I didn’t know it was a witch episode. Never really liked SPN’s witch episodes.
I like the part where Sam confronted Dean with the fact that it’s not that Dean doesn’t trust others, he just only trusts himself. That was a good call. That’s moving us along okay from Dean’s unfair ‘Benny is a better brother, everyone lets me down, blahblahblah’ stuff earlier this season. It was Sam saying it’s unreasonable for Dean to believe he has to do everything himself, not only because it puts a terrible burden on Dean, but because it’s unfair to the others who he doesn’t trust.
The final scene in the Impala put us back to S05 a bit, when Dean agreed to be on board with Sam’s plan to stop Lucifer, because he recognised Sam was a grown man and COULD be trusted because he was strong enough to handle things on his own. So yes, good, thank goodness we’re moving on (again) from Dean being too much of a caretaker of Sam.
Sam sneakily hiding the fact he’s coughing up blood (symptoms of this TB thing I’ve heard tell about I assume?) was eye roll worthy though. That IS very ‘same old,’ like Sam hiding how bad Hallucifer is to protect Dean from the knowledge. Hmmmm, UNSURE about that. That really COULD lead us back to ‘oh no, Sam needs Dean to take care of him after all, stupid Sam for thinking otherwise and pretending he doesn’t need help.’ So yus, hmmmm.
Other than those two things… eh. Wasn’t gripped by the episode plot. Yeah yeah, a cute little parallel with a man and a supernatural creature breaking the rules and having an affair to add to the list of Dean/Cas parallels this season, with the bonus of one of the pair having their mind fucked by outside forces. But *shrug* It wasn’t so interesting. I would have liked a bit more detail on familiars - are they born as familiars? is it something you choose? (like you choose to be a witch) do witches have genuine control over their familiars? (the cat guy said he was given a direct order by his master and thus had to obey, but maybe he was lying? dog woman didn’t say anything about being controlled by her guy in that way, she seemed to have perfect freedom) etc. - that was the part that interested me, lots of fascinating philosophical questions about freedom and if you’re still free if you choose to be a slave and stuff. But instead the focus was on the story of James, which didn’t require in-depth examination of those things. Shame.
Verdict? I’m calling this the first dud of the season. Oh well. Happens. I don’t think it was a disaster or anything (though I’m SURE people have things to say about the familiar/slavery angle), it was just a bit boring.
Probably people are already angry about how the ‘Sam doing the trials’ plot was handled in this ep, because it put Dean back in the ‘worrier’ position. Fair cop. I kinda think he had to be at first, so he could move on from it, though, so I was expecting something like this and am I’m currently viewing this as a transitional episode intended to take us away from the usual ‘Dean worries about Sam and focuses on Sam’ story. We’ll have to see where this whole Sam coughing up blood thing leads us…