Sunday the 13th was Kim Manner’s birthday. Even though he passed away back in 2009, I can’t help but wonder when I watch a scene what Kim would have done with it. On Saturday the 12th, really with not much prior plannning, a few of us decided to watch a few episodes in honor of the occasion. I probably should have tried to make a bigger thing of it, and certain friends voiced their displeasure that I didn’t make the rewatch more known, but I also had surgery scheduled for Monday the 14th, so I wasn’t completely focused. I bring up the Kim rewatch and my surgery because I think they factored into why my first watch of this episode was so negative...and why my review took so long to write.
For the Kim Manners rewatch, I chose two X-Files (Kim directed 54 episodes if memory serves correctly). For those of you who are X-Files fans, we watched season two episodes “Die Hand Die Verletzt” and “Humbug”. The rest of the episodes we watched were Supernatural episodes: “Scarecrow”, “In My Time Of Dying” and “No Rest for the Wicked”. The Supernatural episodes other rewatch members helped choose. The X-Files episodes I chose. I did choose “Scarecrow” however...and “No Rest for the Wicked”, since I love Lilith 2.0. Why do I bring up what we watched? Because it shows what episodes are always my favorite, whether we are talking about the X-Files or Supernatural or even Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I love the stand alone monster of the week episodes. I love the episodes that delve into the personalities and the relationships. I feel a lot of times that these stories get bogged down under the weight of the mythology. For me, the X-Files were about finding out that “truth” in all things, Mulder and Scully, out there kicking alien, monster and mutant ass. On Supernatural, I love Sam and Dean out there hunting things, saving people, the family business. Angels and demons, heaven and hell, they cloud the issue in my opinion. If I want to watch a show so heavy on mythology that if I miss an episode or two I will be lost I watch LOST or Revolution. For me, Dean summed up this episode, and my feeling so far on this season, quite succinctly, as an Aquarian is wont to do:
“I’m just tired of all the fighting.”
I just want Sam and Dean to stow away their crap ( as Cas so beautifully put) and get back to work. They have work to do after all. Let’s get back to it.
I’m also thinking that my weakened recovery situation also played into my general disgruntlement over this episode. On rewatch I wouldn’t go so far as to say I loved it, but I would say that I felt the episode brought up stuff that needed to come out so we could lay some things on the table and hopefully put some of them away for good. Admittedly, I wish certain things they had laid on the table hadn’t been done in a way that made them seem like bright shiny epiphanies. I think we were smart enough to know, or at least highly suspect, that there was an angel tablet floating around out there for example.
This episode was the first solo effort for writer Jenny Klein, with Robert Singer directing. Samandriel/Alfie, the world’s most adorable angel, isn’t dead as suspected, but is actually being tortured by Crowley for information. In his severely compromised state, he turns on “angel radio” alerting Naomi that he has been taken. Naomi sends Castiel out to find Samandriel/Alfie, but since the exact place in which Alfie is being held is not known, Cas will need to do some investigating. To this end, he asks for help from Dean, only to find out that Dean is on his own and Sam has taken off. Although Dean is willing to help Cas out on his own, Cas insists that both brothers are needed and they are just going to have to put their differences behind them...
And on to the analysis...
I found it very interesting at the end that Cas had no idea who Naomi was. I knew she was playing with his mind, but based on what Alfie said, it doesn’t appear that any angels consciously know about the existence of Naomi. Also, in farther away shots of Naomi’s office, it appears that Naomi is actually transparent. I’ve been wondering for a while if Naomi is maybe Metatron, or perhaps even another incarnation of god, but now we know for sure she is something different, possibly something different from an angel entirely. If no angels know of the existence of Naomi, maybe that room doesn’t actually exist in heaven. Could it be the gateway to heaven? Is it somewhere else entirely?
Alfie also inferred that the angels were all being controlled. This fact Naomi clearly wanted to hide. I am very intrigued to find out what is going on with this storyline! Yes, I am aware that is a little hypocritical considering my Sam and Dean family business take! But what can I say? Cas proves himself to be an empathetic character no matter how far he seems to diverge from the path.
