Holy smokes. *has to take a breath after that episode*
This show, you guys. It comes off the ropes swinging.
As you guys know, I don’t read spoilers. But I’m on Twitter and it’s amazing how 140 characters of a random thought can affect me. I know that before certain episodes, interviews are published and I saw some comments about a couple that had me almost seeking out the links to read because of the way people responded. I could guess the source of the angst, though: the intrusion of another character into the already tumultuous relationship of our favorite brothers.
What I give you here is my opinion – and it’s based only on perception and from watching the show, not on the articles/interviews (so if I rehash stuff, I apologize). You’re not obligated to agree, and it’s okay if you don’t, honest. As always I welcome your thoughts. Our opinions are the only thing we’re really entitled to in life; pretty much everything else (with the possible exception of familial love) we have to earn. So, here’s mine.
I love a good story. And personally, I am loving this season and its story line – not just Dean’s, the whole package.
Yes, I still have some head-tilting going on with Sam. I still don’t quite get his reasons or motivation and I have a ton of questions I want answered. But that doesn’t make me dislike his storyline. It simply makes me curious. And that (IMO) is exactly what a story is supposed to do. Especially this early in the season. I’m willing to wait and see what’s in store for both brothers at this point.
To me, it’s not really about which brother has had the meatier storylines or how much screen time they get. It’s about what captures my attention. And the idea that after 8 years we’re not only going back to some basic truths of these characters – with Sam wanting ‘normal’ and Dean gung-ho on hunting – but also seeing them react and evolve based on all they’ve survived is intriguing to me and makes sense in their journey. It would be incredibly difficult to maintain interest – no matter how good or attractive the leads are – in a show after 8 years if there wasn’t some sort of conflict between the main characters and addition of other characters for them to react to, bounce off of, and measure themselves against.
And while Sam has walked away a few times over the last 8 years, by and large, their conflict doesn’t separate them. Things might be tense, might force them to be honest about some harsh truths, but they stick it out. They figure it out…over time, with some passive-aggressiveness, a few fist fights, and the occasional tear. And I dig that about them. I do – because if they just forgave, forgot, let things go, welcomed each other back with open arms, and moved on down the road saving people, hunting things…it wouldn’t be realistic. Or as realistic as you can get when your two leads have died and come back to life a few times.
But even with all the fiction surrounding them, I think these two brothers have the one of the truest sibling relationships I’ve seen on TV – especially considering the amount of time they spend together and what they’ve been through, together and separately.
Anyway, I thought the title of this episode to be mufti-faceted. First, there were the vamp "blood brothers," then the brothers from battle - Cas, Dean, and Benny - and finally the actual blood brothers of Dean and Sam. And yet, what I found myself focusing on was friendship. From a personal perspective, I have depended on my friends to support me emotionally most of my life. I simultaneously identify with the relationship between Dean and Sam (from an older sibling responsible for a younger sibling perspective) and am envious of it because as much as I love my siblings and as much as I’ve cared for them, there’s not one I honestly feel would “have my back” they way I’d need them to when push came to shove. Not the way these two have.
These two brothers have gone through (and to) Hell for each other. Sacrificed for each other. They’ve shown their love for each other without so many words; sometimes simply because they’ve been able to live in each other’s pockets for years without killing each other. But they’re family. And with few exceptions, family fights. Family struggles with seeing each other’s side of things because they want their side to prevail. Having friends outside of the brother’s relationship is not only normal, it’s necessary.
Sometimes it’s the only way they can see their way clear through the tangle that comes simply from being brothers.
If I didn’t have my friends, I don’t know who I would be. I need them to ground me. To remind me of who I am. To reassure me that my crazy is, in fact, normal. They accept who I really am, not who they perceive me to be because of how we were raised. They accept my differences from them and love me for those differences, otherwise they wouldn’t hang around me. I’m closer to some of my friends than I’ve ever been with my family – in many ways, my friends are my family.
That said, though, I have been accused by some in my family that I choose friends over them, which is an unfortunate perception. Because the bottom line is that my family is blood. They’re first. And there have been times when I’ve chosen paths to support family against a friend’s advice or wishes; there are those who read this who will attest to that fact.
So, with that in mind, I can understand both Dean’s need for this new friendship – both because of how it came about and because of what it means to him and the person he is now—and I can sympathize with Sam’s confusion, suspicion, and perhaps even jealousy. And while Dean doesn’t yet really know about Amelia beyond the fact that she was in Sam’s life and then she wasn’t, I can understand a bit more now why Sam found a connection in her – a way to fill a hole inside of him. And depending on how Dean finds out, he’s going to have some feelings of hurt there as well.
But for the sake of the brother’s relationship – what each have been through in the past year, and where they are now in their head space about the future – I think this friendship is perfect. At some point, we’re going to learn more about Amelia and without the balance of Benny, the experiences would be lopsided.
I really believe that at this stage of their lives, these boys need outside influences to help them see each other clearly. We’ve had a lot of interesting additions to the boys’ universe. And each has added their own level of complexity for the brothers to work around and through. What I love about now is that we’re able to see the brothers build on things that have happened in the past – learn from those previous experiences. Maybe they’re not learning exactly what we’d like them to learn, or reacting the way we’d like them to react, but the story is evolving and I’m hooked.
