After last week’s Supernatural when Sam discovered Dean was best buds with Benny the vampire, everyone knew things weren’t going to be to kosher in House Winchester. But just how testy would things get for everyone’s favorite brotherly duo? It depends on how you rate awkward silences, passive-aggressive interactions and a gun pointed at Sam, well, you have the gist of “Southern Comfort”.
Things start of quite auspiciously (what Supernatural doesn’t?) in Kearney, Missouri where a guy’s working on his car when his wife comes through, shouting about someone named Sarah Alcott before running him over. Dean gets a head’s up about the case and when he relays the info to Sam, the latter gets a bit peeved. Apparently, Dean’s been a little less than stellar in communication since the incident with Benny at the dock. For so long Sam’s been taking Dean’s crap, allowing his brother to get away with quite a bit of hypocrisy. Dean calls Benny his friend, at which Sam asks about Amy (killed by Dean in last season’s “The Girl Next Door”). When Sam calls him out on this, his only response is to remind Sam how he hung up his hunter hat for over a year while Dean was in Purgatory. Knowing things wouldn’t get resolved, the brothers make their way to Kearney. At the scene of the crime they run into Garth (last seen in “Party on, Garth”), who’s doing his own investigation. When he doles out some advice on one of his multiple cell phones, the brothers realize that a lot of things can change in a year. Garth has taken up the mantle as the new Bobby. It’s a rude awakening for Sam and Dean, an all to in their face reminder of how out of touch they’ve been with current events.
They talk to Scott, the son of the couple; he doesn’t have anything to add though the trio gets their first clue when Garth steps in an ectoplastic puddle which signifies some kind of vengeful spirit. After some digging, we find out that Sarah Alcott just happened to be Stu (the victim’s) date to prom; he and his wife (girlfriend at the time) had broken up so he took Sarah.
Taking a lunch break on the case, we get a bit more info about Garth. He talks about his first case—the tooth fairy, of all things—and it’s not something he likes to talk about. It’s pretty in line with Dean’s own reluctance to talk about his time in Purgatory.
It’s not long before we get another violent death when Scott, the son, goes into the store and beats his friend to death, but not before raging, “How about getting me my money back” first. When he glances up at the surveillance camera, we get an idea of just what’s going on as the rotting visage of a Civil War soldier peers out through Scott’s body. When Garth and the Winchesters get to the scene, ‘Sussex’ is written on the wall in blood. They take a look at the store video and Scott’s face is blotted out by a shining light. The boys split up with Sam going to talk to Sarah while Dean and Garth do a bit more research. Though Sam gets nothing from her, he flashes back to his first night sleeping with Amelia and her confiding in him.
During their research, Garth tries to connect with Dean, bringing up Bobby and Dean explodes on him. Garth has taken enough punishment and retorts “Bobby belonged to all of us, Dean. Not just you and Sam.” It’s a wake up call to Dean; he’s not the only one who life has dealt a crappy hand to and his self-centered actions have made him forget that. He tries to mend things with Garth and they discover the green goo belongs to a specter—a violent spirit that touches upon people’s baser feeling and heightens them to the point where one has no other desire but to act on them. What they’re looking for is a desecrated grave; they find the South’s version of the Unknown Soldier. When they find the body, they burn the bones, but it’s not enough as, not long afterwards, a deputy ends up killing the sheriff. They realize something must have been taken from the grave. When they talk to the deputy and he tells them the cop that tackled him, Will, just up and left for the hospital, Dean makes his way there.
Garth and Sam try to figure what could’ve been taken from the tomb. Sam has another flashback of Amelia; this time it’s her freaking out at their night together and how she opened up to him. Garth and Sam’s research comes through and they find out that unknown soldier was killed by his Union brother. Studying a picture of one of the brothers, Sam notices a Penny on a string, an item all the local boys were given as money to get home if stranded.
At the hospital, Will the cop tries to kill an ump that called him out years ago but Dean arrives in time to interfere and gets beaten down for his trouble. He calls out the specter and it really likes the rage inside Dean, making sure to transfer itself to him. When Sam and Garth arrive back at the hotel, Dean’s waiting for them, gun in hand, ectoplasm spilling from his ears. There is no denying the anger he still harbors towards Sam for leaving him high and dry in Purgatory. After a quick montage of the penny’s circuitous route to Dean, the elder Winchester blasts Sam for all his mistakes. When Sam admits to them, it’s not enough as they were not mistakes, rather choices. “I never once betrayed you,” Dean says and the anger is enough of a distraction for Sam to go on the offensive, one that is quickly snuffed out. Benny’s name comes up again and he hits Sam with the harshest criticism yet, saying how the vampire has been more of a brother than Sam has ever been. Garth uses this final retort to punch Dean, causing him to drop the penny. Garth picks it up with no ill effect and things go back to normal. Well, no, they really don’t.
Garth sees the wall building between Dean and Sam and suggests the two get their s**t together. Life’s too short to keep the animosity rolling and, sooner or later, if they don’t get it squashed, the wedge may get a bit too big to be removed without taking a pound or two of flesh with it.
After Sam has his final flashback with Amelia, one where he confronted her as she tried to run scared from their
connection, he takes the fight to Dean. He’s pissed, and rightfully so, about the ‘high horse’ Dean often tries to ride. Dean offers no defense on his behavior though when Sam remarks how he may be the one to snuff Benny’s lights out, the elder Winchester visibly stiffens. The pain, anger and mistrust between the two is at an all-time high and it may be quite awhile before they can get through it.
Though not the most interesting of plots, “Southern Comfort” offered two very positive outcomes. Garth’s return infused a bit of levity into an otherwise morose (in the best sense of the word) season. The brothers have been without help since Bobby’s death and Cas’s transformation/demise. Though he’s usually comic relief, Garth showcased that he can bring some serious bacon to the table and can hold his own. Then there’s the buried resentment Dean’s harbored towards Sam finally coming to light. But big brother’s not the only one feeling it and Sam rips into Dean for his self righteousness. While things are far from over between the two and the episode ends with a frosty vibe between the two, now that things are out in the open, signs point to a resolution occurring between the two…though when exactly is still up for debate.
Next Week: Dean is seeing visions of Cas. Is