That was something that really interested me too. Upon first watch, I was mortified that Cas killed Samandriel. By far the nicest angel we have met and in my opinion the only angel other than Cas that has seemed worthy of a second thought. (sorry guys, I wasn’t an Anna fan). Why does he have to sink this low? Haven’t we already explored Cas as bad guy? I have to admit I am still worried about this. I loved the Cas remorse, and I guess I have to say that the only person I really felt sorry for in this whole episode (other than Alfie) was Cas, in being powerless to stop himself from killing Sam/Alfie. But I guess that is what is getting me about it. Now Sam and Dean know that there is a problem with Cas. I think it is great that Sam and Dean again only have each other to rely on, but I worry for what this means for Cas. I fear what he is capable of when he feels he is backed against a wall. Remember the whole Crowley thing?
Questioning the heroic nature of an important character leads me to want to discuss Sam, because I’m having a difficult time settling out this one. Before when Sam slept with Amelia he didn’t know she was married. Then he knew, but also knew they had been apart a long time and they weren’t actually acting like “husband and wife”, but here Sam sleeps with a woman who by her own account is trying to and allegedly succeeding in putting her marriage back together. Not that I’m getting on a moral high horse about relationships or how people should conduct themselves in them. I’m the first person to say when someone says, “Too bad he’s married”, “Well, that doesn’t always matter.” But I guess with Sam, it does bother me. I question why the writers are writing the character who supposedly was the one the most in his superego, the one who would muddle through things worried about something being wrong, would be the one sleeping with a married woman. I feel like we have been down this path before. I want to see Sam the Hero, Sam making the noble decision. Sure, the Winchesters are only mortal men, but I can’t help but want my heroes to make the righteous decision. I want to know that they will make the right decision when I cannot.
I did like where Amelia laid it on the line though. It’s interesting to see the Amelia situation after going through the Lisa one. Sam can lie to the women he is in love with, can keep the truth of who he is from her, but Dean could not. It probably had to do with what Dean said about how he could never completely pry himself away from the job (thank you so much for that line, Jenny. I’ve been saying that about Dean for years). Sam always hoped to be completely done with the job. It appeared that with Amelia he did just that. So here, Sam admitted to Dean that he was in love with Amelia, but then decided to stay with Dean and end it with Amelia because they have too much to do.
Amelia told Sam to stay completely or to leave and not come back. Lisa gave Dean an option. But you know that was because she understood Dean. She knew that Dean could never really let go of the life. He needed to be out there, and she respected that. She couldn’t hold him back from being who he was. Even though she tried to end it, she never would have completely shut the door on him, which is why Dean felt he had to end it the way he did...But with Sam, it seems different. He never told her the truth about hunting. I wonder how much she even knew about Dean. Is the Amelia story truly over? I hope so, But I suppose as long as she is breathing, it could possibly come back.
Dean ended the friendship with Benny because Sam can’t trust him. Since Benny’s calls seemed a lot like the way an AA member would call his/her sponsor when he/she is in rough shape, I wonder how long it will be before Benny falls off the wagon. He seems to be hurting already. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Benny.
I feel like I should say more about Dean and this episode. We see a lot of old Dean here. He is joking with Kevin, checking in on Busty Asian Beauties, but feeling like he should hide it from Cas, and doesn’t really make excuses for himself when Sam calls him out on the text trick. Actually, the way Sam put it did make it sound really mean. But they were talking honestly with each other, and even though that initial conversation at the hotel didn’t particularly go well, they were still getting their feelings out there in the open.
I guess a part of me is hoping the way this episode finally went means that Sam and Dean have put aside their crap and are ready to fight the good fight together again. Part of me worries though. I worry that Sam will resent Dean because he didn’t go to Kermit, TX to meet up with Amelia and leave this life behind forever. I worry that Dean will blame Sam when Benny finally falls off the wagon because Dean will feel he could have saved Benny if he hadn’t left him high and dry...
So anyway, I have a list of things I really liked about the episode:
in the hotel room
...and things I could really use a little help with about the episode:
I’m not really sure how I felt about the song used in the opening Road So Far. There are very few Seger songs I really like. Katmandu is not one of them. I did like the info given in the sequence however. I felt it was well put together. The song, although making sense wordwise, seemed a little too upbeat in my opinion.
The title, “Torn and Frayed” is a Rolling Stones song. “Well his coat is torn and frayed/ It’s seen much better days” reminds me of that lovely trench coated angel that we all know...
Let me know what you think of the episode! I’d love to hear your views on the episode as a whole and what you have wondered about regarding the season. Thanks for reading!