So much to say about this episode and yet not much to talk about at the same time. This episode served largely as a pallet cleanser after the heart-stopping, mind-numbing dramatic roller coasters of late and didn’t do a bad job over all. The general plot was satisfying and didn’t stray too far away from where things were left last week such that we were left in more or less the same emotional place. Sharp Teeth gave a good window into the total lack of synchronicity between Sam and Dean without a word spoken between them about it, until the final moments, when we were left with a reunion in name only. But hey, at least they’re in the Impala right? So let’s dive into Sharp Teeth.
Icabod the Popular
We open on Garth (presumably, given that he was such a prominent figure in the Then segment) fleeing from cattle and farmer who knows his way around a rifle, only to see him struck by a car. Garth, a.k.a. that “Icabod Crane looking guy” gets some pop-ins to his hospital room, Sam and Dean whose mutual presence in the room does wonders for the tension even before a word is exchanged. Neither of the Winchesters is looking especially at ease with life, both sporting the “I’m working, tense and tired” face shadow that is attractive and telling. After smacking Garth awaking and while listening to Garth retch, the two engage in some terse catch up.
This conversation between Sam and Dean is perhaps one of the flattest conversations these two have ever had. Next to no emotion throughout the entire discussion, save for Sam’s incredulousness at the idea of Dean hunting with Crowley. There is some half-hearted sarcasm and aside from a query about the mark of Cain, the boys are wholly disengaged. Short a scene though it is, it was very telling – and depressing.
In the meantime, Garth takes the opportunity to escape out the window. After a game of investigation in which Dean tries to cut Sam, which does wonders for their already icy relationship, the boys finally stumble on Garth’s apartment, his wife and, oh yes – he’s a werewolf going on six months now. Garth’s storyline this episode has its ups and downs for me. For one thing, I’ve always been a fan of the werewolf as Supernatural portrayed it – largely because of the Madison storyline way back when. Supernatural has done a supreme job, from day one, of dabbling in the world of gray where there is never just good or evil and the werewolves were always one of those elements. Garth’s pack was presented not unlike some of the non-human blood drinking vampires that have been presented from time to time. Only animal organs. Co-exist with human. No harm. Peace loving. Of course, we the audience know it can’t be that simple and Dean, per his norm, could never take that at face value.
“Family of Friendly Monsters”
Dean, who could start a fight in an empty house, spends some time with Garth’s new family who is also a spiritual family. In fact, Garth’s father in law is a preacher. Through this we discover that they all wear silver bullets to remind themselves of their mortality and Bess’ step mother is a fourth generation werewolf. While the family seems nice and peace loving, there is clearly something not right about them – just a tad too peace and love. All the more evident when Dean is confronted at the fridge by cousins Russ and Jobah attempting to “subtly” intimidate him.
It’s here that Dean and Garth have a rather open and frank conversation. Garth says he’s finally found family and love with these people and he couldn’t just call and say he was a werewolf, that it was better to let them go. Dean reveals Kevin’s death and again takes this death onto his shoulders, saying Kevin died because Dean wasn’t around when Kevin needed him. And isn’t that what’s driving Dean here to keep digging so hard? His determination not to leave another friend to die or to be hurt who might need him? I’m not commenting one way or another about Kevin – but we know full and well how Dean operates and it’s about 90% guilt in times like this.
While Dean is trying not to gag at fresh hearts, livers and pie with Garth and Bess, Sam a.k.a the insecure teddy bear talks to the sheriff who reassures Sam that the good Reverend and his family are a bit hippy but pillars of the community. For his part, Sam asks to be notified of anything weird. Immediately this sheriff seemed off and of course, he later calls Sam and Dean to investigate a slaughtered deer. Naturally it turns out the sheriff is a baddie and his bullet is engraved with a Norse god “Ragnorek” which leads the boys to discover a plan to eradicate humans that the poor reverend knew nothing about involving killing Beth, Garth and, because it wouldn’t be a day that ends in Y if one didn’t almost get tied up and killed, Sammy. And truly, what’s a story with a step-mother be without her trying to kill her stepdaughter?
Ultimately the werewolf cult storyline was a decent one. It had some humour, was clearly and neatly laid out and didn’t introduce anymore complications into anyone’s life – by anyone, of course, we mean Sam and Dean. In fact, Dean and Garth end with a brief heart-to-heart in which Dean tells Garth to hold on to family and love when he finds and reveals he wishes he had. It’s nostalgia and regret, unquestionably, but what exactly he’s referencing here is unclear because there are just so many moments to choose from.
Finally, we have the pinnacle moment of this episode. Most of Sharp Teeth was par the last three minutes were intense. Supernatural is no stranger to the brother moments against a vehicular backdrop on the roadside, but unlike some of our more famous scenes, featuring tears, anger and the gamut of soul crushing emotion – this was mostly defeat and unapproachable steel. Dean’s apology for things was laid out in few words, though the intent of his message was clear and the two agreed it was easier to bear the life together. The piece of their conversation that was so devastating was when same said something was broken between them, that can’t be gotten past easily and their roles aren’t the same because it comes to a question of trust – Sam can’t trust Dean. Yes, Dean manipulated Sam into the angel fix with Gadreel and is justified his hurt/anger over that. However one can’t help but wonder about his accusation that Dean talked him out of the final trials at the church. Hmm. I suppose as for Sam it’s only been a few weeks, rather than months since the end of the trials it makes sense he’s still recovering from everything but it was a truly harsh blow to throw out. Dean’s argument that they are family is countered with the point that that’s not the cure – it’s the problem. The boys can’t be brothers, they can work together – these are Sam’s terms and Dean quietly accepts.
Wow. The final moments between Sam and Dean were incredibly defeating. Dean is too quiet. Too beaten – his usual Dean energy is completely gone. And not in the way we’ve seen before, in a dark but driven way. This is a different, sadder Dean that’s hard to name. Perhaps it’s not guilt weighing on Dean but absolute regret leaving him so trodden. Sam seems to have gathered an inner strength and is standing strong – he firmly believes in the argument he’s made and is absolute in his follow through. Of course, how can they not be family? The definition of who they are, what they do comes down to the fact that they are brothers? Love drives them and ultimately has driven them to save the world on more than one occasion. Cain’s story of how he got the Mark was one of brotherly love – in fact, it’s the same story of how much of this began: one brother sold their soul for the other. Family is family, after all.