Supernatural "Blood Brother" Review: Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a Vampirate's Life for Me

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Nov 01, 2012

Supernatural S08E05: “Blood Brother”

For the last few weeks, I’ve put a lot of stock in Dean’s vampire BFF, Benny, ultimately being a baddie—but now that we’ve learned his side of the story, I’m not so sure. I’m still holding out hope; I mean, it took Ruby two full seasons to reveal her villainous intentions, but at this point in the season, I don’t think my hope has as much to do with Benny’s character as it does with my desire to simply be right.

We also got a taste of Sam’s Summer (fine, YEAR) of Love and it wasn’t as barf-inducing as I thought it would be. I was hoping Amelia would end up being as damaged as Sam because it was the only conceivable way that I could buy his whole lovestruck picket fence thing and I wasn’t disappointed. She had no one. He had no one. She called him out on being a creepy weirdo and he understood that yes, he was a creepy weirdo. It was a match made in... well... not Heaven. You understand, I’m sure.

We even got some Castiel action a la Purgatory flashback, Dean and Benny bromance, and the always ruggedly handsome (even when covered in monster juice) Wilderness Action Dean stabbing things. I was half-expecting a signed card to arrive on my doorstep via dragon saying something like, “Please enjoy this awesome smorgasbord featuring (we hope) something for everyone. Happy Halloween! Love, Supernatural.”

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 vessel—Jimmy—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/whatever 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. I just need it to be made clear on the show because I’m anal retentive and I tend to overthink these things.

Speaking of anal-retentive, I appreciated Castiel’s question of, “If you murder a monster in Monster Heaven, where does it go?” because it let me know that the writers are aware of that weird little hole in the mythology and now I can sit around all season assuming they will eventually fill it.

Go ahead and think on the Castiel Conundrum and get back to me. I’m here all week. In the meantime, we can talk about how Benny decided to go all Kill Bill on his maker and despite taking out a few old vampire-pirate (“Vampirate!”) pals, pretty much got his ass handed to him. He called Dean for a speedy AB-negative Snack Pack delivery and Dean was quick to bail on his and Sam’s fruitless quest for the Tran family. In Dean’s defense, they were kind of stranded at a dead end, and like he said, the room was paid up... which left plenty of time for Sam to get his geek on. Or flashback. Whatever. Every single time he got distracted by some random noise, my sadistic little heart fluttered in hopes of a Hallucifer sighting, but no, it really was just a squeaky fan.

Squeaky fans, rattling air conditioners, malfunctioning ice machines—if it’s broken, Sammy’ll fix it. Motel handyman seemed kind of like a sad fate for a dude who earned a full ride to Stanford University, but it made sense considering how Sam has evolved since leaving school. I’m getting the vibe that he didn’t so much walk away from the hunting life this time around as he got sucked away and that vibe goes a long way toward making me hate the “normal life” storyline a lot less. So uh, thanks for that, writers. All is not forgiven, but I appreciate the effort.

If there was any obvious weak spot to “Blood Brother” I would have to lay it on Benny’s backstory, though not because it was unappreciated or uninteresting. It was just a lot of exposition delivered in a mind-numbing monologue. We’re very flashback-happy this season, why not just throw in some Pirate Benny action instead of having Ty Olsson yammer at us for five straight minutes?

While Sam stalked-not-stalked Amelia from the tacky hotel room of the week, Dean delivered Benny’s go-go juice and joined his revenge quest against his maker because if there’s one thing Dean Winchester can appreciate, it’s revenge. Once upon a time, Benny was a happy-go-lucky vampire pirate, just sailing around the ocean attacking yachts and eating rich people—but surely there was more to (after)life than that, right? Unfortunately, Benny’s maker, a self-proclaimed god among his fledglings, didn’t appreciate Benny asking those sorts of questions and he REALLY didn’t like it when Benny ditched the vampirate gig to strike up a romance with a human chick named Andrea. Humans are so gross. But Andrea was like, super hot. Solution? Ship Benny off to Purgatory and turn Andrea into a vampire herself. Everybody was happy!

Except the maker, because Benny eventually got his act together and killed him.

And Andrea, because Dean totally shanked her right before she betrayed Benny.

And Benny, because he seemed to be having some sort of monster midlife crisis.

OH, and Sam, because discovering that Dean’s new friend is a portal-hopping vampire from Purgatory led to classic bitchface action.

The sad part is that I could actually see Benny and Sam getting along pretty well if Sam could just get over the vampire thing. It’s not like they haven’t been pals with “vegetarian” vampires before. Eleanor, anyone? With that in mind, and the added bonus flashback of Benny actually saving Castiel in Purgatory when he totally didn’t have to, I’m sold on Benny’s “goodness” for now. Emphasis on “for now.”

Case Notes

– “Concerned. Not stalking. Concerned.” Oh Sam, you so creepy. Also, Supernatural, where “Nice stitches” basically translates to “I love you” in Winchester-speak.

– “What friends? All of your friends are DEAD, Dean!” It’s funny because it’s true.

Supernatural Gettin’ All Philosophical: Amelia argued that she totally moved into town by moving into the skeezy motel Sam also happened to be staying in (actually, that seems kind of suspicious when put to paper) but Sam claimed that “A motel is not part of anywhere.” Someone’s been reading his Beat literature during the off-season.

– Amelia: demon plant or legit ladyfriend?

