Supernatural 8.19 Review: Hell’s Bells

SPN Taxi Driver 1Hello my Supernatural Junkies! This episode of Supernatural left me with mixed feelings. We covered a lot of ground with “Taxi Driver.” Sam completed the 2nd trial, Naomi introduced herself to Dean, Bobby made a re-appearance (yay!), and Benny broke my heart yet again. My feelings are mixed because I really loved the character development displayed in this outing, but I wasn’t really a fan of much of the execution. That’s not to say that I didn’t like the episode because I did. But some of it just felt a little off. Let me not get ahead of myself though. So let’s discuss “Taxi Driver.”

Guy Bee is one of my favorite Supernatural directors, and he did some really great work on this episode. Kudos must also be given to the special effects team. The way that Ajay and Sam entered Purgatory was wonderfully done. The major problem with this episode was the writing. That’s where it all begins and ends for me, and the duo of Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming are far from my favorite writers. I’ve liked some of their episodes (I’m in the minority that actually enjoyed “Route 666”) but most of their episodes have been on my ‘that wasn’t one of Supernatural’s better hours’ list. Namely “Shut Up, Dr. Phil” and especially “Man’s Best Friend With Benefits.” The Buckner/Ross-Leming scripts usually suffer from pacing problems and rather heavy-handed dialog. The pacing wasn’t really so much of an issue for me in “Taxi Driver” as the dialog. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was godawful, but some of it was pretty close. For instance, Benny told Dean that he wasn’t doing so good up top and Dean’s response was, “Has it really been tough?” I wanted Benny to say, “Dude, did you hear the words that literally JUST came out of my mouth?” It was pretty bad. Thank God for the actors though. The strength of their performances and their on-screen chemistry are really what saved much of this episode. These writers also don’t seem to have all that firm a grasp on the characters voices and the pop culture infused dark humor unique to Supernatural. With such important subject matter to be covered, this episode really could have used the talents of Ben Edlund or Robbie Thompson. The Edlund and Thompson scripts do a much better job of balancing the drama, action, and humor while also moving the overall mytharc forward. Despite the overall not so great writing on this episode, they did provide a few powerful emotional moments. Especially the Dean/Benny parts.

SPN Taxi Driver 2The last time we saw Benny, he was in a pretty bad way. The thirst was hitting him hard and Dean had just told him they had to cut ties. I felt really bad for him back then because he was literally all alone in the world. He’d been shunned by the other vampires and abandoned by his only friend. I expected him to fall off the wagon and start killing people again, but he didn’t. When we caught up to him in “Taxi Driver” he was still drinking donated blood and living out of his old beat up pick-up truck. Benny has perhaps been one of my favorite additions to the Supernatural universe. They have tried on several different occasions to portray sympathetic monsters, but they’ve only had limited success. Lenore and Madison from S2 come to mind as successful attempts. But with those two exceptions, for the most part the monsters have just been monsters. Enter Benny. Admittedly, I didn’t initially trust Benny because he’s a vampire and (except for Lenore) vampires have never meant good news on this show. But Benny actually turned out to truly be a good guy and was exactly what he presented himself to be. He obviously had something horrible happen to him, but at his core he was still a good person. Despite how lonely he was and how tempting it was to succumb to his bloodlust, Benny fought against the monster inside him. Benny is perhaps the first time that Supernatural has been able to create a truly sympathetic, well-fleshed out monster. Unlike Lenore or even Madison, we got a chance to really explore who Benny is. Over the course of 7 episodes we found out a lot about his backstory and why he wanted to get back to Earth so badly. We also got a chance to see Benny just be Benny so we could form an opinion about him for ourselves. The character of Benny was wonderfully written, but Ty Olsson has just been phenomenal in the role. His eyes are so very expressive and he did a wonderful job of conveying Benny’s inner conflict without saying a word. Not to mention that he had wonderful chemistry with Jensen Ackles. Their scenes together in “Taxi Driver” were some of the most powerful of the entire episode. I have no doubt that it broke Dean’s heart in ways he’ll never talk about that he had to send Benny back to Purgatory.  Although I’m really bummed that we’ve lost Benny, his story ended in the only way that does justice to the character. I was a bit concerned that Benny would start hurting people and Dean would have to take him out at some point, but I’m really glad the writers decided not to go that route. It was important for Sam to be able to see for himself the kind of person Benny is.

I remember thinking at the beginning of the season when Sam was so angry about Dean’s relationship with Benny, that the primary reason for Sam’s anger was that Sam truly could not understand where Dean was coming from with Benny. Sam wasn’t in Purgatory. He didn’t understand what it was like down there, so he could not understand the bond that Dean and Benny formed. It didn’t matter how much Dean tried to explain it to him. I was kind of glad in this episode that Sam got a chance to get an extremely small taste of what Dean went through in Purgatory. He was only in Purgatory for a few hours, but I think even that short amount of time changed his perspective. It’s one thing to hear stories from a warzone. It’s something entirely different to experience it for yourself. Purgatory also gave Sam a chance to see for himself the kind of guy that Benny is and why Dean trusted him so much. I was so angry with Sam at the end of ‘Citizen Fang’ because a lot of what happened was a result of Sam’s unwillingness to trust Dean about Benny. I understand that Sam didn’t know Benny, but Sam knows Dean. He knows the kind of person Dean is and he knows that Dean doesn’t trust easily. Sam was possibly jealous of Dean’s relationship with Benny, but mostly it was that Sam truly did not understand how Dean could trust Benny so much. At that point, I don’t think he really wanted to understand. He’s in a different place now though and it’s just sad that Benny had to die (maybe?) in order for Sam to see that Benny really was one of the good guys.

SPN Taxi Driver 4Another welcome return was Bobby. I’m not ashamed to admit that I totally screamed like a tween girl at a Justin Bieber concert when Bobby appeared. Some folks may have guessed that Bobby was returning for this one, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I figured Crowley was just screwing with the Boys and didn’t really have Bobby’s soul in Hell. But I’m so glad it was the real Bobby and that his soul was able to be freed from Hell. I have always loved Bobby and I’m not entirely over his death. I don’t think I’ll ever really be over it. It is no secret that I really hate the way the Supernatural universe has been systematically wiped out over the years. It started with the destruction of Harvelle’s Roadhouse back in S2 and culminated with killing Bobby in S7. Don’t get me wrong. I understand that we need to lose people along the way. I don’t really have a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is wiping out the ENTIRE supporting cast in the name of “raising the stakes” for the Winchesters. Removing all the Winchesters’ friends and family actually lowers the stakes and takes away a lot of the dramatic tension of the show. If the Winchesters don’t have anyone or anything (other than each other) that they care about on Earth, then why sacrifice so much to save it? Furthermore, supporting characters are necessary to peel back the layers on the main characters. That’s why Bobby was such a wonderful addition to the Supernatural world. Bobby was already a fully realized character when we met him in “Devil’s Trap,” but it was apparent that he had a long, complicated history with the Winchesters. It was wonderful exploring the ins and outs of that relationship over the next seven years, but it was more than just getting to know Bobby. The Boys’ interactions with Bobby over the years have given us a deeper understanding of who the Boys are, not just as hunters, but as people. It seems to me that TPTB are having a bit of remorse about killing off Bobby. In addition to Jim Beaver being such a wonderful actor, that character was just so great. He was solid ground for the Boys and gave them a swift kick in the butt when they needed it. He obviously loved both the Boys, but his relationship with Dean always seemed to be closer than his relationship with Sam. So it was nice in “Taxi Driver” for Sam and Bobby to have such a wonderful and intimate moment. The only sort of negative thing I have to say about the Sam/Bobby scenes is bringing up the fact that Sam didn’t look for Dean. I get that this is the first time that Bobby confronted Sam about it, but they’re really beating a dead horse. Sam didn’t look for Dean. Some people had a problem with that (I didn’t) but we’ve moved past it. So unless the show has something else they want to tell us about Sam not looking for Dean, just let it go already.

