Here we are, the final episode before a baby-induced hiatus. Is anyone else mystified as to how we are onto episode 18 of season seven already?
Anyways....on to the review!
Thoughts on Party On Garth
While watching this episode, I had mostly tepid feelings about it. Though the Garth character was okay for comic relief previously, a whole episode of him felt like a bit much to me. So, all in all it wasn't a bad episode though certainly not going into the Supernatural hall of fame either. Except for one tiny, weensy detail that had this episode shooting from just "okay" to "epic" levels in no time flat: the return of Bobby Singer.
Let's not waste any time and get right to it, shall we?
Campfire Horror Stories
So this week we are back to the classic MOTW formula - with a teaser straight out of a slasher movie, SPLAT title card and then we open back up with Garth stepping out of a classic car of his own and channelling a little bit of that Dean Winchester bad ass attitude, right down to the apparent booty call. After "Garthing" the supposed ghost that he was led to after a pretty awesome interrogation scene where Garth got his cool on, Garth heads back to the motel. Before he gets too far, he hears on the radio that there has been another killing and makes a decision to call in the Winchester cavalry.
Picking up the ball from last week, Sam is driving while Dean checks in with Cas, who is apparently still out of it and under Meg's watchful eye. It's reassuring to see that this wasn't the end of Sam's storyline on this either. Dean immediately asks how Sam's head is feeling and Sam says it's getting better. This comment I'm choosing to take as evidence of my "removed the symptoms so the initial wound can heal" theory. This conversation would have continued but for Garth's phone call, so that in mind, I know we aren't done with this thread.
It's good to see Sam looking relaxed, though he is a little pale. Still recovering from those sleepless nights I suppose. Sam is in good enough shape to stick Dean with a drunk Garth and feel smug about it. Yes, it is good to see the old Sam shining through after the impending doom visions.
Sock Puppets and Grown Up Juice
The villain of this episode we already know can only be seen by those who are inebriated. This is an interesting and sure to be funny twist. That said, I really had to suspend reality to believe that a sip of her mother's screwdriver rendered tiny blonde girl drunk enough to see the ghostly creature. It's a small point of contention. That said, Garth not being used to drinking - I totally buy him being drunk, even if again we have to suspend reality for how quickly it hit him.
Dean and Garth talk to the little girl who witnessed her mother get slaughtered. But they don't employ the usual interrogation techniques. Oh no. Meet Mr. Fizzles the sock puppet. Now I've seen everything on Supernatural. Okay, this gag fell really flat with me. Maybe it's because as adult sock puppet jokes go, it's hard to execute them well. But this just felt a little below Supernatural to me. I mean, if you're going to do puppets then one of them needs to be the Grumpus or it just isn't going to work for me.
One thing this episode really had going for it from the outset was that it picked up a number of as-yet loose threads: Bobby setting off the EMF? Dean can't get drunk because it's kind of like a vitamin these days? Even that reference to Dean's over abundance of alcohol consumption this season didn't bother me like some of the previous beat-you-in-the-head references to the same subject matter would have. Probably because I'm loving having non-angsty Sam back. Isn't it nice to see the boys enjoying a drink together? Dean said it best: we have missed these days. For the non-serious quality of this episode, it certainly touched on a number of important issues pertaining to the major plots of this season. Sam tried to communicate with Bobby via spirit board - In My Time of Dying anyone? If Bobby is tied to the flask, then maybe Sam couldn't reach him without the flask being in proximity? I like that Dean was quick to shut Garth down on this topic, sensitive to Sam's recent hallucinations and the fact that Sam already expressed he didn't want to deal with anything that was concrete earlier in the season.
I hate to nitpick but there are several problems with this episode. For one thing, either the camera picks up the ghost or it doesn't. I'm sorry, I really struggle with this drunk-to-see-the-video-clip thing. A real ghost maybe, but not on the video. So, after taking the bottle of Sake to a translator, the boys learn the bottle has been cursed with something called a Shojo: Japanese alcohol spirits that are not known for being friendly. Well, few spirits are (present company aside!). Does the idea of wrangling this thing to a box remind anyone of Faith and binding the reaper?
