Last week we enjoyed the rerun of “Bad Boys”, which was the seventh episode in Supernatural’s 9th season. Typical of hiatus programming, this week The CW skipped ahead several episodes, so instead of following the methodical development of the plots, we jumped ahead to 9.12, “Sharp Teeth”. Unfortunately, the omitted episodes were crucial to all of the storylines! We missed “Rock and a Hard Place”, “Holy Terror”, “Road Trip” and “First Born”. Not like anything important happened in any of those episodes! Several people have asked me why the network skipped ahead like that. I don’t know for sure but can certainly make some educated guesses.
First, to rerun the entire set of 23 episodes once per week would take nearly 6 months. Despite how it feels to fans, there are fewer than 5 months between seasons (seems like forever!), so from a practical standpoint, there isn’t enough time to rerun every episode. Then there is the question of how they pick which episodes to skip. For this insight into the television world, I turned to our fearless leader, Alice.
“A lot of has to do with the fact that they’ve re-aired those episodes before. For example, "Holy Terror" and "Road Trip" were aired multiple times during the season, like on Friday. I know they aired "Holy Terror" right before the show came back from winter [mid-season] hiatus. There is a limit on how many times they can re-air an episode. It’s in the contract with WB. TNT hits the same issue all the time. They are allowed to air standalones more than midseason finales or season finales…I find during the summer [hiatus] they usually pick about 16-18 episodes to repeat. It could be they started with “Sharp Teeth” because they plan on airing the rest between now and the season ten premiere. I haven’t quite done the math on that yet. They are likely going to have a couple of Tuesdays where they will be airing something else.”
Well, I did do the math, and airing the remaining 11 episodes, once per week, would bring us directly to Oct 7, the season 10 premiere date! So let’s cross our fingers that we have smooth sailing from now all the way through to season 10’s launch!
To recap what we missed would take this entire review, so here’s the short version:
Sam’s Sad and Sore
Dean, Distressed, Departs
Castiel Cures and Consoles
Crowley Calls on Cain
Metatron Makes his Move
Dean, Desperate, Deals with a Demon
Brothers’ Bromance is Broken, Big-Time
Got it? Great!
Let’s move on to “Sharp Teeth” then!
This episode struck me as kind of, I don’t know, cute? Garth delivered a number of really great lines, like “Guns waving, the jawlines and the hair”, and his colloquial descriptions of the brothers: “Dean could start a fight in an empty house, but deep down inside, he’s just a big ol’ Teddy bear”. There were a number of things that really irritated me about the plot (I mean really irritated me), but Garth saved the show as far as I was concerned. The episode was also full of foreshadowing and parallels to the brothers:
- Garth turned into a monster the same year that Dean will turn into a demon. We didn’t know at the time that Dean was doomed (now I have alliteration stuck in my head!), but "Threads" readers tracked several Human:Monster reversals (check out these and other role reversals that permeated the season).
- Dean had another comment about what makes us human (fear). Could someone who is doing a complete series rewatch please write down all the things Dean thinks defines someone as human? I would be very curious to read the list. I’d even add it to Superwiki for you!
- “These people are your family”. Sam still believes in family even though a few hours later he tells Dean that everything bad that’s ever happened to them is because they are family.
- Garth said, “[Pastor Jim] feels like he should have seen the signs earlier [that his wife was a cult leader that would betray them and kill innocents]”. Foreshadowing Sam not interceding more forcibly before Dean went full demon, or Dean not suspecting Gadreel would betray him before it was way too late.
- Garth felt guilty that he left Kevin, saying “Friends don’t do that”. Parallel with what Dean did to Cas?
- The 4th generation of monster I think was meant as a juxtaposition to the Winchesters being at least the 4th generation of MoL.
There were several smaller things that bothered me in this episode, like awkward timing and forced mythology. My biggest problem, though, was inserting the prayer group just to show the hypocrisy of some who have faith and religion. The family convinced Garth of their sincerity because they held faith circles? The whole thing felt like an unnecessary poke at belief systems.
Things I’ve thought for a long time:
Hunters need a private chat room. They need a way to share information, like learning about bitten vs. born werewolves. No one has run into this before? Now that neither Bobby nor Garth is acting as the hunters' clearing house, hunters need to come up with a new central repository of knowledge. Oh yeah, the MOL bunker!... except no one knows about it!
Dean always calls the shots…and Sam always listens. Is that a big brother/little brother thing? It would drive me nuts.
