The Winchesters have a no good, very bad day now that they’re “normal.” Hopefully, their old friend can keep them out of trouble.
On Supernatural Season 15 Episode 10, Sam and Dean are dealing with a string of bad luck since upsetting Chuck. In the midst of their bad day, they get a call from Garth for help investigating a supernatural fight ring.
Sam, Dean, and the No Good, Very Bad Day
Right from the start, this episode established itself as a fun filler looking to join the Supernatural classics like “Bad Day at Black Rock” or “Yellow Fever.” In a matter of minutes, Sam manages to burn dinner, his hands, and then trip up the stairs. While Dean is out shopping, his card gets declined, he nearly gets hit by a pedestrian on the street, and he gets a parking ticket. Sam’s sure that it’s just a bad day, but Dean isn’t easily convinced. He’s sure that Chuck must have cursed them after their confrontation in the previous episode.
Their discussion is interrupted by a phone call from Garth, a hunting buddy we haven’t seen since last season. They agree to help him on a mysterious case—but their bad luck follows them from the bunker. Dean is experiencing weird pains in his mouth from cavities, and Sam is coming down with a cold. To top it off, the Impala breaks down a few miles before they can reach their destination.
This behavior follows them through the rest of the episode—everything from Sam crying for several minutes after drinking cayenne pepper to Dean vomiting after eating seven grilled cheese sandwiches. And I wish I could say that it was as funny as it wanted to be. Mostly, the scenes felt campy and a little over done. Perhaps it’s because Supernatural has already had a “bad luck” episode back in Season 2. Unfortunately, none of the boys’ antics got much more than a chuckle from me this week.
Even if you haven’t seen Supernatural Season 15 Episode 10, you’ve probably heard about this week’s standout scene. Garth, now a licensed, practicing dentist, agrees to help Dean with his cavities. Since Dean has literally never been to a dentist, he has quite a few of them. Garth “puts him under” with some nitrous gas to ease the pain, and in a drug-induced state, Dean has some funny dreams.
For the next two or three minutes, Supernatural fans were finally treated to their musical number. Many have been itching for a musical episode for years now. It seems to be one of the only TV tropes the show has yet to do. And while the characters might not have been singing about their problems, there was a whole lot of dancing. Together, Dean and Garth perform an old-school tap number, complete with canes and flat top hats.
For what it’s worth, the scene was incredible to watch. Not only because it was incredibly well-choreographed, but because it was clearly the actors. As a longtime fan, knowing that Jensen Ackles had to practice and practice to perform a tap solo on top of the bunker’s map table is a delight. But fun as the scene was, it didn’t feel grounded in the episode. More than once, I found my mind drifting to the same question—is this really what I’m watching in the final season of this epic, fifteen-year-old show?
Perhaps it was just because the scene was poorly justified. As someone who’s spent a good portion of her life in a dentist’s chair, I can tell you that laughing gas has never given me hallucinations of musical numbers. I might’ve preferred if the scene was a monster-induced vision, rather than a quirky scene plopped into the middle of an already overly quirky episode. Nonetheless, credit has to be paid to the cast, choreographers and crew that brought it to life. It didn’t make much sense, but it was fun to watch.
Garth the Hero
Like most episodes he appears in, the best part of this week was Garth. Even though he’s a “side character” in the Winchesters’ story, Garth easily has one of the most interesting paths. He went from dental student to hunter, from hunter to werewolf, and now returns as a werewolf, dentist and father. As far as supporting characters go, you can’t ask for a better arc than Garth’s. His relentless positivity and deep insight always ground the episodes that he appears in. And this week desperately needed to be grounded.
When Garth observes the Winchesters’ bad luck, he agrees with Dean that there’s something more going on. If they’ve pissed off God, it looks like they’ve been demoted from main character to side character status. They’re normal, which is why life suddenly sucks so much. The boys are worried that Garth will be offended by his status as a supporting character. Instead, Garth is overjoyed. “No, I wanna be a side character,” he assures them. “Being the hero sucks!”
Garth goes on to deliver a super-fan worthy analysis of the hero’s journey. Sure, Sam and Dean haven’t had to deal with things like colds and cavities, but their problems have been a lot worse. They’ve lost their friends and family over and over again. They’ve gone up against the biggest and baddest monsters, been tortured and killed repeatedly. They’ve been beaten down into routinely believing that they don’t get or deserve a happy ending. That’s a far worse punishment than having to go to the doctor routinely or tripping over air.
In the end, it’s not the Winchesters who save the day, but Garth. He saves his friends, burns down the fight club, and takes out the last monster standing all on his own. Dean assures him that he’s his own hero, to which Garth replies, “I learned from the best.” It was a really sweet ending to a very odd episode.
Where Does This Leave Free Will?
The big question Supernatural Season 15 Episode 10 asks is, “What does it mean to be a hero?” Can anyone do it, or do you need to have God on your side? Are Sam and Dean the stuff of legends because they had Chuck writing it that way? Or do they still have what it takes to beat Chuck on their own?
The issue comes up once or twice in the episode. When Garth warns Sam and Dean not to go rushing into a big case without luck on their side, Dean waves him off. Chuck or no Chuck, the Winchesters are still hunters. They’re going to get the job done no matter how much effort it takes. Later, when things are looking bleak for a captive Sam and Dean at the fight ring, Dean reiterates this point. Chuck may have been pulling the strings in their life, but they did the work. That means they still have what it takes to be hunting heroes.
When that theory is put to the test, it doesn’t seem to be all that true. Sam and Dean can’t beat the behemoth monster that comes for them, and Garth needs to save them once more. On the surface, that seems like bleak news for the Winchesters. But I argue that it’s actually a light at the end of the tunnel. As far as we know, Garth isn’t Chuck’s new chosen one. He’s simply the hero of his own story. So long as you’re a side character, you really are the master of your own fate. That means that for the first time in their lives, Sam and Dean might actually have free will.
But this big picture ideal has yet to occur to the Winchesters. Confronted by the choice between a hero’s burden and normal life, the Winchesters decide they want their good luck back even with a catch. They take a tip from Garth about a special place in Alaska where you can win your luck. Without any luck on their side right now, it’s anyone’s guess how the next episode will turn out.
I definitely didn’t love this week’s episode. It’s important to have a balance between drama and comedy in all seasons. I appreciate that the writers wanted to have some fun after the last existentially have episode. But on its own, this episode felt so campy that I found myself wondering why it needed to be included at all. It seemed a very long set up for next week’s problem. With only ten episodes left in the entire show, part of me wishes the creators were being more careful with their precious time.
The episode wasn’t without its highlights. I’m always happy to see Garth back on the show, and it’s good to know he’s doing well at the end of the series. The tap dancing scene was fun, even though it made little to no sense. Unfortunately, most of the jokes seemed to be included for joke’s sake, and didn’t feel genuine or sensical. I can only hope that the last ten episodes will do a better job. We’ve officially reached the final countdown…
Watch Supernatural on the CW Thursdays at 8/7c.