Supernatural 7.18 – Party On, Garth

The legend of Jenny Greentree. A campfire cautionary tale that’s fun for the entire family. Ray, the narrator of the urban legend, gets interrupted in his scary telling to tend his heavily inebriated younger brother, Trevor. Ray is not pleased with Trevor’s sloppy state, but is about to take care of the situation when his brother starts freaking out and bolts into the woods. Ray is annoyed and chases after him, only to find Trevor propped against a tree with his guts ripped out, white jacket fluff ripped everywhere.

It’s daytime, an old junker rolls up and the stereo blares Bel Biv Devoe; obviously Dean Winchester is not going to come spilling out the driver’s side, unless his whiskey habit has gotten much, much more serious. Alas, it’s not Turk, either, but rather the owner of the stroll is nearly as perfect: it’s our good friend and fellow hunter Garth Fitzgerald IV, demanding respect from the ladies. Well, the ladies are friends of the victim’s brother and respect comes in the form of a fake police badge, but the point stands. Garth questions the girls and gets the scoop on Jenny Greentree’s ghost, heads to the cemetery and torches her remains, and is done in time to call his lady friend and tell her to fire up the hot tub because her man’s job is d-o-n-e.

Or not.

Which makes sense because the episode has only been on for six and a half minutes.

Garth’s scanner picks up the call that Ray McAnn has met a similar fate as his brother, Trevor. Of course he has.

Meanwhile, Sam and Dean are riding along to somewhere from somewhere. Dean is getting an update from Meg, Castiel’s status hasn’t changed, he’s still staring off into the distance strumming his lips. Sam on the other hand is getting better. Getting better? Not insta-cured? Dean’s phone rings and there’s no time to dwell on that, Garth needs their help.

They meet up with Garth at the morgue, and the Winchester brothers are suited up as agents, per usual; Garth, on the other hand is in fatigues because his alias is Corporal James Brown. I like this kid, he’s got moxie. The trio finds out that the two victims were brothers. Dean scans the body for EMF; so did Garth, but it seems that Garth’s scanner is on the fritz because his didn’t beep, but Dean’s is definitely booping. Garth and Dean are working out their invisible werewolf theory, but Sam’s Google-fu has him down a different path. The brothers’ father is the owner of a microbrewery that makes a local favorite, Thighslapper Ale. Garth tells the boys he’ll suit up and meet back up with them there.

Turns out McAnn didn’t own the brewery alone; he’s co-owner with his BFF Baxter. Used to be a three stooges deal, but the third, Dale, recently committed suicide. Sam and Garth question McAnn about his sons’ lives, but McAnn can’t cope with the questions. Baxter manned up and took over in the clinch, since he was the boys’ godfather after all. Also turns out that Thighslapper was about to go from local to national. Move over PBR. Sam also spots an ornate, and completely out of place, box in the office. I’m thinking that may be something relevant at some point.

Later that night, McAnn goes to visit his daughter and granddaughter. His granddaughter is a little giggly because, well, her mom had made herself a Screwdriver and served the little girl some straight up o.j. but wasn’t exactly careful about which glass she put down next to her daughter. Awesome parenting. The girl took a nice big chug from her mommy’s glass and apparently has a very low alcohol tolerance for someone of brewery lineage, because she’s pretty bombed. Bombed enough to see her mommy get her belly busted out by Samara’s eviler twin. Oddly enough, McAnn didn’t see a thing.

Back at the motel room, the three hunters get their research hats on and get their party on. Well, Sam is researching, and he’s found out that Dale wasn’t just a partner, he was the man behind the hops, a genius among fermenters. Garth is busy fiddling with an EMF that is lighting up at nothing in particular and Dean is convinced that Thighslapper Ale cannot be as good as the critics claim and passes them around for tasting. And oh boy, is he ever wrong, because it is damn good beer. So good that Garth chugs his down in one go. He also has zero tolerance and gigglefits his way through the next few minutes of Sam’s exposition. They’re suddenly rudely interrupted by the police scanner once again alerting them to another McAnn death.

At the McAnn residence, Dean and Garth try to find clues. There’s no EMF, Garth figured that out because not only is his broken EMF reader quiet as a mouse, but he stole, ahem, borrowed Dean’s and that one is mute, too. Dean suspects the little girl saw something, but she’s not as impressed by Dean Winchester as all the other females over the years have been (give yourself 15 years, young one) and isn’t saying a word. Garth has a plan. His plan involves a sock puppet and a goofy voice. I don’t want to talk about it any further. Needless to say, it works, the girl cracks and confesses to getting accidentally smashed and to seeing a monster.

