And we enter Winter Hellatus! But, my friends, what has become of us!?
Let us begin at the beginning... and we begin with Benny. Benny is a chef at a back-water diner in the bayou. Having never been to Louisiana, I personally, think that the did a good job recreating it in Canada. I liked all the cricket and cicada sounds the sound editors put in.
Anyway...Benny knows how to close a restaurant, even though Martin Creaser is stalking him. And then SUSPICIOUS BODY! Though, really, I agree with Benny and Dean, it's TOO suspicious.
Still, Martin calls Sam and we find out that Sam had been the one to send Martin there in the first place. I wonder how it is that they knew where Benny went after "Prentiss Island, WA"? (seriously, they mixed up the locations in the last Benny episode - I think on the first draft of the script it must have been on the east coast and then on a later draft it was on the west coast, and the finished product ended up kinda confused as to where it was...but that's neither here nor there.) I figure Sam must have tracked Benny somehow to Louisianna and then sent Martin to follow him when Martin called Sam.
Dean takes the whole "I went behind your back to ask a slight-crazy person to stalk your friend" thing very well, in my opinion. They head off to Louisiana to see what's what. There, they find Martin, who is perhaps not ready to return to the hunting life. I could criticize him for wanting to go kill things with very little evidence, and evidence that doesn't even necessarily make sense, but as Sam points out - the Winchesters have done the same thing on even less. So, fair enough point.
Dean argues that this is BENNY and could they at least give Dean a couple of hours to try to get Benny's side of the story. There are a couple of things I like about this scene:
1) "Does this sound like the Benny we know?" "I don't know Benny" - I love this exchange because it reminds me of me and my best friend, back when we spent 12 hours a day together every day...at one point, we'd really just forget that the other person didn't live inside our head. "I thought we were eating at my place tonight, where are you?" "What?! When did we decide that?!" "This morning when I was brushing my teeth and thinking...oh, right, you weren't there. Sorry." This exchange actually says a lot about how close Sam and Dean are, and also why it's frustrating to Dean that Sam doesn't seem to understand how important Benny is to Dean...that there's an attachment there.
2) I love that Sam AGREES and gives Dean a couple of hours when Dean asks for it, and he makes sure Martin honours it too. I'm sure some people will view this episode as the brother's relationship going to shit once again, but I actually think it speaks a lot to how much respect they have for each other.
So, Dean goes out to track down Benny - and he meets Elizabeth, who doesn't have any pecan pie, and for some reason Dean doesn't order the cherry/raspberry pie that she DOES have and he pointed to...but whatever. He leaves his number for "Roy" and herself, wink wink...and then it's off to the swamp to find Benny.
I love the little exchange where Benny tells Dean that Elizabeth is his great grand-daughter, and Dean is like *awkward*...hehehe.
Benny DOES make me sympathetic to him though...it's true, unlike Dean, he doesn't really have anything to cling to in this world. He's finished his revenge-quest, so now what? So, he finds the remnants of his human family and tries to make his life about serving them...and that's a pretty good idea, only that he suffers the same curse as the Winchesters - once you are part of the supernatural world, it will ALWAYS find you and destroy everything you love. The Winchesters have learned this time and time again, but Benny is late to the game, so we can hardly blame him.
Benny points out that at least Dean has Sam...and Dean is like "yeah...." in a completely unconvincing way...but, I think the problem here is that Dean's been through an experience for once (or rather AGAIN) that Sam hasn't been through. So, we come back to the problem of "Sam doesn't live in your brain, Dean"...it will take WORDS from Dean to make Sam understand what purgatory did to Dean, and Dean probably doesn't even know how to put it into words for Sam...so we end up with a problem similar to S4, where Dean is living with a mess in his head that Sam doesn't understand...whereas Benny KNOWS that mess, which, of course, is why Benny is so important to Dean. Benny and Cas both, arguably.
Anyway, turns out the killing is a young stupid vampire that's trying to put the pressure on Benny to join his wannabe nest. So, Benny's going to kill him and all will be well! And could Dean please go explain it to his little brother and that crazy dude, kthxbye.
So, Dean goes and explains it to his little brother and the crazy dude. And again, DEAN GOES AND EXPLAINS IT TO THEM. Dean could have easily not trusted Sam at all - so again, all I see is respect.
This is another good scene, two favourite things:
1) Dean uses the word "relationship" when discussing Benny, as in "every relationship I've ever had has [gone to crap or something]"...I like it when people use the word "relationship" when not-necessarily referring to a sexual relationship. Mainly, I like it because it IS ambiguous. I might not ship anything in this fandom, but I like it when the show leaves the door open a crack for me in case I change my mind. ;)
2) Okay, so, I'm sure a lot of people will be up in arms about Dean's whole "unlike everyone else, Benny has never let me down," because it seems like a personal attack on Sam for all the crap that Dean yelled at him for when he was possessed a couple of episodes ago. The problem is though is that I think people will take it as that because that's how SAM interprets it...because SAM suffers from an eternal guilt complex and just assumes that's what Dean means, because Sam still regrets it. Personally, I don't think that's what Dean meant - I think he meant that "there is no precedent for this kind of betrayal in mine and Benny's relationship. He has always been a man of his word." Sam just takes it personally because that's what Sam does!
