‘Supernatural’ Review: “Sharp Teeth”
‘Supernatural’ season 9 summons its 12th episode of the year in “Sharp Teeth,” as Sam and Dean find that Garth (DJ Qualls) has resurfaced among a reformed pack of werewolves, though his newfound happiness quickly proves less what it seems.
Last week’s ‘Supernatural’ premiere, “First Born,” saw Dean and Crowley finding the biblical Cain (‘Psych‘ star Timothy Omundson) in possession of a weapon that can kill Abaddon, while San and Castiel attempted a dangerous spell that can help track the angel Gadreel. So, what does the 12th season 9 episode bring? What strange and unexpected challenges will the Winchesters face next?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Supernatural’ season 9 episode 12, “Sharp Teeth”!
In Grandsburg, Wisconsin, a farmer chases after man who’d mutilated his cows, before the man reaches the highway and ends up hit by a car, revealing his identity: Garth! Sometime later, Sam arrives to the hospital to find Dean already in Garth’s room, anxious to wake him up to learn what happened. Garth finally wakes up, but retreats to the bathroom to vomit, leaving Sam and Dean to awkwardly catch up on the previous week. They soon realize, however, that Garth has fled through the bathroom window.
Sam investigates the farmer to learn the mutilated animals had their organs removed, as Dean finds from the hospital security cameras that Garth took off in a woman’s car. Sam and Dean follow the license plate back to the woman’s home, as Garth attempts to dissuade them from finding her, before the woman leaps out to attack. Sam slashes her arm, revealing her to be a werewolf, before Garth steps up to identify himself as one as well.
Garth introduces Sam and Dean to his wife Bess, who months earlier had stopped him from committing suicide after a botched hunt led to his being bitten. Bess’ family pack took Garth in, themselves consisting of several generations of wolf, though Dean remains wary of trusting Garth on the matter.
The next day, Dean reluctantly arrives to Bess’ father Reverend Jim’s congregation of wolves, who invite him to share a meal as they assure him they only eat animal hearts, keeping silver bullets around their necks as a sign of their fragility. Two intimidating members of the congregation named Russ and Joba make their presence known to Dean, before Dean informs Garth of Kevin Tran’s death, and the uncertainty they felt when Garth disappeared months earlier. Meanwhile, Sam consults with the town sheriff, who has nothing but positive things to say about Jim’s congregation.
Dean remains wary of Garth’s newfound love and family, before the sheriff calls Sam to investigate another dead animal by the roadside. Sam and Dean quickly find that the animal was killed by the sheriff himself, who attempts to get the upper hand on them, but quickly falls to Dean’s knife. Sam and Dean find one of Jim’s silver bullets around the man’s neck, with the word “Ragnarok” etched in, that of a Norse apocalypse.
Dean investigates the church, finding a book of Norse mythology belonging to a “Maw of Fenris” cult, while Sam searches for a missing Garth and Bess, only to be captured himself by Russ and Joba. Dean confronts Reverend Jim at the Church, though Jim insists the “Maw of Fenris” ideology has long been abandoned, before realizing that members of his congregation might have kept up belief. Meanwhile, Sam awakens in a barn, chained up alongside Garth and Bess, as Bess’ stepmother Joy reveals herself as the Maw’s leader, accepting her father’s beliefs over her husband’s.
Joy intends to bring about Ragnarok as revenge against mankind for a hunter killing her brother, pinning the murders of Garth and Bess on Sam, before Dean manages to intervene and kill Russ and Joba. Dean outdraws Joy as well, ending the conflict at the last moment. The next day, Garth admits to have screwed up again, while Dean insists that Kevin’s death falls on him, and Garth should remain with his newfound family if it works for him.
Dean returns Sam to his car and prepares to go his separate way, before admitting the guilt of Kevin’s death led him to push Sam away weeks earlier. Sam acknowledges that they work better as a team, though given Dean’s decisions with the gates of Hell and Gadreel, Sam feels he can no longer trust his brother’s judgment. Sam agrees to work together professionally, tabling their familial relationship in service of the hunt.
‘Supernatural’s more mythology-heavy hours have a tendency to follow-up with less serialized concept installments, though in the cast of earlier season episodes like “Dog Dean Afternoon,” the tonal shift can prove distractingly jarring. The long-running CW drama had certainly been on a roll in 2014 with the likes of “Road Trip” and “First Born,” while the promos certainly attempted to sell “Sharp Teeth” as a more comedic hour by virtue of D.J. Qualls and Garth alone, which doesn’t exactly prove the case.
It’s a bold move to turn a favorite Winchester ally of recent seasons into a monster, though there exists plenty of precedent (especially with werewolves) for sympathizing with the enemy. Sam rightly points out that they’ve encountered a number of seemingly friendly monsters in the past, without mentioning Dean’s friendship with the vampire Benny, so it certainly fits with an evolving tone for the series to give Garth a bit of leeway in exploring his newfound condition.
If anything, the tone of “Sharp Teeth” ends up a bit divided between focus on Garth’s new-found awakening, and a breezed-over plot involving Norse mythology and a separatist werewolf congregation. CW budgets only allow for so much ‘Supernatural’ frick-a-frack, to the point we wouldn’t necessarily have wanted to see Odin wearing a business suit, or Fenris reacting to its trainer just off-camera, though it might have helped amp up the episode’s threat if we spent more than 15 collective minutes dealing with the turn, and the conflict’s ultimate resolution. We suspect that Garth would have more fruitful contributions in future installments, hopefully returning a bit of that pre-werewolf weirdness we enjoyed so much previously, complete with a proper wolf-out.
Without Castiel or Crowley around this week, we of course get the requisite Winchester drama within the final minutes, though we appreciated small touches like Dean’s mark of Cain not piling another lie onto the pile. Better to have the brothers back together sooner rather than later, though we couldn’t help considering Sam’s words about Dean’s personal desires compromising their mission. The Dean of earlier seasons would have killed Garth and the other werewolves with far less hesitation, and perhaps foregone such risky ventures as keeping open the gates of Hell, or allowing an angel into Sam, so however weary Winchester strife may prove, we’re at least seeing its clearest emotional through-lines in some time.
Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of scary ‘Supernatural’ action? What did you think about “Sharp Teeth”? Give us your take in the comments, and join us again next Tuesday for an all-new recap of ‘Supernatural’ season 9 episode 13, “The Purge,” on The CW!