A human, angel, and vampire walk into a bar...tell me if you've heard this one. Sorry, its an Edlund script. Might as well start with a joke.
Fine, "Blood Brother" was one of his heavier scripts, but it goes to prove you're never sure what you're gonna get from Ben except a well written story. It saddens me that we haven't gotten a real screwball one from him in a while, but as Supernatural's most competent writer by far, someone has to carry the weight of strong character development. Besides, I know someday Jeremy Carver is going to cave and let Ben do that episode of Sam and Dean on a spaceship.
The episode at hand though is "Blood Brother" so what was brought to the table? For one, the wedge between Sam and Dean is quite deeper this week. So much so, they're both at wits end with one another. I was half expecting them to wrestle over the Toblerone that Dean took on the road. This is the most fire and emotion we've seen from Sam all season, and Dean is letting that grudge against Sam over not trying to find him really fester now. He's still rubbing it in, but now its with far more anger. "Last I counted you took a year off from the job. I need a day!" Bitchface alert! Oh yeah, Sam is mad. Conflict is imminent and Benny's call is just the right thing needed to blow this thing wide open.
Fan favorite Guy Bee is the director, and there's just something about Guy's work that resonates with paired with an Edlund script. The first stunning visual is Dean's first flashback to Purgatory. The very jagged memories of fighting monsters in Purgatory all to Benny's eerie whistling to "In the Hall of The Mountain King" (credit to Supernatural Wiki for the info) is top notch film making. That wiki page BTW shares that Guy Bee said it was an homage to the Fritz Lang movie M.
Another shot I absolutely loved is the off camera viewpoint of two vampires pursuing Dean in the house around the hallway corner. All that we see of the encounter is a vampire head rolling across the hallway, then Dean emerging unscathed. Classic! The best shot though is the closing one, but more on that later.
I do admit this episode was really hard to hear. I didn't pickup on a lot of what was said by Benny until the rewatch. Once I heard though, I was thrilled over such amazing dialogue and ended up feeling sorry for Benny in the end. As a matter of fact, we got a story with several characters.
Castiel! Nothing thrilled me more than seeing him do the soul sucking death grip on a monster that was wielding one of those Purgatory axes. Would Castiel have died if he was stabbed by one of those things? Isn't an angel blade the only thing that can kill an angel? Another thing that thrilled me, Castiel is verbalizing things we are wondering in our mind. Sort of. Remember, this is Edlund writing, and Cas has always been big on words. "It does present a curious curl in the metaphysics, doesn't it? If you murder a monster in monster heaven, where does it go?"
Castiel is a beacon for all sort of attacks, including Leviathan. Dean takes care of one, and Benny takes care of another, just in time to save Castiel from the Levi bite. Dean watches this and that is likely the point that Benny starts to win him over. I have one question though. How is chopping of a Leviathan's head killing them in Purgatory? Isn't that where Dick Roman went when he died? Dick's death rendered them vulnerable to death by head chops in both worlds? I'll put that in the "curl of metaphysics" department.
Benny and Dean
Ben Edlund already spilled the "Vampirates" line at Comic Con, but it still tickled me to hear Dean say it. Dean was obviously thinking that Benny had done something horrible as he was driving up to Washington, and as soon as he found out Benny was seeking revenge, he was all in. Dean wanted to text Sam, but changed his mind. It wasn't until he needed a vampire distraction, like a loudly protesting Sam going nuts on the cell phone over Dean being in a vamps nest alone, that Dean decided to call him. Does that make him clever or mean? Both probably. It does show that Dean still wants his brother to have his back, but is having enough doubts where he's talking himself out of it. He's unable to give Sam a chance. This ties into last weeks episode, "Bitten," when Dean is caught on camera chastising Sam for being out of practice.
Benny is a perfect parallel to Sam, circa season four. Benny maybe a monster, but he longs for his humanity again. He just wants his revenge against the vampire that turned him, and then plans to walk away from it all and live a normal life. Sadly, the memory of the woman he cherished, Andrea, the memory that got him through the ordeal of Purgatory, wasn't for real. His "old man" turned her and gave her high ranking in the nest. She became a savage, just as bad as the others. Considering it was her that helped him find his human side before he was killed, he's devastated to see her become this, and loses any hope he had for himself. Foreshadowing for Sam's plight perhaps, or is it only a parallel to Sam of the past?
Dean kills Andrea to save Benny, but the question is, has he truly saved Benny? He even asks Dean why he resurrected him. He knows Dean could have dumped his soul anywhere. "I don't know what I am." So, what does Benny do now? Will he embrace that human side or the monster within? I sense this is where his friendship with Dean will become important.
Sam and Amelia
Sam is worrying me a bit. He's not as stable as he seems. Why in the world was he checking Amelia's credit card statements? "Not stalking, concerned," he tells himself. No, that's obsessive. Didn't he walk out on her? Perhaps she's the one that told him to go? His flashbacks involved their awkward encounters at a motel where both were staying and where Sam had become the handyman. Amelia thought he was creepy. It wasn't until his dog, aptly named "Dog" (he should have tried d-o-g. Say it out loud) runs into her open room and they have a chance to talk. She's been there 3 months, but hasn't gotten to know anyone or tried to put down roots. Mostly though, she has no idea where she's going. "That's because you have no one," Sam tells her. They've just found something painfully in common.
It's Sam's reactions with Dean though that's the most troubling. Dean's been in lots of dicey situations before. Then why was Sam having a borderline freak out over Dean going away for a day and then being in a vampire nest? He was quite agitated on the drive up to Washington. Pushing his foot on the accelerator was the greatest tell. When he stood on the dock, seeing that Dean was okay, he was angrier though, not relieved.
So what's up with Sam? I sense that's what we'll find out in future flashbacks, or maybe even next week, but his extreme reaction reminds me of the season premiere when he hit the dog. He's not alright. Losing Dean again must have had a terrible effect on him. It's in a way "Mystery Spot" all over again. Just how many times can Sam endure losing Dean? That ordeal just about broke him. It's breaking him here too.
That sets up the AMAZING closing scene and reminds us under no uncertain terms that Guy Bee knows the strengths of the actors he's working with. The art of letting Sam and Dean sell an whole scene with nonverbal glances was lost for most of season seven ("Hello Cruel World", another Edlund/Bee collaboration, being a notable exception) and is soooo welcome here.
Sam angrily waits on the dock for Dean. He sees Sam isn't too happy and gets angry himself, flinging his items out of the boat without even looking at him. Sam notices Dean's passenger so Benny gets out, and introduces himself to Sam with a handshake, telling him he heard a lot about him. When Sam gets the cold feeling from Benny's hand, his livid glance slowly turns to a stoic Dean, and then back to Benny as he calmly reaches for his weapon. Dean's face is shot from a low angle and he subtly shakes his head, calling Sam off. Sam lets go of Benny's hand. Benny understands. "I can see you two have a lot to talk about." He walks away as Dean flashes him a look of approval, then brothers stare at each other in defiance. It closes with Sam's angry stare. Just Wow. You can cut that tension with a knife.