Supernatural Gettin’ All Philosophical (Again. In the SAME EPISODE.): So Benny is like that vampire who wants to be a real boy again and so delighted to be out of Purgatory that the world itself just blows his freaking MIND, man. IS THIS REAL LIFE? Yeah, man. It’s real life stop eating all the special brownies and save some for the rest of us!

– What are your Castiel theories? Let's hear 'em!

– How long until Sam cuts Benny’s head off?

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  • No1Slayerette Nov 08, 2012

    Does anyone else think that Sam's flashbacks look like a bad CW pilot?

  • vcivi Nov 06, 2012

    I love Supernatural, but somehow this season is not doing it for me...till now the only episode i liked was with the prohet and his mom...she was cool....beside that, it is getting a bit lenghty...

    This episode focused on Benny and Amelia...and they are for me, both boring...

  • tmarie75 Nov 06, 2012

    I really liked this episode. I like Benny, but not sure if he is trustworthy. He is a Vampire after all. I don't like all the flashbacks of Sam and Amelia. She's BORING!! I do like episodes that focus heavily on Sam and Dean and them hunting monsters, demons, or whatever!

  • gamrgrl007 Nov 05, 2012

    Actually, after things had time to settled down in my head, I realised the many reasons for the detailing of Benny's backstory:

    1) to show the deep rapport he has with Dean (though that was shown incredibly effectively by that single freeze-frame of Dean touching Benny's shoulder in the Purgatory)

    2) to tie Benny's story to a case similar to Sam's, where they both 'lost' the girls they loved

    3) To link Dean killing Benny's girl to Dean killing Amy, and the difference in reaction that Benny had (quiet, complete acceptance) v/s Sam had (walking away in disgust) to a similar rationale by Dean, that a monster that will kill again must be killed.

    4) To show Dean's exasperation with Sam's judgmental attitude, and that he now actually feels more comfortable and 'himself' with Benny (and not just his post-Purgatory persona, his overall temperament), rather than with Sam, a realisation which Dean will probably fight more strongly the more it becomes apparent

    5) To show that Benny is currently a 'good guy' and cement Dean's faith in him in real non-Purgatory world as well

    So I now think that the backstory was more about showing the disparity b/w Sam & Dean now (and earlier) than showing what Benny's life was like back then. Cas was never in Sam's place, but Benny is, and I think, now, that this episode did great to shove open the door open in Dean's head and heart where Sam resides, and push Benny in just a little more.

  • Dre5d Nov 04, 2012

    this episode really wanst that good to felt kinda boring with benny's back story. I exspected more from benny when they made him come off all mysterious in the first few epsisodes of the season. .........I miss Bobby

  • DebbieBitz Nov 04, 2012

    Interestingly, Benny kept calling his maker "the old man". I think this was a wink to Ty Olsson's time on Battlestar Galactica. "The Old Man" is what they called Adama.

  • kristoffersr Nov 06, 2012

    I loved how Ty's character called his maker The Old Man.

  • danharr Nov 04, 2012

    Did we really need Sam putting his hand on his gun? I mean I know he's a hunter but if a monster is friends with Dean and with Dean. Wtf are you going to do just kill it no questions asked, come on with the unnecessary drama.

  • gamrgrl007 Nov 04, 2012

    Seriously, why did he do that, when Dean was introducing them - duh! And Sam's sulking face at the end :)

  • GirishStewart Nov 03, 2012

    I thought this episode was absolutely awesome! Best episode of the season yet. I approve of Benny and I also like Amelia. Cut her some slack.

  • 2muchbadTV Nov 03, 2012

    Oh, and totally off topic to this week's episode......another major plot point from previous seasons I wish they'd wrap up or at least acknowledge is still out there.....Sam and Dean's half brother who wound up being Michael's vessel for Armageddon against Lucifer......presumably he's still in the cage with Michael and Lucifer getting soul-raped eternally just like Sam was. How are the brothers okay with that to the point they never mentioned it and it apparently doesn't bother them even IF they know for sure there's nothing they can do for him? Seems they would've at least asked Cas or somebody to help them research how to get him out of the cage.

  • Anonymous_A Nov 05, 2012

    Oh they NEED to get Adam out of the cage! It's been bugging me ever since the start of Season 6.

  • jjt61 Nov 03, 2012

    for your first post there dad didnt die in hell he escaped hell when the gates opened at the end of season 2 so he just got tortured for 100 years( 10 months) then escaped

    for your second post they would have no problem getting adam out of the cage because cas pulled sam out no problem and i dont think they would soul rape adam they have no reason to be pissed at him like they did with sam

  • safibwana Nov 04, 2012

    Helps pass the time.

  • 2muchbadTV Nov 03, 2012

    I'm glad I'm not the only anal-retentive nerd who's been wondering about the metaphysics of the various afterlives we've seen on the show. Most recently, Purgatory.....apparently you can die there.....what happens to you then? Zachariah the angel even chased the brothers around Heaven a few seasons ago, and all parties claimed they could be killed there. Except that....they're....already....dead.....*so confused* In hell I was thinking you can't die, they just torture you forever, but then I remembered the demons said Papa Winchester withstood torture for 100 years and didn't break. They didn't say what happened to him after that but I kind of assume they killed him. In hell. However that works. Except that according to Death, souls are eternal and stronger than we can even imagine. Yeah, I really wish the writers would iron all that stuff out.

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