This episode brought to you by the letter “c”, as in “co-dependent”, “cults”, and “courteous”. These words are all relevant, promise.
The Winchesters have been separated since “Road Trip”, and their lives have been even more eventful apart. Dean met Cain and now has his mark (think “Death Eater” but without the accents), Sam was maybe/probably/kind of sexually assaulted by one angel and saved by another’s questionable methods. Even Dean knows how wrong his explanation sounds. But now they are forced together again by the sudden reappearance of everyone’s favorite surrogate Bobby, Garth (idjits!).
Garth has been missing for months and turns up, unconscious, in a hospital in Wisconsin. In the same town as some strange cattle mutilations. Garth wakes up and is surprised to see the Winchesters, naturally, but he’s still adorable and huggable even when he runs to the restroom to throw up. A few minutes later the sounds in the bathroom quiet, and the boys realize Garth has given them the slip. They track him to his rundown apartment and demand an explanation. Everything Garth says is magical. I agree that Sam and Dean's jawlines are intimidating, and that’s why he bolted. Also because his wife is a werewolf and she is (quite heavy-handedly) hiding in the closet (the writers are very good at subtext, you guys).
Garth explains that he was bitten by a werewolf while working a case, and his wife, Bessa, took him in afterwards. Unlike Garth, Bessa is a second-generation werewolf. Dean kind of struggles with this because he is
often a dick (Kaylee/Amy Pond #neverforget). These werewolves are good ones, though, and they only eat cattle organs instead of human ones (hence all the cattle mutilations). Again Dean struggles, this time with the “good” monster concept (again, #neverforget).
The boys aren’t really satisfied with Garth’s explanation, so he invites them to meet Bessa’s family… who are also all werewolves (picture Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner but with more of a speciesist vibe), and in a cult thingy, run by Bessa’s dad. Dean introduces himself to the family while Sam works with local law enforcement. I’m kind of shocked that none of them have heard of the Winchesters. I was fairly certain that every supernatural creature knew exactly who the Winchesters were. They started the apocalypse for crying out loud. Oh well, at least the werewolves (they prefer “lycanthrope”) are courteous enough to serve Dean pie while they dig into plates of raw organs. Dean loves pie. He does not like being threatened by Bessa’s werewolf cousins. Garth remains convinced that these werewolves are different, and he clings to the family he has found. The bottom should drop out on this right after the next commercial break.
Not only is this family in a cult, but they have cult-specific jewelry (again, something Dean would know nothing about). Around their necks each wears a silver bullet as a reminder of their mortality. This little tidbit is important later, when Sam and Dean are called to the outskirts of town by the sheriff. Another cow has been mutilated, and while the boys are examining the carcass the sheriff transforms into a werewolf. Remind me never to move to Wisconsin, everyone is a werewolf. (But they’re so nice! And cheese!) The boys defeat him easily (they’re the freaking Winchesters) and find that he, too, has a silver bullet necklace. His, however, has the word “ragnarok” inscribed on it. Looks like Dean’s instincts weren’t that far off – there’s trouble in River City.
Sam searches for Garth, possibly for an explanation and to give him a warning, while Dean looks for clues at the werewolf church. Dean finds an old and incredibly well-preserved tome written in Old Norse that includes the word “ragnarok” at the bottom of one page. It must be a clue! He then proceeds to fake-google ragnarok because he can’t read Old Norse. You could have just done that in the first place, Deany boy. Sam listens patiently to the explanation about how ragnarok is a religious thing for these werewolves, an end of days type of thing, when he probably could have told Dean that himself. Sam is the brains of the operation after all.
Naturally, Sam and Dean are both caught by the werewolves. Bessa’s father catches Dean at the church, but declares his peaceful intentions. Bessa’s stepmother catches Sam, Bessa, and Garth, and is decidedly less pacifistic. Her brother, who was also a werewolf, was killed by a hunter the previous year. While she had tried to go along with her husband’s message of co-existence, her grief drives her to take up the hope of ragnarok once more. She plans to make it look like Sam killed Bessa and Garth, hoping to drive her husband to revenge killing (it’s how Bessa’s birth mom died). I almost sympathize with the stepmother – her grief is genuine, and if she’s not eating humans I say live and let live. (Note: Murder = okay, cannibalism = not okay.) (Well obviously I mean without the murder she would be fine.)
She didn’t bank on the Winchesters being really really really good at hunting. They foil her plan and kill her, naturally escaping relatively unharmed. Garth offers to go hunting with Dean, all eagerness and sunshine, but Dean tells him that finding a family like Bessa and her father (no matter how strange) is worth staying for. There are mentions of Kevin, and how Dean let him down, and I legitimately cried because #AdvancedPlacementInOurHearts.
The feels keep on coming as the boys have a serious talk with their classic cars in the background. Something about how this scene was filmed just felt classically CW – whether it was the camera angles or the dialogue, it was just hokey. Sam basically says that he can’t really forget how Dean let him be possessed by an angel, and that Dean’s argument of doing the best he can to protect Sam is wearing thin. Remember how Loki said all the way back in season five that these two need to stop trying to save each other? Yeah, they should have listened to Loki. And Chuck. And Bobby.
Next week: The Winchesters do jobs to which they are not suited! Jared Padalecki in shorts!