'Supernatural' Recap: Benny's 'Vampirate' Past Comes Back to Haunt Him

'Supernatural': Dean helps his 'Blood Brother'
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Just last week The CW's Supernatural put its guest stars at the center of the story, and we criticized the show for it. So it may surprise you that using the same strategy, Thursday’s “Blood Brother” actually re-energized our enthusiasm for this eighth season.

Benny (Ty Olsson) may be new, but if he’s going to stick around for any length of time we need to understand where he’s coming from and where he wants to go in order to care about his plight and be invested in how his presence throws a wrench into the Winchesters’ plans.

Kudos are certainly owed to the writer of this episode, Ben Edlund, and the director, Guy Norman Bee, for giving us that and more.

Note: Spoilers ahead Wednesday night’s “Blood Brother”.

“Blood Brother” had Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) detouring once again from the hunt for Kevin and the tablets—but not necessarily by choice. Thwarted by a misleading trail of credit card activity, Kevin was still in the wind, which freed Dean up to help out his Purgatory pal Benny after an attack by some of his old vampire crew. Dean pulled the “you took a whole year; I can take a day” card with Sam and drove a couple of pints of fresh blood out to Benny, who didn’t just need to heal but to gear up for a much bigger fight.

Benny decided he was going to go after his maker, and the bond formed on the battlefield was one too great to resist. Even after Benny admitted to Dean how his nest would feed on an entire yacht of people and then burn the boats, Dean didn’t blink. He cracked a joke, and they moved on with the plan.

See, as it turned out, Benny once fell in love with a woman (and a human one at that) and because of her, he decided to stop his blood-sucking ways. Naturally, though, his “maker” wasn’t as happy for him as he was for himself, so the man who made him was also the man who killed him, sending him to Purgatory in the first place and later turning his girlfriend.

When Dean and Benny turned up at the vampire nest and found this woman there—not murdered as Benny assumed-- Benny tapped into the sufficient rage he needed to take out his maker, but Dean had to step in and take out the girlfriend when she proved to be a true monster of a vampire.

It was an interesting flip from last week when he let the werewolf go sight unseen, with no real proof that she hadn’t or wouldn’t kill anything human. This time it was back to business as usual for Dean, even though it was going to hurt his new brother. How Dean’s actions will affect his on-going relationship with his other brother, compared to Sam when he killed Amy, should be interesting all on their own.

Meanwhile, Sam reminisced some more about Amelia (Liane Balaban) until he got a call from Dean to help with a vampire nest. As we learned through flashbacks, Amelia’s disdain for him seemed to be more of a standoffish nature in general. She happened to be holed up in the same cheap housing he was, and they bonded over both being loners, dealing with different kinds of loss, and living just outside of any kind of real connection. We’re still not quite sure we get what he saw in her, other than just wanting someone—anyone—to reach out to, but we’ll probably get there; it’s just a slower burn than the Dean/Benny relationship reveal.

Anyway, in true uncanny timing, Sam showed up to witness Benny’s own vampire side get shut down by Dean when he moved to stop him.

Now, as an audience we have had time to sit with the idea of Dean being friends with a vampire. We have been able to experience the stages of grief that come along with such realization, including inevitable early exclamations that it’s so out of character, it can’t possibly be real. We’ve witnessed enough through Dean’s Purgatory memories to understand, rationalize, and even enjoy the partnership. Benny could never replace Sam, but he was a decent surrogate when Dean had no one else in Purgatory. Sam did not have that time, though, so tonight he was a mixture of all of those emotions—but mostly dumbfoundedness and disappointment, it seemed.

Buzz Moments

OMG!: Dean comes back from Purgatory after a year and claims to have some “personal” stuff to take care of, but Sam doesn’t assume he’s going to spend the night at a strip club? What happened, you guys? You used to know each other so well!

Thank you, TV gods: When Sam heard the weird noise in the motel room, his first instinct was that it could be something supernatural coming after him. His heart may not be in it anymore, but thankfully his gut still is.

Awk-ward: Three was certainly a crowd in Purgatory, as Castiel (Misha Collins) proved to be more of a “magnet” than Dean’s own humanity, causing some sibling-like banter between the angel and the vampire, which put Dean in the dad seat for a change.

