Supernatural: Citizen Fang

Dean: "You put 'mostly okay' Martin on Benny?"

Points for a terrific episode title, and it was definitely a good episode, but I was underwhelmed. Supernatural fall finales are usually stronger than this.

Don't get me wrong. Benny is an interesting character, and I like that they're exploring the softening of Dean's previous set-in-stone conviction that all monsters deserve to die. It means that Dean is maturing and changing because of his experiences, and that's good. I was also pleased that Benny wasn't responsible for the mayhem this time, and I thought it was cool that they gave him a relative to care about (Elizabeth, played by Kathleen Munroe, who is turning up in many shows that I like; please bring her back!).

But the purpose of this episode was to break the Winchesters apart. Again. It may be helpful when it comes to creating dramatic tension in such a long-running show, but on Supernatural, I much prefer conflict coming from without than within. I hate seeing the boys turn on each other. Sam sending Martin to shadow Benny without telling Dean, Dean using a faked text from Amelia to get Sam out of the way, resulting in Martin's death – both actions were personal betrayals. And yes, I absolutely get where both brothers were coming from. Sam is still angry about Amy Pond and unhappy about returning to the hunting life, and Dean feels responsible for Benny as a friend to the point of lashing out at Sam. I can't say that either of them acted out of character.

Benny said he didn't feel "the hunger" in Purgatory, but he certainly does now; he was looking at Dean's neck in a lustful sort of way. I think they're leaving it open that Benny might eventually bite someone – in which case, Sam will be vindicated. (And so will Dean, for taking out Amy.) But I don't want it to happen. I actually went "awww" when Benny put his head down on the counter, ready to die for Elizabeth... except that he didn't, and we didn't see what went down. I get why he might have faked giving up, though, really. How could Benny give up his life and not know for certain that Elizabeth would be okay? And if Benny is staying off the "sauce," why shouldn't he fight for his life?


But I felt bad for Martin. He obviously wasn't able to handle hunting again and should have gotten out of the game while the getting was good. Sam should have considered that. I don't know – if you want to post a comment, tell me if you think one of the brothers was more at fault here. I'm sort of leaning toward Sam, if only for Martin's sake. But Dean could be making a serious mistake with Benny, too.

Finally, it appears that we may have reached the end of the badly segued flashbacks. Sam did indeed leave because Amelia's husband Don returned, but Amelia wanted to stay with Sam instead of Don. I thought at first that Don had sent the text so that he could make Sam see him all happy with Amelia, but no. Don appears to be sane and reasonable, a nice guy.

I do think Sam made the right decision, though. Women who get involved with the Winchesters usually don't have much of a future. I mean, really. Look what almost happened to Lisa and Ben. What if Lucifer got out of the box, and found out Sam had a girlfriend in Kermit, Texas?

Bits:

— The scene with Benny alone burying the body was photographed like the Purgatory scenes. I'm missing the Purgatory scenes. They were awesome.

— This week: Kermit, Texas and Carencro, Louisiana. Carencro (great name) is Benny's home town. The Beaudelaire rooming house in Carencro featured exposed brick (but not in a good way) and ancient appliances.

— The scenes in Kermit, Texas featured cool weather. Okay, it's winter, but it made me think. I've lived in Texas, and much of the year in Texas it is very, very, extremely, suffocatingly hot. They never seem to show hot weather on Supernatural, do they? Is it because they film in Vancouver, or the sort of layered wardrobe we usually see on the Winchesters, or both? I wouldn't object to the two of them sweating in tank tops now and then, would you?

— This was the fall finale. Supernatural returns January 16.

Three out of four imaginary tank tops,

Billie
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Billie Doux has been reviewing Supernatural for so long that Dean and Sam Winchester feel like old friends. Courageous, adventurous, gorgeous old friends.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I blame Martin's death on Martin. Sam told him not to hunt Benny, Dean told him not to hunt Benny and he did anyway. I don't think Sam went after Benny because of Amy. Like it or not, Sam does not know Benny and he doesn't because Dean didn't tell Sam about Benny and didn't make any effort for Sam to get to know Benny and make an independent judgement about him. All Sam knows is that Benny is a vampire that Dean met in Purgatory and who fought by Dean's side. He doesn't know that Benny stopped drinking blood before he died. He doesn't know anything about him. Dean expected Sam to trust Dean's judgement on Benny. So Sam took what he thought was a middle course. He had Benny watched. If no bodies dropped then he would leave Benny alone. When bodies did start dropping, he gave Dean time to investigate. Unfortunately the only thing Dean came back with was the fact that Benny said he didn't do it and there was another vampire killing people. Dean believed him, but Sam believed Amy last season and Dean said that Sam was too close to make that call. Eventually we see that Benny is telling the truth, but if he had been killing, he still would have told Dean that he didn't do it and there was another vampire in the area doing it. Dean trusted his word, Sam didn't.

