Friday, January 18, 2013

Supernatural: Season 8, Episode 10: Torn and Frayed

 It’s finally back – Castiel is back! It’s been a long holiday but at last the angel has returned. Oh, yeah I guess the rest of show did as well. Which is important, of course, yes. *ahem*

We start with poor fast food angel, Samandriel, still Crowley’s very very unfortunate guest. While he’s alone he quietly informs Naomi (that would be Castiel’s new boss) that he’s being held by Crowley. His guard and torturer is not happy with him using Angel radio and puts the very unpleasant spike back into the poor angel’s skull.

Meanwhile Sam and Dean meet up again and Sam is still pouting. Ugh, I didn’t agree with him pouting last episode and I still don’t agree with it now. Less Sam, more Castiel. Dean tells Sam that Benny killed the fool hunter in self-defence (why not just say in defence of the human woman he was holding hostage? Maybe Sam could understand that). Sam is upset because of Dean’s trickery using Amelia which was, yes, unpleasant – but it’s not like the man was listening to reason. On where they go from here – Sam wants to know where or not Dean is done with Benny.

Choice between Benny and Sam? I’ll take Benny.

Dean says he doesn’t know and since Sam won’t bend, he leaves.

To Castiel! YESSSS! He randomly heals a passing baby, because he’s awesome like that, when Naomi drags him up to the office on high to tell him about Semandriel. She orders him to intervene (not asks or suggests outright orders) and makes him believe it’s his idea to rescue him – not Heaven’s and not Naomi’s.

So from there Castiel goes to Dean – creepily standing over him while he sleeps, as he does. He tells Dean he’s turned on angel-radio and heard Samandriel’s predicament as well as a rough location in Nebraska. And he needs Dean’s help for the complex task of talking to people – something he just can’t do. To Dean’s laptop to research (and for Dean to hide his porn)  to research strange incidents that are caused by angel screams. Catiel also notices Sam’s absence but Dean brushes it aside (we don’t need Sam, we have Castiel!)

At which point we join Sam (hey, no, go back to Castiel!)

Go away Sam, you're taking up valuable Castiel time
Ok, fine, let’s have some Sam time. Amelia has come to talk to him about stuff. Sam assures her he’ll leave because he didn’t want to cause trouble he thought she was in trouble. She keeps finishing his sentences and points out him coming back to check on her means he cares. Just like her. Awww, they both care. For the record, I really don’t.

She spends the night in his motel, they have sex and they discuss whether it was a mistake and how Amelia doesn’t want to hurt her husband but also can’t stop thinking about Sam. If he stays she will be with Sam, if he leaves, she can’t have him return because she can’t have him with just one foot in her life. They discuss and think and angst and decide in 2 days whether to meet up again – if they both show, one shows or neither shows.

Meanwhile poor Semandriel is still being tortured by the nasty demon and is suffering almost as much as I am when I have to sit through Sam and Amelia’s scenes. With a second spike being drilled into his head, he starts chanting – chanting that is heard by a man coming from a bush outside and presumably some distance away from the little torture prison. The bush spontaneously combusts and throws the man across the garden. As far as super divine powers go, random combustible foliage seems rather low down the list.

Dean and Castiel go to interview the man with severe burns after the “ambush” (oh Dean that’s a bad one). Castel recognises the words he heard as Enochian for “obey” and also that for an angel to communicate through shrubbery and to cause it to burn would indicate he’s in incredible pain. And the “shrubbery” is his choice of words there, not my snark, honest.

Deciding that wherever Semandriel is being held is going to be crawling with demons, they drive around and look for them – finding an abandoned warehouse with lots of homeless people possessed by demons through Cas’s angel vision. It’s a lot of goons and there’s angel warding. Castiel suggests going for Sam and Dean shuts it down right away - if Sam wanted to be in he’d be there (amen). He has a different plan – and they go to see Kevin still translating the tablet and is frustrated by how slow and difficult it is only having half. Dean wants some more of the Demon TNT they used – but the recipe contains far too many obscure ingredients.  Thankfully, they have an angel to do the gathering

With Semandriel, the torture demon calls in Crowley to translate Semandriel’s babble. He’s chanting “you celestial being have been chosen to be an angel of the lord” or, as Crowley puts it, they’re reached his operating system, his factory settings. Crowley would love to learn more.

Dean is bored waiting for Castiel with the shopping and even Kevin is wearing headphones (thankfully blocking Dean’s unnecessary comments about Kevin’s mother – was discussing her hotness necessary? And you know she’d kill him…) when Benny calls to apologise about the mess with the other hunter, thank him… and say he’s having trouble. He needs some support, with his hunger, and Dean promises to go see him after he’s finished the case. Back to Kevin and it seems he’s pushed his mother away, put her somewhere “safe” so he can study the tablet in isolation – something even Dean finds excessive.

