When a spectre begins taking the lives of the people of Kearney, Missouri Sam and Dean are on the job. It's only after they run into an old friend do the two of them realize that he may be the best chance they have to stop it.
Following Sam's meeting with Benny last week, the Winchesters aren't as close as they have been in the past. Sam feels betrayed but Dean explains that he's changed and won't be the one to kill Benny. The two manage to bury their feelings for the time being to take the case in Kearney where they run into Garth. Since Bobby's death, Garth is doing his best to takes the cases where they come and take his place as the Wikipedia to all things supernatural for the other hunters. It's only later that the three of them (mostly Garth) discover that token from the Unknown Soldier possesses any and all who touch it, bringing out a murderous vengeance on their victims. With the body count on the rise, can Sam and Dean put their issues behind them and does Garth have what it takes to bring the two of them together before it claims another victim?
Despite the strong performances, Southern Comfort couldn't get past being a mediocre episode. When you boil it down, the episode was just a vehicle for Sam and Dean to get everything they were feeling about one another off their chests as in the end, the spectre was just the catalyst for that to happen. Though Garth pushed the theme that both need to let go and move on, after seven previous seasons of the Winchester brothers fighting one another half the time, these two just need to get over it. The case could have been more interesting had it been the focus and the montage near the end of the episode of the Unknown Soldier's penny going to each of its victims further illustrates that the story could be told within a matter of seconds rather than an entire episode.
Surprisingly, the redeeming factor this week was Garth. Play by DJ Kwalls, Garth has come a long ways from last season's dunce hunter heavily relying on the Winchesters for help. Instead, Garth has become the capable and confident cornerstone of the hunter community. The scene between Garth and Dean at the table was also the accidental emotional core of Southern Comfort but all the credit here goes to Kwalls. Kwalls stole the entire show in those few moments and completely changed my view of Garth by showing the resentment, anger, pain and feeling of insignificance behind his eyes. It was powerful and compared to the humour Kwalls delivered throughout the episode, it was like night and day.
Just as I wrote last week, the flashbacks with Sam and Amelia continue to drag down the show. Occurring with greater frequency and length, the flashbacks have accomplished what they set out to: show who Sam met that was able to take him out of the game. Though Sam and Amelia share a sense of isolation and loss, it's just not interesting. Even so, Sam had said several times throughout the years that he never wanted to be a hunter like Dean or his father John. In fact, it was also the reason he left home and went to college in the first place. What's worse is that Sam has more flashbacks of his domestic life that Dean does of Purgatory. Constant flashbacks to his time with Amelia are distracting and if they continue to happen I hope they become a lot more interesting than they are now. Or, you know, we could also meet Amelia.
Southern Comfort had humour and emotion but lacked a plot to tie it all together. Interestingly, even after Sam and Dean said everything they needed to, neither of them was any better off. As it stands now Sam is on a different path than Dean, one that may end up crossing Benny's and force Dean to choose between his brother who wants out and the friend who saved his life. Maybe we'll find out why Dean is so loyal to Benny when Castiel returns in next week's A Little Slice of Kevin.