Episode 8.10

“Torn and Frayed” Review
By Annie Kenney

Never before has a title been so true because this is how I felt at the end of this episode. It was a great return to form – in my opinion – and while there were issues with some of it, most of it was excellent and it was almost a relief to see the brothers hunting together again even if it was an uneasy truce.

This was a great episode though and there was an awful lot happening. Angel torture, both from demons and fellow angels (I loathe Naomi but I am interested in seeing what her end game is), brothers still at each other’s throats and Castiel acting very strangely. There was also a welcome return for Crowley and Kevin and here are two characters I hope we see more of.

It was refreshing to hear Castiel say what most fans have been saying over these past few episodes, that Sam & Dean should ‘stow their crap’. The whole appeal of Supernatural was the brother bond and, in these past few years, that bond has been stretched to breaking point and beyond. The brothers are still not talking it out as they should and there is still so much obvious tension between them. That said they are going to have to get closer than ever if everything that is threatening to go down actually goes down. The revelation that there is an angel tablet as well as a demon tablet was quite a shocking twist and, as a viewer, it will be fascinating to see where that storyline is going. As a huge fan of Crowley it is great to see him back in his role as ‘big bad’ although I have a strong suspicion that Naomi is going to be matching him along the way.

As always in Supernatural episodes it was hard to know who to feel the most sympathy for. Dean looked lost, Sam angry, Castiel confused and poor old Benny alone and fighting, what looks like, the urge to bite and feed. The romantic part of me wanted Sam to be happy with Amelia but that was never going to happen. The flashbacks – particularly the one from the end of ‘Heartache’ – were always garish and misty, more unreal than the supernatural world – a direct comparison to Dean’s flashbacks of Purgatory that were dark and dank but somehow more believable. I don’t think anyone was surprised when Sam turned up on the couch next to Dean. It was inevitable but somehow it still made me feel rather sad. I must be in the minority as I actually liked the Sam/Amelia storyline! I liked the way their flashbacks were done in Technicolor, bright and unreal where the supernatural world was – as always – dull and washed out. It was almost painful to watch them together though, so much pain and angst and both of them damaged. It was a relationship doomed to failure but at least Amelia seems to have escaped the Sam Winchester curse and was last seen alive.

Dean’s goodbye to Benny was almost as heart wrenching. I liked Benny and didn’t distrust him in the way that Sam did. I genuinely believe that he wanted to stick to the straight and narrow but now I am afraid that he won’t and I don’t think we have seen the last of him. Some people have compared Benny and Dean’s relationship to that of Sam and Ruby’s but I don’t see it. I didn’t ever really trust Ruby but – somehow – I did trust Benny and it would be very sad and very shocking to see him fall off the wagon.

Before I get to the episodes conclusion – my favourite scene I might add – for a lot of different reasons (not all of them good!), I must have a quick fan girl.

squee moment. Sam made Dean pie! Let me say it again for good measure, Sam made Dean pie! It was a beautiful moment and a real nod to fans I think. However it is clear that pie wasn’t going to cut it this time.

This episode did, at least, end with the brothers together, protected from angels, demons and vampires, leaving loved ones and normality behind, choosing the hunting life and choosing each other. This was something every Supernatural fan should rejoice at seeing but it was also tinged with something else, something bittersweet.

When I watched I was reminded of an episode right back in Season 3 ‘A Very Supernatural Christmas’ where Sam gives Dean Christmas and they settle down on the couch together to watch a football game. Real togetherness, Sam doing something for Dean, something Dean wanted desperately, the body language between the two showing just how close they were at that moment.

Fast forward to ‘Torn & Frayed’ and we still see two brothers on a couch, Dean giving Sam what he wanted (breaking up with Benny) even though Sam didn’t know it. Sam giving up his normal life with Amelia for Dean. This time though it is clear that, despite everything, these two men are not close, there is very little togetherness between them. I longed for them to clink bottles, to toast to their future perhaps, a future they have chosen, Team Free Will if you like. Instead of watching a football game – a team game – they are watching a boxing match, a fight between two individuals. Perhaps I am reading too much into this but that one thing was telling to me, a glaring signpost, something that told us things were not as ideal as they might have been.

All in all I really liked and enjoyed this episode; it set things up in a big way. It looked like goodbye to Amelia and Benny, a welcome back to Cas, Crowley and Kevin, a return to two brothers in a big, black muscle car fighting monsters.

However, as we know, in Supernatural things are not always as they seem and Sam and Dean are still Torn & Frayed and there is a long, long way to go before they, and their relationship, will be totally mended.

I think it will be though and that gives me hope for the future…