And I really think that Sam COULD have been presuaded by Dean to hunt the younger vamp before going after Benny - if Martin hadn't been around and taken the decision out of Sam's hands. Martin knocks out Dean and cuffs him to the radiator, and then Sam and him take off to go find Benny.
Martin talking about what their father would say - and about how John would have taken Dean out to the woodshed to set him right...yeah, not the best move there Martin - but I thought it was a pretty cool juxtaposition. Because Martin, having been locked up, is in a very weird way channeling a world that doesn't exist anymore. Martin is in the black and white world of S1, where monsters were bad and hunters were good, and never the twain shall meet. Starting in S1 (but really in S2), Sam and Dean started discovering more and more of the grey area...and these days they know the grey better than anyone. Sam KNOWS that, which is why he commands Martin to do as he says - I think, had Sam stayed on the hunt, that he would have bowed to Dean's wishes and given Benny the benefit of the doubt - even if he did so begrudgingly.
Though, maybe I'm overestimating him. Sam DOES have a point - every monster they'd ever tried to give the benefit of the doubt to has ended up going back to killing. Thanks to Lenore breaking down during S6, they don't actually have an example of a vamp who successfully held out. That being said, they let the werewolf girl go this season, and Sam was cool with that...and, since I'm the only one that ever points it out, CAS IS NOT HUMAN EITHER AND THEY'RE FINE WITH HIM! I mean, Cas has killed more people than Benny could ever imagine killing, albeit under special circumstances...and Sam is always thrilled to see Castiel, heck, Cas was the one who believed the most that they could save Cas even when Cas was out killing hundreds of people. So, I do think that Sam would have given Benny the benefit of the doubt...but maybe I'm in the minority there.
Dean doesn't want to take that chance though and as soon as he comes to, he escapes and takes the decision out of Sam's hands...but I'll get to that.
Dean warns Benny and off they go to kill stupid-young-vamp. I did think, when they entered the warehouse and Benny disappeared into the shadows to circle around behind the young-vamp, that there was a chance that it was a set-up and Benny really was going to turn on Dean. Mainly, because I hate vampires and part of me kind of wants Benny to die on principle (I guess I have a lot in common with Sam)...but, the part of me that wants Dean to have a friend that doesn't end up hurting his feelings was happy when Benny instead came to Dean's rescue.
I loved the part with Dean's neck cut and Benny almost vamping out on him. I must admit, I giggled and said "Dean is delicious!" and then when Benny turned and walked away, I couldn't help but adding dialogue in my head - "I'll just sit in my truck consumed with lust for the rest of the evening." Heheheh.
But, stupid innuendo aside, I loved that bit because it reminded us that Benny IS a monster, he DOES have a weakness...and Dean IS partially a walking potential snack to him. They're friendship is sort of like one of those stories where a young lion and a deer become best friends...part of you thinks "this is going to end badly."
Anyway, while that whole thing is going on, Sam gets a call from Amelia - or rather, a text. "Sam, I need help. Come quick." So, Sam drops everything and goes...and by "drops everything", I mean he leaves Martin out in the middle of the forest - which, I mean, really, Sam? I know the guy is annoying and he's talking shit about your brother, but you don't leave a dude in the forest in the middle of a hunt!
Though, again, I think the fact that Sam DOES leave Martin in the forest speaks to the priority the case has. I think if Sam wasn't already doubting Martin and wondering if he should give Benny the benefit of the doubt for Dean's sake, he wouldn't have been able to leave the hunt so easily.
So, Sam drives to texas...and yes, he's been suffering from his flashback illness the whole episode too. (He should really see someone about that...at one point I was worried he was going to stop walking in the middle of a road and get hit by a car.) Sam's flashbacks are about what happened once Don came back...how he at first tried to convince Amelia to stay with him, but then Don told him that they should respect Amelia's choice and not try to pressure her, so Sam overcompensated and made the choice for her. Oh Sam. There's being self-sacrificing, and then there's being an idiot - and you, my friend, are kind of an idiot. So, Sam took off because Don was back. So, was that why he was heading up to the cabin in the first episode? Did she convince him to spend the night and then leave? Was it Don standing outside Amelia's house like a stalker? What's our timeline on this?
(SIDENOTE: I thought it was interesting that Sam emphasized the "you saved me" when he was leaving...part of me wonders if there's something Sam hasn't told us about these flashbacks...like, maybe Sam wasn't as together as he's imagining he was.)
When he gets to the house in Kermit, Amelia's fine...she's snuggled on the couch with Don, and Sam is the broken dude outside...and he realizes that he's been had.
