Supernatural Review: Major Secrets and Decisions

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I have to admit I was a bit hesitant about "Torn and Frayed."

I'm all for Supernatural going through its character arcs and seeing where they will take Sam and Dean, but I was worried we were going to spend a whole episode with the brothers simply bickering with the possible hopes of working together next Wednesday.

Except I was pleasantly surprised by what culminated in the hour.

Sam and Dean Scene

The show didn't start off with a real bang, and felt like it followed the usual path of the characters on their particular hunt (Sam for Amelia and Dean and Castiel for Alfie).

Nothing wrong with the course of action, but we got Sam acting moody after getting laid and Dean trying to act like he didn't need his brother. The tension between the two felt similar to their other arguments they've had over the years.

But Castiel really got things going by telling the brothers to "stow their crap" and focus on the major task at hand. Rescuing the angel, Alfie, was far more important than Dean being mad at Sam or Sam being mad at Dean. Glad someone was able to say it to them.

And yet it wasn't simply about rescuing the angel, but the situational problems that would arise if they kept letting Crowley take his time with torture.

Which is where the story aspect of Supernatural Season 8 pulled me back in, as Crowley began to tinker with Alfie's "program," discovering that there is an angel tablet out there somewhere.

A shocker for sure, but logical in every aspect. If something can lock all the demons away, it only makes sense that something can lock all of the angels away.

Of course watching Sam and Dean kick major ass as a team was fantastic. The brothers were throwing punches, kicks, knife stabs, to eliminate those pesky demons. These are the Winchester brothers I want to see!

Yet, defeating Crowley and whatever his new nefarious plans were seemed like the obvious major problem. But things aren't so black and white anymore. It isn't just angels vs. demons.

Really, that's the beauty of this transformation in story. While I'm scratching my head at the prospect of an angel tablet, the conniving and enigmatic Naomi busts in and starts commanding Castiel and tossing out logic that contradicts Alfie. Who to believe?

I've got a hard time believing the angel (is she even one?) whose name is "I moan" spelled backwards, especially when Castiel is having flashbacks of having needles shoved into him by her. And she's shouting for Castiel to kill Alfie to protect Heaven while Alfie is claiming that "they" are being controlled.

What does that even mean? Is Naomi controlling the angels? Is someone else? What is going on? Even Sam and Dean don't know what to make of Castiel's actions.

Things in Heaven are getting mighty suspicious and my fascination and curiosity for the mysterious story has been pulled right back in. I can't wait to see where this all goes.

At the same time, allowing the brothers final talk to involve major decisions was huge for this episode.

Yes, we always usually get a Sam and Dean heart to heart, but this one really seemed to wipe the slate clean and say, "Here we go. Let's get back on track." Dean was willing to let Sam go back to Amelia because he no longer wanted to fight, yet he acknowledged that Sam couldn't have his feet in both worlds. It just wouldn't work out.

At the same time, Sam brought up Benny (who it looks to be headed down a bad path) and the problems that arise from befriending a vampire.

It was nice to hear them both listen to each other, but it was the major letting go of their past, that time they spent away from each other, and coming back as a team that worked wonders.

Sam had to let Amelia go, even though he was the one that would have had the best chance of living that normal life. And Dean let Benny go, knowing that their friendship would compromise the one he had with his brother.

Those were huge game-changing decisions for their road ahead. Now, whether they stick with it is another question, but it looks like Sam and Dean have buckled down and are looking to face the big challenges together again.

Major kudos to them both, as their choices were certainly not easy ones to make. They might not be taking the path with smiling faces, but they're continuing that never-ending task of saving the world.

Even if the start of the episode was a little slow and at first felt predictable, the eventual transition for both character and story was a nice way to start Supernatural off in 2013. There's so much to ponder and question in regards to the angel conspiracy and I'm eager to see Sam and Dean reinvigorate that great brotherly chemistry. It looks like things are just heating up.


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (126 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


Sam didn't have to let go of Amelia because he'd already chose to say goodbye to Amelia long before he demanded Dean end his friendship with Benny. Dean acted against his true self by giving up on a friend due to a petulant selfish Sam. Benny accept Dean's choice classily and with grace. The only villian was Sam. Acting selfish and childish and in the long run damaging his relationship with Dean beyond repair.


S8 is slow moving, and I agree filled with plot holes. SPN writers forget that angels can burn out peoples' & demons' eyes. It would have been easy for Samandriel to escape from Crowley. In Citizen Fang they forgot that vampires can smell humans & can hear heartbeats, so when Dean went to hunt the Vampirates, they would have sensed him. How did Martin know who Benny was? S8 needs to see an improvement in Sam's character - he is now a self-absorbed douchebag thanks to bad writing of his character. Amelia story was pointless and achieved nothing. Writers, stop Sam from 'hallucinating', daydreaming, sulking, going psychotic, drinking demon blood, and make him a hero. His adultery did him no favours, either. Also, his long hair is a plot-hole. How can he pass as an FBI Agent?


A character development for Sam could have been to immediately become a "co-ordinator" following Dean's disappearance. He could have ensured the Leviathan were being ganked, Kevin (the whiny prophet) protected, and Dean looked for. He should have taken over Bobby's role. This would have been an appropriate character development for the lead in the show, not a disintegrating wimp in a boring "non-love" relationship who unplugs blocked sinks in a motel. Character development is a good thing (what we see with Sam is not development, but disintegration). Sam, as the star of the show, needs to be a hero. Not only did he not care about his missing brother, but he left poor Martin in the forest to get killed by Benny "the savage vampire". Sera Gamble made him a wimp (drinking demon blood, being souless, wall breaking down). This is tiresome. Time to be a hero, Sam.


