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Rewatch S8: 8x05 Blood Brother

Okay, back at it. I'm going so slow on this rewatch - I'm not going to ever get it done unless I pick up the pace!

In this episode we delve deeper into the Dean and Benny story...

We get the first inkling of what Benny's up to - trying to track down the person who killed him... which is actually a fellow vampire. I guess that's the thing about living forever, you can take your time with your revenge. As long as no one else kills him first, you can totally run around Purgatory for 50 years saving up all that rage.
Dean: "That is twice he's burned us. Shame on you."
Sam: "No, no, no, I'm the one who said he's setting us up."
Dean: "No, you said 'I WONDER if he's setting us up' and then you started in on the techno-babble, that was two states ago."
- This is an interesting exchange when you consider where Sam ends up emotionally at the end of the season (or where he has been emotionally all season.) Dean is being seen as blaming SAM for them not being able to catch Kevin... Sam is the only one between the two of them capable of tracking Kevin down, and Dean both blames him for the failure and seems to chide him for not speaking in a way that Dean understands. So, basically, Sam is smart and an asset to the team (which is I think how Dean really feels, even though he's frustrated at the moment) but Sam is also not smart ENOUGH (which is what Sam hears.)


Dean: "Kid's like Rain Man. He's like a crappy little credit card counting criminal prodigy Rain Man."
Sam: "Well, he was in advanced placement."
- Heehee.

Dean: "When's that kid going to stop running from us."
Sam: "I don't know, Dean, you did try to kill his mother."
Dean: "I was trying to kill Crowley, who happened to be wearing Kevin's mother at the time.... there's a difference!"
Sam: "Apparently not to Kevin. Maybe it's because, oh, I don't know... It's his MOTHER."
- It's really interesting to see where Dean is emotionally too - because you'd think with Dean's own mother-issues, you'd realize the severity of what he almost did to Kevin... yet, much like not being sympathetic about Channing, Dean is basically acting as though Kevin shouldn't even be upset. It's also interesting considering how torn up Dean was about what happened to Meg's original vessel. Anyway...yeah, Sam still gets it, because Sam isn't in battle mode the way Dean still is.

Benny: "Hey Dean, you got a minute? I'm 'fraid I messed up, buddy."
Dean: "What did you do?"
Benny: "No, man, not like that."
- I think a lot of this episode is about what it means to be friends/in love with a monster. Actually, really there's a whole group of episodes in the beginning of S8 that are about that, 8x03-8x05 all touch on the theme. Anyway, in Dean's case, it's like there's constantly this shoe waiting to drop in his and Benny's friendship.
Benny: "See, the thing is, my legs ain't working so good."
- I just love the way Ty delivers this line. Actually, I'm just going to use this moment to say that Ty really knocks it out of the park in this episode. Also, his eyes are ridiculously blue and gorgeous.

Sam: "And what exactly is that supposed to mean, 'you've got to go'?!"
Dean: "Which words are giving you trouble?"
Sam: "We're on the case, remember, Dean! The Winchester-Holy-Grail-Shut-the-Gates-of-Hell-Forever Case!"
Dean: "Sure are but in order to shut the gates of hell we need our prophet, right? So step one: Find Kevin Tran. Well he ain't here, but he wanted us to be, which means we're probably as far away from him as he can possibly put us. So, step two: Find Kevin Tran. Mind if I take the Toblerone?"
- And this is where Sam starts losing it, because Dean basically chastised him for not devoting his entire life to hunting, and yet Dean's leaving when they're still on the case that Sam is using as his "one last case." Also, Dean's basically using the fact that Sam has FAILED to find Kevin as the reason why he can afford to take off in the middle of the case.
- Dean, meanwhile, is just being gruff for gruffs sake. He's not actually mad at Sam, or at least, not about not being able to find Kevin. I just love how Dean asks Sam if he can take the Toblerone in the middle of what Sam perceives to be an argument.

Sam: "Wait, Dean, seriously!?!"
Dean: "Look the room is paid for, you've got some research to do and I've got some personal crap I need to take care of, that's all."
Sam: "What does that mean - 'personal'?"
Dean: "Did you have a stroke? Vocabulary? Personal! As in my own grown-up personal, I don't know, crap!"
Sam: "Damn it-"
Dean: "What, Sam? Last I counted you took a year off from the job, I need a day."
- Again, this dialogue is interesting for a couple of reasons. 1) When have the Winchesters ever had personal business that didn't involve each other? For godssake, they shower with the bathroom door open! (see S7's Of Grave Importance). 2) Dean's 'did you have a stroke' line would have been awesome if they went the direction that I was hoping they were going to go with Sam's S8 opening story-arc. In that, I really think that Dean SHOULD be questioning if something had gone wrong in Sam's head at some point. Sadly, they didn't go there, so I guess this point is moot. 3)Dean uses the whole took a year off as a jab to get what he wants because he KNOWS it'll make Sam feel guilty and give in. Dean, as we find out next episode, is still hurting from not being looked for (and who wouldn't be?) and he DOES want to hurt Sam right back, and if he can get what he wants at the same time, he's going to use that. It's basically emotional manipulation.

Flashback Timez! - Purgatory Edition #1:

In The Hall of the Mountain King! I looooooooooooove that song. My sister used to play it on the piano all the time when we were kids, and I once saw a symphony perform the entire Grieg suite and it was one of my favourite symphony concerts ever. Also, we used to sing/hum it in the car, because we thought that the turn single made a nice metronome... perhaps my family is weird. I think in this case, it's actually a reference to something or something? I don't actually know.

Sam changed his shirt while Dean had a flashback. That's kind of odd. "Well, my brother's gone - I'm going to put on my COMFY PLAID, not this stifling OTHER plaid." :P Oh, maybe it's the next day. Nevermind. Sam got some sleep and then put on clean plaid in the morning. Sam's wearing his "resurrection" plaid now. TIME TO LIVE!

