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Two Days Later: Torn and Frayed

January 18, 2013

Torn and Frayed – that’s how many fans felt after this week’s episode of Supernatural! Jenny Klein’s first solo script was an emotional rollercoaster that left me exhausted. There were moments of OMG, and moments of WTF, but ultimately I ended up – well, not exactly happy, because the Winchesters’ world is a pretty bleak place right now – but a little bit hopeful. Here’s why.


Fandom has been frustrated with the rift between Sam and Dean this season. Many of us fell for Show largely because of the close relationship between the brothers, and every time one hurts the other, we wince right along with them. Maybe that’s why the ending scene of Torn and Frayed felt right. Things aren’t perfect, nobody is actually happy (that would be pretty weird with the world hanging in the balance and too many people the Winchesters care about hurting – Cas, Amelia, Benny, and Kevin among them). But there’s a quiet solidity to the scene that makes it feel like a foundation for the rest of the season. I found myself physically relieved to see it – to see the brothers back on the same page, on the same couch, back together.

There’s a lot of debate about whether or not they “chose each other”, and ultimately, it’s not that simple. It can’t be. They chose the mission and the quest – the family business. But they also chose to pursue it together, with both feet in. Neither of their decisions was made easily, and that felt real. The fact that they actually talked to each other, and – even more miraculously – listened, was a big part of the process. Dean listened to Sam, dropped his own defensiveness and tried to understand Sam’s feelings. He seemed to make the break with Benny because he knew he had to, but it was painful to watch, as it should have been.

Sam listened to Dean too, but more than that, he took the time to listen to himself, free to do that because both Dean and Amelia had given him the psychological space to figure out what he really wanted. That was pretty damn big of both of them, and the first time I actually believed that Amelia really cared about Sam and wasn’t just clinging to him in a time when she was (understandably) broken. The scene in the cabin was preceded by the boys expressing their concern about Cas, and this seemed to be the thing that brought both of them to a place where they could get their priorities clear. Something’s very wrong with Cas, and Dean and Sam both care. Their motivation now, unlike most of the season so far, seems to be more than ‘save the world’– it’s personal. It’s save Cas, who has earned their friendship. I get that. It feels real. They care about Cas; I do too.

The ending nearly brought me to tears. It’s sad. Heartbreaking. The boys are alone, facing yet another near impossible fight. But it also feels hopeful, and to a fan who’s been here from the beginning, it feels familiar. They’re alone, but they’re shoulder to shoulder again, side by side (literally). The scene recalls the ending shot of A Very Supernatural Christmas, the brothers alone, facing an impossible fight, but together.

Ackles and Padalecki, after all this time as Sam and Dean, can convey more with a look or a gesture than most actors can with a page of dialogue. Dean opens Sam’s beer; Sam cooks Dean dinner. Dean looks at him sideways, questioning. Are you with me? Sam nods, pushes the plate across the table to his brother. It seems like trust, commitment, the beginning of forgiveness. To fans who’ve been waiting a long time to see that, it’s not utopia – but it feels like a start. I’ll take it.

30 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2013 11:08 pm

    I agree with you that the ending was hopeful. However, I do think that the brothers chose each other, not primarily chose the mission. The mission is the easier-to-talk-about-because-we’re-theWinchesters-no-chick-flick-moments part, rather than the rest of it — which, as you say, is complicated. I loved the episode.

  2. January 18, 2013 11:39 pm

    To me, sadly, the boys looked as far apart as I’ve ever seen them. It felt like the antithesis of Supernatural Christmas. I felt like Sam viewed choosing to stay with Dean as pushing away everything he really wants in his life and he was resigned to his duty, not hopeful. I felt like Dean, instead of being happy, was processing that the price of getting Sam back in the game was betraying a friend and loyalty means so much to him. I felt like the set up for Dean having to kill Benny was put in place and that he will feel tremendous guilt because he ignored Benny’s call for help and I can’t imagine how that will not affect his relationship with Sam, because Sam was the driving force in Dean’s decision.

    I’ve never felt like putting Sam and Dean together in the car would fix the relationship. I need to feel the two of them actually wanting to face their life as partners, for each to know the other grounds him, keeps him balanced, because these are two powerful men who can cross lines, each in their different way. I didn’t get the feeling an appreciation for Dean played into Sam’s decision and I felt like Dean felt a lot less appreciation than he expected to. So different to me than Supernatural Christmas where the two took the time to just appreciate their time together despite the terrible things they were struggling with.

    ps: It’s Gerry!

  3. January 18, 2013 11:55 pm

    It definitely was a roller-coaster of emotions… I like your opening sentence because I’ve been reading a lot of comments on other sites and the fans definitely are ‘torn and frayed’! It was a sad episode with a lot of heartbreak for everyone – Dean/Benny, Sam/Amelia, Castiel/Samadriel, and now, Dean & Sam worrying about Castiel (together… which is the silver lining).