Dean’s friendship with Castiel is something he’d never really experienced before – not that we’ve seen or been privy to in any case. And it’s an extremely unusual friendship because Cas never belonged to just him – despite their unique bond. Cas, as an angel, was working with and guarding both brothers. He may have felt more kinship with Dean, but Sam was no less important to him. And while he did take on some very human qualities there for a bit, Castiel’s fluctuation between childlike naivety and Heavenly Warrior Power didn’t really offer Dean the “I can trust you to have my back” reassurance. Cas loves these brothers, but he’s always had his own agenda that he felt both should fall into, whether or not they agreed.
Sam’s friendship with Ruby was taboo. As a demon, even Sam’s initial instinct was that she shouldn’t be trusted. But she saved his life and they fought back-to-back. And I honestly think he grew to love her in a way. He’d had friends outside of his family before – his pals at Stanford who we saw in the Pilot, and Jessica of course – but none of them had seen the real Sam, accepted the hunter Sam, encouraged the unusual and powerful things he could do because of his “destiny” that set him apart from everyone – even Dean. Ruby fed into his need to feel important, to matter, to have what he did count. That’s not a new feeling for Sam, IMO.
Dean’s suspicion of her, I think, was partly that she was a demon, and partly the fact that he was (understandably) a little jealous of the fact that his brother trusted someone other than him with this ‘hunting evil crap.’ The kicker came when Sam fought with Dean – physically – because of Ruby and then Dean turned out to be right about her all along. That was a devastating blow to Sam.
So, now we’ve got Benny. Color me intrigued. First of all, his story alone grabs my interest with both hands. But added to the mix of the brothers, this character has me sitting forward with rapt attention. He’s like Ruby in that he saved Dean’s life and the two fought evil back-to-back. He’s like Cas in that he cares about Dean and, for the most part, what matters to Dean matters to Benny – namely Cas and Sam. But he’s also a monster and Dean trusting him understandably throws Sam totally off-balance, leading to both conflict…and growth.
Sometimes, we’re right about a person, not a situation. Sometimes we’re right about a situation, not a person. Sometimes what’s true for one is not true for the other. And sometimes we have to go through the same thing we chastised another for to really see the other side of it – to really understand where that person is coming from.
While it can be argued that Dean – as my hero – wouldn’t get a bad word from me, I still contend that what we’re seeing with Dean and Benny’s friendship is not hypocritical, it’s situational. While similarities can be drawn, we can’t directly compare Dean and Benny’s friendship to what Sam and Ruby had or how that ended because the players aren’t even close to the same. I won’t blame Sam if he goes there, but hopefully what we’ll see is an eventual evolution of understanding and learning based on the person that each of them have always been and the lessons life is forcing them to learn.
I know I basically take the show as it comes and that my analysis (such as it is) may be too “Pollyanna-ish” for some, but I enjoy this show, and I enjoy the stories they tell us, and I enjoy watching these characters we’ve come to know as well as the real friends we’ve developed along this journey. I am so enjoying watching Dean this season – from a purely carnal level (because o.m.g.) to a more intelligent character development level – and while Sam may have me tilting my head a bit, that’s not unusual and I find myself eager to know more about what’s going on with him.
Okay, so I decided to weave my episode-related thinky-thoughts into the stream of consciousness recap/review because there are many. With that, it’s time to….
Things I loved:
- The raw, brotherly way Sam and Dean talked to each other – it wasn’t sentimental or angsty, it was snappish and snarky and impatient and so real it was riveting.
- Purgatory flashbacks and all the moments between Dean, Cas, and Benny.
- Benny saying, “My legs ain’t workin’ so good.”
- Benny’s back story and what it showed about Dean.
- The moment Sam sat across from Amelia and disarmed her with a look.
- This line: “Cas, we’re gonna shove your ass back through the eye of that needle if it kills all three of us.”
- Dean asking if it was okay for him to take the Toblerone.
- The look on Cas’ face when Benny saved him.
Things I liked:
- Finally seeing more of Amelia and getting a more solid impression of her.
- Handyman Sam.
- The fact that there was a muscle car in the motel lot for Sam to boost.
- The moment Dean called Sam back.
- Dean asking for a day off of hunting.
- The way Cas appears to listen to everything at once in Purgatory.
- The word Vampirates.
- Dean surreptitiously pocketing the dead vampire’s money while trying to look innocent.
Things that were meh:
- Benny’s Maker – what was he, twelve?
- The fact that we didn’t see Benny kill his Maker.
- Not enough vamping out. Need more teeth.
- That they didn’t take the opportunity to mention that Dean had been turned by a vamp for a short time…even though he got over it.
Things I can add to my list of questions: (aka, the more I learn about Purgatory, the more I want to know)
- How much time was there between Dean disappearing and Sam hitting the dog? And what did Sam do until that moment?
- How long was Benny in Purgatory and how did he learn about the human loophole?
- Does Dean sleep in Purgatory? Do Cas and Benny take shifts watching? If Dean is a “live, intact” human, how does he eat?
- If Cas can still smite in Purgatory, why doesn’t he doesn’t heal Dean’s wounds? (Not that I’m complaining – bloody, Purgatory!Dean is just…rawr.)
- How long was Dean alone in Purgatory before he met Benny? How long did it take for him and Benny to find Cas? How long were Dean, Benny, and Cas together before they found the way out?
So, THEN is basically for anyone who hasn’t been watching. Sam, Amelia, normal life. Dean, Purgatory, Benny, not leaving without Cas. Kevin, prophet, runaway. That about covers it.
NOW, we’re in Eagle Harbor, Washington watching a pretty man walk along the docks. Benny steps out of the shadows and addresses the man as Quentin. Turns out this is one of the vamps from Benny’s nest and Benny wants to find the “Old Man.” Quentin is a bit shocked to see Benny, well, alive. Since he held down Benny’s legs while the others in the nest beheaded him.
