Supernatural "Torn and Frayed" Review: We Need to Talk About Cas

Supernatural S08E10: “Torn and Frayed”

After the obligatory “Our story so far...,” which was set to Bob Seger’s “Katmandu,” we jumped right back into the unfortunate plight of the most adorable angel in the garrison, Samandriel—or as Dean likes to call him, “Alfie.” Samandriel and Crowley were having the worst sleepover ever and since Crowley routinely breaks every toy that's handed to him, Alfie wasn’t looking so hot. Uggggh my precious baby angel!

On the other side of the country, Benny was doing the creeper thing, hanging around a playground in a dark coat and dark sunglasses. He was running low on fresh blood snack paks and sounding a mite strung out when he called Dean for a refill. Unfortunately for Benny, Dean was busy trying to make up with Sam—or at least get Sam to stop being a pissy, pissy princess—while Sammykins, who was having none of that making up B.S., got himself some booty from boring Amelia. SO BORING. But hey, Jared Padalecki took his shirt off, so if nothing else, my shallow needs have been fulfilled. Savor it; there’s like a one-shirtless-scene-per-season quota on this show.

Oh and Castiel? The real star of this episode? He was flitting about, healing babies, probably chillin’ with those bees he loves so much, just minding his own business before KILLING MY PRECIOUS BABY ANGEL. I won’t hold it against him, though, because he was basically possessed or mind-controlled or something. Idk. Naomi is the rudest. Besides, Castiel doesn’t need us to angst over Alfie. When he inevitably gets to the bottom of Naomi’s manipulation, I’m sure he’ll get his guilt trip booked all by himself. It’s the Winchester way. It’s the gloriously irrational woe of Wangst.

Naomi, however, picked the wrong angel to go all puppetmaster on, and the faults in her system have already begun to short-circuit. Her planted suggestions, though successful in the short term, set off alarms in Castiel’s angel brain from almost the very beginning. Witnessing Samandriel’s torment at Crowley’s hands further stripped away the facade of normalcy, complete with post traumatic WTF flashbacks of Naomi sticking angel antennas in places where angel antennas probably don’t belong. No, not the butt.

I don’t believe that Naomi’s system can be sustained in the long run, not when it comes to the poster angel for Team Free Will. Castiel knows that something isn’t right and by the end of “Torn and Frayed,” Dean and Sam were suspicious as well, having renewed their codependency vows and cut off contact with everyone not named Dean or Sam. They are hopeless in that regard. However, it was certainly a relief that Sam made the decision to stay with Dean on his own. I thought for sure that once Castiel had recruited him to Samandriel’s rescue par-tay that the mission would end up preventing a Sam who was ready to commit to Amelia from making their deadline, thus adding more wangst to the OMG DEAN IS SUCH AN ASSBUTT fire and I’m really, truly ready for something to put that fire out (as well as its equally irritating counterpart, the OMG SAM IS SUCH AN ASSBUTT inferno.)

There’s tons of room to argue that just because Sam didn’t go back to Amelia doesn’t mean that he’s not going to be a completely whiny, wangsty sack of sadness for the foreseeable future. Sure. But this is the guy who put a gag on Satan in the middle of the apocalypse-- it’s hard to make him do anything that he really, REALLY doesn’t want to do. Dean is the one who tends to be motivated by obligation, being the “good soldier” and all. But Dean also made some tough calls for the sake of his relationship with Sam, first by encouraging him to return to Amelia, then by cutting ties with Benny for good (for now). Given Benny’s clearly unwell tone, his recent fall from the wagon, and the fact that he actually SAID, “I’m not doing so well,” I’m not entirely sure that was the best decision to make. My spidey sense sure was tingling. However questionable it was though, it was essential for regaining Sam’s trust...unless he was ready to let Sam chop his purgatory BFF’s head off, and frankly, none of us are ready for that just yet.

Supernatural’s return served to streamline the overall story of this season by closing—however temporarily—some of the less immediate plots and therby freeing up time and resources to focus on the larger issues that have driven the season since the beginning. It was a good call, given the show’s recently developed habit of biting off more than it can chew, particularly in the second half of the season. In my opinion, this overload has routinely led to rushed, less-than-satisfying conclusions: Sam’s hell trauma, the Leviathan, Eve, the Campbells. It doesn’t have to be that way and it hasn’t always been that way! Supernatural is perfectly capable of telling a complete, coherent, and exciting story across a single season while maintaining just enough ambiguity to set the stage for the future, in the event that the CW stalwart finds itself renewed yet again. (I’m already biting my nails!)

As it stands, heading into the second half of Season 8, the stories which demand our utmost attention are:

1. The tablets—Kevin is still working on the demon tablet. Crowley recently discovered that there’s an angel tablet out there somewhere because of course there is.

2. Naomi and Castiel and her complete disrespect for personal space and free will.

3. Sam and Dean and their ISSUES—which sounds vague, I know. Vague enough to spark concern that they’ve become supporting characters in their own series. But not really. At its core, Supernatural has always been about Sam and Dean and their issues. The monsters and demons are just a bonus.

With Dean and Sam reuniting to save the world (again), however reluctantly, the two individuals and the two stories that have done the most to drive them apart this season have been placed on the back burner. I’m sure we’ll see Benny and Amelia, or at least Benny, again in the future, but they’ve been removed from our immediate concern for the time being and that’s okay. It’s time to eliminate the distractions and focus. There will be time for wangsty squabbling after Apocalypse Version 3.0. No, 2.0. No, 3— Actually, I’ve lost count.


CASE NOTES

– Smart Winchester Sighting: Dean Edition. When Castiel went to Dean for help locating Samandriel, Dean immediately busted out the laptop and, after hiding his porn stash (“YOU SAW NOTHING”), hit the books. Um. Keyboard. I liked the nod toward Dean possessing decent research skills. Dean’s hunted solo lots of times, which means he’d have to have at least comparable research skills to his brother, but Sam traditionally ends up with the “booksmart” reputation.

