Note - I really, really, really, really, really, really, really hate the brother rift. Garth is at Missouri and Becky levels of dislike. Plus I am feeling very disgruntled and Adam Glass gives me so much ammunition.
Previously - There was Garth, he hasn't grown on me no matter what Dean/Sam say, Sam still doesn't hunt, Amelia was still the only reason given, Dean was still in Purgatory, and a hunter and vampire hugged - yeah it's still weird. Dean beheaded Benny's lover and Sam gave Dean the death stare after meeting Benny.
Kearney, M0 - A man works under his car when his irate wife arrives. She thinks he’s having a fling with Sarah Alcott and kicks the jack out. Trapped under the car, she drives over him. It's a SPN PCA reminding you to be faithful. Drug by a car until dead isn’t pretty. The title card flashes and Flo brings cheeseburgers from Fat Mack's Bar-B-Q Rib Shack. Unfortunately seeing the brothers, she makes a hasty retreat. Even Flo can't figure out why the brothers are acting this way. Dean found a case while Sam placed the order and the brothers snipe at each other because hey why break pattern? Plus they didn't talk after Benny so hello Brother Fight, Round 33. Sam: "How about because you haven't said a word to me since Prentiss Island and now what? You want me to shut up and ride shotgun and act like nothing happened?" Dean: "You want to talk about Benny. Fine. Let's talk." Sam: "Okay. How about he's vampire." Dean: "He's also the reason I'm topside and not roasting on a spit in Purgatory. Anything else?" Sam: "Don't pretend I don't get it. I know you had to do what you had to do down there." Dean: "I highly doubt you get anything about Purgatory." Sam: "But you're out now and Benny's still breathing. Why?" Dean: "He's my friend Sam." Sam: "Uhhh, and what about my friend, Amy? She was what? Because you sure as hell didn't have a problem ganking her." Oh Sam you didn't. We had a pact to never mention the Pointless Subplot of 2011 ever again. Besides, it's not the same thing. Amy killed people. You don't know if Benny has. In fact since you forgot Benny's remarkable resemblance to Eli the vamp who kidnapped you, you know nothing about Benny. What happened to Sam, who always advocated that they aren't monsters until they kill humans? Oh that's right, Flo is hiding from the brothers this season.
Instead of highlighting the obvious difference between Benny and Amy, Dean says people change. Not always for the better as season 8 proves. He brings up letting Kate go from another sucky episode, Bitten (huge sigh). Sam: "She was different. She…You think Benny's different? Huh, he tell you he's not drinking live blood or something? And you believe him. Wow! Okay. No you're right. People do change." Again not sure why Sam suspects Benny without proof to the contrary but we move on to the first of 9 billion "you left me" comments tonight. Dean: "Yeah, I've got a vampire buddy and you turned your phone off for a year." Sam: "Don't turn this on me." Dean: "Look. If Benny slips up and some other hunter turns his lights out, so be it." Sam: "But it's not going to be you right?" Now that is shocking. I know Dean wouldn’t want to kill Benny but if he knew Benny killed people I'd still expect him to do it. He's mademany hard choices before. After probably the world's most awkward car ride, the brothers arrive at the crime scene in Missouri. Dean exposits. Sam thinks it sounds more crazy than supernatural and calls Dean on it. Sam: "So how's that make this our kind of thing?" Dean: "Because Sam, Kevin's in the wind okay? You're sulking around like a eunuch in a whorehouse and I can't help but ask myself when is decapitation not my thing."
Things get worse because Garth's back and wearing the most hideous clothing item ever to grace a SPN scene. The tassled leather jacket doesn't say Texas Ranger as much as it says Sonny and Cher. Why we get Garth fanning himself in slow mo I’ll never know. Sam makes me laugh with his deadpan: "I forgot he was a hugger." Bwah! Garth makes me nostalgic - "You guys have no idea how much I missed you." I still do. Now can I please get my brothers back? Dean: "Texas Ranger Garth? Seriously. We're in Missouri." Ha! Garth: "What? Come on. I'd look like a funeral director in one of those." Love the brothers' looks here. Finally they agree on something. Garth is interrupted by a phone call where he gives advice about taking out a revenant. Dean is particularly harsh about Garth's sudden turn from monster bait to competency but Sam breaks my heart with the worst line in this hot mess. Sam: "Hold up. Are you the new Bobby?" Noo!! How dare they sully Bobby's memory with a joke of a character I can barely tolerate? Jeremy Carver, you go too far! I'm with Dean here. "You shut your mouth." Garth says someone needed to take up the slack after Bobby died, and I am perfectly fine with him answering phones and doing research even if it’s a major jump in competency in one year. However Garth will never ever BE Bobby. Thankfully the case continues so I can fume in silence. They interview Scott Lew, the opening couple's son, who says nothing was weird with his parents. There's no EMF or sulfur but there’s a suddenly logical Garth and green goo. Not sure how they missed it until Garth literally stepped in it. Garth scrapes it off his shoe and licks it. Gross! Surely they can tell it’s ectoplasm without a taste test. The brothers obviously agree with me.
