Supernatural: The Heroes' Journey
January 23, 2020 6:47 PM - Season 15, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Sam and Dean hit the road to help an old friend, but it appears that their luck may have finally run out and they are the ones who may be in need of rescue.
posted by oh yeah! (14 comments total)
This was fun! A filler episode for sure- but I love that Garth gets a happy ending. And in watching it, I assumed one of them was a tap dancer that wanted to do it on camera - but I guess not!
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 8:14 PM on January 23, 2020

I must disagree about the filler idea. The whole, 'normal,' thing should really define how the rest of the season goes. They need to take the narrative from Chuck about how they are the heroes and make it about everyone who knows and learns the truth. Sam and Dean should not defeat Chuck. Everyone they have saved should be in on this and that means the world. Give us a bang folks. Let everyone get to give Chuck the middle finger.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 1:42 AM on January 24, 2020

It was cute and I didn't hate it, but it did give me some flashbacks to those X-Files "funny" episodes with the goofy music and lots of self-parody and mugging. It felt kind of Darin Morgan-y, and that's not always a good thing. I checked the clock and we spent like 20 minutes on Dean's dental treatment and Sam's pepper freak-out before the story really got started. It was long enough that I started to wonder if Garth and Bess were going to turn out to be shape-shifters or something, and this was all a trap. The whole sequence felt weird and stretched out, like there was some twist coming... but it never came. But it was OK and it seemed like they had fun making it. This is their final season, so I'm not going to begrudge them a little self-indulgence.

I kind of hope that the bad luck is Chuck messing with the bros and not that they've just been blessed all along. It takes something away from the show to think that they didn't really earn their victories and it was all just divine intervention. I tend to think that Chuck has cursed them, because now they suddenly can't take out one (admittedly jacked) vampire but we've seen other hunters kick plenty of monster ass. They may be "normal" now but it doesn't seem like they should just be normal, given all their experience.

Right now the big story for the season still seems to be that Chuck wants the Winchesters to kill each other, that's the only major jeopardy I'm remembering... and even that doesn't come from him hating them. I get the feeling that if they sat down and had a real heart-to-heart with Chuck they could talk him out of doing this stupid thing to them, and that's a long way from all the epic, looming apocalypses of previous seasons!

I hope they raise the stakes a bit soon, but I really can't predict where the season is going. I assume Lucifer will be on the board again, otherwise the show just strongly implied he was back and then they'll never pay it off. I also assume the bros will forge some alliance with Amara. But will Billie be an ally, or another problem? (Given that she's seemingly BFFs with the Shadow and she hates the Winchesters, I'm guessing she'll be a problem. But I dunno!) Crowley will probably come back somehow, and Charlie and Maya, even if it's only for an episode each. Jack will definitely be on the side of good, or at least believe that he is. But maybe Billie has been whispering in his ear, telling him that bad stuff is really good and vice-versa and he needs to blow up the world or something, and he'll be a dumb pup again and believe her. I can see this all ending with Chuck suffering a humiliating defeat, or I can see him making peace with the Winchesters somehow and going away to never bother them again.

I'm really surprised to learn Jensen Ackles isn't a trained dancer. He was so good that I figured he must have been on Broadway or something and he'd been bugging the producers to let him dance! As an actor, the guy really is pretty good at... everything?
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:13 AM on January 24, 2020 [2 favorites]

I guess this was supposed to be the big comedy episode of the season, but, it didn't work for me. I too was wondering if Garth and Bess were evil/imposters, so I couldn't actually relax and enjoy the tap dance scene while wondering if this was going to be Garth's death episode. And most of the jokes were based in Sam and Dean's physical suffering or gross-out humor, the kind of things that make me cringe rather than laugh. If this was supposed to be this season's 'French Mistake'/Trickster episode, I'm disappointed. Oh well, at least they didn't kill off Garth.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:20 AM on January 24, 2020

Yeah, I'm not really a "slapstick comedy" or "cringe humor" kind of guy, and so I also find myself thinking that the dentistry/cayenne pepper gags were running long.

it did give me some flashbacks to those X-Files "funny" episodes with the goofy music and lots of self-parody and mugging. It felt kind of Darin Morgan-y, and that's not always a good thing.