– “Your mom’s so hot. Seriously, you mom is so sexy...” I wonder how many takes were required to get through that with a straight face?

– “Our ninth abandoned factory. Ain’t that America?” Come to Pittsburgh! We've turned ours into shopping malls... though I’m not sure that’s much better. I mean, when you get into the whole well-paying-manufacturing-jobs-replaced-with-low-paying-service-jobs... yeah, okay, I’ll shut up. ‘MURCA.

– “STOW YOUR CRAP.” Oh Castiel, I love when you wear the bossy pants.

– Winchester Mommy Issues: Dude, Dean was really not okay with Kevin sending his mom away because his tablet crap was “more important.” Waaaaaangst!

– Don’t worry, Deano. I’ve fallen asleep cradling a beer bottle as well. No shame! (Okay, maybe a little shame.)

– Samandriel kept saying “THEY are controlling us,” not “she.” So... do you think Naomi is really as bad as she looked in this episode? Is she part of a system? Is she possibly fighting the system from within? Was she justified in ordering Samandriel’s death? If so, then why the need to pin it on Cas and suggest that it was self-defence?

– Wasn’t the whole point of angels that they didn’t have free will? So, essentially, weren’t they always being controlled to an extent? Until they overrode their own programming? I mean, we’ve certainly never seen them so blatantly manipulated in the past, but Crowley seemed to think the programming came from God, while Castiel’s meltdown seemed to point the finger at Naomi. What are your current theories?


What'd you think of Supernatural's return?

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Happy Supernatural is back, The episode was solid as it conclude temporarily the sub plots of Amelia who has so far contributed nothing to the show and Benny. I will like to see more of the Castiel story arc explored in the future episodes as he is a character that adds more depth to the show and it was sad seeing him being controlled by Naomi. The Tablet stuff is still random filler unlike last seasons Leviathan arc and the writers have to put more into it to make it phenomenal.I thought this season was to return to the earlier serialized pattern of Monster of The Week which makes the show so good instead of focusing on the side stories.
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When I'm seeing him, I have always that song in my head "Miiiister Crooowley...what went down in your heeeaaad". but that has nothing to do with the story, I guess.

Glad Amelia's gone (hope she is gone for good), such a boring and pointless storyline (what was her purpose again???). Keeping my fingers crossed Benny will be back soon (and that he won't get killed, because I'm pretty sure he will drink from the vein again). Loved Dean as always (Jensen Ackles' facial impressions are priceless!), found Sam boring and pathetic as always.

Happy Supernatural is back!
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the 'THEY' reference will be to Metraton and Ni I reckon, they have mentioned Metraton and he is one of seven recognised archangels. Why shouldn't he be called up from the benches now the other three loyalist's are down and out and Heaven has been ravaged of its Angel hierarchy.
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remember when it was hard killing one demon?..... good times......
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To be fair, that was back before they had the demon-killing knife and had to take the demons out with holy water and an exorcism.
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yep, the show has turn demons into nobodies which is a shame considering they are the main villains on the show
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Aside from everything else I would just like to point out... am I the only one that sees this theme of Sam looking for love as his ultimate want, and Dean looking for friendship? Like when they tangled with that Siren and Dean's biggest want in the world was a best friend / brother, not a woman? Also, he looked pretty torn up about cutting ties with Benny, I don't think it was a good move. I get why it happened, that Sam gave up Amelia and he cut ties with Benny to "move" on, but we all know its gonna go in a bad direction and poor Dean is probably gonna end up having to kill his buddy.
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Some reason why Benny can't just eat vamps? I'm sure more than one hunter would gladly leave him alone under those circumstances. Just when I thought Heaven would give us another dose of incompetence. Whoops there's an angle tablet to hunt glad Amelia is gone hopefully for good this time.
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Sam used to be my favorite, but it's been a while since he's had any decent writing (and I'm not sure that soulless Sam counts, technically). But this season it's been all truly horrible. Whining, moaning, bitching, self-righteous, blind to the obvious. Hard to stand. I never came so close to loathing the character. The stuff with Amelia was more painful than ever (is that even possible at this point?) I do hope that she is gone for good, but this entire so called subplot has left me in a state of dismay.

On the other hand, Dean's been (mostly) on the good track. There is growth. Although sometimes I feel like he's being too much of an obvious jerk (towards the burned guy, towards Kevin), and it doesn't seem to be fitting in all too well. Shouldn't that part of his personality be somewhat subdued by now? Never fully gone, but not as loose or random as it occasionally is. Smells of incosistency to me. And the treatment of Benny at the end of the episode - ugh. So all these strong beliefs and sticking to doing the right thing this season amount to that? Turning his back on someone who needed his assistance, cutting all ties? Cheap "drama" for the sake of drama.

Uncovering an angel's factory settings by (literally) drilling into the brain of its human vessel... what the hell? As others have already stated, dumb doesn't even begin to describe that concept. I could understand some proper demon torture, reaching the angel's soul/essence and causing pain through less mortal means.
And I dearly hope that they aren't going to take the route of "good vampire not able to resist his true nature, eventually turning bad... blah blah blah". Yawn. That would be so awfully horrible, but I'm afraid it's gonna happen.

