Note - I really enjoyed this episode especially after the terrible Bitten. To me it showed signs of life for the Supernatural I have known and loved 7 years previously.
Previously - Sam doesn't hunt because Amelia's awwwsome, Sam wants normal again, Dean was in Purgatory and it felt pure, Benny had a way out, Dean released Benny, Dean and Benny hug, Cas was mopey, Dean hugged Cas, Dean isn't leaving Cas in Purgatory, Kevin was a prophet, his mom approved, Kevin disappeared with mom, Crowley has tablet and wants Kevin
In a shipyard in Eagle Harbor, Washington, Benny strolls in a spiffy sailor hat. He finds Quentin who's visibly stunned to see him. It's not every day you run into the vampire you helped behead. Benny asks where the Old Man is but Quentin's not talking and he has backup. Benny snarks before beheading them all. The title card flashes as we're in Enid, Oregon with the Bickerson brothers. It's sad when I'd rather watch secondary characters than the Winchesters, but give me multi vamp ganking versus bickering any day. The brothers are chasing Kevin Tran, and the teen is winning - argh! Where's my smart brothers? They follow his credit card trail to a motel he obviously never stayed at. The brothers bicker as Dean raids the minifridge. Dean: "The kid's like Rain Man. He's like a cr** little credit card counting, criminal prodigy Rain Man." Sam: "Well he was in Advanced Placement." That's no excuse. You outmaneuvered the King of Hell. They argue about Dean trying to kill the Crowley-possessed Mrs. Tran until Dean gets a phone call. Dean: "Hold that thought. No actually, don't hold that thought." Thank goodness. It was vexing. Dean heads outside on the premise of not having enough bars. Really he doesn't want Sam to hear this conversation. Benny's on the phone in terrible shape. Benny: "Hey Dean, you um…you got a minute? 'Fraid I messed up buddy." Dean: "What did you do?" Benny: "No man, not like that." Sam looks out the window as Dean finishes his call. Benny: "I was kind of hoping maybe I could ask ya' for one more favor." Suddenly Dean packs and Sam is fit to be tied. Sam: "And…and what exactly's 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…the Winchester Holy Grail, shut the gates of hell forever case." Dean: "Sure are but in order to close the gates of hell we need our prophet. Am I right? So step 1 - 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 could possibly put us so Step 2 - Find Kevin Tran. You mind if I take the Toberlone?" Bwah! Nice tension break. Alas it doesn't last. Sam: "Wait…Dean, seriously?" Dean: "Hey the trail is dead but the room is paid for. You got some research to do and I've got some personal cr** I've got 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, cr**." Sam: "Damn it." Dean: "What? Sam, last I counted you took a year off from the job. I need a day." Ouch! This brother rift needs to end soon.
As Dean drives to Benny, he muses about Purgatory. I muse about where the brother relationship is going. I see no win or purpose. If it doesn't improve soon, I may toss some people in LA like Dean gets tossed in Purgatory. Dean cuts off a monster's head; Benny whistles In the Hall of the Mountain King. It's creepy, foreboding, and surprisingly jaunty - perfect! Love Guy Bee's choice here. More monsters attack so Dean and Benny go into full battle mode. In the present, Sam downs coffee and peruses Kevin's credit card files. Sam: "You are a wascally wabbit Mr. Tran." Ugh that line is awful! He switches to Amelia's files instead. Sam: "Concerned. Not stalking. Concerned." Bwah! Now that's more like it. He's interrupted by a noise and like Sam I get ready for supernatural evil. Instead it's a squeaky fan, which leads to a Sam flashback. He walks into the motel to talk to Everett about using a new credit card since he's staying longer. Everett is the second person to make it sound like Sam ran over the dog on purpose. Really? Have none of you seen a dog run into the street? Bah! The conversation is interrupted by a faulty air conditioner. Sam offers to fix it and Everett offers him a job as a handy man. I'm baffled since we've never seen Sam as a Mr. Fix-It type, usually allowing Dean to repair whatever they need. I like this development. It adds to Sam's characterization instead of relying on his Geek Boy persona to get a job.
