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