    I’ve loved the last few episodes… the build up to the mid-season finale… and now, with the brothers taking the first small steps to repair their relationship. It’s great storytelling.

    I honestly don’t think Dean realised just how much the text message he sent would hurt Sam (I believe he did it to protect Sam, not intentionally hurt him). So I think Sam’s anger towards Dean in the motel room really struck a chord. I think this is the first time Dean has actually given Amelia much thought… that Sam really loves her and would be broken (again) if anything happened to her. I think it also impacted on Dean when Sam came to help (even when he knew Dean didn’t want him there). Perhaps Dean realised at that point how much Sam loves him too – despite their differences they still have each others’ back.

    I think it was a really big step for Dean to tell Sam he should go back to Amelia… he gave Sam his blessing to live his own life… and I think this is actually what swayed Sam to stay. Sure, Sam is invested in finding the tablet and shutting the gates to hell and he wants to help Castiel. But, Dean finally accepting that they might want different things from life and giving him his blessing is HUGE progress, in my humble opinion.

    Maybe now they can have a conversation about Benny, so Sam can see why the vampire meant so much to Dean. But I’m not sure that’s going to happen🙂

    • January 19, 2013 10:52 pm

      I’m not sure what more of a conversation about Benny would entail. Didn’t Dean already tell Sam that he and Benny fought together in Purgatory? And that Benny helped him get out? What else is Dean going to tell Sam? What else is there? Maybe a war story –“we were surrounded by vampires and I said to Benny . . . “?

      I’m of two minds of what’s happening with Benny. I think there’s a certain symmetry in having both Amelia and Benny exit as of this episode — to do so creates a closure on the time the brothers spent apart and opens the way for them to move forward. I’m kinda thinking that is the intention. To see either of those characters again, I think, will mean bad things. If we see Amelia again, will it be because Crowley is threatening her? I hope not. So far she has been completely separate from anything supernatural (as far as we know — I think the shadowy form at the beginning was simply her husband). At first that annoyed me. But now I’m glad and as long as its over between her and Sam, I hope that’s how it stays.
      If we see Benny again, will it be because he’s fallen off the wagon and needs to be put down? I hope not. So far he’s been shown as a pretty sympathetic character, and I hope it stays that way.

      • January 19, 2013 11:07 pm

        Yes, I agree there is a certain symmetry in both characters exiting in this episode… and I think both brothers have taken small steps towards resolving their differences. What I meant is that Dean seems to have reached an understanding about Amelia (and gave Sam his blessing to leave), but Sam does not have a better understanding of Dean’s relationship with Benny. Perhaps a conversation about why Dean kept him secret & how he came to think of Benny as a brother (that’s a big thing to say to another brother)… and Dean should also call Sam out on why he (in the past) was willing to let Lenore go because she wasn’t killing humans, but won’t give Benny a chance. I think it all stems from Dean keeping Benny a secret (because Sam kept Ruby a secret and look at what the consequences were then). A conversation might just clear the air, rather than leave it festering unsaid.

        I also agree that it will mean bad things if we see either Amelia or Benny again😦

      • January 20, 2013 1:24 am

        Kgrahamjourneys — its not giving me the option to reply to your post so I’m putting it here . . .
        I agree that there is a lot left unsaid. I would like to hear Dean articulate why it is that Benny is different than other monsters. So far its kinda been -‘Because I said so.’
        I’m wondering if the reason he hasn’t explained it is because he can’t. Maybe he knows that Benny’s not different – or maybe its that Dean needs to believe that he is because of the deal that they made in Purgatory — we get out and we leave each other alone. Benny promises to stay on the high road and Dean has to believe him because if he doesn’t, then he has to kill him. And in Purgatory – Benny was without the bloodlust and probably more like the guy he was before becoming a vampire, especially around the only human in Purgatory — a human who reminded him of his humanity and fought with him against the monstrous. Benny is really a tragic figure if he falls and very heroic if he doesn’t.

      • bjxmas permalink
        January 20, 2013 1:44 am

        I truly hope Benny is the heroic figure here, I certainly don’t want to see him fall, most especially with the weight of Dean cutting him loose always in the shadows. There is so much they could have done with the story and didn’t, main thing being Lenore! Sam was always the one to say it isn’t what you ‘are’, it’s what you ‘do’. Dean showed real growth and maturity when Sam first argued with him on letting Lenore and the other fangs go. Dean was so certain, so black and white. It was one of those beautiful reversals that I so loved, that he listened, reconsidered and then supported and trusted his brother’s instincts. Why is Benny so different, most especially since Dean has personal insight into him and believes so strongly. With Sam’s past beliefs, it strikes as petty jealously. It’s something they both needed to talk out, both the pros and the cons and the why they feel so strongly about this.