"Concerned. Not stalking. Concerned."
- You just keep telling yourself that, Sammy. We've all been there.

Flashback Time! Sam's weird year edition #1:

Sam: "Everette, hey buddy, you still on duty?"
Everette: "ah, yeah."
Sam: "How's your dad?"
Everette: "He's kind of having it rough on the new regime, can't keep anything down."
Sam: "That sucks."
- I think it sucks that we all know what's wrong with Everette's dad. Someone should cure that stupid disease. :(

Sam: "Listen, I'm going to stay another week, but I need you to run it on this card, because I just cancelled the one you had on file."
- I wonder if Everette ever questioned Sam's credit cards... I wonder how many he had to cycle through while he was there, or if eventually he just ended up switching to paying in cash.

Sam: "You got any tools?"
Everette: "Hell, if you can fix it, you don't need to go out looking for a job. You got one here."
- FYI: This is the only way you can get a job in Canada. You either have to know someone, or you're screwed. (Says the bitter unemployed person.)

Sam's so proud of himself for fixing things. It's kind of sad, given how obsessed he is with fixing things.

Meanwhile, Dean's helping Benny out... who has been sleeping in his truck. Ah, it's a fine life for resurrected monsters.

Dean: "Wow, you ah...look okay."
- Seriously, I'm not even a shipper, and I know Dean was referring to the fact that Benny had healed quickly, but still...it really does sound like he's checking Benny out and then trying to cover it up. ;)

Benny drank half a cooler of AB-... that's the universal recipient. Nice choice. It's actually the blood type that is least likely to be affected by a blood donation shortage.

Dean: "Benny, what's going on?"
Benny: "Aww, your work here is done, Dean. You already saved the day. You know, I got my deal, you got, what'd you call it - the family business."
Dean: "Benny. What's going on?"
Benny: "You and that whole friend thing, man."
- I love how Benny is actually taken aback by the ferocity of Dean's friendship. Like, the same devotion that Dean will put into killing you, he will put into loving you.
More Flashbacks! Purgatory Edition #2

Cas kicking ass in Purgatory.

Dean: "Before we found Cas, you said it was my humanity that was drawing too much attention"
Benny: "Yeah, that too."
- You have to wonder at what it was like to be Benny walking around purgatory with two monster beacons. :P
Cas: "It does present a curious curl in the metaphysics doesn't it - if you murder a monster in monster heaven, where does it go?"
- Personally, I just think they're resurrected in another part of purgatory.... but that if something had happened to Dean, he would have actually died - seeing as how he was there as a living being.

Benny: "And this is the crazy Aunt I want to take on the road?"
Cas: "I am not your Aunt."
Benny: "What? Really?"
Cas: "I have no possible relationship to your sibling offspring."
Benny: "You're kidding me."
Dean: "Arg, you two are killing me!"
- For all Benny complained about having Cas around and seriously didn't like their chances at escaping through the portal with him in tow. I think he kind of got a kick out of him too... or at least enjoyed riling him up.

Cas: "I have to agree with the vampire, Dean. The risk of crossing purgatory with a seraph - it's less than strategic - certainly when we have no reason to believe that I can pass through the door that your heading for."
- This is the first time, I believe, that Cas actually names what kind of angel he is.

Benny: "See you're an intact living human being stuck in Purgatory's craw. This dimension wants to spit you out, which is exactly what's going to power our escape pod. Now I'm pretty sure I can squeeze through too, because after all, you take away the fangs and the fun, I was born human too. But..."
Cas: "I don't think it will work for me."
- This is another penny in the "Jimmy is dead" jar. I really think that Cas is the only one in that vessel - that the vessel isn't LIVING without him.

Benny: "You hear what he's telling you, Dean, your buddy is saying-"
Dean: "Listen, you are a dead blood-junkie. I'm the one with the mojo, I'm the one with the plan. Cas! We are going to shove your ass back through the eye of that needle if it kills all three of us."
- And this is also interesting, because as we know, Cas really is trying to tell Dean something - he's trying to tell him to LEAVE him that Cas doesn't actually want to escape... and part of me has to wonder if maybe Benny is picking up that message on some level. Maybe he's not, who knows... but it's interesting that Benny is trying to get Dean to LISTEN to Cas, and Dean just shuts him down and reiterates that it's Dean's decision, not anyone else's... and yeah, I can't help but think of Sam's line "So, Free Will, that's just for you?"

End of flashback!

Benny: "Well, it's good to know you're still dumb as ever."
- And Benny calls Dean's devotion to his friends dumb... mainly, I think, because he doesn't understand what he did to deserve it.

SAM FLASHBACK TIMES! (It's hard to keep track of all the flashback times.)

Amelia: "What the hell are you doing here? I knew there was something off with you - with your creepy Army Navy and your sideburns-"
Sam: "Stop, stop. I'm fixing your sink."
- And we get our second "meet cute" if you can call it that.

Back to Dean and Benny, as Benny regales him with his origin story.

Benny: "My nest, that's how we fed, how we always fed. We kept a tiny little fleet [...]"
Dean: "Vampire Pirates. That's what you guys are - Vampirates!"
Benny: "You know, all the years we ran together, I can't believe no one ever thought of that."
Dean: "What do you mean, it's like the third thing you say."
Benny: "No, it isn't."
- I love this conversation, because Dean is a DORK - and Benny kind of says his line like "Dean, you're a dork, but I can't help but find it ridiculously endearing." And then Dean is all embarrassed because he feels like a dork. It's adorable. Also, VAMPIRATES! Oh man, I miss Edlund.

*As Dean talks, he takes the money out of a wallet, counts out the cash - looks around and then shoves it in his pocket.*
- I love this little completely pointless action, because it's pure CHARACTER. Also, it's an action very much in keeping with someone who had a childhood of meager means.