I did find the episode to be ok-ish in the end. Castiel always makes things much better, there was a good appearance by Kevin (even though they used a cheap excuse to avoid bringing Garth in), demon action was alright, and the whole Heaven/Hell storyline still has the potential of reaching intriguing heights.
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I fully agree. Sam's a real pain now and I'm getting bored. Luckily Castiel, Dean and Crowley is holding the fort to the show.
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Really glad Sam didnt turn up at the house at 7!!!! She was so awful. That whole storyline was brutal. Let's get back to what we love about the show - Sam and Dean together.
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At this point I'm just glad the Amelia story is on the back burner. Not only was it EXTREMELY boring, it made Sam so friggn WHINY! Ugh!
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So Sam gets locked up with Lucy, and Dean moves on with his life. Then Dean goes to Purgatory, and Sam moves on, and Dean acts like a whiny Jefferson-Starship? I don't get it.
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check your facts before you talk & rewatch ep1 of season 6, dean went to lisa only because he promised to sam & he was a psychological mess most of the time he was there + he continue to search for a way to get sam out no matter what. sam, after dean disappeared, move on & did'nt lift a finger to find dean actually left him to rot in purgatory so dean has every right to be pished of with him because the abandonment was the cherry on the cake of betrayings from sam's part, remember ruby & sam almost chocking dean?
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You check your facts. Dean had said if there was one person he wanted to settle down with and have a normal life it would be with Lisa, and Sam knew that from the dream root episode where Sam in Deans' head saw a fantasy about Lisa and how happy she was now that they were a family. Despite what happened to him after the Apocalypse he wanted Dean to be happy and not worry about his fate, just let it be. However Sam could not know just how obsessive Dean could be with every chance he had he tried to ressurect him. Sam made his peace but Dean couldnt as he felt it should have been Sam with the normal life wife, kids the whole shibang. As for purgatory let's go back awhile. S4 Dean's in hell and Sam has continued on with the hunt solo, when Dean returns there is no fighting! Dean knew if there was anyway the pact he made with the crossroads demon was broken Sam would take his place in the pit. They had a tearful reunion, Sam understood Dean's absence and although depressed found a way of moving on. Now when Dean was sent to purgatory Sam had no idea he was still alive for all he knew he was dead, and he decided once and for there would be no more death, after all he lost Jess, his parents, Dean twice, and of course his surrogate father Bobby. Sam had wanted out for so long and now he found his way. So he settled down with Ameilia. He never expected Dean to return or if he had he would have just assumed the two would find each other because they always do. Dean arguing over Sam's betrayal was out of line because how could Sam have known where Dean was or if he was coming back, even if Dean's logic was sound there was no 100% certainty that Dean could return from where he was. At this point with season 8 the boys need to stop bickering because their arguments are tiring and simply childish, they need to stow their crap once and for all, but Dean has to instigate crap further. Oh Sam isnt off the hook either his deal with Martin stalking Benny was illogical and just plain stupid! A fragile man just released from the mental hospital has no business stalking Vamps. It was partly Sam's fault Benny killed Martin. Once again one of those wonderful plot points from season 8.
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not to be pedantic, i could be wrong... but i kinda remember that when castiel and dean vanished ....sam didnt know that they were in purgatory...he believed they were dead. and i think he only found out were dean was when he himself actually told him...so dean cant be pissed about that.
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See, here's the thing. For pretty much 7 seasons now Sam has been the one to give monsters the benefit of the doubt. If they didn't kill anyone Sam was happy to be BFFs with them - sometimes even if they did kill people but whatever. Most recently, the whole Amy (remember her?) debacle comes to mind... you know, he asked Dean not to kill her but Dean killed her anyway and they had a huge barney about it and hated each other for a couple of episodes? ERM HELLO? Does Sam have amnesia..(again)?

Sam whining about Benny being a vampire and therefore should be killed for being such just sounds like a big fat WRITING FLAW to me. I mean, both of the Bro's know that being a vampire doesn't necessarily equal bad - rewind to S2, Lenore anyone? Surely if Sam's character was in line with the last 7 years (or is it more?) he should be moderately happy if not accepting of his Bro's new friend, that Dean's got over his 'monster equals kill now ask questions later' attitude. No?

It's just annoying me, ya know?
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The biggest writing flaw was allowing Martin a newly released mental patient to stalk a vamp in his fragile state and expecting him not to do anything about what he's found that was beyond stupid and careless of Sam.

Dean killing Amy was wrong! She had every right to protect and care for her son. Also if he killed the momwhy didnt he kill the son? You go ape on people I will kill you! Seriously you orphaned him and his natural food source is the patuitary gland of people's brains how is he gonna survive without killing people?

This sudden role reversal of the two brothers goes against character and ignores previous bouts of continuity. I can understand Dean's part he was trapped for a year and killed purgies with Benny who became a protector so Dean owed him. I dont understand why Sam had to be a bitch about it. He would naturally understand Dean's place and while naturally cautious would accept Dean's word for it. He would not fly off the handles because his older bro let loose a vamp that promised not to kill anybody, after all we saw that with Lenore Sam was protective of her existince. I would accept Sam's sudden anger at vamps if he finally understood that creatures are evil no matter what and therefore needed to be eradicated after he learned the circumstances of Amy's death but he didnt because he was still flipping upset when Dean killed her, he only forgave Dean once he saw things through his pov. Dean is Dean and he will kill things if they were a threat.
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I just dont get why all of a sudden angel swords can kill demons like the knife does. How come that was never mentioned before? or did i miss an episode?
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I thought we've seen the Angel Swords used against demons before. For example, Cass gave that demon his sword to fight against the hell hounds when they were running to confront Crowley 1-2 seasons ago. And I thought recently he used it threateningly when he went in to free the Prophet from Crowley and his men.

