"Party On, Garth" was certainly what you could consider a filler episode, but don't mistake the definition of filler to mean a bad hour of television that you could simply throw away. While there are plenty of those out there, this particular outing tried a few new things, brought back a character I was hoping would make a return appearance and solidified a ghostly answer fans have been theorizing since Dean's beer bottle mysteriously emptied.
I'm truly pleased that DJ Qualls put back on his ghost hunting pants as the goofy but affable Garth. I had enjoyed his time when he first appeared in "Season Seven, Time For a Wedding" more than I enjoyed the episode itself and was hoping that we'd get another chance to see him in action whether it was interacting with the brothers or just being his amusing self.
Garth is such a drastically different character from the other hard core and solemn hunters that Sam and Dean have come across. I don't know if it's his sheepish grin, his cocky attitude that makes him more endearing that douchey, or the fantastic chemistry he creates with Sam and Dean - but Garth has been a welcome addition to the show. There's enough cheesiness without overdoing it and Qualls brings forth a confidence and swagger to the character, even if Garth doesn't get everything right.
Naturally having a theme song can make a character that much cooler, and watching Garth slow motion walk away from the flames to Bell Biv Davoe's Poison was the perfect combination. That and wearing his military uniform as Corporal James Brown. The guy simply cracked me up.
The idea of not being able to see the ghost unless you're inebriated could have been overly silly and at moments it felt like it was slowly teetering that way. However, seeing the extremely creepy girl with pale white skin, long black hair, and affinity for the plainest clothes ever, there was a certain balance.
It was definitely something the show has never done and I appreciate taking those steps out of the safe zone. Who knew there was such a thing as intoxicated ghost hunting?
It also reintroduced the idea of the international supernatural. Wouldn't it be interesting if Sam and Dean left the United States and went global? It could end up jumping the shark for the series, but the show has done a pretty good job of bringing in a little crazy and the right amount of heart, humor and drama to keep the show entertaining.
As for the sock puppet scene, I'm not too sure if it worked for me. I guess it enhanced Garth's quirk factor and ability to help the group out in an unusual way, but it was a little weird. Although, I did chuckle when Garth and the sock puppet turned their heads at the same time to look at Dean.
Yet, aside from a fun return from Garth, the answer to the Bobby question was finally answered. Yes. Bobby is a ghost.
It was easy to smile at his return and see the caring look in his eyes as he watched Dean. I was even hoping Dean would see them and had to laugh when Bobby called him an idgit because he couldn't.
But why hasn't Bobby been able to tell them that he's there aside from moving the sword, moving the pages, etc? Why can't Dean or Sam see him?
It certainly is interesting that the two brothers came to the conclusion that all of those coincidences were just because they wanted to see him. I wonder how they'll react when they finally do realize he's been there all along.
So, what does that mean that he really is there? Will Bobby play a bigger role or will he just be floating around hoping someone will notice him? And when will Garth come rolling back up in his stunner shades?
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.