Dean finally met Naomi, and I’m with Dean in not trusting her. She lied when she told Dean about what happened with Cas, and she’s going to continue to lie. She helped Dean and Sam free Bobby from Crowley, but that was more about gaining their trust than actually trying to be helpful. They need to keep a close watch on her. I also think she’s the one that was in Kevin’s head. Kevin had the houseboat completely warded against demons, so there’s no possible way that Crowley could’ve gotten to him there. Furthermore, if Naomi could mind-control Cas then it would be pretty easy for her to mind-control Kevin too. It would serve her purposes pretty well to have the prophet with her. She’s a control freak and she wants to get as many high cards as possible. The other possible explanation is that Kevin has just had a psychotic break. He’s been under a great deal of stress, he’s not sleeping, and he’s absolutely terrified. The voice in his head could’ve just been a result of that.

SPN Taxi Driver 3Despite the rather poor writing, I enjoyed this episode. I really love the current state of the Boys’ relationship right now. It’s been a long time since they’ve been this honest with each other. We also got a really wonderful brotherly moment when Sam walked out of Purgatory. Oh how I love the brotherly moments. I will say that I’m kind of (ok, VERY) concerned about what the next trial is and whether Sam will be able to make it. Some folks have had a problem with Sam being able to enter Purgatory and Hell so easily after Crowley and Cas spent so much time trying to find the door back in S6. I didn’t necessarily have a problem with that though.  It’s not unreasonable to assume that back in S6 when Crowley and Cas were searching for Purgatory that they wouldn’t know all the ins and outs of how to find it. Furthermore, it’s also not unreasonable to assume that even now Crowley doesn’t know all the back doors and rabbit holes to get into and out of Hell. And I wouldn’t say that it’s necessarily easy to get into and out of Purgatory either. Reapers can do it because, well, they’re Reapers. They are the only beings that can easily move between dimensions. It’s also not unreasonable that Cas and Crowley wouldn’t have called on a rogue Reaper to help them out back in S6 because they didn’t just want to get into and out of Purgatory. They wanted to find Purgatory, round up all the souls there, and bring them back to this dimension. I just don’t think it was all that major of a plot hole. Or at least it doesn’t bother me as much as it seems to bother some other members of the fandom. We’ve only got 4 more episodes left in this season, and it’s hard to believe we’re wrapping up. Supernatural is going to be on a break for the next 2 weeks, but Felicia Day will be back when the show returns. That episode looks like fun. Really looking forward to the last of season GR8. That’s all for now Junkies! Until next time: peace, love, and joy to all.🙂

Supernatural 8.18 Review: Rugrats All Growed Up

SPN freaks and geeks

Hello my lovlies! Well Junkies, we’re closing in on the home stretch. Only 5 more episodes left in this season. That makes me both happy and sad. Happy because we’ve made it through what I would consider a very solid season (and yay on season 9!) but also sad because next comes the long and dreary summer hellatus. But we’re not going to think about hellatus right now. We’re just going to stay on this S8 ride. We still have trials to go through, tablets to find, and butts to kick. So we’ll just hang on to that for now. Quite frankly though, after the emotional rollercoaster of last week’s episode, I’m kind of glad we got a chance to take a bit of a step back from all of that for a minute. This standalone episode was pretty good, but it wasn’t the greatest that Supernatural has ever done. Of course, I must admit that I demand a whole lot more from this show than I demand from almost every other show on television because I know just how awesome Supernatural can be when they put their minds to it. That being said, let’s chat a little bit about ‘Freaks and Geeks.’

This episode was penned by Adam Glass, and I gotta say that I’m moderately disappointed. Admittedly, Adam Glass’s scripts are very much hit or miss. Sometimes he writes emotionally deep, intriguing, powerful episodes like ‘Citizen Fang’ but other times he writes standard, predictable episodes like ‘Freaks and Geeks.’ I really hate when I can pretty much call everything that’s going to happen in the first 10 minutes of an episode, and that’s what happened here. I was already on to who Victor was and what he was doing. There was no real dramatic tension for me in the whole story except for maybe during the last few minutes when it looked like Krissy was going to kill Victor. It wasn’t the actors fault. Every actor in the episode did a good job. It was definitely the writing, and this writing was just lazy. It would’ve been more creative and dramatic for Victor to not have been the creep and, if he had to die, to die trying to save his kids. It would’ve been a much better ending than the one we got for him. On the upside I will say that this episode didn’t have some of the pacing problems that some of Glass’s other scripts have had. Everything seemed to flow relatively smoothly even if predictably.

SPN freaks and geeks 2This episode also dealt with a couple of issues that have kind of been at the heart of Supernatural from the beginning. Do kids really have a place in the hunting world and do you have a choice in hunting? Let’s deal with the kids issue first. I’ve always been of 2 minds about this issue. On the one hand, in the world that Supernatural has created, hunters are necessary. They are the only thing standing between us and all the creepy crawlies of the world. Their job is to protect innocent people from evil, and more often than not, hunter’s don’t live long enough to collect social security. There needs to be a next generation of good hunters to continue standing between humans and all the evil things that want to eat us. The only way that really happens is for the older, more experienced hunters to teach the youngsters how its done. Dean and his interactions with the Apple Dumpling Gang (Krissy in particular) provide a perfect example of this. It’s not news that Dean has suffered more in his life than anyone should have to bear. But along the way, he’s learned a lot about hunting and about life in general. His knowledge, experience and how he worked the case was in stark contrast to the shoot first, ask questions never mentality that Victor was teaching the Apple Dumpling Gang. Dean immediately recognized that something was off about the first vamp he saw the kids kill. He also noticed the blue van sitting outside the motel that none of the kids noticed. He got bad vibes about the girl being tied up in the motel room. And he almost immediately recognized that the girl in the cabin was a freshly turned vamp and there was still a possibility to save her. He also said that hunting isn’t just about killing. Victor wasn’t teaching the Apple Dumpling Gang any of that. He wasn’t teaching them how to really work a case. He wasn’t teaching them how recognize the patterns of behavior of the things they were hunting. He simply gave them a target and told them to go kill it. He wasn’t teaching them how to be hunters. He was teaching them how to be killers. Thankfully, the Gang decided to listen to what Dean had to say and I think they may have actually learned something. If it wasn’t against everything Dean believed, I think he would make a really good mentor for the next generation.