So what can we take away from this ending, other than Sam and Dean are fist fighting in the preview for next week? Dean just made his choice, and it's not Sam. In a way, Sam is again alone, which seems to be a big problem for Sam these days. This is reminiscent of Sam choosing Ruby over Dean in season four. This is different though. Dean isn't running off with Benny, yet anyway. The brothers are still sticking with each other for now. The commitment to find and protect Kevin is the only thing keeping them together. Now a big part of the story becomes seeing how the fractured bond survives the process.
Coming up next week, Garth plays marriage counselor. Hey, they could do worse. I give "Blood Brother" an A- overall, and I'm tagging it as the best of the season so far. This show sorely needed a strong character study, and Mr. Edlund once again delivered at the right time.
I think your analysis of Sam was spot on. Another thing I noticed was how 'jumpy' he was - noticing the fly that buzzed against the outdoor motel light, bothered by the sound of broken air conditioners and fans. I seriously think this is a subtle, indirect reference to his lingering mental struggles after the hallucinations of S7. If it's not intentional, then it's certainly plausible. And you're right - Sam's reaction to Dean's situation bordered on a panic attack. Anyone who refers to Sam as being uncaring or detached would be hard pressed to go against this evidence. It was very obvious that he was afraid of losing his brother again, and I appreciate your analysis here:
[H]is extreme reaction reminds me of the season premiere when he hit the dog. Heâ€™s not alright. Losing Dean again must have had a terrible effect on him. Itâ€™s in a way â€œMystery Spotâ€ all over again. Just how many times can Sam endure losing Dean? That ordeal just about broke him. Itâ€™s breaking him here too.
Another thing I noticed in this episode regarding Sam - his protectiveness. The small gesture of taking Amelia's keys out of her door before leaving was very touching, IMO. He's very giving of himself. He cares that the motel owner is ill and tries to encourage his son. He picks up on the fact that Amelia's bitterness is linked to something traumatic, that they have that in common.
This episode had themes of empathy and protectiveness all through it.
Another thing I noticed was how Benny described life in his nest. It was parallel to Dean's life with his dad and brother and what he viewed his role in the family as. Something else they have in common. I think Benny's problem will be finding a way to not lose himself in this new world that doesn't seem real to him after Purgatory. His fatalistic manner when speaking to Dean seemed poignant to me - it's a struggle to be a morally upstanding monster. Benny has no one on earth but Dean, it would appear. And the loss of his girl, his hope, well - could it result in him going over the edge? We'll have to wait and see.
On a separate note, I disagree with notions that Dean is choosing Benny over Sam. Why must everything be mutually exclusive? Dean can have a brother and a friend, and vice versa. Of course, the brothers have to get over this immature co-dependent thing they've had going on for forever. But, choosing between them? They aren't even in the same ballpark of a choice. Benny's a close friend, a brother in arms, but he's not family. Dean even has distrust there, as evidenced by his question as soon as Benny said he screwed up - "what did you do?" Bottom Line: Just because the brothers are at odds, doesn't make them any less family.
All that being said, I loved the episode. Thought it was superbly written, visually stunning, well-directed and acted, etc. I too would give it an A. :)
Another strange thing, I had brought up the point elsewhere, is that I think there is something more with the dog (I'm not a dog expert but I thought 'huh?" when the dog ran into Amelia's room and made himself at home on her couch).
Definitely more going on with these two than now meets the eye.
Sam started taking Amelia's shopping out of the bag? That IS a weird thing to do. I didn't notice that, so I'll have to go back and watch again. There is a strange vibe over everything in Sam's flahsbacks. Considering that he keeps referring to this time as his perfect 'normal' none of it seems normal at all. Everything is layered in "weird," from the saturated color, to the odd phrasing of the lines ("That's why you are here in this place" ). I am surprised that so many fans find this storyline boring; I think it's fascinating, and compelling. Maybe some are tired of Sam being the mystery, and I can certainly understand that, but I am quite enjoying this subtle storyline, its a nice contrast to the in-your-face obviousness of Dean's story.
And at the risk of starting something, once again all of the flack between the brothers seems to be resting at Sam's door. Yes, as it stands now, he didn't look for Dean, and Dean absolutely has a right to be upset about that and about Kevin as well. He seems more upset now than at the start of the season, like it has been festering in him. A very true reaction and one that I do not blame Dean for in the least. But has anyone else noticed that Dean's infamous "little brother radar" seems to be totally and completely missing? He hasn't asked Sam about his year off at all. He seems to just be content to bust Sam's chops without asking for any details. Can't he see how off Sam is? We, the viewers can, why can't he? Yes, I realize that this has something to do with Deans own PTSD, but its like Dean has forgotten his moral imperative, his prime directive, and I think that Sam is floundering a bit because of it. Just because he is angry with Sam doesn't mean that he doesn't or shouldn't care about him, but I am not feeling that from Dean at the moment. Sam may want to pretend he's all independent, but it's been shown time and again that he does not do well without Dean. He makes questionable decisions, and his more alarming character traits (his OCD and his ruthlessness) are allowed to come to the forefront.
Not only do I want to learn more about Sam (although I am quite satisfied with the progression of the storyline at present, and am willing to be patient) I also want Dean to think about Sam a little bit more also, to notice that he's not OK.
I thought that him looking her up on line was just suppose to show concern and that he was in love. But now that I think about it- credit cards? that IS a bit stalkerish. Oh at the Chicago Con, Jared was talking about changing a line he didn't like when he was sitting in front of a computer by himself in this next episode and them making him say it in ADR anyway- I didn't think it was bad, so I wonder if this was his or the one he changed it to. If they definitely wanted the stalker line in then maybe that is the reason.
@E That's true about the little brother radar, although I have to admit he didn't show too many signs of having it last year. But this year, just coming back from Purgatory with his anger with Sam, it would make sense that he was missing the signs.
So if we are getting a more of a Mystery Spot Sam, that could be extremely interesting. I could love that. But WHY DIDN'T HE LOOK FOR DEAN? I know I'm like a freakin' dog with a bone -sorry. And I don't mind the subtly in the storytelling as long as it's going somewhere. I had a lot of faith last season and felt a little burned by it so I probably just need to let that go and deal with this season on its own merits.
I didn't have trouble hearing or understanding Ty that could be because my brother always keeps the volume at earpounding levels anyway or maybe because I grew up listening to similar slow drawls, though they were from small town Missouri there a similar cadence.
If that can be said about Dean, however, I'd say the same could be said about Sam. Dean point-blank told him that he's not the same guy he was before purgatory and has shown signs of being off. Sam isn't pursuing that any more than Dean is--on the contrary, he's trying to convince Dean that he'd be happier without anyone to answer to as recently as 8.3. He doesn't seem very concerned about Dean's damage at this point, any more than Dean is Sam's, but Dean was up front in stating that he's different. Sam's the one in denial, insisting he's the same guy when he's clearly not. Should Dean see through that? Maybe, but Sam's not doing any reading between the lines here either.
So I think it's much more accurate to say that neither boy is really able to look beyond their own damage at the moment to see what's truly going on with the other. I don't think that burden should be placed solely on Dean or Sam, as it's an issue they share equally. I similarly am hoping for a clearing of the air in the next episode, and I think there are signs that it's there. When Sam loses his temper, he tends to let all of his issues out at once, and Dean will finally drop the "You can't quit hunting" shield and deal with what's really hurting him--the fact that Sam for all intents and purposes appears to have immediately given up on his brother after he disappeared. So getting those problems out in the open will be a good step, I think.