So, so much this. All it needed was a Jose Chung reference.

Also, while it's perfectly fine, and even sensible, to raise the questions, "Hey, would we actually be heroes if Chuck hadn't written us that way? Do we actually have any monster-killing skills, can we actually [pick locks, etc.]?" - and it conveys pretty well how fighting God is a different kind of conflict with a different being than they've ever fought before - at the same time, the final answer to those questions can't be "No, you wouldn't be heroes if you weren't written that way; no, you don't have any real skills or monster-killing ability," without completely undercutting all the previous seasons and being extremely narratively unsatisfying. And while I still have faith that the coming episodes will give us an answer other than that "No", this episode did not, and was completely willing to leave them as hapless chumps who are, if anything, less effective than a normal person would be in their situation. Which, like I said: narratively unsatisfying.

I did like Garth's handling of the monster-fighting ring though. It was nice to see some careful pragmatism actually paying off. And I'm really, really glad he didn't die.

‘Supernatural’s’ DJ Qualls on How His Experience Coming Out ‘Parallels’ Garth’s Journey

posted by mstokes650 at 8:11 AM on January 24, 2020

posted by numaner at 10:59 AM on January 24, 2020 [2 favorites]

I enjoyed the humorous bits, the season has been pretty grim so far. However, the "silly" music cues were a little bit much.

I'm also glad Garth got a happy ending. I hope more of their friends get the same.

Speaking of, where the hell is alt-Bobby?

And I agree that I hope this is really a curse and not them being "normal". Although it does explain some stuff in stories like these, like how the boys never seem to get sick or anything. I mean, all those cavities are not surprising with Dean's sweet tooth. The bit with the credit card also sounds fishy, but hey, Charlie is a "super hacker" so sure.

But yeah, I hope their past battles were actually them winning and not because of Chuck. That would be depressing.
posted by numaner at 12:02 PM on January 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

I liked the credit card thing because it actually explained how the bros have been paying the bills. It used to drive me nuts how Buffy would leave major real-world issues (like how anybody was paying the rent) totally unaddressed, and I like it when this show bothers to explain stuff like that. I'm not sure where Charlie's magic debit card was getting all that money from, but she was a genius hacker so I'll buy it.

It was weird how Sam kept snotting into his sleeve like he'd never even heard of a Kleenex. Maybe that was supposed to be a commentary on how ill-prepared he was for a common cold, but it was still weird and gross and seemed out of character for him. He's a bit of a fussy fellow and certainly not a sleeve-snotter!

Sweet Jesus, Dean was bleeding a LOT after he got his fillings. 17 cavities is a whole lot, but you really shouldn't be gushing blood after fillings. He sure seemed to get over it fast, too. It was a bit of Roger Rabbit plot logic: I'm only gushing blood, spaced out and unable to speak when it's funny.

Dean hugging Garth and telling him he smelled good seemed like a minor breakthrough for the character. It seems like they're trying to do little things like that to suggest he's come a long way from his man-squeamish, homophobia-adjacent behavior in the early seasons, and I'm there for it.

That DJ Qualls article was really sweet.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:34 PM on January 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

This felt like a fever dream of half-baked stuff they wanted to do but never quite had an episode to put it in. But I dig that Sam and Dean's Plan A for coping with their frightening new plot-armorless reality is just do everything exactly the same, but bring a grenade launcher.

I have, and I swear this is true, had the thought over the years that Supernatural has pulled some genuine nonsense, but at least they never sprung a Cagefight Episode on me. This felt like a truly odd time to brush right up against that trope, in the most Supernatural way imaginable ("SHIRTS OFF"), but I'm willing to concede this was no more than 30% a Cagefight Episode, and that that is somehow SO MUCH stranger than the traditional 437% Cagefight Episode.

P.S., I know these are people who've had their lives ruined by a house fire more than once, and I know that it's a plot contrivance that I'm not supposed to notice or think about on its own or relative to the premise of the episode. But I'm shocked that there's a working smoke detector anywhere in that bunker.
posted by jameaterblues at 8:36 PM on January 25, 2020

Brought Down To Normal was actually a cool idea here. Sam and Dean have been fictional heroes for years. Nobody really wants to think about the boys paying the rent or going to the dentist (and oh god, could not watch that or Dean's bathroom trip) and when you don't have to worry about "the little things" of life, it frees you up to think about the latest apocalypse. That's why real people can't be superheroes, we have to worry about paying the rent and paper cuts. Chuck taking away that plot immunity? Making them have to pick locks like normal mortals? Dean can't eat like a human garbage disposal any more? No fun! You can't quite fight all the bad guys without that little bit of plot immunity going for you.