Sam is off investigating Dale’s life. His widow tells Sam that Dale traveled a lot to find the perfect ingredients, that the business meant the world to Dale, it was his baby and the other two sold it out from under him. She hates them, but she tries to be more like Dale; see Dale, even with all the betrayal, wanted to send his former partners a token of friendship: a bottle of sake in a gorgeous box from Japan that was so special he wouldn’t even allow her to touch it.

Dean and Garth are in the car piecing this all together. Dean adds it all up and it all spells happy hour, a monster you can only see when you’re sloshed. Ever prepared, Dean takes a pull from his flask. He also immediately downgrades Garth to pineapple-papaya-banana-kiwi Seagram’s. Garth’s cool with that; he’s a girl-drink drunk anyway. He is intrigued by the relic of a flask Dean totes around. Dean explains it was Bobby’s and that gives Garth the opening to mention the EMF meter was glowing brighter than a fishnet-clad leg lamp. Dean doesn’t want to hear it.

Sam and Dean team back to steal the box from the office at the brewery. Before they take it, they investigate it and find that the bottle inside has been opened. On the plus side, the office is under surveillance, and the Winchesters are handy lil hackers. Sam taps the feed and they scroll back through time, but see nothing. Dean’s on it though; he remembers you have to be tanked to see this thing. So they drink. And drink. Sam is pretty impressed that Dean can even get drunk anymore since whiskey is like water to him at this point. Honestly, Dean seems a tad shocked as well. I’m thinking he’s possibly chugging Everclear. Or paint thinner. Somewhere in the background, underneath the score of the episode, you can hear Dean’s liver gently weeping.

They are able to see the monster now, flickering around Trevor as he raids the office stash the night he got gutted. This is great intel, or it would be, except this is the exact moment Baxter comes in and finds them shnockered in his office on his computer.

Ooh. Busted.

And then Baxter just… goes down. Because Garth tazed him. That scrawny guy ain’t bad to have around.

Sam and Dean take this opportunity to grab some coffee and head to a conveniently located Japanese restaurant to have the writing on the box translated. Turns out it’s a box with an eye for an eye curse and the bottle inside is genie-in-a-bottle’ing a Shojo, an alcohol spirit. Isn’t “alcohol spirit” a redundant phrase?

Meanwhile, Garth has taken the liberty of hood ‘n’ tying Baxter in the hot tub, which keeps him nicely tucked away while the three of them figure out what’s what. Dean also takes this time to refill his flask, because it’s naturally empty. Are we surprised? The hunters find out that a Shojo can only be killed with a Shinto-blessed samurai sword and they work out the poetic justice of Dale’s curse, the brewery was his baby. They took his child, he takes theirs. Baxter didn’t have kids of his own, no matter how close he was to McAnn’s kids, so the only offspring left standing is Marie. Dean assigns Sam and Garth to their separate babysitting jobs while he gets geared up to go Pawn Stars in search of a samurai blade.

Before they break huddle, Garth fumbles the EMF meter he’s fiddling with and it Rudolphs right near the flask. Garth apologizes, Sam raises an eyebrow, Dean glares. Garth soldiers on and tells Sam his concerns, but Sam shuts it down; see he already oujia’ed that board way back when Dean’s beer drank itself, but nada.

With the brothers gone, Garth questions Baxter. Garth is an observant guy, and he noticed that Baxter, who has a reputation for being “The Axe Man” at the brewery, has oddly given a never-on-time janitor more chances than five other fired employees killing time at the unemployment office can count. Because he’s Baxter’s illegitimate son from his secretary. Bow-chicka-bow-bow. He’s also a target. Garth downs the nearest bottle of Boone’s Farm and heads to the brewery. He’s sauced, but he still remembers to call Dean and bring him up to speed. Dean calls Sam, who’s babysitting stint lead him to a bar of all places, and catches him up. Sam is in absolutely no condition to drive so he safely uses his fake badge to steal a cab ride from some nice people.

Back at the brewery, Sam and Garth can see the Shojo, while Dean  (who managed to procure a samurai sword and got the chef to bless it under a slow drizzle of Ozarka) and the illegitimate son can’t. This makes for some interesting fighting. Especially when the sword gets knocked out of Dean’s reach and scuttles right back into his hand all on its own. Sam uses some inebriated directionality to guide Dean to his target for a successful kill.

Dean is naturally unnerved by the Jedi knife trick and cautiously calls out for Bobby, but he gets no answer, no gust of wind, nothing. In the background, Sam watches from around the corner silently.

The boys say their good-byes to Garth and he rolls out in his El Camino, “Poison” bumping in his wake. Sam wants to talk it out, so Dean outlines every little ghostly niggle we’ve all seen since Bobby passed away. Sam handwaves it, people see things because they want to, not because there’s something to see, this is just wishful thinking on their parts. Dean accepts this, but he’s still a sentimental bastard and has to run back into the motel room for the flask before they leave.

