Review of Episode 8×05: “Blood Brother”
Overall: Very solid, I liked it a lot. I know last week’s ep wasn’t great, and that almost anything would’ve been an improvement, but I think I would have enjoyed this one even without that comparison. It was evenly split between the two brothers (always a smart move), we got more info about both Benny and Amelia, a bunch of monsters got decapitated, and Dean said the word “vampirates.” How can you complain about an episode like that?
Dean: Annoyed at Kevin continually outsmarting them (understandable), and taking it out a bit on Sammy (not nice, but realistic – we all know brothers get that way with each other). Dean defends his attack on Tiger Mommy, which is disheartening – it would be better to see him admit that it was a mistake. I got the feeling he maybe knows that it was, and is just too proud to admit it. If not, then he’s got some soul-searching to do. Dean, remember when you begged Sam not to kill old Yellow Eyes, when the demon was in John’s body? That’s how Kevin felt when you were about to kill his mom…
Where friends are concerned, Dean is still every bit as loyal as he ever was, leaving immediately to go to Benny’s aid. Flashbacks to Purgatory reveal Dean’s continued insistence that Cass come with them through the portal. The “friend thing,” as Benny calls it, seems to define Dean’s actions in Purgatory, as well as on Earth, so what went wrong? Why did Cass get left behind? The not knowing is torturing me…
Nice to see that Dean and comedy are still on great terms: Vampire…Pirates… Vampirates! (“Seriously? It’s like the third thing you say.” LOL). Also thought it was quite funny when he was trying to shush Sammy on the phone, and the off-screen decapitations were a riot—thud, pause, head goes flying.
The little non-verbal communication at the end there with Sammy was probably my favorite scene. The intensity as Sam realizes (I assume via Benny’s body temperature) that Benny is a vamp and begins to reach for a blade, only to have Dean give that tiny little head-shake. Powerful stuff.
Sam: Glad he stuck up for Kevin (and Tiger Mommy)! Hope he continues to try to pound some sense into Dean on that front. I actually thought, when we first heard that knocking sound, that Kevin was going to be there, just waiting for a moment alone with Sam. I can see why Kevin doesn’t want anything to do with Dean anymore, but Sam hasn’t really done anything wrong – if Dean were out of the picture, maybe Kevin would approach Sam for help?
But, alas, the knocking was a defective fan, which segued into Sam’s series of flashbacks. Turns out he was a maintenance man while Dean was gone! Interesting. I see that as more like something Dean would do – fixing things, tinkering with nuts and bolts. I’m sure Sam has a lot of experience at this, though – he may not know his way around cars, but his family has been staying in crappy motels since before he can remember. He and Dean probably had to repair all kinds of appliances while John was out hunting. I do like that both Sam and Dean, during their “time off,” chose to do constructive things – Dean was a construction worker, building new houses, etc, and Sam was fixing broken appliances so they would work again. It’s like both boys had had enough of killing, so they both selected jobs that would involve creation, rather than destruction.
I liked Sam’s conversation with Amelia – how they were both kind of drifting and alone. Love that he was calling the dog “dog,” and how he said, “No, Dog – don’t bother the angry lady!” That was cute. Also liked his surprise that Amelia didn’t know the name of the manager’s son – to Sam, it is just natural to make this connection with other people, whether he is staying in town for one night, or a month. My main hang-up with his flashbacks and his storyline is that I still don’t buy him not looking for Dean. The more time that goes by without any form of explanation for this, the crazier I get. But, I think that is the writers’ goal this season – to really draw it out and make us wait for the answers we’re craving. As long as it is addressed in the end–in a satisfying, believable way–then I’m cool. But if it’s not addressed…cue rioting fans, complete with torch and pitchfork accessories.
Sam’s reaction to Dean alone in the vamp nest was great – clearly, Sam never stopped loving his brother. Coupled with the flashback about being alone in the world, Sam racing to Dean’s side seemed like Sam was very much afraid of losing Dean yet again…A stark contrast to the indifferent, independent Sam that Dean returned to in season four. And yet, season four Sam had tried desperately to bring Dean back before finally giving up and going after payback. This season’s Sam, as far as we know, did no such thing. Hmmm.