On the other hand, hunters have a very short life expectancy and a very lonely existence. It’s not something that any parent would want for their child or that any decent human being would want for another human being. Hunters don’t get the chance to live a normal, safe life. They don’t get the chance to have a home. Hunters don’t get many of the opportunities and comforts that they’re putting themselves in danger to protect for others. There’s a total loss of innocence that happens when a kid becomes a hunter and, like the Winchesters (Dean in particular), they’re forced to grow up before they’re cognitively able to process all of the pain, loss, fear, loneliness, and death that accompanies the hunting lifestyle.

Now let’s deal with choice. Supernatural has also made it pretty clear that 99.9% of the folks who get into hunting get into it because something nasty killed one (or several) of their loved ones. Basically, hunting was chosen for them. They never chose hunting. Once their eyes were opened to what was really out there in the dark, there was no turning back. So did they really have a choice in the matter? Or was it just fate? The Winchesters have always operated from the position that you always have choices, but I don’t know that that’s necessarily true. Dean and Sam never really had a choice in becoming hunters because John forced it upon them when they were just kids. The same is true of most other kids who grew up in the life. Their parent(s) were hunters and hunting was all the kid ever knew. How could you have a choice? You could choose to walk away from hunting, but as we’ve seen over and over again, even when you’re out you’re not really out.

SPN freaks and geeks 3 The kids in ‘Freaks and Geeks’ were sort of denied the opportunity to choose though. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. They were given a chance to choose, but the deck was stacked. Victor and his vamp accomplice not only manipulated circumstances to lead the Apple Dumpling Gang down the hunting path, but they stalked and profiled the kids to make sure they made the right “choice.” I can’t say that I didn’t understand Victor’s motivation because I did. He wanted them to be better hunters than the generation before them, and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Being better hunters meant that not only did they have the appropriate skills to fight the creepy crawlies, but they also had more balance in their lives. That balance is something that’s sorely missing from most of the other hunters we’ve seen throughout the course of the series. But at the same time, he wasn’t teaching them to be better hunters. Not really. He was only teaching them how to kill. He wasn’t teaching them to protect the innocent. He wasn’t teaching them any practical hunting skills aside from the physical. The truth is, Victor was alone and afraid, and he’d never really gotten past his family’s death. I don’t think any of that justifies what Victor did though and I don’t have any sympathy for him either.

One other thing that was kind of mentioned in passing but that kind of piqued my interest was the fallout from the leviathan fiasco. We haven’t really heard anything about the leviathans since the Purgatory storyline (sadly) ended. In theory, there are still a bunch of leviathan running around but now without a leader. Does that mean that all of the leviathan that were strategically placed in various law enforcement agencies and so forth are gone now? Does it mean that they’re all fighting amongst themselves for power now? Did they all get sucked back to Purgatory when Dick Roman met his demise? Basically, I’d like to know what happened just to close that chapter.  I’m not overly anxious to jump back too deep into that story because quite frankly, I found it pretty boring last season. But I would like for the Boys to run into a leviathan somewhere down the road just so we can find out what happened.

I will admit that I wasn’t overly excited about Krissy Chambers coming back because I didn’t really like her in last season’s ‘Adventures in Babysitting.’ She was bratty and annoying. Not to mention she almost cost Dean, Sam, and her dad their lives. Needless to say, I really didn’t want to see her again. However, she didn’t annoy me nearly as much this time as she did last time. She was still kind of a bratty teenager, but that’s to be expected of teenagers I suppose. Obviously life had hardened her a bit since we last saw her, so she was significantly more grown up. She was also more willing to listen to Dean this time around. She seemed to recognized that Dean cared about her and his experience could benefit her. Plus, I think deep down maybe she felt like something was off with Victor even if she didn’t want to admit it to herself. Krissy actually reminded me of Jo a little bit in this episode. Let’s just hope she doesn’t meet the same fate. The actress who portrayed Krissy, Madison McLaughlin, also seems to have matured some as an actress. That’s not saying she was bad the first time around because she wasn’t. But she seemed much more confident and relaxed this time around. The whole Apple Dumpling Gang actually did a a really good job.

Despite the predictability of the plot, this was still a decent episode. I found it amusing that Sam asked Dean if he wanted to talk about his feelings since that whole incident with Castiel in the crypt. Seriously? You’re asking Dean Winchester to voluntarily talk about his feelings? Have you met your brother, Sam? Although, I think that was more Sam making a point that he’s kind of getting annoyed by Dean asking him if he’s alright all the time. Sam doesn’t want to focus on that any more than Dean wants to focus on his feelings. And I gotta admit, I’m with Sam on this one. Sam (and we) know Dean is concerned, but asking Sam if he’s alright every time he sneezes is going to get really old really fast.  Sam promised Dean that he would be honest about his physical condition from here on out, so let’s just give him a break for now. I cannot begin to say how excited I am for next week’s episode. Not only do we get to see the 2nd trial, but we get Benny back! I, for one, have missed his cute and cuddly face. Plus I really enjoyed the Dean/Benny dynamic, so I’m excited for his return.

Well, Supernatural Junkies, that’s pretty much it. We’ve got 5 more episodes in this season then hellatus, then season 9! Yay! So until next time: peace, love, and joy to all.🙂

Supernatural 8.17 Review: Family Don’t End with Blood

Goodbye Stranger

Hello my Supernatural Junkies! It has been absolutely FOREVER since our last cyber meeting, but we’re back! Supernatural came back from spring break with one of the best episodes of the season, and that’s saying something since I’ve really enjoyed S8. I was looking for the right words to describe my feelings about this episode, but honestly, I have no words. When Supernatural is firing on all cylinders (as it most certainly was in this installment) it tends to leave me rather speechless. There was so much going on and so many emotions, I had to watch the episode about 3 times before I could nail down what I wanted to say about it. So let’s not waste any more time.

I have to start off by saying that however much they’re paying Robbie Thompson isn’t enough. He has solidified himself as one of my favorite Supernatural writers second only to Ben Edlund. Much like Edlund, Thompson is able to capture the drama, action, and dark humor that is unique to Supernatural. He not only understands each of the characters individually, he understands the Supernatural universe as a whole. Watching his episodes, you wouldn’t know that he just came on board in S7 because he has such a firm grasp of Supernatural’s past. There were a number of shoutouts to earlier seasons in ‘Goodbye Stranger,’ and they fit seamlessly into the current story. Recalling those past moments allowed us to really see the growth of these characters over the past 8 and half years. Seriously, give this man a raise.