The first half of this episode was largely problematic for me. The humour fell a bit short and some gags just came across stupid to me. Also, while I realize on a show called Supernatural some suspension of belief is required, there were some really moments of stretching the imagination in this installment. By the second half of the episode though, it really picked up for me. Of course, the reveal about Sam trying to contact Bobby was very big. I also enjoyed watching Garth cleverly deduce that the janitor was actually the illegitimate child of one of the company's partners. He did that very well. The blessing of the Samurai sword was classic Supernatural humour - I loved the "running spring" from the bottle of Evian. Sam eyeing that girl in the bar - way to get back on that horse, Sammy! And come on, how cute was that cab driver who liked to drive safe? Yes, the second half of this episode got off the ground a lot better.
Best unspoken moment (to THAT point) for me was when the sword was brought back to Dean after he dropped it. No question, they've got a guardian angel watching over them and if it isn't Bobby - then who? It was a heartbreaking moment when Dean asked Bobby to give him a sign while Sam watched in the background. And yet somehow, it was hopeful too. We all saw the sword move - no more "maybes" about it - something was going on.
The Invisible Man
So the episode ends with a conversation by the car. How many of these have there been in the history of Supernatural? Alas, I like that since this isn't the Impala the conversation moves inside quickly. Sam's theory that they are wanting to see Bobby everywhere because of their grief and that it's part of the normal mourning process is not without merit and I can certainly understand his reluctance to buy into this theory given recent happenings (read: hallucinations). Dean didn't sound entirely convinced though and of course, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he shouldn't be.
Though this episode was far from a favourite, the last 60 seconds gave it instant classic status. Bobby. Is. Back. First I have to give credit to how the Bobby issue has been handled all season, because we had some brilliant teasers and up until the very last seconds of this episode, I was question if it was really Bobby or some other as yet unknown force. Second, the recap courtesy of Dean of all the weird things was really good. There were certainly a number of hints and in this reviewer's opinion, the ghost Bobby storyline was actually pretty tight. As was the surprise appearance of our beloved gruff hunter. Although I knew it was probably coming at some point, I so did not see it coming at the end here and I am certain my heart stopped at the familiar sight of the trucker capped silhouette. And then to hear Bobby call Dean "idjit" again. Yes, this was possibly the best single episode ending in Supernatural history.
This episode was okay. When Garth first appeared in Time for a Wedding I really didn't mind him, but then he was tempered by the other activities in the episode. I'm sure I'll be in the minority but in this case less would have been so much more. Like Sam, by the end Garth had grown on me, or was at least much more tolerable. For that matter, it wasn't that I found him annoying so much as he was just"¦too much. Jokes and humour have their place, but generally Supernatural has a better balance and more clever humour that some of the Garth stuff (i.e. the sock puppet).
Garth aside, the MOTW was again, okay. In theory it was kind of an interesting monster but I found a lot of technical problems, like not being able to see the ghost on the security tape without being drunk. I also found the speed at which people were rendered"drunk" to be unbelievable, particularly experienced drinkers like Sam and Dean.
The plot line that stands alone in this episode is Bobby. Everything, from Garth talking with Dean about the EMF and flask, to Sam's reveal about the spirit board to the actual reveal of Bobby at the end was very well done and that alone will garner several rewatches of an episode I otherwise wouldn't be rushing to see again. If not for the Bobby storyline, I probably would have filed this away with Swap Meat and Fallen Idols.
So, what did you think viewers? So-so episode with an EPIC ending? Or all around great episode with a killer cherry on top? Theories about why the boys can't see Bobby/why he can't communicate with them?
The sock puppet - just ugh! Playing for laughts interviewing a traumatized girl who has just watched her mother get killed by a monster in front of her? Really?
Oh, how I long for the days of "Dead in the Water" when that premise made for a great horror show, emotional depth, resonance and character insight. Remember Dean being able to to relate and get through to Lucas? Well, so much for continuity! What happened to Dean being great with kids? The Winchesters getting dumbed down again to show off the guest star I guess. Bad writing.
As for Bobby, I had so hoped they would not go down the linear and entirely predictable road. It effectively negated all the emotional impact of "Death's Door".
At this point for me it's: "Loss, what loss? They'll all come back anyhow, it's just a matter of time, the only surprise will be when they'll be back, not if." Meh.