Benny: "When you get turned, it's like you're reborn into a vampire nest. Your maker, he means everything to you, you even start believing he's God. Now, if your maker happens to believe the same thing..."
Dean: "I can see why that would be a pickle." *Benny starts drinking blood* "Do you really have to do that, I mean, right now?"
Benny: "I'm sorry, brother, I'm better, but I'm still on the mend."
- It's interesting, because again, we're exploring what it means to be friends with a monster - or what it means for Benny to be friends with a human. I can't help but think that Benny's use of the term "brother" for Dean relates to his use of the term "father" for his maker... he's treating Dean like Dean's a fellow supernatural being - whereas Benny drinking blood shatters Dean's own illusion that Benny is human. That's just my opinion though.

Benny: "Anyway, our father was a jealous god. He kept the family together, but he kept us apart from the rest of the world - always at sea. I always did what was best for the nest - until I met her [...]"
- What's interesting about Benny's origin story is that if you take out the girl, it's basically describing Dean's origin story too... Dean's father kept the family together, but they were always apart from the rest of the world - always on the road. Dean always did what was best for the family...

Dean starts to compose a text to Sam, then deletes it. I can see why - he must have known Sam would flip out.

Benny: "It's weird, being back, in the world, I mean, isn't it... I mean, what do you do with it all, all the everything? I mean, I don't know if the world is real, if I'm real."
Dean: "Listen to me, I've seen what happens down that rabbit hole, okay. We're real. This is real. It's the only way to play this game, get me?"
- I'm interested in what Dean is referring to here. His own experience? Sam's?

And Andrea is still 'alive'...not dead, but turned. And Benny is heartbroken. Awwwwwwww...

Dean *as Benny is taken down after being distracted by Andrea*: "Idiot"
- It's interesting that Dean is so unsympathetic to other people's love this season. He's not sympathetic to Kevin about his girlfriend or his mother, he calls Benny an idiot for being distracted by the love of his life still being around... I'm not sure what this all means. I'm just pointing it out.

More Sam flashback!

Amelia: "I thought you were leaving town"
Sam: "I am. I'm just helping out at the motel while Everette's dad is sick."
Amelia: "Who's Everette?"
Sam: "How long have you been here?"
Amelia: "3 months, why?"
Sam: "You know, usually when someone moves into a town, they actually, you know, move into the town."
Amelia: "I did."
Sam: "A motel is not actually part of the town that it's in. It's not part of anywhere."
- It IS pretty neat, from a character standpoint, that Sam and Amelia meet at a motel - when they REALLY meet. Because Sam's right, a motel isn't part of anywhere - Sam is still drifting, lost, after Dean's death. But it's kind of fitting, for Sam, that he would "settle down" at a place that is "not part of anywhere" and he would learn people's names, and treat it like home - because Sam is not part of anywhere too.

End of flashback times! Back to Dean chopping off heads and not taking names...oh, and calling Sam.

Dean: "Why did you call me?"
Sam: "Why are you whispering?"
Dean: "It's kind of hard to explain - I'm sort of in the middle of cleaning out a vampires nest, and it's sort of gone a little sideways on me."
Sam: "WHAT?! Are you an idiot, Dean?! You know better than to go into a vamp nest alone!"
Dean: "I'm not alone! Damn it. I'm not alone. I've got back up. Guy's been tracking the next for a while."
- And here is, again, where they had a great set-up for what really happened to Sam when Dean "died" but they end up squandering - because Sam FREAKS when he finds out that Dean is in danger without him there.

Sam: "What guy? Garth?!"
Dean: "No. You don't know him. He's a friend."
Sam: "A friend? Dean, you don't have any- All your friends are dead."
Dean: "That's not what I called to talk about!"
- And I love this part, just because it's hilarious.

Benny: "All this, it's my fault..."
Andrea: "...You never hid anything from me, Benny...I chose you..."
- And we get back to free will again, and what it means to be in love with a monster. In this case, in the past, Andrea went into a relationship with a vampire KNOWING the risks, and yes, was eventually turned. So, she doesn't blame Benny, because as far as she sees it, it was the result of her own choices. She's her own agent.

Sam: "I get the separate lives thing, but this is a hunting thing, and we need to find that line-"
Dean: "My god, stop talking! I texted you my 20."
- I love how Sam is basically trying to have a boundaries discussion with Dean while he's in a vampire nest.

*Dean's phone gets smashed*
Dean: "Ah, man, come on..."
Sam: "Damn it!"
- Again, Dean is annoyed, whereas Sam is LIVID and FREAKED. I seriously think that Sam had a psychotic break when Dean died and Dean being in danger is now an even bigger PTSD trigger than it was before.

I love the reveal of Benny's father - being this effeminate twenty-something, who isn't scary at all. It's kind of ridiculous, but in a way that drives home the fact that this is all psychological.

More purgatory flashbacks!

Benny: "I get it, you're worried what I might do if I make it topside, start eating little piggies, but I'm telling you man, by the time I got iced, I was strictly on blood transfusions [...] I drink blood, not people."
Dean: "Why the hell should I believe you?"
Benny: "What does it matter what you believe? You got your head so far up your ass, you don't even realize we're already done for. Angel knows it. We are never going to make it with him next to us - glowing like a beacon."
- Again, it's only on the rewatch that I realize how much Benny actually calls Dean on his own shit - because Dean DOES have his head up his ass when it comes to what's really going on with Cas in purgatory. Dean wants to see things a certain way, so that's how they are. It's Dean's beliefs that are the most important. It's Dean that makes the decisions and screw anyone else for suggesting otherwise.