Sam’s reaction to Benny was fascinating – Sam was ready to kill, but stood down at Dean’s head-shake. Dean had already told Sam he was with a friend, and Dean and Benny arrived together on the boat, which would imply that Benny was “the friend.” So, did Sam think Dean didn’t know this guy was a vamp?
Lastly: Sam says all their friends are dead. So, then, what does that make Sheriff Mills – chopped liver with a sprinkling of onions? And what about the lady who helped them in Lawrence back in season one? Has Missouri been erased from the boys’ minds? Yes, most of their friends are dead, but there are still a few people on Earth who would come running to help the Winchester Boys at the first phone call. Let’s not forget about them.
Benny: We learned so much about him in this ep! I actually like him a lot more, now. I see him as different than Ruby because her agenda was so ultra-secret. Benny made his agenda pretty clear from the first meeting with Dean: “I want to ride you out of this place.” Benny’s unhappiness about partnering with Cass was also very clear, yet Benny respected Dean’s wishes, and even helped save Castiel’s life when he had every motive not to.
Turns out Benny lived a lot like Lenore and her nest – he made the switch to donated blood (her vamps lived off of animals), which meant he lived in peace with his girl, Andrea. This is the type of vampire Sam (and maybe even Dean) would have let live, even back in the old days. That makes Dean bringing him back to Earth more reasonable. Dean did not believe Benny would hurt anyone (though there were clearly a few lingering doubts–when Benny said “I messed up” you could tell from Dean’s reaction that he thought Benny just ate someone…). Benny’s plan for vengeance against the vamps that killed him (and killed/turned his girl) was completely justified, and I was glad Dean chose to support him. I could feel Benny’s heartbreak about what had happened to Andrea, and how there was no way to change her from the monster she’d become. Rough stuff.
We got some interesting new factoids on vampires – apparently they can be injured by other vamps, to the point of needing assistance. I thought only dead man’s blood was capable of weakening a vampire that way. We also found out that vampires feel a certain reverence for the one who turned them. I don’t think we saw this when Dean got turned in season six, though maybe it only takes effect after the first feeding. I still expected Dean to mention his own experience as a vampire. Interesting that he didn’t – maybe this is something they already spoke of in Purgatory? Whether Benny knows it or not, I think one tiny part of the reason Dean was able to accept his friendship is because Dean knows what being a vampire is like. He’s been there, and he hasn’t forgotten.
Benny’s best moment in this ep, by far, was the flashback where he saved Cass. Though he had every reason to let the angel die, and could’ve easily made it look like he just couldn’t get there in time to help, Benny chose to kill the Leviathan (awesome special effects on those black, gooey fellas, btw) that was attacking Castiel. This earns Benny some major points with me (even though, as we saw with Ruby, actions are not always what they seem).
Castiel: How great is it to see this guy? Even if it’s only in brief flashbacks, I’ll take what I can get. In this ep he seemed resigned, depressed even – but he was still remaining with Dean and Benny, and there was no indication of them splitting up any time soon. By the end, even Benny seemed on board with the plan. So, how did Dean get from “All three of us are going through the portal, or we’ll die trying” to leaving his winged buddy behind? Inquiring minds want to know.
Amelia: I liked her better in this one. She seemed softer, more relatable. I’m curious to know how she ended up all alone. Her lines about Sam being creepy and army surplus-y were funny, and I thought she and Sam had good chemistry together. I can get behind Sam’s relationship with her, as long as we learn that he did try to find Dean first. That’s a must. I’d also like to know, whenever the show gets around to it, why Sam and Amelia are no longer together – some fans think Dean called Sam after re-entering the world from Purgatory, and that’s what made Sam leave her. Definitely a possibility, but there’s also a chance that it had nothing to do with Dean’s arrival. What else would prompt Sam to leave the life (and the girl) he loved so much?
Overall: Heads flew, the dog continued to be adorable, Sam found out about Benny, we found out more about Amelia and Benny, and the brothers shared some intense, emotional moments. Supernatural, it looks like you’re back on track. (Just keep the flashbacks coming, okay?)