I agree with the Insta!Drunk thing - both the girl and Garth were drunk before the alcohol had even had the chance to hit the stomach, not to mention the blood stream.
When Dean said the girl wasn't talking I was sure that he would give it another try and get her to talk, because HEY! Dean is really good with kids. But no, we had to show Garth being better than Dean and using an annoying sock puppet to prove it. Plus it did feel like that whole scene cheapened the horror of a child seeing her mother's death. For a show that has so much of its premise built on how the death of a parent changes a child's life, this just felt off.
I don't know if it was a case of the Winchesters being dumbed down. Dean being good with kids doesn't guarantee he'll be able to get through to them every time and had they shown the girl as more traumatized than she was, then I could believe it was a case of not being able to get through to her.
That sock puppet thing.....*shak es head* That scene epitomized what I dislike about child actors that until now SPN has avoided - they play too young or too old. The girl started off subtly recognizing that she'd had a drink of her mom's drink and going "oops" without making a fuss (though I think a tongue not used to vodka would react differently than hers did, but anyways). Then, she responds to the puppet like a 3 year old instead of the 8 or 9 years she behaved like previously.
I don't believe that Death's Door is negated by ressurrecting Bobby (or keeping his ghost around, whichever). They boys still suffered the loss of him and had to learn to live in a world where he was dead, the same as they had to learn to get by when each other died. It's an emotional hit and mourning process even if the deceased comes back later on.
Adam Glass doesn't get the 'feel' and 'tone' of SPN. I keep trying to give him a chance, but this was the last time for me. He's too campy, too much into children, children, children, his jokes aren't funny and his scripts are clunky. I didn't even find his Sam and Dean dialogue good (except for Dean's summary of the Bobby reveal).
Bobby back was predictably bad. It's not that I don't love Bobby, and I did enjoy seeing him again, but I am beyond finding any humor or enjoyment out of audience manipulation in lieu of creative stories, good plotting, and good character development. I won't call the episode a filler yet, since I predict that Bobby will again become the ex deus machina that saves the day, so had to be re-introduced at some point. Personally, I expect more creative storytelling from SPN.
Where are the Levi? The brothers aren't actively seeking them so, again, where is the Impala? Where are the answers to the numerous sub-plots that have been introduced this season? Oh, that's right. We've got Cas back, Bobby back, and a Rufus' cabin as a new home base. That just leaves finding the Impala.
With Bobby showing up again, I can only hope that the Winchesters aren't left as looker ons while Bobby and Cas take care of whatever the story is this season (and I'm assuming that is still Dick Roman). God, I hope Garth doesn't become the fourth member of Team Free Will. Bobby, Cas, Meg and Garth -- please, just no.
I do not like the new trend of support characters being given the spotlight in episodes and developed more as characters than Sam and Dean. Too much Garth, a really pathetic character and a pathetic hunter that the brothers played second fiddle to. I remember when support characters added depth to where the brothers were in the story.
It seems this season is empathizing that the brothers cannot hunt without help, not that they 'have to depend only on themselves.' Dean made a kill...finally. ..but he had to have his butt saved by Bobby before that happened.
Okay, rant over. I was entertained for the hour, but I'm becoming more and more disenchanted with the season. I'll re-watch the episode by FF'ing the first 7 or 8 minutes (no Sam and Dean) and see if I liked it any better. I don't think I will, but maybe JA and JP got a little down time while filming this.
ETA: I just re-watched a second time. I put the episode right down there with Time for A Wedding and am left wondering why I even spent time watching this whole season.
I don't think this diminishes from his sacrifice in Death's Door at all. He died and fought his way back out of a coma for them.
Just like I don't think bringing Dean and Sam back from hell diminished the sacrifices they made.
I will give you that I thought everyone got drunk a little too fast, especially the little girl. Come on, one sip, really? Had she chugged her mother's glass, it would have made more sense, but hey, suspension of disbelief. Sam & Dean drinking together was kind of sweet too. Dean telling Sam that he misses their little talks over a glass.
Anyway, it's not an instant classic, but I will be checking it out a few more times just for all the Bobby insight.
I liked Garth and his awkwardness.
I loved the brothers talking about Samâ€™s issues, hints on Deanâ€™s drinking and about Bobby.