The coroner calls Garth to say Alcott was carved into the dead guy's chest with his wife's fingernails. So it's off to the psych ward where I’m suddenly leery since Dean already killed this woman in Croatoan. I can’t decide between zombie or the PTB feel they know better than fans when ALL evidence this season clearly shows they do not. The PTB think we're idiots wins out as Mary Lew claims uncontrollable rage filled her but she can't remember details. Perhaps Dr. Ellicott has rejoined this season too. Garth busts into laughter when she says she only remembers bits and pieces. Amazingly both brothers are mature enough to silently tell him to knock it off and Mary continues her prom disappointment story. Apparently Chester took Alcott to prom instead and Mary still isn’t over it. Oh kill me now! Dean agrees, "So let me get this straight. This poor guy goes to prom with some girl over 30 years ago and because of that he is now a pancake." Since no one actually cares about this case, it's food time where Garth pries into Dean's life. Dean admits he was in Purgatory and when Garth asks how he got out, Sam gives Dean the most concentrated ticked off face of his career even surpassing the one after meeting Benny. That's a feat! Dean changes the subject by asking about the Confederate flags hanging on the wall. Garth schools us on the Civil War but since Glass can't research, he conveniently forgets that Kearney is in northwest Missouri not the southern border. He claims the people of Kearney harbor big nostalgia for the Confederacy even though only 20 families lived there at the time, absolutely no Civil War battles took place there, and the only violence was 2 homes burning. I've lived in Missouri for 38 years. Trust me; we're over the Civil War. Bah! My eyes hurt from rolling so much! He should have stuck with Jesse James. He was born and buried in Kearney and was betrayed by one of his own gang members. See, you can still use all those anvils and be historically accurate.
The scene is saved when we learn Garth was a dentist before hunting. I am hard pressed to know why anyone would let such a goofball near their teeth, however the story about him ganking the tooth fairy was awesome! Of course since this is the first time I've found Garth remotely interesting, we switch to Scott Lew who’s at the Quick Mart before visiting his mom. Seeing Jeff, a random annoying dude, brings on an asthma attack and a shot off the inhaler later, Scott has green goo in his ear. He throws hot coffee on Jeff and decapitates him with a shovel before the security camera flashes a picture of a dead soldier. Great! Please don’t let my new inhaler be haunted. Dean and Sam are similarly confused. Dean: "So first mom goes Natural Born Killer and now his son." There's a flat joke about not knowing what an Oedipus complex is which irks me since Dean obviously knew classic literature in Sex and Violence. Sam sees Sussex written in blood, Garth steps in ectoplasm again, and Dean interrupts exposition to ask if Garth is wearing Bobby's hat. Garth: "Oh yeah. It sure is. We worked a rugaru case together a few years back. He left it in my car so I kept it as a memento." Dean yanks the hat off his head and Garth looks hurt. I’d feel sorry for him but I'm so irked with the writing staff I can't. After seeing the video footage, Sam sticks Dean with Garth to go interview Alcott. I laugh because it's such a brother thing to do and we get a Sam smirk instead of brother emosniping with it. Alcott adds nothing to the case. She was only with Chester on prom night. Basically it's just an excuse to split the brothers up and I'm fine with that. Less fighting that way.
