Filed under: Recaps & Reviews
Let's get ready to rumbllllllleeeee.
It's a normal day in Lebanon, Kansas as Dean runs errands and Sam gets dinner ready back at the bunker. Everything seems fine until Dean tries to pay for his snacks and beer when his golden ticket credit card from Charlie is declined and Sam ruins dinner. It's a few minor things going wrong but Dean feels like something is definitely up. After getting home to the bunker, Dean gets a call from Garth who needs their help. On the way there, Sam thinks that the two of them are simply having a bad day but Dean isn't buy it – especially when the Impala breaks down on the road, ten miles away from Garth's home. The Winchesters get there and meet Garth's beautiful family of twin sons, daughter and his wife Bess. Garth tells them about his wife's brother, Brad, that was found near death with strange wounds and was hoping the boys would help him out. Brad is hesitant to spill it but with Bess's help, he tells them all about an underground monster fight club where the fights are broadcast over the dark web and the fighters make money. It's a new one for the Winchesters but it looks like they are about to enter their first fight club.
Somehow finding a way to lower the bar in the final season, Supernatural stitched as many tropes together as they could to Frankenstein a bad episode titled, The Heroes' Journey. Teetering between strangely comical and dread, The Heroes' Journey struggled to find the right tone as it bounced back and for the between the two with the string of bad luck affecting Sam and Dean while a monster fight club mystery was in full swing. Sandwiched in between those two was the heartwarming family arc with Garth; showing how far the character has come since we last saw him but managing to managing to place a spotlight on how disjointed the episode was. The problem was that the episode could never stick to one theme long enough for it to take effect, only undermining the parts that had to be taken seriously or the parts that should have been funny.
A confusing as the episode was, the writing left a lot to be desired. Sam and Dean went to Garth for help since Brad was in a fight club and nearly died. A fight club that he volunteered for and paid money for its fighters. Had Brad been forced into the fights and been killed, only for his body to be found later on by Garth or law enforcement would have created a mystery of what happened. The Winchesters could investigate the case only to be trapped and inevitably forced into the fight club and created a reveal about what had happened to Brad and other monsters that were being forced into fight club to the death. Due to the opening teaser and kill scene at the beginning of Supernatural (and especially in The Heroes' Journey), the show often gives the audience the key before the lock. We know the answer before the Winchesters and it makes them appear dumb rather than intelligent and heroic for solving the case. That way, Sam and Dean wouldn't have come across as two dorks that are there to wipe out monsters for minding their own business. At the end of The Heroes' Journey, the only victim was the werewolf that signed up to fight in fight club. Had human been forced into the fights against monsters, it would have changed the story entirely. A different approach but one that steers well clear of the "normal" people idea that Sam and Dean are.
Besides going against Supernatural lore established over the course of fifteen seasons, the idea that Sam and Dean are now "normal" hurts the show. Supernatural is anchored on the Winchesters being two normal brothers that have beaten the odds and don't always come out on top. They have been beaten and killed several times but they aren't superheroes. It's why fighting a powerful monster, demon, angel, devil or whatever is a big deal and why they can't do it alone. They have become better hunters over the years but this latest twist for them feels weak and takes away from what the Winchesters have always been: two brothers doing the right thing because no one else will.
Overall, The Heroes' Journey really felt like a campy mess. Luckily, we saw Garth return and see that his life turned out pretty well. That was nice. Hopefully the luck of the final season improves with next week's, The Gamblers.