The only vampires that Sam or we know that were vegetarians were Lenore and her group. And the group was important, because they acted as a support system to keep each other from falling off the wagon. It was like a built in AA meeting to keep them off people. They had been working on not drinking people for years. And then even they fell with the pressure of Eve. Benny has no support system, no nest trying to keep clean.

Finally Benny was blood free for one year with Andrea. He drank people for what 50? 100? years before he found her. That is a lot of dead people and no pressing reason to hold back, except his own morality. Should Sam have simply hoped that Benny wold stay clean? Watching him was not a betrayal of Dean. It was trying to keep people safe while not rushing to judgement on Benny. I mean, he didn't go behind Dean's back and cut Benny's head off and then lie to Dean and say he trusted Dean on Benny and let him go.

Martin was a horrible misjudgement, but again I understand. Even when Martin was in the institution, he was able to spot the wraith, know something supernatural was going on and contact Sam and Dean for help. He wasn't ready to leave the mental health ward, but he was not an incompetent hunter. What he was, is a hunter like John, or Roy and Walt or Gordon or almost every other hunter except Sam, Dean and maybe Garth. If it's a monster you kill it. Heck those were Dean's rules the last time Sam was with him and Dean is only willing to consider another perspective when it is HIS friend. Sam knows Dean has changed. He saw the PTSD when Dean first came out. He has seen Dean act differently. He can't know how much Benny influenced Dean and if Dean is correct in his perspective of Benny. After all, Dean remembered what happened to Castiel wrong, why not Benny? And should Sam just let Benny go with no way to follow him. Sam didn't call Martin, Martin called him asking for a way to ease back into the life and Sam eased his conscience by having him check to see if Benny was staying clean. Martin was a mistake, but he wasn't a betrayal IMHO.

Dean I have mixed feelings on. Dean had the phone swap set up for "some time" possibly months. He had planned to at some time pull Sam's chain, convince him that yet again a woman that he had loved was in mortal danger. Seeing "Amelia's" message had to bring back visions of Jess and Madison and Dean used those tragedies to trick Sam. He had what he thought was a good reason but in the end pulling Sam away left Martin on his own with no one to talk him down.

The whole thing is a tragedy, but no one is really to blame. Everyone played their part.

Anonymous said...

Consider the history Dean and Sam's history. They've always killed the monster. (Sam let his childhood girlfriend live, but Dean went back and killed her.) They don't make exceptions.

That's all Martin did.

The only reason Martin looks bad is he's not the star of the show.

Eldritch

Eldritch

Patrick said...

I haven't really been following Supernatural too closely this year, I just wanna echo the sentiment about Kathleen Munroe as Elizabeth. I've been a fan of hers since I first saw her in an episode of the Dresden Files series a few years back. She's like the new Emmanuelle Vaugier, appearing in a whole bunch of shows I watch, and I've liked her pretty much every time. I wish someone would be smart enough to give her a regular gig(unless she prefers the variety of doing guest roles).

Evan said...

Apparently vampires are immune to sunlight. Benny was out in the sun burying that body for a good while, and didn't even show a strain towards it.

ChrisB said...

I've commented several times this season that I like the idea of an internal conflict being this year's Big Bad; but, this week's made me very sad. The boys seem to be getting to a place that I just can't see them coming back from.

Like percysowner, I'm not convinced that Sam having Benny followed was a personal betrayal of Dean; he just picked the wrong person to do it. Sam is struggling with so much; he's been pulled back into the hunting life, but the person with whom he has been hunting all these years has changed. I think Sam is, understandably, confused about Dean's relationship with Benny and worried that Dean's loyalty is going to get people killed. He's trying to walk a very fine line with Dean.

The text, on the other hand, was wrong. For Dean to manipulate Sam's emotions like that was a enormous betrayal and it may now backfire. I'm curious to see where the Amelia story is going; but, I don't hold out hope that she has a long life expectancy.

