Supernatural, Season 9, Episode 12: “Sharp Teeth”
Written by Adam Glass
Directed by John F. Showalter
Airs Tuesdays at 9pm (ET) on The CW
In the Winchesters’ line of work, not hearing from Hunters for long periods of time is not unexpected. Sam and Dean’s entire childhood is filled with stories of John going away for weeks on end, even when both brothers were fully trained Hunters. Thus, the disappearance of Garth, though disconcerting, did not raise any flags, particularly as the Winchesters had bigger problems in the form of Crowley and co. This week’s episode delves into the cause of Garth’s disappearance, in an entertaining outing that opens up some potential storylines for the show.
Having Garth turn into a werewolf is an intriguing exploration of the dangers inherent in a hunter’s life. It’s an inherent truth on the show that a Hunter’s life ends either with their death, or with them falling prey to, and becoming, a supernatural creature. While the show has briefly touched on this before, most notably with both Dean and Gordon spending time as vampires, it hasn’t really explored the idea until this week’s episode. It will be interesting to see if the show revisits Garth, and how others perceive him. Both hunters and creatures have valid reasons to distrust Garth, give his current state and his earlier vocation. However, Garth’s assertion that he’d be a strong asset for Hunters is also plausible, and coupled with his existing friendship with many Hunters, is bound to present an interesting dilemma for many of them, especially those who haven’t worked side-by-side with supernatural entities the way the Winchesters have. At the same time, being a creature himself is likely to give Garth pause when dealing with other monsters, as he might not want to end up angering or annoying creatures he’ll have to co-exist with. His sympathies may also lie with supernatural entities regardless of their guilt, all of which are factors that have the potential of making him a liability.
Learning more about the lives of werewolves is also an interesting aspect of this week. The idea of supremacy is a particularly fascinating one in how it highlights the similarities between Angels and werewolves. Unlike the Angels, however, the Fenris cult does not make any illusions about their ultimate objective of dominance. With the werewolf cult now exposed, it will be worth watching to see if other factions cross paths with the Winchesters, or even with Garth, and how the Hunters, as well as the non-cult werewolves, react to this. Another particularly fascinating possibility the legend of Ragnarok opens up is the idea that other creatures also have their own mythology and internal groups who preach dominance over co-existence with humans. It’s not unreasonable to imagine that shapeshifters, for example, who have been shown to boost their numbers previously by nefarious means, may also have a similar plan to take over. Whether or not this is the case, and what triggers the actions from the other creatures, has the potential to be a promising development in the show, and worth looking out for.
Overall, while not doing much to advance the season-long storylines, this is still an entertaining episode. It’s good to see Garth return again, and it’s true to the character that his turn to lycanthropy did not come with a radical change in personality. It’ll also be intriguing to see who takes over Bobby’s old position as the Law Enforcement and research helper to the Hunter community, now that Garth has left the role. The job is still an important one, and with Kevin gone as well, anyone who takes the job will have a steep learning curve. The story of the Fenris cult unfortunately feels somewhat underserved this week, as it’s a development that would rather have taken up an entire episode, rather than just part of it. Hopefully this isn’t the last the audience has seen of this storyline. The friction between the Winchesters, in the absence of Castiel or Crowley this week, also feels like a retread of prior seasons, as the point of contention between them is not necessarily a new one. While the potential to take the friction down a new path is present, if the writers do not intend to do so, the show would be better served by letting it go. How Sam reacts to the full extent of the mark of Cain, and what role Castiel plays in the proceedings now that Dean and Sam are working together, and the latter is healed, are both stories worth keeping an eye on as the season progresses.
– Deepayan Sengupta