I actually quite liked this one. I wouldn't put it in the annals of great episodes, but I would put it WAY above last week's. I always adore Garth, I thought J2 did an AMAZING job handling the tension between the brothers throughout the episode, the direction was steady and careful. Little moments like Sam catching Dean lying about having info on the case and coolly snatching it out of his hand, Dean at the table with his cooked steak while everyone else eats raw entrails (and the good-Christian down-home family feel of it all), DJ Quall's amazing performance as Garth, all added to the pleasure of watching. Most of all, I felt like Glass managed to pull together and keep in focus a bunch of issues--the distance between the brothers, Dean's off-the-rails attitude these past few months, lingering feelings about Kevin--that have been all over the place and only haphazardly addressed in other episodes.
Again, if the MotW was being used as a metaphor for Sam and Dean (though all too often that falls by the wayside these days), then they're revisiting a question they've brought up before but never thoroughly addressed, which is, "What if the monster is a friend (or brother)? Can it be good? Do you kill it anyway?" If Dean is becoming a monster (or Sam, if we're really going end!verse--I still hold out hope for this, based on certain recent discussions
)--Dean, who was always the KILL IT! KILL IT NOW! guy--what then? Could get interesting.
Even if Sam and Dean's talk at the end was maddeningly vague (what exactly are these 'terms,' Sam?), I'm just happy they DID talk, the fact of something wrong between them was addressed frankly if carefully, Sam expressed himself and put his foot down a little, and HALLELUJAH, Sam finally called Dean on his "But we're family!" excuse for everything/cure-all/nerve tonic.
I seem to be the only person whose thoughts went this direction, but familiar-character Garth becoming a lovable monster who lives in a family of werewolves near Chicago, where the spin-off is supposed to take place, in which groups/families of hunters and monsters interact ... could it be that Garth will be a regular on the spin-off?? As far as I'm concerned, that would be pure awesomeness. (I think I did hear they intend to bring some more minor SPN characters over to the spin-off--Garth would be a great one for that.)
So anyway, yeah, I found it enjoyable and entertaining, even if the werewolf stuff seemed unnecessary and exposition-heavy. Which brings me to a curiosity: Why DO they seem to feel a need to "update" the lore on a monster pretty much every time it appears in a new episode? Regarding the episode, Adam Glass said on Twitter that after nine seasons, he felt it was "time" to introduce new werewolf mythology, and ... why? Because there have been SOOO many eps with the original werewolf mythology introduced in "Heart" that we're getting bored with it?? In fact, I think they've added something to the mythology (that may or may not fit in with what they've already presented) every single time we've seen werewolves, vampires, or shapeshifters (if only that the one in "Nightshifter" could shift much more quickly than the one they encountered before, which I took for a plotting convenience, but anyway ...). Hey, SPN writers, a) if the fans can write umpteen jillion fics about Sam and Dean encountering these classic monsters and still find something new to do with it, then you could, too, and b) fans LIKE knowing and being able to keep up with a (cohesive, consistent) mythology! We don't need a bunch of new crap thrown at us every single time we see a monster! In fact, if you relied on previously established mythology, you could spend less time on exposition. But I digress. On to more important matters, like ...
Was it just me, or is Dean looking extra amazing lately? Yeehaw! Maybe it's the extra-long stubble, mmm .... And the preview for next week!! Looks like they got my keep-Sam-in-one-layer memo!! YES.