SPN 9.12: Sharp Teeth review
I’ve done all the household tasks I could think of to avoid writing this review. I’ve even considered not doing it at all, but I already screen-capped it. So, let’s get the surface stuff out of the way. “Sharp Teeth” is the second season eight episode written by Adam Glass, and like many of Glass’ MOTW episodes, it stars Hero Dean and his sidekick Constipated Sam in which Dean runs around killing monsters who have gotten the drop on his inept brother.
Seeing a John Doe on the police wire that Sam and Dean each recognized as Garth, they ended up in his hospital room where Sam noticed the mark of Cain on Dean’s arm and Dean surprisingly enough revealed what it was while Garth escaped through the bathroom window. The two agree to work the case together – after, surprise, Sam caught Dean in a lie (we knew that truth thing wouldn’t last) – and then go their separate ways. They found Garth at an apartment with a female werewolf who Garth married after becoming one himself.
Robbie Thompson was the writer who made werewolves all “gray area” like vampires, and Glass managed to get a little new werewolf mythology into the mix by making some of them live in packs and worship a Norse wolf god. Sam took all of it in stride as though he hasn’t considered that he unnecessarily put a bullet in his lover’s heart in season two. Maybe he’s forgotten or maybe he’s just numb. I mean, he didn’t seem particularly concerned that Dean had Cain’s mark either. He’s been through a lot.
To be honest, Sam and Dean’s behavior has become inexplicable to me half the time. Here we have Dean who let Kate go free in “Bitten,” went to bat for Benny, vouched for him repeatedly, and estranged Sam over his vamp friend, but he became Mr. Skeptical when Garth told him that his wife’s family was okay. “Love and a family – who cares where that comes from?” Garth says. Garth admitted that he had been skeptical too: “I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but when it didn’t, I had to accept the truth.”
Dean has gone back and forth on this issue way too many times for his disbelief to have a reason other than his “gut” as he told Sam about Amy back in “The Mentalists.” Of course, he was right about there being killer werewolves because Glass wrote this episode. Sam, however, got Dean to investigate further before going serial killer on the whole pack because that’s what Sam does, did – he even had to remind Dean that they weren’t in season one – “I’m just saying, it wouldn’t be the first time we came across a friendly monster.”
The themes of revenge and family are front and center in “Sharp Teeth.” Garth’s father-in-law, Reverend Jim revealed that his wife was killed by hunters but looking at his baby girl, Bess, he realized that revenge was the wrong path. “The road to revenge is a dark and lonely one, which you never get off. And that hole in the pit of your stomach, you never fill it – ever,” he told Dean who was just like, “Hey, no, I get it.” As it turns out, Garth’s stepmother-in law is out for revenge because her brother was killed by a hunter. It makes her revert to the old ways of worshipping Fenis the wolf god and vowing to rule over humans. So, the whole family thing is making my head hurt – maybe because we’re being beaten over the head with it. Reverend Jim was right not to follow the path of revenge because he and his daughter and Garth got to live, but his revenge-driven wife and both of her brothers got offed by Hero Dean – while Damsel Sam is tied up. Well, at least he wasn’t unconscious.
Later as Dean was leaving, Garth wanted to come along and hunt with him to help put things right for abandoning Kevin. Dean stopped him and indicated that revenge was the wrong path for Garth. “Who cares where happiness comes from,” Dean said, echoing Garth’s words from earlier. Dean won’t take his own advice here just as he didn’t take his own when he told Charlie to let go of her mother.
When Garth tried to take the blame for Kevin’s death, Dean said, “Kevin is on me.” Garth pointed out that there was plenty of blame to go around then. That reflects back on Dean giving Sam a hard time for bailing on Kevin while he was in purgatory. Garth didn’t intend it as a rebuke, but I hope that Dean heard it as one anyway.
Dean drove Sam back to the old Dodge Charger [correct me if I’m wrong] he’d been driving, but Dean couldn’t just let Sam drive away. Instead, he almost apologized. I think. He admitted that he was messed up the night he “split” as Sam put it: “Hell, maybe, I still am, I don’t know, but, uh, I know I took a piece of you in the process, and for that … Somebody changed the playbook, man, you know? It’s like what’s right is wrong, and what’s wrong is more wrong, and …I just know that when we road together …” Maybe Dean’s inability to finish a sentence is supposed to reflect the state of his thoughts. In this case, Sam finished for him: “We split the crappiness.” Dean agreed and Sam agreed – to what? I don’t know. They don’t finish their sentences anymore.
Dean: Yeah, so …
I assume they’ve just agreed to work together again.
Sam: But something’s broken here, Dean.
Dean: I’m not saying that it’s not., I just think we need to put a couple double-Us on the board, and we can get past all this.
Sam: I don’t think so. No, I, I wish, but … we don’t see things the same way anymore – our roles in this whole thing. Back in that church, talking me out of boarding up hell? Or, or tricking me into letting Gadreel possess me? I can’t trust you, not like I thought I could, not the way I should be able to.
Whoa, wait, what? Is Sam putting Dean talking him out of finishing the trials in the same category as tricking him into accepting Gadreel’s possession and then gaslighting him for months? Really? Look, I still don’t know how Dean went from agreeing to treat Sam as an adult and let him become Lucifer’s vessel and jump into the pit in “Swan Song,” to the over-vigilant, hyper-controlling character we’ve gotten recently. As early as “Scarecrow,” Dean was self-aware enough to see that he was treating Sam like a kid, and he was trying even then to let Sam make his own decisions. Nonetheless, Dean wasn’t being deceptive when he talked Sam out of completing the trials. He believed Sam would be okay. Whether it was the right or wrong thing to do isn’t the issue. He didn’t make Sam stop or lie to him. Sam in this scene is being as unreasonable as Dean was in blaming Sam for being soulless.
Dean: Okay, look, whatever happened, we are family, okay?
Sam: You say that like it’s some kind of cure-all, like it can change the fact that everything that has ever gone wrong between us has been because we’re family.
Dean: So what, we’re not family now?
Sam: I’m saying, you want to work? Let’s work. If you want to be brothers … Those are my terms.
I hardly know what to say here except that this dialogue sounds like a repudiation of “they chose family” of the first five seasons and what Sam and Dean meant to one another, and to be honest, I didn’t have the feeling that the actors were buying into it either. The whole scene lacked the emotional weight that we all know they can bring. I have to wonder if Jensen saw this script and called that meeting with Carver and the writers.
Whatever the case, the idea that they can just stop being brothers is ridiculous. That’s not how the heart or mind works – unless, of course, they don’t love each other, and I think the case can be made for that. Dean’s lack of respect for Sam’s boundaries doesn’t express love, and Sam? How do you put a gun in Dean’s mouth other than say “you’re not my brother”? They don’t seem to like each other and given their behavior over course of seasons eight and nine so far, they aren’t particularly likeable.
If Carver’s goal was to make me not care about these characters and their relationship, he’s doing a bang up job. Supernatural was built on the relationship between Sam and Dean and driven by the chemistry between the lead actors. Neither of those things are present anymore. Add to that that the show isn’t scary anymore in large part because there are no monster – everything is a “gray area” – and what’s left?
There were some really nice night shots of the Impala.