We've known that Angels have the upper-hand against demons for a while now. However I think they normally do the whole touch-of-death / touch-of-exorcism on them. Since Cass hasn't really been full strength lately, the sword makes sense.
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Okay, let us get this straight, Naomi (which means Pleasant, hahahaha) is doing her function (if not her job) and is probably as under control from Whatever as anyone else bar the Winchesters. I have thought about it and so far I can come up with only two possibilities. One, she is working for Metatron, who besides Being the right hand of God is the Magister of all that exists, so invariably the One who by theological acceptance does control the Plan. The other possibility is that the control is in the hands of an older, more ancient religious system, in that case the Mesopotamian religions which are at the origin of what we call angels today. both would be fascinating to see developed; or even better an internal war between the current biblical system and the Mesopotamian one. Which would imply the same for the demons, which in their case would be much worse since these would be the actual Gods they would have to face. So if the writers are smart, we can have easily a season or two or three ahead. Finally, God will have to appear sometime, so if he was "kidnapped" by one of these factions, if the writers are going that way, would be great storytelling ahead.
Anyway, that's my take on the show so far.
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I like your take!They'd both be really awesome, but I think I'm leaning toward wanting the Mesopotamian route for the sake of mixing things up a little bit. But mostly, I just want something more complex than "NAOMI BAD."
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You know, if this goes that way, we will be right smack into Lovecraft Land.The whole thing about the Cthulhu and Ancient Ones returning to reclaim their place and power.
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I'd be on that like Dean and pie.
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loving it already..... the storyline not the pie.
put now that i think of it ...i could go for some pie.

also would root for the old ones...just to see crowley and naomi and all of those in heaven or hell shiver in fear.
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Please promise me that's the last I would see Sam and Amelia, it's so bad that it makes it pathetic. Good that Castiel is in this episode and I like his stoic face but I'm curious as to what Naomi will bring in this season. But really does Alfie have to die right away :(
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I can't make those kind of promises. I DO feel like we're more likely to go back to Benny in the future than Amelia though. There's no way that story can be done yet!
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Also, potentially Benny having gone and survived the Purgatory is a real threat to Crowley, if one comes to think of it.Imagine that with his supply of blood gone he turns to direct consumption and challenges and wins against Crowley. The Winchesters will be in a very serious bind, especially vis a vis Dean.
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I have no problem with Benny or I just couldn't care less about his plot but the Amelia thing is so forced that I cringe every time it's on. Hope for more Sam/Dean/Cas storylines and well Kevin too... Now I miss good ol'Bobby and how he would say 'idjit!'...
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I feel like Amelia almost has to come back... not because I want her to, but because then what was the point of her at all? I enjoy that the brothers are finally putting Benny and Amelia behind them, but if both characters don't return and factor into the Big Bad in some way, I feel like it's going to seem like a waste of time. It's like they can't be truly useful to the plot until the brothers decide to move on.
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I can only hope her return is in the form of Crowley killing her and it setting Sam into kill mode.
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I loved this episode I actually didnt want it to end I want to know about the mystery surrounding the Angels and what they did to Cas, although I could care less about Benny & Amelia.
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Alright. I'm just going to sack up and say it. Did anyone find the camerawork/cinematography/etc for this ep just kinda...cheap in places? I felt like I was watching a first season episode of Buffy, especially with that random ZOOM in on Crowley's face when he delivered his big, "there's an angel tablet" line. IDK. Maybe it's just me being pouty and fickle again. Don't worry SPN, I still love you. For some reason.
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Lol, there were totally some wonky shots in there. It felt very cheesy-dramatic in places. IT'S PART OF THE CHARM, OKAY?
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im hoping the cutting ties with Ameila and Benny is a PERMANENT one!!! i felt they were BOTH boring characzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..... im back! Ugh just talking about them... Im hoping it was a production cleanup of bad story telling. All we need is Dean, Sam, and Cas! and Crowley... and i actually like Kevin! Bring more Kevin! Cant wait for next episode, LOVE Felicia Day and her character on here!
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Oh, I will admit to tearing up when Samandriel died. And I teared up some more when I remembered that Cas will inevitably blame himself when he realizes what he did. Poor little Samandriel, trying to warn Cas about some higher power pulling the shots (whether that's Naomi, whom I currently hate, or her bosses/coworkers). I kind of wish they'd shown the wing shot of his death, but Cas stabbed him against the Impala, and I think Dean would've killed Cas if there were any scorch marks on his baby.

I am so glad that the Amelia story line is over. She never really interested me, and I just was so bothered that she cheated on Don, even if it was for that one moment. It just doesn't paint her in a very good light. On the other hand, I'm going to miss Benny. He's grown on me, and I just don't like to think that in some future episode, Dean may have to "gank" him for probably munching conspicuously on some poor family.
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Poor Alfie...I kept thinking after his screams he was going to say "Shire!...Baggins..!"
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I really hope Naomi doesn't survive the season finale. She's so evil she makes King Joffrey look innocent. And killing poor baby Samandriel just because he started to get out of her control and warn Cas was just horrible. I cried so much.
I really hope we'll get to meet Metatron and the still living archangels will be freed, because frankly, I'll take them over Naomi any day. At least you know where you stand with them.
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I am glad that Amelia is gone. I really like Benny. I hate the Naomi storyline. I am guessing that they are setting up an arc for season 9. At this rate, I don't think that there will be a season 9. I am sure that they will be cancelled soon. I hate how Castiel's character has been written so far. I feel badly for all of the great actors who have nothing great to work with. Common writers, Dean, Sam, and Castiel have kids so they need the paychecks.
Congratulations to Jensen Ackles on becoming a father soon. Something is in the water on the Supernatural set....3 kids in 3 years :)
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Considering that the fan support of the show is strong as ever, it is stupid to even suggest they will be cancelled anytime soon. Don't let your personal feelings on the show blind you from the only thing that matters. As long as a profit is turned and the crew wants to continue, its not going anywhere...and I for one am ok with that!
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The powers that b have not commented on the show. If they are waiting until May, then they are waiting for the ratings. If the ratings per each episode drop, then you know that they will cancel the show.
When the showrunner keeps changing, then you know that the show is in trouble. There is a risk of chaos in the changing of the guards. It proves to be true with Supernatural. I mean frivolous storylines. Eric Kripke should come back if "Revolution" is cancelled.
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Now we know why Misha/Castiel will be a series regular for next season ...9
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Pittsburgh represent!
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Whee! Go Penssss!
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I though it was a really great return! Super glad that Sam is done with Amelia! She just got on my nerves ALL THE TIME. Also kinda sad that Dean said by to Benny when he needed his help, so I hope he doesn't turn towards killing people now that his cravings are back!

