How are we at episode five already? Has it really been five weeks since we began the SEVENTH season of Supernatural? Sorry, but I still have to marvel at the fact we're in the seventh season already. Seems like just yesterday blonde women in nighties were burning on ceilings. But, I digress. What did we think of Shut Up, Dr. Phil:
When the Then segment teased out the Amy storyline yet again, I admit I rolled my eyes. I thought we were going to drag it out some more but not actually address anything. And though that's sort of what happened, it was handled so much better than last week so overall it worked for me. Be that as it may, I really don't need to see Dean stab Amy in the recap segment again next week, please and thank you, PTB.
Hair Salons and Nail Guns
This week's Big Baddie was actually two witches and as all witch episodes do, it ruins normal, routine things for me with horrible, gruesome death. For example, Josephine's Hair Salon - I don't think I will look at salon hair dryers the same way again. Just one of the many things Supernatural has ruined for me; along with pretty much all appliances large and small.
"â€¦very, very, very, very, very tired."
Dean's dreams let us know how heavily everything is weighing on him right now; Cas' death, Sam's Lucifer problems and killing Amy. It was nice to see Cas acknowledged here, however brief. We know that Dean is thinking about him and how it ended. Kudos to the make-up department here, because Jensen looked positively sick with lack of sleep and overindulgence in alcohol throughout this entire episode. Once again Dean started the day with drinking while Sam, on the other hand, starts the day with a refreshing jog around town.
Granted there were a number of references to Dean's continued drinking in this episode, it felt much less heavy handed than last week and as a result, more concerning for this viewer. Dean's first priority on finishing an interview is restocking "provisions" and now he's got his handy flask with him for shots between interviewees and hex-kit surveillance. Sam see's all of this, but he was struggling with the approach. Calling Dean on it didn't work so well, but Sam so far hasn't pushed that hard on the issue. It will only be a matter of time before this whole thing falls to pieces and I'm wondering what the catalyst will be.
Can I just say the CSI team in Prosperity, Indiana is truly a shoddy bunch. Twice they miss this hex coin which wasn't all that hidden and in the immediate vicinity of the dead body. Yup, they need to watch Horatio work and get their skills up to snuff. The guys in Miami never miss a beat. Witch related storylines are my least favourite because, despite the usual gore of Supernatural, these seem especially gruesome and drawn out. Maybe it's the fact that somebody could actually be shot to death with a nail gun that bothers me. Maybe it's that blood oozing from a cupcake is more offensive than a decapitation. Who knows. Either way, I hate witches in the Supernatural world. That said, despite the ghoulish aspects of this episode, I enjoyed these witches. Probably equal parts that it was a humourous storyline and the fangirl moment I had over both James Marsters and Charisma Carpenter. Though I don't think I'll ever get used to the American accent and dark hair in place of platinum blonde â€“ James Marsters will always be Spike to me!
"Because you have people who love you and he can't take that away from you."
Sue was plain creepy, despite (apparently) being a normal human being. Her Smithers/Burns torch for Maggie was unsettling and I wasn't sorry to say good bye to Maggie's BFF. This character however was a trademark piece of Supernatural humour for me. She was subtle, she was amusing in her creepiness and she was a great red-shirt of the week.
"Going way to deep there, cowboy"
The makeup between Maggie and Don was enjoyable. I liked the running gag about the chicken feet as well as the look on Sam and Dean's faces when they realized the spell wasn't going to work. Carpenter and Marsters had great chemistry and were fun to watch, especially as they tossed Sam and Dean around like ragdolls while the brothers interjected supposedly therapy driven comments to repair their marriage. Of particular amusement was Sam mis-phrasing Don's affair as "the thing" after he and Dean had mocked Don for this very phraseology. Overall, good entertaining fun with the witches this time around.
"You're the dead guys."
The Leviathan storyline was bouncing along in the background here and I did wonder how exactly Sam and Dean would get out of that motel room alive. Maybe Cas, not so dead after all, would swoop in and save the day?! Nope, that's too much to ask, at least this early in the season (but I'm not counting him out of this fight just yet!). Instead, we have one more visit from Don, casually collecting the hex coins to save Sam and Dean from sudden death at the hands of his wife, because you know, when she gets a bug up her ass about something. Maybe this spell will come in hand later on. I'm curious to know what the boys will do with the comatose Leviathan though. I immediately thought of the cave where the Dragons summoned Eve when Don suggested a bottomless pit. Until proven wrong, I'm still leaning towards a Phoenix-ash/Eve solution to this Leviathan problem (though I don't think Supernatural will flat recycle something that way) but only time will tell.
"There's always something eating at me. That's who I am. Something happens - I feel responsible."
This line sums up about seven years (plus or minus a stint in hell and a fast-forwarded year here or there) of Dean Winchester, and it's incredibly sad the matter of fact way Dean lays this out for Sam. Where last week's episode lacked the subtle poignancy that I've come to expect from Supernatural, particularly when dealing with difficult emotional and psychological issues, this week was pitch perfect. It's visible in this episode throughout how much Dean is struggling and how tired he is. A line that struck a particular chord for me was "I was the big sister and I looked up to her." Is this what Dean is feeling, watching Sam come in from a jog, health again (seemingly) with his head in the game and the wits about him? We know Dean has a low standing opinion of himself and it seems at an all-time low right now; is he looking at Sam and seeing all his own failings in the contrast between the brothers? Oh Dean, my heart aches for him. Somehow the final moments between Sam and Dean in the parking lot were tragic. Sam is so frustrated because he knows there is something Dean is holding back and for Dean's part, this secret is eating him alive. Though Dean acknowledged here for the first time that he puts the burden on himself, he's still drowning in his own guilt.
This isn't just about Dean though. Sam is struggling in his own right too because he's watching his brother fall further and further into the abyss of his own making and he can't help when he doesn't know the problem. There is a clear and bold line drawn between Sam and Dean in this episode; Sam is still in a health mindset where Dean is anything but. Sam has, as we see at the beginning of the episode, embraced life. He's exercising, for one thing, and (as he usually has been throughout the series) encouraging an open forum of discussion between himself and Dean. His comments about Dean's drinking in this episode are quiet, likely because he doesn't want to push, but at the same he does. From Sam's question, "we're okay, right?" to Dean, he thinks maybe Dean's behaviour has to do with unresolved issues between them because Dean won't disclose the heart of his troubles. And really, Dean's behaviour does have to do with Sam but not the way Sam thinks.
Yes, these boys break my heart.
After a rocky fourth episode, this is much more on par with rest of season seven for me. We had a fun MOTW, some good writing and some character development. Everything was right on target for me and felt like a classic Supernatural instalment. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this episode.