“Torn and Frayed”, a re-run aired as we wait for the next installment on April 24th, is an important turning point for this season.
The Winchester brothers reunite at the top of the episode, mistrust written on each face. Sam is suspicious of Dean, having been tricked by his brother into visiting Amelia, Sam’s on again off again love interest. Dean runs off to help Benny. Dean is uncertain where the partnership is going if both of them have other agendas — Dean is told that he must make a choice between Sam or Benny. Sam’s still trying to figure out how he feels about Amelia.
The angel Samandriel, is being tortured by a minion of Crowley, current King of Hell, but he manages to send out a distress call that is picked up by the angel Naomi, a mysterious heavenly commander who is also controlling Castiel, who resides in the human vessel Jimmy Novak.
Castiel is sent to rescue Samandriel and Dean agrees to go along, but doesn’t look to his brother for help. Sam is off trying to figure out what his life looks like with or without Amelia Richardson, a veternarian who saved the life of an injured dog Sam hit on the road. She’s sending mixed signals about what she really wants.
Since Sam isn’t along for the ride, Dean tracks down Prophet Kevin Tran for help in creating more “demon bombs”, which require a long list of ingredients. Castiel promises to find these. Although he does return with them all, he does deliver Sam, much to Dean’s dismay.
The boys find Crowley’s place and wreak havoc while Castiel, despite flashbacks that seem to indicate he was tortured by Naomi, rescues the poor Samandriel. Too bad Castiel’s been ordered to kill him. He has been compromised, having given under duress of torture, the demon king Crowley information about a certain Angel tablet.
Castiel now has something to hide from the brothers. He exits before he can be questioned too closely. Sam and Dean have another mystery to solve. It’s not long before they realize that, yet again, they only have each other.
“Torn and Frayed” is the end of the first act of Season 8. It has established Kevin’s prophetic ability to read tablets. We have discovered that there is an Angel tablet as well as a Demon tablet. We now know that there are bad guys on both sides: Heaven and Hell cannot be trusted (but since when have the Winchesters ever trusted anything remotely supernatural?).
With the possibility of closing the doors of Heaven and Hell, will Dean and Sam finally be able to rescue the world from the otherworldly? What will happen to Castiel if they succeed?
Tensions are high between the brothers as they struggle to extricate themselves from the lives they have lived apart. Circumstances keep bringing them together, and it’s only a matter of time before they either learn to forgive or finally go their separate ways.
This season of Supernatural, though peppered with hilarity such as Hunter Heroici (a personal favorite), is a much darker and more serious season than those prior. Particularly when compared to season seven, which never reached the epic heights of seasons one through five.
Ben Edlund, the show-runner for season eight (and now nine) has confirmed that he has a three season arc in mind. This means we could get another Kripke-esque story line. I get the feeling we’re headed back to classic Supernatural: the brothers fighting angels and demons, running around looking for angelic artifacts, and the ever-growing suspicion that they, Sam and Dean, are the only people who can save the world.
A writer for the show has mentioned that the theme for this season is “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. I hope that means we’re getting an intense and bold season finale that ends with angels and demons getting their faces melted off as the boys prepare to send everyone back to their respective planes. If they can just find a way to keep Castiel out of harm’s way and ensure that everything goes according to plan!