Quentin thinks it’s pretty funny that Benny would think he’d tell him where the Old Man is. Benny gives him a lazy grin and pulls out a big ass knife saying he kinda hoped Quentin wouldn’t. Quentin returns Benny’s smile as two others approach from behind and says that maybe he’ll show Benny where the Old Man is…after his boys remove Benny’s hands and feet.
Benny: Don’t go through all the trouble on my account.
Quentin says if he crawled out from wherever he was, the Old Man was going to want to see this for himself. Without looking Benny registers the vampgoons closing in.
Benny: They might be able to kill me, and that’s all right. Because if they do, I know exactly where I’m going. And who I’ll see when I get there.
With that, he lops Quentin’s head off, then turns and faces the goon squad. Guess it works on your confidence level when you already know you can survive Monster Hell. Kind of like a twisted version of producing a mega-Patronus. He knew he could do it, because he already had, so it erased any fear he might’ve had. Hey, it worked in my head, okay?
So, now we’re in Enid, Oregon with the boys. They burst into an empty motel room, Sam moving to check the bathroom quickly while Dean moves slowly into the living room.
Dean: Well, that is twice that he’s burned us. Shame on you.
Sam (turning on Dean with a pointed finger): No, I’m the one who said he set us up.
Dean: No, you said you wondered if Kevin is setting us up and then you started in with the techno babble. That was like…two states ago.
Sam tosses his hands up in the air in exasperation while Dean breaks into the room’s minibar. Sam tells him that according to his credit card something or other, Kevin checked into this motel – this room – today.
Dean: He’s like a criminal prodigy Rainman.
Sam (snarky): He was in advanced placement.
Dean (hands Sam a beer): Shut up. When is that little idiot gonna stop running from us?
This conversation was the epitome of two people who have spent too much time together not achieving what they need to while simultaneous trying to get used to each other again and keeping information from each other because they a) want to hold onto it themselves a little longer and b) have no idea how the other will react to it. They just needed a break – in the case or from each other. Either one would do.
A year apart makes for different kinds of tensions. And they were both being snappish and sarcastic to each other. Also? It kinda sounded like one of those moments writer’s put in to remind the audience what all had transpired and that events were still on their character’s minds – catching up those of us who tuned out a bit, if you will.
Sam: I don’t know, Dean. I mean, you did try to kill his mother.
Dean (frowning): I was trying to kill Crowley. (pause, closes eyes, concedes a minor point) Who…happened to be wearing Kevin’s mother at the time.
Sam = head tilt of and your point is….
Dean: There’s a difference!
Sam: Apparently not to Kevin! Oh, maybe, because, oh yeah…it’s his mother.
Sam is clearly in need of a break in the case – even though the case wasn’t a case until Dean came back. Closing this case means closing hunting as far as Sam is (currently) concerned, so setbacks are doubly frustrating.
Dean’s phone rings.
Dean: Hold that thought. Actually, don’t.
He says hello a couple of times, then looks slightly nervous, uncomfortable, and mumbles that there aren’t enough bars and heads outside.
Benny (sounding weak and more than a little out of breath – sitting slumped against some crates with blood and bits o’vamp all over the place): Hey, Dean. You got a minute? ‘Fraid I messed up, buddy.
Dean (stops in his tracks): What did you do?
Benny: No, man. Not like that.
Inside, Sam heads to the window, looking for Dean. He sees him resting on the car, talking on the phone.
Dean: I’m sorry, you took out how many?
Benny: The thing is, my legs ain’t working so good.
Dean’s face flooded with this look of oh, god and I felt my stomach flip over. That look on Dean’s face means someone is going to get hurt because someone he cared about was hurt. I love that look. Benny tells him that there’s a free barge nearby he’s pretty sure he can crawl to if Dean can do one more favor for him.
Now, this next part, I both liked what Dean did and thought he was kind of a jerk for how he did it. He was purposely snarky and evasive. Still, jerk or not, I got that he wasn’t ready to tell Sam about Benny. Not only would that have been a long conversation than it was obvious Benny didn't have time for, Dean wasn’t ready to give away that much information about Purgatory yet – and I think he was kinda paying Sam back for Dean always being the one to get left behind. At least he gave Sam the courtesy of telling him that he was leaving and how long he’d be gone.
Sam: What’s that supposed to mean, you’ve got to go?
Dean: Which words are giving you trouble?
Sam: We’re on the case. Remember? The Winchester Holy Grail Shut the Gates of Hell Case?
Seriously – he said it in capital letters.
Dean: To do that, we need our prophet. So, Step 1: find Kevin Tran. He ain’t here. But he wanted us here, which means we’re probably as far away from him as he could possibly put us, so Step 2: Find Kevin Tran. Do you mind if I take the Toblerone?
That last line cracked me up. He’s crouching down in front of the mini bar and just looks up at Sam like they’re getting ready to sack out and watch a movie. Outside, Sam’s still flailing.
Sam: Dean, seriously?!
Dean: The trail is dead, but the room is paid for. You’ve got some research to do and I’ve got some personal crap to take care of.
Part of me thought that was kind of bossy and presumptive of him, saying that Sam had research to do about the case. Then again, Sam was the one who wanted to focus solely on this case, so…. *shrug*
Sam: What does that mean, personal?
Translation – How can you have personal crap? You’ve basically been ‘dead’ for the last year? Your only personal crap is me!
Dean: Did you have a stroke? Personal! As in my own, grown up, personal…I don’t know…crap.
Dean: What, Sam? Last I counted, you took a year off from the job. I need a day.