I can’t say that I’m a hardcore Castiel fan, but I have enjoyed watching his evolution over the course of the last several seasons. I’ve also always loved the dynamic he brings to the show whenever he’s on it. However, it has seemed that the writers have struggled to find a place for Cas over the last couple of seasons and I can understand their pain. Cas is one of the most powerful beings we’ve ever dealt with, and it’s difficult to figure out how to keep him in the story while not completely removing urgency from the Boys story. Well, it looks like they’ve finally found a place for Cas. It looks like he may not necessarily be interacting with the Boys all that much (at least for the moment) but since Cas is such an interesting character all on his own, I don’t think that’ll be a problem.

Watching Cas’s journey in this episode, I had a really wild thought. It seemed like Naomi was somehow able to separate Cas’s mind from his body. I know. It doesn’t make much sense, but watching the scene where Cas was beating Dean it seemed to me that his mind was in heaven fighting with her while his vessel was still on Earth. Naomi even at one point told Cas to let his vessel do what he knew deep down was the right thing to do. I don’t know. It just seemed a little weird. I also found it a bit weird that Naomi’s office seemed to change colors as Cas was breaking free from her grip. I don’t know if that necessarily has anything to do with Naomi’s hold over him, but it was kind of interesting to me.

Speaking of Cas beating Dean, that scene ranks right at the top of ‘painful Supernatural scenes that I’ll never forget.’ Let me say first of all, it should be a felony to destroy the national treasure that is Jensen Ackles’ face. That being said, I always figured that Dean would be the key to Cas breaking Naomi’s hold over him. I just didn’t know it would happen in such a painful and brutal way. The cold open of the episode was jarring, but Naomi made a fatal mistake in trying to re-train Cas to kill Dean. None of those Deans was really Dean. Sure, the Fake!Dean was pleading for his life, but she had no way of knowing that Dean’s love is what would get through to Cas. She doesn’t understand family and she doesn’t understand love. Especially not the kind of love for family that the Winchesters (Dean in particular) display. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Dean allow himself to get beaten to a pulp by someone he loves in an effort to reach them. He was able to get through to John at the end of S1 and Sam at the end of S5 the same way. Dean has always put his family above everything, and ultimately that’s a bond that can never be broken and that’s what Dean was appealing to. Naomi made a mistake in forcing Cas to choose between heaven and the Winchesters. Cas learned about love, loyalty, and family from them. He understands that in a way that Naomi never will and Dean’s pleas reminded him of that and gave him the strength to break free. That scene in the crypt was extremely nuanced and probably the most powerful scene of the entire episode. Cas looked genuinely horrified when he realized that he’d nearly beat his best friend to death. That was like a knife to my heart. Dean just twisted the knife when he leaned back from Cas in fear, not realizing he no longer had reason to be afraid, as Cas raised his hand to heal him. Excellent work by Ackles and Collins. Just excellent.

I can’t say I was surprised that we lost Meg. About halfway through the episode I started getting the feeling she wasn’t going to survive this time. By the time she got to that (rather amusing) conversation with Sam, I knew she was a goner because she basically said she was tired. She was tired of running. She was tired of fighting. She was tired of the blurred lines and complexity of the current landscape. She was just ready to be done with all of it. The reason she understood Sam’s desire for normal (aside from the fact that she’s been in his noggin before) is that she was right there with him. Granted, her normal involves being evil and killing people, but she wanted things to go back to the way they were. She seemed to realize that she was never really going to be able to carve out a place for herself in the new regime, so she decided to take a stand. I think that’s probably why she didn’t even flinch when Crowley told her the Boys were trying to close the gates of Hell. I felt like she told Sam to run not so much because she was trying to die heroically, but she just wanted to go out fighting. I don’t know how I feel about losing Meg though. She was certainly an interesting, layered character who added a great deal to the Supernatural universe. But I don’t really know that she necessarily fit into the story anymore. There was obviously a sense of nostalgia for her because she’s been causing trouble for the Boys since S1, but I think at the end of the day I’m glad her story is done.

Sam and Dean seem to be on much more solid footing now than they’ve been in a while. Sam has been trying to pretend that he’s fine, but Dean isn’t an idiot. He’s known the whole time that Sam isn’t ok. Sam didn’t seem to be trying to hide his worsening condition out of any sort of malicious intent though. He wanted, no, NEEDED to believe that he was ok and he kept telling Dean that he was fine because he was trying to convince himself of that. I didn’t really expect Dean (and we) would confront Sam’s health so bluntly, but it really needed to happen. It puts both Sam and Dean at risk for Sam to be so off his game. It’ll be interesting to see how they move forward with Sam being unable to consistently, effectively defend himself. I’m also really concerned because of what Cas said about Sam being broken in ways that even he can’t heal. That’s extremely ominous. I really loved the way Dean handled Sam’s denials about his condition. Dean didn’t get angry. He was just honest with Sam, and Sam chose to be honest with Dean in return. That shows growth on both Dean and Sam’s part. Let’s just hope it lasts because Supernatural works best when the Winchesters are on the same page.

All of the pieces came together to form what I think is one of Supernatural’s best hours of the series, and that is saying something considering how high some of Supernatural’s episodes have soared. And I don’t know if it was just me, but I felt like Naomi and Crowley had more than just a passing, antagonistic past. It seemed like either they had worked together before or they were involved in some other twisted, intimate relationship. Maybe it’s just the way Crowley relates to people, but it just seems like there’s more to their relationship.

Well, those are the thoughts I was able to cobble together about this episode. Until next time; peace, love, and joy to all.

Supernatural 8.15 Review: Who Let the Dogs Out?

Man’s Best Friend With Benefits

Hello my Supernatural junkies! My deepest apologies for my prolonged absence. I fully intended to write reviews of the last few episodes, but time just got away from me. You get a little behind on one thing and then everything else starts getting behind. Before you know it, you’ve got a pile of crap that hasn’t gotten done all because you were sick for a few days and didn’t do any work. I will certainly try to do better though.

Well, now that my excuses are out of the way, let’s get down to business. I had the privilege of filling in for Michelle this week. She usually writes the Supernatural reviews for TV Equals, but I got to do it this time. So, if you’re interested in my thoughts on “Man’s Best Friend With Benefits,” jump on over here and read my review. Feel free to comment either on this site or over at TV Equals.

