‘Supernatural’ Recap: A Couple of Key Choices, Goodbyes and Heart-To-Hearts

By: Danielle Turchiano / January 17, 2013

'Supernatural's' Return
Secrets and some closure on the show's winter premiere.
All season long on The CW’s Supernatural, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) have been working side-by-side but not seeing eye-to-eye. Finally, on the 2013 winter return, the brothers were forced to talk it out and make the tough decisions on who they’d put first going forward.

Not surprisingly, they chose each other. But it wasn’t without a whole lot of heartache first.

Note: Spoilers ahead if you haven’t yet watched Wednesday night’s “Torn and Frayed.”

Poor Samandiriel (Tyler Johnston). We thought Sam had it rough, being manipulated by his brother into thinking Amelia (Liane Balaban) was in trouble on the winter finale. We thought Castiel (Misha Collins) had it rough, being manipulated by Naomi (Amanda Tapping) ever since returning from Purgatory. But, Samandiriel was captured by Crowley (Mark Sheppard) and being tortured and experimented on by one of his minions.

The point was to see what made the angels tick. And through some kind of early-surgery-lobotomy device, the part of Samandiriel that acted as a programming board was tapped into. Crowley could potentially reset him to carry out other plans, all while learning what the angels had in store for him and others like him.

Of course, the more pain Samandiriel was in, being an angel and all, the more went wrong in the world. Freak occurrences like tornadoes and spontaneous bush fires cropped up, but not before Samandiriel could send a distress call to Naomi, who used Castiel once again to step in and save him.

Castiel called upon Dean for help, and the two of them brought Kevin (Osric Chau) into the mix, but he was too focused on decoding the tablet to be of much help. We got a good, hard look at what Kevin in college would have been like, unshaven, pulling all-nighters to study for tests that in the end didn’t really matter. Only this time, what he is studying makes all of the difference. If the demon tablet has a way of shutting the demons back in Hell forever, well, the Heaven tablet has similar instructions for angels. And Naomi will not have that. But, we’ll get there in a second.

Since Kevin was no help, and Garth (DJ Qualls) and Mrs. Tran (Lauren Tom) were nowhere to be found, Castiel dragged Sam back into things, even though he had reconnected (and yes, physically) with Amelia (Liane Balaban). The three of them headed to Crowley’s warehouse to spring Samandiriel, who unfortunately, had been “read” by Crowley already. With the help of some demon bombs, Castiel got Samandiriel out to safety, but the angel-turned-delivery boy revealed that Crowley knew about Naomi and the angel tablet. This was news to Castiel, of course, but he didn’t have time to process it. Naomi zapped him upstairs to her office to tell him to take Samandiriel out and simply tell the Winchesters that the kid was compromised.

And even though Samandiriel had warned Castiel that “they’re controlling us,” Castiel did it anyway. He has been trying to pay his penance all season long, and it just feels unfortunate that his way to do so is to listen to this so-called higher power. We have seen Naomi interact with no one else but Castiel. And every time she’s with him, she’s manipulating him, so we have no reason to believe she’s one of the good guys. Sure, any angel should worry about the tablet if it means they won’t be free to roam, but she seems obsessively controlling about it. Angels fall; just look at Lucifer. I don’t trust her for one second!

This episode was book-ended nicely by scenes of the brothers having their heart-to-hearts. In the opening, Dean and Sam were basically having it out from the remnants of Benny (Ty Olsson) and Amelia. They each had to make a choice on this episode. And after some soulful moments, they closed with a scene of them together, in this fight against all odds and all others for as long as it takes.

While it was great that each brother got an element of closure, I have to admit I’d be sad to never see Benny again. On this episode, he was pretty much any guy who belongs in AA after falling off a wagon. And he reached out to Dean for help, and Dean told him help would be no more. Not because he didn’t want to help him, not because he didn’t still care about him or believe in him, not because he had been let down one too many times by an addict — but because he was choosing his biological brother over his “blood brother,” so to speak. It hurt both men greatly, but it might only make one completely backslide and return to his old fanged ways.

Sam, on the other hand, faced Amelia and the fact that he really did love her and could possibly build a real life with her. Don might be alive, but he was always going on the road, leaving her alone. And so far, she had been kept off the radar of the angels and demons (maybe Sam made her get an anti-possession tattoo in the “lost year,” even without telling her its full meaning), so she wasn’t going to up and die on him. The two came up with a plan to meet at the motel if they both wanted to be together. But when the fateful time came, only Amelia showed up. Sam gave into the fact that he and Dean had a lot on their plate and that it really was their plate. They both have a part to play, and now they’re finally on the same page and ready to go after it.

Buzz Moments

OMG!: I think Dean might have actually made a compromise here. He’s usually pretty stubborn, in that “big brother knows best” sort of way, but his call to Benny to say goodbye was a big step. He could have just continued to help his friend and hid it from his brother, but he didn’t. That’s growth. Even if it makes us sad to see Benny go.

Thank you, TV gods: Dean and Sam’s conversation about Amelia was the perfect brother moment, but the two of them sitting side-by-side in silence on the couch after was even better. They both knew the weight of their decisions, and they also knew what was in store for them, and they were both preparing and relishing in a few quiet, somewhat normal moments first.

Awk-ward: Did anyone else think Mrs. Tran was going to walk up behind Dean when he was trying to get Kevin’s attention by saying his mother was hot?

Hotness: Seeing Sam in bed was good, but too brief. Here’s hoping for an extended/deleted scene to hit the internet tomorrow. Or the DVD in a few months.

Fab-u-lous: Sam’s hair on this episode looked like he had stepped out of the salon minutes before every scene. Seriously, seedy motel shampoos cannot possibly give highlights and volume like that!

Can. Not. Wait.: Will Sam grow to resent his decision? And seriously, what is Naomi’s deal!?

Celebuzz Meter (1-10): 8

What did you think of “Torn and Frayed?” Let us know in the comments below!

Danielle Turchiano

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