Sam leaves Alcott's, a dog barks and boom we’re in flash back. Doesn't take much these days. Panning Amelia's empty liquor bottles, her liver must look like Dean's. I'm not sure if time has passed since last week's snipe fest, but things are cozier now. Sam and Amelia are in bed together. Bet some fans call foul since Sam wears a white t-shirt. It's clearly their first time together and Amelia explains that her husband Don died in Afghanistan. She left to escape pity. I like this Amelia a lot better than previous versions. Amelia: "So I moved here and became even more of a hot mess than I already was and you hit a dog." First, shout out to Lilith. Second, Sam and Amelia need a bigger plot. No time though because it's the Dean and Garth research show now. Garth reaches for a beer. Dean: "Easy there flyweight. Last time you drank a beer, I had to pick you up off the floor." Bwah!!! Too bad it's all downhill now. Garth: "You're such an idjit." What?!?! No! Garth doesn't get to say idjit. It's Bobby's and the fact Garth uses it makes my dislike for him and Adam Glass grow. Unacceptable! Thankfully Dean calls him on it before my TV is assaulted by flying remotes. Garth misinterprets Dean's disgust for the brother rift and pushes too far. Garth: "Alright just uh…just lettin' you know that I'm here for ya'. For anything. I know sometimes Bobby, he was." Does Garth really think Dean will open up to him? Does he really think he’s earned the trust Dean gave Bobby? SHUT UP GARTH!!!! If I cursed, the whole house would be blue now. Dean instead slams down the beer. Dean: "You're not Bobby, okay. You're never gonna be Bobby so stop!" Garth: "Bobby belonged to all of us Dean, not just you and Sam. I'm just taking what he showed me and trying to do something with it. That's all." Sorry Garth. All you do is disgust me now. Please get off my screen. While I still feel the need to slap Garth, Dean looks guilty and says in a much calmer voice: "Why don't you see if you can find something in that bourbon-drenched book of his so we can get the hell out of Dixie?"
Dean finds out Decapitated was Scott's partner in a bankrupt business called Sussex. Sam calls but nothing happened at Alcott’s. Dean: "Besides the fact this is making my head hurt, how does this add up to a ghost?" And it's Bobby to the rescue. Well his journal. Green ectoplasm means spectre, an avenging ghost that forces you to act on betrayals. It joined the living when idiotic kids broke into the Confederate Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is in Mississippi by the way. You know a state with lingering pride in the Confederacy. There's also one in Kentucky, but not Missouri. Garth knows about the tomb because he's a Civil War enactor. Dean stares blankly at him. Garth: "Don't hate." Ha! Best Garth line of the night. They plan to salt and burn tonight - yeah! I love an old-fashioned salt and burn. Sam is less than excited. Sam: "Yeah burn a Confederate soldier's bones in a town full of rednecks? Sure." I stop laughing only when we get beautiful Impala porn rumbling into the cemetery at night. By the way, nice shiny new Confederate tombstones there show. There's about 40 of them, more than lived in Kearney by the end of the war. Just saying. Sam remarks about the mausoleum’s pristine condition, but gets distracted by a string on the floor. For a minute I thought it meant more flash backs but instead it has actual importance in a nod to My Heart Will Go On. The corpse is remarkably cobwebby and dusty for being desecrated 3 days ago. Garth wonders if spectres are toasted by bone torching. Dean: "It's a ghost isn't it? Burn its bones; ghost disappears." Since we're only 24 minutes in, I'm guessing it won't. Dean starts to light the match but Garth stops him. Garth: "I kind of feel like we should say something alright? Don't you? Just a little…" Dean gets the okay look from Sam and bam, best line of the night. Dean: "Sure. We won." He lights to match and we get another great shot of a Winchester by flame light. I've missed that.
Back at the police station, the sheriff wants a deputy to do his paperwork. I sense this will not end well. Scott Lew has an asthma attack so the deputy goes for his inhaler and then there's green goo. One shotgun later and bye bye sheriff. Dean sees the goo. "Maybe we torched the wrong redneck." Ha! Sam counters that it may be like Bobby's flask. Oh show, you don't want me thinking about Bobby. Not with the Garth mockery. Sam interviews the deputy asking what happened after he “shot the sheriff." I can’t be the only one who responded, "But you didn't shoot the Deputy." Deputy Carl took his gun to the hospital, complete with ghost mummy reflection. This time Dean’s on his own and Garth with Sam. Garth pushes his way into Sam's business too because apparently he didn't learn better with Dean. Garth: "I mean it just seems like you and Dean are talkin' but nobody's listenin'….." Sam responds by ignoring Garth for another flash back. Cause? Who knows? The sun maybe or a natural instinct to protect himself from Garth's yammering. The morning after, Amelia flips out again. She heads out the door and tells Sam to lock up, embarrassed about her possibly drunken confession the night before. Sam’s confused but Amelia thinks he pities her now and scoots out the door leaving Sam bewildered. I'm bewildered about this flash back’s placement but Sam looks fabulous in it. Garth snaps him out his dream and a librarian theorizes about the unknown soldier's identity. Because you know, he's unknown.