        The other thing that was an elephant in the room, was the truth that Dean knows what it’s like to crave blood (as does Sam!), and Dean was almost turned into a vampire. Dean was saved, but wouldn’t that experience enable him to better understand both the tragedy of Benny’s fate and also the struggle he is going through? Wouldn’t that have been a revealing storyline, insightful and deep?

        Bottom line, are you inherently evil or do you have a choice? Much like the destiny/free will storyline. So many parallels and yet all we get is ultimatums and truncating that story. Yes, I know Benny is not a main character so perhaps that’s why the story is ending, but I still see many areas that relate to both brothers, not to mention an interesting character that is also quite popular. And the focus could have always been on Sam and Dean, on their discussion, on their reactions, on their stands and how to bring them together on this.

      • January 20, 2013 4:12 pm

        @bjxmas
        I’m actually a little puzzled by Dean’s stated stance on Benny. He knows, from being a vampire himself how difficult it is to fight the urge to drink. He nearly attacked Ben & Lisa, who he cared deeply about under the influence. He has to know that it is only a matter of time before Benny slips. The example of Lenore is interesting, because despite her good intentions and her intellectual abhorrence of what she was, under the influence of Eve she was not able to overcome her monstrous urges. I think the difference between the end of Bloodlust and now is that Sam has seen that even a ‘good’ monster is still monstrous. Which, ironically lead Sam to his reversal — the character growth that allowed him to believe that Dean was correct about Amy (whatever her motivation and regardless of the worth of the victims) she killed. Dean wasn’t right to lie to Sam about it or to go behind his back – but the deed itself, Sam ultimately accepted. So now, I have the same trouble with Dean’s position on Benny that Sam does. Benny, prior to being sent to Purgatory was a vampire who killed a lot of people. Why does the fact that he saved Dean’s life matter more than the fact Amy saved Sam’s life? Either the circumstances matter or they don’t. Sam has taken Dean’s own position – that they don’t matter — at the same time that Dean insists that they do in Benny’s case.
        It will be interesting to see what discussion, if any, the brothers continue to have on this subject. And interesting to see if and when Benny falls. Unfortunately, I almost think it is inevitable that he does.

      • bjxmas permalink
        January 20, 2013 4:57 pm

        Hey, Melanie! First off, I love discussion! I do see a difference. Benny told Dean that he wasn’t drinking people BEFORE he went to Purgatory. Like Lenore he’d changed, seen the worth of humanity and was no longer feeding on people. A vampire can subsist on animal blood or in Benny’s case, blood from a bloodbank. Dean and Sam both know the bloodlust, so they both should certainly know the danger and the risk of using an alternative, but that doesn’t mean that Benny shouldn’t be given the chance to redeem himself. Lenore felt so strongly about not killing people that she wanted them to kill her to stop her. Having Eve messing with her wasn’t a normal situation and she still maintained as long as she could. To not give them that chance is like the SciFi shows where they determine that if someone is capable of killing you make a preemptive strike. I can’t see either Sam or Dean on board with that philosophy. Dean’s bloodlust was so terrifyingly strong because he didn’t have any blood to drink. He wanted to drink the bloodbank blood but couldn’t or else the cure wouldn’t work. If he had, then he would have been more in control around Lisa and Ben, as it was, yeah, it was a bad idea. Still he did control himself despite all the hunger and didn’t drink anyone.

        Amy saved Sam’s life when they were kids and Sam hadn’t seen or heard from her since. They really didn’t know what she’d done in the meantime. Dean knows that Benny isn’t killing anyone, he trusts him and history has usually proven Dean right in his instincts and he has said he is willing to take care of it IF Benny ever falls off that wagon. I think Dean has even admitted that maybe he was wrong about Amy. That is a tough one, in the gray area and it could go either way.

        I do think Sam’s thinking has changed in that he is harder, more prone to kill than release. That’s why it’s an interesting dilemma for them, finding a course they can both live with. The fact that Dean feels so strongly about it makes me hope that Sam would make the effort to listen and truly understand. I understood when Dean saw things in strictly black and white, but I rejoiced when he was able to view things on an individual basis and come to a reversal. I’d hate to see Sam backtrack to where everything is that clearcut without the possibility of exceptions or that rare case of a monster who truly does deserve to live.

        B.J.

      • bjxmas permalink
        January 20, 2013 5:05 pm

        I forgot to mention that both brothers just recently agreed to let the girl from Bitten go. Sam was the one to first say that she hadn’t killed anyone human yet, and seemed surprised that Dean agreed. The outcome was that Sam said if she did kill anyone, then they’d have to go after her, but otherwise give her a chance. So it isn’t all black and white with Sam now, it seems he is capable of compassion and a wait-and-see attitude except when it comes to the one friend Dean has and the guy who helped save his brother. I think Sam is human and feels things and reacts, so his reaction to Benny seems to be based more on personal issues than hunter mandates. I understand his hurt feelings, I just want him to move past it and think of Dean and what his brother might need.

