Review of Episode 8×09: Citizen Fang
Overall: Holy $#!$%^. That was intense. I was very nervous watching the whole thing. I never knew what was going to happen…and lots of bad stuff did. It was a powerful episode in many ways, but not an enjoyable one.
Dean: I second his opinion of Martin’s return to hunting: How was that a good idea in any way, shape or form? The dude was a total basket case, but more on that when I get to his section. For Dean’s part, he continued to give Benny the benefit of the doubt – so far, Benny has not betrayed his trust. We haven’t seen anything but glimpses of their time in Purgatory, so it’s hard to know everything these two went through together, but it must have been some serious crap for Dean to take Benny’s word that there was another vamp in town. And yet, it was true – Benny was innocent. His only crime, it seems, was not slaying the other vamp at first meeting.
Dean’s only crime, in this episode, was using Amelia to lure Sam away from the hunt. It was a low, sneaky blow. The only reason I can forgive it is that Sam and Martin left Dean bloody, knocked out cold and chained to a radiator. If someone was about to kill my friend, I’d probably resort to sneaky, less-than-honest means, too. And, as horrible of a thing as it was to do to Sam, I did hear a touch of brotherly affection in Dean’s voice when he asked Sam, “Did you see her?” I think in some slightly twisted way, Dean thought it would be good for Sam to see Amelia again. Almost like doing him a favor.
As far as the end of the ep, I assumed Dean allowed Benny to leave after Benny killed Martin, but I’m not sure. Sam asked, “Is it done?” Dean said, “Yes.” If “it” meant killing Benny, then why would Dean be trying to justify Benny’s behavior to Sam? Wouldn’t Dean just say, “Benny ended up killing Martin, so I took him out.” And Sam would say, “I know that must have hurt like hell, but you did the right thing.” Thus, I assume Benny is still alive and Dean is still protecting him, hence Sam’s furious reaction. But we never did see exactly what happened, did we?
Sam: I’m sorry, but it does feel like a personal grudge, sending a hunter specifically to keep tabs on Benny. Sam is jealous of Dean and Benny’s relationship, and looking for an excuse to take Benny out. Sam wanted Benny to screw up. Otherwise, why not send a hunter to track down that werewolf girl they let go? She could just as easily have a “slip-up,” too. But whatever Sam’s true motives for keeping tabs on Benny, at least both boys seemed to handle it rationally at first. Dean was a little upset, but agreed to go investigate. Sam, in return, gave Dean a few hours to get Benny’s side of the story. So far, so good. Only one problem in the equation: Martin.
The choice to put a tail on Benny was questionable, but to put Martin of all people on Benny was a recipe for epic disaster…My thoughts on this matter perfectly mirrored Dean’s: Sammy, what were you thinking? However, Sam had talked to Martin since Martin’s release. Maybe Sam had good reasons to believe that Martin was okay and up to the task of hunting. I can get on board with that. But as soon as Martin knocked Dean senseless, that should have been a clue that all was not well in Funky Town (aka, Martin’s brain). Understandably, Sam decided to take the lead at that point. Unfortunately, we’ll never know whether Sam would have fully investigated and found the other vamp, or simply killed Benny and left it at that. Because “Amelia” texted and Sam dropped everything – including Martin (?????) – to run to her side.
That is the one thing I thought Sam really wouldn’t do: just leave Martin out in the woods by himself with one, possibly two, bloodthirsty vampires on the loose. Just left him in the lurch, no explanation, no car, no backup. That, I felt, was writer manipulation to get the characters separated, in order for the final events of the episode to occur. Realistically speaking, Sam would have shouted to Martin, “Hey, my friend’s in trouble – get in the car, quick!” Sam would not leave this fragile, just-released-from-a-mental ward guy alone in vampire territory (it looked like Benny had left the area, but that doesn’t mean he actually had).
So, leaving Dean chained up “for his own good”? Sam might do this, especially considering Dean’s done it to Sam before. Going after Benny despite Dean’s assurances that Benny deserved to live? Yeah, Sam might do this, too – in his eyes, it’s the situation with Amy, just reversed. But leaving Martin alone out there? No way. That just isn’t Sam, and I can’t blame him for something he would never do.
Martin: Hmmmm. It’s hard to know what to say, here. I loved him in “Sam, Interrupted” – this gentle, shaky man who had been on one hunt too many. I could only imagine what horrors had landed him in an institution. He was sweet with Sam and Dean, and I hoped we would see him again. Only, when he came back to the show in this episode, he was like a different person. He seemed crazier than he was in the mental hospital. He bashed Dean in the head, and talked about taking the boys “out back” and physically punishing them, like when they were kids. Yikes. And then, at the end – pushing the situation with Benny to that point…It was hard to watch. So unnecessary. So very much like “Metamorphosis.” My heart broke a little, just like it did back then. I don’t blame Benny. He did what he had to do. I just wish he’d never been put in that position in the first place.
Benny: In this episode, they showed him fighting against his instincts: he was hungry at the sight of Dean’s blood, and Lizzie’s, but pushed down the impulse to feed both times. I believe he would have continued to do this, had Martin not forced his hand. Taking an innocent girl hostage? Cutting her open? That is something not even Gordon would have done – not back when he was human, anyway. I forgive Benny for killing Martin, because I see it as self defense – not to mention defense of another person. I forgive Dean for letting Benny go (if that is, in fact, what happened). And I can completely understand Sam not forgiving either of them. Sad situation, all around.
Don/Amelia: I had just gotten aboard the “Amelia and Don aren’t real” train over at SFO, so it was kind of disappointing to have that derailed so fast. However, it was nice to finally meet Don. I liked him. He was straightforward. Sort of Dean-ish, in a way. Don wanted Amelia to make the decision for herself. Sam seemed to agree…but then he made the decision for her by choosing to leave. We still don’t know the whole story, though – because Sam didn’t leave that day. He left at night. Did something else happen in between there? Also should mention: it was cool to see Amelia in real time for once. Finally, her story – and Sam’s – is pushing forward into the future. Could not be happier about that. 🙂
Final Thoughts: A strong episode that really twisted the emotions. It reminded me of “Metamorphosis” a lot, but didn’t quite have the full power of that episode, because in that ep, the situation – Is it in this guy’s nature to go bad? – was so closely tied to Sam’s own demonic power storyline. Nonetheless, “Citizen Fang” was a heartbreaker, and definitely one worth watching. I came out of this episode with no real blame for any of the characters involved – except Martin – and hoping, as always, for reconciliation between my two favorite brothers.