Meanwhile we jarringly switch from the library to the hospital where Deputy Carl shoots a window due to a call at a local ball game. Really? Whatever! The dialogue’s terrible too. "Why am I gonna make mustard from your brain stem? I don't know." I don't know how that line got past editors. Luckily the shotgun is out of ammo and Dean punches Carl. Unluckily, the spectre possessing him is strong. Back at the library, Annie chucks 1 ton anvils at my head. The spectre is Vance Collins, whose brother shot him during the Civil War. You might call it a brother rift. One anvil must have hit me hard because I swear Sam was incredulous that brothers fought on opposite sides in the Civil War. Sam, who proved he paid attention in history during the Croatoan episode. My eyes are so tired they can't even roll anymore. Vance swore vengeance on his brother. His brother buried him in Kearney. I buy the writers a map and a Don't Know Much about US Geography and History book set. Oh and a copy of Supernatural seasons 1-7 DVDs. After all these are the same people who said Sam didn't look for Dean and who think you can drive from Lawrence, Kansas to Joliet, Illinois in a couple hours. Let's head back to the hospital; I'm concussed. Dean: "Carl, listen, I know the spectre's turning that temperature up in there so just tell me what the object is and we'll send this joker home." Carl creeps me out by smelling Dean and saying how the spectre likes him. Dean: "Oh yeah. Why don't you tell him to come out here? We'll make promise bracelets." Carl responds by throwing Dean across the room and pressing a penny in his hand. Coincidentally, the librarian just told Sam and Garth the penny was a luck piece and Sam realizes the kids stole it from the grave. Sam calls Dean about it but obviously he's not quite himself right now and doesn't pick up.
Sam finds Dean at the motel, yelling at him for not answering his phone. Dean promptly pulls his gun on Sam. Dean: "You should have looked for me when I was in Purgatory." Sam sees green goo and realizes Dean's under the spectre's spell but not before we recap the show so far. Really? I am not an idiot despite what the writers think. I can follow a 42 minute story and fill in the gaps. I don't need to see every single person touch the freaking penny. The only saving grace is the Soundgarden's Fell on Black Days soundtrack and it briefly halts Brother Fight, Round 34. Dean: "You never even wanted this life. Always blamed me for pulling you back into it." Sam: "That's not true." Dean: "Really? Cause everything you've ever done since you've climbed into my ride has been to deceive me." Sam: "What do you want me to say? That I made mistakes. I've made mistakes Dean!" Garth: "That's not Dean, Sam." Dean: "Shut up! Mistakes, hhh. 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 whole year, letting me think that you were dead while you were doing all kinds of crazy. Those aren't mistakes Sam. Those are choices." Hrrmm. Demon blood and Ruby, yeah those were on Sam….4 freaking years ago. He's since redeemed himself. RoboSam though I don't agree with. Perhaps the spectre pulls out hurts instead of betrayals. RoboSam wasn't real Sam so you can't hold Sam responsible for those actions. Dean himself continually told Sam that in the last half of season 6. Second brother speech tonight that doesn't hold up, see Amy earlier. Sadly it's not the last either. Sam: "Alright, you've said it. We both played a little fast and loose." Dean: "Yeah I might have lied but I never once betrayed you. I never once left you to die and for what? A girl. You left me to die for a girl!" Sam grabs for the gun and the brother fight is on. Glass and furniture break.
Sam goes down and Dean aims the gun at him again. Garth steps between them, assuring Sam that Dean won't shoot him because spectres don't work that way. Dean tells Garth to move. Garth: "Come on Dean. You do not want to kill your brother. You…you've been protecting him your whole life. Don't stop now." Dean: "He left me to rot in Purgatory." Garth: "Alright, alright, maybe he did. I don't…I don't know. I wasn't there but I'm sure he had his reasons." It would be nice if we knew those reasons. I want normal and love a woman doesn’t cut it writers. Sam counters: "Just like you had your reasons for Benny." Um Sam? I know you're ticked but use those Sam smarts. A ghost-possessed Dean is pointing a gun on you and unlike in Asylum when you were possessed by Ellicott, this gun has actual bullets. Refrain from ticking him off further. 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." ARGH!!! Yes Cas and Sam betrayed Dean but gah this fight wrecks me and it is definitely going to wreck the fandom. Brother wars here we come! Sam's done so much to redeem himself it's aching to see the past brought up AGAIN. Plus this conversation spells doom for Benny. It pretty much guarantees the character will go bad so Dean eats his own words. I DON'T WANT ANOTHER RUBY!!! This season may be my end. We've done that plot in seasons 4 and 6 and both times it did nothing for me. I'm not sitting through it again.
