean's persistence that he SHOULD feel that way) it doesn't take much for him to just accept that this is how Dean feels and maybe his big brother is right and Sam's a complete failure of a human being.
Sam: "Alright. You said it. We've both played a little fast and loose."
Dean: "Yeah, I might have lied, but I never once betrayed you-"
- I interrupt this moment to talk about Sam's face: Because at first, I was sure it was a "bullshit!" face, and that he felt Dean HAD betrayed him at some points, but now I'm wondering if it's a "you're right" face.
"-I never once left you to die! And for what? A girl? You left me to die for a girl!"
- And I do have to admit that Dean has a point. It's gotta hurt, because Sam never offers an viable excuse for why he didn't look for Dean, probably because he doesn't feel he has one. Dean accused him of abandonment right off the bat, and Sam just slumped inside and agreed with him, and so didn't bother offering a good explanation. Perhaps, of course, because the goddamn writers didn't give him one - but personally, I think Sam's brain broke momentarily. He was able to put himself back together eventually, recuperate, and as he did so he met Amelia and that was a good place to recover his wits... so when he goes to explain to Dean what happens, it becomes "I quit hunting. There was a girl." Instead of, "something went horribly wrong in my mind. I didn't know how to go on without you. I drove aimlessly. I was dead inside" or whatever actually happened.
The fight scene is brilliant. And MAN it looks like it hurts when Sam breaks that table... I actually really love how he doesn't just spring back from that - how he drags himself over to the couch and looks like it could very well be that Dean completely just broke his back there. God, I need some H/C fic for this episode, but I bet anything that's out there is all about brother-blame/hate. Ugh.
Garth: "Come on, Dean, you do not want to kill your brother. You've been protecting him your whole life. Don't stop now."
- I love this line from Garth, because I think he's trying to appeal to any part of Dean that might still be in there and not controlled by the specter - and even though it doesn't work, he's doing it the right way - "protect Sammy" is Dean's #1 modus operandi.
Dean: "He left me to rot in Purgatory!"
Garth: "Maybe he did, I don't know, I wasn't there. But I'm sure he had his reasons."
Sam: "Just like you had your reasons for Benny."
- I just love Garth's face, where he starts to make the "Sam has a point" face and then suddenly realizes that he has no idea what they're talking about anymore. I feel for Garth, I do, I hate being in the room when couples fight, because they bring up all sorts of stuff they're still mad about from years previous.
Dean: "Benny's been more of a brother to me this past year than you've EVER been! That's right. Cas let me down. You let me down. The only person who hasn't let me down is Benny."
- Again, this is mostly the specter talking, and we have to remember that, but I think if Dean WERE trying to communicate something here, it would be that Benny has so far been truthful and dependable and Dean has no reason to doubt him. Unfortunately, because he's currently possessed by a specter, it comes out as a put down.
Dean: "How come that penny didn't jack you like it did everyone else? I mean, I get why it didn't affect the kid who took it - he's young and innocent, but you-"
Garth: "Not me, man. I let all that stuff go with the help of my yogi, my sega genesis - and you should too. You can't change the past, amigo. Now there's something I'd like to say to you: Stop being an idjit! With Bobby dead, you and Sam are all each other has, and that's not so bad man. Now you know what's coming next, right - come on...come on..."
Dean: "Yeah, okay." *Dean actually enjoys the hug*
- First, I'd like to point out that the convenience store clerk ALSO had no grudges. Everyone always forgets that convenience store clerks are people with feelings, and not just robots that operate cash registers and dispense cigarettes and lotto tickets.
- Second, again, I like the fact that Garth is just... a stereotype defier.
- Third, I actually like the fact that Garth is the one filling the gap in the hunting world that Bobby left behind.
Moar flashbacks for Sam!
Sam: "I don't pity you, okay! I don't. You and I, we're a lot of things, but we're not to be pitied. Look, I lost my brother, Dean, a few months ago. It felt like my world imploded and came raining down on me and I ran - like you."
Amelia: "Is that supposed to be a pep talk?"
Sam: "Well...yeah, sort of."
Amelia: "Because, see, now I pity you."
- This is, I think, the only mention of how Sam FELT when Dean died. I really really wish we had known more about it, because it would have made me care more about this front-end storyline for Sam. As it was, I just didn't understand it - especially since they never showed us WHY Sam and Amelia liked each other. We never saw them have fun at all. It was all just snark, depression, and confusion.
*Sam's shirt actually matches the wallpaper in Amelia's kitchen area... check it out when he walks through the door:
Sam: "So, uh? So what now?"
Amelia: "I don't know, do you want to talk about it?"
Sam: "What, last night?"
Amelia: "No, Dean, you pervert."
Sam: "Yeah, yeah, I'd like that. Do you want to talk about Don?... hey, hey, I'd like that too."
- I'm still of the opinion that Don was the last thing that Amelia wanted to talk about and that she didn't really want to talk about Dean either, and that she was asking if Sam wanted to talk about him sarcastically - mainly, because I think it's hilarious, and also just because I don't think that's the face of someone who actually wants to address the pain that they're running from.
- Also, what the hell was Sam going to talk about? How does he sanitize the story of him and Dean for a non-hunting audience?
End of flashback!
Sam: "For the record. The girl. Her name's Amelia. Amelia Richardson. She and I had a place together in Kermit, Texas."
Dean: "Look man, I don't even remember what I said, but uh-"
Sam: "But what? But you didn't mean it? Oh please. You and I both know that you didn't need that penny to say those things."
Dean: "Come on, Sam-"
Sam: "Enough with your crap, Dean. I told you from the jump where I was coming from, why I didn't look for you, but you - you had secrets. You had Benny. And you got on your high and mighty and you've been kicking me ever since you got back. But that's over. So move on, or I will."
- Sam opens with offering information and honesty in the hopes that Dean will do the same, I think, but as soon as he preceives that Dean is going to talk his way out of the subject (which is immediately), Sam's anger about being lied to and being constantly yelled at is back in full force - and he does the thing that Sam always does to Dean when he wants to hurt Dean as much as Dean's hurt him - he threatens to leave.
Dean: "Okay, I hear you."
Sam: "Good. You know. Hear this too: I might just be that hunter that runs into Benny one day and ices him."
Dean: "I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, won't we."
Sam: "Yeah, yeah, you keep saying that."
- And I do wonder if this episode with the specter stayed with Sam - and it was the idea of Benny as Dean replacing him that drove Sam to be more murderous towards Benny than he would have been ordinarily... maybe not... I'm just still trying to rationalize what I see as OOC behaviour for Sam in the upcoming Citizen Fang episode. So, I guess I'll save my guesses for when we cross that bridge.... :P