Supernatural 8.06 – Southern Comfort

On a dark and quiet night a transistor radio plays softly while a man contently works under his car, wrench at the ready, geared up to adjust anything that needs adjusting to keep her running smoothly. Another person, clad in a classic plaid shirt and jeans, walks up and the man under the car is pleased to see them, because that means the other person can grab him a cold beer to reward him for all his fine mechanics. Except the person in plaid doesn’t want to, they’re in a cranky mood.

No, it’s not Sam and Dean. It’s an actual couple and the wife is pissed about someone named Sarah Alcott. So pissed that she kicks the support out from under the car and after it drops onto her screaming husband she gets in and drives off over him, splattering his viscera on the Missouri state flag.

Over at Fat Mack’s BBQ Shack our more recognizable person in plaid is bringing a bite to eat to Dean as he leans against his car, fiddling with his phone. I assume he got a new one post-haste since last week his screen was shattered to spider web levels. Must be nice to have that kind of cell insurance. Or, y’know, be that much of a fraudulent thief. Whichever.

Moving on…

Dean’s phone fiddling has turned up a possible case; Sam is irritatingly surprise considering 1) Fat Mack’s is quick service and he was only gone for a few minutes and 2) This is the first Dean’s spoken to his since he silently requested that Sam not surgically remove Benny’s head from his body. And Sam’s not shy about how cranky he is about Dean’s new bestest friend ever. He doesn’t get why Benny gets a pass and Amy didn’t. Point: Sam

Dean says people change, what Dean really means is “quit bringing up old shit, man”. Sam doesn’t believe that Benny’s off the juice, Dean tells Sam that it’s irrelevant; it Benny starts sipping from human livestock and another hunter hands him a pink slip, then so be it.

Dean also reminds Sam that all he did was learn to see past his speciesist tendencies, make friends and climb out of purgatory; whereas Sam turned off his phone for a year like an antisocial weirdo. Point: Dean

They drive off to their new case, but Sam still isn’t convinced it’s their kind of deal. Dean explains that Kevin is outsmarting them to an embarrassing degree, Sam’s grumpy and decapitation always has Dean’s name on it. Same day, same shit basically. Point: Dean

The boys bully their way onto the crime scene, windsor knots choking and FBI badges flashing. The local authorities are wondering why this is suddenly such a popular incident, because first they got a visit from a Texas Ranger, now the FBI. Texas Ranger? The brothers are intrigued, but it only takes them a second to realize that the man in the hat is none other than Garth. Garth is totally stoked to see the boys, hugs and huzzahs for all. The boys are less enthused and want to know exactly what Garth is doing there; unfortunately that sum up is interrupted by the totally krossed out ringing of Garth’s phone. One of Garth’s phones a peek into the inside of his sweetly fringed jacket shows. Garth answers the phone and rattles off advice on dealing with a revenant. Sam and Dean are taken aback; since when does Garth dole out how-to pamphlets? Sam wants to know if the hunting world has crowned Garth the new Bobby, Dean is appalled at the assumption; Garth, however, confirms that yes, yes that trucker hat was placed gently upon his head and the research and development throne is now his. Dean is still appalled. Garth lays it out with logic: Bobby died, Sam and Dean disappeared, and someone had to handle things with all the absence going around. Garth tells them that the priority is this case; they can discuss Dean’s issues and everything else later. Now Dean’s annoyed, he just got told what to do by Garth. Point: Garth

The boys suck it up and join Garth in figuring this one out. The victim and the suspect have a son, Scott Lew, but he’s not much help when it comes to providing information. They’re also not getting much in the way of spectral or demonic footprints, but as Garth is quick to point out there are a number of logical reasons why they may be coming up with nada. That is, until Garth steps in some funky, sticky green goo. Ectoplasm? Maybe, but Sam’s unsure since he’s clearly never seen Ghostbusters and thinks ectoplasm is always black. Garth gives the goo a lick and yup, its piquancy is distinctly ectoplasm. Point: Garth.