My impression is that Sam has noticed the changes in Dean and is simply letting them all slide. Now Sam's behavior is definitely still a mystery to me this season, so I could be easily misinterpreting that.
I wasn't referring to you when it came to criticizing Dean--I was responding to the posts of someone above that basically said that Dean doesn't care about Sam this year. I think he's had his faults and his share of dickish behavior this season, but I think the bottom line is that Dean still wants to be with Sam. I don't see how that means he doesn't care about Sam. I agree that he's stuck in warrior mode at this point, though I'm not sure how "dark" he really is here. For me, though, it's hard to criticize Dean for being detached while ignoring Sam's detachment here.
Again it's Sam's reactions to Dean (other than the panic in this episode) that I AM having trouble understanding this season. But I'm still hoping that future episodes will make them more clear.
The dialog in the first episode indicates that Sam DID ask Dean about Purgatory, what happened there, how was Dean doing, what it was like. Dean was deflecting. Sam knows Dean well enough to know that he won't open up until he is ready.
After Sam tell Dean about changing his life Dean reacts with anger (understandable about the not look) guilt (how could Sam let people die) and dismissing Sam's choices (Did you put your peanut butter in her chocolate is trying to reduce Sam's relationship to mere sex).
Both boys are damaged and not responding to the others pain, but Sam did at least make an initial attempt to find out about Dean's year in Purgatory and to get him to talk about his emotions. Dean wanted to know as little as he could about Sam's year. Sam wanted to tell Dean what had happened and Dean was unable to listen, only to impose his view of what happened to Sam on Sam's story.
Neither one is perfect and the gap is there and growing, but Sam did at least try. Perhaps he should push more, but Dean was like this after Hell and Dean didn't open up until he was ready.
Yes, Dean only gave Sam the bare minimum about purgatory, and he always takes a while to talk. I still don't see Sam showing much interest or concern about Dean's changes or behavior at the moment, certainly not much more than Dean's shown Sam. In 8.3, when he was trying to sell Dean on being happier hunting alone I found myself wondering if Sam knew Dean at all. He certainly wasn't taking Dean's damage into account there. And that's fine, because he's human and he's flawed, but the poor communication and projecting isn't all on Dean's side here.
Sam told Dean the minimum about his year off, and Dean reacted with anger. But that's normal for Dean, and he usually finds his way past that to find more common ground with Sam. It's taking him longer at this point, but I have no doubt that Dean wants Sam to be happy in the end. I also think Sam wants Dean to be happy, but I don't think he really understands what that entails any more than Dean understands what making Sam happy will entail at this point.
So I think I'll agree to disagree that Sam's one "What was purgatory like?" somehow puts him miles ahead of Dean in the connecting to your brother mission.
However, I never said your opinion wasn't welcome--I simply thought we were debating the issues at hand. I didn't doubt your understanding of episode one, I was just offering a different interpretation.
So again, I apologize for my impoliteness and will leave it there.
Well said. I agree.
*And I kind of liked Bitten, but yeah.
From my perspective I truly hope that Carver plans to course correct this dysfunctional relationship. It is bad enough that Dean lost his childhood having to put Sam's needs before his own. They are grown men at this point. Dean needs to learn to put his own needs first. I think he has from a combination of purgatory clearing his head, and Sam having no problem putting himself first when the rest of TFW and a teenage boy needed him. I also think the comparison between Sam and Benny includes the fact that they are both brothers to Dean. Sam may be the real brother, but Benny is the true brother that Dean can truly count on to have his back, return his loyalty and affection, and to support him out of friendship and respect - no questions asked. I think the hunting scenes in purgatory and earth emphasize just how sympatico Benny and Dean are.
Yes, at this point in the story Sam is being portrayed as being in the wrong for not looking for Dean and if there is going to be a switch up, it will happen later in the season. However, that has not gone well in years past and with Benny suddenly being the newer, shinier version of Sam, I worry that yet again, Sam's story will be forgotten.
And you are right, Dean has never asked about what happened to Sam during the year he was gone, that we have seen. Not only is his Sammy radar broken, but his interest in Sam is at an all time low as well. It may be understandable but with the show normally being in Dean's POV, it makes it very difficult to see what is going on with Sam other than disappointing Dean, AGAIN.
And then we have Benny the friendly vampire who has a sad past who although seems to mumble at the moment come's across as genuine .
And sure the boys don't always react well to their own damage, but we know they risk their lives to save other people on a daily basis, we know they are brave and caring and selfless and have tons of qualities that outweigh what flaws they might have. We don't know that about Amelia. And I guarantee you that whatever damage Amelia has, Sam has suffered a million times more damage, and yet he's not verbally abusing her. So what excuse does she have to verbally abuse him?
And people did not suddenly start liking Bela when they found out about her tragic past. It was too late. They were just happy she was gone. (I personally got a kick out of Bela, but I could see why other people didn't like her. )
The problem for Amelia is pretty much exactly what you're stating for me. I don't think it's too late to make her sympathetic, but I don't understand the point of presenting her as such a heifer at the beginning. It's not charming or endearing. Yes, Sam and Dean have their prickly times, and they both have flaws. But you're right in saying that their heroism and good points outweight that. Why present all the negative with no positive upfront, only revealing her good points later? I don't see how this approach helps her character.
I don't like Amelia, and nothing about this past episode changed my opinion about her. They haven't written her in a likeable way so it's not surprising she's not liked. I'm not sure why Sam spent as much time w/her as he did. He should have gotten the dog and left.
I hated Bela and was happy when she died. There was nothing fun or interesting, IMO, about her. Kripke wrote Sam and Dean as clueless morons around her. It just wasn't fun to watch. I wasn't on the boards at the time but remember thinking, "Why does this girl keep coming around, and why do the boys continue to speak to her? She's proven she's shady beyond belief!"
So if Amelia suddenly turns nice, it may be too late.
And Amelia is the vet that took care of Dog after Sam hit him with the car, so for the pup to run into her apartment and jump on her lap isn't so far fetched ( no pun intended) because the dog probably has a bond with her.
Now dogs...I am not a dog person (one should never admit it but it is true) ... however dogs ADORE me, and what they really want to do is lick my face and I really do not want that. In that situation that dog would have been in my apartment up beside me too and I would be fighting it off. Just sayin Mind you, it is a very cute dog.
I can now picture if that was what he found, it is normal to notice the new batch and try to hold it up as an illustration or as his way of emphasizing his statement.
As for the dog issue, I guess that works or maybe when I think about it it just was the way the writers thought of to bring together Sam and Amelia for a scene.
Now I can stop thinking about it!LOL!
Here's a real life story I read in Reader's Digest:
A cop was responding to an alarm at a commercial building and sent his police dog in first. Moments later the German Shepherd scurried back out with its tail between its legs and hid in the cruiser. Knowing his dog was fearless and had never retreated before anything, the cop thought there must be something really bad in there, so he called for back up. Lots of back up. A whole police battalion armed to the gills entered and swept through the office and couldn't find anything. One of them found the light switch and turned it on--and they realized they were in a veterinary clinic.