Meanwhile, Dean arrives at the Puget Sound and we get a beautiful daylight shot of Baby. Love the Impala porn this year! Dean finds a cooler of AB negative in Benny's truck but Benny's barely alive. Dean: "Benny! Not looking good." Benny: "Up yours." Ha! I like him. By night he's showered, blooded, and good as new to Dean's shock. Benny: "Yeah well a little rest, half a cooler full of AB negative, most wounds short of an amputation will mend up, vampirically speaking." He thanks Dean and tries to vamoose but Dean insists on knowing what's up, complete with a patented "I won't let it go" stare. Benny flashes back to Purgatory with its beheading and blood. Castiel zaps a monster with his Palm Power. I sigh. I hoped at least in Purgatory there'd be no angel powers. Blech. Benny snaps me out though with snark. Benny: "Well I got to admit Dean he's got his strong points, but holy hell if he ain't a magnet." Dean: "Wha…before we found Cas you said it was my humanity that was drawing too much attention." Benny: "Yeah that too." Cas asks for all of us, " If you murder a monster in monster heaven, where does it go?" Hmm. Benny continues his crusade to make me like him best of currently "living" secondary characters. 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 with to your sibling offspring." Benny: "Now you're kidding me." Dean: "Oh, you two are killing me." He may not love this dialogue but I do. They're entertaining; brother bickering is irksome. Cas agrees with Benny. It's not wise to travel with a seraph. Huh? Was Cas promoted? Whatever. I lost track of all Cas' incarnations. They change him to fit the plot. Benny breaks it down for the audience. "You 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." However Dean won't leave a soldier behind and I cheer for Loyal Dean, him I recognize. Dean: "Listen to me you undead blood junkie, I'm the one with the mojo. I'm the one with the plan. Cas, we're going to shove your a** back through the eye of that needle if it kills all three of us." Benny: "Obviously I'm less than comfortable with that." Bwah! Ty Olsson's deadpan delivery sells it.
Back in primetime, Benny explains he's hunting his sire. Dean wonders why. Benny: "Kill him before he kills me. Again." Okay. We awkwardly transition back to Sam who watches a bug get zapped. Foreboding omen maybe? No time to ponder - it's Sam flashback #2. Sam fixes an ice machine and Everett asks him to look at a backed up sink. Surprise, it's Amelia's sink. She freaks out because well, there's a large man in her place when she enters. I'd freak too. For some reason we flip back to Dean and Benny. It'd be nice to get all flashbacks together instead of 10 second increments. These jumps are hard to recap. Dean and Benny find a list of yacht launches and destinations. Benny's nest boards yachts scheduled for long trips to feed and then burn the boats to cover the evidence. Impressive plan, keeps cops and hunters off your trail. Dean: "Vampire pirates. That's what you guys are. Vampirates." Benny: "You know all the years we ran together, I can't believe nobody ever thought of that." Dean: "What do you mean? It's like the third thing you say." Benny: "No it isn't." Ha! Still neither Edlund nor Dean coined the term vampirate. It's a YA book series. Dean steals a dead vamp's cash and figures out where Sire lives. As they head towards Prentiss Island, Benny tells his sad story about the love of a good heiress and their tragic end. Benny explains that sires are like gods to new vamps as he reaches for a leftover blood bag. Dean: "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." Yikes Benny, you're defiling Baby! Benny describes his love Andrea's beauty and Dean snarks, "Seriously. What…was Fabio on the cover of that paperback?" Bwah! I eye rolled the tale too. Sire tracked them down where they were hiding, beheaded Benny, and ripped out Andrea's throat. Not big on romance I guess. Of course, no way Andrea is actually dead. Why have one tragic end to a sappy love story when you can have two?
Dean and Benny pull up to the docks at Prentiss Island, where Dean looks at home jumping from a moving boat to the dock and tying it up. Since when does Dean have boating skills? The brothers get handy, never-heard-of-before talents tonight. Who knew? They walk through a forest that reminds Benny of Purgatory. Dean's too busy texting Sam to really focus, but he changes his mind and erases it. Not sure what the point was but at least it seemed like something Dean would do. Benny's having trouble adjusting 2012 life and actually admits as much to Dean. Wow! That's unusual on this show. Benny: "It's weird being back. The world I mean. Isn't it?" Dean: "It sure as hell is." Benny: "I mean what do you do with it all? All the….all the everything. Hell I don't even know if this world is real. If I'm real." Dean: "Hey listen to me, I've seen what happens down that rabbit hole. Okay. We're real. Benny this is real. It's the only way to play this game. You get me?" This whole conversation reminds me of a less emotionally charged warehouse scene from Hello, Cruel World. They break into the mansion where Benny is distracted by a harpsichord and a photo of Andrea, surprising absolutely no one. In stunning good timing, she walks down the stairs and some vamps knock Benny out. Dean, in the other room, sees it all. Dean: "Idiot." Me: "Bwah!" When Benny comes to, Sorrento threatens him. Dean meanwhile doesn't answer Sam's phone call because he's busy trying to be stealthy.