        B.J.

      • January 20, 2013 10:12 pm

        Hey BJ — I like discussion too! I had forgotten about the girl from Bitten – that was consistent for Dean to let her go as he did with Amy’s son and as he was prepared to do with his ‘daughter’ if she chose not to kill and become an Amazon. The situation with the newly minted monsters, especially those who, like Kate and unlike the vampires–do not have blood lust per se seems kind of a different case to me. And since the brothers agreed on that decision, it seems that they don’t see it as a parallel for Benny.
        It is interesting to me how the show depicts the monstrous and I’m not sure that the writers are 100% consistent in how they have dealt with it but they do seem to be exploring the theme — is there a ‘good’ monster? I think that Lenore and both Amy and Benny have been purposefully presented as very sympathetic characters to make these desicions more difficult for the Winchesters!

  4. Sue Ashworth permalink
    January 19, 2013 12:04 am

    I truly think that the boys still have some negotiating to do, but at least they *talked*, and that was such a relief to me. They talked, and I truly think Dean hadn’t realized just how Sam felt about Amelia. When he apologised, he did so unreservedly, and it was nice to see.

    I do hope that at some stage Sam will listen to Dean’s experiences in Purgatory and understand why exactly he trusts Benny. I’m sad that Benny is out – at least for the moment, but it was very necessary for Dean to end his relationship with Benny if he wanted to preserve the one he’s had for so much longer with his brother.

    I’m glad to see them together again, but I really, really want to see Dean smile. It’s been years!

  5. bjxmas permalink
    January 19, 2013 12:23 am

    I agree with everything said here. It’s complicated and it wasn’t just one thing happening to change their relationship or set their course, it was so many things converging and bringing them back together, united in the mission and beside their brother on that couch. I wanted them to click the beer bottles together…but maybe that would have gone too far, brought them back together too quickly. They made the first steps toward each other and while I’m really not happy with Dean cutting Benny out or the way it was done, the tension in the story and the possibilities for the future make it bearable.

    I sincerely hope they have that conversation about Benny because Sam needs to offer Dean the same choices that Dean gave Sam, the right to choose his own friends and to talk about Purgatory and why Benny is a trusted friend. Not to start anything, because I do love both brothers, but Dean seems to again be the one growing and changing and forgiving. I completely don’t think Dean got why Sam was upset with the fake text message, even I didn’t get the full impact on Sam! I believe Dean sent it to protect Sam as much as to protect Benny, to prevent the two going at each other and the possibility that either might not walk away from that confrontation!

    All in all, this episode was jam-packed with action and emotional depth. It revealed and resolved issues and presented new challenges and got the brothers back in the same room pursuing the same goals. It cemented what their course is, to save their friend Cas and figure out the end game on the tablets. The Winchester brothers have work to do, and thank goodness they are in this together!

    B.J.

  6. Pam permalink
    January 19, 2013 12:27 am

    I don’t know, I’m afraid I can’t see that episode as warm and fuzzy as you guys do – especially the end where the two men looked about as miserable to be stuck with each other’s company as two people ever could. Instead of hope, all I see is two individuals who don’t even like each other choosing a duty-bound bondage.

    And, once again, I just don’t get how anyone could watch the last two episodes, and truly believe that it’s Dean – and only Dean – who needs to give and apologize and make amends. Dean is always the one to give, so what we saw this week was SOP. Terrific, Dean is the bigger and better man. I already know that. I’ve seen it a million times.

    But why not a word about the many mistakes that Sam made this season, especially in 8:09 in bringing an unstable mental patient into his personal grudge match?

    You know what would be nice for a change – for Sam to have to sack up and own his mistakes that led to getting Martin killed. A text message did not get Martin killed. Why does Sam get yet another free pass and not even have to feel guilt or remorse, much less admit his bad actions? His mistakes are so routinely whitewashed that it’s hard for me to even look at Sam as a character, instead of the one-dimensional caricature he’s too often portrayed as instead.

    And let’s not even talk about how low both Sam and Amelia look in their adulterous relationship, without even a thought about hurting the ex-POW husband who seems to be a lot more stand-up in this situation than Sam or Amelia. So, sorry, I can’t exactly feel bad that Sam gave up a relationship that would only hurt an innocent third party.

    I hoped Carver was finally leading up to Sam having to come to some kind of realization of the mistakes he made, or how he hurt his brother; but once again, self-realization was not to be for Sam. Just another demand that Dean give up a friend who really was truly a friend. Someone who actually liked Dean, while Dean instead gives Sam his blessing to move on. No quid pro quo here – again, just business as usual.

