Jon Gries in SUPERNATURAL - Season 8 - "Citizen Fang" | ©2012 The CW/Diyah Pera

Jon Gries in SUPERNATURAL - Season 8 - "Citizen Fang" | ©2012 The CW/Diyah Pera

Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Ty Olsson, Liane Balaban, Jon Gries, Kathleen Munroe, Paul Campbell
Writer:
Daniel Loughlin, series created by Eric Kripke
Director:
Nick Copus
Network:
The CW, Wednesdays @ 9 PM
Original Airdate:
December 5, 2012

Vampire Benny (Ty Olsson) has been a source of contention between Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) ever since the younger Winchester found out that his big brother had become buds with a reformed bloodsucker since the escape from Purgatory.

SUPERNATURAL has also used the seasonal arc to explore some sibling issues, since these days Dean seems to have less complicated feelings of friendship for Benny than he does for Sam, which makes Sam deeply annoyed, to say the least.

In “Citizen Fang,” this dynamic gets a further workout. Benny, using the name Roy, is working at a Louisiana bayou diner, where young manager Elizabeth (Kathleen Munroe) is unaware that she’s his great-granddaughter. Then Benny stumbles over a vamp-drained corpse and Sam hears all about it from Martin (Jon Gries), the unstable Hunter Sam has sent to watch Benny. Martin is sure Benny killed the victim and Dean is pissed off that Sam has sent a Hunter to watch his friend.

When Dean arrives on the scene, Benny swears he hasn’t gone back to killing humans. The culprit is a younger vamp who wants Benny to join his nest – he hasn’t gotten the memo about Benny’s changed ways. The younger vamp obliges by showing up, copping to the killings. Benny and Dean kill the other vamp.

Sam is content to take Dean’s word for it, but Martin isn’t. When Sam and Dean have left, Martin takes Elizabeth hostage and commands Benny to let Martin kill him. Benny pretends to surrender, but turns the tables.Elizabeth, in shock, calls Dean. Dean doesn’t blame Benny for killing Martin under the circumstances.

Sam thinks he’s gotten a call from former girlfriend Amelia (Liane Balaban) asking for help, but when Sam rushes out to her home, he sees Amelia happily (and safely) cuddling in the living room with her husband Don. Sam is incensed when he learns that the call was from Dean, who cloned Amelia’s phone to get Sam to call him back faster. Sam is also angry about Martin’s death. But before Sam can go anywhere and do anything, Amelia shows up, clearly glad to see him.

This last development is interesting, assuming of course that this is really Amelia and not a demon, spirit or other impersonator. Kudos again to Balaban for keeping the character likable and human.

The ongoing struggle between loyalty, love and anger between the two Winchester brothers and Benny, who clearly has earned some space as a surrogate in Dean’s heart (whether Dean is conscious of this or not), has good dramatic heft. It helps that Olsson projects a tough, no-frills decency that makes him easy to accept as someone who feels naturally trustworthy. Given that Sam and Dean are often at odds, at least this gives them something substantial to disagree about, with Dean still hurt by what he considers Sam’s insufficient grief at Dean’s departure and Sam smarting from Dean’s disappointment.

“Citizen Fang” also works as an episode because it has enough dramatic possibilities to keep it unpredictable. When Martin grabs Elizabeth, there isn’t just one outcome that will yield further intrigue – any of the possible outcomes promise to have far-reaching ramifications, so we’re not tipped off in advance by studying the meta aspects of the storytelling.

We aren’t scared as such, but genuine suspense is generated over the issue of what will happen when Martin kidnaps Elizabeth and, to a lesser extent, what will happen after Dean takes Amelia’s telephone number in vain. We’re engaged with what’s happening here, which makes this quality viewing.

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Article: TV Review: SUPERNATURAL – Season 8 – “Citizen Fang”

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