Samandriel was the nicest and that torture was awful! It was almost hard to watch in some scenes! Ever since we heard that there was a demon tablet, I guessed there would be one for angels to, because why not. Naomi seems to want this to be kept a secret and I don't blame her. Speaking of her, when she was first introduced, I didn't think she was that bad, but now, I kinda hate her! Cas is starting to fall apart because of all that mind-control/prossesion stuff she's been doing to him, and I just hope that the boys will figure out soon what exactly is going on and stop it!

I also agree when Cas told them to "Stow their crap" and just work together, because they are just to miserable apart. Also VERY happy that Sam chose to stay with Dean in the end, because deep down, he knows he loves his brothers more than anyone, and no matter how much he is mad at him, he will always choose Dean.

Im soooo excited for next weeks episode - Dean in medival costume?! YES. One question though: Why doesn't Sam dress up too? He's such a party pooper sometimes :P
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I'm holding out hope that the reason we haven't seen any footage of Sam in tights is because it's so awesome (and/or ridiculous) that they're saving it to surprise us. ;)
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Haha! Hopefully :)
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Great review as usual, covers so many relevant points, important as well as subtle, like the nod to Dean's research skills. I'm just delirious with relief that the Amelia thing is over. It is, right? I cannot believe how cringeworthy their post-sex convo was, the way the camera lingered on them sitting on the bed with the ting-tong music playing in the background *ugh*

I also can't believe Dean shoved off Benny just because Sam whined about it. That's not a fair thing to do, and Sam will always be a dick in my book for forcing Dean to take that step by guilt-tripping him over, well, nothing really. What IS Benny's fault, in Sam's book - that he's a vampire? Well, Sam's one to talk! He's been far more dangerous things than a vamp-on-the-mend. Of course now Benny will kill a few humans, Dean will have to kill him AND suffer Sam's bitchface of 'I told you so'.

The Samandriel torture scenes were BRUTAL. Not as brutal as Sam/Amelia, but still extremely painful to watch. And I'm very sorry he had to die, I was glad that there was a backup angel Dean/Sam could go to in case Cas was MIA. The Naomi plot is okay, kinda interesting, but not VERY, because again, getting too much into heaven/hell/demons/angels from a religious perspective rather than a supernatural one. I frankly want the show to go back to its roots, of hunting while doing other things, not doing everything else but hunting.

Next week's faire seems to be another filler. Dean looks ridic in that medieval costume. SPN is becoming far too campy for a show of its genre.
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Oh man, the thing that did it for me was the whole finishing-each-others'-sentences scene. It would have been unbearable on ANY show, really. But that doesn't make me feel any better about it.

I'm holding out hope for next week. :) Sometimes Spn is awesome with it's ability to take cheesy looking premises and make them delightful, like "Mystery Spot" or "Changing Channels."

Though admittedly, that sometimes backfires as well, like that abomination "Season 7, Time for a Wedding" which I resent both for sucking and for having a long title that I have to type out every time I hold it up as an example of suck.
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all this drama and lets talk about our feelings crap every single episode is really pissing me off. I mean sometimes I have the feeling I am watching Gossip Girl or some bullsh*** like that instead of supernatural. I miss the good old days when the show was about a monsterhunt with some funny talking inbetween. I really hope the show gets back to his rudes and starts to beeing fun again.
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Yeah, since Kripke bailed the show has become what I think of as a "typical CW show," meaning lots of emo teen-ish angst. There was always some angst on SPN, and angst is not an inherently bad thing. It's just the way so many CW shows present it that gets cheesy and seem built for teenagers instead of adults. Unfortunately, I suppose my age puts me firmly in the "adult" category, and things aimed at teens don't usually appeal to me. It's just gotten a lot cheesier, and lot more lowest-common-denominator with its emotional aspects since season 5.
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It's really not just you. I started watching supernatural when I was 16, and the great thing about all the angst was that it was kind of unspoken. So much bad crap happened that it was obvious that the characters had to fell awful, and they showed it through nightmares, drinking binges, and huge dramatic blow-ups. Now I keep waiting for Dean to say 'no chick flick moments' and it never comes. Jensen and Misha actually mentioned at a con that they had serious problems doing a scene because it was so overly emotional, and just didn't suit the characters.