Castiel arrives with the supplies – and Sam. Dean is not amused. Sam is not amused. Castiel is not amused and tells them both to stow their crap. Because Castiel is awesome.

Yes, yes he is
 To the warehouse. Sam and Dean need to destroy 4 Enochian symbols to bring down the angel warding and allow Castiel to beam in and rescue Semandriel. He gives Sam his angel blade and we hear more of his internal motivation for saving Semandriel – after killing so many angels he wants to save at least one

They infiltrate, killing demons and erasing symbols while Crowley continues to torture Semandriel. But the explosion of the TNT finally comes to the demon torturer’s attention, though Crowley is focused on his goal. Castiel enters with the last symbol down but there are a lot of other sigils on the wall, weakening him – and they don’t have time to muss them with the state Semandriel is in. As Semandriel screams, Castiel continues to have odd flashbacks of Naomi and what looks like a sonic screwdriver being applied to his eye.

And Crowley learns, from Semandriel’s Enochian, that out there, along with a Leviathan tablet and a demon tablet, is an angel tablet. A tablet with the word of god dishing all the first on angels.

Dean and Sam hammer their way in, beating down the torturer and random lackey while Castiel works to free Semandriel, all the while getting visions of Naomi tinkering with his head with sharp metal pointy things while he was tied to a dentist chair. The torturer tries to make a deal for his life and Dean stabs him with his demon knife, Sam taking out the other with the angel blade.

Castiel wants to take Semandriel home but he refuses, he says he told Crowley things they should never have known, things he didn’t know, things in their code – including about Heaven and Naomi. Castiel doesn’t understand since he can’t remember her. He says someone is controlling them. He asks what he means and suddenly gets zapped up to Heaven with Naomi. She demands he kill Semandriel and Castiel asks her what he means, asks her what she did to him. She grabs him, lifts him and makes it a direct order before sending him back.

Back on Earth, he kills Semandriel.

Back in heaven, Naomi tells Castiel he killed a traitor. He protests Semandriel’s goodness and Naomi says he revealed something any angel would die to protect, the angel tablet. She calls him a hero.; She tells him what to tell the Winchesters – that Semandriel was compromised, that he attacked Castiel and he killed him in self-defence. And Castiel has to take his remains to heaven.

On Earth he follows her commands – but cries blood while doing so. He tries to pass it off as damage to his vessel but the Winchesters don’t seem to buy it. Despite his classic deadpan, I love how the acting here conveys his doubt and conflict.

Sam and Dean go to a cabin to discuss this after warding the place against angels. Dean thinks someone’s messing with Castiel, but can’t see how it can be angels. Dean points out Sam has Amelia to get back to and invites him to leave – not snarkily. Sam can’t understand why Dean’s fine with him going back to Amelia and Dean says he’s tired of the fighting (yes, it’s another excellent “a whole lot more is said in subtext than text” scene of Dean’s angst and pain). Sam is conflicted, he wants to be with Amelia but there’s so much happening, so much left to be done. Dean says he has to pick – one or the other, trying to do both won’t work (same thing Amelia said)

We stop in on Benny drinking bagged blood and Dean calls him, cancelling their coffee appointment, despite Benny being in a hard way. Dean says it’s the end of the line, they can’t be in touch any more. He urges Benny to stay good and they both say thanks and goodbye.

Amelia goes to the motel and finds it empty. Sam is eating dinner with Dean.

Remember how, once upon a time, they used to try and save the humans the demons were possessing? They actually used exorcisms. Especially in situations like with the torturer they had him completely at their mercy.

But then, demons used to be lethal beings you didn’t try to take in a 1-on-1 fight, guess they were tougher demons.

Ok, so I get it, this is supposed to be the reconciliation moment. Sam is giving up Amelia and Dean is giving up Benny and they’re returning to hunting together and concentrating on Castiel. Part of me is happy with this because I hated the Amelia storyline and I think Benny was a distraction as well. But I also dislike the presentation of both situations being equal. Sam dropped everything – including Kevin who was in dire straits, for Amelia (actually even before he met Amelia) and then was a complete whiny brat about Dean wanting to go and save lives. And Benny? Are we going to see Benny start drinking live blood again because Dean dropped him even while he’s begging for his help. Is Sam going to be “validated” in his arseholery because Benny will kill people after Sam took his support net away? I hope not, and I’m wary.

But a storyline that centres Castiel? ALL IS FORGIVEN! More Castiel and less Sam angst!