Those “Supernatural” boys sure know how to twist the knife when it comes to making heartbreaking statements/confessions/apologies, don’t they? They never fail when it comes to punching us fans in the gut. And Sam took the cake with his speech in the final moments of Tuesday (Jan. 28) night’s Garth-centric episode, “Sharp Teeth.”
Of course, the episode started off optimistically, because the Winchester brothers were finally back together (much to Dean’s chagrin) to figure out what the heck was going on with AWOL hunter Garth (returning fan favorite DJ Qualls). What they found raised some interesting and important questions that “Supernatural” has long struggled to answer, and while “Sharp Teeth” answered questions about Garth, it didn’t deal with the larger picture.
We found out that Garth has been MIA because while on a hunt, he got bitten by a werewolf. As a hunter, he knew the only cure was death, but as he was about to commit suicide (how disturbing was it to hear Garth talk about having the gun in his mouth so cavalierly?) he met another werewolf who showed him he could live peacefully. He became a part of her pack, which was full of werewolves who were born (not bitten) and didn’t eat human hearts. They lived simple and religious lives, and Garth married his love and joined their family.
Now, when it comes to dealing with good and peaceful “monsters” vs. evil monsters, Sam and Dean have always disagreed. Sam — perhaps because he dealt with prejudice due to his demon blood — thinks that monsters should be given a chance to live in peace if they aren’t hurting anyone. Dean, on the other hand, exterminates them all with extreme prejudice (remember how he dealt with Sam’s childhood crush, Amy the werewolf?).
They butted heads when it came to deciding what to do about Garth’s pack — kill them or let them live in peace — and in the end, they were both right. Garth, his wife and his wife’s father truly were peaceful werewolves who wanted to live without being hunted. But the mother-in-law and her sons wanted to exterminate all humans to make some Norse/werewolf mythology come true (just go with it). They were about to kill Garth, his wife and Sam when Dean saved them by killing the evil werewolves.
Side note: Was anyone else a little disconcerted to see how perfect Dean’s aim was with throwing a knife into a werewolf’s heart and shooting the others so perfectly? Was that due to the Mark of Cain? Or is Dean just really that good?
So in the end, both Sam and Dean were encouraged to keep thinking the way they think about monsters. Neither of them learned differently, and that’s how “Supernatural” has yet to really address the question of whether or not the boys should let some monsters live in peace. Dean and Sam did leave Garth (after some heartfelt goodbyes that felt like real closure for Garth as a character), his wife and her father but only after killing half of their pack. It would be beneficial if “Supernatural” would truly face this issue head-on one day.
But the most heartbreaking moment came in the final minutes of the episode, when Dean and Sam finally addressed the elephant in the room: Their broken relationship. Dean gave one of his emotionally devastating apologies that makes you want to hug him and never let go (like Garth did!), and offered up what he thought was a good plan: Hunt together, get a few wins on the board and move past all the trials/Gadreel/Kevin Tran darkness. But Sam knew that wasn’t going to fix them.
Sam finally talked to Dean openly about what was wrong: Sam can’t trust Dean after all the lies and things he’s done. “Being family” isn’t enough to make it all okay, because according to Sam, everything bad that’s happened has happened because they’re family. The gates of hell are still open since Dean didn’t let Sam finish the trials because he didn’t want his brother to die. Kevin’s dead because Dean let an angel possess Sam to heal him. Dean always chooses Sam over the greater good.
So Sam gave Dean his terms: “If you want to work, let’s work. If you want to be brothers … ” AKA it’s either hunting together and not being family, or being family and not hunting together. Sam could not have said anything that could have broken Dean’s heart more, because we all know that family is everything to Dean. Can he truly give up being Sam’s brother like Sam is proposing?
Overall, it was great to see Garth back on “Supernatural,” but it would have made an even greater impact on the show’s mythology as a whole had his whole pack been peaceful. It would have affected Sam and Dean greatly instead of just making them set in their ways. What did you think of “Sharp Teeth?”
“Supernatural” airs on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.