Sam = bitch face. But he can’t really argue with that. Especially since he said those words to Dean more than once over the last few weeks, about having a year off from the job. Plus also, Dean climbs in the car and drives away, so the argument is pretty much over.
In the car, Dean’s caught up in flashbacks to Purgatory, reminded so forcibly once more of Benny and the time there. We see Dean, blood along his face at his hairline – looks like it could be from a scalp wound, worse on the right side of his face – fighting a monster. He wins, staggers to his feet, and we hear whistling. Dean reaches back behind him, blindly, and he taps Benny’s shoulder. It’s done with this blind trust, as if he knows without a doubt that Benny is going to be there, fighting back-to-back. It’s Benny who is whistling and they rotate as another monster rushes them; this time it’s Benny who fights it. *loved that*
Back at the motel, Sam is working on the laptop, doing some credit card-fu trying to track Kevin. He calls him a ‘wascilly wabbit,’ but then as he minimizes one of the windows we see Amelia’s DMV photo.
Sam: Concerned. Not stalking. Concerned.
Interesting – this is the first we’ve seen that Sam even still thinks about present-day Amelia. Not in just misty, water-colored memories of the way they were. But right now. And I wondered why he was concerned about her – was there more to his leaving than just Sam deciding to leave? Meaning, was it her choice? We don’t know much about her story yet, but that one line had me intrigued.
Sam hears a sound coming from the bathroom and he approaches cautiously. Turns out it’s not a scary monster, but a broken exhaust fan, which sends Sam back to his own flashback of the motel he was staying at with the wounded dog. He knows the kid’s name at the front desk – Everett – and knows that the kid’s dad is sick. He tells Everett that he’s going to stay another week until the wounded dog’s post-surgical visit and, well, he’s between jobs. He hears the rattling of a window AC unit and Everett tells him that if he can fix that, he could have a job at the motel.
I liked this path of the story because we see a different side of Sam – this very capable, works-with-his hands side that he’d obviously have to have to have survived for so long on so little, but that we never really see. That’s always Dean’s area. But just as we know Dean knows his way around a laptop, Sam can fix things. We know Dean taught him to fix the Impala back in Season 3, it makes sense he’d have taught him a number of other things to get by.
At the Puget Sound shipping yard, Dean pulls in and parks next to a beat-up looking grey pick-up with a topper. He opens the back, frowns, pulls a small cooler toward him and peers inside: bags and bags of AB neg blood. He heads off down the pier, cooler in hand, calling for Benny. Something makes him go below and he finds Benny slumped mid-way down the hall, well within the shadows, sitting in a pool of his own blood, unconscious.
Face a mask of worry, Dean crouches down next to Benny and calls his name, rousing him and telling him he doesn’t look so good. A bit later, though, Dean is sitting in a room with a bunch of the blood bags lying empty on a table and Benny is emerging from a room with a clean shirt on looking, well…good.
I tell you what, Ty Olson has him some pretty blue eyes. I probably wouldn’t have given him a second glance in other shows, but in this one, working opposite someone as physically arresting as Jensen, I take notice. Between his eyes and the slurred drawl (which sounds exactly like how my family talks, to be honest), I am paying attention.
Dean looks at him, surprised.
Benny: A little rest, half a cooler full of AB neg, most wounds short of amputation will mend up.
Dean (still watching him warily): Uh-huh.
Benny: I’ll be set before you know it. Thank you, brother.
He shakes Dean’s hand and Dean narrows his eyes.
Dean: What’s going on?
Benny (totally giving Dean an out that he probably should have taken): Your work here is done, Dean. You already saved the day. I got my deal and you got your family business.
Dean can’t help himself. He never could walk away from someone in need. And this is a friend. Doesn’t matter if it would be in his best interest to say, you’re welcome, good luck and head back to Sam. He’s compelled to figure out how his friend ended up 4 quarts low after killing a slew of his own kind.
Dean: Benny. What’s going on?
Benny (shaking his head): You and that whole “friend” thing, man.
Dean flashes back to Purgatory. He’s still bloody and he and Benny are wiping blood from their weapons. Dean looks up and sees a monster heading for Cas, who smites it with his mega-watt angel light.
Benny (who looks actually clean and composed compared to bloody Dean and roughed up Cas): I gotta admit, the angel’s got his strong points. But holy hell if he ain’t a magnet.
Dean: Before we found Cas, you said my humanity was drawing too much attention.
Benny: Yeah, that, too.
Dean gives him a can’t win for losing look as Cas comes up, eyes sweeping all round, never really still.
Cas: We’re clear for the moment. It does present a curious curl in the metaphysics, doesn’t it? You murder a monster in monster Heaven, where does it go?
*laughs* Oh, Cas. Never change.
Benny: And this is the crazy Aunt I want to take on the road?
Cas (steps up into Benny’s personal space): I. Am not. Your Aunt.
Dean’s expression of omg are you kidding me with this is hilarious.
Benny (laughing): What? Really?
Cas (dead serious): I have no possible relationship to your sibling's offspring.
Dean (rolling his eyes…hell, his whole body): You two are killing me.
Cas (turning to Dean): I have to agree with the vampire. Dean, the risk of crossing Purgatory with a seraph is less than strategic. We have no reason to believe that I can pass through the door you’re headed for.
Benny (turning to Dean): You’re an intact, living human being stuck in Purgatory’s craw. This dimension wants to spit you out which is exactly what’s gonna power our escape pod.
