Overall: Compelling. The plot thickens as old arcs are put to bed and the main season focus starts to take shape. I was left eager for the next installment.
Contrivance Level (CL): 3 (Moderate) How did Cas find Sam? Killing Torture Demon rather than getting intel.
What Worked: Katmandu. I love Bob Seger (hey, I’m a Michigan grad, it’s almost required in order to get your degree). The pissy fight between the brothers and their resolution at the end. Naomi going really dark. The grey and messy breakup of the external relationships (Sam/Amelia and Dean/Benny). That each chose to end the relationships based on their own reason and not just due to the other brother’s needs.** Dean’s poor attempts to hide Asian porn from Cas. Cas’s penance helping people. Cas’s brainwashing starting to break and the brothers figuring out all is not right in Cas-ville.
What Didn’t Work: Alfie torture porn. Too much for me; I find the scenes unwatchable. And why call Naomi if he’s going to rat her out? Crowley getting the Angel Tablet data out of Alphie.
Best BadAss Moment: “And I need both of you, as you say, to stow your crap.” I love it when Cas smacks them around a bit. They deserved it.
Big Feels Moment: Dean letting Benny go. Benny sounded so desperate, it killed me. And I love Benny.
Best Line: the stow your crap line (see Best BadAss Moment)
I wish I knew: What is up with Dean and busty Asian ladies? And does he really find Mrs Tran hot? Because …ew….
S8 Context: Well we needed them back together and they made the choice to do so. I’m ready to move on.
**Special Topic: The breakups
Sam/Amelia: I’m perfectly fine with how fugly this breakup was. With a better script and (honestly) a little better acting, they could have made the mistake-sex more compelling. JP sold “wrong sex” with Ruby but he didn’t seem to be fighting his desires very hard with Amelia. I get that the whole soap-opera backstory gives him a bit of an out but he should have acted more torn in the moment, not just regretted being a heel the next day. I do like how this season is building up grey moral decisions. It’s awfully messy these days for Team Winchester and the parallel works well for me. Bonus points for shirtless Sam (so Amelia honey, I understand why you can’t get that vision out of your head morning, noon and night….OTOH, Sam is BAD NEWS sweetie….stick with boring Don if you want to live). That Sam never told her his backstory before they made their decisions…BOO HISS Sam. Tells me it was over and you just had a hard time letting it go. I’m glad it ended with Sam making the choice to stay in the business, not just forced to give up Amelia due to Don.
Dean/Benny: On the one hand I get that Dean never agreed to be Benny’s AA sponsor. OTOH Benny has proved to be nothing but good and deserved better than Dean’s “adios”. This was a morally grey (hey, there’s that THEME) call for Dean IMO. He’s abandoned a brother/friend. Clearly pissy Sam had originally made it a condition for them working together but Dean made the decision not knowing which way Sam was going to go with Amelia. Further, he effectively told Sam to pound sand on the topic and did not capitulate IMO to Sam's desires. No, instead I think he made the decision to dump Benny because he knew he couldn’t be running off to be Benny’s AA sponsor and figure out what was up with Cas and the Angels. So, in a way, Dean chose the mission again over Benny (despite Dean wanting that brother-like relationship).
Bottom Line: Both chose to end the relationships for their own reasons. I’m not even sure if Sam knows Dean dumped Benny. I like that they both recognized they have a more important mission to do and that they should do it together. I’m happy with how it worked out. I'm also glad they they are back together but clearly not really reconciled.