TV REVIEW: Supernatural, Season 8 Episodes 9 & 10 – ‘Citizen Fang’ and ‘Torn & Frayed”

Sam-Castiel-Dean-supernatural-16744455-1280-800The Winchesters are back and so am I with another double episode review.  Old friends and enemies return as we see Benny, Castiel, Crowley, Kevin, Samandriel and Naomi.  It’s all go as the brothers hit the halfway point in the series (more or less).

Episode 9: Citizen Fang

We are in the deep south of Louisiana as we see Benny living a clean life, but as with all things in the Supernatural world, there is never a happy ending.  Sure enough it’s not long before vamp victims are piling up.  Sam has had crazy hunter Martin tailing Benny and it doesn’t take him long to call the boys in deal with him.  The inevitable conflict with the brothers ensues and Dean uses his head instead of his fists for once, tricking Sam into tearing off after his love Amelia.

We see more flashbacks to Sam’s year off, kicking off after last week’s revelation that Amelia’s husband is alive.  Amelia is doing fine and seemingly happy with her husband.  Dean reunites with Benny and they take care of the real vampire behind the problem.  Martin however is still not in his right mind and holds hostage the only person besides Dean that keeps Benny on the straight and narrow, his great-granddaughter.  Benny seemingly gives his life as sacrifice but in the need – he kills Martin and takes off.  Meanwhile Amelia has tracked down Sam.

This is quite a different episode for Supernatural.  While it has many classic elements – bloody deaths, vampires, Sam & Dean in conflict, great atmosphere and tension – there was a distinct lack of humour in the episode.  Not necessarily a bad thing, we had two very funny episodes last week so to have the focus on the drama was a nice change.

The clash between the brothers is nothing new, they really have grown over the seasons and Sam is no longer the put upon brother that eventually explodes, he speaks his mind quite eloquently but with the strength of his imposing frame.  Dean isn’t just barking orders but can also express himself with an intelligence of practicality that is all of his own.  Ty Olysson as Benny is a great edition, his Southern accent of charm that is struggling with his nature is brilliant.  There are no stand out lines here but it is a really good episode.

Episode 10: Torn and Frayed

We open with a summary of Season 8 so far – what a truly action packed season it has been so far! Thrown back into the current story, Samandriel/Alfie is still being horrifically tortured by having screws being screwed into his head.  This leads to the activation of his “angel code” or “factory settings” – basically programming for angels.

This intrigues Crowley and worries Naomi who sends Castiel to rescue him.  Cas needs the brothers for this task, but they are still split after the Benny fallout.  Sam is reunited with Amelia who still harbours feelings for Sam.  After some bedroom action and talking they both decide that they need time to think, set a time and place to meet and if they are both there at the time and place – they will be back together.  Meanwhile Dean and Cas check in on Kevin, who has sent his mother away and is deeply focused on translating the demon tablet.  We see Benny again who is not having a good time.

Castiel reunites the brothers so they can mount an assault on where Crowley is keeping Samandriel/Alfie.  Crowley manages to get what he was after – Samandriel reveals that there is an Angel tablet.  This is what Naomi was afraid of and why she sent Cas to mount a rescue mission.  However Cas has memories of being “drilled” by Naomi, inducing fear in him when he see’s Samandriel.  He overcomes this and with the brothers, rescues him.

However it only lasts until Cas and Samandriel are alone and Naomi orders Cas to kill him – which he does.  Sam and Dean twig that something is wrong with Cas.  With the brothers back together they talk again with Dean admitting he is jealous of Sam’s happiness and ability to separate himself from the job, but says if he wants in he needs to be in or it will kill him.  Dean also ends his relationship with Benny and Sam follows suit, not showing up to his rendezvous with Amelia and joining his brother.

Like all the arc episodes this season we have another cracker.  Plenty of action, emotion and mystery.  The only criticism is you could say it was a little crammed with Castiel, Crowley, Kevin, Benny and Amelia but all the subplots had their time and nothing felt too excessive, it just fitted together nicely.  The mystery with Castiel and Naomi is building, we have a new source of power to seek out now there is an Angel tablet and we have the brothers united.  The episode expands on what has come before and builds to the progress of the season.  It’s gonna be a great half season to come.

Best lines: “It’s just creepy”, “Who snatched Heaven’s most adorable angel?”, “it’s a metaphor”, “That’s his serious face”, “Course it’s Enochian you pigeon!”

Episode 9 Rating: 4/5
Episode 10 Rating: 5/5
Steven Stone

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