Garth tries to talk Dean down but no dice so he lays Dean out in one punch. Something Sam couldn't do 2 minutes earlier. WHAT? GIVE ME A BREAK! Garth picks up the penny but his super-calm meditation skills renders him immune to it. He melts the coin down and mercifully packs to leave. Not soon enough for my taste and not before I want to throttle him again. Garth: "Now there's something I want to say to you. Stop being a idjit. With Bobby dead, you and Sam are all each other has and that's not so bad man." Stop saying idjit Garth before I start actively rooting for your demise. Dean gives Garth back Bobby's hat (and if that means I should accept Garth as a Bobby substitute, they've sadly mistaken this fan's loyalty) as Garth talks to a hunter about wendigos. His car stalls and I'm suddenly afraid he won't leave. Gratefully it starts and we're done with Garth for at least 12 episodes I hope. Just in time for another Sam flash back. Sam knocks on Amelia's door. 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 just like you." It did? Good. I haven't gotten that in the context yet. Maybe the writers could show this raw emotion or even make it seem like you're glad Dean escaped Purgatory. They've got your character so screwed up Flo is leaving Vancouver as a whole to avoid this mess. Amelia says Sam's pep talk failed as now she pities Sam. However she lets him in and they presumably talk.
Dean interrupts Sam's good memories and all hell breaks loose again. Sam: "For the record, the girl, her name's Amelia. Amelia Richardson. She and I had a place together in Kermit, TX." Dean: "Look man I don't even remember what I said but uh…" Sam: "But what? You didn't mean it. Oh please. You and I both know you didn’t need that penny to say those things." I'm glad Sam called Dean on their typical "It was the (fill in the blank) not me" junk. Dean should have called Sam out in Asylum and they both should have been called out in Sex and Violence. Nothing is resolved when they claim to understand but instead it festers. Dean: "Look Sam…" Sam: "Own up to your cr** 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." Just like Dean's speech, I have issues with this one. Sam absolutely should not take Dean's sniping. If for no other reason than maybe we won't hear it every single episode. Purge it in a big screaming match and move on. Stil, Sam never gave Dean a good reason for not looking for him. He said he wants normal. He said he fell in love. Neither explain why he didn’t even try. He didn't meet Amelia coming out of Dick's corporation so what the heck did he do in between. Dean hasn't heard the implode comment. He only knows Sam didn’t bother to look. Now's a great time for Sam to articulate what was going on because if I as the audience don't understand, it's for sure Dean doesn't. As for the rest of Sam's speech, I agree 100%. Dean should have told Sam about Benny. He should know by now that Winchester secrets make all things worse, especially given his attitude with Sam since episode 1 this season..
At this time, I want the brothers to start swinging. Have a huge parking lot brawl; get out all the frustration and rage and bitterness. Then we'd be done with the whole mess and the brothers could heal. Instead we get nothing. No resolution. No hope things will be better. Just threats. I am so done with this brother rift. Dean: "Okay. I hear you." Sam: "Good. You know what hear this too. I just might be that hunter who runs into Benny one day and ices him." Why bring this up now Sam? Why? This isn't even in character for you to judge Benny with no evidence. Thanks Jeremy. You can't stop screwing up my favorite characters can you? Dean: "I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it won't we." Sam: "Yeah. Yeah you keep saying that." So in the end nothing got resolved. We heard the same arguments we've been hearing repeatedly. It's ridiculous and old. For the first time ever, I honestly think the brothers should separate for a couple of episodes. Sam obviously needs to see Amelia and get things resolved. Yes he will have to be honest about his family and what he's been doing, but at least he can find either balance or closure. His pining for her is a fatal distraction while hunting and a block in his relationship with his brother. Dean needs to kill a lot of things and manage his PTSD. If he keeps sniping at people, someone will shoot him and I wouldn't blame Sam if it's him. There's times I want to either shoot or slap him too. Both need a reason to work together or go solo because this doesn't work for anyone. Perhaps absence will make them remember why they gave everything for each other, why family is vital to them. Hunting together out of obligation is killing them, me, and this show. I demand a rewrite!
Scorecard - Here's how the rankings break down in my scorecard.
1 = One of the best episodes in all of Supernatural, or in all of TV for that matter.
2 = A great episode when judged against other Supernatural episodes.
3 = A good Supernatural episode, which means it's better than almost anything else on TV
4 = An okay episode when judged against other SPN episodes, meaning still better than most TV.
5 = A poor episode, meaning only better than some TV.
Screencaps by Home of the Nutty