And BOBBY! I actually believed the stories that Jim Beaver would not be returning this season. I was totally suckered in and happily surprised of his return. When they were hinting about the mysterious thing happening ie the beer being drank, I really wasnâ€™t sure how I felt about the â€œBobby the Friendly Ghostâ€ idea. But seeing him made me realise how much I missed him and Iâ€™m willing to see how it gets played out.
Now for the Sock Puppet and Grown Up Juice.
I do have to admit that the â€˜Sock Puppetâ€™ did fall flat for me too. In fact I was cringing and having to look away from the screen.
As for both the little girl and Garth getting drunk really quick.
Well looking back at my first time. It didnâ€™t take much for me to get tipsy.
I had only a few sips of beer before my cheeks started going numb and I wasnâ€™t even half way through the beer when I had to stop drinking it because I was feeling all loopy. Yes I was a light weight and I was only 15.
And looking at the drink the mother made, she put at least 1 and half to two ounces in that glass. I can see the girl feeling some effects. The only real issue I have is that her reaction should have been wanting to gag and spit it out.
But like I said, I like this episode, it worked for me.
Maybe this wasn't directed on how much the adults were drinking but how much they could show the child drinking.
The sock puppet and how quickly the little girl got drunk are the only low points for me. All in all, a fairly good episode, especially after the anxt ridden last one.
I only wish April 20th was here already!
Not just because I welcome Garth and his humor- it felt very much to me like the MAGIC, the spark seeing the brothers being funny and clever and kickass and *brotherly*, was back again for the first time in a long time. I think Adam
Glass has finally, really got the brothers down- bringing out the best of what the brothers can be- that will make an episode *perfection* for me. And I found the humor hilarious, especially Dean doing a spittake and Sam with the taxi.
Like Dean said, "I miss these talks."
And Bobby.......jus t BOOOOOOOOBBBBBBBBBBYYYYYYY!!!!
Went to bed happy for a change!
Thank you Supernatural!
I felt the some way about Garth as I felt about Becky. A little bit is okay, but a whole episode was just too much.
Garth tried to be a BAMF like Dean, but I was not impressed. I could kick Garth's ass.
Elle, I am with you, the only thing that saved this episode from being 'Hammer of the Gods' was the return of BOBBY. When the camera went from the boys leaving to the room. I sat on the edge of the couch and held my breath. AND THERE WAS BOBBY! And then Dean went back into the room and I waited and waited, but Dean just picked up the haunted flask and walked back out. Poor Bobby. I hope we get lots of hugs next episode (three weeks wait damn it).
I think the best part was that 'Jim Beaver' was not in the credits, so that it was a complete surprise to see him there, a la Crowley's 'return' in 'Mommie Dearest'.
Bring on the end of the season.
Yeah, Bobby's back and yes, a miracle that it did not slip out to the Fandom earlier.
Not only that, I think Iâ€™m a little offended by him. I mean seriously, he weights about the same as one of my legs, jumps into hunts with zero precautions, hunts on his own (we havenâ€™t seen hunters do that too often, and for good reason) and despite all that, heâ€™s still alive! How??
Sam and Dean are mountains of men, research the crap out of everything, are highly trained, had freaking angelic protection until a year and a half ago, proved themselves capable of saving the world more than once but they canâ€™t stop dying! What the hell? So either Garth only hunts extra small freaking pygmy ghosts, or Sam and Dean suck!
I wasnâ€™t overly surprised to see Bobby, mainly because I accidentally spoilered myself that morning. I was stunned when I read it though. Bobby was the one character I was concerned about in terms of coming back to life. He's not a Winchester, he's not a vessel, he's not an angel so if any of the other three died I'd be (relatively) okay with it because it's almost certain they'll be back. With Bobby though....
Iâ€™m assuming he is a ghost, I mean he did that flashy thing, and yep, Iâ€™m guessing heâ€™s tied to the flask, given that when Sam tried to talk to him in Deanâ€™s absence, there was no answer. How come the EMF showed up on Garthâ€™s detector but not Deans when Garth was messing with them? Is Bobby a friendly ghost? Can ghosts be friendly? Will Sam and Dean have to get the shining to see Bobby? Are they going to have to kill Bobby? Holy shit, theyâ€™re going to have to kill him, arenâ€™t they? While Iâ€™m glad to see Bobby back, this is one of the reservations I had with the possibility of him coming back. The show has just deangsted with Sam fit to face the world again and now this is lying in wait. Can it end good? Would Bobby not need to regrow his body in order for him to be back?