As they’re talking to Dean, both more physically powerful than he’ll ever be, both (even with Cas’ wilderness beard and dirty trench coat) looking less worse-for-the-wear than him, I thought Dean looked really…young. Vulnerable. He held himself very still, listening, only his eyes shifting from one to the other.
Benny: I’m pretty sure I can sneak through, too, because you take away the fangs and the fun, I was a human, too. But….
Cas: I don’t think it will work for me.
Benny: You hear what he’s telling you, Dean? Your body is saying—
Dean (youthful appearance vanishing as his Batman-esque voice breaks in and he squares his shoulders and his jaw simultaneously): Listen to me, you undead blood junkie. I’m the one with the mojo; I’m the one with the plan. (shifts his focus to Cas) Cas, we’re gonna shove your ass back through the eye of that needle if it kills all three of us. *loves*
The barest hint of a smile ticks up the side of Cas’ mouth as he regards Dean. *loves again*
Benny (looking resigned): Obviously, I’m less than comfortable with that.
He shrugs, though, as if to say, whatever you say, man.
Back in the barge, Benny is pulling on his coat and commenting that it’s good to know Dean’s still as dumb as ever when it comes to his friends. I felt my heart give way a bit as he recognized this quality in Dean.
Dean: Some things never change. Why are you getting into machete fights with your own kind?
Benny: I’m hunting the vamp who turned me. My maker.
Dean gives him a total come again look.
Dean: Don’t get me wrong, I’m down with the hunting. But…why?
Benny: Kill him before he kills me.
Back at the hotel, Sam is sitting outside under a bug zapper with his laptop and remembering another motel in another town. I guess being alone at the motel again gave him the freedom to indulge in these memories. Sam is now the motel’s maintenance man, fixing the broken ice maker with his wounded dog by his side. Everett tells him that the lady in 118 said her sink is backed up, so Sam goes there – and we see a margarita glass and a liquor bottle on the counter.
Turns out 118 is Amelia’s room, and she jumps to some really wild conclusions about him being in her room before he’s able to stop her and say he’s fixing her sink and she’s all, “Wait, what?”
Back on the barge, Dean and Benny are going through the worldly goods the dead vamps had on them. Dean pockets a bloody money clip with a wad of cash in it, glancing surreptitiously at Benny – who was either too caught up in the other stuff he was looking through to notice, or he just let it pass. Also, I liked seeing Dean get money – so often we’re just left to assume they hustle pool or run a credit card scheme. Stealing from dead vamps seems like a perfectly scrupulous thing to do in his situation.
Dean finds a book with names on it, most of them scratched off. Benny tells him they’re names of yachts and gives him the back story of how his nest would locate a rich dude with a yacht, board, feed, and take over the yacht for however long they wanted while they “sank their sins in the ocean.”
Vampirates. That’s new. *grins*
Dean cleans out a wallet and pockets more money while also finding a receipt for something that has the name “Prentiss Island” on it. Benny knows right where that is. So, I guess Dean was all in at this point. They get in the car and head toward Prentiss Island. I wanted him to call Sam at this point, but waited patiently.
The whole conversation in the car was interesting – not only because it gave us insight into Benny, but because of what it told us about Dean. We find out at the end that Benny knew about Sam – had heard a lot about him, in fact. But all this history of Benny’s was news to Dean. In Purgatory, Dean didn’t know why Benny didn’t drink humans, just that he said he didn’t. At some point, that became enough for Dean. And obviously, Sam was on Dean’s mind for Benny to know about him. Dean was able to trust this man – a vampire – simply by what he’d learned about him and survived because of him in Purgatory; he learned more about Benny’s history in that car ride than he apparently knew after their time in Purgatory. Interesting. To me, that says a lot about the kind of man Dean is.
Benny tells him that when you get turned it’s like you’re reborn into the vamp nest and your maker means everything to you – you start to believe he’s God. Unfortunately, your Maker starts believing the same thing. While he’s talking he gets a bag of blood from the cooler and Dean does a double take.
Dean: I see where that can be a pickle. (watching Benny drink) You really have to do that? Right now?
Benny (laughing): Sorry. I’m better, but I’m still on the mend.
This would have been one place where it might have made sense for Dean to mention that he'd been turned once. Maybe. Or maybe the fact that he was able to get turned back isn't something Benny would want to hear. I don't know. I just think it could easily be a factor in his friendship with a vampire.
Here’s another thing about Dean with Benny – Dean is unusually quiet. He listens a lot. He’s like that in Purgatory, too. I don’t know if it’s because Benny talks so much, or if Dean is just more watchful, careful. He’s just thismuch different around Benny than he is around Sam. It’s noticeable, and I like it. It shows a freedom of responsibility and a different kind of trust. It's one of the reasons I connect to my friends differently from my family, if I'm reading it right.
Benny says that his Maker was a ‘jealous god’ who kept the family together, but kept them apart from the rest of the world. That part had to sound a little familiar – not the jealous part, but the other bit. Benny says they were always out to sea. He always did what was best for the nest until he met Andreah. She was beautiful. Greek. An heiress.
Benny said when he found her and her 42’ sloop he should have called the location into his crew, but instead he joined her.
Dean: Was Fabio on the cover of that paper back? *laughs*
Benny’s life changed when she entered it. Dean’s face softens as he listens to his friend’s honesty. Benny says that everything he’d been and done to that point seemed to vanish. They’d found it. They settled down in Louisiana. One day, they were coming home and the “Old Man” was there with Quentin (the dead vamp from the beginning) and someone named Saranto. It was only then that Benny understood what a crime it was that he left. They pinned him down and beheaded him and the last thing he saw was the Old Man tearing into Andreah’s throat. Oh, Benny. *rubs heart*
Dean is quiet for a moment when Benny stops talking, then he glances to the right with a dangerous look and says, “Well, that’s what payback is all about.”
