Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Ty Olsson, Liane Balaban, Athena Karkaris, Patrick Stafford
Writer: Ben Edlund, series created by Eric Kripke
Director: Guy Bee
Network: The CW, Wednesdays @ 9 PM
Original Airdate: October 31, 2012
Given Dean’s (Jensen Ackles) history of a take-no-prisoners attitude toward creatures – he still doesn’t get why absent Prophet of the Lord Kevin is upset that Dean tried to kill Kevin’s mom while she was possessed – there’s a lot of potential in exploring the older Winchester brother’s friendship with a vampire.
In fact, the SUPERNATURAL episode “Blood Brother” starts out promisingly along these lines, following Benny (Ty Olsson), the vampire who helped Dean escape from Purgatory, fighting with his old gang. Benny offs three fellow vamps, but still needs Dean’s help. Dean isn’t exactly forthcoming with Sam (Jared Padalecki) about where he’s going.
It turns out that when Benny died the first time, it was at the hands of his maker, the Old Man (Patrick Stafford), who was furious that Benny had left the nest to be with a human woman (Athena Karkaris). Benny is heartbroken to discover that his love isn’t dead, but has instead been turned. Although Benny’s lover helps him destroy their mutual maker, she is no longer the woman Benny fell in love with, but rather a vampire. When Benny doesn’t want to return to the vamp lifestyle with her, she bares her fangs at him and Dean kills her. Sam, who has spent most of the episode reminiscing about his lover (Liane Balaban) from the past year, meets Benny warily but doesn’t kill him.
Writer Ben Edlund can be depended on for snappy dialogue, and he delivers. However, Benny’s back story is heavy on the good vamp/bad vamp stuff, and between the current crop of TRUE BLOOD, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, two different flavors of BEING HUMAN, the TWILIGHT films, BUFFY and ANGEL on DVD, et al, it takes much more than we get here to keep this particular type of blood fresh.
Meanwhile, although Sam’s recollections are pleasant enough in terms of flirtation, he sure seems to be in reasonably good emotional shape in his memories while believing he’ll never see Dean again and feeling like he’s completely alone in the world.
Then there are the flashbacks to Purgatory. Fans of Castiel (Misha Collins) will be glad to see him, but we’re no clearer on what went wrong back there than we were last week. If Leviathans are popping up – they did come out of Purgatory in the first place, after all – let’s hope we get another run in with Dick Roman before all is said and done.
It also feels like, given Dean’s personal history, we should get a little more of his mixed feelings about Benny. Granted, it’s clear that Dean is very conflicted – Sam even more so – about this alliance, and without being on the writing staff, it’s very possible that Benny’s back story requires all the time it gets just to keep it coherent. Benny certainly looms large as a major player going forward.
The writers likely have enough on their hands just keeping SUPERNATURAL straight without worrying about what else their audience may be watching. For that matter, maybe a lot of the audience just watches SUPERNATURAL and doesn’t sample other genre product. However, for those who follow this kind of show, one more “I’m a reformed vampire, you’re not, I can no longer run with you, I loved you but now you are evil” riff is enough to make a person bleed from the ears, especially on a show that didn’t absolutely, positively mandate it.
That said, you have to hand it to episode writer Edlund and Co. for coming up with a plot element to justify use of the term “vampirates.”
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