“I can’t enjoy a world I need to save, Dean. I can enjoy it when this is all over with. Right now, there’s nothing more important than this.”
Kevin pretty much summed up this entire episode in one sentence. It’s an important lesson, putting all else above your happiness, but that’s probably why in the end this wasn’t an enjoyable episode either. We care about these characters, we love these characters, but sometimes their misery gets a bit too overwhelming. And it seems these guys have a ton to be miserable about.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate “Torn and Frayed.” In construction, there’s some important stuff in there, stuff that was sorely needed at this time and place. Jenny Klein did a great job in her first solo script. It’s just the end had the result fans have been dying to see all season, but the fun was sucked out of it. We were left pretty empty.
Before going into the analysis, let me get my big, seething, “Hated it!” complaint out of the way first. It’s time for the big midseason kick off, and they go with Bob Seger’s “Katmandu?” That’s not only the worst song ever by Bob Seger, it’s one of the worst rock songs ever done. It’s not exactly kick ass, is it? It’s cheesy. Growing up in Detroit every single time that song came on the radio (which was a lot since Bob Seger is a native son), it was an instant channel change for me. So MAJOR FAIL there guys.
Anyway, this episode in construction had a good mixture of brotherly drama vs. angel/demon story and flowed very well. Poor Samandriel. He was the good angel, one that actually believed in Castiel. Why is it on this show the good ones have to suffer and die? Naomi had to know that Crowley had captured Samandriel. He’d been missing for weeks. She after all had programmed him and they didn’t have that pin in his skull when he was first captured in “A Little Slice of Kevin.” She wanted him tortured for a reason.
I’m in the camp not totally convinced that angels are at work here. It’s too much of a coincidence the two angels being controlled are the two angels that have been in touch with Crowley recently. Perhaps it’s a set of rogue angels working with Crowley? Maybe Naomi isn’t in Heaven and Crowley is controlling all this? Is there someone else we don’t know about? I know these questions aren’t anything new, so I’ll push those aside and pull them out when there’s more info. I still say it’s related to the person who was spying on Sam in the season opener. Duh, I’m stating the obvious again.
In the meantime, Castiel is a pawn. Man, will this poor angel ever catch a break? I long for the days back in season five when he was a fallen angel, roaming the earth, slowly losing his abilities but fighting the good fight (and going on a bender here and there for fun). I love how he’s at least healing babies. That’s always a step in the right direction on redemption. That woman will always wonder now why angels wear trenchcoats.
So Castiel was given this mission to save Samandriel just so he could kill him? That’s just plain sad. Was Naomi hoping that Castiel would get him before he revealed things to Crowley, or did she want Crowley to know that info? It was obvious after the rescue judging by Samandriel’s panic he was dead no matter what happened. It just destroyed me to see Castiel be mind controlled into killing him. Cass should have been the one who tried to save him, find another way. On thing’s for sure, Castiel is coming apart. His distress is so real, so unnerving given how stoic and strong he can be.
Castiel remembering the torture scenes in “Heaven” is a good bit of info, but I was hoping for more progression in the angel story in this episode. It just wasn’t enough. The pacing of this mytharc has been sluggish enough this season, this episode just made it drag on more.
Another thing that bothered me, why was Crowley surprised there was an angel tablet? There’s a demon one, there’s a leviathan one, so why wouldn’t there be an angel one? Heck there’s probably a human one. It reveals the secrets for banishing us all from the Walmart. What I want to know is where in the universe is Crowley going to find it? Did Samandriel reveal that secret? Maybe that’s the setup for the rest of the season, the search for the lost tablets. Given the fact I’ve seen the episode pitches for the bulk of the season, I’m thinking those searches won’t be dominating a lot of time. Then again, Mr. Carver has been keeping plots close to the vest.
Sam and Dean Act Like Adults
The major strength of the episode was the brother scenes. I did love all that was said and done and man was it a long time coming. After everything, Sam and Dean decided they needed to be both feet in and choose to fight together. That meant giving up relationships that meant the world to them, relationships that made them happy.
Both are talking, so that’s huge. That’s the one thing they haven’t been able to do all season. You know Sam wanted to talk when he saw Dean at the motel and tried to slam the door, but then stopped himself. Dean went right with the story of how Benny killed Martin in self defense. “Like it or not, that’s the truth. There was a time when that meant something.” Yeah, don’t remind me Dean.
