Filler ep time! For every hop and jump there’s a little skip in-between and tonight’s episode “Sharp Teeth” delivers a Garth-centric plot, leaving out the demons and angels to focus on werewolf concerns and Winchester caution. Sam comes to terms on his issues with Dean and Ragnarok finds a place among a group of people who surprisingly are not Norse, allegedly.
Every filler episode attempts to combine the touch of horror, a dash of mystery, and a smidge of humor with a bowtie scene at the end of the Winchester’s having their tried and true moments of character growth, and often opposing views. Did all those elements hold up this time around? Let’s take a look under the hood.
Sam and Dean separately find Garth in a hospital in Wisconsin handcuffed and accused of gutting a cow on a farm. After ditching the brothers, they track Garth down to an apt where he reveals that he’s married to a werewolf (Lycanthrope) and is now one himself.
Bess, the wife, found Garth after he was bitten during a hunt and convinced him to live as a werewolf and join her family. Garth offers Sam and Dean the chance to meet them and promises they are a harmless pack. A cautious Dean meets the family and Jim, the leader of the group and his second wife, Joy, whose father once led the pack for a time.
Dean reluctantly joins them for dinner while Sam questions the local sheriff about the family. Dean notices silver bullet necklaces they wear which Garth explains reminds them of their fragility. Later, two males from the pack confront Dean when Garth approaches and speaks to Dean alone, who questions why Garth didn’t try and contact him. Garth was embarrassed over turning and when he mentions Kevin, Dean explains that Kevin is dead.
At night Sam sits with Dean outside the pack’s house as Sam wonders why they’re still there. He gets a call from the sheriff to meet them near the woods. They arrive to find a deer freshly ravaged and dead. Dean realizes the kill happened after the call and the sheriff pulls a gun on them revealing himself to be a werewolf too. Dean throws his knife into the sheriff and kills him and after, Sam notices he’s wearing a silver bullet necklace with the word “Ragnarok” etched on the side.
The brothers split up with Sam searching for Garth at the apt and Dean returning to the pack’s church where he finds it empty. He discovers Jim’s werewolf bible and searches it until he finds a reference to Ragnarok. He searches their computer online for the definition and gets a call from Sam who says the apt has been ransacked with no sign of Bess or Garth. Dean explains that a cult of werewolves known as the Maw of Fenris once worshipped the wolf Fenris and that the Norse mythos of Ragnarok was their action plan to wipe out humanity. When Sam leaves the apt he’s knocked out by two of the pack members.
Jim returns to the church and Dean confronts him about the cult and Ragnarok plan. Jim assures him that he and his pack no longer follow that plan only to realize that may not be the case for some of his family.
Garth and Bess wake up in a barn as Joy and two others haul Sam in and tie him down. Joy explains that she tried to live by Jim’s faith but after a hunter killed her little brother, she decided to follow her father’s following instead. She plans to make it look like Sam killed Bess and Charlie to convince Jim to return to the old ways.
Sam manages to disarm Joy’s gun as Dean arrives and kills both pack followers as well as Joy.
The next day at the pack house, Garth says goodbye to Sam and offers his help to Dean even though he’s a werewolf. Dean convinces Garth to live his new life with Bess and Jim’s family and they hug to say goodbye.
As Dean drops Sam off near his car, he tries to tell Sam that he was messed up when he caused their split and has been trying to understand what’s right and wrong with what they’ve been doing. Sam realizes something is broken between them and can’t trust Dean the way he should be able to. Dean reminds that they are family, but Sam counters with that being an excuse. Sam agrees to continue working with Dean but trails off when he mentions their status as brothers. Dean nods in agreement and they both return to the Impala.
This has been the season to tie up loose ends with all existing supporting characters left on the show. It’s good that they aren’t mindlessly forgotten or left to the obscurity of fan-fiction, but some wrap-ups are a bit stranger than others. I balance whether Charlie ending up in Oz or Garth turning into a werewolf is the weirder of the two. With Kevin out of the picture, I’m struggling to wonder, who’s next, or sadder, who’s left? I wasn’t a Garth fan either way; too many bad memories of watching “The Core” and remembering DJ’s character on that film. Eleven years later he still looks the same. This centric episode had tons of potential but left me feeling like a week was wasted on furthering the plot that upped the ante with Dean’s mark of Cain newly added to the mix.
