‘Supernatural’ Review: “Southern Comfort”
‘Supernatural’ season 8 scares up its sixth episode of the season “Southern Comfort,” as Sam, Dean, and a returning Garth (DJ Qualls) investigate a series of mysterious vengeance murders in the deep south, while Sam and Dean wrestle with the secrets they'd been keeping from one another..
Last week’s ‘Supernatural’ episode “Blood Brother” saw Dean going off on his own to aid Benny (Ty Olsson) in his quest to find the vampires that made him, while Sam remembered more of his year off living in a motel with Amelia (Liane Balaban). So, what does the latest season 8 episode bring? Will the Winchesters finally be able to rid the world of Crowley’s demonic scum, once and for all?
Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘Supernatural’ season 8 episode 6, “Southern Comfort!”
In Kearney, Missouri, a man fixes his car from underneath when his wife shows up in a rage, screaming about a woman named Sarah Alcott, and then dropping the car on him. The man survives, but the woman gets in the driver’s seat and hits the gas, splattering his blood all over the garage!
Cut to the boys Winchester about to get lunch as Dean learns of the case, though Sam seems combative that they haven’t yet talked about Benny. Dean praises Benny as the reason he survived Purgatory, and dismisses Sam’s claims of hypocrisy with the idea that “people change.” Dean acknowledges that Benny could go rogue and wind up dead by another hunter, but Dean won't kill him if he can help it.
The boys show up to the scene, uncertain if it qualifies as a supernatural case, when who should they run into but Garth, masquerading as a Texas Ranger! Answering multiple phones for hunter advice, and proclaiming himself to be the new Bobby after the man’s death, Garth interviews the crazed woman’s son along with Sam and Dean. The son Scott doesn’t provide any clues, but unusually colored ectoplasm on the ground convinces the three they have a case on their hands.
Having gotten a tip about “Alcott” being scratched into the husband’s chest, the three pay a visit to the mother, who remembers very little other than an intense rage, but explains that Sarah Alcott was a woman her husband briefly left her for in high school. Later, Sam, Dean and Garth regroup over lunch, catching up on Dean’s Purgatory adventures, and observing their highly Confederate surroundings.
The murder victim’s son Scott pulls into a convenience store, observing an unpleasant friend waving to him, as he fumbles for some change and heads inside. Ectoplasm begins dripping out of his ear, as he fills with rage like his mother, and brutally attacks the former friend inside the convenience store. Looking in the mirror, his blood-stained face quickly flickers into that of a zombified confederate soldier!
The three hunters investigate the scene, baffled by the word “Sussex” written in blood and Garth’s continued usurpation of Bobby’s effects. The security tape shows an odd sort of distortion around Scott’s face, while Sam volunteers to question a still-living Sarah Alcott.
Sam visits with the woman, who can only illuminate that the crazed wife never quite got over her husband’s brief betrayal. Finding nothing else of value, Sam leaves, and briefly slips into a memory of his first night sleeping with Amelia, where she revealed that her husband died in Afghanistan, and she skipped town to avoid dealing with the pain.
Garth and Dean continue the research, until Dean snaps at Garth’s use of the word “idjit,” demanding he stop assuming Bobby’s mannerisms. Garth fires back that Bobby belonged to more people than just Sam and Dean, when Dean realizes that “Sussex” was a failed business venture between Scott and the man he killed. Garth too finds that Bobby had notes indicating green ectoplasm to be the sign of a specter, an avenging ghost that forces people to act out their revenge instincts, and arises from a desecrated grave-site.
As it happens, said desecrated grave-site actually belongs to the Confederate incarnation of the unknown soldier! The trio enter late at night, and while nothing much seems to have been disturbed or stolen, they burn the bones regardless. All seems well until the next day at the police station, when rifling through some of Scott’s personal effects causes Deputy Doug to become similarly possessed, and take out his Sheriff with a shotgun!
Sam, Dean and Garth observe the latest crime scene, theorizing that something might have been removed from the tomb after all that the specter has latched onto. When they hear that another deputy seems to be on his way to the hospital, Dean rushes to intercept him. On their way to do some more research, Sam flashes on another memory of Amelia, not wanting to get too attached after their night together.
Snapping out of it, Garth and Sam happen upon a photo of the supposed “unknown soldier,” as Sam realizes that a common Confederate penny worn around the soldiers’ neck was in fact removed from the tomb, and causes all who touch it to fly into a rage. Dean manages to stop the deputy from killing his intended hospital victim, but in the process gets touched with the cursed artifact, and absorbs its rage!
We see in flashback how the coin traveled from grave to person to person, as Sam finds his brother waiting for him in the hotel, dripping with ectoplasm, and brandishing a firearm with angry thoughts about the fact that Sam never looked for him during his year in Purgatory. Sam tries to talk his brother down, admitting their respective betrayals over the years, but Dean insists that he never once acted so coldly as to leave Sam to die. Dean touts Benny as more of a brother than Sam ever was, but thankfully Garth and Sam manage to wrestle Dean to the ground before he pulls the trigger.
The penny destroyed , Dean thanks Garth for all his help and finally accepts his role as a new Bobby, leaving the hunter to drive off once more. After another Sam flashback of reconciling with Amelia over their respective losses, Sam confesses the details of his time with Amelia to his brother, pointing out that Dean was the one to actually keep Benny a secret. Refusing to be chided over his retirement any more, Sam threatens that he might be the hunter to kill Benny, and Dean resigns to cross that bridge later.
"Southern Comfort" is naturally aided by the always-welcome DJ Qualls, though the episode seems a bit too busy to delve into many of its exposed threads. For one, Garth assuming the role of a new Bobby certainly makes sense, but is given mostly lip service for now, while the Confederate soldier villain isn't explored well enough either. Much of the episode falls to the conflict between Sam and Dean, which while well-handled, still feels disjointed with Sam's awkward, and uninteresting flashbacks.
Did you get your fill of spooky ‘Supernatural’ action? What did you think about the episode? Join us next week for an all-new episode recap of ‘Supernatural’ thriller “A Little Slice of Kevin” on The CW!