    I really wanted Carver to be more even-handed with this “relationship” than we’ve seen in the past, especially in the last three years. But I guess the old routine is so ingrained that no one wants to try for something different, much less better.

    And I, for one, don’t find any hope in the same-old, same-old.

    • Cyndy permalink
      January 19, 2013 1:28 am

      I wanted to love this episode but it was just too bleak for my tastes. Just misery piled on misery, piled on more misery. Maybe we were meant to see that final scene as the one hopeful ray of sunshine? Not sure, since the mournful music and the expression on the brothers’ faces seemed just as miserable as the rest.

      I’m on the “they chose to do the job with each other” bandwagon, which really isn’t the same as “they chose each other.” At this point, I think the brothers are together out of necessity. If not for the tablets and Cas problem, Sam would be off with Amelia and Dean would be hunting alone, glad the fighting was finally over. So I agree that clinking bottles would be too premature since, heart of hearts, it seems neither one of them particularly wants to be there. They love each other but a lot has happened in the past 1 1/2 years. So while I’m sure we’ll eventually get a genuine reconciliation, I appreciate Carver handling this transition in such a realistic way.

      What bothers me a lot about this episode is what others have already commented on: it always seems to be Dean who makes the conciliatory gestures and does most of the work when it comes to the brothers’ relationship. The entire focus of the brothers’ interactions in this episode revolved only around Sam – Sam bringing up the text and Dean apologizing, Sam needing to make a decision about Amelia and Dean giving him permission to go. I’m hoping that’s only because there was too much to cover and Sam listening/apologizing to Dean will come in a later episode. I hate to think it’s just been swept under the rug now that Benny’s out of the picture. We’ve had plenty of focus in previous seasons about Dean learning to let Sam grow up or trust Sam or whatever. It’s time we see the reverse happen as well.

    • Lettie permalink
      January 19, 2013 7:01 am

      I totally agree with Pat. The double standards of the writers and bloggers astounds me where Sam’s behaviour is concerned. It appears to be perfectly acceptable for Sam to be in love with Amelia, have an adulterous relationship with her, with no thought or compassion for Don, it’s okay for Sam to explain how he felt to Dean for the first time ever, and Dean, the more mature and giving one in the relationship as far as I can see, listens, and does his best to understand. Yet, Sam who never took the time or was in the right frame of mind to look for his brother, is permitted to show no empathy towards Dean about Benny, this person who saved Dean’s life, purely because of Sam’s prejudice. Sam is allowed to have his cake and eat it, because quite frankly he could go back to Amelia any time, he can have this friend regardless of the fact she is married. That is condoned. But Dean is not allowed to choose who he can be friends with. Dean, once again is disregarded and overlooked by everyone past and present. Dean is expected to listen and yield to all and sundry, because it has never really mattered what Dean wanted, ultimately his job is to be there for Sam alone, while on whatever mission their on. I can understand why Dean cut ties with Benny at the moment because unlike Sam, who drew Martin into the an unnecessary warfare and left in the middle of a hunt that he started, Dean cannot afford the distraction. It was also blatantly obvious from ep1 that Benny would have learn to keep his nose clean, Dean warned Benny, but thanks to Sam and Martin, that task has been made even harder when really it didn’t have to be, leaving Dean between a rock and a hard place…again.

      This episode was bleak and left me feeling that the brothers will be stuck with each other, not out of love, until Sam decides to walk when this mission is over. As Dean said at least one of them can be happy. Dean gave Sam the choice to walk, but no doubt, just like the incident concerning Amy when Sam admitted Dean was right, when Sam acts out of order, in the future, the choice Dean gave Sam will be swept under the carpet. However, before Sam does leave I hope he sets up series of interviews for those candidates he believes will be acceptable to remain in Dean’s life, because if Sam has a problem with them it’s not going to happen.

  7. bjxmas permalink
    January 19, 2013 1:24 am

    I choose to believe that Dean didn’t give up Benny to appease Sam. Like Sam choosing to give up his relationship with Amelia and stay and do the job, I believe Dean ultimately knew he couldn’t be in two places at once. I wish they’d left it more open, more of an “I’m sorry, man, but I just can’t come, hang in there, but I’ve got work to do and it has to come first” type of thing. Maybe Dean did it the way he did because he is a straight-shooter and he knows that nothing is going to change, he’s never going to be done with the job and he’ll never be able to run to help Benny when he stumbles, that Benny has to learn to live on his own. I further believe that Dean is tired of the fighting and yes, he’s ALWAYS going to apologize and want to fix things with Sam…even as he tires of the demands. It’s not fair, but it’s who Dean is, so I could never begrudge him his actions. He listened to Sam and finally understood, so he apologized.

