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