When a woman gets cooked by her salon hair helmet, Sam and Dean figure that it’s one in a series of pair of suspicious deaths (along with a guy who boiled to death in a hot tub). They investigate, learning that the woman who died was beloved in the community. Dean finds a strange coin at the scene of the death, which he suspects may be some sort of hex talisman.
Next a man gets murdered in a port-a-toilet by a levitating nail gun. As the Chinese say, may you live in interesting times.
Of course, the boys do still have a Leviathan on their tail, so I guess their times are interesting enough.
The clues lead them to real estate developer Don Stark, played by James Marsters, best known as Spike on the television series Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, but who’s also made a fairly active career of popping up as recurring characters in other science fiction series. He was Brainiac in Smallville and played a terrorist leader in Caprica. His wife, Maggie Stark, is played by fellow Buffy cast member Charisma Carpenter.
The boys quickly find hex stuff in Maggie’s closet, so they peg that she’s some kind of witch who must be behind the murders. In fact, it turns out that Don was having an affair with the woman who got baked at her hair salon. The magic appears to be having side effects, as plants all around their house (and in fact all around town) are dying. Dean sneaks into their house and finds even more, a full-on pagan altar devoted to the various victims, as well as Don’s secretary. “Keep it in your pants, Don,” Dean mutters.
Dean’s able to sneak out of the house unnoticed just as Maggie gets home, but even knowing the identity of the next victim they only barely arrive in time. Maggie casts the hex and the secretary is choking on a blood-spewing cupcake within minutes. Sam finds the hex coin and shoots it, which breaks the spell.
Now that she’s rescued, the boys are counselling her to run … “about five or six hundred miles oughtta do it.” But when they suggest she cool things with Don Stark, she’s disgusted at the very idea.
Back at a charity art auction being planned by Maggie Stark, Don shows up to tell her that “enough is enough.” They get into an argument, over how each have been preoccupied by their other activities and neglected each other.
Maggie: There was three of us in this marriage. Me, you, and your ego. That was the problem, Don. So excuse me, I have a charity event to arrange.
Don: Two FBI agents came by asking questions.
Maggie: Hunters, sweetheart. That’s what they are. Oh, I can see you’re terribly concerned for my safety. But don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.
Don: Maggie, this stops. You hear me? As of right now.
I actually love this exchange, hinting at how arguments would take place if you were married to a witch. Dean earlier made a comment comparing Don to Darren in Bewitched, but Darren never really had the backbone to actually stand up to the craziness that Samantha brought into their life. It’s amusing to see Don actually try to hold the reigns on his vindictive hex-casting wife.
Of course, as he leaves, she causes a statue in honor of his charitable work to explode. As Dean observes, “Okay, now she’s just getting nasty. Killing the girlfriend is one thing, but his commemorative bust? That’s gotta hurt.”
As the auction is about to begin, it turns out the hors d’oeuvres have eyeballs in them. The images on the paintings begin to melt and then her best friend, Sue, is decapitated by a levitating platter. Turns out that Don Stark is a witch as well and their little family feud has just escalated.
The boys bust into the house, but their spell fails to banish the two witches (the chicken feet weren’t properly chilled, it seems, due to the electricity in town going haywire due to stray magic). They have to resort to Plan B: mediate the marital dispute. Maggie and Don begin arguing about their various infidelities over the centuries, telekinetically hurling the brothers to the ground when they feel they’re not being appropriately impartial. Finally, though, they realize that they haven’t been able to kill each other because they truly love each other.
Once released and back at their hotel room, they are confronted by the Leviathan who has been tracking them. He’s about to kill them, but then Don Stark comes in and blasts him unconscious. He doesn’t know what that thing is, but the spell only lasts a few days, so he suggests they throw it into a bottomless pit. Instead, they shove it into the trunk of the Impala for transport back to Bobby, hoping that he has a place to keep the thing.
And Don’s presence? He showed up to remove a couple of hex coins from their room. Turns out that Maggie was pissed that about having two hunters try to take her out and she is, after all, sort of the vengeful type.
Overall, this was definitely one of the weaker plots I’ve seen on Supernatural. It was entertaining, especially the two scenes where the Starks confront each other. The Winchesters really took a back seat in this one, though, and it seemed a bit like cheating to be hunted for episodes by a monster so powerful and ancient that Purgatory was created to contain it … and then to have a deus ex machinae solution spring up to take it down with one spell.
However, I can forgive them, if only because of the chance to see James Marsters and Charisma Carpenter again. I kind of hope that they become occasionally-recurring characters, sort of like the trickster demon (who turned out to be an archangel) from previous seasons. (I still hope that the fairy king Richard Picardo, from last season, comes back.)