Watch Supernatural Season 8 Episode 12
Even after a month-long break for the holidays, “Supernatural” maintained the momentum established over the last few episodes and returned with a decisive bang in “Torn and Frayed.”
The episode traveled at a brisk pace, involving everyone from Kevin, Benny and Amelia to Naomi, Samandriel, Crowley and his new pet torturer Viggo. Perhaps most impressively, considering “Torn and Frayed” was mostly just a typical search and rescue mission, the episode featured plenty of development on the mythology front, without feeling too heavy-handed.
The episode’s main focus was on Sam and Dean’s frayed relationship (see what they did there?) with both brothers stinging from the events of “Citizen Fang.” Sam was understandably still pissed that Dean had used his feelings for Amelia to manipulate him, while Dean was understandably still pissed that Sam refused to trust him about Benny. Dean admitted he was wrong, but was unwilling to shoulder all of the blame, proving that Amelia and Benny were both still huge chasms on the Winchesters’ road to recovery.
“Is that where we are? That you’d save a vampire by making me believe that the woman I love might be dead?”
“If you’d have just heard me out, if you’d have trusted me, all of this could’ve been avoided.”
They both make good points, which is what makes their current friction so believably infuriating.
It’s also interesting to note that while Dean did admit he was wrong, he didn’t actually apologize for his actions. Have either of the brothers uttered the word “sorry” to each other this season? Without going back and rewatching, I’m not certain, but I feel like it’s a deliberate decision on the part of the writers that both are avoiding that act of penance, and when we finally hear Sam and Dean actively saying that word to each other, we’ll know they’re back on solid ground again.
Still, despite starting the episode in a clearly antagonistic, resentful place, by the end, both brothers made an unspoken step towards reconciliation by giving up the relationships that were causing such discord.
Dean didn’t try to guilt trip Sam into staying, telling his brother that one of them deserved to be happy, and that simple gesture of acceptance and compromise was enough to have Sam reexamining whether he could actually leave and abandon Dean to figure out the problem with Cas alone. If Dean had issued an ultimatum or tried to tell Sam he was wrong for wanting to quit the job, Sam would’ve stormed off and gone back to Amelia out of spite, and perhaps the pair never would’ve forgiven each other. But let’s face it, neither Sam nor Dean wants to lose their brother, and hurt pride isn’t a good enough reason to throw away a lifetime of having each other’s backs.
And seeing that Sam was willing to sacrifice his happiness to back Dean up was apparently all it took for Dean to swallow his own pride and sacrifice his relationship with Benny for the chance to smooth things out with his brother.
When the Winchesters have truly matured and gotten to that place of equality that Jeremy Carver is apparently aiming for, both will have realized that they don’t need to ask for or offer a sacrifice in return for maintaining their relationship — they’ll understand that having friendships or romances outside of each other doesn’t actually threaten their bond — but in the meantime, the symbolic sacrifice is a good first step to prove that both are dedicated to the cause.
It’s another tentative move towards equilibrium, but as I pointed out in the last review, these guys have had different priorities and different ways of approaching their goals for pretty much their whole lives, so it’s going to take more than one blow-up fight to truly get them back on the same page. Is it frustrating to watch them failing to communicate because of their stubbornness? Probably for some people, but it’s also honest, which will make their reconciliation more satisfying in the end.