But the bigger question is, if Amelia thinks Sam is basically the Unabomber, why would she force him to take the dog? No self-respecting vet would force a stranger to take a dog, especially not one they thought was a creep. Does she not care what a Unabomber might do to a poor helpless dog? My friend the vet watches the show and he really did not like that scene.
It doesn't seem strange to me for the dog to go to her; she was the vet who fixed him up. But I could be wrong
What can you say about that final scene.Perfectio n.
No big comments from me. Just really, super enjoying it
I think that is what is happening. But because Dean and Cas are real....well... ..
The way the camera focused on Dean's reaction while Benny was talking about meeting what's-her-name (the greek godess) and settling down with her, I thought that was the parallel they were pushing.
I did like this episode but I have a couple of little nitpicks: It's been established in previous episodes dealing with vamps that they can smell/hear other vamps and humans from miles away (didn't Dean say that he could smell his maker from a long distance off and could hear human heart beats from half a city block away and Luther from Dead Mans Blood could smell his mate in a truck passing by on the road some distance away from the barn) so why the hell couldn't Benny smell where his maker was and how the hell did he and Dean sneak around the house with out being heard/smelled by the vamps?
As it was, it threw me out of the episode a little. I was sitting there yelling "Yeah, right" sarcastically at the computer every time the vamps just walked straight past Dean
Even the wording "We found something" is similar to what Sam has been saying from the premiere.
I'll admit to being nervous about how well they'll actually resolve and rebuild the relationship, but I'm trying to be optimistic, and wait and see how it goes.
That said, I feel Sam did his penance in S5. Dean didn't trust or like Sam for most of S5 until the last two episodes. S5 Sam - from what I recall - didn't say much or do anything. He followed Dean's lead and accepted all of Dean's criticisms. Dean tossed the amulet. Sam didn't protest. Dean flat out told Sam he had no trust or faith in him, and Sam didn't protest. In the premiere, Sam willingly isolated himself from Dean and Bobby b/c he knew they were disgusted w/him.
I guess what I'm saying is I don't think it makes sense for Dean to raise S4 issues now. IMO, the boys were fine and in a really good place in the second half of Season 6. I was happy to finally see them on the same page and like the boys of old. I'm not sure what happened in S7 and why they only seemed like co-workers after TGND.
What relationship issues do you feel they have that require discussion at this point - aside, of course, from the hunting v. normal nonsense?
This season seems to be ripping them apart again, Dean's the one lying and hiding stuff this time, he has a new ideal brother in Benny the vampire instead of the siren and Sam still wants to go his own way. Dean still thinks that Sam is choosing others over him and Sam still thinks that Dean doesn't understand or care what Sam wants.
The Commentary and Meta Analysis of Bardicvoice's episode review of Sex and Violence (bardicvoice.livejournal.com/49487.html) puts it way better than I ever could and it's also worth reading the comments section as one of the responses towards the bottom by "Cathy" is just as meta and "thinky" as Bardicvoice herself. I won't quote all of it but here is part. As I said, do take the time to read her whole comment, it's really insightful.
Quote:For me, Ruby herself was never the issue. The issue is how Sam and Dean relate to each other. The siren becomes the perfect match for your desires, so Dean's perfect brother is one who shares the same interests (classic Rock, strip joints) and follows Dean's lead without question. So, essentially Not!Sam. We don't get to see Sam's perfect brother but I'm betting that it was Not!Dean. Really, they don't need to even mention Ruby, they just have to deal with the issues.
*edited for spelling - when will I ever learn to spell?!
There is a line in one episode about how rules aren't the same since the apocalypse (hah, get out of jail free card). All those vampires were turned before the apocalypse.
Someone, I think it was DJ Qualls, who was going to a con for the first time (Chicago) asked Jared if he didn't know the answer to some question about the show should he make something up? Jared's answer was something like: no, no, no they will catch you out on it!
They KNOW we won't accept too much unexplained retconing.
I really enjoyed your comments on Sams uneasiness. He is definitely not all right.
I disagree that Dean just chose Benny over Sam, though, just that he was letting Sam know there was more to Benny than he seemed.... Benny obviously has some idea of the brother bond, and seemed willing to let them work it out (or was he just getting away from angry little brother with the knife?)
The Sam/Dean/Benny triangle is going to get interesting! And where does Cas fit in? Bring on the big brother blow-out!
Benny was killed and ended up in purgatory. Because that's where monsters go. Therefore Benny is a monster and that makes sense.
Castiel is two different beings. One is a human, who is innocent and ended up in purgatory by accident due to a spell...and the other one is an angel, and (fallen) angels go where? And do they only go there when they 'die' instead of being magic-ed there? Why is Castiel more likely to be unable to escape than Benny? And if rebelling angels who get killed end up in purgatory does that mean we might get Balthazar and Gabriel back?
Surely its Benny who should be the one unable to escape and at least Castiel could release his vessel to escape even if the angel can't.
I will accept any logical solution on this
Benny got out by "riding" Dean out in his arm. But I don't think that is possible for Cas. 1. he is too powerful of being to be reduce so easily and what was in Dean's arm was Benny's soul, I'm assuming. Cas doesn't have a soul he has his grace. 2. Cas can't enter anyone but his own vessel and the minute he enters them that person (Jimmy) is basically an angel, so the same problem exists.
Glad to help, have no idea if that is anywhere close to the truth.
Mary-Ann Sleasman at TV.com:
However, Castiel's plight threw up a red flag with me. I could very well be missing something, but my logic alarms are buzzing and I need someone to shut them off. Okay. So, Dean could hop through the magic Purgatory portal because he's human and Purgatory isn't for humans. Benny could hitch a ride because he USED to be human. Castiel, however, could not, because angels are icky.
Is Castiel's vesselâ€”Jimmyâ €”not, in fact, human? Even if, say, something in Castiel's angel DNA turned the meatsuit full choirboy, wouldn't he still fall under the "used to be human" clause? If it's a matter of souls, then perhaps we should make the nuts and bolts of Purgatory's functionality more clear. In Purgatory, Benny was a formerly human, vampire soul. We know for a fact that his body was on Earth because we saw Dean put him back inside it during the Season 8 premiere.
Dean and Castiel, however, were sucked into Purgatory body and all. So, until we're told otherwise, I'm assuming that they're running around the Pacific Northwest, I mean, PURGATORY, in their meatsuits. By my calculations, that means the human thing should extend to Castiel. Unless what Supernatural is saying is that, upon jumping into the magical person portal, Castiel's grace/soul/what ever he's working with these days would be yanked out of his vessel and stuck behind in Purgatory, leaving Dean with what is essentially a corpse upon return to Earth. That is a totally fine argument.
Hi PTB - if I shouldn't borrow text from other articles like this please let me know, but I am not sure if linking is frowned upon either?
I had one additional thought while watching the episode. I saw a parallel in the scene of Dean keeping the peace between Benny and Cas to the scene in season 1 when he did that between his father and Sam.
But I still think it's a serious showrunning and storytelling error to have a season-long arc that so many people are going to have so much trouble accepting for so long. Even if there is some redemptive reveal at the end of it, for a lot of people it will be too little too late.