    I have hope that show will enlighten Sam to what Dean’s feeling about Benny and that one day he will understand and change the way he behaves when he’s angry with Dean. It’s always a two-way street and both have made mistakes and both could have done better. I’d like for Sam to own his responsibility for Martin’s death, because his suspicions and mistrust is what precipitated the whole ugly business. And that certainly wasn’t fair to Benny or Dean…or Martin, for that matter.

    While the boys might not necessarily ‘like’ each other at the moment (or more specifically, like what each other ‘does’), they do love each other. That foundation is still there and I see this being that first step back toward what they had and hopefully building on that to something better. It leaves me anxious and hopeful and excited to see what the rest of the season holds!

    B.J.

    • January 19, 2013 2:54 am

      To me, the writers deliberately set up a parallel between the ultimatum Amelia gave Sam about choosing and the ultimatum Sam gave Dean about Benny. Sam didn’t do anything to mitigate or explain or back away from his ultimatum, so it was still standing between the brothers, even if Sam decided to work with Dean anyway. It was a fighting point and Dean didn’t want to fight anymore. So I can’t interpret Dean’s phone call separately from what Sam expressed to Dean. Dean made a sacrifice that went against his own nature to make it easier for Sam to join him. The problem is Benny is the sacrifice and it will end badly and I have no doubt Dean will be intimately involved in Benny’s end.

      What I can’t see is Dean not shouldering the guilt of refusing to do something as small as have coffee with his friend, who has just lost everything. It’s only a couple of days since “Citizen Fang.” Sam so far is refusing to see Benny as a person and is acting like his death will be a good thing. But that’s not where Dean is and I doubt he ever will be.

      He paid a high price to work with Sam–to me the writers seem to be setting more things to smolder and come between the brothers, not clearing things up.

      I didn’t think they cleared things up particularly well between Sam and Amelia, either. Why did we have 4 flashbacks in Hunteri Heroici led into by Sam hearing the words to the effect of “living a lie” if his relationship with Amelia is supposed to be so healthy and wonderful? I have to say when he said he would be a lucky man if Amelia chose him, I thought to myself that I don’t consider Don a lucky man.

      He went out of his way to give Amelia space and time to think things through without pressure so she could be sure of the decision she was going to make. If she chose him, he wanted to be able to feel she truly wanted to be with him. Instead, she used him as a fall back position when Sam left, instead of telling him she couldn’t give him what he wanted and she needed time alone. So he ends up with exactly the relationship with her he tried to avoid, because she’s not truthful with him. I guess he ends up being the guy living the lie. I don’t think that ties in well with the set up in the flashbacks. They should have tied into Sam’s experience.

  8. nightsky permalink
    January 19, 2013 2:45 am

    “Torn and Frayed – that’s how many fans felt after this week’s episode of Supernatural! Jenny Klein’s first solo script was an emotional rollercoaster that left me exhausted. There were moments of OMG, and moments of WTF… Fandom has been frustrated with the rift between Sam and Dean this season. Many of us fell for Show largely because of the close relationship between the brothers…”

    I am so happy to read that you, too, found this episode emotionally conflicting. My very first reaction at the end of the episode was “Was that it????” I was exhaused and very, very disappointed because I was (and still am) terribly afraid that the writers might think that what they showed us was enough of a reconciliation between the brothers. I wrote a comment much earlier in the season (on another site) in which I expressed in a open letter to Jeremy Carver that the fans are on edge about the writing because we are, shall we say, somewhat apprehensive after the last 2 years. So this episode raised the stakes in my opinion. IF this episode is setting up further discussions and growth between the brothers, as you speculate, then I will continue to wait and hope for the best. Your view seems to be shared by a few other reviewers I have come to respect. I admit this has given me hope.

    IF, however, the writers don’t intend to fix the brother’s relationship any further, and what we saw in this episode was the “mature” way the brothers would come back together, then I am heartsick. We are half way through the season. Doesn’t the mid-season “finale” usually conclude the arcs/ answer the questions that were laid out in the early season and jump start new details for second half of the season? That is why I felt this episode was meant to be the “conclusion” of the “rift” storyline, i.e. what we we saw was how the brothers reconstructed their relationship after being apart for a year. That’s it. No Talk, no Hug, no Bonding.

    I see two possible outcomes for Season 8. The first is that the relationship we love willl reappear and the fans’ patience will be rewarded. The boys will actually like being together again and the writing this season will have been brillantly planned and executed. The other path is that Jeremy blew it and all this waiting and speculating will lead nowhere. We get a great myth arc and great characters from great actors, but we lose the soul of the Show. The chasm between these the two possible paths for season 8 just deepened. It’s almost an all or nothing at all now, based on what we saw with this episode.

