Supernatural's "Man's Best Friend with Benefits" Features Witches, Familiars and the Awkward Relationship that Binds Them
After Sam and Dean debate about the funniest Three Stooges character and another discussion about the trials, Dean heads out for a beer run. After a few minutes, Sam hears scratching on their motel door and opens it, only to find a Doberman sitting in the doorway. Without being invited, the four-legged guest makes herself right at home, even demanding a belly rub from Sam. Eventually Dean gets back and Sam attempts to sell the idea of letting the dog stay over. As Dean opens the door, the brothers are dumbfounded to find a sexy lady on their bed instead.
A Girl off Her Leash
She introduces herself as Portia, the familiar of a homicide detective turned witch named James. Apparently, working with the Winchesters stirred an interest in the occult and now it's coming to haunt him in his sleep. She believes that her master is innocent and has come to ask Sam and Dean for help without his permission. Dean hesitates due to the witch thing but Portia retorts by telling them about her master's spotless record, which the brothers can't deny.
Meanwhile, James meets up with Spencer, a fellow warlock, in a jazz bar for their kind. He mentions his dark dreams and deteriorating relationships with Portia. Spencer recommends some time off but with his episodes getting worse, James doesn't believe this to be true.
Portia mentions her telepathic link to James, which unfortunately doesn't work at the moment. She admits to sending the text message herself and tells them about James' distrust of other witches.
That night, another victim is brutally killed. This time, it is an innocent blind man.
Old Characters, New Problems
They pay James a visit and he argues with Portia about bringing in help without his knowledge. He describes his murderous dreams to the brothers and shows them a bloody shirt belonging to him. He says that each of the four deaths have been confirmed in the precinct. Sam and Dean theorize that it may be due to another witch hexing him and recommends that he stay put, in chains, for the witch version of a house arrest.
The brothers research what they can about the murders. Dean brings up a special witch killing recipe that he got from Bobby's notes, which leads to a talk about the upcoming trials. Sam refuses Dean's offer to help with the ritual, asking Dean to leave him to it. The two agree to drop the subject.
Sam heads to the East St. Louis Police Department to talk to Ed Stoltz, the lead on the case. When the tells him about their lack of progress in terms of the murder investigation, Sam (or Special Agent Keith) hands over a piece of fabric from James' shirt for a lab analysis. Ed slips, mentioning a witness who verifies spotting someone wearing a suit and white shirt leaving the area. When Sam pointed out that this was left out of the report, Ed vehemently to answer any more questions.
Dean on the other hand, heads to the exclusive witch club with Portia. There, they meet Phillippe LeChat and introduces Dean as a Wiccan from Detroit. He turns out to be the familiar of James' sullen buddy Spencer. Wiccan-poser Dean asks Spencer if it were possible to hex another witch control the actions of another witch but Spencer says that it isn't. Phillippe then transforms back to his cat form, to Dean's surprise. So that's why he's been sneezing.
The blood work results come back and it turns out to be a match for one of the victims.
Really, Chains? We All Know Where That Leads
That night, Portia restrains James with the shackles the Winchesters provided for them and the two get intimate. While James' mental defenses are down, Portia gets a vision of the murders that he performed --just in time to plead his case to Sam and Dean who have brought their witch ganking spell kit. She points out that there was no memory of the preparation or motive for the kills.
Sam returns to the police department and spots a dossier about James in the hands of the tech guy. Again, Ed dismisses Sam's questions and rushes off to avoid him. Sam heads to the Evidence Room to try and sneak a peek into the dossier but the room is locked.
Dean and Portia meet up with Drexyl, an informant who also happens to be in James' witch speed dial. While he cannot provide much information in terms of how such a spell is done, he tells them that the other witches are going to be out for blood if their double life is publicly exposed when James gets arrested.
Using Bobby's notes, Dean finds an entry about creating and implanting false memories in another witch's mind. With Ed's suspicious behavior, hey conclude that it must be one of the cops in the station. Sam also complements Dean on his restraint in pulling off bestiality jokes. We were wondering when that would be mentioned.
They bring the news to James who still in chains. The warlock says that there is a way to snoop around the precinct without actually heading there. He's talking about Astral Projection, which requires him to be free of the restraints. The brothers agree but only if they can see the show for themselves too.
Getting a Different View
James casts a spell and the three are able to view the police station via Astral Projection. There, they see a Witness Statement with Phillippe's signature on it. James concludes that it was the lead, Ed Stoltz, who is trying to build a case against him due to a workplace grudge. In a fit of rage, James flings the Winchesters aside and heads to the club to confront Phillippe. Fearing that his face might get damaged, the cat confesses that he was put to the task by his master using a direct command. Before he can speak further, Spencer snaps his familiar's neck with a spell and reveals his evil plan. James tries to justify his "friend's" actions but Spencer disagrees. It turns out that it was his envy, wanting Portia as his familiar, that lead to his bitter plot to get rid of James. What finally brought him to crazy town, however, was the fact that the two formed a deep relationship, insert Twilight reference, on top of it all.
Sam and Dean arrive to help, but before Dean can form a sentence, the two are sent flying for a second time. Boy, those witches are powerful. At any rate, the two warlocks fight with spells and when the Winchesters gain their footing, Spencer gets into their head, bringing up traumatic memories and putting them in a trance. Fortunately, Portia comes to their rescue and attacks Spencer, giving the boys an opportunity to try out their witch killing brew. It works and the witch baddie disappears in a puff of blood-tainted smoke.
Considering the local witch community's disapproval of the Bella/Edward thing and Ed's solid case against him, James decides to leave the town with Portia.
While heading out of town by car, the Winchester brothers talk about the trials. Dean finally gives Sam his a-ok and offers his support, saying that he has his brother's back. Sam assures Dean that he's good in terms of passing the trials and, as if on cue (well actually, it is), coughs up blood. Come on Sam, everybody knows that's a sign something is horribly, humanly wrong.
Annoying and Confusing, but Fun
We love and hate this episode at the same time. In terms of the cons, it's basically just anticlimactic, all things considered. Also, there are a few discrepancies regarding the lore, such as Sam and Dean having no idea about astral projection. Remember Bobby's psychic friend Pamela? The brothers went to her to ask for help in tracking down Reapers. Specifically, they asked to astral project, so yes, they should know. And last but not the least, Twilight reference, seriously?
Don't get us wrong, the episode isn't entirely bad. Like we said, we also love it. Sure, hunters are experts at killing monsters, but unlike Martin, Sam and Dean are more than mere "apes", as Henry would put it. They have actually chosen on a case-to-case basis to allow a supernatural being to live in peace, even going as far as to the deliberate decision in James' case, saying he had a choice to live a normal life.
As with the golem episode, there's a lot of lore left to be explored in the witch-slash-familiar scene. At least we know the supernatural world still functions while Sam and Dean take care of saving the world. Again.
The next Episode shares its title with Denzel Washington's football movie. In "Remember the Titans", the Winchester brothers share the spotlight with no less than gods. They stumble upon Prometheus when they come to investigate an amnesiac that regularly comes back to life. Initially thinking it was a case of the living dead, the brothers discover his godly secret when Artemis arrives to attack him. Judging from the trailer, the Titan god's nemesis, Zeus, is not far behind as well, making this an all star cast.