Dean: "Do I need to remind you of our deal? Of what you committed to?"
Benny: "He is going to get us killed!"
Cas: "We may get to test that theory."
Dean: "What, monsters?"
Cas: "Leviathan."
- That being said, I think Benny is less concerned about Cas' free will and more concerned about the fact that he IS going to get them killed.

More Sam flashbacks!

Sam: "Dog! Don't bother the angry lady... sorry."
Amelia: "Dog? That's what you're calling him? Well, it's accurate."
Sam: "I have to say, I've seen a lot of stitches in my time, and you've got really good hands."
Amelia: "Thank you"
Sam: "So, you think I'm creepy?"
Amelia: "I think it's really creepy you buy all your clothing at Army Navy, white supremacists do that."
Sam: "Yeah, but I'm not-"
Amelia: "Drifting serial killers do that."
Sam: "Fair enough."
- I love how Sam doesn't correct her on that one...because technically SHE IS RIGHT.

Amelia: "You come from nowhere, you seem to be going nowhere, and you've quote 'seen a lot of stitches' - it's all pretty solid creepy."
- And she has a point. I love that Sam's 'make the peace and be friendly line' is to compliment her on her stitch work, like that's a thing people do. :P

Sam: "You have no idea where you're going either, do you?"
Amelia: "No, not really."
Sam: "And it's because you have no one. I mean, at all, right? I mean, that's why you're here, in this place."
Amelia: "I used to - have someone, I mean. But that's over now, it's gone. You know what that's like don't you."
- And this is I think, the ONLY scene in this entire arc where I bought what Sam and Amelia saw in each other. I'll thank Edlund for that and once again lament his leaving.

Vampire: "Where the hell you learn to fight like that?"
Benny: "I've had a lot of practice."
- I did love the slow-mo on the fight.

Vampire: "You're right. I've been here so so long, Benny [...] it all means so little. This universe is a pyramid of despair, nothing else."
Benny: "Little dark."
Vampire: "I am evil after all. At least I've had that much to keep me cold at night. You never had that did you. Everything had to be thought out, considered."
Benny: "You know what Socrates said about a life unconsidered-"
Vampire: "Yes, but what we have in us? Benny - that's not life. That's what you still don't get. That's why it's always been so hard for you, my poor Benjamin."
- This is a very interesting character point for Benny. Because basically, what his father is telling him is that Benny's problem was that he couldn't accept the fact that he was evil and just revel in it like the rest of them. That Benny is tortured because he tortures himself, and for no other reason. Benny, fundamentally, was a shitty vampire, because he never lost his morals...or he only suspended them briefly, anyway. Whereas Benny's maker here just embraced the fact that he was evil and did what evil does - and that was enough of a purpose for him. THat was enough to keep him going.
- Now, I know what you're going to say - he sounds like he's tired of it all and WANTS Benny to kill him. And that's what I thought at first too, but then I remembered what Andrea had told Benny - that their maker was SCARED of him. And then there's there's the next line that I'm going to copy out:

Vampire: "This is my story you gnat, it ends the way I choose! Not you!"
- I think this is about him needing to feel that he is God - like Benny said - that he is the agent of his own life. That nothing happens that he doesn't choose. He finds out Benny has returned from the dead and is set on revenge, and he is scared that Benny will succeed - will kill him - and so he decides that maybe he's tired of it all. Maybe he WANTS to go. It doesn't change the fact that Benny kills him, but it changes his own feeling of helplessness/powerlessness. He feels powerful until the end.

Benny: "I wanted to put your memory to rest."
Andrea: "I'm not a memory. Benny, I'm right here."
Benny: "What I loved. It ain't here anymore. It was snuffed out a long time ago by monsters like me, like what you've become."
Andrea: "You think you're better than me now?"
Benny: "No, I think we're all damned."
- What Benny loved was humanity. What Benny loved was LIFE, and like his maker just reminded him, that's not what he has - and that's not what Andrea has any more either. I think while he was with her before he died, he was able to convince himself otherwise... and he probably held onto that the whole time he was in Purgatory. And he probably loves Dean as much as he does because Dean is human too.
Then Dean SLICES HER HEAD OFF.

Benny: "Why'd you do it, Dean?"
Dean: "Do what?"
Benny: "Resurrect me. You could have drained my soul into any culvert and no one would have been the wiser."
Dean: "What the hell are you talking about? Hey, are you good?"
Benny: "Man, I don't know what I am."
- And with his revenge plot achieved - Benny has to confront the fundamental problem of his existence: Is he good or evil? I think it'd be easier for him if someone else made the choice. On the one hand, he's a monster, like the monsters he just killed - on the other hand, a monster HUNTER saw fit to resurrect him - does that mean that he's good?
Purgatory Flashback times!

Dean kept his promise because Benny saved Cas. Even though Benny had JUST been complaining about how Cas was going to get them killed and it would be easier if he were out of the picture. And before that, Dean had been yelling at Benny - telling him he didn't believe that Benny would be good when they got topside. But with one simple selfless decision, Benny earned Dean's trust through his actions, not his words. And, I think I've made this argument in seasons gone past - Dean is very much a man of action. It's people actions that matter to him, which is why Sam's WORDS never solve arguments between them... Dean doesn't understand why Sam didn't look for him, because all Sam can offer are words, while his actions (or lack there of) are what Dean has the problem with.

Benny: "I'm Benny. I've heard a lot about you, Sam."
*Sam shakes Benny's hand, realizes it is cold to the touch - has a silent very angry conversation with Dean*
Benny: "I see you two have a lot to talk about."
- I love this ending and the complete lack of words between Dean and Sam. Sam is LIVID. I kind of feel bad though, because it would have been nice if Sam had met Benny under better circumstances. I really think that if Dean had come back and said, "a vampire showed me the way out of purgatory in exchange for bringing him with me - but don't worry, he's cool." Sam would have been a lot better with it all - but once again it's the secret keeping that makes it into a problem. Oh Winchesters.