Hotness: What is it about revenge that makes men so much more attractive? Before this episode, Benny was just a sinister vampire, but now we understand his damage. And yes, we’re attracted to it. More Benny, please!

Fab-u-lous: Amelia is the only one to see past the big muscles and the hair to actually call out what makes the Winchesters’ (well, Sam’s) lifestyle extremely unsexy.

Can. Not. Wait.: With their relationship newly strained by the Benny reveal, just what will keep Sam riding and fighting alongside Dean, when he knows Amelia is still out there?

Celebuzz Meter (1-10): 8

Now that you know a bit more about Benny and Amelia, are you looking forward to seeing more of them throughout the season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

-- Danielle Turchiano

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  • Lucky

    I don't know Kelios, it seems to me Sam's reaction to Benny was perfectly normal. He doesn't know what happened in Purgatory or that Dean met Benny there. I did like the way Ben Edlund wrote Benny. Not only giving him a history but giving him an interesting complexity when he questioned his own sanity. I don't know what to make of Amelia. Who would choose to live in a ratty motel? I'm kind of wondering if the watcher outside her house might be someone watching Amelia and not something keeping tabs on Sam.

  • kay

    It was a wonderful surprise when Benny asked Dean why did you resurrect me, and we get a flashback to Purgatory and we see, despite the bitching about Castiel, Benny saved Cas from the Leviathan. Way to go Edlund. I can get the Sam and Amelia backstory, it does make sense for Sam to try to get back to the apple-pie life he's always wanted, from the beginning of the show, (incidentally Dean hooked up with Lisa because Sam made him promise that.) The Lisa-Dean dynamic worked because they did flesh out Lisa a bit more (marginally more) and you weren't certain at first that it wouldn't crash and burn. We see Sam and Amelia in flashbacks, and thank goodness in this ep we start to see where they bond, they didn't do much to make you fall for Amelia, however, we also know from ep one this season that this relationship is going no-where, (so far) they still have to give us viewers more reasons to be invested in the relationship. But the end goal is always to have Sam and Dean reconcile and fight together, I don't mind if they put some sibling friction in, as long as it's based on a storyline that makes sense.

  • kay

    You have to remember that this is Sam's first time of meeting Benny, Dean has not told Sam a single thing about him, his name, what they meant to each other in Purgatory, nothing. So Sam's issue here is trust, especially because he asked Dean not to kill Amy, and Dean went back and killed her and lied about it. It's less about the monsters and more about the brother's trust issues.

  • kelios

    I'm really unhappy with Sam's reaction to Benny. Sam has no idea if Benny deserves his hatred, yet he's angry that Dean is friends with him anyway. There's also the question of what exactly did Sam expect Dean to do in Purgatory? Die? Dean made the only choice he could, he found an ally and made his way back to his brother. More than once Sam has taken Dean to task for judging monsters too harshly, now he is doing the same thing to Dean and Benny. Who, exactly, is the hypocrite here?

  • Mickey

    Benny is an interesting character and he had a great backstory. Though I felt it was too soon to have another guest-centric episode right after Bitten. As for the Sam/Amelia story, unlike you, I do not have faith "We'll get there in the end." I can't find a single thing to like about this storyline, and I can always find something to like about any Supernatural storyline. For starters, it's not even a Supernatural storyline. There is nothing supernatural about it. Sam fixed things, a girl insulted him. Carver said it's a "straightforward, what-you-see human story." That means there will be no supernatural explanation for why Sam didn't even look for Dean. And there will be nothing that ties it into the show, which is called Supernatural for a reason. If I wanted to see non-supernatural love stories, I'd be watching another show than Supernatural. And I want to like Amelia, but two out of the three times we've seen her, she's been the "angry lady" being pretty damn nasty to Sam. And we've been down this road before, and it was a much better road. We've done the story with one of the boys leaving hunting to settle down with a woman. And I loved Lisa, and it was part of the Supernatural storylines, and it was interesting because of the conflict that tore Dean between hunting and family life. I'm not getting any of that with the Sam/Amelia story.

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