Sam calls Dean's other other cell to no avail, prompting a continuation of his flashback. Amelia still rages. Amelia: "Why are you fixing my sink?" Sam: "Well because somebody jammed about 800 limes down the drain and blew out the disposal." Idiot! Of course the sink clogged. Sam says he's helping Everett while his dad's sick but Amelia doesn't know the kid's name even though she's lived there 3 MONTHS! Really? Is she hiding from a stalker? The police? What kind of vet with disposable income would live at the kind of motel Dean and Sam inhabit? Sam questions why she's still there but Amelia doesn't think it's strange. Sam: "A motel is not actually part of the town that it's in. It's not part of anywhere." Yikes! That summarizes Sam's view of his life. Amelia harps again, becoming even more unlikeable, as Sam leaves. Jeremy Carver, make Amelia sympathetic so we understand why Sam cares one jot for her. She's too annoying right now. Sam's reverie ends when Dean calls back. Dean: "Why did you call me?" Sam: "Why are you whispering?" Dean: "It's kind of hard to explain right now. I'm sort of in the middle of cleaning out a vampire nest and it's sort of gone a little sideways on me." Sam: "What? You an idiot Dean? You know better than to go into a vamp nest alone." Dean: "I'm not alone damn it. Alright I'm not alone. I've got backup. The guy's been tracking the nest for awhile." Sam: "What guy? Garth?" Dean: "What? No. You don't know him. He's a friend." Sam: "A friend? Dean you don't have any. All your friends are dead." Harsh reality! They don't have many allies left. Still I puzzle over why Sam freaks out. Just 2 episodes ago he said it would be best for Dean to hunt alone so he could hunt without explaining anything to anyone including Sam. Dean essentially took Sam's advice but now Sam flips. What does Sam think will happen when Dean's solo? He'll obviously hunt bigger things than vamps, which he's taken out for a year now. They need to explain where Sam's head's at because how they write him makes absolutely no sense. First one way, then another. Even in the hated demon blood storyline, I knew his reasoning. This Sam baffles me.
Unfortunately it's back to the boredom that is Benny's doomed love life. That's two love stories in a row. Supernatural writers please stop watching Twilight and maybe watch a little SPN instead. I'd be a happier fan. Andrea sends the other vamps to Sire and Benny realizes she outranks them. Benny: "Well sleeping with god has got to have some perks." Ouch! Andrea slaps him but once the other vamps leave it's a sappy reunion - all apologies and forgiveness and complications. And kissing. Benny apologies for Sire turning her. Andrea: "No. It's not your fault. You never hid anything from me Benny. I chose you." Argh! Change your name to Bella and get it over with. At least Andrea has a plan: "Benny I can't kill him. None of us can. But you…you came back from the grave. You're proof that he's not all powerful. That he's not god. He's scared of you Benny, I know it." Benny: "You understand that I came back to burn his operation to the ground. To stop the killing." Andrea: "Do what you came for and we can be together." Awww. This plan is doomed to fail. Andrea gives Benny handcuff keys and a knife as Sorrento enters. On the other side of the house, Sam still yells at Dean: "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." Egads, that separate lives line kills me. Again logic flies out the window with Sam freaking over Dean hunting alone yet still wanting separate lives. I'm confused but I love Sam showing how worried he is for Dean. Dean on the other hand uses a ticked off Sam as vampire bait, laying the phone in a bowl while he moves off. Sam of course isn't read in on the plan. Sam: "Yeah I got it. Look I'm on my way. And…listen, if…if you handle it, great. I'll buy your friend the first round but Dean listen to me….Dean. Dean are you there? Dean. Dean. You kidding me?" The vamp picks up the phone while Dean cuts off its head. Sadly the phone breaks in the fall and Dean can't tell Sam he's fine. Sam throws the phone. Dean drags off the corpse only to encounter another fang.