@Melynda again. Sam's charcter has been made weak, soppy and lethargic in S8. You call it "character development", it isn't (it's bad writing). Sam is the star of the show, and his disinterest in his brother being gone is disgraceful. Dean brought him back to life and sold his soul and went to Hell for Sam. Remember when Sam was distraught when Dean went to Hell (I tried to bargain, but no demon would deal). When Dean kept dying in Mystery Spot, Sam was frantic. S8 has a selfish, self-absorbed Sam. Cas wasn't a main reason for Sam staying with Dean, he just zapped him there to help with Samandriel's rescue. Sam later stayed because he saw Amelia with her husband. That bit after the fake text, "I thought she was burning on the ceiling" rubbish was woeful.


@Melynda. There are 7 archangels - Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Raguel, Sariel and Jarahmeel. Some regard Metatron as an Archangel, and of cource Lucifer. We haven't seen Raguel, Sariel or Jarahmeel yet. (SPN didn't acknowledge Uriel as an archangel, but he is one). Remember when angels first appeared on SPN - demons were terrified, "they smite first..." An angel is MORE powerful than any demon, and Crowley was often frightened by Cas. Crowley's ability to trap Samandriel was a plot hole (where was the angel fire?). Prophets don't need to learn (they just can), and another prophet would immediately have been able to read the tablet. Prophets are known to have schizophrenic/migraine tendencies which Chuck did beautifully, and which Kevin is failing to show (he is mis-scripted and miscast). Sam describing Benny to Martin is a "weak" comeback. Sam saw him once in the dark, and Benny was going under the name "Roy".


As for Castiel's storyline, it's killing me. People really think that Cas killed Samandriel willingly? He's being controlled (not even manipulated, CONTROLLED) in the worst way, especially when he fought so hard for free will (even if it did lead to his god trip in s.6). I hope that Sam and Dean figure that out. I think Cas was a major factor in Sam's decision to stay and help Dean figure things out. I mean, Sam doesn't really owe anyone as much as he owes Castiel. Not even Dean.


I'm seeing a lot of what you typically see after a show has been on for as long as Supernatural has. I don't know what people expect, but I honestly think the show is as good as it's ever been. You don't 'know' who Sam and Dean are? They're Sam and Dean, plus character development. They don't love each other anymore? Since when? I agree that Sam hasn't exactly been on the "I want a normal life!" bandwagon in awhile, but I'd imagine after the crap he's gone through, the prospect staring at him in the face, he wasn't going to say no. That doesn't mean I like Amelia. She was a terribly executed character who just came off as selfish in the end and the amount of flashbacks so far has been ridiculous. It was a little disappointing that Sam's romance was so unappealing. But healing the relationship between the boys and dealing with whatever is going on in heaven and with the tablets has been an interesting story line, I think. Naomi is interesting in what appears to be a villain-role. Most of the complaints I've seen about this season so far have been childish footstomping over Sam and Dean having relationships beyond each other. Get over it.


@'Dean Grimly' Angels obviously aren't more powerful that demons if they can be caught and tortured by them. Controlled by whatever Naomi is. Killed by humans. It wouldn't be such an ongoing fight if angels were the end-all of everything. It would be rather one-sided, pointless, and boring for them to be omnipotent. Obviously they also make mistakes. They are angels, not god. Samandriel called to Naomi before his brain was being screwed with. I'd imagine that probably knocked something loose. What archangels are left to protect Kevin? Raphael and Gabriel are dead, Lucifer and Michael are locked up, and Metatron is MIA. Crowley didn't kill Kevin because he'd already translated a tablet so he was more familiar with the language. Kevin's still learning 'the word.' A new prophet would've had to start all over. Also the tablet is broken, therefore things are missing. You can't translate something completely if not everything is there. Sam had seen Benny and can describe people, I'd imagine. He wanted him dead because he's a vampire and for whatever reason refused to trust Dean about him.


Sam's character destruction ruined S8. Amelia was annoying, but Sam being written as 'loving'a woman who is married was off-putting. S8 has lots of plot holes due to bad writing. Not only was Amelia's long-dead husband who was alive a plot hole, but others include: how did Crowley catch an angel? Angels are more powerful than demons, and Samandriel could easily have escaped, or killed Crowley. Why did Samandriel call Naomi to say he was held captive by Crowley if he knew Naomi was bad? How does Crowley understand enochian? Why didn't archangels protect Kevin? Why didn't Crowley kill Kevin so that a new prophet could read the tablet? Why can't Kevin read the tablet now? Why did Sam ask Martin to find Benny, and how did Martin even know what Benny looked like (yet he found him). Why did Sam leave Martin in the forest when he got the fake text instead of phoning Amelia, and why didn't he acknowledge that he caused Martin's death? Why did Sam want Benny dead? Sam not looking for Dean was unforgivable bad writing.


Fifty, the negative comments on this episode are well deserved. Bob Singer, Jeremy Carver, Robbie Thompson and all the rest responsible for this disgrace should hang their heads in shame. Every time I saw Amelia I felt violent. Horrible, horrible character. Season 8 has been the worst season ever. Sam and Dean are not Sam and Dean anymore, but a pair of soapie actors. Awful. It won't improve unfortunately, because fans won't admit how awful this season is.

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