And I'm done!

I'll try to do another one tomorrow. But they really do take me all friggin' day, it feels like.

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Comments

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
ashkiryn
Oct. 24th, 2013 09:41 am (UTC)
You know, I never really connected the dots until you pointed out how unsympathetic Dean is being about other people's love, but now that I think about it, I think this is a symptom of Cas's abandoning him AGAIN. Because even though he's constructed the false memory now, subconsciously or deep down inside or whatever, he still knows the truth, that Cas abandoned him, even if he can't consciously cope with it. Like, the last time Cas betrayed him like this, back in season 7, Dean was aggressive and unable to cope as ever, and so he took it out on Sam by killing Amy. This time, I think Dean is acting out and refusing to engage with other people's feelings and love and grief because it veers dangerously close to reminding him about Cas; and even if Dean isn't fully conscious of the deliberate abandonment, he's still grieving Cas right now. At least, that's my take on it. :)

*sighs* I wish Edlund could have completely handled the Amelia arc. I mean, I wish the writers/whoever would just stop throwing love interests at Sam like throwing noodles at the wall, hoping one sticks, but I wish even more that if they insist on doing that, then they at least follow through and flesh out those poor (pretty much doomed) female characters. :/

And oh, Winchesters indeed.

Also, I adore Benny so much. Bless his heart.

Sam's arc in early season 8, in my opinion, is up there with season 6 and Bobby-the-ghost as the worst things the show's dropped the ball on (and along with this new Reaper nonsense :P).
hells_half_acre
Oct. 24th, 2013 04:36 pm (UTC)
This time, I think Dean is acting out and refusing to engage with other people's feelings and love and grief because it veers dangerously close to reminding him about Cas; and even if Dean isn't fully conscious of the deliberate abandonment, he's still grieving Cas right now. At least, that's my take on it. :)

I think you are right! I was sitting there trying to figure out why Dean was behaving this way, when I know that that he CAN be sympathetic and has been in the past... but it felt like the reason was on the tip of my tongue, but unreachable. But, I think you've hit the nail on the head with your theory. It makes totally sense character-wise, that it's a symptom of Dean not dealing with grief properly (we saw similar hardened behaviour when he was grieving his father.)

*sighs* I wish Edlund could have completely handled the Amelia arc. I mean, I wish the writers/whoever would just stop throwing love interests at Sam like throwing noodles at the wall, hoping one sticks, but I wish even more that if they insist on doing that, then they at least follow through and flesh out those poor (pretty much doomed) female characters. :/

SAME. Oh man. Just - SAME. Or give Sam a friend, not a love interest. Dean gets a lot of the bromances on this show - and I know that Sam's not really the type to cling to people as hard as Dean does, but it'd still be nice if the writers tried for a non-romantic pairing (it also would mean less chance of the woman dying/disappearing). Personally, I want Jody Mills to come back and brotp it up with Sam.

Sam's arc in early season 8, in my opinion, is up there with season 6 and Bobby-the-ghost as the worst things the show's dropped the ball on (and along with this new Reaper nonsense :P).

Agreed. Well, I didn't mind S6 as much as other people did... but yeah, agreed. :P
ashkiryn
Oct. 24th, 2013 10:16 pm (UTC)
And now that I think about it, we also saw that behavior from Dean again in "Sam Interrupted", after Jo and Ellen died, in how Dean refused to engage with Sam and his anger issues, and instead he told Sam to just bury it. And of course, we saw that after Bobby's death as well, and probably would have seen something similar after Pamela's death if the events of "On the Head of a Pin" hadn't eclipsed it. And Lord up above only knows how he was after Sam's "death" in Swan Song. Poor Lisa and Ben. :/ Oh, Dean, you've been fucked up so bad and really are barely able to engage with your emotions in a healthy way at all. *sighs*

So, yeah. Totally just Dean and his fucked up grieving methods. ;) And I think the fact that it's Cas, who's a repeated source of this kind of pain for Dean, just aggravates it even worse than usual.

Yeah. I'd rather Sam have more friends than more love interests, it just seems to me that TPTB are more determined to give him the latter rather than the former. I'd love to see Jody back and in a brotp with Sam, but I also thought it'd be interesting if we could have Tracy back and develop a friendship with same as well. I think some good foundations were laid for that in 9x2....if only they would build upon it. :P

See, my problem with season 6 is that they tried to cram TOO MUCH into it, with the result of a tangled mess and wasted potential and dropped balls, and they stretched themselves too thin to be able to flesh it all out properly. If that makes sense?
hells_half_acre
Oct. 24th, 2013 10:57 pm (UTC)
I had to wrack my brain to figure out who Tracy was - I am not that good with remembering names, let me tell you. But yeah... it'd be nice if Sam had more friends.

I agree about S6. S6 had too many ideas, S7 too few. Personally, I prefer the former. But yeah, opinions may and do differ!

And of course, it goes without saying that I completely agree with everything you say about Dean. :)
ashkiryn
Oct. 25th, 2013 07:49 am (UTC)
Lol....I get what you mean. Especially in a show as long-running as Supernatural.

Yep. And personally, I preferred season 7 over 6, because I felt that there were some FANTASTIC episodes in 7, whose outstanding quality made up for what it elsewise lacked, whereas in 6, things tended to fall more on the "meh" side for me. And, again in my opinion, even 6's best episodes (because there were some, no doubt) weren't nearly as good as 7's. But that opinion generally lasts until I remember the Leviathan, and how frustrated they made me, and how much despair and hopelessness they inspired, and then I get conflicted and undecided all over again. ;P

Heh, thanks. :)
claudiapriscus
Oct. 24th, 2013 11:05 am (UTC)
You know, I liked Benny. I really liked Benny. I totally would have been on board for him going off to be all Angel (with slightly less brooding). He'd have made an awesome vampire detective, heh.