I admit, I was confused myself - I started thinking about angel-conspiracies and all sort of theories....I was wondering where the hell Dean was driving without even calling Sam to see where he was...but Martin was right about Occam's razor. Sam figured it out pretty quick. It was Dean.
(Sidenote: He should have figured it out by the area-code. 210 is a San Antonio phone-number, Kermit would have had a 432 area code....that being said, Amelia could have had a cellphone from anywhere, and we don't know where she moved to Kermit FROM, so I guess it's not outside the realm of possibility)
I actually think Dean's plan to get Sam off Benny's tail was GENIUS. Again, I'm sure some people will think it's underhanded of him - but again, I actually think it shows a LOT of respect for his brother...mainly, that Dean knew the only way to get Sam off Benny's tail would be to send him out of town. Dean repeats it a lot to Benny in the episode "don't underestimate my little brother." Dean and Sam are probably the two best hunters in the country at the moment and Dean knows it. Also, at the very least, you could argue that Dean's now even with Sam - because you could argue that Sam getting a hunter to stalk Dean's friend was pretty underhanded as well. Though, again, I'd argue that it's a little respectful - Sam has doubts, but he wants to trust Dean; then Martin calls looking for an easy job, so Sam sends him to watch a vampire that's suposedly not ever going to hurt anyone - everybody wins!
I've skipped a bit though...and I've skipped the bit where we once again see the danger of a black and white world-view. Martin doesn't give up the chase. Even when Dean tells him to get a new line of work. Instead, Martin draws Benny to him by threatening Elizabeth...and here we have a hunter scaring/scarring an innocent bystander in the name of "good" because Martin doesn't realize that it's actions that define us, not what we are. Benny ends up killing him, of course, but it's clearly a case of self-defence - and Martin totally had it coming... AND THIS IS COMING FROM SOMEONE WHO HATES VAMPIRES! If that was Martin's modus operandi, I don't think he could be trusted even if Benny really had laid down and let Martin kill him.
Of course, we don't know that Benny kills him yet - we get Elizabeth calling Dean and telling him to come back to the diner, and Dean finding her covered in blood - but we don't know who's blood. And I love the way they wrote that and filmed it. It's really tense stuff - especially for people like me, who hate vampires, but also think Martin deserved to be killed...I didn't really know what scenario I should be hoping for when Dean entered the diner. I wasn't surprised when it was Martin though - if Benny IS going to die, I know it's going to be at the hands of one of our three main characters.
The question now though is - if Benny ripped out Martin's throat - did he drink him? Is it harder to resist drinking fresh humans if you've had a taste recently? Should Dean be more concerned about Benny, or should he be happy that Benny escaped and has now gone underground like Dean ordered him too. Furthermore, if Benny's gone underground, does Benny have any reason to live? He needed something to keep him in line - he couldn't have Dean; so he chose family, but now that's taken away from him... like I already said - should be more worried now?
THEN we get the phone call to Sam, and Dean tells him that it was as Benny said, but there's been a casualty and that Martin didn't make it. Sam winces...is he mad at Dean for getting Martin killed? Does he blame it on Benny? Personally, I think Sam probably more likely blames himself for sending Martin to look out for Benny in the first place...he might take it out on Dean though...he's certainly not willing to let Dean explain what happened.
And then Sam turns around and BAM, Amelia! It's interesting that Sam looks more terrified than anything.
So, thoughts in general - I really liked this episode, even with a vampire in it...I must admit that I really don't know how to feel about Benny. Part of me likes him, part of me is an anti-vampire bigot. It's a hard life. In terms of Sam's storyline, I guess I was hoping for a little more of an epic reveal...especially after the weird hints last week that Sam may have been making the entire thing up. I know there are a lot of people who are growing tired of Sam's flashbacks and find them pointless - but I actually find them fascinating, even if there isn't a supernatural element to them - to me, they're windows into Sam-without-Dean and the way Sam's grief manifests itself. I still don't think we're getting the full story - I still firmly believe, as I (probably annoyingly) keep repeating, that they're pulling "500 days of Summer" on us and things are not as they seem.
Where do we stand on Sam and Dean's relationship? Well, I think they're both kind of mad at each other right now, but it's a healthy kind of mad. They still obviously love and respect each other, and they despite spying on each other's friends and tricking each other, I think that they still trust each other.
[Next Time Promo]The next time looks cool...I know we have to wait over a month for it, but I will await it eagerly. It looks like Crowley still has Samandriel, and Cas needs the boys to work a job with him...so they should "stow their crap" - and I love the fact that Cas says that. I only hope that Castiel's job is to rescue Samandriel, because someone needs to rescue my baby! (oh god, please don't kill him, Show... why do angels have such a friggin' high death count!)
Alright, tell me your thoughts and what I missed! I hear tell on twitter that there's some brother-bashing going on out there on the interwebs, so I remind you not to bring that shit here, because I will not stand for it! Keep things positive and kind. Imagine the characters and each other complexly!