In relation to the episode itself, I thought it was standard, solid enough fare. Having to be drunk to be able to see a ghost was a novel idea (how many SPN fans will be using that excuse next time they go out for a night on the town â€˜Another one in there, bar-keep. Iâ€™m hunting ghosts tonight....â€™ It did lead to some pretty funny moments; Dean spitting the alcohol back into the glass and Sam getting a taxi were the best. No idea why Sam getting a taxi tickles me but it does. It just feels wrong, like seeing a fish riding a bicycle. Have we ever seen the Winchesters in a yellow taxi before? Dean whispering â€˜Turn it (the camera) offâ€™ to Sam when Baxter came in, as if that part was going to be the bit that was going to be unexplainable! The price tag being left on the Samurai sword and Deanâ€™s â€˜running springâ€™ were awesome. Who said alcohol destroys brain cells?
Bobby aside, the best part of the episode for me was the wee bit of brotherly banter that we saw. It wasnâ€™t much but it was really welcome. I loved the whole â€˜wtf?â€™ glances they were giving each other about Garth and the wee talks they had at the beginning and ending of the episode. It wasnâ€™t huge for us but for those guys it was a lot, and more than theyâ€™ve done in a hell of a long time. It was nice to see it, really comfortable and familiar.
I'm making a couple of guesses. Bobby may stay with the boys as a Mary type ghost, not becoming angry because he understands what happened to him and eventually leaving the way Molly did if he finds himself becoming destructive. We also have a fully powered repentant angel sitting in an insane asylum just waiting to make things up to Sam and Dean, maybe by recreating a Bobby body? We also have Crowley. The demons said he had released his protection of Sam and Dean, but demons lie. If Meg is not an army of one, but assembled her own force to challenge Crowley, the demons in BAI may have been rogue and working with her. Crowley was willing to make a deal with Castiel that didn't involve a soul, so the boys could wrangle a new body for Bobby from him. Finally we have an adversary that can replicate bodies based on DNA that INCLUDE any memories the former body had. If there is a way to drive the Leviathan consciousness out of one of these bodies, then Bobby could take possession. All in all, I don't see Sam and Dean having to put Bobby down, although having Bobby be a big bad does have some attraction. That would leave Dean as the only main character non onscreen big bad and maybe he can have a go at that if the show lasts that long.
I look at the fact that he survived as kind of an Inspector Clouseau type thing where dumb luck has been a major factor. And the fact that he calls for help we he needs it and it's not like he's taking on the big bads. Which is why he's more likely to be able to have a more normal life (and I don't see him as the type to be eaten away by guilt or worry by something he couldn't control). I doubt someone like Crowley or Dick Roman or Lucifer or Meg etc. Who would see HIM as a threat? So why would they come after him?
I would like to add to the sock puppet use in this episode. I found it quite credible to be used. My youngest son experienced a traumatic event when he was 7 and the only way he would talk about it was through responding to a puppet. Drawing and coloring only went so far. Anyway, he seemed to relate better to that than to the therapist. Dean reminded me of my husband who was present during our son's session and was tempted at times to state the very same things that Dean said. However, in the end, he became a true believer since it helped our son talk about the event. The police and commonwealth's attorney were able to prosecute the individual and that might not been able to happen without that silly, but wonderful puppet.
That's a really interesting story about your son and the puppet. I don't doubt or question the validity of using a puppet or dolls, etc. when it comes to talking to children about traumatic events, they do find it easier to speak through third person, inanimate things like puppets to act out or demonstrate what they've seen/experienced.
However, I found this particular scene nothing like that level of seriousness or even anywhere close to the quiet coaxing that Dean used in Dead in the Water. For me the scene was just ridiculous, particularly when Garth had the puppet suggest the girl was lying. Overall, it just wasn't my cup of tea is all. I'm glad the puppet worked in your case though - and I'm sure like tools have helped many, many children. This scene didn't jive overall for me, not because of a disbelief in the puppet method, but simply due to (in my opinion) poor execution over all of the notion.
Thanks for sharing! :)