My personal headcanon for purgatory is that all the non-human monsters stay there, and so are resurrected there or whatever, and the human monsters (the vampires, werewolves, etc) eventually end up purged of their monster selves and either go upstairs or downstairs depending on the state of their soul. My headcanon is a bit more fuzzy on how/when this happens- when they die in purgatory? Or do they go endless rounds of fighting and death, and it only sticks when they either reach a kind of enlightenment or finally let go of their monster natures? Something? anyway, that's my headcanon, and no one is stealing it from me. It's a little too depressing, otherwise (although I know the show likes it that way.) But that way I can also imagine that Benny is the latest regular at the heavenly roadhouse.
hells_half_acre
Oct. 24th, 2013 04:37 pm (UTC)
Oooo... I love your personal headcanon for Purgatory! And I'm totally adopting it. :D
claudiapriscus
Oct. 24th, 2013 10:26 pm (UTC)
I always planned to write like a big meta post on it during the season, and then just never got around to it. But I kept also hoping that someone would be on the same wavelength and write a fic along those lines and save me the effort. But it never happened. Not even the someone makes Benny watch Angel and then sends him off to be a vampire detective thing which I might have actually paid money for.
hells_half_acre
Oct. 24th, 2013 10:59 pm (UTC)
There's still time for people to write things!! As witnessed with the other reply to your comment...never give up hope!

:)
claudiapriscus
Oct. 24th, 2013 11:56 pm (UTC)
I might some day try a hand at a purgatory fic along those lines myself. I can kind of envision something starting out following the after-death experience of some of the one-off character monsters, like that girl from Heart or the kristin stewart knock off or whatshisname, the vampire. Vignettes, you know? about how they reacted, about what happened to them.
hells_half_acre
Oct. 25th, 2013 12:15 am (UTC)
I think that's a good idea. :)
grasshopr_molly
Oct. 24th, 2013 09:50 pm (UTC)
Can I just quote you a bit from something I'm writing?

Dean, it says, do you know the purpose of Purgatory?
It’s where the monsters go, Dean replies.
The voice says, Yes, but that is not its purpose. Purgatory is for the expiation of sins.
Dean has never been much for fancy language, but he knows that word; you don’t spend six years hanging around an angel without finding out what “expiation of sins” means. That’s Hell, he says.
Hell is punishment, the voice says, patiently. Purgatory is redemption.
Bang-up job, Dean says, thinking of the endless fighting, and then he winces, because the voice probably doesn’t want to listen to Dean Winchester mouthing off.
But it doesn’t sound angry when it replies, Not all of them wish to be redeemed. But you do, don’t you?

All of which is to say, thank you, you've given me new headcanon. :)
claudiapriscus
Oct. 24th, 2013 10:29 pm (UTC)
Awesome, I love it! I'm glad we're on the same mental wavelength :)
borgmama1of5
Oct. 24th, 2013 11:34 am (UTC)
I could quote this whole review and say "Yes--excellent point!" after every sentence because you nailed this one...Especially love your insight into Benny and your point about where Dean's head is at right now. Basically your analysis of all the flashbacks, Dean's and Sam's, rocks!

Dean is very much a man of action. It's people actions that matter to him, which is why Sam's WORDS never solve arguments between them...

Their relationship issues in a nutshell. Sigh.

I really think that if Dean had come back and said, "a vampire showed me the way out of purgatory in exchange for bringing him with me - but don't worry, he's cool." Sam would have been a lot better with it all...

This! I completely agree! But of course Dean couldn't tell his brother the truth, that he helped a monster. Sigh.

Sam FREAKS when he finds out that Dean is in danger without him there.

I thought this was such a significant moment, Sam driving like a maniac to get to his brother--you are absolutely right, this could have been played out so convincingly that Sam had a breakdown. WHY DIDN'T YOU FOLLOW UP THIS WAY, CARVER?! Sigh.

And Sam bitching at Dean during the phone call in the vamp nest--priceless :)

Looking forward to the next one!


hells_half_acre
Oct. 24th, 2013 04:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And ashkiryn's first comment totally picks up the slack where my review dropped the ball on why Dean is acting unsympathetic. :)

I thought this was such a significant moment, Sam driving like a maniac to get to his brother--you are absolutely right, this could have been played out so convincingly that Sam had a breakdown. WHY DIDN'T YOU FOLLOW UP THIS WAY, CARVER?! Sigh.

Exactly. Sigh. When I get to 8x08, I'm going to have a rant the size of Texas about this dropped ball, believe me. :P
fannishliss
Oct. 24th, 2013 12:59 pm (UTC)
Your rewatch makes me want to watch this again! Knowing all we know now.

Emotionally Manipulative Dean certainly did rear his pretty head in s8. It's a side of Dean, that as a Dean girl, makes me cringe away and not want to see. Unfortunately with his speech to Kevin this season, it makes me feel like we'll be seeing a lot more of him. :(

It's like this to me: Dean used to keep his hurt bottled up. Then it got too much for him and began to spill over. Then he started to get that little zing of revenge whenever he would let fly one of his barbs at Sammy. Now it's getting to be automatic. :( Not good!

They've emotionally switched places. Sammy used to be the one who would get all overwhelmed and explode or run away. Now it is Dean who lashes out, and Sam who locks it all down. I hate to see Sammy's poor, wounded face, just like I used to see it on Dean back in the early seasons when Sam would let fly with one of his kneejerk putdowns. Oh, the sad underside of our Boys. Heartfeels!!!

