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.

"…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 – James Marsters will always be Spike to me! 

"Because you have people who love you and he can't take that away from you."

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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"

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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."

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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."

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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. 

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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. 

Final Thoughts

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. 

Your thoughts?

Comments  

Sylvie
# Sylvie 2011-10-22 14:25
I agree, this episode was kind of a hoot for me. It had me laughing quite a few times. And yes, James Marsters will always be Spike to me also. Loved seeing him and Charisma Carpenter, they were a great witchy couple. Unlike you and Dean, I love witches. The deaths were nice and gross, and those cupcakes, yuck!

But apart from the lightheartednes s I did like the fact that Sam is calling Dean out on trying to find out what the hell is up with him. And yes, I think Sam does think it has something to do with him. And boy, those leviathans are freakingly well organized. They can find our boys so darn easily.

On that, can't wait for next week's episode. I'm thoroughly enjoying this season. It's flying by so fast.
nancyL
# nancyL 2011-10-22 16:13
Elle, after seeing the 'then' clips, I thought for sure, that this would be the episode that Dean tells Sam what he did. But, once again Dean bottles it up, and tries to drown it in alcohol.

Dean's guilt is going to kill him or give him the mother of all ulcers. :lol:

I also thought that Sue was creepy and maybe had a little crush on Cordy, I mean Maggie :-) .

When the Leviathan was choking Sam, I was expecting Bobby to come to the rescue. I was surprised when it turned out to be Spike, I mean Don :-) . He saved Sam and Dean from his wife and an unknown assailant, and he was so cool about it. So now we know that the Leviathan are not completely unstoppable. (that is good to know, because next week we have Leviathan Sam and Dean, who are definitely gonna need to be killed :lol: )

Dean needs to tell Sam what he did. Maybe before the winter hellatus.
elle
# elle 2011-10-23 09:26
If Dean keeps up this behaviour it might give *me* ulcers from the stress and angst of it all!

I like that it was Don who saved the boys. It gives me hope that these Leviathans can at the very least be contained by something of this plane and then perhaps can be sent back to Purgatory.
KazKriz
# KazKriz 2011-10-22 16:13
I loved this episode, it was great... I laugh soooooooooo very very very VERY very much. and OMG!! the hair salon death was creepy and amazing (brrrrrr....) and the bees xD!!!! HILARIOUS!!!!! I loved dean's nightmare (I loved season 4 ^^) and that's a way to see what's going on inside his grapefruit. Well, I loved the episode.... it was fantastic!!!
Ginger
# Ginger 2011-10-22 18:47
I found the episode fairly mediocre and have concerns now that with five episodes in, a pattern of mediocre writing is setting in. I haven't disliked any of the episodes really, but I do find them lacking when I compare them to, say, other comedies like Tall Tales, Wishful Thinking, Ghosterfacers, and Monster Movie. Or, even those where Dean was pouring booze over his feelings, Dark Side of the Moon and others in that season, or Everybody Loves a Clown where he completely shut Sam out. Dean has always turned feral (Crossroads Blues and Fresh Blood, wasn't it?), along with drinking, to cover his feelings, but I guess he's past that point now.

This one was not on the level of those episodes I mentioned, so I guess that puts me in the minority of not finding this thoroughly enjoyable.

Marsters did a wonderful job, but can't say I was all that impressed with Carpenter.

I was glad to see the Levi story remembered. They started out really scary, but they are losing some of their scary juice by not being brought forward more forcefully, IMO. We need Benito back.

It certainly wasn't a terrible episode, but I was disappointed.
Amara
# Amara 2011-10-22 19:02
I thought this episode was solid, and it definitely had its humorous moments, mostly due to the fantastic James Marsters and Charisma Carpenter ("What? She made cupcakes!") But there was a HUGE, and I mean HUGE plot hole that almost ruined the episode for me: why the hell were Maggie and Don alive at the end? They slaughtered at least four people, and it's indicated by their dialogue that this is a pattern for them, and yet...they're alive at the end of the episode?!?! Other than Lenore, have we ever seen Sam and Dean NOT kill the monster before?