It seems possible that what they're doing with Sam's seasonal arc they are also doing with Amelia: writing them in such a way that a lot of people are having a hard time with them, with the long-term goal of giving us some reason to change our minds in the future. But you can't expect everyone to change their minds once they have strong feelings about something, and you can't expect everyone to enjoy having bad feelings about something for a long time just because you intend to make it better later. It's television. It's supposed to be enjoyable.
For my part, I have always loved Supernatural. I had never met a single episode I didn't like, and I have always enjoyed the hell out of it. Even when a lot of people were complaining about this, that and the other thing, for seven seasons I kept loving it without reservation. I loved the film noir theme in S6. I loved the Leviathan in S7. And now for the first time, I can't anymore. This whole thing with Sam's storyline is a hurdle I can't get over.
I'm sticking with it because this show has earned my love and loyalty, and I hope to get back to a place where I can enjoy it again. But I'm not enjoying it right now.
After reading his interview, I got the feeling that Sam having had a breakdown after Dean vanished or his hellucinations returning b/c Castiel was removed to another realm wouldn't be in the works.
I believe the link to the interview was in the "Let's Speculate Bitten" thread.
As of now, I like her, which is in sharp contrast to the annoyance I felt watching her in the premiere.
The sound really was bad, huh? I was wondering why I couldn't understand half the lines being said. I was even cribbing about my less-than-stell ar skills @ understanding US English to my friend. Glad to have my faith in myself restored.
I'm also loving the flashbacks fror both Sam and Dean's storylines. I actually find Sam's arc quite interesting. You're right, Alice, he really seems unstable. If he indeed wants to quit, it stands against logic that he'll panic every time Dean doesn't pick up his phone. That he's checking Amelia's credit card statements probably means he's checking to see if she's still alive, which says a lot about his state of mind. (that's another line I couldn't catch at all, I just kept hearing 'concerned' and nothing else)
And this season, I am so in awe of the visual effects team. I can't stop gushing about the Leviathan Meteor Goo!
Great review as usual ;)
PS: (did anyone in India actually notice that AXN is showing Season 8 Fridays @ 9 pm? I didn't! And does anyone in said country know when the repeats are? I need subtitles for when Blood Brother is going to show!)
I've waited three episodes before reacting to her. How long do I have to wait before I'm allowed to have a reaction? I really wanted to like her, and after the picnic scene I thought I might be able to. But once she went back to acid bitch again, I just can't.
But can you blame her? I mean, the guy is TALL. And a stranger. And, as she pointed out, kind of creepy. He makes vague statements and seems to be going nowhere. If a big guy seemingly pops up in your life more often than you like, and seem to have no roots or intentions, you're entitled to an is-he-stalking- me freak-out, especially if you're already in a fragile state of mind.
Actually, Sam did point out that she doesn't seem to be going anywhere, either. Upon which Amelia kind of relented, and had a not-very-acid-b itch conversation with him.
Out of the three episodes we saw her in, the first was a scenario where Sam's just hit a dog, and is yelling blue murder at the poor nurse. Which would put anyone off. I'm still skeptical about why Amelia would ever give him a dog (total dick move if it is never addressed), but I'll wait on that. The second episode is in a memory after he had already known Amelia for a while. That is SUPPOSED to show her in a very warm, good light. But it doesn't mean that she has to be like that before she gets to know him.
The last scene with her on the couch with the dog showed an Amelia that I really started to like. She's had her time to think about Sam and maybe he doesn't seem like a bad sort after all. I thought the white-supremaci st thing was more amusement than sarcasm, just her pointing out why someone might be wary of this man. He didn't seem all that insulted, and she was smiling sort of sardonically. Amusement.
And the whole thing of her thinking he's a creep, no. Sam is not creepy, and I don't know why you would agree with her on that. She doesn't know Sam. She is judging him on his clothes and the fact he was upset he hit a dog and he doesn't have a permanent home (even though she doesn't even have one either.) She has seen him twice, both when he was doing something completely legitimate like bringing an injured dog to the vet and working as a handyman (which she would've known had she asked.) He hasn't done anything creepy.
And I didn't see any amusement in her barrage of insults, it seemed mean-spirited to me. And anyway, how is she supposed to be both scared and amused at the same time? And because I was still mad at her for the way she treated Sam earlier, I couldn't like her nor feel sorry for her in the second scene.
Obviously, you have every right to like her, and I wish I did too, and maybe I still will at some point in the future. I'm certainly going to keep an open mind because I want to like her. But my point remains that it is a mistake to introduce her in such an unfavourable light. Why make it more difficult for viewers to like her? A lot of viewers already don't, and it will now be harder to change their minds than when they were first meeting her with open minds.
What pisses me off so much (aside from the fact that I'm a raging feminist when it comes to female characters and I don't like them being written as stereotypically bitchy) is that with all the baggage we have with female characters, why write an important female character in such a way that a lot of people will not like her? Why not put some care into writing a female character everyone could like? Did they not even realize writing her as bitchy would make a lot of people not like her? Do they just figure it's all our fault because we're supposedly all sexist-against- our-own-sex jealous fangirls?
Under Sera, I thought we had mercifully gotten past that. I loved all the female characters, and I didn't see anyone else having a problem with them either. And I'm pissed we're back there again.
If you open your motel room door and see a man under the sink, I would assume he was fixing the sink. As you said, if she was unsure, go to the motel manager. Plus, her barrage of insults was simply unnecessary, not funny, and did nothing to endear her to me. Their later conversation was boring, and I wondered why Sam was even speaking to her. He should have just gotten his dog and left. I'm not sure what attracts Sam to her. She is completely unlikeable.
Please know, I'm not criticizing, I just find our different perspectives really funny! I totally got Amelia's reaction, I actually though it was mild compared to what I think mine might have been (lots of screaming, running, grabbing a rolling pin or large kitchen knife maybe...911)
I am sorry you find Amelia so bitchy. Lots of fans are looking for SOMETHING that can be construed as a good thing for Sam, and it's too bad that Amelia does not seem to be it for many when I think that the intention of the show is that she is supposed to be. Hopefully there will be more information on her later that will make her more satisfying. I really like her already, so I am ok with where this is going.
Like you although I havent quite taken to her yet that more information and a futher look at her and Sam's relationship well help the situation.
The only way that kid knew something was wrong w/her sink was b/c she made a complaint about it. Why would I be surprised that motel management sent someone to my room to fix the sink I had issued a complaint about?
Now,I've never lived out of a motel and have no idea what motel management told Amelia. When she made the complaint, did they explain that someone would be coming by that day to fix the sink? Did they leave her a message on her cell phone that they were sending someone that she did not hear? I don't know. Her complaint is w/the management though, not Sam. And her bitchiness, IMO, should be reserved to them.
What would I have done? Assuming I had issued a complaint about the sink, I would have asked Sam why he was there and would have given him a chance to speak. I would not have fully entered the room b/c as you mentioned, a strange man was in the room and I would want to be able to make my escape if needed. Once Sam explained that he was there to fix the sink, I would have immediately gone to management to complain about them allowing someone to enter my room w/o my being present and for not telling him he was coming. That's what I would have done.