I don't know if Sam went through a full on psychotic break. Just to riff on Sam's mental health (Samifer issues aside for now): Sam has this OCD problem -- everyone has seen it -- that also drives him almost into a mania, for those who've been around bipolar people on the upswing. The downswing side is I think what hit Sam after Dean's loss-- this horrible, crippling, lack of options, overwhelming despair, inability to face reality. I can picture OCD/downswing Sam just lying there in his nameless motel bed, mind whirling around and around through all the options he doesn't have, coming up with squat. (Yeah I wrote that story.) Sam ditched his phones and ran away. I feel for him, I really do. And in the face of that "failure", Sam has not tried to offer Dean one word of explanation, not ONE, because he feels there is no excuse. I sometimes think that's what baffles Dean the most.


Thanks again for all your great posts!! :)
hells_half_acre
Oct. 24th, 2013 04:45 pm (UTC)
Emotionally Manipulative Dean certainly did rear his pretty head in s8. It's a side of Dean, that as a Dean girl, makes me cringe away and not want to see. Unfortunately with his speech to Kevin this season, it makes me feel like we'll be seeing a lot more of him. :(

I don't think Dean was insincere with his speech to Kevin this season... but that being said, yeah, Dean can be very much an emotional manipulator. I'm wondering if maybe John Winchester was the same and that's where Dean gets it from.

It's like this to me: Dean used to keep his hurt bottled up. Then it got too much for him and began to spill over. Then he started to get that little zing of revenge whenever he would let fly one of his barbs at Sammy. Now it's getting to be automatic. :( Not good!

I think the main problem is that Dean is focusing too much on how good that little zing feels, and he's completely lost sight of the fact that there's someone on the other side of that zing. He's kind of using Sam as an emotional punching bag, and I don't think he realizes that punching bag eventually fall apart.

I don't know if Sam went through a full on psychotic break. Just to riff on Sam's mental health (Samifer issues aside for now): Sam has this OCD problem -- everyone has seen it -- that also drives him almost into a mania, for those who've been around bipolar people on the upswing. The downswing side is I think what hit Sam after Dean's loss-- this horrible, crippling, lack of options, overwhelming despair, inability to face reality.

Very interesting! I don't know much about bipolar disorder - so when I use "psychotic break", I'm using it the very loose sense - in that it stands in for "something went very wrong in Sam's brain."

But your theory does make sense - especially the part where Sam doesn't offer an explanation because he feels there's no excuse, and that this actually just contributes to Dean being angry with him - if Dean KNEW that something had gone wrong in Sam's brain, he'd be more sympathetic, but because Sam's keeping that on lock-down, Dean just assumes Sam was happier when Dean was dead or something, when it's really the opposite.

Anyway, yeah... interesting stuff to think about!
caranfindel
Oct. 24th, 2013 06:26 pm (UTC)
I don't think Dean was insincere with his speech to Kevin this season... but that being said, yeah, Dean can be very much an emotional manipulator. I'm wondering if maybe John Winchester was the same and that's where Dean gets it from.

I think Dean is a very sincere emotional manipulator, especially in that scene with Kevin. He does feel like Kevin is family, but he doesn't tell him until it's the only way to stop him from leaving. He does need Sam, but he doesn't tell him until Sam is literally preparing to sacrifice himself rather than be a burden to him. I don't know if it's because he's uncomfortable expressing his feelings, or he learned it from John (and yeah, Mr. If You Walk Out That Door Don't Come Back modeled that pretty thoroughly), or both.
hells_half_acre
Oct. 24th, 2013 07:06 pm (UTC)
See, I don't see that as saving-it-for-when-it's-needed-for-emotional-manipulation, I see that as Dean not realizing that these people didn't KNOW that already.

I think Dean assumes that Sam, Kevin, and Cas KNOW how much they mean to him - that Sam knows that Dean loves him more than the entire world. I don't see those instances as emotional manipulation, because I honestly think Dean is completely taken off guard when they leave/sacrifice-themselves-because-they-think-he-doesn't-love-them. The reason he emotionally manipulates the rest of the time, or is cutting and takes his anger out on them by being inconsiderate, is because he assumes there's this bedrock of understanding that he doesn't really mean what he's saying - then he's appalled when he realizes that wasn't the case.

I'm not saying it's a healthier way to be, I'm just saying that's how I see it.
caranfindel
Oct. 24th, 2013 07:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah, i think we're circling around the same thought. I don't think Dean deliberately keeps his feelings under wraps until they're needed. I think he doesn't talk about them because he's uncomfortable (remember he told Zeke he doesn't talk about love) and because, like you said, he thinks people know how he feels about them (surprised at Sam's speech in Sacrifice, no goodbye for Sam before he says yes to Lucifer in Detroit, etc). And then, when he realizes someone is pulling away or beating him to death or about to sacrifice himself, *that's* when he has to say wait, don't you know you're family, don't you know I need you, don't you know how important you are to me. Poor Dean.
hells_half_acre
Oct. 24th, 2013 07:21 pm (UTC)
Ah, yes, definitely circling around the same thought! :P
caranfindel
Oct. 24th, 2013 04:32 pm (UTC)
- I love how Benny is actually taken aback by the ferocity of Dean's friendship. Like, the same devotion that Dean will put into killing you, he will put into loving you.

Oh, this. This is so true.

- And this is also interesting, because as we know, Cas really is trying to tell Dean something - he's trying to tell him to LEAVE him that Cas doesn't actually want to escape... and part of me has to wonder if maybe Benny is picking up that message on some level. Maybe he's not, who knows... but it's interesting that Benny is trying to get Dean to LISTEN to Cas, and Dean just shuts him down and reiterates that it's Dean's decision, not anyone else's... and yeah, I can't help but think of Sam's line "So, Free Will, that's just for you?"

And yes, this is also very much Dean. I will save your life whether you want me to or not, whether it's a good idea or not, whether it risks or even ends anybody else's life or not, because I need you to live.

