Filed under: Recaps & Reviews
When an old friend named James is tortured by murderous dreams that turn out to be real, Sam and Dean need to find out if he's responsible and if he is, stop him before it happens again.
After he saved Sam and Dean's lives quite a ways back, police officer James took a dive into the occult and became a witch to solve more crimes. Obviously, that plan hasn't worked out for the best which is why Sam and Dean are in town. James' familiar (witch minion), a woman named Portia (who is also a dog when it suits her) is the one that asked the boys for help since she is certain her master is holding something back. When the James tells the boys about his dreams, everything seems to match up in the real world as all of his supposed victims are dead. Dean and Portia talk with the witch community in town while Sam checks on the police to see what leads they have. The witch community suspects that James has gone "ripper" and wants him to either leave or take his own life while the police are building an air tight case against James. When James discovers that one of his own has betrayed him, his rage may be more than the Winchesters are prepared to deal with.
In similar fashion to last season's Shut Up, Dr. Phil, Man's Best Friend with Benefits turned out to be a complete mess. From the opening scene before the title credits, it was obvious James was not the culprit and any intention to make him appear guilty was poorly executed. Witches have never been a strong point for Supernatural and the boring pace, weak performances and terrible story keep Man's Best Friend with Benefits well below Supernatural's high standard this season.
Though they have had their time to shine in Supernatural, witches continue to be a dull spot in the series. First, the witches were a community and in this case, they should have been a coven. Their community hang out spot was the equivalent of a diner where the cool kids went rather than where witches gathered. It's a modern take on the idea of the coven but without any intention, it's pointless. The next issue is that all of the witches had familiars but it was a poor plot device that no witch had possessed before in the show. It's understandable that the relationship between familiars and masters was meant to create a central point of conflict between James, Portia and ultimately Spencer but it didn't add tension or serve a purpose of its own. Portia could have just as easily been another witch that picked James over Spencer and Philippe LeChat could have just been a weaker witch than Spencer. Explaining that away in one sentence just shows how little thought was put into it.
Although the guest stars on Supernatural are usually top notch, this week's guest stars failed to make the grade. Mishael Morgan's portrayal of the familiar, Portia, wasn't just over the top, it was a caricature. Morgan's delivery of each line took me out of each moment and the chemistry with Dean and James just wasn't there. Sabastian Gacki's performance as Philippe LeChat did not fare any better and suffered many of the same issues. The blame can't be placed solely on Morgan and Gacki as the writing didn't lend anyone any favours. Brad Buckner & Eugenie Ross-Leming composed a frail story with dialogue that lacked any subtext or wit that the series is known for. This was evident when Portia said that familiar and masters are inseparable from one another and share a bond so close that they would die for one another. Later on, LeChat remarked that Spencer commanded him to be a witness against James and then killed him. I guess that bond isn't as strong as Portia thought.
After a strong run of episodes, Man's Best Friend with Benefits failed on all accounts. The story, performances just weren't there and it made for an ultimately forgettable episode. With any luck, next week's Remember the Titans will be an improvement.