I doubt that many people come to SPN hoping for their Gossip Girl fix now that that show's gone, and yet it feels painfully like I'm watching it at times. And I can honestly say I've seen better acting and story lines in soaps than the Sam/Amelia scenes this episode. OK, English soaps, not American ones, but still. It's just plain bad. I miss the real Sam and Dean.
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man,this 8th season is teeter-totter so far. I love tablet arcs,Benny,Cas,etc.. It is painful to watch Sam and Amelia scenes. Every episode that has their scenes,just takes away something from episode and I am left with a bad taste in my mouth. While I enjoy episode, even I KNOW WHAT THEY WILL SAY and wanna kill them after it.
I thought Supernatural had 1 good rule: NO CHICK FLICKS!!!! Minus Sam-Amelia scenes and that episode with those 3 kids, this season is still AWSOME! I wanna see 9th season of Supernatural and I am waiting for final episode of season 8, with THE ROAD SO FAR and Kansas's Carry On My Wayward Son in begining of episode. They better don't f*ck with this tradition! Perfect song and just an awsome way to recap,what has happened over whole season.
Oh this episode was great,but...ughhh...AMELIA YOU F-ING B*TCH!!!! Just die already :D Please Supernatural NO CHICK FLICKS!!!!
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First of all, my theory about this whole Naomi angel programming thing is as such: God programmed the angels to obey, which is very consistent with the this show's mythology and Christian mythology as well (though in both cases it makes you wonder how Lucifer was able to disobey in the first place). But since God has decided (for a really long time now) that he likes watching more than writing, he isn't controlling angels anymore. And since the mechanisms for controlling them are still there, someone else has come in to take God's place at the reigns. Now, the obvious answer to this would be Naomi, who then is an angel who wants to bring Heaven back to the glory days, when angels were all united on one mindless front. But considering that Supernatural is a show that likes its twists, I think there might be more to this Naomi character. She wants Cas to think that whenever they talk he is in some random place in Heaven that he's never been to, but I suspect that this is a lie. My guess is that Naomi could be some sort of program in Cas's mind, controlling what he does. So whenever they have their sessions together, This program entity is just chatting with him inside his brain. So at some point, Cas will do that age-old thing and realize that is mind is his own, and that if he really wants to he can fight this thing because he has homefield advantage, even though he mind is not designed for free will. Now onto what I thought about this episode as a whole.

I enjoyed this episode quite a bit, though it did have a few problems, mostly that the set-up for future stories were too disconnected front this week's action. The best example of this were Benny's phone calls with Dean. Much as I like the guy, he literally just talked on the phone a couple of times with Dean, each time getting the point across that he was liable to snap at some point and kill someone. This had nothing to do with the "let's rescue and angel" storyline, and was only there to set up a future episode in which Dean will probably have to seriously consider killing someone who is arguably his best friend. If I had been writing this, I would have had him been part of the main mission, which is what I thought was going to happen when Cas said they should get Sam and Dean said he had a different idea. But instead he went to Kevin to make a demon bomb, which they never actually made.

In short, this episode contained a lot of unconnected scenes with important characters just so that we could check in on them. And while I appreciated seeing Benny and Kevin after so long, I wish that they had been more involved in what was going on. I think it would have worked out more for Benny's storyline if he had tagged along. Then the demon fights would have been more epic, Sam and Benny would have had some tension, and Dean might find himself wondering if Benny was really alright. Then Benny would wander off afterward, and there would be an ominous feeling that they might be seeing him again all-too-soon.

On a similar note, Kevin could have given them some demon grenades or something, saying that he couldn't make a proper bomb in time, but that these should help. But hey, at least we saw these guys, even though they were there just so we could see them. I mean, the side story that fit the most this week was Amelia and Sam's thing, and I'm surprised the writers still haven't spiced that storyline up with something. I know that they almost certainly have something cool planned for the future, otherwise the world would no longer make sense anymore, but I do hope that thing starts to show itself sooner rather than later.

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I would disagree to the point saying that "At its core, Supernatural has always been about Sam and Dean and their issues. The monsters and demons are just a bonus."
That's not it all - at the beginning, the show was about demons and monsters with the Winchesters' issues weaved into the storyline. "Where's dad" was a storyline that was mostly addressed in conversations about him and in wild goose chases that ended up being hunts of their own, not in whole episodes exploring their relationship with him and half of the episode dedicated to debating about their father/remembering him without doing anything else with the show. But now with this season, it's the "issues" that take the front seat and the monsters and demons that fill in the holes. The show now purposely works to create unnecessary drama with the Benny and Amelia storylines - two storylines which would not have had room to exist if the show kept with the idea that it's a horror genre show (ESPECIALLY the Amelia one). The Dean/Lisa story was always incorporated into the monster of the week and the Sam/Jessica one involved (obviously) demons. But Amelia's? Nothing. Benny's? Save for last week, it's the same thing for him.
Anyway, I just wanted to say that I strongly disagree with the "Sam and Dean's issues should take as much screen time as they are now," because every single week, I'm getting closer and closer to watching a drama rather than the horror show - or even at this point the fantasy show - that I started watching and it's getting frustrating.
Let the necessary drama work it's way in the hunts and let's cut back on the superfluous, unneccessary kind. Ok? Ok!
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Yeah, where is the horror? No, I don't mean the Amelia plotline... I ask literally :P Why are there no ghosts and stuff anymore! There's tooooo much of this angel/demon/heaven stuff also. Where is the HUNTING?! Now the hunt episodes are the filler ones, instead of things being the other way!
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I agree something's missing. They run around and save angels and kill demons with knives. It's a bit sad that they don't seem to put up a fight with anything anymore. I even miss the rock salt guns. Haven't seen one of those in years... Dean did do some research this episode, but the last few years it seems like Cas or Bobby would hand them the explanation (or even the case!) and they didn't have to try.
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I know right! I mean, sure the show has many problems right now but the quality would improve SO MUCH if they just cut out stupid relationships and stories that have NOTHING to do with the main storyline. Then they could use the time they save on that for hunts and ghosts and stuff! It's not even an exageration to say that the useless stuff takes up half the show now. Man oh man, do I feel stupid for not being 100% appreciative of S6 and S7 when they aired...
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I can't believe you guys want them to go back to hunting ghosts. I was already so bored by that in season 2 that I almost stopped watching back then.
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I can't reply to your second comment for some reason, so answering here. For me personally, the ghost-based, or rather, supernatural-based, or short-term mythology-based first 5 seasons were more interesting that the angel/heaven focused later seasons because of:

a) Basic interest, since I'm not Christian, delving too deep into Biblical plotlines or mythologies over year-long arcs like SPN does now takes it into complex religious/theosophical areas rather than supernatural ones, which isn't gripping for me, over say, three years. I like Castiel as a character, but now the stories are being connived, for want of a better word, to keep him in the picture because of popular demand, and him being an angel, things are getting more and more religious, and thus more and more boring for me. I mean, this Naomi plot, it means pretty much nothing to me beyond a 'bad boss' level, the rest of the deal about angels obeying or being controlled and all that is, seriously, terribly dull unless you have grown up immersed in that mythology and have a reference point to even have an opinion on the matter.