I have been Team Dean for so long that, like a first love, there will always be part of me that roots for him. Yet, this season he has been remarkably unsympathetic. He is constantly angry and sarcastic, he appears to be more loyal to Benny than to even Castiel and now he has pulled this stunt with Sam. How much more can the brothers take before they destroy the relationship and, most likely, each other?

Anonymous said...

I agree with alot of what everyone is saying... one thing...
Martin was behaving as a hunter who saw things in black and white: if it's a monster, you kill it. However, I don't believe Dean (back in his black and white days) would have ever held an innocent person hostage or threatened them with death in order to achieve that end. Martin's handling of Elizabeth was not "hunter code", if you will... but after all, he probably wasn't ready.

Lik G said...

Doesn't in episode 1 when Sam going to see Dean, he is leaving Amelie in bed? Does that mean that the incredibly dull flashbacks aren't over??? i don't get this, Dean's purgatory flashbacks was AWESOME, and they were wrapped up really quickly, but Sam's dull romancy meeting the daddy-get a dog-fall in love flashbacks go oooooooon and ooooon.
i dont like Sam at all this season, he doesn't give his brother the benefit of the doubt, and after all the crap he put him through, he OWES him at least something.
that Martin dude was ANNOYING, all shaky and unstable trying to be a bad-ass, good thing he's dead, we have enough annoying crap with Amelia and her daddy and her hubby and her doggy.
i loved Benny tho, and Dean.. not the best episode, but not bad. Can't wait for Jan 16. :)

Jess Lynde said...

You know who I really feel bad for in all this? Benny. The guy was clean and fighting to stay on the wagon, and by condemning him as a monster, Martin forced him to become one again (it looked to me like Benny had fed on Martin). That's the real tragic irony here.

I think I pretty much agree with percysowner and Chris B that Sam made the right call to keep tabs on Benny, he just made the very wrong call in bringing "mostly okay" Martin on board. You could maybe argue that he also pushed things too far by going after Benny with Martin after Martin knocked Dean out. But I can also understand why he'd have trouble just going with Dean's gut on "Benny didn't do it."

And can you really blame him? Dean asks Sam to trust him on Benny, but meanwhile has set up a pre-planned ruse to manipulate Sam through a woman he cares about. That's a totally crappy thing to do to your brother. I'm not sure why Sam should trust Dean at all anymore. And it's obvious that Dean doesn't trust Sam. Other than "family ties" and "they've got no one else" it doesn't actually make much sense to me that they'd stay together at this point. Their relationship seems irrevocably broken.

Yea, Kathleen Munroe! And did you notice that Don was played by Paul Campbell? Billy from Battlestar Galactica! He looked different and so much older, I almost didn't recognize him. Nice to see him again though.

Lik G said...

Jess Lynde are you serious? why Sam should trust Dean?
maybe because Dean went to hell for him, or had his back after Sam freed Lucifer, or fought like crazy to get Sams soul back?

while when dean went missing,and fought for his life for a year he hit a dog and get into some annoying girl's pants. i don't know from the beginning of the show Dean was a very good brother, in my opinion. dick at times, sure. but he would do anything for Sam, while Sam was kinda bitchy.
his brother who did everything he could for him, and practically raised him came back from purgatory, he could at least pretend to be happy about it,for like 5 min', instead of lusting after his precious Amelia all the god damn time..

Jess Lynde said...

Lik G, yes, I'm serious. While both brothers have demonstrated loyalty to each other and fought for each other numerous times, they have also both lied to and betrayed each other. These two have broken relationship, and it is not the fault of just one brother. Both own part of that blame.

And regardless of what Dean may have done for Sam in the past, making him think that a woman he cared deeply for was in danger to get him out of the way is an extremely crappy maneuver. Especially knowing that Sam had watched a previous love get burned to death. It is not a move that should engender trust.

Josie Kafka said...

Lik G, please remember to be civil. Disagreement is lovely and welcome.

Exaggerated anger signified by a series of questions and an attempted dismissal of another's point of view is not.

Lik G said...

Omg that just how i argue, lol sorry if it was taken the wrong way :)
Im just not feeling Sam this season, he's kinda douchy, and not even listening to Dean, i cant believe he left Dean unconscious in the hotel room and left with halfway Martin. While maybe it wasnt cool to text Sam, i dont know what else he could have done,his brother just wouldnt listen, and Dean was right to trust Benny, he did nothing wrong.

Josie Kafka said...

Lik G, thank you for understanding!

