Given enough time, every couple usually goes through a rough patch. For Don and Maggie Stark, after eight hundred years a rough patch comes with a body count.
Even a few weeks later, Dean is still reeling with guilt after killing Sam's friend Amy. When Sam presses to find out why, Dean brushes him off when a new case catches his attention, taking them to the town of Prosperity, Indiana. When they arrive and take on their usual FBI covers, they discover that the latest victims have one person in common, Don Stark. Evidently, Don hasn't been the loving husband of late and his latest indiscretions have led him astray. A domestic dispute wouldn't normally be something Sam and Dean would handle but when Don and his wife Maggie both turn out to be witches it may be more than Winchesters are able to handle. And just to make things worse, the leviathan that has been tracking Sam and Dean for the past few weeks just pulled into town.
Two words could be used to accurately describe Shut Up, Dr. Phil: train wreck. From start to finish this episode somehow made last week's Defending Your Life look good in comparison. While the show runners assume that creative death scenes add to the quality of the show, too many come across like a Final Destination film. Creating the characters Don and Maggie Stark to be eight hundred years old and so thinly developed was entirely pointless as there was no way to share their past within one episode, especially not the way the show was done. If they had instead skipped the build up to the final confrontation and began the episode with that entire scene, using flashbacks to show Don and Maggie's relationship throughout time it could have been like an hour session of therapy. The show could have shown how Maggie and Don met and had a great deal of humour rather than gore gags and a poor story.
While fans of the show had been eagerly anticipating the guest appearances by James Marsters and Charisma Carpenter, it was not the reunion we had been hoping for. Both are well known for their vibrant characters Spike (Marsters) and Cordelia (Carpenter) from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, their talent didn't shine through. While neither is entirely to blame since their characters were so poorly developed, the two stars didn`t have any chemistry between them to carry an entire episode.
Once again, the leviathan presence in the show remains the unwelcome distraction. Over the past few weeks I could not have cared less about the leviathan Chet who has been hunting Sam and Dean. There was no suspense and his character amounted to the average hired gun in the show`s rogues gallery. Sean O. Roberts comedic twist on the role only makes it worse and when he is taken down so easily by one of Don`s spells it`d even more difficult to care about these ancient creatures.
I had high hopes for Shut Up, Dr. Phil but this was another let down from Supernatural. The direction of the show continues to veer away from the greater story with the leviathans and the absence of Castiel or any other angels removes any bridge the Winchesters had to that world. With any luck, next week`s Slash Fiction will buck the trend of bad stories and pull this show out of its creative pit.