They’re interrupted once again by one of Garth’s phones; this one is serenading them with Kool Moe Dee. Dean is not impressed by Garth’s era and genre of ringtone choices and says he may lose it if he hears MC Hammer blare out of one of them. Garth’s phone call yields some interesting information though; turns out the victim had the name “Alcott” carved into his chest. They head off to question his wife, who is under psych eval, since she doesn’t remember road-killing her husband. She does vaguely recall certain sounds, like his screaming, certain smells, like the burnt rubber of the tires and certain feelings, like her overwhelming and irrational anger that quickly dissipated after the incident. The trio proceed to question her about “Alcott” and she tells them that Sarah Alcott was the chick her husband took to prom to make her jealous thirty years ago. Ghost of a love once scorned? Nah, Sarah Alcott is alive, kicking and probably thanking her lucky stars she married someone who wasn’t her senior prom date. Just sayin’.

The guys retire to a bar to get something to eat and figure things out. Garth, however, is curious about what they’ve been up to since they fell off the grid. Dean’s unwilling to discuss his time out camping with Joe Spivey, despite the look Sam is giving Dean daring him to tell them about Benny. Ever evasive, Dean changes the subject by inquiring about all the confederate flags draped around the bar, he’s wondering why nobody seems to have read past the middle of their history books here. Garth tells him that because of its geographic location, Missouri is a little testy about the whole Civil War thing, divided we fall and all that. Sam actually stops plowing through his salad long enough to ask how Garth became Knowledge Boy. Well, that’s easy, Garth went to college; not only that, he went on to dental school. Not like the commercials they show in the morning during Designing Women re-runs, no, Garth is, or was, an actual DMD. Nice. Sam and Dean don’t even attempt to hide their surprise. Short-lived career though, seems taking out the Tooth Fairy sours one’s desire to better the world through orthodontics.

Back in town, Scott Lew is headed to the hospital to take his mom some of her stuff, but first he decides to make a stop at the store. Unfortunately, he sees a guy walk in just before him that is more foe than friend, Jeff, but Jeff’s happy lil wave makes it seem like he doesn’t seem to know this. Scott is bummed and takes a hit of his asthma inhaler to steel himself as he goes into the store.

Scott swags into the store and starts pouring himself a cup of coffee. Jeff comes up and offers his condolences and any help he can provide. Scott throws the scalding coffee in Jeff’s face and tells Jeff that all he wants is his money, and then proceeds to beat Jeff to death with a shovel. Steroid ratio in the inhaler too high, maybe? Well, maybe not, the security camera catches Scott’s image flicker into that of a Civil War soldier. When the boys and Garth get there to investigate all they find is another puddle of green ectoplasm and the word “Sussex” written on a freezer case in blood. More importantly, Dean recognizes one of Bobby’s old caps on Garth’s head, but Dean doesn’t like the fact that Garth is wearing it with the bill kicked to the coast. Or the fact that Garth’s wearing it all, actually, and rips it off Garth’s head. Garth’s pretty pissed about that blatant act of rudeness.

Sam takes this opportunity to split the group up; he’s off to question Sarah Brown, nee Alcott and sends Garth and Dean off to research “Sussex”. Garth is cool with it, Dean remains annoyed.

Sam’s chat with Sarah Alcott gets him nothing really, other than a trigger to an Amelia memory. Empty bottle of whiskey, drained glasses and a post-coital couple with some really depressing pillow talk. Amelia’s husband was deployed to Afghanistan and was killed there. She couldn’t take the fact that people, y’know, cared about her loss, so she packed up and bailed.

The most important thing to take from this flashback is the fact that Sam continues to have sex with his t-shirt on. Did his tumble with Madison the weregirl ruin him? It ruins things for us, that’s for sure.

