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?