This was particularly troubling because of the whole Amy story line. Amy kills three criminals to save her child, promising never to kill again, and Dean takes her out, but this couple who murdered four innocents due to petty jealousy gets to live? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This just negated the entire Amy plot line, which was weak to begin with. My guess is the writer/director were so focused on the humor that they just forgot to follow Don and Maggie's actions through to their logical conclusion (they're selfish killers, therefore they must be ganked.) It's this kind of sloppy writing that's really annoying me this season and last season. I cannot believe they left that couple alive.
elle
# elle 2011-10-22 19:50
I admit I had this thought too at first - why did the witches live after all the fuss about Amy. I think the idea here is that they were too strong and too old for Sam and Dean to deal with. Recall that the last major witch they went up against that they actually were able to defeat was killed by Ruby's knife. Patrick, the witch they faced in The Curious Case of Dean Winchester, was left alive. To my recollection, we've not seen a hunter actually take out a witch on the show aside from using Ruby's knife (though I could be wrong). So, in short, Sam and Dean were incapable of defeating Don and Maggie here; whereas Amy on the other hand was totally killable.
Ginger
# Ginger 2011-10-22 20:46
I didn't have a problem with the witches being left alive, but my hole is 'Where is Ruby's knife, why wasn't it with them, and why do the brothers have to call Bobby to figure out how to kill a witch. Surely to God they would have researched this by now (having killed archangels, pagan Gods, taken on the Horsemen, major powerful demons, Eve, the WoB, and so forth). If every witch requires a different method of killing, then the show should explain that.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2011-10-23 08:44
You know, I do see your point about the witches being left alive, but I think it might have something to do with the fact that the witches demand different ways of killing. That might make for an interesting show one of these days, to address that storyline. And really where is the demon killing knife? That thing pretty much kills anything supernatural, it would have come in pretty handy.
Ginger
# Ginger 2011-10-23 17:25
Was the one killed with Ruby's knife a witch or a demon? I thought she was a demon that killed the others, who were witches, so I didn't think any witches had been killed up to this point. My memory may be failing me, though. Ruby1 was a witch before she turned into a demon.
cd28
# cd28 2011-10-22 20:42
Yes, there are countless examples of them letting killers walk away. Crowley, letting Gabriel out of the fire (he killed lots of people as the trickster),Ruby (all of the times before they finally killed her), crossroads demons.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-10-23 04:48
Well, if you can't kill the witches... what exactly are you supposed to do? I wouldn't prefer the dying-while-try ing-to-kill-the m alternative... I like the Winchesters alive and kicking for at least the rest of the season :-)
Cheers, Jas
elle
# elle 2011-10-23 09:19
I agree, Jas - I like my Winchesters breathing.
cd28
# cd28 2011-10-23 09:34
When the thing they're hunting is hard to kill, they keep trying until they find a way (i.e. Hellhouse or Eve), but in the last few years when the thing has been willing to work with them or do them a favor, they've let it walk. That's why Sam's call to let Amy go since she had saved his life was more in character than Dean's decision to go back and kill her even though she seemed to be done with the killing.
MisterGlass
# MisterGlass 2011-10-22 21:11
I agree this was a good typical episode, and much more to my taste in its handling of the different situations than last week.

I was impressed that it managed to work in some genuine comedy and shocking horror in the same episode. Beating hearts in cupcakes - I still shudder.

Nice work from everybody and sets up next week nicely.

As far as the witches surviving, their combined power definitely seems too much for Sam and Dean if their emotions are killing plants in their vicinity. The only witch the brothers have actually killed was Don Harding in "Great Pumpkin", and that's because he was distracted in the act of killing someone else - who also turned out to be a witch, and was able to keep Sam and Dean off with magic. The poker playing witch lived, though they did try to beat him with a spell, but couldn't get his DNA. The women in "Malleus Maleficarum" got killed by the demon.