Back at the motel, Dean types away on the laptop while Garth pages through an old tome of Bobby’s. Garth casually reaches for a beer, but Dean denies him any hops because of his zero-tolerance level. Garth fondly calls Dean an “idjit” and Dean snaps at him about how, much like his misuse of “balls” earlier, Garth is using words that do not mean what he thinks they mean. Garth asks Dean if the bug up his ass is less about Bobby and Garth, but more about Sam. Garth tries to off some Bobby-like advice and Dean growls that Garth isn’t Bobby; he’ll never be Bobby. Garth’s got a gut check for Dean though, the Winchesters aren’t the only ones that lost Bobby, the entire hunter community lost him and Garth just trying to do his best with what the old lush taught him. Point: Garth

Dean kinda accepts this, in a non-apology way, of course. Garth dives back into Bobby’s book and finds a notation explaining that green ectoplasm equals a spectre, a ghost that holds a grudge and holds onto a host body to take out its grudgy feelings. At the same time, Dean figures out that “Sussex” was a business that Scott and Jeff owned, that Jeff bankrupted a year prior. Between that and the jealousy prom date of yesteryear, there’re grudges galore in the Lew family.

They trace the spectre to a grave desecration that occurred during the same timeframe, the grave of The Unknown Soldier… of Missouri, Confederate chapter. That night they break into the tomb to torch the soldier’s bones. Everything looks fairly untouched, except for the random piece of leather cording Sam finds, and Garth explains that the cops figure some kids broke in to party and just messed with it a bit, but nothing major. And with that, they take care of business.

But there’s still fifteen minutes left in the episode, so it’s possible they missed something.

Over in county lock-up, Deputy Doug is doing the Sheriff’s grunt work while Scott Lew marinates behind iron, having an asthma attack. Deputy Doug is nice enough to get Scott’s inhaler for him. Then promptly pumps a shotgun shell into the Sherriff’s chest to relieve his resentment over doing too much paperwork.

When Garth and the Winchesters show up to investigate they find streaks of green ecto and question whether or not they crispied the correct Confederate critter. Sam thinks maybe they did, but they missed a step somewhere. Oddly, even though he speculates that an object may have been taken from the grave, he doesn’t mention the leather cord. Instead, they question Deputy Doug and he tells them that after he shot the sheriff, he was tackled by his co-worker, Karl, who immediately grabbed his gun and calmly walked off stating he was going to the hospital. Deputy Doug is worried he may have injured Karl, the guys aren’t so sure. This time Dean splits the team up; he sends Sam and Garth back to the Unknown Soldier’s grave to recheck it and he’s off to the hospital to find Karl.

Garth extends the same offer of armchair doctoring to Sam that he did to Dean. Sam remembers back to when Amelia tried to blow him off after their night together because she thinks Sam pities her. If she only knew how laughable that is.

Dean catches up with Karl who was holding a grudge against a nurse that umpped at baseball game. Seems the ump nurse called Karl out and Karl disagreed then and continues to disagree now. He’s going to settle this with a bullet, because that’s totally eye-for-an-eye, except the shotgun is outta ammo. Dean rolls up, snatches the gun from Karl and tries to turn his lights out with the butt of the gun. He’s not successful. In fact Karl says the spectre is quite fond of Dean Winchester…

While Dean fights with Karl, Sam and Garth hit up the library. The librarian tells them the story of two brothers that fought on opposite sides of the Civil War with grand vehemence. Historical theory is that one of those brothers is the city’s unknown Confederate soldier. She shows them a picture of the man many think is buried in the tomb and Sam notices a penny on a string around his neck, the librarian tells him it was for good luck. Sam calls Dean to inform him, to warn him, but there’s no answer, so he and Garth rush back to the motel room.