Yes, I am not liking Amelia at all. I honestly have no idea why Sam sat down and spoke to her. She doesn't have a winning personality or anything. I think it was a mistake to introduce her in such a bitchy, rude way. I always learned that the first impression you make is the most important. I think that applies here. Or maybe a second scene in the premiere w/Amelia recognizing her bitchiness would have been good.
They are writing Amelia in a way that alienates her from the viewers - not all viewers of course - but from enough that it really makes no sense. Instead of being fleshed out like a real person, she comes off like a bitch for no reason. That's the impression I have of her.
And Sam mentioned to her that he knew she had been living in that room for 3 months, revealing to her that he had been asking about her, checking up on her or whatever, no wonder she sees him as stalkerish. I find her refreshingly interesting and outside the box and far more real than Lisa was. What a lovely contrast Amelia makes to Lisa's "whatever you want, Dean" "we're totally behind you 100%, Dean", "best year of my life, Dean" attitude that was so totally unrealistic to me in season 6.
Sam obviously sees something there a kindred spirit type of thing so I will assume the writers will get us to a point where we see what Sam ended up seeing .
That being said, I don't agree with the harshness of those calling her a "bitch" and don't think that her interactions with Sam rise to level of verbal abuse or "treating Sam like dirt" as some have claimed. I do agree that she "doesn't have a winning personality" - but that's the point. When someone is hurting, I mean really, really hurting - they oftentimes don't have the greatest attitude/person ality. But that hurting person often either doesn't realize or secretly feels bad for lashing out. And Sam's a perceptive guy. I'm sure he senses her pain and has picked up on all the other clues - he knows it's not personal, that she's angry and bitter for a reason. And to his credit he doesn't write her off as a "bitch", but actually takes time to sit down and talk with her, breaking right through her mask and getting to the heart of things.
Her strong reaction - freak out - to seeing Sam fixing the sink was due to the coincidence factor. This is the guy she had seen at the vet's weeks earlier, and all of a sudden he shows up in her motel room. Regarding her having known a maintenance person would be around to fix things - the fact that she filed a complaint about the sink does not diminish her reaction - walking through the door and being startled by another's presence, then finding out it's a guy she's seen around before. Who knows what her past is, but it struck me as the kind of reaction that might come from someone whose been stalked and/or attacked before. Either way, it was a reasonable reaction.
Also yes, she wasn't really afraid of Sam because she came into the room, so then you could say that her subsequent comments the next time they meet were meant jokingly rather than as insults.
They both know that is Sam was actually the sort of terrible awful serial-killer drifter etc etc that she was calling him that he wouldn't still be in town doing a handyman job and taking really good care of the stray dog.
Storywise if she were all nice to Sam in the surgery he wouldn't have kept the dog, he wouldn't have stayed in town. And both in the surgery and in the apartment Sam has this look where he has just had a load of cold water thrown at him - he has been snapped out of his depression and whatever else he is dealing with. In the later scene he is amused by her commentary on his clothing - I am pretty sure Jess would have not let him spend his life in army surplus clothing.
The actress who plays Amelia was on the Winchester Bros podcast the other night and there was this absolutely hilarious section where the ladies who do the show were explaining the situation with Sam's previous hookups / girlfriends, she apparently had NO idea.
As far as the mystery goes I am assuming that Amelia is in witness protection for some reason. The entire thing has a sort of 'Sleeping with the Enemy' vibe to me.
I find that really depressing. It sounds like, as of wherever they were filming when she did that interview, that means Sam hasn't actually talked to Amelia about his history and issues in the sex and relationships department, if it hasn't come up in any scripts that she's read. Not that I'm expecting Sam to sit down and give her the whole, horrific catalog, but one of the things about Sam having a new relationship is that I personally won't find it believable unless there's some sign that his relationship history is impacting him, that he's struggling with what happened to Jess, what happened with Ruby, what happened with Madison, what happened in the Cage. Now, maybe they are doing that obliquely, in a way that Liane wouldn't be able to decode when she hasn't seen the whole series, but I really hope they aren't just pretending that Sam comes to the relationship with no baggage except the loss of Dean.
He doesn't need to tell her details of his relationship history. I wouldn't normally say that, but with Sam - well extenuating circumstances!
You obviously don't have to "wait to have a reaction"; you can have any type of reaction that you like at any time, but maybe you can leave yourself open for your reaction to change? A reaction to a character is not the same thing as a decision about a character. If you decide you hate her, that she is an 'acid bitch', that idea could be very hard to change down the road, and there is still so much to learn about both her, and her relationship with Sam.
I can't agree with you more. It seems that some fans were perfectly willing to condemn Amelia before she even had a single scene on screen. I too think it's interesting that she's not all sweetness and light and understanding; it's a more natural normal reaction which creates a more real character. That she has sarcasm and is impatient makes her an actual human being with her own perspective, unlike Lisa. I wasn't a huge fan of the Lisa storyline and one of the major problems I had with her as a character was that she was just WAY too understanding about Dean's past and his issues and we got nothing about what she wanted or needed. She was totally subservient to his wishes and his needs in a way that I found absolutely unrealistic. She didn't seem to care that he had horrible nightmares constantly, was drinking to excess, had weapons everywhere, and strange paranoid rituals about security, or that he kept both herself and her child on lockdown and constantly on the move. Pretty accommodating wasn't she. There's no REAL person anywhere in the world who would put up with that. Amelia's reaction to Sam and his baggage is much more real. She's clearly got her own issues, and not much patience for Sam's at the moment, and I find that compelling and realistic. It makes it seems as though the relationship ended up happening despite both of their wishes; and isn't that how it goes in real life? You end up in a relationship when you least expect or want to half the time. I just hope the rest of the fandom gives Amelia half a chance.
I think if she wasn't ok with what he needed than she would have told him so. It wasn't a subservient thing to my mind so much as free-spirited.
The scene on the stairs in Bobby's house where she explains her outlook to him causes him so much astonishment, Dean's inability to understand that he is a valuable person in his own right is so sad. This season seems to be working on that issue too 'bout time!
THANK YOU for a very intellectual and rational review of this episode. I have been frantically searching for an outlet of my excitement from 8.05 and for 8.06, and you have delivered just that. No Sam gripes, no Dean gripes, no missing-the-bon d gripes, just good analysis of what we saw.
I too, fell in love with SPN all over again after the ending scene, which - as you say - really played up the strength of the actors. I'd give this episode an A - it's probably one of my favs since the 100th ep. (I didn't really connect with seasons 6 & 7).
I am with you on all points except "Dean made his choice and it's not Sam." I have to agree with Bamboo24 on that. Dean maybe mad at Sam for the not looking thing (I would be too) and things will get worse before it gets better, but everything I know about Dean in the last 8 years tells me that he'll choose Sam when it comes to the bottom line.
Again, thank you for a wonderful review!
Right now, I think he's walking a line. He's got his Purgatory bros, and he's got his real-life bro. None of them have done anything to merit being killed, and all of them have some claim on his loyalty. Unfortunately, they will likely conflict with one another, and he may have to choose, but right now it seems like he's doing everything he can to avoid that situation. And as long as Benny continues to walk the straight and narrow, I think Dean will continue to support him.