b) The shift from action, excitement, tension, and even cheap thrills to long ponderous sessions discussing tomes and tomes of religious texts and stuff, for example, getting on with hunting a wendigo with a 5 min exposition on what the hell a wendigo is, versus ten eps blathering about demon tablets or word of God or whatever, and no action except random skirmishes created by side characters like Benny killing his old enemies, or some loony trying to kill Benny. Sam & Dean are, at this point, only circumstantially involved. The story has overwhelmed their scope of activities, to the extent that now there can be entire episodes like Bitten where they are not even required.

c) Character-based arcs were far stronger and relevant in the first five seasons as well. Sam had a solid motivation for being in the game, as had Dean, their father was a relevant link that united and conflicted them, the yellow-eyed demon or the crossroads deals were kept at non-religious levels, and supporting characters like Bela or Ruby or even say, Gordon, were tied tightly into the plots over several episodes. Compare a Gordon, who was just a side character, to a 'core' character like Amelia, and see how much weaker the character-based storytelling as become, because the MOTIVATIONS of the characters are not on target.

So I think the biggest reason I want to get back to basics is to reset the Sam & Dean story to its factory settings. I'm not saying shows shouldn't evolve, but this show has changed its focus altogether. Sam and Dean are hunters with differing personalities and even ethics, and there is enough to still tap there for the show, without converting them into these non-credible avengers of angel/demon angst, or trying to discover who God is as per a particular religious POV. We had the Apocalypse, and then some more of it, but do we really need to keep drilling further and further into religion? Why is it no longer about either of its leads, or their 'family business'?
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I almost never like the ghost episodes. I kind of liked one that got a lot of complaints here, the one with Sam in the psychiatric hospital. The actual ghost story was as boring as they all are, but it was interesting to see Sam doing his thing from the perspective of a normal human being (the ghost's sister).

I don't like standalones much, in any series. I almost gave up several times during the first few seasons because there was no real story. I kept watching mainly because other people had told me that the show was good (people who had already seen the first two seasons when I started watching).

That doesn't mean that I think all standalones are bad. There have been some good ones. But it's never because the ghost/monster stuff is interesting. It's because there's something interesting about the situation and/or the people they meet.

The show got much better when Castiel joined the cast and they started spending more time on an arc. I can't say that any of the arcs have been really good, but even a "bad but not terrible" arc is better than no arc. The leviathan stuff was right on the edge between bad and terrible.

I don't like the Amelia stuff. It's not because it's "drama", but because a) it was delivered in the form of flashbacks that didn't fit in with the rest, b) it wasn't even a good story, and c) Sam's behavior never really made sense.
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Really? I mean everyone's allowed to have their own tastes, but the ghost episodes were my favourite! Do you like the episodes now though? Do you think they have WAYYYYY too much drama (ex:Amelia etc.)? What are your fave kind of episodes?
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Factory settings? Factory settings?! Are you freaking kidding me? What the hell was that. That was arguably the dumbest plot device I have seen, EVER. I thought this was unbelievably bad.

The whole thing between Sam and Dean I am just tired of. Sam made a good point as to just how a dick move that was when he brought up Jessica. It was a dick move and had he not done it likely nothing would have happened and Benny and Sam would be reluctantly ok with each other. But they needed that conflict, so..

The whole thing with Naomi is the only thing interesting. I would like to know who she is and what she does exactly. It seems that they are turning the Angels into robot like creatures and she is the developer. I mean if we are going to go full stupid with the whole factory settings BS then you might as well make them magic robots.

And as for Sam being a Dbag with Amelia. In a way I am kind of glad. It is way better than see them trudge through scenes with absolutely zero chemistry what so ever.

At this point I am liking last season more than this. This show is swirling down the train with pretty good speed.
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Yikes, that's not a good sign for this season if you're liking last season better. Last season was pretty much awful. I was mostly on board with s6, but the show seems to be struggling more and more without its creator at the helm.

It used to be that this show incorporated drama to facilitate its story. Now it seems that the show is incorporating story (and not always well-thought-out story) to facilitate drama. Drama, not story, feels like the goal of this show now, putting in a category with a bunch of other CW shows I mostly don't watch, because Just No.

There's so many things that don't add up about the story anymore with respect to the entirety of its run that it's hard to really get into it the way I used to be able to so effortlessly. I sometimes wonder if Kripke didn't unintentionally sink the ship when he left by the story he created and finished. I always thought that after God, the Devil & the Apocalypse, there's kinda nowhere to go but down. It climaxed, would the following stories have the source material to enable good writing and directing if it continued? I think it's a little of all the above. The writing/directing/etc. isn't as good as it used to be, but I think they're also weighed down by the fact that the story--what really makes or breaks a show--has struggled to find its footing the last few seasons. I give the show credit though for doing the best you can probably come up with, post-Apocalypse. Finding the mother of all the monsters, finding their father(s) in the Leviathans from Pergatory (although as characters and as a season-long story arc that whole thing sucked royally, but at least the thought was good), and now demon/angel tablets. It makes sense that there would be a lot of Aftermath to the first 5 seasons. I'm just not sure it was ever built to be intriguing to the viewer, given the story of the first 5 years.
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In a lot I agree with that, especially the missing Bobby. However much that is needed, they could have done a reasonable job with Garth. As silly as his character is, at least it is funny.

However the story, I still think they could do a lot with it. It would be tough, but the end of season 5 and the whole angels vs Crowley thing really is only adherent to the judeo-christian mythologies. They really could have switched it up and gone with any of the other myths. But they went with purgatory and the Leviathans. As silly as they were.