They reach the docks, find a dingy and head out to the island. Silly aside, I liked seeing Dean sitting on the bow of the boat with his legs hanging over the side, ready to jump off and tie it off. Heh. As they’re in the wooded area making their way to a path, Dean writes a text to Sam about hunting vamps and puts the he’s not alone, then deletes it before he sends. He had to know at that point he wouldn’t be able to keep this secret from his brother – not and keep hunting with him as he wants to. But it’s so clear he was struggling with how he was going to explain it to Sam.
How can he explain something like Purgatory? He tried to explain Hell and that did not turn out well. Plus, that’s the memory Sam has inside of him – Dean returning from another dimension that people simply do not return from, a broken man, tears streaming down his face as he says he doesn’t want to feel anything. Now he’s back from Purgatory, his reaction the exact opposite from his return from Hell, all hyper-vigilant focus and manic energy on hunting saying only that it was “pure.” What’s Sam supposed to do with that? He’s got no frame of reference and Dean hasn’t given him anything to work with.
My take is that Dean knows all of this and so he deletes a text that could only send Sam into a tailspin of confusion and questions. What do you mean you’re hunting vamps? How are you not alone? Who are you with? Who do you even know now? Why haven’t you told me about this? Is this the personal crap? It would just go on and Dean knew that it would be justified and that he simply couldn’t deal with that right now.
They pull a machete and the Purgatory-Axe out of their bags (leading me to wonder what else they put in those bags that they had to bring them, but then left them by the docks), and start up the path.
Benny: It’s weird being back in the world. What do you do with it all? All the…all the everything? I don’t even know if this world is real. If I’m real.
Dean stops him, his face dead serious as memories of Sam’s disconnect and the "stone number one" reminder travel across his expression. Watching him get stern with Benny you could just see the nightmare of what he went through with Sam hanging behind his eyes.
Dean: I’ve seen what happens down that rabbit hole, okay? We’re real. Benny, this is real. It’s the only way to play this game.
*rubs heart* Goodness, how many times do you think he’s had to tell himself that very thing, alone in the night, looking around another strange hotel room, listening to the sound of Sam sleeping in the next bed, the highway outside, the AC unit kicking on. Regular stuff. Real stuff.
They find a big house on the island and break in quietly. Moving into a room at the bottom of a flight of stairs, Dean does this move that I love – he moves forward with his shoulders up and looks to the side. *likes* Anyway, it’s too quiet or something. Dean senses that something is not right and tells Benny that they need to move, but Benny is caught by the sight of the Old Man’s harpsichord and then he sees a framed picture of Andreah and is undone.
Just then light hits the wall above him and who is it coming down the stairs? You guessed it: Andreah. Still young and beautiful and all vampired. Transfixed by the sight of her, Benny is jumped by a couple of vampgoons. Dean, having ducked around the corner into the shadows mutters a frustrated, “Idiot.”
A bit later, Benny comes to, handcuffed to a chair, Saranto standing behind him with a knife to his throat. Whoops. Andreah is standing in front of him. Elsewhere, Dean is sneaking through the halls trying to figure out where they took Benny and how he’s going to stay alive long enough save his ass. His phone buzzes and he glances at it, then silences it with a muttered, “A little busy right now.”
We see that it’s Sam calling him and I frowned at him for that. I did NOT want him to repeat Sam’s behavior when he left to find Amy and didn’t pick up any of Dean’s calls.
Meanwhile, back at the motel, Sam gets Dean’s VM and is frustrated. He is staring at Amelia’s Texas driver’s license picture and he goes back to the first time he encountered her at motel where she’s suspicious of him, wanting to know what he’s doing. He finds out that she’s lived at the motel for three months (and has no idea who Everett is, which is one major difference between her and Sam). She calls him a drifter and a handyman and he’s all, I think I’ll go.
Dean calls him back, breaking him out of his reverie and sending relief through me. I was glad I didn’t have to be angry with Dean about that. Whispering into the phone as he’s tucked away in some alcove, Dean’s like, “Okay, what?”
Dean (trying to find an unlocked room): Why did you call me?
Sam: Why are you whispering?
Dean: Kind of hard to explain…short version…I was cleaning out a vamp nest and it sort of got a little sideways on me.
Dean winces and pulls the phone from his ear. Sam is up and pacing.
Sam: You know better than to go into a nest alone!
While his worry is endearing, I found his instinctive reaction to lecture his brother about hunting a nest alone to be interesting since that’s exactly what he said he wants Dean to do – go hacking and slashing at the world’s crap alone. Hmmm.
Dean: I’m not alone, dammit! I’ve got backup. Guy’s been tracking the nest for awhile.
Sam: What guy? Garth?!
Dean: What? No. You don’t know him. He’s a friend.
Sam: A friend. Dean, you don’t have any. All your friends are dead.
Ouch. True. But ouch.
Dean (frustrated, trying to see all around him at once so that he’s not caught by a vamp): That’s not what I called to talk about.
He puts the phone to his chest and takes a breath, obviously bracing himself for what he was going to have to say next. I liked this exchange, too. It wasn’t touching or sentimental or sweet or angsty. It also wasn’t hateful or malicious. It just felt really real to me. There was concern, anxiety, irritation, worry, exasperation, fear – all the things you find yourself feeling when you find out your brother (or sister) is in trouble, has gotten themselves there, needs help, and you’re far away. Or when you reach out to your brother (or sister) and need them to just do this thing and not ask about it because there are some things that you can’t (or don’t want to) tell them.