Until next time Junkies. Peace, love and joy to all.🙂

Supernatural 8.10 Review: Torn and Frayed Indeed

SPN Torn and Frayed

Welcome back from winter Hellatus my fellow Supernatural junkies! I have a lot to say about Supernatural’s January return, so let’s get right to it. Torn and frayed definitely sums up the current state of the Winchester brothers’  relationship. Let me start off by saying that I have mixed feelings about this episode. It wasn’t the writing. Jenny Klein’s script moved along at a decent clip and there were little bits of humor thrown in to balance out the overall heaviness of the episode. I have no complaints there.  Robert Singer is also one of my favorite SPN directors, so I have no complaints there either. My problem is with the characterization of Sam and Dean. I don’t feel like either of them is behaving the way that 8 and a half seasons says that they would be. I’ve read some reviews arguing that this episode shows that the Boys are learning to compromise, but I don’t see very much compromise here. But let me not get ahead of myself. This is going to be a long one. You have been warned.

Torn and Frayed

Let’s start with Sam because he’s frustrating me the most right now. This episode picks up right where ‘Citizen Fang’ left off. Sam is still in Texas after having dropped everything and run there because of the fake 911 from Amelia that Dean sent out.  Sam is still (quite understandably) upset that Dean did that to him. When Dean showed up at Sam’s motel, Dean tried to calmly explain what happened with Benny to Sam. Dean tried to explain that he wasn’t trying to hurt Sam with that Amelia text, but he needed Sam to back off.  He’d already tried reasoning with Sam. He’d already tried talking to him, and Sam absolutely refused to listen. Dean knew that if Benny and Sam met up, one of the two people that he cares about was going to get killed and he didn’t want that. So he did the only thing he felt like he could do at that moment. He emotionally manipulated Sam to get him out of harm’s way and to protect Benny. I’m not saying that Dean was right to send that text because he wasn’t. It was low-down and dirty, and although I don’t think Dean considered the emotional state it would put Sam into, he should’ve. They have both lost so much, and Dean should’ve known that if he sent a distress call from Amelia that Sam’s mind would immediately jump to the worst possible outcome. But Sam really frustrated me during that discussion in Texas. He still wasn’t listening to Dean, but on top of that, he accepted zero responsibility for his part in the events leading up to their current predicament. Sam is the one that started the ball rolling on everything that happened in ‘Citizen Fang.’ He’s the one that sent a mentally unstable person out on a hunt. And although Sam didn’t call it a hunt, that’s exactly what it was. Sam is the one that refused to trust Dean’s judgment. Martin died because Sam sent him after Benny. And why? What had Benny done (other than be a vampire) that would be cause for alarm? Had he killed anyone? Maimed anyone? Had Benny done anything other than keep his head down and try to live a quiet life? No. Sam’s unrelenting desire to go after Benny makes absolutely no sense given his history. Sam (correctly) pointed out that he doesn’t know Benny and has no reason to trust him. That’s valid and I get that. But he didn’t have to trust Benny. He needed to trust Dean, and that’s all that Dean was asking. As many times as Sam has asked the same from Dean, and Dean has done it, you would think that Sam would be able to trust Dean this one time. But like so many arguments before, Sam didn’t accept his role in their situation. His whole argument was that Dean was wrong for sending him that text about Amelia. Dean was wrong for saying that a vampire was the victim. Dean was wrong. At no point did Sam even acknowledge that he was wrong for putting Martin on Benny in the first place. At no point did Sam acknowledge that he was wrong for not trusting Dean. At no point did Sam take any responsibility for anything. Part of growing up and maturing is learning to accept your part of the blame when things go wrong in a relationship. Sam hasn’t done that. At all. He still pouts, issues ultimatums, and threatens to abandon Dean whenever he gets angry with him. That’s not moving the character forward and it’s making it increasingly difficult to sympathize with him or even see things from his point of view.  In seasons past, I was able to at least understand why Sam is doing the things he was doing. Be it working with Ruby, hiding the fact that he’s working with Ruby from Dean, drinking demon blood, etc. I didn’t agree with those choices, but at least I understood them. I was able to see how he arrived at that choice and it sort of made sense. I cannot say the same about Sam this season and that’s what’s frustrating me. I do not understand why Sam has refused to trust Dean at all. I do not understand why Sam was so gung-ho to go after Benny. I cannot understand Sam at all.

Torn and Frayed   Now let’s talk about Dean. I’m more confused by Dean than I am frustrated by him. There are a couple of things that feel off about Dean. His decision to ditch Benny at the end of the episode doesn’t fit with Dean’s character at all. One of the things I’ve always loved about Dean is his loyalty. He doesn’t let people into his circle easily, but once you’re there, you’re there for life. He will move heaven and earth for you. That’s why I’m having such a problem with how the Dean/Benny relationship ended. Benny and Dean mean too much to each other for Dean to abandon him like that. Especially since Benny called Dean needing help. Dean doesn’t just abandon people like that. He’s never done that. It could be argued that Dean severed ties with Benny because he was presented a choice between Sam and Benny. Historically, whenever Dean’s forced to choose between Sam and anyone else, he always chooses Sam. But even so, it just seems odd for Dean to claim that Benny is the only person who’s never let him down and then for Dean to leave Benny twisting in the wind alone. I think maybe a part of Dean knew that he and Benny weren’t going to be able to maintain the type of relationship topside that they had while they were in Purgatory. And that would make sense, but it doesn’t sit right that Dean would leave Benny to fend for himself. In addition to the Benny thing, it seems off that Dean was so hard against working with Sam. I can understand that Dean was frustrated by Sam’s refusal to listen to him, and I think Dean was probably still even a bit angry at Sam’s refusal to trust him about Benny. But after the events of ‘The End’ in S5, Dean came to the conclusion that he and Sam needed each other. Granted, they’ve both been through a (whole) lot since that episode, but still. Dean knows that they need each other and whatever their current problems may be, walking away from each other is not going to make either of them any better. It could be argued that Dean was so adamant about not working with Sam because he figured Sam didn’t want to be on the job anyway. That’s valid. If someone doesn’t want to be somewhere, you can’t force it upon them. But I think Dean felt more like Sam was pushing him away than he was pushing away from the job. That goes to what Dean said at the end of the episode about not being able to separate himself from the job. Although Sam has never really said that he didn’t want to be with Dean, he has made it pretty clear that he doesn’t really want to be on the job. But to Dean, saying that you don’t want to be on the job is saying that you don’t want him in your life. I’m not saying it’s logical but it’s how Dean’s mind works.