Standing in the middle of the room is Bobby Singer. And Dean can’t see him and Dean can’t hear him. With a brief curse, Bobby flickers out of sight.

Okay, so, if you’re adverse to opinions, especially unpopular ones, stop reading. No really, just scroll down and comment or click away.

Anyone still here?

Deep breath, deep breath, here goes: I wasn’t in the least bit punk’d by the Supernatural cast and crew. Abominable Snowman movie? Never bought it for a second, Jim Beaver. I knew they were going to do this, I just kept hoping, hoping, hoping I was wrong. I wasn’t. And now I’m the person who knew her friends were planning a surprise party and isn’t a good enough actress to fake it when the lights come on and everyone jumps out giddily.

Not only that, but I’m disappointed that the writers are going there. I loved Bobby Singer, and his death was devastating for me, but I respected it. I respected the writers for it. His deathbed episode was important and it was poignant and it was perfectly painful. And now it just feels like less.

And where do they go from here? In the moment we saw his ghost the frustration was evident. Is this the road to evil spiritdom? One way or another, this isn’t going to end well for Bobby and his boys.

We shall see.

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  • Sue

    He also immediately downgrades Garth to pineapple-papaya-banana-kiwi Seagram’s. I love you. Also, I’m glad you’re the only one who knows that story existed.

    My favorite part of this episode? When the little girl chugs the Screwdriver and instead of seeming shocked or shuddering a “Bleah!” or “What was that??” she just emits a low-key, “Oops.” How many Screwdrivers has this kid been exposed to??? I realize Ma McAnn has lost 2 of her kids, but like, super recently — her daughter seems very familiar with Mama’s almost-clear glasses of Sunny D.

    We’ve discussed the Bobby sitch, but the bit with the sword was nice.

    Puh-puh-puh Poison! Never trust a big butt and a smile…

    • Well, y’know, vodka is flavorless. Also that kid’s a lush.

      I will buy you wine coolers in combinations Starburst only WISHES they’d come up with.

  • B

    I have to agree. The re-appearance of Mr.Singer cheapened a well-written/executed tribute. Who knows why the writers would go there. In fact, season 7 is all over the place. I wish Time for a Wedding never happened and feel embarrassed for the SPN cast. But who am I to judge. I’m still astounded by Ackles progression as an actor and love to watch Padalecki grow up- I’m too invested to quit now. Maybe it should have ended after Swan Song? Do you share the same opinion? Sorry, this is my 1st time reading your reviews. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought Mr. Fizzles was a demonstrative budget-cut.

    • I would erase Season 7, Time for a Wedding from existence if I could. Offensive and embarrassing for everyone.

      I know that I’m with SPN for the long haul, but them bringing Bobby back after such a perfect exit gave me a bitter moment.

  • Katy

    I am of two minds.

    I wanted to yell at Dean that of course Bobby was haunting/stalking him from the afterlife. Bobby just wasn’t the kind of person to leave well enough alone, even when dead.

    But on the other hand, I wish they hadn’t shown him on screen. I think I like the idea of a metaphorical Bobby rather than an actual Bobby. Actually seeing Bobby/Jim Beaver made my heart ache and wish that he hadn’t died. I’m not sure it cheapened his death, but it sure didn’t make it easier to deal with.

    • I agree, it was SO obvious that it had been Bobby all along and the fact that Sam and Dean are in denial is annoying to me. However, I love Bobby and I adore Jim Beaver, so there’s a tiny part of me that wishes I was happier about the reveal.

  • I know Jim Beaver will appear sooner or later but didn’t expect it during this ep. I love the eps & find Garth quite intriguing. I wonder about his back story. I don’t think that Bobby will be an angry ghost though he is already a grouchy human being.

  • C

    It was funny to watch as pretty much this whole episode was filmed in my neighbourhood. In fact, the restaurant where Sam was at the end is literally across a covered walkway from the brewery. And the motel end – a couple of weeks ago I was driving my daughter to school and when we saw all the trailers, I said to her “I wonder if they’re filming Supernatural.” I liked the ending; I was okay with Bobby’s ghost but I’m glad Dean was not able to see him (though they did have me sucked in!).

    • No way! That’s so neat! I love Vancouver, it’s one of my favorite cities!

      I agree, I’m glad Dean wasn’t able to see Bobby yet.

  • out_there

    Somewhere in the background, underneath the score of the episode, you can hear Dean’s liver gently weeping.

    Aha. I think that’s some background music we’ve been hearing for a while.

    When it comes to Bobby, you’re not the only one not surprised. SPN is so much fun, but nobody stays dead on this show. Nobody. It’s made something that started as a scary show weirdly safe.

    • It’s made something that started as a scary show weirdly safe.

      I completely agree! I was hoping they’d break that cycle with Bobby, but nope. It’s taken the emotional tug out of all the deaths.