Sometimes I wonder how Sam and Dean would handle the Wicked Witch of the West.
While "Man's Best Friend With Benefits" didn't involve a technicolor trip to Oz, the brothers were called upon to deal with a little toil and trouble involving a friend from their past. Turns out, this pal had been dabbling in witchcraft while gaining a really hot dog as a companion. Oh, and he's having crazy murdering dreams.
Portia, James the cop-witch's familiar, was a decent addition to the show. In a lot of ways, she completely stole the spotlight from her magic counterpart. Yes, she was attractive, but there was a fiery passion not only visible in her love for James but her general demeanor with everyone around her. She was sexy, confident, loyal and able to hold her own against Dean.
Is this the second time in a row that Dean's been a bit speechless around a girl?
If anything, Portia's introduction - involving the hilarious lines from Sam about asking to keep the dog only to reveal her lying on the bed seductively - was perfect. As was Dean's response. She can stay.
I'm more indifferent when it came to James. He was fine as a witch, and even his willingness to do the right thing when he thought that just maybe he might be the killer, was a good touch for his character.
But overall, he felt less like a friend from the past who had saved Sam and Dean and more like a simple character falling in line with the story being told.
At least the concept of the familiar was intriguing. Having Phillipe be a cat also makes me wonder what other kinds of animals the familiars can be. Horse? Iguana? Or is it restricted to felines and canines?
Yet overall, the whole Creature of the Week storyline didn't jump off the screen for me. It was nowhere near as exciting as facing off against the hell hounds or even a scary ghost haunting a house. Maybe I'm just not a fan of witches.
True, I guess they can fill in on performing inception when Leonardio DiCaprio is busy, but I'd be more interested in seeing witches on a grander scale than small love quibbles with each other.
I did enjoy getting to see flashbacks to major events in the Winchester brothers' lives. I'm always a sucker for getting the call backs and witnessing Dean in Hell and Sam ablaze was fantastic. It's good to see the show hasn't forgotten its own past.
Unfortunately the argument about Dean trusting Sam and letting Sam complete the trials felt like a bit of a rehash.
That said, Dean did finally seem to get on board and say that he did in fact trust Sam. I'm glad he did, and I hope that conversation can finally be put to bed. These two are in agreement and on the same page, so let's keep it that way.
But Sam coughing blood? Not good.
I've got a feeling that not only the God trials going to get harder, but Sam's going to have a lot more problems that just a little blood coming up.
This was an interesting direction for Supernatural to take after last week's well-done "Trial and Error." While I did like some aspects of the hour, the story itself never felt as personal to the brothers as it should have, especially in them trying to help out an old friend. Too bad there weren't any ruby red shoes to click together to make this a better episode. Hopefully, Sam and Dean can kick it up a notch for next week.
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.