Right now, I think he's walking a line. He's got his Purgatory bros, and he's got his real-life bro. None of them have done anything to merit being killed, and all of them have some claim on his loyalty. Unfortunately, they will likely conflict with one another, and he may have to choose, but right now it seems like he's doing everything he can to avoid that situation. And as long as Benny continues to walk the straight and narrow, I think Dean will continue to support him.
I think you're right that Dean chose Benny over Sam in this episode. Interestingly enough, both Sam and Benny are trying out new lives (Sam with his idealized 'normal' and
Benny walking between being a vampire and living with humanity). There were several little scenes that showed Sam still doesn't have his foot out of hunting, regardless of his longing flashbacks and stalking. There were also several scenes that showed that Benny is conflicted about the real world and want to be in 'pure' Purgatory. I see both Benny and Sam conflicted about their 'identit,' and Dean as the center of the triangle.
Benny has clearly become Dean's friend and has earned his trust. We saw that evolution in the Purgatory flashbacks, first with them literally fighting back-to-back, then where Dean was bitching at Benny about not understanding humanity, and then when Benny earned his trust by saving Cas. And Dean isn't anything, if not loyal to his friends.
Sam has always been able to depend on Dean 100%, no matter what he did, but I don't see Dean willing to do that right now. I think Sam will see Benny as a threat to his position with Dean. I never saw Cas as a threat to getting between Sam and Dean, but Benny sure can. Right now, Dean is not trusting Sam to have his back; first, because Sam just dropped hunting the minute Dean was gone, because Sam has put him on notice that he's leaving hunting because he found something he never had before (not Dean), and; third, mostly because he is deeply hurt that Sam didn't look for him. I, too, am really curious to see how Sam is going to win Dean's loyalty and trust back. I don't think it will be so easy this time.
I'm still not warming up to Amelia, and I don't think I ever will, although I definitely realize what her role in the season is all about. Running the two love stories in the same episode really brought that reason home.
The problem with Amelia is they introduced her as a cold, bitchy fish and, although she was rehabilitated a little bit in this episode, the actress doesn't give off any warmth at all. There's just no charisma between her and Sam -- and maybe there isn't supposed to be, since they are both 'damaged souls.' The good thing is that this episode gave me interest in Sam's story, whereas, before I could have cared less.
I'm with you. That closing scene was electric in all aspects, and I'm looking forward to the big blow-up....but cringing at the thought of Garth and at the thought that Dean may, once again, apologize to Sam. I'll be ticked off if he does, as I'm liking Dean pushing back at everyone for a change.
ETA: I believe this is the last day to vote in the People's Choice Award nominations. If our boys win something this year (and I hope it's two or three somethings), maybe they won't be ignored again this year.
And frankly I am not interested in some sort of 'triangle' between Sam and Dean and Benny . I dont really want Sam involved in anything like that if Dean wants to trust Benny thats down to him but Sam doesnt have a obligation esp after Ruby and the flak he was given from Dean over her. Nor does he need to walk egg shells around Dean. Argue , fight it out but I dont want Sam's year to be reduced to some sort of wrong done . I know Sam will have to stay in hunting but seeking normal has never been a rotten thing for Sam to do . It wasnt when he was 18 and it is not now.
Dean and Benny is something I can live with and dont have a issue with Benny at all but if it becomes a scenario of Dean having to choose or Benny being used as some big stick to beat Sam up with personally I would rather see Sam walk away .
As far as the Winchesters go, they need to establish who they really are individually and what they really want individually, and then they can re-establish what they are as brothers.
I think that is being done in a very interesting way this season.
P. S. I just saw a promo for Southern Comfort, and I nominate Garth for Benny's first dinner -- sock puppet and all.
I hope they do find themselves as individuals and that brings them back to the brothers they are in that I can agree .
It doesn't but Dean DOES see it this way. And if Dean can't see its not the truth then Sam needs to walk away (even if he ends up hunting by himself - hopefully he makes his own friends in the process and not Deans hand me down Angel friend) Cause after 8 years if Dean doesn't get it he's never going to get it.
But yes, that promo is not encouraging and I freaking hate that sock puppet. Hate it...fire of a thousand suns etc...(not sure why).
I also have no problem w/Benny. As I mentioned elsewhere, at this point, he seems like Edward Cullen to me in that he's a vegetarian vampire. That's fine! But it would bother me to see Benny used as the weapon by which to beat Sam so that's why I'm hoping Sam stays out of that relationship.
Quote:Didn't we just get something like this last year? The source of Sam's pain was Hell memories, rather than Dean's disappearance, but it feels like we just did this - watching Sam coming undone over a traumatic event, with the trigger for a meltdown being the fear of losing Dean.
Though he is choosing to go on with the mytharc quest, and even reluctantly continue regular side hunts, rather than either try to restart things with Amelia or do his own normal.
That works for two of the seasons plot points (or maybe 3)
1) Sam leaving quietly and Amelia watching him go
2) Sam spying on Amelia's credit cards etc because he is suspicious
3) Maybe the person in the shadows when Sam leaves is keeping an eye Amelia and not Sam
One thing I always have a problem with is the love interest portrayals. All the women have the same traits- fiesty and antagonistic but will have a heart of gold. Its like the writers use the exact same scenario for every introduction. Jo pulling a rifle Lisa not wanting Dean etc. Maybe they could just meet someone they like and are drawn to.
. Maybe they could just meet someone who they
On the Benny parallels - I agree that he's a Sam substitute. He rebelled against his family and didn't realize it was such a big crime until they killed him. As for the Ruby comparison, Benny is reminding me more of the siren who morphed into the agreeable little brother Dean never had but always wanted.
I think the credit card thing with Amelia is in part concern over self-destructiv e/depression tendencies Amelia has, and part ex-girlfriend cyber-stalking - kind of like Googling an ex. It was also a joke that Amelia accused Sam of being a creepy stalker in the past (which wasn't true), but he really is in the present.
I love it when Cas points out the mythology holes that viewers are wondering about (in this case what happens to monsters who die in Purgatory, or in season 6 if Sam was still Sam without a soul), but I hate that this is the writers' way of saying they never plan to answer them.
And like you, I hope that what is going on with Sam (whatever it is) will ultimately lead to this much touted "maturity" we have been hearing so much about. My main concern is that Sam's story show him in a good light. Currently, the situation they have set up for Sam reflects very, very badly on him. His decisions show him as disloyal, uncaring, selfish and a quitter; all tropes that have been used on him before. There has not been a single story line in 8 seasons (a long term character arc) that has shown Dean in as negative a way as Sam has been shown on multiple occasions. I don't understand it. A show CAN have two hero's, two likable characters who often disagree with each other, but who aren't relegated to the simplistic formula of the "right brother" and the "wrong brother". But once again, this is where we currently stand, at least at the moment. I still hold out hope that Sam's story will be shown to be more generous, loving, selfless and brave than it currently seems to be. It is my everlasting hope for the season.
I felt Sam in the end was more frightened of losing Dean than anything else. And probably more pissed that Dean kept the vampire friend from him than for any other reason. I'm not worried about Sam and Dean. They'll work it out...