I do find it passively amusing that Dean can mention something like meeting Cain and getting his mark and Sam acknowledging it like it was another day at the office. Those two just don’t get phased by much these days. Snickered at the Kane “wrestler” reference, though. A bit dated, but that’s hardly a gripe.
The gripe I do want to mention is the use of Ragnarok within the werewolf plot. That was a very awkward moment until it was explained that the old cult worshipped Fenris (Fenrir usually) the wolf who kills Odin during Ragnarok. The cult worshipped the wolf as a deity and conjured a path to wipe out humanity in its name, or rather, the name of Ragnarok. That’s the start of the awkwardness. If a group is going to worship a specific character, it’s unlikely they would choose the event they have the most relevance in to be their call. It’s like worshipping a demon but etching the word “Armageddon” on your chest. Ragnarok is a fantastic tale woven through a series of crazy images and plots that actually details the fate of Fenrir as well, something the episode neglected to mention. I remember reading up on the Wendigo when the show first started and being impressed by the way they handled the lore. Sometimes they’re on the mark, and other times, I think they tweak it enough to miss the mark in some storylines. I just didn’t feel the connection here with that history just thrown in for origin purposes.
And considering how much lore Dean has on all things historical, mythical, and supernatural, how could he not know what Ragnarok was? Even from his standpoint, the word and meaning is common knowledge. Fenrir is a small portion of Ragnarok’s tale so I’m actually a bit surprised that he found what he needed to so quickly.
I think I wanted to see Fenrir pop up and cause a big awesome CGI showdown, well outside of their budget restraints. They’ve pulled gods and mythical creatures in human form a hundred times. A small cult that has no earthly chance of accomplishing their worldly task seemed to be what brought this episode down in the notch of believability.
This was also another example of Sam and Dean choosing to let lesser creatures (hard imagining werewolves as lesser) live and let live considering Dean’s motis operandi of “shoot first and shoot again just to be sure.” Dean will always want to kill everything not human unless it’s benevolence is without question. I almost find those moments bittersweet when he tries to do the right thing and it ends up biting him in the face and he’s forced to kill yet again. It’s a small moment, but one can chalk it up to bigger fish to fry.
What was valuable in this episode was the last dialogue scene between Sam and Dean. Sam reaches these substantial moments and utterly calls Dean on out his excuses multiple times with this scene having the same, if not, better impact than I’ve seen before. Dean admits that a few wins will wipe away their petty arguments and Sam disagrees. Dean reminds them they’re family and Sam counters it with his distrust over what Dean does time and time again. All Dean wants to do is push forward and deal with the personal strife well after the bad guys have been dealt with; which in itself is a mechanism to push the problem away entirely. Even by accepting Sam’s terms that they’ll only “work” together but the family trust is off the table, Dean is under the belief that Sam will always “come around,” in the end. This seems more suited for a third party, Cas likely, to somehow mend the link between the Winchesters and set their paths straight. If Sam sticks to his guns, he’ll keep Dean at bay until something really awkward happens Sam is left making choices outside of Dean’s knowledge or influence. I’d be fine with that kind of switch.
Overall, I’m sold on the dissension the brothers continue to foster between each other. I wasn’t sold at all with the content of the episode. Nothing made me laugh, or empathize with the family, or believe in Garth’s good-nature. The one-off mystery angle didn’t work because there was no true impact. The bad werewolves had nothing going for them and were not convincing adversaries. When Garth started to change I’ll admit I was hoping for some visceral reactions, but in the end, Dean saved the day. Garth was robbed of his own heroic moment and it was his episode!
If Garth never came back, I wouldn’t be that much bothered by it. Supporting characters tend to be killed or written off that usually involves their deaths unless the fan support is off the charts. Not everyone can end up in Oz I suppose. Let’s get back on track and deal with Abaddon and this mark of Cain.
No more words