"Supernatural" roared back from the winter hiatus (Hellatus to the fandom) with the Bob Seger song, "Katmandu" and 2.07 million viewers. The tenth episode of season eight, "Torn and Frayed" lived up to its title in a lot of ways. The winter finale before the break left us with "Citizen Fang" an episode that at its end had the brothers separated and at odds. Okay, the at odds isn't a new thing, as their relationship has been touchy ever since Dean's return from Purgatory for a number of reasons.
"Torn and Frayed" was a bit of a roller coaster ride as we went from the brothers, to Castiel (Misha Collins) and then Crowley and his torturing of Samandriel. Also, we had Naomi in Heaven working Castiel like a puppet and Kevin looking a little rough around the edges as he tried to work with half a demon tablet on Garth's houseboat. Dean (Jensen Ackles) had his Benny hiccup and Sam (Jared Padalecki) had his with Amelia. The episode was packed with a lot of layers for us to dig through.
I'm not sure about anyone else, but I wasn't all that shocked to hear there was an angel tablet. I certainly wasn't blown away like Crowley (Mark Sheppard) when his response to the 'secret' Samandriel divulged under torture was, "Holy Mother of sin, there's an angel tablet." Although, I can understand why he is most likely very thrilled over the news. So, for me that wasn't a big OMG moment, as it may have been for others, only because it didn't surprise me, it seemed logical in the yin/yang sense. However, it does raise questions concerning why would God have a tablet written that would seal his angels in heaven. We may even come to find out there is a human tablet, who knows? So, not an OMG moment, but still peaks my curiosity toward the 'why' in terms of the angel tablet. Maybe, God even knew his angels could be as duplicitous as demons, I'm grasping at straws, but hope we get some answers as the season progresses.
What I liked:
- Sam and Dean making a small step toward working things out or as they would say, "stow their crap." I liked Samandriel but like a lot of characters on "Supernatural" it's wise not to like them too much as they have a bad habit of dying. The fans over the seasons have had to let go of a few beloved characters, but there is always a grain of hope some will come back, after all, the show is named "Supernatural."
- The ultimatums which were so similar that Sam received from both his brother and Amelia, I found interesting. Dean told Sam, "Well, I do know this, whatever you decide, decide. Both feet in or both feet out, anything in between is what gets you dead" and Amelia spoke along the same vein in regard to them being together or not, "I can't have you one foot in my life and one foot out there doing whatever it is you do...". It's a tough situation for Sam, yet it is time for him to decide: both feet in the hunting life with his brother or both feet out and living a life away from hunting with Amelia. The viewers get his decisions at the end of the episode.
- Now, Crowley is the kind of character you hate to love and love to hate, honestly I loved the guy ever since he said, "they ate my tailor" in season five, episode twenty. I'm curious to see how the remainder of the season develops, as Crowley endeavors to keep Hell open for business and I'm assuming he'll begin a massive search for the angel tablet to lock up heaven tight with its angels.
- Sam was shirtless ... always a plus!
- Benny (Ty Olsson), the on the wagon vampire, is a likeable character but on the flip side I'm happy that Dean made a decision regarding which brother mattered more to him: his purgatory brother that he fought alongside and bled with or Sam, his little brother, and that despite their familial issues has been by Dean when it really counts. In the end it came down to family and the family business for both brothers whether they realize it or not.
- We had as close to a brother moment as we've had in a while at the end of the episode (Dean opened Sam's beer first and that made me all warm and fuzzy). The scene wasn't a huge breakthrough for the brother's relationship but it was a much needed step toward mending fences and the Winchester brother's finally appearing to attempt at being on the same page with one another.
What I didn't like:
- Amelia's little will they or won't they ultimatum speech: "how about two days from now ... one of us will be here and we'll know, neither of us will be here and we'll know, or both of us will be here and we'll know." The rambling speech coupled with the scene of them both looking down and away from each other with the background piano music playing, was a little too melodramatic for me and soap opera-ish. Plus, the speech was more like junior high than we're adults having an adult conversation.
- Now, don't get me wrong I liked them as a couple but having been riding along with this show for eight seasons, the Winchester love interests, especially Sam's don't exactly have a long shelf life if you know what I mean, so what future did it have? Overall, I felt their relationship wrap-up was rushed simply petering out and just went quietly, no "rage against the dying of the light." I felt it was given a disservice in its rushed manner but with a packed episode such as this one something was bound to suffer.
- I can appreciate Bob Seger as much as the next person, but felt that "Katmandu" wasn't the best choice for the "Road So Far" opening sequence. I get that it was probably an allusion to purgatory and the subsequent escape from it, but it just didn't fit. Perhaps, "It's a Long Way to the Top" by AC/DC or "Have you ever seen the Rain" by Creedence Clearwater Revival or the contemporary route and "Guaranteed" by Eddie Vedder. I know there was some fandom dissension as some suggested it should have been "Carry On Wayward Son" by Kansas, I truly didn't expect it anyway. They usually reserve that song for season premiere's and season finale's, so I wasn't looking for it in this Hellatus ending episode.
I'm eager to see where the season takes us and where Jeremy Carver's season eight endgame will leave us in the season finale. Although, the show hasn't been officially picked up for a season nine, as yet, I'm willing to throw my hat in the ring and say it's pretty much a done deal. I'd be shocked into catatonia if it didn't get renewed, so I'm anticipating one heck of a finale this year.
Now, what was torn and frayed between Sam and Dean when the episode began isn't completely mended but the repairs have begun and I for one have faith that they will rediscover the architecture of their brotherhood as the season develops.