Sam wondered if Garth was naked when he got in that car. Well I checked the freeze frames, and he was wearing boxers. There is a screencap I could show you, but in the interest of DJ’s dignity, I don’t think I’ll reproduce it here. : )
Sorry, but that really didn’t look like Jared getting dragged across the floor and tied up. I’m sure it was his stunt double. Can you spot where they switched? Notice the hands, nose, shoulder width, etc. I lightened up the screencaps significantly to make the pictures easier to examine. “One of these things is not like the other….” [A repeated rhyme song from a children’s show, Sesame Street).
Antagonistic Dean. Werewolves or Moc?
We need to run our annual poll on the season’s grossest scenes. The werewolves’ meal is definitely in the running. Can’t even look at it!
Dean’s instincts told him that the werewolf family was not OK. Always trust Dean’s instincts. They are dead on…except when it comes to angels.
Evil Step mother. Standard fairy tale bad-guy (gal). Should have suspected her the minute she made a big deal of being the step-mother.
Evil-step-mother-werewolf talking lovingly about her father sounded like it was meant as a contrast to John Winchester.
It’s almost becoming a running joke how each episode ends up being a metaphor for a different aspect of S9 as a whole. In this case? Starts out strong with a lot of potential and then… fizzles.
I mean, yes I’m biased because I do like DJ Qualls and thought Garth was a much needed retread of the ground that had been untouched for 5 years after the death of Ash. We had the “hunter becomes monster – keeps hunting” with Gordon in S3, now with Garth we have “hunter becomes monster – retires” (except… Castiel kind of did that in S7). This episode wasn’t as wretched as some of the fare this season, but it was also a big “meh”. If it wasn’t intended from the start, I still say it would have been best to have Dean go it alone (or with Garth) this episode while Sam; Cas worked together with “The Purge”. Two “good monster” episodes in a row, seen from two different perspectives, and allowing us to compare/contrast the boys’ reaction to the “same case” while being separated. From a writing perspective Sam barely seems like he’s in this episode as it is (and could have been cut with little effort).
The stench of setting up for Bloodlines is also all over this episode, which is a shame because almost anything from here stretched into a spinoff could work:
- Garth (or another hunter) changing and being forced to learn a new way of life.
- A religious war growing among monsters.
- Monsters want to start their own apocalypse after Demons & Angels have had their fun.
Then there’s all the possible moral, ethical, and hypothetical ramifications. Like… should werewolves be hunters? Policing and punishing their own? Or is a neutral, “I’m going to stay out of it” stance an acceptable alternative? Why don’t these guys just BUY the animal parts they need or set up a farm to do so? Are those you bite considered a part of your bloodline or old-fashioned babies, only? What if Sam & Madison had had a child? Would it be half & half or do the genes have a dominant/recessive pattern?
I still say this is the most awkward reunion they've done on the show, and they've done 3!
Sam: "What does that mean, how did that happen?" KING OF UNDERSTATEMENT!
I still don't get why the werewolves & similar just don't... BUY the animals they want to eat?
So Sam can tell Dean's lying on the phone in this episode but earlier in the season he suspected nothing?
What is it with girl werewolves always "jumping" Sam in one way or another?
"He could start a fight in an empty house." -Garth really does add a lot this show needs.
Monsters religion is another topic that #SPN should examine more #BetterThanBloodlines
"Reverend Jim, I've killed you once already!"
Garth should have insisted on a salad to go with his meal.
We never did get a scene of @TheOnlyDJQualls & @OsricChau acting together. More's the pity.
Once again monsters die because they insist on getting their hands dirty instead of using those little boomsticks we invented.
Oh, THERE the wolf pulls out the gun.
I don't think the NRA recommends extending your nails before trying to pull the trigger. #MonsterGunSafety
Sam having narcolepsy is also an explanation I'm growing attached to...
The boys are awfully lucky none of their kidnappers have ever crippled them before tying them up.
The wicked stepmother... such a cliché. lol
Dean, TAKE THE SHOT!
"Funny" how now that Garth is a werewolf & BETTER hunter is when Dean says he should get out of the life. It's like, "No, no, we need to give the monsters a sporting chance. Just retire."
The boys dialog makes a lot more sense if you assume the last page of the script was lost & J2 had to improvise.
My Takeaway: I liked “Sharp Teeth” better the second time around. These rewatches are most fun when the context of the full season brings themes into sharper relief in the individual episodes. Now that I know I don’t have to view Sam’s words to Dean as an example of what he really feels and signaling a new found maturity, I can see them as the fully justified expression of the hurt and anger they were.
Sam certainly meant that things between him and Dean were not in a good place. But I think he expected his words to provoke Dean into talking back, so they could fight it out verbally and hopefully find a middle ground they could both accept.