I brace for action but nope, it's Benny vs Sire. Benny: "Hello father." Sire: "Benny, I have no words." Benny: "Now I know that ain't true." Bwah! He is the chatty villain type. Sire questions him about hell but Benny says, "Right next door, as far as I could tell." Sire: "Next door? What's that?" Benny: "Oh I think I'll just have to show you." No happy family reunion here. Sire talks regret; Benny asks about Andrea. It's all dramatic but I'm impatient for Benny to chop off his head. Instead Dean chops off two vamps' heads in the coolest shot of the night. Vamps chase Dean to another room. All of a sudden there's blade noises and a vampire head shoots across the hallway. Awesome! Trigger more Purgatory flashbacks. Dean: "What the hell do you know about the value of life? You're a vampire." Benny: "Yep and I think we both know which of our kinds kills more humans." Cas: "Well statistically speaking that'd be yours." Dean: "Yes, thank you Cas." Benny knows Dean is uneasy letting a vampire into the world but he's strictly non-living now. Benny: " I already told you man, by the time I got iced I was strictly on blood transfusions. Donated blood. Not donated to me I'll give you that, but I paid good black market scratch for it." Dean: "So what is that? Like the Vampire Zone diet." Benny: "Look all I'm saying is I started seeing something in humanity okay. Something that shouldn't be taken. I drink blood. I don't drink people." Happy to hear it. Now I hope it's true because the last thing we need is another Ruby. Dean is skeptical but Benny's too frustrated about the unwanted attention Cas is bringing. Cas interrupts them with a Leviathan alert. Cas: "Run!"
They run as present day Sam steals a car and flashes back. Sam: "Oh no Dog, don't bother the angry lady. Uh hey, sorry." Amelia: "Dog? That's what you're calling him." They talk Dog's health. Sam compliments Amelia's stitching, then sad faces that she finds him creepy. Amelia: "You come from nowhere, you appear to be going nowhere, and you've quote seen a lot of stitches. It's all pretty solid creepy." I agree. If I didn't know Dean and Sam, I would find their lifestyle, fake names, and general shiftiness creepy too. Sam calls her on being lonely. 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." They bond over woeful faces and while Amelia is the most mysterious person this season, I still don't quite like her. Hopefully that changes soon. Sad guitars bring to the present as Sam tries calling Dean again to no avail. He punches the gas past 90 mph to get to Dean quicker and I cheer. We finally get a glimpse of the true Sam again.
Back at the house, Sire is STILL talking. Sire: "I suppose you coming back from the dead…well, that's the definition of mutiny isn't it? All of this has me feeling so tired." Me too buddy. Bad enough you look like Robert Pattison, but at your age you should know to kill first monologue later. Benny: "Really? You live so long, how is it you have so little hmm? Nothing but a beat up old harpsichord and a nest of hyenas." Sire: "I have the sea and I have Andrea." Benny: "No, you don’t have her. Least that much I know." Benny shows Sire the handcuffs and takes down Sorrento: "Where the hell'd you learn to fight like that?" Benny: "I've had a lot of practice." So true. Let's get back to that. No? How sad. Benny drops the knife and begs Sire to engage but he keeps yapping. Sire: "This universe is a pyramid of despair. Nothing else." Benny: "A little dark." Sire: "I am evil after all. At least I've had that much to keep me cold at night." Wow! That's the worst line of the night. It's not even cheesetastic. It's just lame. He calls Benny, "My poor Benjamin" and Benny loses it. He flings Sire against a cabinet but Sire won't fight, playing psychological games instead. Thankfully Benny chops his head off instead. Finally the monologuing ends. Benny emerges with a bloody knife and tells Andrea it's over but she wants to stay. Benny: "You're not leaving here are you? And you never were." Andrea: "We have everything we need right here. The operation is still perfect. We can ride the high seas, plunder together. We can have the life we always wanted." Benny'd rather take the whole place down. 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." Andrea fangs out but Dean comes behind her and one machete chop later it's a second tragic ending to their damned love story. The music swells. So sad. Let's get back to Leviathans.
