Supernatural, S8 Ep15 – Man’s Best Friend With Benefits

Sam and Dean lighting something on fire

Last week we had an episode that set up the focus for the rest of the season, that of the trials Sam and Dean need to face to close the gates of Hell for good. And now we have a Monster of the Week episode. Sigh. That’s the big problem I have with Monster of the Week stories, they always come up right after we’ve gotten into the groove of the main story arc. This episode might have given us further insight into the world of witches according to Supernatural, but because I was so stoked to see what comes next for the trials, I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get more of that. It’s like expecting ice cream cake but then getting just regular cake. Sure it’s good, but it’s not what you were hoping for. But this cake was also pretty dry and didn’t have enough icing. After a pretty good run of episodes, this one was not that great.

Portia in dog form

Hey, sexy!

When I heard the title of this episode, “Man’s Best Friend with Benefits,” I was so worried that it would mean exactly what I thought it meant. And in the end, it kind of did. Sam and Dean were called to help out a cop they’d worked with before, except he had become a witch and had a familiar in the shape of a dog. But don’t worry, you won’t need to bleach your brain very much after watching. The dog just so happened to also turn into a woman, and that was the form she took on when they, uh, became intimate. Shockingly, there weren’t a lot of bestiality jokes. There were lots of things implied, yes, and plenty of sex jokes in general, but nothing too explicit about a boy and his dog. I’m surprised they were able to keep it in as well as they did, especially considering this is the same show that named the Big Bad for a season “Dick” just to make countless dick jokes.

Phillippe LeChat

Phil the Cat

Anyway, so the plot. James, a witch, was dreaming about murders that he supposedly committed but couldn’t remember committing. His familiar, Portia, whose animal form was a Doberman, called on Sam and Dean to help James. You see, Portia and James were close, but closer than a familiar and her master were supposed to be. Yeah, they were doing it, and that was against the rules of the witch community that they belonged to. But that wasn’t the worst of it. James was actually being framed by a jealous community member who had wanted Portia as his familiar. Then James defeated the evil witch, and he and Portia went on the run to hide from any community members seeking revenge. And that was kind of it.

Disappointing, right? There wasn’t enough development of any of the characters to make me care about them, and the plot was too predictable. It was cool getting to see a little more into the world of witches, but we didn’t really get too long or deep of a look. We got a bit about familiars and how they can shift from animal to human, but no real details on that. Mostly, I only enjoyed that part of the episode because we got to see just how much of a dog person Sam is, and just how much of one Dean is not. Dean is also not a cat person, apparently, due to allergies, because he started sneezing around the familiar Phillippe LeChat, who of course, if you know any bit of French, turned out to be a cat.

Guy with an awesome beard

Crazy beard means witchin’s afoot!

I actually was curious about a few witch-related things once we got into this episode, and one was something I’ve thought about before. First of all, Dean asked Portia which came first, the woman or the dog, but she didn’t really answer that. Second, and also left unanswered, do witches undergo some sort of physical transformation when they start doing magic? Because they always seem like they’re no longer human. Do their very natures change when they start practicing? Because if they do, then why don’t hunters who practice spells, like Sam and Dean, have the same weird nature of witches? We know that witches involved in dark magic sell their souls to get power, but do all witches sell their souls? That’s the kind of thing I’d like to know about witches: what sets them apart from humans that they need special ways to kill them, and why is it that when hunters do magic it doesn’t seem to affect them in the same way? If this episode had explored that in depth, I might have liked it a bit more.

In the end, the only parts that I cared about were the small moments between Sam and Dean. They started off having a typical argument about which of the Stooges was their favorite–Sam favors Shemp, Dean Curly–but we also had Dean worrying about his baby brother after the first trial. Dean kept giving Sam an out, offering to redo the first trial so that Dean could take on the responsibility instead. Dean really couldn’t stand the thought that Sam might get hurt, again, and be robbed of possibly his only chance at happiness and a normal life. But Sam insisted on taking the responsibility, probably because he knew that Dean would treat it like a suicide mission and not bother to save himself just as long as Sam would make it out. These boys! They are always so willing to take a bullet for each other. And after some minor distress on the sidelines of the plot, Dean finally told Sam that it was okay, that Dean trusted him to handle the tasks on his own. And that was of course when the fecal matter hit the rotating air cooling device.

Sam coughing with blood on his lips

Samoletta in La Trialiata

Sam was happy that Dean trusted him to take on the trials by himself. Because Sam could do it, Sam was fine, Sam was…coughing up blood. Wait, what? So now Sam’s dying from consumption? Did he just become the heroine in an opera? What the heck did the last trial do to him? Is he breaking up from the inside, is there something in him that’s killing him, degrading him, dissolving his organs? Seriously, what’s the deal? Is he going to slowly fall apart like Lucifer’s host, Nick, did back in season five? Not to sound like a whiny toddler, but what’s going on? I would shake the writers for answers but I fear only loose change and the collected tears of fangirls would fall out.

After an episode like this, some meh with a side of OH GOD IS HE DYING, what do we need? How about some Greek gods! Next week we have “Remember the Titans,” further proving just how much the people on this show love writing episode titles, maybe more than writing believable episodes.

Artemis with bow and arrow