Supernatural's budget is small, especially for a show with as much CG as it has, and the rights to classic rock songs are high = not as much music. Jared even said that they wanted use something really mainstream in an episode one time, something like Ozzy's Crazy Train or AC/DC, but then found out the rights to the song for a single episode was $100,000.
First, I didnâ€™t dislike Blood Brother â€“ in fact, there were parts I liked a lot â€“ but until the very last minute of the show, I remained like I have for all of this season thus far â€“ strangely emotionally disconnected.
Among the likes:
- Cassâ€™s metaphysical musing on â€˜If you kill monsters in Purgatory, where do they go?â€™ was very Edlundian and my favourite line of the night.
- Benny whistling Hall of the Mountain King made me giggle. Like many of us, my early introduction to classical music came via Bugs Bunny and, with apologies to Griegâ€™s Peer Gynt, thatâ€™s right where my mind went with this refrain. Of course, the Bugs Bunny seed was already planted by the â€˜Wascally Wabbitâ€™ line â€“ which makes me think that WAS the line Bob Singer asked Jared to put back in, and why! (Ben Edlund messing with our heads? Hey, itâ€™s been known to happen.)
- Loved Guy Beeâ€™s direction of the Purgatory scenes and fight sequences, and the Terminator-esque Leviathan bombs were really visually effective.
- I like Benny and think his character has great potential â€“ although he and Dean both seemed to have a serious case of the mumbles in this episode.
As for what didnâ€™t work so well for me:
- As much as I want to, Iâ€™m still not connecting with Amelia. I get that they want to portray her as damaged, stubborn and strong-willed (an echo of a certain Winchester), not a woman whoâ€™d get all weak-kneed at the sight of a handsome stranger. Kudos for that, but we went from bitchy and unprofessional in her first appearance (even after a couple of viewings, this is the one scene I really wish theyâ€™d taken another pass at; as the introduction of a major character in a season-long arc, IMO, it fails miserably) to shrill or bland in this one. Whereâ€™s the chemistry that would draw Sam to her? I was looking forward to this storyline before the season began, and Iâ€™m ready and willing to warm up to Amelia, or at least empathize with her, but they have to give me something to empathize with.
- Sam has been noticeably OOC this season. Alice, I agree with your take â€“ heâ€™s not alright, but I think whatâ€™s really irking me is that most of the explanation we have for his behaviour (not looking for Dean, his overt panic at Dean hunting the vamps on his own) has come from Jared in interviews and at conventions rather than through the proper channel â€“ the story. It appears TPTB think theyâ€™ve offered a valid explanation, but the number of times poor Jaredâ€™s been asked about it begs to differ. I would have been quite content to hear, â€˜Be patient, all will make sense eventually,â€™ then Iâ€™d at least know an explanation was coming. As an eternal optimist, Iâ€™m still holding out hope.
- After this weekâ€™s episode aired, I recalled one of Bob Singerâ€™s comments from before the season began. He said theyâ€™d chosen to tell the story this year via flashbacks because the fans didnâ€™t like the brothers apart. How ironic because, based on the first five episodes, I donâ€™t think the Winchester boys have ever been further apart.
Some are suggesting the fact that J2 negotiating more time off is behind this onscreen disconnect. After seven seasons in a two-lead show, in a job that takes them away from family and friends, I think more time off is well-deserved but, as an audience member, thatâ€™s a business decision that shouldnâ€™t be noticeable in the final product. Think back to Scarecrow: the brothers spent much of that episode apart (meaning the Js could film their scenes separately) yet the onscreen connection was still there. Re-watch the operating room scene from Changing Channels; Iâ€™d bet money that the Js were never on that set at the same time and yet the scene works. In the Beginning and The End were both fantastic episodes, even though Sam and Dean were not together for much of the story. So, yes, itâ€™s completely possible to write engaging episodes that donâ€™t have the brothers together in every scene, and thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m hoping for as the season progresses.
- I will admit Iâ€™m not thrilled with the overt focus on guest stars this season. Cas and Bobby are now irreplaceable members of the SPN â€™verse, but how long had they been around before a Bobby-centric or Cas-centric episode was written? They were introduced into the mythology gradually, embraced by viewers and the payoff was an eventual exploration of their background. This year, in only five episodes, weâ€™ve had one (Bitten) that focused entirely on three characters who in previous seasons would have been monster chow before the title card flashed, and a Benny-focused episode in only his second appearance on the show. I like Ty Olssonâ€™s performance, I welcome the addition of his character but give me a bit of time to learn to care about him before he takes over the screen.
Can you imagine if the writers had served up a Bela-centric episode in Season 2, or a Ruby-focused episode in Season 3 or 4 ("I know. Letâ€™s use the brothers as bookends while we focus this hour on how the witch Ruby became a demon in the time of the Black Plague."). Oy. My brain hurts just thinking about the online commentary that would have generated.
Supernatural has entertained me for seven years now, moreso than any other show on TV, and that earns my loyalty; Iâ€™ll stick with it through thick and thin. Things are just feeling a little thin for me, right now. The last minute of Blood Brother was the first time this season I really felt the spark that has defined SPN for me. I hope itâ€™s a turning point because I want to love this show again.
I also agree that they are writing centric episodes for side characters too soon. I see Bitten differently than you do. To me it wasn't about getting us to care about these characters. Rather it was a different spin on telling a monster of the week story, so I liked that episode. But the Garth and Charlie centrics last season were introduced too soon. And all of the focus on Benny is too much too soon as well, unless they plan to kill off Benny before the hiatus break. What I'd love to see is an episode focusing on the day in the life of Crowley.
I didn't hate this episode but it did feel misplaced. For me, it's way too soon to have an episode focused on Benny when I have no clue what is going on w/one of the main characters: Sam. I don't mind getting Benny's backstory, but I would prefer more info on why Sam is behaving so OOC this season. Once Sam and Dean have been fully fleshed out then they can tell all the stories about Benny, Castiel, and Garth that they wish.
There are all kinds of parallels between Dean's Purgatory story and Peer Gynt. The Mountain King of the title is a troll - a monster, some may say. The troll kingdom is, metaphorically, between worlds, much like Purgatory. And Peer's humanity is ultimately questioned - is he man or troll? As a hunter, someone who kills for a living, Dean has often questioned his humanity.
I haven't read that play in a long time *blows dust off copy* but this discussion has made me want to read it again and see if it offers clues, or if we are really reading something into nothing.
Out there, where sky shines, humans say: 'To thyself be true.' In here, trolls say: 'Be true to yourself and to hell with the world.'" - Henrik Ibsen (Peer Gynt)
I know that one argument against this is that Sam suggested Dean continue to hunt alone, BUT people keep leaving out the rest of the conversation. First Sam suggests that Dean will be happier without a partner who disagrees with the way Dean is handling the hunts i.e. Sam. He does suggest Dean go it alone, but he also encourages Dean to find another partner, one who wants to hunt unlike Sam. Sam was mostly restating the fact that Sam doesn't want to hunt and that if Dean does he has options that don't involve having Sam as a partner. Plus, even if Dean was hunting alone, he has the option of calling in a partner for difficult hunt, like going into a vampire nest. Heck that was how we met Garth, Bobby felt it was a 2 man job and sent Garth since Sam was married to Becky at the time, and working with her.