I’ve got to be honest. This episode left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Going into the episode I was expecting a bit of comic relief after last week’s awesome drama-fest. But what I got instead was a whole lot of awkward tension. There was some comedy, but not enough to relieve that awful tension.

I love Garth’s character. He has a way of bringing perspective to things. In past episodes the writers have used him to help Sam and Dean sort through their differences. So when I saw Garth in the preview for this episode I expected that was the plan again. But that didn’t really happen. Sure, Garth reinforced the importance of love and family no matter the circumstances. And that’s always been important to Sam and Dean but the lesson wasn’t quite enough to gloss over their current situation. Something I’m both sad and happy about.

I don’t want the writers to take the easy way out with this one. The decisions made by both Sam and Dean have real, raw emotion behind them and Garth swooping in to fix it all would have felt very unearned. Still I can’t help but feel tortured over this strange in-between thing they’ve got going on.

Their conversation at the end of the episode was particularly difficult to stomach.

Sam: “Well something’s broken here, Dean.”
Dean: “I’m not saying that it’s not. I think we just think need to put a couple W’s on the board and we can get past all this.”
Sam: “I don’t think so. No, I wish. But we don’t see things the same way anymore. Our roles in this whole thing. Back in the church, talking me out of boarding up Hell. Or tricking me into letting Gadriel 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’re family ok?”
Sam: “You say that like it’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 saying, you wanna work? Let’s work. If you wanna be brothers, well, those are my terms.”

I wouldn’t deny that something is definitely broken between these brothers. Trust has been lost, and I understand that. But there is one thing that sticks out that I can’t reconcile; the conversation in the church. Is Sam watching the same show I am? When I watched that episode, I saw a heartfelt, emotional conversation between Sam and Dean. I saw significant emotional healing. Things that had been weighing on Sam’s heart for years were finally lifted. And yes, I saw Dean begging and pleading with Sam not to sacrifice himself. But at the end of the day, Sam made the decision to stop the final trial. So why pin that on Dean? If it’s something he regrets I think he needs to take some of that responsibility for it. I’m totally on board with him being upset with Dean for tricking him into angel possession. Even though I understand Dean’s reasoning, it was a definite violation of trust. But the church is a different story. To be fair, I may be more upset about this than is really justified. It’s just that I absolutely adored that church scene. For me, it was the most emotionally riveting scene since the “stone number one” speech back in season seven. It really tugged at my heart strings and Sam’s comments in this episode have cheapened that moment for me. Using that conversation as part of his basis to distrust Dean makes no sense to me considering that is the most honest either of them has been with each other. Ok, I think I’m beating a dead horse. But am I the only one who was feeling this way?

Either way, Sam and Dean are back hunting together for now. The arrangement is less than ideal, but at least they’re talking, right? I can only hope that some of that tension will ease and they can slowly grow back into their relationship. I don’t know how long I can handle a strictly professional relationship. I’m gonna need some heart-to-heart’s in or around the Impala, and I’m gonna need them soon.

Now that I’ve gone on and on about the more emotional aspect of the episode, let’s talk about the monster of the week. Am I the only one who was a bit underwhelmed by this storyline? The concept was very interesting; a cult pack of werewolves secretly divided over their opinion of the human race. One half hoping to peacefully coexist with humans while the other half prefers to eliminate the human race. That’s interesting stuff. But unfortunately, the story was lacking in execution for me. I’m not even sure I can pinpoint where it went wrong. It could be that I felt no real connection to any of the werewolf characters. It could also be that I found the threat of human extinction to be not all that threatening. That’s a lot of people to bite.

I was also a little disappointed that the writers didn’t really dig into this realization that werewolves can be born rather than bitten. That’s a serious shift in the lore. Werewolf lore has changed a lot over the seasons. The last episode that dealt with these guys introduced the idea of generations. The closer the werewolf is to the alpha, the more control they have over their cravings and shapeshifting. But the idea that someone can be born a werewolf is a new concept that I would have been interested in learning more about.

All in all, this episode wasn’t bad but the shadow of last week’s superb episode certainly wasn’t doing it any favors. My biggest takeaway from this episode was just how much healing really needs to happen between Sam and Dean to get them back to where they need to be. It’s gonna be a long road, people.

As usual there are some quotes and moments worth mentioning.

Sam: “He’s a Skinny, Ichabod-Crane-looking kind of guy.”

Dean: “I’m gone for two weeks and you’re like an episode of teen mom.”

I was happy that Dean and Sam were able to talk about the mark of Cain. Leave it to Sam to notice it immediately. I was happy for the real concern he seemed to show. And he seems to be the only one who cares what that mark will mean for Dean. Besides us, of course!

I loved the scene where Dean tried to tell Sam that the surveillance cameras were a dead end and Sam was right there waiting for him. Come on, man. He’s not that stupid.

Garth: “This is Dean. He could start a fight in an empty house but deep down inside he’s just a big old teddy bear. And Sam here. Sam can be a bit insecure at times but for good reason, bless his heart.”

Garth: “You come in here guns waving, the jaw lines and the hair, it’s intimidating.”
This is how I feel at every con. Minus the guns, of course.

9.12 Dinner
That dinner scene was so gross and funny. It’s not often that Dean is grossed out enough to keep him from eating red meat.

Rev. Jim “The road to revenge is a dark and lonely one. And that hole in the pit of your stomach, you never fill it, ever.”
Amen Rev. Jim. But unfortunately that statement is going to fall on deaf ears.

Garth: “I found it, love and a family. Who cares where it comes from?”

Garth: “First Kevin, now this.”
Dean: “Hey, Kevin. That’s on me. I’m the one that pulled him into all this. I’m the one that should have been there to protect him.”
Garth: “Well, I guess there’s enough of that blame to go around then.”

Dean: “Besides, somebody’s gotta live to tell this damn story someday. Who better than you?”
I hate when Sam and Dean talk about dying for good.

Dean: “Now, shut up and come here.”
Garth: “Really?”
Dean: “Hurry up before I change my mind.”

Dean: “Listen, that night that we went our separate ways…”
Sam: “You mean the night that you split?”
Dean: “Fair enough. I was messed up, man. Kevin was dead and I...I don’t know what I was.”
Sam: “Ok.”
Dean: “Hell, maybe I still don't. But you know I took a piece of you in the process and for that..Somebody changed the playbook, man. What’s right is wrong, and what’s wrong is more wrong. I just know that when, when we rode together…”
Sam: “We split the crappiness.”

Next week Sam and Dean go undercover as weight loss experts. I have a feeling this could be Sam’s missed calling in life.