But Sam and Dean have very different communication styles. Sam attacks the brotherhood because he doesn’t really believe he can seriously damage it. He believes in family, as he shows in this episode. He may not define it in the same words as his brother, but underneath the words, they both know what it feels like. The younger Winchester doesn’t expect Dean to take his words literally, but rather to engage with them.
Dean, however, hears his worst fears confirmed. He’s never been sure his own view of family is shared by Sam—or his father, for that matter. He’s never been comfortable with shades of grey or redefining concepts like “monster,” so he’s already on shaky ground. What’s right is now wrong; what’s wrong is more wrong –Dean is feeling lost. He knows he would save Sam again. He knows his method was incredibly hurtful. He can’t reconcile those feelings, and he can’t express all this mixed up emotion to his more verbal brother.
So, all that’s left is sharp words taken more literally than intended.
Adam Glass had a good season. His episodes had a common through line on point with the season’s major arc: perspective—what makes a family and what makes a monster.
I liked Glass’s meta reference when Dean told Garth someone had to be alive to tell their story. Bookdal pointed out there are a lot of important texts in Supernatural in general and this season in particular. Journals, chronicles, pulp fiction, gospels and a bible: stories within stories and all of them open to interpretation.
What did you think of “Sharp Teeth”? Do you think we'll see Garth again in the future, or has he "retired" from the show as well?
If you missed all our original analytical reviews when this show first aired, visit our “Sharp Teeth” episode guide to catch up on our meta thoughts! You can also visit the "Sharp Teeth" Photo Gallery for a few good Sam and Dean close-ups!
Thanks to www.en.m.Wikipedia.org, www.supernaturalwiki.com and www.homeofthenutty.com for their reference material.
[as for sam being able to recognize dean was lying nate, he said it to dean during the speech....I can't trust you like I should be able to. it's not really a surprise to me that sam didn't trust dean. dean had already taken off on him once and already reiterated that they shouldn't be working together. ]
I don't agree that sam was attacking the brotherhood. dean had already damaged it. sam put the ball in dean's court. you want to work, fine we'll work, but if you want to be brothers....dea n expects to be forgiven simply because they are brothers....any thing he's done is justifiable and sam should simply move on from this. but sam isn't ok with what dean has done. dean hurt sam to the very core here. he did the unthinkable to sam and now sam is unable to trust the one person, that through everything, he's had unconditional trust for. dean rocked sam's very foundation and he's just trying to prevent their relationship from total collapse. sam doesn't need dean's disregard....as you said Gerry and I agree, sam needs dean to show him that he gives a damn and wants to fix what's broken. I think there is a different outlook to sam and dean's view of family.... dean believes that "because we're family, any act is justifiable, any consequence acceptable, and there's no reason to work out when something's wrong. just bury it and move on....but this way of thinking is not only unhealthy for the relationship, it doesn't work. sam on the other hand believes that not any act is justifiable, there are consequences that matter and if a relationship family or otherwise is going to be strong you have to put work into it. when something is wrong, you fix it. you deal with it. you don't sweep it under the rug and hope for the best. a family is strong not because they are related, but because they work on making it strong.
again, watching that speech it is all too clear how hurt and frustrated sam is right now. I mean the speech came just seconds after sam was setting off because dean didn't want to be with him. so dean has a change of heart and wanted to get back together with sam but he didn’t want to deal with what he’d done to sam. he admitted to taking a piece of sam, but he couldn’t muster up the words “i’m sorry”. instead he blamed the playbook…what’s right is wrong and what’s wrong is more wrong, instead of taking any responsibility for his own actions .he tells sam that they just need a few w’s in the win column and then everything will be ok again. sam tells dean no. he wishes it would be that easy but no. there’s no burying this. he explains that he can’t trust him like he should be able to. judging by the look on dean's face, this is the one thing he didn't want to hear. sam had the same look once not so long ago when dean told sam he couldn’t trust him. the difference though…is sam faced what he’d done and knew he had to work at gaining his brother’s trust again..dean instead just wants to wish it all away and pretend it never happened. dean thinks it’s all justified because they’re family. sam says that dean says that like it’s some kind of cure all, like it could change the fact that everything that’s ever gone wrong between them is “because we’re family”. dean believes that" because we’re family" is his get out of jail free card…that sam should just forgive and forget and give dean a pass just because they’re family, without any effort at all from him in trying to fix what he knows he broke, and that because we’re family justifies others getting hurt. dean’s response is “ so what we’re not family?” totally ignoring what sam is saying here and twisting it to his own way of thinking. not only that but dean is disregarding sam's feelings by doing this. dean is being selfish here, thinking of dean and what he wants instead of what sam is feeling and what he needs, what he's asking for. sam’s expression is one of frustration. dean isn’t listening to him. that’s when sam tells dean “ you want to work, let’s work, but if you want to be brothers…..then there is about 30 seconds where they’re looking at ea. other. the camera hones in on the pain and expectation on sam’s face and see dean watching his brother’s pained expression, and I swear watching that scene again, I have no doubt dean knew exactly what sam meant, what he wanted . then dean gives a little head bob and says ok. that's why dean wasn't sleeping in the next eppy...he knew what sam wanted, he knew what he had to do and he couldn't do it. it's also evident by dean's response to not breaking easy when sam asked if he wasn't sleeping because of what he'd said. sam tried to provoke dean and get him to deal and dean didn't. sam had a glimmer of hope by seeing dean up all night that he would in fact break and deal with what's happened...but that glimmer of hope faded fast when dean told sam he didn't break easy. so right here is evidence enough that dean clearly knew what sam wanted and just wouldn't/ couldn't give it to him.