Meanwhile, Andreah sends Saranto away and tells the goons to check that the Old Man has everything he needs. She informs Benny that their father has come to trust her judgment and she answers only to him. Benny’s like, “Sleeping with God has gotta have some perks.” She smacks him, but as soon as the goons leave she practically climbs into his lap and kisses him passionately. It was all an act, you see.
Benny blames himself for the Old Man turning her, but she said she knew what she was getting into when she chose to be with him. She gives him a knife and the handcuff keys and tells him that things don’t have to be complicated – they can’t kill the Old Man, but Benny’s come back from the dead. He’s proof that the Old Man is not a god and he’s scared of Benny. Benny’s like, I came back to burn his operation to the ground and stop the killing.
Andreah: Do what you came for and we can be together.
Don’t know about you guys, but I didn’t trust her for a second. The vamp goons come in and say that the Old Man want them to bring Benny to him. Meanwhile, Dean’s still in the hall on the phone to Sam, only now Sam is on speaker so that Dean can text him.
Sam: I get some alliance thing, but this is a hunting thing and we need to find that line—
Dean (whispering into the speaker): My God stop talking. I texted you my 20.
That made me laugh. He sounded like my brother at that moment. The kid has four sisters. He never gets a word in edgewise.
Sam: I got it. I’m on my way. If you handle it, great, I’ll buy your friend the 1st round…. Dean? Are you there?
Not so much. His hideaway compromised, Dean used the cell as a decoy to draw a vamp away from him and then beheads the guy. Unfortunately, he loses Sam’s call. But before he can worry too much about that, another vamp shows up in the hallway. Swell.
Down below, Benny is confronting his Maker who is like 12 years old. Not really, but he might as well have been. I suppose it can be spun that vamps are made at anytime and he was really like 500 years old or something. And his power came not from his size – in fact his youth and manner could have made him more sinister, but really, I was just like dude, kill him already and get it over with.
There was talking before hand – there always is. Benny doesn’t tell the Old Man (oh, the irony) where he was, though it wasn’t Hell. He says he’ll have to show him. The Maker tells Benny that the reason he turned Andreah instead of letting her die was because she meant everything to Benny.
Upstairs, two more vamps come into the hall where dead vamp #1 is and see Dean dragging dead vamp #2 into a side room. They head down there to confront him and bam, bam. Two more headless vamps. Dean is cutting through the nest like a mo fo. As he strides down the hall with a dangerous purpose, we see him flashback to Purgatory once more, he, Benny, and Cas walking through the Purgatory Woods.
Dean: What do you know about the value of life? You’re a vampire.
Benny: I think we both know which of our kind kills more humans.
Cas: Statistically speaking, that’d be your—
Dean: Yes, thank you, Cas.
Benny: You’re worried about what I might do if we make it topside. By the time I got axed, I was strictly on blood transfusions. Donated blood.
Dean: What is that, like a vampire zone diet?
They’ve stopped and are facing each other. Cas walks between them and is staring around them, as if listening to everything.
Benny: I started seeing something in humanity, okay? Something that shouldn’t be taken. I drink blood; I don’t drink people.
Dean: Why the hell should I believe you?
Benny (getting angry): What does it matter what you believe? You got your head so far up your ass, Dean, you don’t realize we’re already done for. We are never gonna make it with him (gestures to Cas) next to us, glowing like a beacon.
Dean: Do I need to remind you of our deal? Of what you committed to?
Benny (yelling): He’s gonna get us killed!
Cas: We may get to test that theory.
Dean (looking worriedly at Cas): More monsters?
Cas (looking panicked back at Dean): Leviathan.
Dean: Why don’t you blip outta here?
Cas: They’re too close. I can’t. Run!
Back at Casa de Vamp, Dean is roaming the halls, looking tense and focused, and finds a set of stairs down.
Sam goes to the parking lot with a slim jim and boosts a throaty-sounding, yellow muscle-looking car. As he’s driving away, he’s thinking of the next time he encountered Amelia. An all-healed dog is running away from Sam, right to Amelia’s room.
Sam: Dog, don’t! Bother…the…angry lady.
Dog (obviously Amelia has something to do with his eventual name…maybe she likes Quiet Riot) heads inside and makes himself comfortable on Amelia’s lap. She’s sitting on the couch, bare feet on the coffee table, a couple of beer bottles on the table and some folded up newspapers around them.
Amelia: Dog? That’s what you’re calling him? Well, it’s accurate. Is Dog taking his antibiotics?
Sam (inside, but standing at the divider): Yes. He’s doing much better. I have to say…I’ve seen a lot of stitches in my time and you’ve got really good hands.
Amelia: Thank you.
She looks pretty – prettier than I first thought. She also looks fresh-faced and edging on friendly. I'm not completely sold, but I’m still open to learning more about her.
Sam: So…you think I’m creepy?
She goes into this random logic that only white supremacists and drifter serial killers buy their clothes at the Army/Navy surplus store and adds to that the fact that he’s “seen a lot of stitches”…she comes up with yeah, creepy. She says he comes from nowhere and is going nowhere.
He seems to realize something, crosses the room, sits down and levels his eyes on her. It's a very arresting look; he basically peels back her layers and exposes her in the look. She is clearly caught by the expression on his face and his utterly calm, completely knowing tone as he says, “You have no idea where you’re going either, do you?”
Amelia: No. Not really.
Sam: It’s because you have no one. At all, right? That’s why you’re here (indicating the motel).