The end of the episode was one of the saddest episode endings I’ve seen from this show in a very long time. Yes, Sam and Dean are back together, but at what cost and why? Is it because that’s how each of them wants it or is it because they feel like they have no other choice? It seemed to me it was more the former. Both of them gave up a relationship that means a lot to them so they could come back together, but I don’t see how that solves any of their problems. Sam giving up Amelia didn’t feel like he was choosing Dean (and by extension the hunting life) so much as he was doing it to keep Amelia safe. Sam’s primary argument to Dean about why Dean shouldn’t have sent that 911 back in ‘Citizen Fang’ was that he thought something awful had happened to Amelia. I can understand why Sam’s mind went there. Every woman that he’s ever loved and/or slept with (excluding that time he was a soulless manwhore) has died. Sam didn’t want anything to happen to Amelia, and the best way to do that is to keep her out of his life. In addition to that, Amelia was married to Don. If Sam had gone back to her, he would’ve been “the other man” in Amelia’s life. They never would’ve been able to really live a full life together. So, while I think Sam did want to help Dean figure out what is going on with Cas, find the tablets, etc. It just felt like he didn’t want to be the one that came between Amelia and Don. I felt like Sam resigned himself to a life of hunting moreso than he chose Dean. I’m not minimizing Sam’s sacrifice. When he chose not to go back to Amelia, he gave up what was probably his last chance at any kind of happiness outside the life. That is certainly no small thing. But Dean giving up his relationship with Benny packed more of an emotional punch. Let me just say right off the bat that I have a problem with Sam issuing Dean an ultimatum about Benny. Sam doesn’t trust Benny, and that’s fine, but after all that they’ve been through and all that Dean has done for Sam, Sam should trust Dean. Sam knows Dean and he knows that Dean doesn’t just hand out his trust and loyalty like Halloween candy. If Dean trusts Benny, vampire or not, then Sam should stop and consider that perhaps there’s more to Benny than meets the eye. Sam has made no effort to really understand from Dean’s point of view why Benny means so much to him. That’s a large part of the problem. He doesn’t understand Dean and Benny’s relationship and all he can see is that Dean is friends with a monster. I had a conversation with Clarissa who reviews Supernatural for, and she argued that Dean had no right to ask Sam to trust him (Dean) about Benny because Benny is a wildcard. Dean cannot control Benny and thus, Benny is dangerous and Sam is right to refuse to trust Dean about him. That’s valid and I understand her argument. However, my counterargument to that is that in the past, Sam has asked Dean to trust him despite the fact that Sam was playing with a wildcard too. I’m speaking specifically about the Ruby situation. Sam asked Dean to trust him about Ruby and despite every fiber in Dean’s body telling him that Ruby was bad news, Dean followed Sam’s lead on that one. That’s all Dean is asking for here, but Sam refuses to follow Dean’s lead about Benny. I’ve already talked about why I feel like Dean ditching Benny doesn’t fit with who Dean is, so I won’t rehash that. But I felt a much deeper sadness from Dean when he said good-bye to Benny than I felt from Sam deciding not to return to Amelia. The problem with how this episode ended is the complete lack of joy. Yes, Sam and Dean are back together. Yes, the fighting about Benny and Amelia is (in theory) over. But neither Sam nor Dean looked particularly happy about any of it. They actually looked pretty miserable. They looked like two people who had resigned themselves to the idea that the only thing they’ll ever have in this life is each other. It is a sad, claustrophobic world they have created for themselves.

SPN Torn and Frayed 3I feel pretty bad for Cas at this point too. He’s already got guilt coming out of his pores because of all the stuff he did when he was God!Cas. Now added to that is the fact that he’s killed another friend. Granted, he’s being mind-controlled right now, but I have a feeling he’s still going to blame himself about it. Cas has been through the ringer almost just as much as the Winchester boys, and I really would like for him to get a little peace. It’s tough to see a guy who’s just trying to atone for his past sins be used as a pawn by more powerful, nefarious forces. Speaking of, I think I’m kind of getting an idea of who Naomi is. I think she’s the Crowley of heaven. We’ve already seen that she seems like she’s in charge of some secret area of heaven. Or maybe she’s just the one in charge now. When Samadriel was in trouble, she’s the one he was calling. So maybe she’s like the queen of heaven now. We’ve also seen that she’s pretty cold and isn’t above manipulation. I have a feeling that the flashes that Castiel was having of her doing the same thing to him that Crowley was doing to Samadriel means that she’s been torturing Cas too. That would explain why she’s able to mind-control him. She got into his operating system and modified it so she can control him. My question though is why? What does she have to gain from manipulating Castiel? Why can’t she do her own dirty work? Why doesn’t she want him to remember that he’s meeting with her? So many questions about her. I really don’t like that Cas is (once again) being manipulated by heaven. It would seem that out of all those angels, there would be more than just a handful who are truly good guys. I don’t think Cas is going to take it well when it’s finally revealed what Naomi is doing to him. And I don’t think the Winchesters are going to take it well either that heaven is manipulating Cas and, by extension, them again. I don’t think Cas is going to hide it from the Boys once he figures out what Naomi is doing to him. At least I hope he doesn’t. They have worked hard to rebuild the Winchesters’ and Cas’s friendship, and it would be awful if the Boys’ only other remaining friend gets taken away from them.

One thing I will say that I am absolutely ecstatic about is that the Sam/Amelia storyline seems to be done. I am REALLY glad that she’s gone and I hope she never comes back. I wanted to like Amelia. I really did. Supernatural has a history of writing some very awesome female characters, and I was looking for Amelia to fall into that category. Alas, she was a shallow, snarky, condescending person that added absolutely nothing to the Supernatural universe. She didn’t help reveal anything new about Sam’s character, and she seemed to serve only as a plot device to show what Sam was doing for the entire year and to create friction between Sam and Dean. Many in the fandom argue that a “normal” woman has no place in the Supernatural universe, and that’s a valid argument. But I feel like if the character is written well, even if she is a “normal” woman, she can still add something to the overall story. Amelia did not do that. At all. Her character actually slowed down the pace of every single episode she was in. I needed the Sam/Amelia storyline to better explain why Sam would ditch hunting for her. It didn’t. I needed the Sam/Amelia storyline to explain why Sam believes he loves her. It didn’t. I needed the Sam/Amelia storyline to explain how Amelia went from the snarky, condescending person that guilt-tripped Sam into taking a dog home to the woman that Sam would drop a job and go running to when she called. It didn’t. I needed to Sam/Amelia storyline to show me why I should care about Amelia at all. It didn’t. As a character, Amelia fell absolutely flat and I hope we never have to deal with her again.

From everything that I’ve said, it would sound like I really didn’t enjoy this episode. But that’s not true. I’m just disappointed that the Winchester world isn’t expanding. I’ve said this many times, but the main characters need really good, regular supporting characters. The supporting characters help to peel back the layers of the main characters, but only if they’re given enough time to develop a real relationship with the main characters. That’s why I loved Benny so much. We got enough time with him and Dean to really get a grasp of that relationship and reveal more about Dean. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about Amelia. I really enjoyed the fact that the Winchester in-fighting seems to be over. I don’t think it’s completely done yet though because they haven’t really dealt with their problems. They have each agreed to let go of the thing that was causing the latest dust-up, but the underlying lack of communication is still there. Although I don’t like the fighting, at least it felt more organic to the story than some of the past Winchester fights. So there’s that at least. I still think there’s a big knock-down, drag-out fight to come, but maybe that’s just me. This episode just left me feeling sad for my Boys. I want them to truly fix their relationship and I want them to choose to continue fighting together because that’s what both of them want. I want them to realize that it’s ok to want different things out of life and wanting that doesn’t mean that you’ve abandoned your family or your responsibilities. I guess they’ve taken some steps down that road, but I still feel like there’s a long way to go yet.