When Sam and Dean try counseling as plan B they must be in real trouble.
Talos
# Talos 2011-10-23 01:53
Anybody who wanted to watch a pilot about powerful, married witches who've been squabbling down the centuries about his supposed affairs had a chance to do so last night. Apparently.

SN's been used as a vehicle to try out a new series before ("Ghostfacers") . I have no problem with that--especiall y since we're supposed to get an extra episode this season. But I could have done without the scene in which Maggie and Don got laughs by turning our experienced hunters into a couple of chuckleheaded pinatas. Of course, SN has a four year history of trying to make supporting players look clever and amusing at the expense of our Winchester heroes, so by now I should be used to it. I'm not.

Also, everything from the story and focal characters to the garish colors, bright lighting, expensive sets, upscale locales, and tasteful wardrobe was designed to fit the ambiance of the (possible) sitcom, so it was no surprise that SN's gritty, banal world was nowhere in sight. Again, I had no problem with that. Successful series often lend their lots and slots to producers who want to get a new series off the ground. Besides, the two J's can always use a day or two off. But I'd rather these writers had stayed away from the brotherly exchanges, which sounded like they'd been crafted after "The Handy Guidebook for Amateurs to Sam and Dean Sharing Their Feelings." Heavy-handed, forced, and artificial, (with the Winchesters absurdly contrived to parallel the battling couple), the brotherly scenes appeared to have been shoehorned in to soothe frantic fans who tuned in expecting to see SN and found themselves at the "Buffy" reunion, instead.

Other than those, I have no complaints about "Shutup, Dr. Phil." I thought it a funny episode, with great special/visual effects, excellent performances by Carpenter and Masters, and a cleverly written plot. I especially liked the way the writers carefully laid the groundwork so Sam and Dean--deprived of the ability to get chilled chicken feet in town or anywhere within a 400-600 mile radius without the witches knowing--were forced to let these baddies go. Unless the guest actors get their own series, I doubt this is the last the boys will see of Maggie and Don.
elle
# elle 2011-10-23 09:24
I hope we see Maggie and Don again! But then, I'm still waiting for Patrick from season 5 to return, so who knows.
Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-10-23 04:51
Loved the episode. Alas, the scene with Dean at the computer and Sam coming back from workout was totally ruined - in a good way - by the scene Jared gave us via twitter. :-)

LIke with many scenes from the outtakes, I was waiting for the twittered scene to happen... and it was hilarious that it didn't...

Which allows me to hope that we will get some more outtakes like this on the dvds for this season. Have I mentioned that I love outtakes?
:lol: , Jas

P.S.: it gives me great joy to know that a dear friend of mine will watch an episode of Supernatural, because her favourite star, James Marsters, is in it! He did a great job, just as Charisma Carpenter. A Buffy fan, too, I was happy to see them again. And to see how beautifully they have aged.
elle
# elle 2011-10-23 09:21
They have aged well, haven't they? Cordy looked like the old days of Angel (only with better hair).

All I could think of was the outtake when I watched Sam come in from jogging - great scene, both times!
Cody B
# Cody B 2011-10-24 18:27
He may always be Spike to you, but to me he's Braniac forever...and the Leviathan problem i can't help but keep going back to Lucifer actually helping (motive unclear) with how to kill them. Far fetched but i can't think of anything else at the moment. He's the only super powerful being with that kinda knowledge who is somewhat still in play at the moment while Castiel mascarades as the Leviathan "boss."
Belinda
# Belinda 2011-10-25 07:08
I was just thrilled they had finally acknowledged the existence of Castiel, and here I thought he simply just never existed in the first place. Not that I had any high hopes on anymore decent scenes but I suppose a 3 sec rather pathetic flashback is all I have to live with for now. Maybe I'll actually get 5 seconds before this whole season ends, that'll be fun.