Anonymous said...

The standoff at the diner was so tense, I was shaking all over. And I just knew that either Benny would be framed for killing Martin or Martin would kill Benny.
The episode was really good and although I like Sam´s flashbacks, I miss the Purgatory flashbacks.

drnanamom said...

Thanks for the review Billie. I'm kind of tired of the whole breaking the boys up thing that happens every season but many of the brothers I know have a love/hate relationship and do crappy things to each other but still have each other's backs. The good thing is how much it gets everyone talking about the show. I'm with Jess - if I was their sister I would want to knock their heads together. They are both being idiots but considering how much they have been through it's not surprising.

drnanamom said...

PS. Yes I would like to see them in tank tops and yes, it would be very difficult to fake Texas weather in Vancouver :).

Amy Ennis said...

Carencro, LA is right down the Interstate from me, and just a few weekends ago, Jensen was in our little town of Natchitoches, LA to see the Christmas lights. Squee! Not that I got to see him...

I hate to say it, but this episode was based on the same old brotherly conflict that Supernatural has depended on for so long. Both Sam and Dean are doing things they shouldn't be doing, and I'm disappointed in them both.

Anonymous said...

@Old Anonymous:

Anonymous said...

Consider the history Dean and Sam's history. They've always killed the monster. (Sam let his childhood girlfriend live, but Dean went back and killed her.) They don't make exceptions.

That's all Martin did.

The only reason Martin looks bad is he's not the star of the show.


BS. You don't use a human as bait like that. He deserved what he got, star of the show or not.

Anonymous said...

While Martin's death is sad, it's hard to fault Benny for trying to protect his granddaughter.

I agree that Sam was right to keep tabs on Benny and that Dean's text distraction was a low blow, but I can't figure out why Sam is so strongly anti-Benny. They've let "vegetarian" vampires go before (I don't remember her name but she was played by Tara from Buffy), and Benny has earned the benefit of the doubt. So I think part of the problem is that at the moment Dean doesn't seem to have enough trust built up with Sam (and the text is NOT going to make it better).

Mandy

Suzie_B said...

I felt bad for Martin right up until he took Benny's granddaughter hostage. I don't understand that hunter logic. We also had that dude that did the same thing to the Ruguru (no idea how to spell that!) way back when. I must say that if someone put my daughter or nephews in danger, I would not hesitate to put a bullet in their face. And the boys are the same. It irks me when they use this to show that monsters will kill. Dude, we would all turn into murdering monsters to save the people we love.

Both brothers have been in the wrong, and Martin was bat-crap crazy and had no right hunting again. I felt bad for Benny. I like Benny. I want the Wichesters to have at least one freaking friend besides each other and Cas (who I love dearly, but he's not around enough for my liking) to talk to. The co-dependency thing is out of hand. Just like Sam's hair. :)

"Three our of four imaginary tank tops" Hahaha! I giggled at that for a while. And I completely agree that they need to run around in tank tops. Yummy.

Anonymous said...

I don't have anything against the hunkalicious Benny, except that he wears too much clothing on this show. However, I think I would have preferred that he had been responsible for the killings because thematically, I don't think it's working. Dean goes ballistic anytime anyone else (Sam, Bobby, Castiel) makes a deal with a demon or monster, and with good reason: it almost always goes sour. But in the last couple of seasons, Dean has made deals with Meg, Crowley, Benny, the Alpha Vampire and every single one of them has worked out. I feel like the writers are justifying Dean's hypocrisy and self-righteousness.

Dean expects everybody else around him to trust him and reacts angrily to any opposition or questions, but I don't think he ever trusted Sam and he certainly hasn't trusted him since Ruby. I've been watching the whole series over the past year and I'm now considering stopping for the second time (the first time was during the Soulless Sam period). I don't see how they can reconcile the brothers. It's well established that Sam doesn't respond well to being treated as a subordinate and isn't that wedded to the hunting life. And I have no confidence in Dean being able to treat Sam as an equal, particularly when the writers always seem to validate Dean's choices and invalidate everybody else's.

As far as Martin's behavior, I'm not sure it's that far beyond the pale of hunter norm. People being used as bait is not unusual. And Dean tortured and killed a number of demon hosts in an attempt to get Crowley. It bothers me that they've become so callous about the people who get possessed by demons that Dean had trouble understanding why Kevin was upset when he tried to kill his mother. They hardly ever exorcise demons any more, even when they have them in a devil's trap.