Episode 810 “Torn and Frayed”
Well… that happened.
I still enjoy certain elements of the show, Castiel in particular, but I guess I’m just done with the pointless torture and pointless killing of likable characters to further plotlines. I know I came in late to the party, but I showed up based on earlier ratings and recommendations. Don’t get me wrong, I love parts of it, but the rest is just…
Good points in this episode:
- Samandriel (to quote Dean, “heaven’s most adorable angel”), especially when he creates a very Biblical speaking burning bush. Super awesome.
- Castiel being Castiel, especially when he tells the Winchesters to “…as you say, stow your crap.” I’ve been wanting to say that all season.
- Dumping the baggage, in the form of Benny and Amelia.
- The interesting and evocative feel of the factory Crowley was holding Samadriel in. Kudos to whoever designed the lighting for this sequence.
Bad points in this episode:
- Samandriel being tortured in horrible and graphic ways. I wasn’t comfortable with my 16-year-old son watching this, and in fact he left the room partway through the episode. I won’t give away the ending, but it made me never want to watch Supernatural again. I may not. Still undecided.
- Castiel being tortured and then mind-controlled to do horrible things. Epic fail. No. Stop this.
- Negating a painted symbol by painting over the symbol. News flash: The original symbol is STILL THERE, it’s just under a layer of paint now. You didn’t destroy it, you decorated it.
- Sam’s “girlfriend” not only being in it at all, but laying a giant guilt trip on him as if her cheating on her husband is HIS fault, saying she just can’t help herself, like rapists are tempted into raping because of how a woman is dressed. Both my friend and I loathe her and think there’s zero chemistry there, but my husband said “She’s one of the more interesting things that happens in this episode.” To each his or her own.
- The way in which Sam and Dean went through the building where Samandriel was being held. Just walking around bare-handed? Not looking around corners carefully or looking behind you? These are the Winchesters we’re talking about. They’re expert hunters with years of experience. They would at least have a demon-killing blade in hand at all times and be about ten times more stealthy.
The overall idea of the episode was good, apart from the obvious nature of the “big reveal” near the end. If there’s a demon tablet, and we know there’s other tablets, what’s the first likely thing that comes to mind? So with this big exciting news, Crowley telegraphs the McGuffin for the rest of this season. That’s really what they’re going to use to try and keep people watching? I guess we’ll see what the ratings have to say about that.
“Torn and Frayed” did what it needed to do, which was to introduce even more nefarious and messed up stuff to Castiel’s story that not even he is aware of, to introduce the McGuffin tablet, and to resolve the two side stories attached to Sam and Dean since the beginning of the season.
What this last item does is the most important, since it pares away everything and shows that, in the end, the brothers will always choose each other, which is what the core of the show needs to survive. However, having done that, has it stripped away too much? We see Sam and Dean sitting in a cheap motel, eating cheap food, and watching cheap television, right back where it all began and very much alone. The sad music and retreating crane shot underline that they will likely never have anything but this, and each other.
The frustrating thing is that, if done correctly, this very paring is what makes Supernatural great. It still has potential, but after taking the stakes as high as they can go in past seasons, they’ve left little space for the story of the Winchesters to go anywhere new and interesting. Supernatural needs a strong, talented visionary in the mold of a Stephen Moffat or Joss Whedon to breathe new life into this ebbing universe before it’s too late.