Our favorite nerdy hunter, Garth, is back in “Party On, Garth”, the newest installment of ‘Supernatural’ and he’s calling on the Winchesters to fight one of the more unique creatures seen in the ‘Supernatural’ universe. Got a drink handy? Well, you’ll need it if you want to catch a glimpse of the Shojo…
Things start off with a cheesy ghost story around a campfire when the climax is interrupted by Trevor, drunken brother of story teller Ray. A Star Trek red shirt, Trevor is not long for this world; he sees something the others don’t and runs into the woods screaming. His brother goes to check on him only to find Trevor’s eviscerated corpse posted up against a tree.
Cue: Bell, Biv, Devoe’s Poison! Yes, they went that far back as Garth steps out his bitchin ride (is that an El Camino!) ready to question two waitresses about Trevor McCann, the unfortunate red shirt. The waitresses mention the legend of Jenny Greentree and Garth pays a visit to Ms. Greentree’s grave and burns it with the confidence of a seasoned vet who knows his stuff. It’s unfortunate for Trevor’s brother, who’s drunk and hunting whatever it is that killed his brother, Garth’s supposition wasn’t accurate as brother gets strung up Predator-style.
Following up with last week’s episode, Dean checks in on Cas, getting info from the demon Meg who’s keeping an eye on our favorite angel of Thursday. After getting off the phone with Meg, Garth rings them up to call in the marker. He needs their help with the Junction City case. They meet up with Garth (in his Corporal James Brown guise) at the morgue. Dean scans the body for EMF signs and it lights up like a Christmas tree. Sam catches a break when he makes the connection between Thighslapper Ale, a micro brew run by the dad of the two victims. While Sam and Garth tackle the dad (and his partner, Randy) Dean talks with Marie, the victims’ sister who works at the brewery. She mentions Dale, a former partner that killed himself a few months back and whose wife is suing the brewery. While Randy fills Sam and Garth in on some of the things going on with the company, Sam notices a box with Japanese writing on the shelf in the background.
Something is definitely in the alcohol. Jim McCann’s younger daughter accidentally drinks the homemade screwdriver and sees the ghost, who kills the mother in front of her and Jim.
Doing a bit of research in Afternoon Delights, Garth’s hot tub motel, the gents are at a loss for where to go with things. They take a sample of Thighslapper, which Dean gives his stamp of approval. Garth can’t quite hold his alcohol and Sam fills the guys in on Dale’s part in things. They get interrupted by the CB that informs them of the latest victim of the McCann’s. Tess, the young girl, tells them about what she saw while Sam takes a visit to Dale’s widow. She tells Sam her husband sent an expensive bottle of sake as a gift to Jim and Randy, to show he’d forgiven them. Meanwhile Dean and Garth figure out this lil old ghost is one you need to be drunk to see. Their conversation drifts to Bobby and Garth asks Dean the same thing we’ve all been wondering—is Bobby’s ghost riding Dean’s tail by way of the old flask? Dean doesn’t want to think on it at the time (though it echoed his own thoughts earlier in the season) and the two hook back up with Sam at the brewery. The brothers search the office and find the sake as well as the hidden camera; they spy Trevor taking a swig four days prior and, after getting drunk themselves, see the monster Trevor let out of the box. Randy walks in on them and, before he gives a call to the cops, is tasered by Garth.
The brothers take the sake box to a Japanese restaurant where one of the workers translates what’s written on it; “what you took will be taken from you.” He also tells them it contains a Shojo, a Japanese alcohol spirit. Once harnessed and released, it will do what it’s commanded to do based on the instructions written, which, in this case is to kill the kids of his former partners. They find the answer to killing it though the conversation once again turns to Bobby. Sam tells Dean he tried contacting Bobby the day before to no avail. Sam leaves to keep an eye on Marie while Dean searches for a sword, leaving Garth with the awakening Randy and our inept hunter shows he’s got more smarts than one would give him credit for. He’s put the pieces together and realizes the janitor Randy demoted to the night shift the day before is in fact Randy’s illegitimate son. Using the cook from before, Dean has the samurai sword consecrated when Garth calls him with the information on Randy’s son. Despite being tossed through a window, Garth keeps the janitor awake long enough for reinforcements to arrive. With a drunken Sam’s help, Dean goes Jedi on the Shojo, killing it, though not without some invisible assistance who he still thinks is Bobby.
The brothers say goodbye to Garth who peels away in his el Camino, Poison blaring. Dean and Sam have a convo about the strange happenings since Bobby’s death, events Sam argues is nothing more than coincidence. Though Dean is not convinced, he allows Sam to win the argument. They walk out the hotel room, ready to hit the road and, visible for the first time is everyone’s favorite gruff dog, Bobby, in spirit form. For one fleeting moment when Dean goes back into the room to get the flask, it looks as if he can see Bobby but he only sees the flask. When Bobby swears at him, dropping his favorite word (‘idjit’ for those keeping score), Dean stops, only to shake his head at the probable chill at the nape of his neck.
Bobby is back! Though he may be in spectral form, Uncle B has found his way back into the Winchesters’ lives. Though Bobby’s cameo was indeed the highlight of the episode, it was not the only good part of “Party On, Garth”. In fact, this is one of the better filler episodes in recent ‘Supernatural’ memory. DJ Qualls is wonderful as Garth, displaying some great comedic timing while maintaining a semblance of competency. The main plot is a means to an end, a back drop for the interaction between Garth and the Winchesters as well as the final delivery vehicle for Bobby’s return. In that regard, the Shojo aspect did its job. And that’s two episodes in a row where beloved characters we thought gone for good return to brighten our ‘Supernatural’ night. You’ve got to wonder how Bobby and Cas will fit in to the final few episodes and the Winchesters fight with Big Dick and his Leviathan horde. I’m getting happy feet just thinking about it.
- DJ Qualls was admirable his first time around as the off-kilter Garth; he’s even better this time around. But he’s hapless no more, showing intuition and ability to connect the dots with the case. And how bad ass was it that they went back to the 90’s with his BBD theme?!
- A bit more on Garth; he fits right in with the Winchesters as a comedic little brother who doesn’t have the physical skills of Sam or Dean but brings his own bag of tricks. There chemistry his has onscreen with the stars is enough for me to want to see more of the slight slayer of the supernatural.
- While it was another monster of the week episode, the biggest issue is that we really didn’t get too much from the characters affected by the Shojo. I don’t expect to get their life story (the motivation of the Shojo was explained well) but a better emotional connection would be nice.
- After having an entire episode last week of our favorite angel, we only get a brief mention of Cas here. That’s fine, I guess, since we do have a couple more Cas appearances waiting at the season comes down the homestretch.
- A spirit you can only see when drunk? Where’s Jackie Chan’s drunken master when you need him? I shouldn’t be too surprised to see just how many myths Kripke, Gamble and company bring to the small screen.
- We had our guesses from the beginning but the ‘random’ events that have happened to Dean since Bobby’s death culminates with what we’ve been hoping for: Bobby’s return. I cannot wait to see where they go with it and just how long Bobby will stay with the Winchesters.