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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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (126 Votes)

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


@Fifty. Yes wonderful acting from Jensen, Misha, and Mark Shepperd (as always), but "wonderful thought process by the creators?" The writers have disappointed me with many plot holes, the destruction of Sam's character, and awful Amelia story. There is too much useless dialogue (Kevin, you're mom's hot scene I would have cut), and plot holes themselves are a disgrace. Have you watched earlier seasons? Dean and Sam are very close. S8 began with Sam disinterested that Dean was even gone. Huge plot hole. I thought maybe Naomi manipulated his mind and hoped that Amelia wasn't real (unfortunately she was). Sam running off when he got a phone message and leaving a mentally unwell hunter in the forest was a disgrace, too. Sam would never have done this. It seems to me that the writers are doing episodes without thought. Naomi should have been at the forefront of S8, not Amelia or Tiger mom. Neither Amelia or Tiger mom should have been characters.


Shocked to see the amount of negative comments to this episode. I thought it was one of the best in Supernatural ever!! A mystery inside a mystery...what a wonderful thought process by the creators. Awesome acting again by Jenson and Misha and Mark Shepperd. Awesome Supernatural!!! 5 stars.


Terrible, terrible episode. Pure soap. Trite dialogue. Still NO explanation as to why Sam did not look for Dean (or at least discovered what had happened to him.)
I will never, ever ever forgive Carver for the destruction of the character of Sam Winchester. I will never forgive Carver for the unspeakable Amelia storyline. I hate Kevin too. Whiny, and he can't read the tablets - yet he's a prophet. BORING MYTHARC. Pointless and drawn out torture scene. Crowley is a joke now.
Plus, there is absolutely NO reason for Dean keeping Benny a secret - and now Dean has ditched Benny when he needs help. This season has been an utter disaster. So, so disappointed. Boring, no pacing, and takes no account of canon. And Sam HAS NOT WANTED A NORMAL LIFE since Season 1.


@SMS Castiel didn't kill Samandriel,,,Naomi did. She had something put into Castiel to put him under her control.


S8 will pick up now that boring Amelia story done with (it had better be, under no circumstances bring her back). Agree that Sam needs a special, interesting, heroic story. Hope he can get one now, but first he needs a haircut. Jared - it looks awful, cut it, please! Hope Benny can return, his story didn't get a chance, what with Amelia story being shown during his episodes. Surely the writers could have given him a better name. Agree there was no need for him to come from Purgatory. He could have saved Dean's life on earth. Purgatory was a disapointment, with Cas, Dean and Benny just walking around. I agree, Sam should have got Dean out. Please wrap up Kevin story - he is terrible. Chuck was a great prophet.


Hope Amelia is gone for good. The writers need to understand that an "angry" woman is not attractive. Not only was Amelia a complete bore, but she was "angry". This is not romantic. Why would Sam pursue an angry woman? Lisa was angry too, and her story was also time-wasting. It's not that fans dislike female characters - it's that they are miscast, and their story "wrong". If writers want to pursue a romantic edge to the show, then the female has to be likeable. Amelia was not likeable, and neither was Lisa. Lisa was Dean's one-night stand from years back, then suddenly the "love of his life." Get real. Also, Dean and Lisa did not look right together. Amelia's story was boring, and why was her father in it? Absolute rubbish.


This is the better episode so far from S8. S8 unfortunately has been flat and dull, especially with Sam's so called "normal life" of lethargy, disinterest and sink-fixing. Hopefully all that is behind, and S8 can move forward. Hopefully the writers re-create the excitement of the earlier seasons, and give Sam a good story. If he had looked for Dean and discovered Purgatory, that would have been better. As it was, the Purgatory story fell almost as flat as Sam. Hated the Amelia, vet, dog story, and it was too long and irrelevant. Love Crowley, Cas, and Samandriel. Writers - no more Garth - SPN is not a comedy show. Kevin is miscast and whiney. No more mom please. Bring back Sam and Dean to canon where they care about each other.


I thoroughly enjoyed this episode and glad that the brothers are getting their act back together. Hopefully Benny will stay good. After all, he can just go into any blood bank and obtain the blood bags he needs. He did have a cooler full of them in 'Blood Brother' when he called Dean to help him. I also do not feel Amelia was a good fit for Sam. There was no chemistry between them - they always seemed uncomfortable. And even though her 'husband' has mysteriously returned, which, by the way needs explaining. He was declared legally dead which means a body had to be buried, a death certificate had to be obtained. One cannot just walk back into life w/o an explanation - unless of course, you are Sam and Dean! I think Crowley's expression after finding out about the Angel table was a little more worried and frightened than overjoyed to find out about it. His words 'Mother of sin, there's an Angel tablet' and the look after he said was not a happy smiley face....he was afraid! Perhaps a third entity is involved here? Something or someone else may be involved, not just Angels and Demons. Closing Hell and closing Heaven would allow the earth to be someone else's prize? I don't believe what Naomi is saying is completely true. Alfi/Samandriel was telling everything he learned about himself and other angels through his own torture. When he started to talk about Naomi and 'they are controlling us' - Naomi demanded that Cas kill him. Angels can heal themselves and I think eventually Samandriel would have healed himself. Cas needed help once from Bobby via his soul because he didn't have time to heal himself from Rachel's knife attack because he had to get the brothers back from Frontierland. So Naomi ordering Cas to kill the only person who could tell all to Cas and probably heal himself, makes her even more suspicious.


This episode summarized in one sentence: there are two tablets, one for the Angels and one for the Demons. That's it.


@Shannon. Why did you want to see a sex scene? Not only was the "romance" incredibly boring, but SPN is not s sex show. It is supposed to be about ghouls, ghosts, goblins, demons, angels and two brothers on a road-trip saving people in the Impala. The "romance" between Amelia and Sam was actually unwatchable (I had to leave the room). The script was terrible, and there was no love - no smiles, no twinkling of the eye, no body language to suggest love. If there was to have been a sex scene, it would have been an incredibly dull one, so I don't think you missed out on anything. Also, Sam looks like he could do with a good shower these days.

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