The Sam of old probably would have walked away, or said nothing, so it’s wonderful to see him open up instead. He made it clear his anger had nothing to do with Benny. Sam couldn’t believe that Dean would pull that stunt with the text knowing his past emotional scars. “To be afraid that what happened to Jessica, what happened to everybody we care about would happen to her?” In that context, it makes Dean’s defense, if Sam had trusted him the first place they wouldn’t be there, pretty weak. “Is that where we are? You save a vampire by making me believe the woman I love might be dead?” Good point Sam.
Dean’s frustration at this moment reflects his frustration with Sam ever since he got back from Purgatory. He doesn’t know how to make things right. This time Sam makes it clear how, ditch Benny. Dean isn’t willing to do that, and goes back to the cabin, ready to go on without Sam. Just think what could have happened if Castiel hadn’t had other ideas and the ability to retrieve Sam in a flash? It’s the siege on the warehouse, working well together as a team, that reminds them they’re both better off together than apart when saving the world.
After their adventure gone awry, the brothers finally choose to talk with less hostility and have one very refreshing adult conversation. Dean does figure out a way to make things right and breaks the impasse, reminding Sam he has a girl to get back to. “I don’t know, I’m just tired of all the fighting. And maybe I’m a little bit jealous. I could never separate myself from the job like you could. Hell, maybe it’s time for at least one of us to be happy.”
It’s a nice sentiment and Dean is endearing in his sincerity, but Sam is a guy that’s never handled guilt well. Just knowing his brother would be out there, fighting a fight that he walked away from, it would have torn him apart. Amelia never stood a chance in that decision. Sam knows Amelia would make him happy, but he’s needed in this fight too.
While Sam walks, Dean makes his choice and calls Benny. I find Dean’s decision huge, because theirs is a very unique bond that Sam could never understand. Benny may be a vampire, but he’s Dean’s brother in arms too. Two soldiers sharing something on the battlefield that no one but each other could possibly understand. That kind of loyalty means a ton to Dean.
It’s interesting how they both made the decision to carry on together separately, with each not knowing how the other would choose. Maybe they intuitively knew, but I don’t believe that. They both have changed so much in their year apart, they’re having too much trouble recognizing one another.
At the end, sitting on the couch with beers and a meal watching TV, Sam and Dean didn’t look very happy together. There are no words, which always results something special thanks to Jared and Jensen. Dean gives Sam an “Are you sure?” gaze, and Sam nods. His face is tinged with regret though. He carries on with his meal, because the choice is made. The brothers are on the same team again, but it’s bittersweet.
In the end both Sam and Dean know they made the right decisions, but it seems like it hurt. Both are probably left wondering what they did to poor Benny and Amelia, two people that looked like they were left in a bad place. That’s not exactly making the brotherly reunion very satisfying. It’s not a happy ending, that’s for sure.
Other Random Thoughts
My favorite part of this episode is when Castiel came and got Sam. I’m always wishing for more scenes with Castiel and Sam. Cass just shows up on the park bench, startling Sam, making a comment about how watching humans never gets old. Speak for yourself Cass! That’s long enough to break the tension before they’re back in a flash with Dean and Kevin. When the brothers exchange words, Castiel knows how to handle it. “I need the both of you to, how you say, stow your crap!” Yes sir Mr. Pretty Boy Angel!
Sam and Amelia slept together. Considering it resulted in a shirtless Winchester (after getting three very fine shirtless moments in “Arrow”), I’m cool with it. Did you notice how wearing his shirt practically swallowed her? Nice dress lady. Sam looked extremely guilty afterward though. That’s probably another reason why he chose to stay with Dean. That’s really all I have to say about that.
The Burning Bush! Manifest through shrubbery! It was only a month or so ago we were running a game on Twitter where you replaced a word in your favorite “Supernatural” lines with “shrubbery.” It seems Samandriel was tuning into that. 🙂
Plain and simple, I don’t enjoy episodes that bum me out. Make me a weepy mess? Yes. Make me laugh myself to injury? Yes. Get me excited with adventure and the good guys winning one? Yes. The boys driving off into the sunset in the Impala ready to take on another day? Yes, yes! This episode had none of that. It served it’s purpose though, moving the story along, so I’m ready to learn from this, much like Sam and Dean, and move on. Bring on the LARPing! I need to feel good again.