Curse You Hellatus!


Hello my fellow Supernatural Junkies! Ordinarily I post reviews on Thursday, but since we’re on winter break (*insert curse word here*) there’s no new show to review. However, Clarissa over at TVOvermind got together with some other writers/Supernatural fans and did a fantastic mid-season roundtable discussion article. You can find her article here, and I encourage all those interested to read it. They do a great job of breaking down all the character arcs and discussing what has worked and what hasn’t thus far. I would throw my two cents in, but they pretty much said everything I would’ve said. So do yourself a solid and go read it.

Also, I’m working on an article about Benny that I hope to publish before the show comes back in January. I really like Benny as a character and I think he’s been a great addition to the Supernatural universe. I also like the fact that Benny is being used as a mechanism to get the Winchesters’ issues out in the open in the hopes they can FINALLY deal with some of this crap. I’m collaborating with a few other folks on this article, so I’m working around their schedules. I think it’ll be good though, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, try not to be too bummed about hellatus.

Happy Christmas. Happy Chanukah. Happy Kwanza. Happy Holidays  and Merry New Year!

Supernatural 8.09 Review: The Lies that Bind

SPN Citizen Fang

Supernatural is in the habit of having powerful, game-changing mid-season cliffhangers and ‘Citizen Fang’ was no exception. Usually the mid-season finale packs an emotional gut-punch, but this felt more like an emotional right cross. Many of the Boys issues were brought to a head, and I think this episode left them in a great position to really, finally deal with all the crap that they’ve been sweeping under the rug for the past 7 seasons. Daniel Loflin delivered an emotionally heavy, taut 42 minutes of television that left me yelling at my tv as the credits rolled. This episode marks Loflin’s first solo writing credit on the show, and I must say that he did a fantastic job. I’m beginning to think that he and Andrew Dabb should write separately from now on because their solo outings have been far and away better than their joint efforts. There weren’t many of the pacing problems that usually plague their episodes and the story felt like it unfolded in a fairly organic way. There’s a lot to talk about here, so let’s get to it.

Let’s talk about Amelia first. I can sympathize with the very difficult decision Amelia was confronted with in this episode. Love triangles are never fun because someone always ends up getting hurt. But even so, the flashbacks still didn’t work for me. They felt out of place and slowed down the pace of the episode. I think maybe I would’ve enjoyed the flashbacks more if they weren’t so melodramatic and if I felt like Sam and Amelia had real chemistry. As it stands, I don’t see any spark between them much less a flame. Sam said that Amelia saved him, but how? How did Amelia go from the bitchy vet giving Sam grief about accidentally running over a dog to the woman that Sam wanted to settle down with? That transition has yet to be fully explored and as such, I’m not really invested in that (major) part of Sam’s journey this season. Also, I’m not entirely sure what Don was expecting. As far as Amelia knew, he was dead. Was she supposed to sit around in mourning for the rest of her life? Was she not supposed to grieve for him and move on? For all his talk about wanting to put Amelia’s best interests first, he seemed pretty selfish to me.

Now let’s talk about Benny. I liked Benny when he was first introduced in the season premiere. I fell in deeper like with him after we got some of his backstory in ‘Blood Brother.’ But I fell in love with him in this episode. Benny is the physical manifestation of the conflict that rages in all of us. At his core, he’s a decent guy just trying to find his place in the world. He doesn’t want to make waves for anyone and he wants to have a place he can call home. Those feelings and that nature are in direct conflict with the monster that rages inside him. He works hard to control those urges. He knows that he has to walk a fine line, but he had found people to help him fight the good fight and stay on the straight and narrow. Isn’t that what we all try to do? One of the things I loved about Benny’s conversations with Dean was how completely forthcoming he was. He admitted that it’s not easy to control the thirst, but he fights against it anyway. Many folks have made mention of the act that the Dean/Benny relationship mirrors the Sam/Ruby relationship. In some respects, that’s true. But the primary difference is the honesty of the monster involved. Everything that we’ve seen of Benny thus far has shown that he is on the up and up. He never lied to Dean in Purgatory (as far as we know) and he hasn’t lied since they’ve been out. Ruby, on the other hand, lied to Sam from the get go. And she never stopped lying to him. Benny has proven himself to be exactly what he claims to be. It was heartbreaking to see the pain and resignation on Benny’s face as he offered himself up as a sacrifice to save Elizabeth. Martin taking Elizabeth hostage was particularly cruel because it was more than just getting Benny to come back so he could kill him. After Martin realized that Elizabeth had no idea Benny was a vampire, Martin wanted to make sure he showed her what Benny is. He wanted to kill any hope Benny had of being able to go back to Elizabeth. Martin wasn’t just trying to kill Benny; he was trying to destroy him.

On that topic, I’m not entirely sure that Benny’s the one that killed Martin. The knife that Martin was holding to Elizabeth’s throat was bloody, much bloodier than it would’ve been from the cut Martin gave her. And I couldn’t really tell if those were vamp bite marks or a knife slit on his throat. I think Elizabeth killed Martin to keep him from killing Benny. I’d like to hear what actually went down, but that’s my working theory for now. Martin crossed the line when he took Elizabeth hostage and I got a flashback to Gordon Walker. One of the things I’ve always said about Gordon is that he was a monster long before he got turned into a vampire. The same looks to be true of Martin. He didn’t care that Benny wasn’t hurting anyone. He wanted to kill Benny solely because he is a vampire. That’s not hunting evil. That’s murder. Furthermore, Martin (and Sam) didn’t even consider the possibility that there was another vampire doing the killing. They had already made up their minds that it was Benny, and quite frankly, Dean could’ve brought the other vampire’s head to them on a stick and they wouldn’t have listened. Martin kept saying that the evidence was staring Dean in the face, but the truth of it is, Martin’s evidence was circumstantial at best. It didn’t add up to the person Dean knows Benny to be and it didn’t add up with the life Benny was living when Martin found him in Louisiana. To me, Martin was the true monster here. He’s supposed to protect civilians, not take them hostage and use them as bait. Martin’s bloodlust was just as strong as Benny’s.