Or go poolside. Dean and Benny untie the boat but Benny's wrapped in despair. 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! You good?" Benny: "Man I don’t know what I am." I feel sorry for Benny in a way previous episodes tried to make me feel for their guest characters. Well done Ty Olsson and Jensen Ackles. This scene is powerful, showing how much Dean cares about his vampire friend. Please don't let it be all for naught around episode 16. Still it's a good question so it's back to Purgatory for answers. Levis shoot down like tar cannon balls and reformulate into humanoids. Not sure why they don't keep their natural form but it is the coolest special effects we've had in a long time. Like something out of Terminator. It's the first time I've been excited about Leviathan since the start of season 7. Dean quickly takes one's head off but another pins Cas down. Benny to the rescue and another Levi's beheaded. I'm a big fan of how cool this is. Not a big fan of how easy it is to kill Levis in Purgatory. Really? Minus the stellar entrance, they aren't any harder to kill than vamps. How lame! Dean looks surprised that Benny saved Cas and it's probably the beginning step to Dean trusting him. Not the whole way I'm sure but a start. Anyway, Purgatory is cool so kudos to its abundance tonight.
As the boat pulls to the dock, a very ticked Sam waits. Uh oh! Dean might prefer more Levis to Sam now. I'm confused about why Sam isn't relieved to see Dean at first, but rage radiates off him right from the start. Dean throws the line to Sam who ties up the boat while Dean gets the duffels. Benny introduces himself to Sam. They shake hands and Sam realizes he's a monster immediately. I have no earthly idea how. Lilith believes he checked for a pulse but his fingers are curled like you'd normally shake a hand. Others have surmised that Benny's hands were cold, but mine get really cold even in temperate weather. I'm going with plot device since nothing else makes sense. Sam looks intensely at Dean and slowly goes for his weapon while Benny sadly looks down. Annoying heartbeat music thumps loudly in the background in case we missed the importance. One look at Sam tells us it is. He's shocked and livid. Dean slowly shakes his head no and Sam lets go. Benny: "I can see you two have a lot to talk about." Benny pats Dean on the shoulder in sympathy and walks off. Dean looks straight into the chilliest Sammy ticked face I've ever seen as the scene fades to black. Yikes! Next week will be intense. Before I can dwell longer on that awesome scene, I'm reeling from Sam's characterization again. I've harped on how poorly Sam's been written a lot but really! Sam has always been more gray about monsters, taking a wait and see approach. Last week he was visibly relieved when Dean chose to let Kate go. Why would he take a gank first, question later stance with Benny? He knows Dean trusted him enough to partner with him on this hunt and he can see Benny didn't harm Dean. Dean even called Benny a friend. While I know it puzzles Sam, as it did me at first, I'm not sure how that translates into wanting to kill him before getting the story. This is not Sam at all.
Despite the slowness of Benny's love story and Sam being obviously out of character, I really enjoyed this episode. The direction was brilliant with several shots making me laugh or taking my breath away. Kudos to Guy Bee for such a brilliant job. I liked Benny's back story and loved all the Purgatory flashbacks. I hope Benny and Cas continue bickering with Dean as the fed up parent. Sam's handyman skills were fun; I hope they don't drop that when flashbacks are done. I'd like to see his story come together faster though. Right now I'm leaning toward Amelia having a supernatural stalker and that's why she's hiding. It would explain the shadow outside her home too. Of course since I think that's what will happen it won't, but it's fun to speculate. I also speculate we'll have one major brother blow out coming but that's nowhere near fun. All in all this was BY FAR the best episode of the season so far for me. It gave me back the Supernatural feel I have been lacking while helping to clarify some things. Let's hope they continue in this direction but get rid of the brother rift. Also, keep Benny and don't make him evil. He's an awesome character and Ty Olsson is doing a bang up job portraying him.
PS - There have been waves in the fandom about the boat being named C & D. Some fans are taking it as a shout out to Cas and Dean. Some fans are saying it should be S & D. Rest assured. It's just an inside joke. When Jensen bought his own boat, the crew wanted him to call it The Captain and Danneel. He didn't so they put it in here instead. The confirmation came from Guy Bee himself, director of this episode.
Scorecard - Here's how the rankings break down in my scorecard.
1 = One of the best episodes in all of Supernatural, or in all of TV for that matter.
2 = A great episode when judged against other Supernatural episodes.
3 = A good Supernatural episode, which means it's better than almost anything else on TV
4 = An okay episode when judged against other SPN episodes, meaning still better than most TV.
5 = A poor episode, meaning only better than some TV.
Screencaps by Home of the Nutty