So, between that reality and Garth's stepping up to be a hero (does he have their immunity now?), good job, show!
Also, GO GARTH. That was amazing. Good job, hero. And he didn't die!
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:45 PM on January 27, 2020

What a difference a couple of years makes; Sam being sick with a respiratory infection... goes and visits a friend with a bunch of little kids.

Garth getting his story tied off well feels good.

Likewise, this last season mostly gets closing out 'Supernatural' well and acknowledges all the meta (and the uneven power leveling/ creep and resets) and has some fun with it.
posted by porpoise at 7:17 PM on January 28, 2022


Dean: (to the Kwik Trip cashier) Hey, Teddy.
Teddy: Hey.
Dean: What’s new?
Teddy: Uh, my psoriasis is back.
Dean: Oh.

Garth: [hugs Dean]
Dean: Still a hugger, eh?
Garth:  You know it! You smell so good!
Dean: ....and we're done.

Dean: Garth, you're not a dentist.
Garth: Oh, yes, I am. I, uh, was getting my degree when the whole hunter thing happened, and I, you know...
Dean: Killed the Tooth Fairy.
Garth: She had it coming.

Sam: You keep all your friends in a cage?
Cutty: Only the ones I really like.

Dean: You know, I always thought I could be a good dancer if I wanted to be.
Sam: Well, you were awesome at the macarena.


The title refers to the convention of certain myths that start with an ordinary individual who is confronted by unexpected or extraordinary circumstances and is transformed in the process in his attempt to resolve the issue.

The convenience store at the beginning of the episode is called "Berens' Kwik Trip". Robert Berens is one of the show's executive producers.

This is the first episode to feature the grenade launcher since season 12.

Garth says to Sam and Dean that if they're the heroes, that must make him a "special guest star". DJ Qualls, who plays Garth, is billed as a special guest star in this episode.

Stories mentioned by Garth: Batman (your parents get gunned down in an alleyway), Superman (your home planet gets blown up), and 50 Shades of Grey (you interview this good-looking rich guy, and it doesn't go well, so he shows up at the hardware store where you work).

The Monsters Arena is at a warehouse of Peach Street. Jared Padalecki played Dean Forester on Gilmore Girls, in which he lived in Stars Hollow's Peach Street.

When Sam tells Dean, "We're just having a bad day," and Dean replies, "This is more than just a no good very bad day," he's likely referencing the very popular children's book by Judith Viorst, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Neither Jensen Ackles nor DJ Qualls had any dance experience prior to learning the choreography for the tap-dancing dream sequence they performed.

The photographs used as advertisement for Sam and Dean's cage match are their mugshots from the second season episode "Folsom Prison Blues".

The song that plays as Sam and Dean walk away from Garth at the end of the episode is "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon.

This episode marks the first time in the series that the Impala has broken down.

Dean says to Garth, "You've got more kids?" and Garth says, "Got a coupla pups." Because he's a werewolf, his kids are technically pups.

Garth "wolfs out" when he rescues the boys. But, unless it's a full moon, he shouldn't be able to do so at will because he's not a full blood.
posted by orange swan at 5:17 PM on May 8, 2022

Fun episode. We haven't seen a jokey episode in a bit, so it was a nice change of pace. And a nitrous oxide dream is as good a reason as any to put Jensen Ackles in a white dinner jacket and straw boater and have him tap dance.

I don't know why Sam's being ordinary would lead him to pick up a pot of boiling rotini with his bare hands. It's not like that's what ordinary people do.

Dean was so crestfallen when the second Fitzgerald twin was named after Castiel instead of him.

It was a lot of fun watching Garth casually blow up an entire cage fight venue of monsters, but I would have thought he'd have better taste than to be into 50 Shades.
posted by orange swan at 5:25 PM on May 8, 2022

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