Which is where they find Dean, gun in hand, green goop oozing from his ear, brotherly bone to pick. A spectre possessed Dean raises his gun and tells Sam that he should have looked for him while he was in purgatory. Point: Dean

This is where we see how this happened: idiot teenagers partying in a tomb, one rips the penny of the corpse of a soldier then uses said penny for mere currency (classy, bro). The penny goes from register to Mary Lew’s purse, which Scott Lew was taking it to her, Deputy Doug came upon it when he was stand-up enough to get Scott’s inhaler for him, Karl snagged it from Doug after their tussle, Karl pressed it purposefully into Dean’s palm.

Sam tries to reason with Dean, but Dean presents an angered argument detailing how Sam never wanted this life, always blamed Dean for dragging him back into it. Sam denies it all. Dean objects, claims Sam has done nothing but lie to him since the day Dean begged him away from Stanford. Dean starts listing Sam’s treachery during all the times Sam fell on black days and makes a decent case. Point: Possessed!Dean

While Dean rages on Sam takes the opportunity to try to disarm Dean and punches him in the jaw. Repeatedly. Dean gives as good as he takes. Better in fact. Dean kicks Sam to the floor and draws his gun. Garth stands in the way, sure that Dean won’t shoot him because Dean doesn’t blame Garth for any of his life’s injustices. Garth tries to talk some reason into Dean, Sam brings up Benny. Good job Sam, that was totally the right time for that. Dean says that Benny has been more of a brother to him than Sam ever was. Benny, unlike Sam and Castiel, has never let Dean down or left him alone. Point: …um… pass.

Dean’s about to pull the trigger, but Garth musters all his strength and clocks Dean in the face. Dean drops the penny and Garth, ignoring Sam’s protests, sees the penny and picks it up. It has not effect on him and he melts it into liquid copper.

Dean wonders why the penny didn’t use Garth to right a perceived wrong, but the thing is, Garth doesn’t hold any grudges. Ever. It all rolls off his back, life’s too short, yadda-yadda-crunchy-granola-yadda. Also, Garth thinks Dean is being an idjit by wearing his resentments on his sleeves. And then he hugs him. Point: Garth.
Dean gives Garth back Bobby’s cap. Point: Dean

Hammer Time rings from Garth’s jacket and he proceeds to climb into his car, consulting another hunter about ganking a Wendigo. Point: Garth

Our episode ends with Sam flashing back to Amelia, more booze and them working out that they do and don’t pity each other for each other’s loses. In the present time, Sam sets Dean straight on Amelia and on the fact that Dean kept secrets, while Sam has been honest since they reunited. Point: Sam

Points were not actually counted, because… well, laziness. Betting Garth won though.

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  • Katy

    I really do love the fact that Garth chewed Dean out about Bobby. He’s right that the Winchesters weren’t the only ones who were affected by Mr. Singer’s death. (We fangirls were too!!)

    I could stand to see more of Garth.

    • Me too! I really like that Garth made Dean realize that the entire hunting community suffered through Bobby’s loss.

  • tmateotb

    Yay! I’m so happy to read a light hearted approach to reviewing this episode. I think you may be the only person in all of fandom to do this. It was a heavy one but you have made me laugh about it, thanks!!

  • Chris

    It is somewhat telling that they don’t excuse the things they say to each other under the influence anymore. It happens so often, and there is so much sludge under that bridge that what they do argue about is just as painful as what they don’t argue about.

    No matter the tone that Garth uses, though, I will never get used to his versions of “Idgit” and “Balls”.

    This is the episode that made me actually accept Amelia as a character. Her actions/attitude didn’t make sense to me until she told her loss story to Sam. She’s grieving, angry, and hasn’t forgiven Don yet for what she sees as a betrayal. Their relationship may just be the healthiest thing for both of them, maybe teach them how to care about life, love, and everything again.

    Garth totally wins all the points. Hammer Time earned him eleventy billion. :)

    • I definitely agree that it’s interesting that they aren’t hand waving what’s said under influence away. Maturity? Maybe.

      My honest stance as of right now is that I don’t find myself connecting with Amelia. I want them to explore her character more (especially her drinking), but at this point I could take the character or leave her.

      All the points to Garth. He better pop up again.