    I hope you are right and I am wrong. I hope they come together. I am weary of Sam not listening to Dean about Benny, and Dean not asking Sam where his head is at. I hope Sam’s year away wasn’t ONLY Amelia. I hope the boys are not together ONLY for Cas and tablets and the job. I hope to see love (not just tolerance) between the boys again. I hope Mr. Carver is the brillant writer I saw in earlier seasons. I hope.

    Thank you for your first review. I found it very insightful. It looked at the episode from a completely different perspective than I’ve seen elsewhere. Keep writing!

  9. Joy permalink
    January 19, 2013 4:03 am

    What I got is that there had to be a lot of choosing going on between Dean/Benny, Sam/girl, (after all she had a husband to return to) and I think Sam was aftraid that what happened to Jess might happen to her. Dean felt he had to cut the ties (so far) w/Benny because of Sam. & as far as Naomi/Cas/Alfie are concerned. I think now they might have done something like that to Cas, only he didnt give out too much info. And who the heck is Naomi anyway? The Angel Tablet will just keep SPN going…I feel so bad for bad for Benny, Dean was going to show, but at the last minute called instead. I will miss him so. I like Ty Olsson. I dont consider Don a lucky man either & am glad she is out of the picture, let Sam fall for someone
    else… and Dean too. I am really stumped about Cas, but I think he is too. I have to agree w/jair95 on some of it though. The rest I just figured out….

  10. January 19, 2013 1:25 pm

    I have a different perspective on why Dean told Benny he couldn’t help any more. The first phone call from Benny came right before Dean talked to Kevin about where his mother was. Did you see Dean’s expression when Kevin said he couldn’t have distractions while he had a job to do – to save the world?

    I believe this is the same conclusion Dean came to but prompted by his conversation with Kevin, not because of what Sam said (even though it may also have crossed his mind).

    I think it’s also important that Sam stayed without knowing that Dean had made that decision, despite his ultimatum in the opening scene.

    • January 19, 2013 2:40 pm

      Your comment is too sensible for this “Let’s blame Sam because Dean got a hangnail” fandom.

    • bjxmas permalink
      January 19, 2013 4:17 pm

      Exactly! I totally agree! I too noticed Dean’s reaction to Kevin’s comment and thought that that was the tipping point, the reason Dean had to cut ties with Benny. I also paid attention on rewatch and Dean told Benny adios AFTER he had just given Sam his blessing to go after the girl and leave. Sam was outside thinking it over and Dean was later surprised that Sam chose to stay. I doubt that Dean will even mention that he told Benny goodbye, except possibly in casual conversation, because as much as Dean wants the fighting to end he isn’t going to go against everything he believes in just to placate Sam. For Dean it has to make sense in his own head, not just be a knee-jerk reaction to keep his brother by his side. Dean has grown in that regard, now seeing there are worse things than having his brother leave. Dean was obviously willing to let Sam go and seemed to prefer hunting on his own as opposed to hunting with someone who made him miserable because he didn’t want to be there.

      As far as the final scene goes, I’d say resigned is the best term to describe their mood. I think both are considering once again what they sacrifice for the job, but at least that puts them on the same page and hopefully they will keep moving towards each other.

      B.J.

      • January 19, 2013 5:15 pm

        I think Dean was doing what he could to make it easier for Sam to say yes, and Sam had made no concessions on Benny at all. I think Dean did indeed do something to placate Sam that went against what he believed and will have tragic consequences. The scene with Kevin made a point, but it was a point about priorities, not about cutting people loose. Kevin stowed his mother somewhere safe, he didn’t toss her out into the world to fend for herself.

        Benny has made only two phone calls to Dean in the time he’s been topside. He has not compromised Dean’s ability to do his job–Sam was the one who escalated the Lousianna situation by introducing poor Martin into the scenario. For Dean not to have the time to have a cup of coffee with Benny, the show would have to be in the kind of freight train driving force toward one objective that we saw in the very last part of season 4 and season 5. This season hasn’t shown that kind of driving force at all. Sam and Dean have been taking one off cases right and left. I strongly suspect we’ll have more monster of the week cases to come.

        The way I read the scene, Dean knew Sam would continue to be angry about his relationship with Benny and demand Dean cut the ties. If Dean wanted to his relationship with Sam to work better, he had to cut Benny loose. But Sam making that kind of demand is unfair and Dean giving into it is unhealthy–the way it would have been if Dean had demanded Sam cut ties with Amelia and Sam had done so because of Dean’s feelings. Why the writers allowed Dean to see he had to allow Sam to make his own decision, but not allow Sam to evolve his stance I can’t imagine. Because now Dean has something that can never be undone to fester about Sam. Just what the show needed, sigh.