Although I believe Elizabeth killed Martin, it presents a rather interesting problem if Benny is the one that killed him. One of the reasons I agreed with Dean killing Amy last season was that she was actually killing people. I understand she had a very good reason for doing so, but she was killing people nonetheless. If Benny killed Martin to save Elizabeth, does that mean he gets a pass? We forgive humans for killing other humans to spare the lives of their loved ones, but does that same excuse apply to monsters? If Benny killed Martin just to save Elizabeth, does that mean that Benny won’t kill again? What about the next time Elizabeth (or someone else Benny cares about) gets into a sticky situation? But does Benny deserve to die because he’s a monster killing a human in self-defense (or, more accurately, in defense of others)? What about when Dean killed Jeffery in S7 ‘Repo Man’? That was to protect others, but Dean gets a pass because it was a human killing a human? I’m conflicted and I think that’s what the Amy situation tried (unsuccessfully) to accomplish last season. This time around though, we have a truly sympathetic, well-fleshed out monster (fantastically portrayed by Ty Olsson) that was put in a no win situation. We were given enough time with Benny to form an opinion about him and understand how he feels and what he thinks. That puts us in Dean’s shoes when it comes to whether to kill Benny or not. It raises a lot of sticky questions and puts the answer solidly in the grey area.

Now let’s talk about Sam. I’m even more confused by Sam now than I have been all season. What follows may sound like Sam-bashing, but I assure you it is not. So please, Samgirls, exercise restraint. Here goes…I do not understand how Sam can be so indignant about Dean trusting Benny and saying that Benny is the only one who has never let him down. That is a true statement from Dean’s perspective. Sam knows that he let Dean down in a massive way when he chose Ruby in S4. He also knows that Dean feels let down by the fact that Sam didn’t search for him at all while he was in Purgatory. While the not looking for him in Purgatory thing is a bit murky at the moment, the Ruby thing is not. Sam had a choice between Dean and Ruby, and Sam chose Ruby. Dean even told him in the S5 premiere that he’d (Sam) had let him down in ways he couldn’t even verbalize. So the fact that Dean feels let down should not come as a great shock to Sam. But that comment wasn’t even about Sam. Not really. Dean was trying to communicate how he feels and why he has so much faith in Benny. I do not understand how Sam took a statement that, quite frankly, was not about him and turned it into an indictment against Dean for saying Benny has never let him down. Sam does not understand the bond Dean and Benny formed, and I don’t think he even wants to understand it. He’s decided that Benny is bad despite all evidence to the contrary.

When Dean tried to tell Sam what happened with Martin, Sam’s response was, “I know what happened.” And that’s the crux of the problem. Sam has decided that he already knows everything he needs to know about Benny. He’s already decided that he knows how and why Dean and Benny forged such a strong bond in Purgatory. He’s already decided that Dean is the one making a mistake here. But how could he know any of that? He wasn’t in Purgatory. And aside from asking Dean what Purgatory was like in the season premiere, Sam hasn’t even talked to Dean about Purgatory. Sam’s mind was totally closed to anything Dean had to say about Benny. That was evident throughout the episode. Sam had Martin tracking Benny, but why not have him track Kate the werewolf? Benny, like Kate, hadn’t killed anyone as far as they knew. Kate was just off into the sunset to try and control her hunger. Why was Benny the priority? This wasn’t about Benny at all. This was about Sam and his lack of faith in Dean. When Sam asked whether Dean was willing to risk innocent lives on his trust in Benny and Dean said yes, that should’ve given Sam pause. Because although he doesn’t know Benny, Sam does know Dean. He knows that Dean doesn’t just hand out his trust and loyalty like Halloween candy. Sam has to know, or rather he SHOULD know, that if Benny has earned this kind of trust from Dean, that Benny isn’t all bad. Sam seems to want to go after Benny more because he’s jealous than because of anything Benny has actually done. Sam is so upset that Dean trusts Benny so much that he can’t see how totally hypocritical he’s being. He was ready to go kill Benny off of Martin’s intel which was lacking in actual facts. Why? How was Crazy Martin more reliable than Dean? Sam was talking about how clouded Dean’s judgment was, but in truth, his judgment was just as clouded. Although I admit it was a low blow for Dean to use Amelia to get Sam to back off for a little bit, I don’t see what else he could’ve done. He tried talking to him; Sam refused to listen. He tried presenting evidence that something else was responsible for the killings; Sam wouldn’t see it. It was either misdirect Sam or Sam was going to kill Benny. I don’t see as Dean had another choice. This was not about Dean choosing Benny over Sam either. This was Dean trying to protect both Sam and Benny.

The true problem here is the total breakdown of communication between these brothers. Laura Prudom over at Huffington Post wrote a fantastic review of this episode (which you can find here) detailing the various communications failures and insecurities that have led the Winchester boys to this point. Sam seems to want Dean to just let it go that he (Sam) has let him (Dean) down in the past. But since Dean has historically pushed his feelings to the side, he can’t just let it go because he hasn’t really dealt with it. One of the primary aspects of Dean’s personality is how hard he takes it when people that he trusts betray him. If it didn’t take Dean so long to trust people and let them in, then I don’t think he’d take it as hard when they disappoint him. It’s especially true in Sam’s case. Sam has been the center of Dean’s universe his whole life. Dean has trusted Sam and stood by him even when Sam had no right to ask Dean to do so. So for Sam to make some of the choices he’s made regarding Dean, it makes sense for Dean to feel let down and abandoned. You can’t count the time that Sam was soulless though because I don’t really count that as being Sam. But Dean is totally justified in feeling let down about Sam choosing Ruby in S4 and about Sam not looking for him while he was in Purgatory. One thing that definitely needs to happen (but probably won’t because it’s not really the Winchester way) is that they need to really talk to and listen to each other. Sam hasn’t really made any effort to try to understand how and why Dean trusts Benny so completely. He just assumes he knows. Dean hasn’t really made any effort to try to understand how and why Amelia means so much to Sam and how his disappearance affected Sam. Both of them are talking without saying anything and they certainly aren’t listening with an open mind. They talk AT each other instead of TO each other which leaves both of them feeling like their voice has not been heard. They never really deal with any of the issues that have snowballed over the years, and that gets us to where we are now. Part of the reason that all of this stuff happened was that Sam didn’t trust Dean’s judgment about Benny. If he hadn’t sent Martin to Louisiana, Benny most likely would’ve handled the rogue vamp and gone about his merry way living quietly with his great-granddaughter. If Dean had trusted Sam a bit more, then maybe he could’ve taken Sam with him when he went to investigate what happened with the killings. Then Sam could’ve seen Benny for himself and he would’ve had more of an opportunity to form his own opinion about him.

My few nitpicks aside, this was a fantastic mid-season finale. It brought all of the issues that have been simmering under the surface to a boil and laid the groundwork for some real growth and maturing in the Boys. I don’t think Sam and Dean are ever going to have the same worldview and I doubt they’re ever going to completely understand each other. But I do think it’s possible for them to get to a place where they respect each other as individuals and learn what they should’ve learned in kindergarten: honesty is the best policy. I am loving S8 thus far and I’m excited to see what Jeremy Carver and Co. have in store for us for the second half of the season. I’m pretty bummed that we have to wait all the way until mid-January to see the fallout from everything that happened in ‘Citizen Fang’ though. Curse you hellatus!