Supernatural season 8 episode 6 review: Southern Comfort

Review Caroline Preece 9 Nov 2012 - 15:55

Supernatural delivers a strong, simple, and entertaining episode. Here's Caroline's review of Southern Comfort...

This review contains spoilers.

8.6 Southern Comfort

This week I was dreading the return of Garth, our resident comedic hunter who’s popped in and out of Sam and Dean’s lives over the last couple of seasons. With the ‘Previously On’ obviously trying to assure similarly doubtful viewers that he “grows on you”, I was anticipating the worst kind of comedy Supernatural episode. Thankfully, Southern Comfort keeps up the current stream of solid instalments, and I didn’t even find myself wanting to strangle the brothers’ tag-along detective.

Keeping with the mission statement of the season so far, this was another fairly simple case-of-the-week episode that saw Sam, Dean and Garth visit a small town with its own mini killing spree. First we get a wife killing her husband over a high school dalliance, then their son killing his ex-business partner, and finally an overworked deputy offing the sheriff. There’s some sort of green goo present at all three crime scenes, and the trio have to work together to solve the case. If we were going to get a third person, though, there are plenty of candidates I’d have chosen over Garth. Castiel, for example, is mysteriously absent again this week, and Kevin is still MIA.

The issue of the last twelve months has only been exasperated by Sam’s introduction to Benny at the end of last week, and the brothers joust it out this week. Sadly, we don’t get to see the immediate reaction to that encounter, but we sure see the aftermath. It’s a shame that all the previous fallings out we’ve seen Sam and Dean get into have somewhat dampened any future attempts at familial tension, as this could have been a huge upset for the show’s dynamic. But this season has separated the brothers so far from each other emotionally that no argument they could get into feels like genuine trouble for the show. Effectively, they hate each other’s guts right now, and are only together so they can find Kevin and close the gates for good.

The emotional thread that felt most real for me was the trouble Dean had with Garth’s Bobby impersonation. With Sam and Dean missing from the hunting world for a whole year, someone had to take over from their old mentor, and the job has seemingly fallen to the most unlikely candidate. But Garth has also taken his hat, his phone system and his lingo, and is, in Dean’s opinion, misusing all of them. It made me, like Dean, miss Bobby even more, and I really wish the character was still on the show. It’ll be interesting to see the guys check in with Garth or go to him for advice at some point down the line, but I don’t really see that happening. At the very least, there’s now another capable hunter for them to team up with.

Strangely placed throughout the episode are flashbacks to the start of Sam’s relationship with Amelia, and I have to say they completely took me out of the action. While fans of the character will enjoy seeing him happy and normal, unless Amelia turns out to be an important part of present-day life, I don’t understand why we’re watching them interact week after week. I suppose that, after complaining for so long about Supernatural’s female characters not being developed properly, I should be grateful for the time we’re spending with one of the boys' love interests. I just can’t see where it’s going, and would prefer the time be spent in purgatory with Dean, Benny and Castiel.

Nonetheless, it’s another strong, simple, and entertaining episode of Supernatural that primes us for the Kevin-centric adventure coming up next. Cass is back, too, so a quiet week on the job might have been just what we needed before the season explodes into mythology and homoerotic subtext. See you there!

Read Caroline's review of the previous episode, Blood Brother, here.

Supernatural seasons 1-7 are now available on DVD and Blu-ray.

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It better explode into mythology next episode, or I'm giving up. Honestly, regardless of how highly regarded Jeremy Carver is, this season is a prime example of why you don't bring someone back to a show who has been out of the loop for a while. They just don't have that full grasp on the little things that matter like someone who has been there. I'm not saying this episode was was alright. I enjoyed seeing Garth, though I am still undecided if I like him in the role of replacement Bobby. However, when I say I enjoyed seeing Garth, it's in that way of enjoying seeing a Pizza Hut after five hours of driving and not find anything to eat. Not that I was legitimately excited to see Garth, but at this point of boredom in this season so far, I'll take what I can get.

Enough is enough though. I am ready for some kind of story and sense or urgency. Right now this is basically season 1 without the threat of the Yellow-Eyed-Demon, or any real threat, for that matter.

Also, I am so very tired of the possessed Sam/Dean speech to the other; "You didn't look for me when I died! You never wanted this life! You were always mad at me for dragging you into hunting! You didn't tell me your soul was missing! You didn't tell me you were drinking demon blood! You were alive for a year and didn't tell me!" Try something new please. Six episodes of 95% MOTW and 5% story is not the way you open a season of a story driven show. I get that this show has always done MOTW, but it was usually every other, or every two. Not five back to back.

i particularly enjoyed this episode

the case was simple and clean, no gods or amateur origins documentary, a simple spectre (different from a ghost, man i love this addition to the mythology) running rampant needing to be iced

there were some tiny lapses in logic, but unless one is pretty anal about it, not too big a deal

the only annoying parts were the flashbacks, and i totally agree they were ill-timed and random (even dean's flashbacks in previous eps) but what the hell, helps explain the sammy weirdness and amelia (understandable to an extent, but hard to sympathise with, this couple)

and i love garth as the 'new' Bobby! He's such a dork, but level-headed when it counts. In the end, what matters in Supernatural are the mere humans, the hunters fighting the good fight. Although we're really keen about Cas and demons and closing the gates of hell plot, none of those things matter without the human side working.

And it's totally believable that Garth would volunteer to take up the slack in the hunting business, seeing how close he was to Bobby. He'll never be Bobby, but no one's expecting him to. He's Bobby's replacement. And he really drove that message through into Dean's stubborn skull. Ah, this duo!

anyway this episode is a necessary episode, both in terms of portraying the state of the hunting business in Supernatural, and the direct confrontation needed between the brothers, although the tension hasn't really dissolved. But most importantly, it's nostalgic and reminiscent of early Supernatural, something I really missed from the show, despite the big demon-prophet plot in development. The setting, the straight forward, the FUN to watch, the slick execution...I like.

It's all about balance. Last season failed in that department. But this episode assured me that this season will be better paced and balanced, delivering impact and emotions when it counts.

Possibly my favourite episode thus far. Last week's Benny ep was good, but I didn't care so much for Andrea or whatever her name was. The auction ep was also good, but rates low in terms of impact. This week though...the impact is undeniable.


Ooooh you used bad words. How clever of you. I wish I was you. I bet your parents are REALLY proud.

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