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

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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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