Episode 8.05: Blood Brother
My initial reaction to Blood Brother was mixed.
I don’t know if Edlund was just trying to do too much in this ep or what, but it just didn’t hang together for me. The pacing seemed really off. Despite everything going on the Benny backstory/hunt seemed to drag. I know we needed to learn about Benny and I do like him more after this ep, but I wasn’t engaged in his backstory. I just wasn’t feeling it.
Finding out more about him and Dean was interesting and seeing their dynamic with Castiel in Purgatory was helpful. Even Benny seemed kind of bewildered by Dean’s loyalty to him with the way he mentioned Dean’s ‘friendship thing’ and asked him at the end about why he did it. I’m not sure I completely trust him yet, but he appears to not be evil or a ‘monster.’
Part of the problem with Benny’s story for me was Andrea and the maker whatever the hell his name is. I didn’t care for either of them – not just the characters, but the acting. She seemed wooden, and he just over acted, omg; I was laughing throughout the scene with him.
This ep didn’t do anything to endear Amelia to me. Not only did she continue to be rude toward Sam and judge him again on appearance, but she showed that it isn’t just Sam she judges on surface appearance. The fact that she didn’t know Everett, the desk clerk’s name, after having lived there for three months speaks volumes about the kind of person she is. Sam, of course, knew his name because Sam values people as ‘people’ not on their standing in the community or income level. Amelia’s statement that the kind of people who shop at Army Surplus are white supremacists or serial killers says a lot about how she values people – on appearance. Sam knows better.
I really liked how he called her on her judgment of him as a drifter when he points out that she’s living there too. She’s no better than he is in that respect. I’m going to have to re-watch this ep to really get their entire conversation down, but if they are going to try to make her sympathetic, they have their work cut out for them because she really isn’t coming across well for me.
I’m wondering if they are trying to make her a kind of Dean figure by making her “snarky.” I guess, maybe that works in that we know Dean can be a dick, and she’s coming across the same way in these interactions. Maybe that’s why Sam isn’t terribly put off by her? The problem for us, of course, is that we know Dean. We have an investment in him as well as Sam. We know that under all of Dean’s dickish behavior toward Sam is infinite love. He would and has laid down his life and soul for Sam. She hasn’t. We have no investment in her. If this is their intention, to make her fill in for Dean, she’s got damned big boots to fill. The fact that Sam has already walked away from says something too.
Some other observations about Amelia: What’s with all the limes? Why were there two beer bottles and glasses on the table when she was drinking from a mug? And why, given her freak out over Sam being in her apartment (obviously working on the sink), would she leave her door standing open? I really don’t have answers for any of these questions, but they suggest there’s something strange about her response to Sam.
There were things I liked about this ep. Dean’s call to Sam in the middle of a hunt that turned into a “marital” spat was great. This is one of those things that Edlund does really well. Dean’s “Oh, will you shut up?!” and Sam continuing to talk after Dean hung up was just so them, and both of them throwing their phones – terrific! Anyone who has asserted that Sam doesn’t care about Dean this season couldn’t think that after Sam’s frantic race to get to his brother. This was confirmation for me that Sam’s ‘problem’ this season is his fear of losing Dean again.
I loved the scene with Sam and Benny. Sam knew the moment he touched Benny that he was a monster. The silent communication between Sam and Dean was wonderful. Sam was reaching for his knife and would have killed the vamp, if Dean hadn’t shook his head. This is the one time that Sam doesn’t hesitate to kill, when he thinks that Dean is in danger – just like he did with Emma. I love protective Sam.
I do think this ep accomplished a lot in establishing Benny and Amelia’s characters and filling in backstory as well as pushing Sam and Dean toward a confrontation. It was just uneven for me, but I will watch again to see if it works better the second time around.