They really have a need for a big bad. The whole thing with Crowley lack gravitas so to speak because we are so familiar with him. Or they really need to end it with a season of Sam vs Dean kind of a thing.
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Oh yeah.......forgot to add: This show really misses Bobby. Like.....really.
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Lol, the factory settings! I really, REALLY hope that they were just making a bad analogy. Between magic robot angels and Being Human's Vampire flu, I just don't know. I just. Don't. Know.

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Which do you think is worse? Personally I have to go with Vampire Flu. Because at least magic robot angel factory settings was presumably a one time thing in order to get the angel tablet out there. Despite how bad and stupid that is. The equally stupid and bad vampire flu seems like it is going to be a season long plot.
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I agree about factory settings. The other thing I was thinking about that is that isn't even really the angel's body. Why does drilling into the human shell's brain even reach their "factory settings"? Seems like a bit of a design flaw. I guess the demon tried to get around that with his, "we invade every cell" speech, but I don't buy it.
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Just add that to the list of metaphysical things that are never explained and don't appear to be well thought out on the show anymore. Such as what's the real consequence of killing a being in Hell/Heaven/Purgatory? THEN where do they go? Do they just.....cease to exist? Is there a heaven/hell/purgatory Part 2 where you go if you get killed in the first ones? The whole Afterlife mythos on this show has never made a lot of sense. Or how about Sam's amnesia being soul-related instead of brain-related. He can't remember the Cage because he had no soul? Um, ok, but his body was there too, apparently, since it all fell in the pit, so you'd think his physical brain would recall the Cage. Indeed, his brain could recall everything else about his life, but only his SOUL can remember the Cage? Death shoves the soul back in and only then must a wall be built to keep Sam from the Cage Memories? Er....what? Yeah.....totally with you....I was thinking the exact same thing when Crowley and the other demon was drilling into the angel's brain. If angels and demons are supposedly beings of another plane of existence, exactly how does drilling into the physical host in this plane accomplish anything as far as getting to the angel's "factory settings." And...."Factory Settings." I'm not gonna bother to rant about that one.
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Either way it was still unbelievably dumb. I am almost longing for the days of the "invulnerable" leviathan, who apparently can be almost killed by industrial solvent.
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If that's the one and done topless scene for this season then I'm out. If you need me then you shall find me reviewing old topless footage.
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Soulless Sam topless chin-ups for all!
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BEST SCENE EVER!!! totally drooled all over myself while typing this
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Does anyone else think Sam's a huge dick for just not showing up? The meeting was his idea in the first place. Not that I wanted to watch that meeting go down, because that would be unbelievably boring, but still. Dick move. At least Dean called Benny to tell him he wasn't coming.
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Well, Amelia did spend 3 minutes spelling out what would happen if one of them showed up, if none of them did, if both of them did, etc. etc. so it was supposed to be 'understood' by absenteeism rather than phone calls or even texts. They didn't want to get back in touch with each other in case they called it off. Dean & Benny, on the other hand, weren't breaking up the most boring affair of the decade so things were straightforward.
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So, basically, this episode was to tell us that most of the first half was kind of pointless? Because other than the awesome Garth episode, Benny, and a few plot points on Kevin and the tablets I could happily have missed most of it. Really, they could have covered everything in about 2 episodes, and not made me want to kill Sam for being a dick. This entire episode just confirmed for me that the whole premise of the season, or at least Sam's - let's not look for Dean in purgatory but shack up with an incredibly boring woman and her dog - made no sense, and couldn't really be come back from properly.

Although this episode was enjoyable, the great bits were Castiel, Benny, and poor adorable angel screaming at Crowley. Sam's scenes with Amelia were dull, made her seem like kind of a manipulative bitch, and didn't really make a huge amount of sense. Everything about it felt forced, as did Dean's embarrassment over the porn he'd randomly left up on his computer. It's as if the writer's suddenly realised how much they'd screwed up, but couldn't figure out how to get out of the hole they'd written themselves into, and so threw Dean back on references to older seasons, when they show actually managed to mix humor in successfully, and had Sam act out a very boring sex-scene and break up more suited to Day of Our Lives. And also a relationship anyone watching the show actually cared about.

If anyone is actually reading this you're probably wondering why I even bother to watch the show, and I've got to admit the ending finally did make me sit up and take notice in a way I haven't done all season. Finally, something interesting. I'm actually looking forward to next week. But I'm mostly watching now out of loyalty for what the show used to be, and I'm really hoping they get even halfway as good as they were just a few years ago. I never thought I'd end up being bored by Sam and Dean. I really don't want this to be the note that Supernatural goes out on.
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ALL OF THIS.
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I don't know why Samandriel had to die, he had already told them about the tablet, killing him didn't really serve any purpose aside from punishing him for revealing their secrets.
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well, yeah...
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My precious! Yeah. I didn't think it was so much him blabbing about the tablet that got him killed so much as blabbing about being controlled. I think he was about to tell Castiel something Naomi didn't want Cas to know. :(
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Also, perhaps whatever Crowley did freed him from his new programming. Besides telling people about w t h is going on, he could now actively work against her / them.
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Exactly, I mean she sent Cas in to rescue him in the first place, Samandriel was forced to tell Crowley what he did and it wasn't until he started spilling to Cas that she freaked out and ordered Cas to kill him. Although, she's controlling him so why couldn't she just erase that bit? Maybe she was also afraid Sam and Dean would walk in on the conversation?
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Good point! I was thinking the same thing as EsmeBuffay, but that makes so much more sense.
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That makes sense, I forgot about that.
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I just skimmed this, and at first I thought it said the twin toddlers were making $8k. If it had actually said that, this would've been the most baller spam ever.
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OH SHUT UP
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Someone doesn't want to get payed $7500 ;)
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