After not much thought and lots of reading(tweets,reviews, recaps), I conclude that “Man’s Best Friend with Benefits” crossed a line, even for Supernatural! The last few episodes have moved forward positively and even though filler shows are just that, fillers, this felt like an hour wasted. Ok, getting my weekly Sam and Dean fix, not a waste. What I love about Supernatural is that so many topics are broached: lore(religious and not), weekly moral dilemmas of right and wrong, the consequences of killing people daily. Bestiality just crosses a line. For writers Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming, I’m really, really hoping for better their next time around. My high points of the episode since I’ve mentioned the ground dragging low point, follow.
Sam and Dean arguing over the mundane Stooges, a high point! I love the Winchesters doing normal people stuff: cooking, nesting, arguing over things that don’t determine the fate of the world. We all know Sam loves dogs but a negative really voiced this ep was Dean’s dislike for dogs. I wonder if this sets up something later in the season with a dog or perhaps Riot? A thought from the fandom at the beginning of the season was that Riot(Sam and Amelia’s dog) is a supernatural being. Portia the dog/familiar’s insistence that Dean doesn’t care for dogs, drove his dislike home.
Each week Supernatural has presented us with new and re-used characters, expanding the Winchester world. James(Christian Campbell) the cop witch is someone I didn’t empathize with and I was to then to care that James’ witch friend Spencer wanted Portia too? More YIKES! We have no background for James although he saved the Winchesters’ lives one time. James also altruistically chose to be a witch to fight the bad guys but choose ‘the dark side’ he did, period. Since James and Portia didn’t die but moved on, THIS sets these characters up for a return into the Winchester drama. Positive!
Another laughable moment: Portia tears into Dean about being bigoted against the cop gone witch. Dean’s reply to her tirade is, “that was incredibly hot” and Sam also agrees, “yeah, that was hot.” Although this wasn’t Sam normal response, the boys were on the same page. More non-sensical writing was Dean not knowing what a familiar is or what Portia meant when talking about her and James. What part of the ‘best hunter ever’ wouldn’t know about familiars or that Dean who picks up on everything, wouldn’t pick up on something sexual? I realize that expositions are needed but at the guys’ expense? I don’t think so.
Sam’s epiphany when he realizes it’s not that Dean doesn’t trust him but that Dean just trusts himself. Great insight and a most true statement. A nice brotherly moment….
Supernatural has broached astral projection before but not like this. It was an interesting supernatural excursion which I appreciated.
Season eight has expanded the Winchester’ network out of necessity. Mishael Morgan and Christian Campbell both did good jobs in spite of the story. And Portia, a beautiful woman, walked out alive!
Concluding the high points of the episode, Sam and Dean’s last huggy conversation occurs in the Impala. Dean realizes after having ‘hell’ mentally reopened, that everything they’ve accomplished, has only happened when the brothers work together. Capitulating to Sam that if he is still 100% gung ho, then Dean supports him in finishing the two trials that will close the gates of hell. Sam of course agrees wholeheartedly even as he coughs up blood. So, in staying with the emptiness theme of this episode, Dean trusts Sam to be honest and Sam lies to Dean. Actually, Dean always expects the truth and lying happens from both of them.
As quite an adoring fan, I’ve never turned off an episode or even switched channels between commercials or read a book during the show… ever. I rewatched the episode just to make sure that I still felt the same after watching it initially and yep, I did. I didn’t like it overall. The first time ever to say that about an any episode in eight seasons. Please share your thoughts with me, I shared mine. In spite of the negative surrounding this ep, some fans still enjoyed it. So in the true Winchester way: I’m smiling, like I mean it, to get through it. Til next week…. stay supernatural!
Mishael Morgan interview with Winchester Bros Radio ‘Portia’ http://wp.me/p1toIT-TA