Supernatural: “The Heroes’ Journey” Review

What if your favorite heroes had to deal with real-world problems? Tonight’s Supernatural is answering that question in a very amusing episode.

Tonight’s episode “The Heroes’ Journey” is actually pretty cool, though I will state here and now that I absolutely hated the score. Sorry guys, just not my thing. Otherwise, this was one of the most unique episodes they’ve had in a long while, and considering the heavy subject – the current, world-ending fight with God – it’s nice to have a lighthearted aside.

We start off by observing that Sam and Dean are having an unusually bad day. There’s a werewolf in a fight-club setting also having a bad day, but we’ll get back to that. Dean’s all-purpose credit card isn’t working, his teeth hurt, and his Baby is having mechanical issues. Sam’s dinner for two is not going well, plus, he’s getting sick – and not your standard Sam sick, where we call in the witch doctor or force Death to reverse course, no, he’s got a good old fashioned cold. Is it another “Bad Day at Black Rock” situation? Another cursed rabbit’s foot? Dean seems to think so, but Sam’s got the more reasonable explanation: Chuck.

Yes, God is no longer on their side. It’s definitely concerning, but when they get a call to help out an old friend – Hi, Garth (DJ Qualls)! – they don’t hesitate to answer. We haven’t seen Garth in a bit, he got turned into a werewolf but took it like a champ and wound up in a happy committed furry relationship (not the fetish, his wife is a pure-blood werewolf). I haven’t always liked Garth – in the beginning he reminded me of the little dog in those Looney Tune cartoons that worships the big dog and is constantly running around him in aww (despite the fact that we learn the big dog isn’t as worthy of reverence as the little dog thinks). And, in his final appearance Garth really does embody that little dog. Not a pun on him being a werewolf, I promise.

You see, it’s Garth who points out that heroes, as a rule, never have to sweat the small stuff. Little things like taking care of your teeth, paying your credit card bills, vehicular maintenance, and of course, getting a flu shot. Once he helps Dean out with some free dental care – which leads to one of the weirdest one-off sequences I think I’ve ever seen on the show (also reminded me a lot of The Shape of Water) – and his wife helps Sam out with a cure for the cold, he explains the situation his wife’s friend (or relative, I’ll be honest I don’t remember) is in. As mentioned earlier, despite the cold-shoulder from God, the boys still want to help, though they do tell Garth to stay at home. He doesn’t, of course, and that’s good because being “normal” as they are labeled, does not go well for the boys.

I’m not going to go into details on what happens to them because it’s really something you should check out for yourself. It’s a hilarious collection of human moments that we’ve all thought about or seen a show like “Cinema Sins” point out, but that Supernatural and other hero-centric shows rarely address outright. Having the Winchesters fight with God provides a perfect opportunity for this. I’ve probably mentioned this before, but instead of simply having a single episode, or a few strewn throughout the series, that deal with fourth-wall breaking, Supernatural is dedicating a whole season to the idea!

How fucking cool is that? I know this season I’ve been a little harsh on a few of the episodes, and while I’m not entirely thrilled with some of the things in this episode (Hi, score! Hi, weird black-and-white dance sequence), other aspects of it are simply brilliant. Oddly enough, it once again seems to follow in the footsteps of The Magicians (that show had an episode dedicated to supporting characters and how important they are, while at the same time questioning the idea of the straight-white-male lead), with Garth acknowledging that if Sam and Dean are the heroes of God’s tale that must make him a supporting character, or a special-guest-star (which he is!). But, Garth praises his place in the story world, claiming he would never want to be a hero, because realistically the hero’s life sucks. Which, as we’ve seen, is true. Garth has a wife and children, he’s built a successful business, and is connected to his community. Sure, he may revel in the momentary spotlight that comes with saving the Winchesters’ collective bacon by episode’s end, but he also gets to go home to his family.

Loved the “Werewolves of London” song playing to Garth’s Captain America moment when he dances with his wife.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this episode. Though, if I were to binge watch this season, no doubt frustration would crop up from the tease about Jack last episode gave us. Fingers crossed next episode gives us some much needed follow-up!

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