      • January 19, 2013 10:05 pm

        Jair95 My point is that it’s not black and white. We just don’t know why Dean cut Benny off because we are not inside Dean’s head. To say that it is purely because of what Sam said (and thus blame Sam) is being short-sighted. No doubt it was a factor, but so were the comments from Kevin.

        Dean also knows something is up with Castiel. Maybe that is his reason for deciding to concentrate on the task at hand. Is Castiel more important to him than Benny? Don’t forget, when Dean & Benny arrived they said goodbye… they were not intending to stay in contact at that stage.

        This constant taking sides with one brother or another (across many fan sites) doesn’t solve anything. It’s a show about two brothers, who are both flawed & have both made mistakes.

      • Pam permalink
        January 19, 2013 11:20 pm

        “This constant taking sides with one brother or another (across many fan sites) doesn’t solve anything. It’s a show about two brothers, who are both flawed & have both made mistakes.”

        The problem is that the producer meta actually takes sides all the time – and the side they almost always take is Sam’s, and this script is a perfect example of that. Not one time in this entire episode did Sam acknowledge anything he did horribly wrong to put the entire Martin scenario into motion – like going behind Dean’s back to spy on Benny, bringing a mentally unstable person in on his grudge match, abandoning said unstable man in the woods, refusing to accept what Dean was telling him about Benny not being guilty, handcuffing his unconscious brother to a radiator so he could go out and unreasonably slaughter the guy who saved his brother’s life, no less, and childishly refusing to talk to his brother on the phone after everything predictably went sideways.

        What did the meta focus on instead? The text message, as if that was the only mistake made. And to top it all off, the meta goes on to have Sam declare a childish ultimatum, just to make matters worse, acting as if he had nothing to feel guilt or remorse for.

        This makes the meta incredibly petty and one-sided, and in being so, willfully pits the fandom against itself.

        I don’t like all the fandom fighting either, it’s exhausting and annoying. But it’s always going to be there and only going to continue to escalate when the producers willfully and purposely set unfair and one-sided scripted events in motion that are going to frustrate fans, just as the writer did in this episode.

      • January 19, 2013 10:51 pm

        I think the writers crafted the matching ultimatums for a reason, so I think its fair to think Sam’s words were meant to be remembered by both audience and Dean. I don’t think there was any set up for Dean to be choosing between Castiel and Benny. There was a lot of set up for Dean to be choosing between Sam and Benny.

        I don’t enjoy brother battles either, on screen or off, but Sam’s ultimatum is part of the story. As Dean’s loyalty is also part of the story, I expect the ramifications of refusing Benny’s call for help to haunt Dean and I don’t see how Sam escapes the scenario. If Dean blames Sam for Soulless Sam, he’s got a lot more scope to resent the way Sam presented the way forward for them. Time for me to let this go, though. Mileage varies, which is fine. (-:

      • January 19, 2013 11:24 pm

        One of the things Jeremy Carver also said is that the boys need to mature and made adult decisions & I think they’ve begun to do so in this episode.

        Sam’s decision to stay with Dean was his decision (after having had Dean’s blessing to leave, I don’t think he could ever blame Dean for this staying). He also didn’t know when he made his decision that Dean was also going to cut Benny off. If he’d repeated the ultimate from the motel room it would be a different story. But Sam decided what was best for him (and I think what he believes was the best thing for Amelia).

        Dean made the decision to cut Benny out of his life and (in my humble opinion) it’s not clear exactly why he did so… there were many reasons and it’s likely a combination of everything. He was surprised when Sam wanted to stay, so maybe this was the final thing he needed to do it. Either way, Dean made this decision alone (and I don’t think he could ever blame Sam for it).

        I also agree with you… mileage varies. It is one of the things I love about Supernatural… everyone interprets things differently… and ultimately, that’s great storytelling🙂

      • January 19, 2013 11:42 pm

        Pam, I don’t think they could resolve everything in this one episode, which is why in my original comment (way up above), I said: Maybe now they can have a conversation about Benny, so Sam can see why the vampire meant so much to Dean.

        Your comment could also be turned around – you say they are taking Sam’s side, yet by doing so they are making Dean more sympathetic… so for me that is taking Dean’s side.

        I don’t think you can look at a single episode – you have to look at how it plays out across the entire season (and probably across the complete series). The brothers are two vastly different people, which is why they have different motivations & the inevitable conflict (as most siblings do). They’ve both made good & bad decisions; they’ve both made sacrifices. While we might have our favourite brother, I don’t believe that the showrunners/writers intend for either one of them to better than the other. Just my opinion.

  11. novichelen permalink
    January 19, 2013 1:48 pm

    Is it just me, or was it your first review on Show? If I’m right, congratulations. Your analysis was a deep and interesting addition to what I’ve already read about the episode. Thank you.

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