Amelia: I used to. Have someone. But that’s over. It’s gone. You know what that feels like, don’t you?
Back in the boosted car, Sam calls Dean’s phone again and gets his VM. He floors it, revving the MPHs up to 100 as he thinks again about what it felt like to have no one. At all. And not wanting to feel that way again. Ever. Especially at the expense of Dean.
Back in the Old Man Confrontation, Benny is telling his Maker that he should have just let him go, but the Maker can’t really let things go. Benny is like, really? Is that why you’ve lived so long and have so little? The Old Man is like, oh yeah, well I have Andreah. Benny moves his hands from behind his back and shows the empty cuffs all, I don’t think so.
At that, Saranto attacks and Benny goes ninja on him, killing him without so much as a squeak of protest from the Old Man. Benny goes to the Old Man and is ready to kill him and the Maker is all, I am evil, you’ve never had that freedom, you’ve always had to think about things. Benny shoves him into a glass cabinet and wants him to fight back and the Maker tells him that, this is my story, it ends the way I choose. Benny pulls out the knife Andreah gave him and is once more all, I don’t think so.
Benny: At least I can finally show you something new, Old Man. A whole, new world.
He flicks out the blade, then the next thing we see is him walking out to where Andreah is waiting and putting the bloody knife on top of the harpsichord. Old Man is dead and Benny wants them to go, but Andreah’s like, hey, thanks for killing him for me, now we can run his evil vampirate operation.
Benny looks utterly destroyed at the realization that she never intended to go with him. That the woman he knew and loved was really, truly gone.
Benny: What I loved ain’t here anymore. It was snuffed out a long time ago by monsters like me. Like what you’ve become.
Andreah: You think you’re better than me?
Benny: No. I think we’re all damned.
She vamps out and attacks but before she can reach him, Dean stabs her through the back with the P-Axe and then lops off her head while Benny watches, completely emotionless. Dean looks at Benny, a mixture of fear and sorrow on his face.
I’m glad Dean called Sam because it forces exposure of truth that HAS to be talked about, but I also like that Dean pretty much cleaned up that whole nest – except Saranto and the Old Man – on his own. Purgatory really honed his skills there, that’s for sure. Loving this badass Dean and his hunting skills. *bites lip*
As they’re pushing the boat back to the water, Benny pauses, looking exhausted for a moment.
Benny: Why’d you do it, Dean?
Dean: Do what?
Benny (lifting his head like it weighs 100 lbs): Resurrect me. You could’ve drained my soul into any cauldron and no one would be the wiser.
Dean (looking confused, concerned): What the hell are you talking about? Hey, you good?
Uh, clearly not.
Benny: I don’t know what I am.
Dean watches as Benny jumps into the boat. His face is knotted with worry as he flashes back to Purgatory and the trio running from the Leviathan. One drops down in a plume of smoke and tarlike ooze (which was pretty much the coolest Leviathan form we've seen yet), forming a man that separates Dean from Cas and Benny. It goes after Dean who swings at it with the P-Axe. Another blocks Cas’ escape and overpowers him quickly.
Dean beheads his Leviathan and the one holding down Cas opens its maw to eat the angel when Benny cuts off its head, saving Cas. Dean stares at the two of them and Cas slowly gets up, looking at Benny with shock.
Back at the dock, Dean and Benny pull up to the pier where Sam is waiting, looking relieved. They tie off the boat and get out. Sam comes down to them and is looking at Dean, then sizing up Benny. Dean looks totally uncertain as Benny moves around him and reaches out a hand to Sam.
Benny: I’m Benny. I’ve heard a lot about you, Sam.
Looking confused for a moment that this guy knows him and his name and he is at a disadvantage, Sam takes Benny’s hand. The second he does this look of realization crosses his features – I’m guessing because of how cold Benny’s hand is. He gets a look of monster! on his face and reaches for a weapon – I’m assuming a knife?
Dean is standing still and silent and watching his brother. He sees what Sam is doing and very carefully, subtly, shakes his head, telling Sam with that motion, it’s okay, I know what he is, he’s still my friend, you can’t kill him. Sam looks at Dean with incredulity as he releases Benny’s hand. It all happens in the space of a few heartbeats, but it’s enough. It was a powerful few heartbeats.
Benny walks on, patting Dean on the shoulder and saying, “I can see you two have a lot to talk about.”
We close with Sam looking at Dean confused, and pissed for a plethora of reasons. Dean is staring back at him with a shuttered, narrowed-eyed look that says he’s braced to take it, and more truth than Sam is probably ready for is going to start coming out.
Dean needs to get some of Purgatory out in the open -- share it with Sam so that Sam has the opportunity to understand his brother's driving need to hunt, to move, to have a mission, even more so now than ever. He needs to get some of it out so that there's room inside of him for him to have a moment of quiet reflection and realization of what it might feel like to find himself alone. Without anyone. So that he can maybe understand Sam's choices. So that Sam can share with him about Amelia without it coming out like, "I took a year off and enjoyed the good things while you were fighting every hour of every day to stay alive."
Whew. That one packed a lot in there! And the previews for next week look fantastic. More truth revealed, more questions answered, and inevitably more questions churned up. Man, I love our show.
Speaking of next week – the Ramble for both episode 6 on November 7th and episode 7 on November 14th are going to be a day late due to Real Life crap. Which is different from personal crap. *wink* Anyway, I’ll post them on the following Thursday's in the early evening, Kansas time. I hope you’ll come back by and share your thoughts with me then!
Thanks for reading – always appreciate your time.