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After the stellar “Blood Brothers” last week, “Southern Comfort” looked primed to kill the season’s momentum with another monster-of-the-week episode. Then came a saving grace dressed in a cowboy hat and a leather jacket complete with arm fringe – Garth! Our favorite flyweight returned for another memorable outing and completely salvaged an episode about an avenging ghost called a spectre that was making people take revenge on those who’d slighted them. We’re accustomed to seeing Garth as a cross between Dr. Phil and a Zen master, but this episode show the newest side of his personality: he’s the new Bobby! Much to Dean’s disdain, Garth assumed Bobby’s role of helping hunters in need after Bobby died and the brothers went MIA. I initially shared Dean’s indignation at Garth becoming the new Bobby, but then Garth sold me when he said, “Bobby belonged to all of us, not just you and Sam.” What a wonderful reminder of Bobby’s far-reaching impact within the fraternity of hunters, and cheers to Garth taking up his mantle.
Remember last week?
The writers wasted no time in having the brothers address the Benny situation. We learned that Dean had been giving Sam the silent treatment (in typical older brother fashion, I might add). When they finally talked about Benny, their conversation was both logical and emotional. Sam brought up a relevant precedent in the “hunters having monster friends” department when he reminded us that Dean killed Amy, Sam’s friend from last season. Dean counters with a more recent example of when they let Kate – the newly turned werewolf from “Bitten” – go free. Dean tries to sell the whole “maybe I’ve changed” angle regarding the killing of monster friends, but we know this is an emotional decision, and Sam eventually gets it out of Dean that Benny is his friend. Deep down, Dean probably knows the situation will one day blow up in his face. When that day comes, Sam tells Dean that he might be the hunter who comes along and puts Benny down. Sam’s anger at Dean’s “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” response was telling; there’s a storm brewing between the brothers, and Benny’s at the center of it.
That escalated quickly!
Speaking of the previous episode, we last saw Amelia opening up to Sam ever so slightly. That was after a prior flashback where she freaked out that Sam was in her motel room fixing her sink. I know that romantic storylines move faster on TV, and it’s implied that drinking was involved, but I did not expect our next flashback to show us Sam and Amelia post-coitus! It’s slightly weird seeing Sam with a new love interest since he hasn’t had a steady one since Jess unless you count Ruby, which I don’t since Sam was basically a drug addict when he was with her. I like the actress playing Amelia and she seems like an interesting girl that Sam would find attractive. As weird as it sounds, Sam settling down just doesn’t work for me like it once did.
In the first season, we saw a version of Sam who longed for a normal life, and a version of Dean who was perfectly content killing monsters. Along the way that flipped, and it became Dean’s desire to settle down and retire from hunting. Sam seemed locked into the hunting lifestyle after the demon blood and soulless Sam storylines, and the intended ending of the series backs that up – Sam locked in Lucifer’s cage, Dean domesticated. I want to accept that we’re seeing a return to Season 1 Sam. It’s just proving difficult to let go of the Sam we’ve seen for several seasons now. Anyone else having a hard time buying into Sam’s desire to hang it up?
This round goes to Dean.
Admit it: you love when Sam and Dean fight each other. We’ve seen some doozies on Supernatural when the brothers throw down in fisticuffs. “Southern Comfort” gave us a spectre-possessed Dean and all the buckets of rage he’d built up toward Sam. Before and after tossing each other around, Dean spews some venom at his brother – how Sam should’ve looked for him, how Benny was more of a brother than Sam had ever been and how Dean is angry that Sam retired from hunting. However, the whopper was the deep-rooted betrayal that Dean felt toward Sam. Bringing up more great references to seasons gone by, Dean recounts how Sam drank demon blood and schemed with Ruby, lost his soul and didn’t tell Dean, and worked with Samuel for a year; in essence, Sam had a long list of grievances that chipped away Dean’s trust in his brother.
Looking ahead, I can’t envision a future where the brothers can act like normal siblings once they’re done hunting. Sitting around, drinking beer and watching football are not activities I see Sam and Dean enjoying later in life. There’s too much history and too much horror for the brothers to ever have a normal relationship. They’re essentially soldiers fighting an unending war, so assuming they ever do retire from hunting, all the crap they’ve seen and all the lies and secrecy that have piled up during life on the road will cripple their relationship. It’s a bleak outlook, for sure. Given the way the brothers have swept things under rug, though, it seems like the inevitable outcome to me.
Lines of the week
“Ever burn a Confederate soldier’s bones in a town full of rednecks? Sure!” – Sam
“Sure. We won.” – Dean
Next week on Supernatural
Castiel’s homeless beard wins No-Shave November.