the problem is dean can’t give sam what he needs. so he reverts to his “go to” defense mechanism of hearing what he wants to hear and playing at being the wounded puppy. it’s his way of avoiding dealing with what he’s done. it’s what a child would do. as a matter of fact, I found dean’s behavior to be quite childlike as of late…..I can’t help but wonder if dean’s childlike behavior as an adult stems from the fact that he never got to behave like a kid when he was, in fact, an actual kid.
On the bright side, congrats to Sammy - this was the 60th time he's been knocked unconscious on the show. Sam should have followed Dean back to the batcave with that sweet stolen car and kept it; about time he had a stolen car he could call his own.
Personally, after a run of good episodes, this is about the time season 9 started unraveling for me. It would have been just as meaningful and more entertaining if the brothers just grunted and threw feces at one another.
And once again the live tweeting was a lot of fun so thanks to all the reviewers and others that participated.
I will attempt the task. I think it is worth exploring and will be interesting to see what one of the main characters states about the defining qualities of a human. I also think Humanity is the theme of this entire show. The show is cemented by two human brothers bonded by the human condition in a supernatural mostly nightmarish world, who are usually trying to save individual humans or all of humanity being torn up by angels/demons because God loved Humanity. The brothers also try to keep each other human while while living the life dealt. They bring each other back from the edge or when they go over. And we all know how many different edges there are. I think Dean is the human heart of this story and now he has last his humanity. So yes, I think this is worthwhile endeavor. Jensen in response to a question said you could write a dissertation on Dean. I happen to agree.
As Nate said, this episode had the most awkward brother reunion ever. Sam looked like he wanted to turn around and leave when he walked in the door to Garth's hospital room. Here’s his situation: he had spent weeks worrying that something was wrong with him (yet again), then he’s hunting ghouls who chomp on dead cheerleaders (but only in his head), then Crowley shows up to tell him that he has been possessed by an angel and he has to take back control of himself, then he regains consciousness strapped to a weird dentist chair in a creepy warehouse with pins stuck in his head, and before he barely has time to process any of this, Dean leaves. Of course he’s angry. The only way that he is able to deal with Dean at all is to talk about Garth, (the “case”).
As nappi pointed out, the next thing that Dean does is try to push Sam away from the case. Sending him to talk to the farmer was safe and got Sam out of the way; then, Dean lies to Sam about not seeing Garth on the security footage. What’s Sam supposed to think? That his brother is filled with remorse about lying to him? :(
Even though he tells Dean that he will leave after the case is over, Sam checks in with Dean and tells him to be careful at the werewolf dinner. He would still have Dean’s back.
If Sam hadn’t gotten knocked out in this episode, I think Dean would have stuck to his guns about not hunting together. Once he couldn’t get in touch with Sam, though, it was back to “protect Sammy” mode. I think that is what spurred Dean to stop Sam at the end of the episode. Dean wanted to get things back to the way they were, but Sam wanted things to change. I think that Dean would rather have Sam get mad and hit him, but that is not how Sam deals with things. I was trying to think of the last time that Sam had hit Dean when he was really Sam – they had their knock-down, drag-out fight at the end of season four, and Sam hit Dean in Southern Comfort in season eight (and Dean was holding a gun on him and possessed by a specter at the time). Gadreel is the one who hit Dean in Holy Terror. I guess I wrote all that to try to say that the only way that Sam can deal with Dean is to keep it about the work, because the other is too painful. (Not saying that Dean is not hurting, too, of course he is.)
On a totally different topic – werewolf-mojo Garth could be helpful to Sam as he deals with finding and fixing Demon!Dean. Maybe.