Freakin' witches. I’m with Sam and Dean on this one: witches are just the worst. But at least the witches we dealt with this week on Supernatural finally got the brothers to take a pause and hash out their issues over God’s trials instead of dragging it out passive-aggressively for weeks. While the case of the week in “Man’s Best Friend With Benefits” didn’t hold too much weight in the larger mythology of the season, it did give us a nice reminder of just how much crap the Winchester boys have been through over eight seasons.
The case of the week was one James Frampton, a cop who saved Sam and Dean’s life once back in the day. After dealing with the Winchesters and getting a glimpse of the supernatural world, James decided to dabble in witchcraft (never a good idea) and use his powers for good. His solving rate for crimes became 100 percent, and he became the best cop on the force. But when he started to have dreams about murdering innocent people, and those people ended up dead in real life, it was time to call in the experts.
Only it wasn’t James who called Sam and Dean for help, it was his familiar face Portia. A familiar is a witch’s sidekick of sorts, a half-human, half-animal with a psychic bond to its master. The fun part of this week’s episode was the addition of cat and dog familiars. First off, I could watch Sam cuddle and play with a dog all day. That was just adorable. And secondly, Dean’s allergic to cats! And hates dogs! Who knew?!?
But James and Portia were also a little more familiar than usual: they were romantically involved, a rarity when it comes to witch’s and their familiars. That turned out to be the nail in James’s coffin: another witch was jealous that Portia chose James as her master and when they became… familiar, that witch put the memories of the murders in James’s mind and planted evidence on James. This led to a showdown between the two witches, and when Sam and Dean tried to intervene the evil witch worked a little mental power and brought up all of Sam and Dean’s bad memories.
Here is where I just about lost my sh*t. Sometimes I forget just how much crap both Sam and Dean have gone through over the years. I mean, really stop and think about it for a second. That witch didn’t have to dig too far into their minds or create horrible scenarios in which to trap Sam and Dean, because both brothers have been trapped in hell! Sam was possessed by Lucifer. Dean watched his mother get brutally murdered. Both brothers have died and been brought back to life, and have been beaten within an inch of their lives numerous times. They brought about the apocalypse! Seriously, how the hell do Sam and Dean get out of bed in the morning and fight evil another day?
The Winchester boys ended up killing the wicked witch and saving James. Then came the harder decision to let him and Portia go free. Sam and Dean haven’t been known for their leniency when it comes to letting supernatural forces go, but they have given free passes in the past. Vampire Benny and werewolf Kate were forced into what they are, but James chose to practice witchcraft. Sam and Dean’s free passes only go to those who are innocent in their intentions and actions. This is an interesting way of looking at their track record of who they let go versus who they kill. But in the end they let James go, and hopefully he’ll stick to the straight and narrow – or else Sam and Dean will hunt him for good.
Like I mentioned earlier, the case of the week was so minimal that it gave Sam and Dean the chance to really hash out their issues over Sam being the one to go through God’s trials to close the gates of hell for good. Dean didn’t trust Sam to be able to pull it off, and Sam knew it. But let’s be honest here: it’s not like Sam has a good track record of coming through for Dean. He’s made terrible game time decisions in the past – Ruby, drinking demon blood, saying yes to Lucifer, hunting Benny – but after Dean came to the realization that they survive everything by sticking together, it seemed like all would be well with the Winchester brothers.
Dean finally trusts Sam, both to get the job done and just as his brother. Could this be a major turning point for the brothers? BUT OH WAIT, just kidding! Something is wrong with Sam as a result of beginning the trials – he started to cough up blood – and he HID IT FROM DEAN. Have we learned nothing from the past? Sam, why are you hiding something insanely important from your brother that you know is going to be major? We were so close to a real reconciliation between Sam and Dean, but there he goes again, making a huge mistake. Tell your brother what’s going on! But just what is going on?
The best quotes from “Man’s Best Friend With Benefits”:
Dean: Man, of all the lame-ass things you’ve ever said, that’s gotta be the lame-assiest.
Sam: I’m sorry, but I happen to think Shemp was a funnier Stooge than Curly.
Dean: Curly was a freaking genius.
Sam: I always found his work to be a little bit obvious.
Dean: It’s supposed to be obvious, man, they’re Stooges.
Dean, about Portia changing from a dog to a woman: That was incredibly hot…
Sam: It was pretty hot.
Dean: He’s got the booga booga on his side!
Sam: You know I have been going over this and over this, asking myself, ‘Why doesn’t he trust me?’ And it occurred to me finally. It’s not that you can’t trust me. It’s that you can only trust you.
Dean: Are you done?
Sam: Yeah, I’m done if you’re done.
Drexel: There’s been chatter about our James… that he’s gone Ripper.
Dean: As in Jack the?
Sam: Oh! By the way, gotta hand it to you, it’s been 15 hours since Portia mentioned her night with James and not one beastiality joke out of you! (Side note: I was also really proud of Dean for this...)
Follow Sydney on Twitter: @SydneyBucksbaum
[Photo Credit: Marcel Williams/The CW]