- It's interesting that Dean is so unsympathetic to other people's love this season. He's not sympathetic to Kevin about his girlfriend or his mother, he calls Benny an idiot for being distracted by the love of his life still being around... I'm not sure what this all means. I'm just pointing it out.

Particularly interesting considering the above, that Dean is so utterly invested in keeping "his" people alive, but they don't have that privilege for their own friends and family. Is it because of Sam? If Sam didn't look for him (which he translates to "didn't care about him"), then nobody is supposed to care about anyone else? Because that makes Sam's actions so much worse to Dean?

- I love how Sam is basically trying to have a boundaries discussion with Dean while he's in a vampire nest.

It *is* a hilarious conversation. But it makes me wonder why Dean would answer the phone in the first place.


Amelia: "Drifting serial killers do that."
Sam: "Fair enough."
- I love how Sam doesn't correct her on that one...because technically SHE IS RIGHT.


This made me so sad for Sam. He's going to argue that he's not a white supremacist, but he'll accept the label of drifting serial killer. Because, as you said, she's right.

Dean is very much a man of action. It's people actions that matter to him, which is why Sam's WORDS never solve arguments between them... Dean doesn't understand why Sam didn't look for him, because all Sam can offer are words, while his actions (or lack there of) are what Dean has the problem with.

Very good point.

I really think that if Dean had come back and said, "a vampire showed me the way out of purgatory in exchange for bringing him with me - but don't worry, he's cool." Sam would have been a lot better with it all - but once again it's the secret keeping that makes it into a problem. Oh Winchesters.

I agree. I was actually angry at Dean for this one, because it felt like he did it deliberately. He could have warned Sam. Under any other circumstances, he would have pointed out that this was the guy who saved his life. But instead, he threw it in Sam's face that he was friends with a vampire, and as far as Sam knows at this point, for no good reason. So Dean, who never lets Sam forget his well-intentioned dabbling in demon blood, who kills Amy because she's a monster even though she purports to be a harmless one, has a vampire BFF. That's just a great big "fuck you" to Sam.
hells_half_acre
Oct. 24th, 2013 04:52 pm (UTC)
Particularly interesting considering the above, that Dean is so utterly invested in keeping "his" people alive, but they don't have that privilege for their own friends and family. Is it because of Sam? If Sam didn't look for him (which he translates to "didn't care about him"), then nobody is supposed to care about anyone else? Because that makes Sam's actions so much worse to Dean?

Interesting theory. Ashkiryn, in the first comment of this post, came up with one too - that Dean is messed up over Cas dying and is avoiding other people's grief because it comes to close to his own. In either case, it definitely looks like Dean is guarding himself from emotions - he's not empathetic, because that would mean he'd have to feel things that he's been avoiding.

It *is* a hilarious conversation. But it makes me wonder why Dean would answer the phone in the first place.

What's more, Dean actually called HIM. Sam called him and it went to message, and then I'm pretty sure Dean called him back to find out what he wanted. I could have that wrong though. :P

I agree. I was actually angry at Dean for this one, because it felt like he did it deliberately. He could have warned Sam. Under any other circumstances, he would have pointed out that this was the guy who saved his life. But instead, he threw it in Sam's face that he was friends with a vampire, and as far as Sam knows at this point, for no good reason. So Dean, who never lets Sam forget his well-intentioned dabbling in demon blood, who kills Amy because she's a monster even though she purports to be a harmless one, has a vampire BFF. That's just a great big "fuck you" to Sam.

Agreed. Also, it's once again setting up a double-standard. Sam can't be friends with monsters (because he can't be trusted), but Dean can.
supernutjapan
Oct. 25th, 2013 01:13 am (UTC)
Re Dean being unsympathetic, I do agree with Ashkiryn that his feelings for Cas - and for all those people he has gotten killed - are affecting his actions. But it is not just that. I think it is this combined with the whole experience of being in Purgatory and in fighting mode for so long. He had to shut down his emotions there in order to survive. The fact he was willing to kill Benny's girl so easily ties in with how he was willing to kill Kevin's mom. It's kill or get killed. No time to think, no time to hesitate or you are dead and Benny was there too. He should be in the same mode. Maybe that is why Dean was harsh with him.

Anyway, when I first saw this episode I was so shocked with Sam for reacting like he did to Benny. It took me a really long time to understand it. I know now from future episodes(I think the next one aye?) that it was just the secret that really made him angry. How he had told his brother everything and Dean had kept this significant fact a secret. And looking from the perspective you had in your comments, it seems natural. Adding my two cents on Sam's freaking out over Dean... I think Sam also senses that Dean is different since he came back. Dean doesn't care about surviving. He is intent on going out swinging. (As Sam tells Dean later) I think the fact that Dean has gone off to hunt on his own made the alarm bells ring for Sam. That Dean was going to do something rash. That he might get killed. And despite how it sounded (due to the awful lines) Sam is glad to have Dean back and doesn't want him going out and getting killed because of his reckless frame of mind.

Sorry if I am reiterating.
hells_half_acre
Oct. 25th, 2013 01:20 am (UTC)
I agree completely! Very well said.

And yes, you're definitely right about Dean shutting down his emotions to survive. I'll discuss Sam's feelings towards Benny a little more in Citizen Fang, because they ARE a little OOC, in my opinion. But yeah, I think it's mainly the secret that gets to Sam.
supernutjapan
Oct. 25th, 2013 01:27 am (UTC)
- sorry, was going to change the post a little and add this at the end!!

And then he finds out that he didn't need to come running. Dean had his Vampire friend there. He didn't need Sam... ooo... revelation...:O

When I first saw this episode I was so shocked with Sam for reacting like he did to Benny. It took me a really long time to understand it. Then from future episodes I figured out that he was angry because Dean had kept it a secret(I think the next one aye?).

But looking at it from this perspective... Now I get his speech in the Finale.

Edited at 2013-10-25 01:40 am (UTC)
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