Blood Brother is written and directed by my dream team -- a Ben Edlund script directed by Guy Bee. After last week's forgettable episode but nevertheless a good effort in thinking outside the square, I am very satisfied with great characterisation, great dialogues, great performance and great flashback in Blood Brother.
Blood Brother is different from other Supernatural episodes in many ways. We don't usually get a monster-centric episode that is character driven like Blood Brother. The way Benny is written and constructed is so different from other monsters. Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think we have ever seen a vampire or a monster on the show that is like Benny. Supernatural has many monsters/ supernatural personalities in the past that we almost don't consider them as 'the bad guys' -- Lenore the vampire didn't want to kill; Molly in Road Kill didn't know she was a ghost; Mr and Mrs Stark in Shut Up Dr Phil were considered as the 'good' guys. I think what season eight is doing is to address humanity on a whole new level. When the humanity of a human, an angel and a vampire come together, what do you get? I don't know yet, but that's what this season is addressing, and I am loving it! The scene where Dean witnessing Benny helping Cas in purgatory is my favorite scene of Blood Brother.
Hunting monsters have been so black and white, it is the Winchesters family business. And it has been so black and white for the monsters too. As Dean said, "We want them dead, they want us dead." This is how the game is played. But things are more complicated now in comparison to earlier seasons -- the show has addressed the angel, Castiel, having 'too much heart', which has caused catastrophic disruptions in heaven, earth and purgatory. Death, one of the horsemen, helped Dean to kick Lucifer's ass back to hell. Through his motif and revenge, Benny is gaining new perspectives on his feelings, humanity and his identity as a monster. It seems to me that at the end of the episode, Benny has developed some sort of 'monster' depression. When he questioned if he was real, he was really confused about his feelings and identity. He is a monster but he is having all these feelings about Andrea, revenge and humanity, this is not normal for a monster! Dean saw the confusion and struggle in Benny's eyes, which caused him to question his own view on vampire like Benny who has a heart and believes in humanity. At this stage of the season, Dean has already accepted Benny as a 'friend' and his perspective will continue to develop throughout the season. This concept will definitely spark some heavy discussions for the brothers and fans.
I know it is debatable that perhaps Benny is doing a 'Ruby' ("I remember what it was like to be human.") But I think Jeremy Carver is taking on a new direction. Perhaps we will see a monster turns good guy, this is something we haven't seen before on Supernatural. Ty
Olsson's performance as Benny is a winner! I love the accent and on screen personality he is bringing to the show. For a new guest star to have his own character centric episode, it is a great sign. Ty is exactly the kind of actor this episode needs in driving the character's emotion and struggle. I am convinced that Benny is a 'good guy'.
Is it just me or do you also want to see a spin-off based on all the purgatory flashback? I am loving it. I get why purgatory make strange bedfellows, as Jeremy Carver put it. Dean, Cas and Benny developed this strange bond during their time in purgatory. They had a common goal, they argued and they fought side by side. The Dean and Benny partnership really reminds me of the Sheppard and Todd partnership in Stargate Atlantis. In Stargate Atlantis, the odd 'partnership' between Sheppard and Todd developed throughout the series was super interesting, and it was one that I enjoyed very much, so much that I can have a Sheppard/Todd marathon! Todd was a wraith, an alien race that was the enemy of the human. Sheppard and Todd were held prisoners by the Genii (human 'bad' guys). Sheppard and Todd found a common goal and eventually helped each other to escape. They crossed path many times after that. Todd is a very cunning wraith, but he was different from others, he wanted to survive and he would work with the humans if that was what it took. At one point, Todd was considered somewhat an ally.
Unlike Todd, Benny has more humanity in him, but it is the way two different races are brought together for a common goal and how partnership/ friendship is formed. Benny's motif is very clear, he needs to get back to the world and kill his maker. He is neither loyal nor care about his vampire nest. He is this vampire who wants revenge, he still thinks about this girl, he wants to survive, he wants to stay out of trouble by surviving on the AB+ blood packs. He wants meaning and finds connection, he still believes in humanity. Through the process of knowing Benny and working with him, Dean gains new perspectives, and he starts to see things differently, he no longer sees things black and white. This is very arguable from Sam's point of view, afterall Dean has always been the one who refuses to work with Ruby, Crowley and Meg, and killing Amy Pond was what Dean needed to do. With all the new perspectives and complication, Dean needs to remind himself that if a monster is caught killing people, Dean will hunt them down. I think that's why Dean makes the point very clearly to Benny to keep his nose clean, because Dean wouldn't want to kill Benny, who he considers him as a 'friend'. Perhaps we will get to see this friendship being tested later on.
Dean has this thing about Sam not looking for him. In We Need To Talk About Kevin, Dean was upset that Sam didn't even know where Dean had disappeared to. Sam had a break down and left hunting. Dean could get over the fact that Sam didn't look for him because afterall he is here, he is alive, he is hunting with his brother, let's move on. But as fans, we know that's not the end of it, it will boil over. Based on the promo of next week's episode, Southern Comfort, Dean said to Sam "You left me to die for a girl?" Dean is going to explode!! All these are materials for the never-ending discussions -- is Sam wrong for not looking for Dean? Should he has known, would be still pursuit a normal life and happiness? And because Dean was on his own in purgatory, monsters is the only game in town, can Sam really blame his older brother for calling a vampire his friend? This will never end, especially on fans forums.
I was very happy to see Cas in this episode. I think his air time in season eight has been really well used so far. I love seeing Dean and Cas in a unfamiliar territory, fighting and surviving like never before. It is a very fresh thing we are seeing on Supernatural, and I think Benny is adding something really awesome to the show. I really love the chemistry between these three characters. I love how commanding Dean is, with him calling the shots like a Colonel. He is so hot when he is in charge and so bossy like this! Sorry.. you know I can't help it. When Cas and Benny have disagreement, Dean holds the partnership together, and I think he will continue to do so as things continue to develop outside of purgatory. Now that Sam has met Benny, I am very interested to see what he has to say to Dean about Benny and how Dean will respond to Sam. I am also very interested to see the reunion of Cas and Benny.
The only think that is a little odd to me is the Sam's flashback, which is edited and incorporated in strange spots throughout the episode. But having said that, I get it. I think it was done to compare and contrast -- Dean in purgatory is dark and intense; and Sam pursuing happiness is straight out from a chick flick. The contrast also paves way for emotional connection, and how their experience has changed the way they see life, monsters and friendship, creating new meanings to everything they know previously.
Season eight is pretty well planned so far, the main and sub plots are revealed to us in stages, we are not too overwhelmed by the volume of content. So far we have seen Dean back from purgatory; Kevin, Crowley and the tablets; Sam's gap year to pursue happiness; Benny's motif...The only thing that needs to be introduced and addressed is the return of the angels and Castiel. This should complete stage one of season eight. We will probably get a filler episode or two before we move on to stage two and see how all the pieces coming together.
PS -- According to TV By The Numbers, Supernatural was the only show gaining ratings with 0.9/3 in the demo with 2.11 million viewer due to Halloweens and the Storm.
In next episode we will see the return of Garth. Yay!! Here is the episode description and promo for episode 8.06 Southern Comfort:
GARTH RETURNS TO HELP SAM AND DEAN ON A CASE — Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) investigate a murder and find Garth (guest star DJ Qualls) is already on the case. Dean is not happy to learn that Garth has assumed Bobby’s duties, but Garth points out that both Sam and Dean have been missing for the last year and someone needed to do it. They guys discover an 'avenging ghost' is responsible for the murders and they need to find the source before the killings starts again. Tim Andrew directed the episode written by Adam Glass. Source: KSiteTV