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.