Sunday, November 04, 2012

Finding "Blood Brother(s)" in CW's "Supernatural:" A Television Review

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*spoiler alert

Director: Guy Norman Bee.

Writer: Ben Edlund.

Cast: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Ty Olsson, Liane Balaban, Athena Karkanis and Patrick Stafford.

By definition, a blood brother is an individual with an unyielding loyalty to another. That is sometimes concentrated in a blood pact or in how a team survived against all odds in a do-or-die situation. "Supernatural's" fifth episode, "Blood Brother," encompasses that definition plus more, namely a kinship between man (Dean) and beast (Benny). This episode also explores what can separate a band of brothers too.

Through a series of flashbacks, Dean's (Jensen Ackles) life in Purgatory is explored some more, Sam's relationship with Amelia (Liane Balaban) finally gets some meat, and Benny's place in the vampire hierachy is examined.

At the episode's start, this resurrected vamp explores his old haunts perhaps to tie up loose ends. Fellow vampires recognize him as a changed man. But little do they know, he has a thirst for vengeance! Some of his history is revealed. He was a vampire who sailed the seven seas. This Cajun is out to settle some old debts and take a look at what he lost, namely Andrea (Athena Karkanis), a human woman he once loved.

In all that he can find is a shell of a woman and his creator, whom he wants to kill. In true literary fashion, the servant yearns to become the master, and Benny does so with a finesse that will please fans. The CGI effect of seeing a vampire lose his head is not perfect, but to see the body count climb faster for this season than previous is one worth noting!

But Benny cannot do this alone; he calls Dean and he comes running to him like a lost lover. Sam is left in the dust and frustrated. But until the Winchesters get a better lead, both are stuck in locating Kevin Tran, and that's a plotline that will not move until the next episode says so.

With an episode that is reliant on flashbacks to develop the story further, this one succeeds at multitasking. It gives a good overview of what each of the main and supporting cast are up to. At center stage is Benny with some much-needed character development. And his age really needs to be pondered about. By saying he's a pirate, the only cues offered suggest he was from the era of when Spain and France were fighting over territory. The intriquing part is when Benny's (Ty Olsson) story unfolds a la Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles. This vampire is like Louis du Point du Lac in some ways. They are both trying to understand the nature of the human condition.

In comparison, Dean's time in Purgatory does not get further development. All he learns is that yes, Angels and Vampires can and do become unlikely allies. Castiel is still a mystery; everything in the series so far suggests he's dead. Or, just maybe, he had to sacrifice himself to allow Dean to return to Earth.

The big question that the series is successfully building on is just what did Dean do to be cold to Cas (Misha Collins)? And just what did the elder Winchester do to make him and Benny blood brothers?

And how does the younger brother feel about seeing Dean partnering up with a monster? It goes against everything Dean has said and done in the past. When considering how this episode has ended, yes the older brother has a lot of explaining to do. And that's enough to keep the fuel burning for the rest of the season.

Overall: 7 out of 10.

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