Charisma Carpenter and James Marsters return to the CW as bickering witches in this week's episode.
After four straight weeks of pretty dark/emotionally-grim episodes, "Shut Up, Dr. Phil" attempts to bring the funny to Supernatural with Sam and Dean investigating a series of improbable murders in a small town linked to a married couple on the outs (Carpenter, Marsters). While the War of the Roses meets the frequently called-out Bewitched premise has a lot of promise, as with last week, there's not enough time to spend with the interesting villains.
Those villains, of course, being--no big spoiler here--married witches played by former Buffy and Angel alums Charisma Carpenter (still fine--yeah I said it) and James Marsters (does this guy age at all). As wealthy bigwigs in a small town, their escalating tensions are causing some of the local plant life to rot, statues to explode, and acquaintances and friends to die gory, agonizing deaths. With the exception of a bit of counseling at the end of the episode and a last-minute save of a potential victim, Sam and Dean don't have a whole lot to do this episode, placing a lot of it on Marsters and Carpenter. Unfortunately, more than a third of "Shut Up, Dr. Phil" is structured like a mystery, requiring Sam and Dean to catch up to where any viewer who watched the preview from last week starts off: that is to say, they're dealing with dueling witches. It's also a shame that Carpenter and Marsters' characters don't exactly share a lot of screen time--these are two actors who can do heated/funny bickering well and it's a missed opportunity keeping them separated for so long.
On the Leviathan front, there's not much development--at one point, Dean says they should maybe actually get into finding out what Leviathan's all about, but it doesn't look like that's happening next week. I'm also not sure how I'm feeling about a recent development with Dean, who's coming off of murdering a mother in front of her child and being put in trial by the god Osiris last week: he's taken to drinking from a flask, and Sam knows something is up. The more I think about it, the less interesting/plausible the idea of Dean locking down a secret from Sam feels. In some way or other, these two characters have kept secrets from one another for years, and there was a lot of work done in recent seasons to get the characters talking to one another when they're holding on to something potentially dangerous. So this bit of storytelling feels regressive and doesn't go anywhere especially interesting with the characters, which is increasingly becoming a disappointment.
Next week: clones of Sam and Dean run around, causing chaos, apparently, in another comedic episode.
Supernatural airs Friday nights at 9 on the CW.