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Seeing episodes like this one make me wish that I could just bottle up the awesomeness that is 'Supernatural'. I don't know about you guys but I loved everything about this episode. Yes, harsh things were said, feelings were hurt and brothers were betrayed but that drama keeps fans like myself totally engaged. So needless to say, “Citizen Fang” was a hit in my book.

It's no secret that I'm huge fan of Benny, and by extension, Ty Olsson. I've been singing his praises since day one and he did not disappoint. The thing I like most about Benny’s character is his devotion to Dean. But we saw a new side of Benny in “Citizen Fang”. He has a soft spot for family. His devotion to a great granddaughter he only just met is enough to keep him honest. He's willing to give up blood for blood, if you will. But he's also willing to kill for it.

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I don't blame Benny for killing Martin. The guy was asking for it. He seemed to be from the Gordon Walker school of hunting; unable to see past the black and white. Martin felt like an old school hunter to me, with old ideas about right and wrong. Even Sam was willing to let Benny live as long as he could be sure he wasn't feeding on people. But Martin was appalled that Dean could even be in the same room with Benny and not try to kill him. I wonder if it's a generational thing? Either way it was interesting to think about how far both Sam and Dean have come in regards to their views on hunting. I remember a time when Dean was very much like Martin; shoot first, ask questions later. And here he is, BFF with a vampire. And Sam has always been the one to give the benefit of the doubt to the monsters he hunts yet he was ready to kill Benny on sight. Talk about your role reversals.

I was pleasantly surprised by Sam and Dean at the beginning of the episode. When Sam revealed that he had Martin following Benny I was waiting for Dean to blow his top. Putting myself in Dean’s shoes I think I would have felt betrayed, like my brother couldn’t trust my judgement.  But Dean didn’t go there.  And when Sam explained the situation with the body and that Benny was likely the one behind the killing Dean agreed to check it out. He wasn’t mad, he was matter-of-fact. The whole thing was so level-headed. Sam even agreed to give Dean the time he needed to confront Benny and sort everything out. From Sam’s point of view it would seem fairly obvious that Benny was behind the deaths but he still gave Dean the time he needed.

Of course things didn’t stay that cordial for long. Once the second body appeared, things got ugly. Sam felt that Dean was too close to the situation to really judge Benny’s innocence. I understand his concern, but I have to think there was a better way to handle it then to leave him knocked out and cuffed to a radiator. Why not bring Dean along to confront Benny? Besides, how long do you think you can keep Dean Winchester in cuffs? Dean certainly didn’t help the situation by sending a fake S.O.S. from Amelia. While super effective, it felt cruel. I don’t know how much Dean knows about the circumstances around Sam and Amelia’s break up and I wonder if knowing would have changed his mind about sending the text? I’m guessing no. At the end of the day that text probably saved a life. Whether it was Benny’s or Sam’s, I’m not sure. There’s no doubt in my mind that Sam would have killed Benny if he got the chance. Everything points to the fact that Benny is a killer. And even though it would hurt his relationship with Dean I think Sam sees it as his duty. But I wonder if Benny would kill Sam? If confronted would he actually fight Sam or just try and get out alive? At this point, I don’t know. I like to think he’d spare Sam for Dean’s sake. What do you think?

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The big question on my mind is what Sam and Dean’s relationship is going to look like after this mini-hiatus. They are in some rocky territory. These two particular quotes pretty much sum their emotional state.

Dean: “Every relationship I’ve ever had has gone to crap at some point.”
Sam: “Must feel great finding someone you can trust after all these years.”

Dean: “Guys like us, we don’t get a home. We don’t get family.”
Benny: “You got Sam.”
Dean: “Yeah...”

Ouch. Those lines were almost as painful to type as they were to hear. Neither one feels that the other has their back. When did they stop feeling like family to each other?

So not only do they have these emotional issues to sort through, but now there’s the problem of what to do about Benny. Sam was clearly very unhappy that Dean was still defending Benny after he killed Martin. But he also didn’t hear the whole story. I have to think he’d understand if he knew what Martin did. And what does this kill mean for Benny? That neck looked pretty gnawed on, right? No chance Benny used his hands to kill Martin? He was already struggling with just the smell of Dean’s blood, so a taste can’t be good for his self-control. Dean will forgive this one kill but I don’t think he could look past another, and I know Sam couldn’t. What do you think? Can Dean explain this one to Sam?

I didn’t get a chance to post a review of last week’s episode, but my main takeaway was that I finally felt like I got something from the Sam flashbacks and I was very happy to see that continue into this episode. Last week was the first time I really felt like I understood why Sam and Amelia needed each other. And after the Don bombshell I was able to really sympathize with Sam over his loss. So when Sam saw Amelia and Don together, it was like a dagger in my heart. I really felt for the guy. I’m so happy to have finally connected with that storyline. It still doesn’t explain everything, like why Sam gave up on hunting and finding Dean, but it at least explains a little more about why he was drawn to Amelia and what made him leave. I’m happy with progress!

Ok, well I better stop myself because I could gush about this episode for days! What did you all think? Are you as intrigued by the drama as I am? Are you a member of the Ty Olsson fanclub as well? Do you just want Sam and Dean to talk it out already?

As usual there are some quotes and moments worth mentioning.

Dean: “I’ve got history with the guy. I’m not signing up for a witch hunt, I owe him more than that.”

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When Dean confronted Benny in the woods I was surprised to see them both on edge and ready to fight. Up until that point I wasn’t sure if Dean would be able to kill Benny if he had to.

Dean: “My brother is not someone you want to mess with.” Damn straight!

The conversation between Don and Sam was an interesting one. Makes me respect Don and it makes me respect Sam for stepping down.

Benny: “No offense Dean, but your little brother doesn’t exactly send chills up my spine.” Clearly Benny’s never seen Sam hunt.

Sam: “Just give him a chance like you gave me.”

Comments  

RMF
#101 RMF 2012-12-10 16:20
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I agree that Martin's fate is ultimately a sad thing. I'm not sure it's what he deserved necessarily, but it's very much (in my opinion) the result of his own choices.
Probably true any time a hunter dies. If Dean hadn't bought Benny's story when he confronted him all alone in the woods, and he'd taken him on and been killed, that would be result of Dean's choices, too.

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I don't think that they nor John nor Bobby would have tied up an innocent human and used them as a hostage against a monster, so I can't agree that Martin did what every hunter would do.
Bobby probably not, but John I'm not so sure. In any case, I don't think that Martin's actions were supposed to be right, but the question is, was his fate proportionate? Should Benny's actions be disregarded because he's interesting or likable?

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So I don't think it's the fact that he went against Dean's wishes or that he wanted to kill a vampire that led to the lack of sympathy for him--it's the fact that he terrorized and put an innocent human in danger in order to achieve his means. That's not something I can get behind, and I'm fine if Dean holds that against him.
Martin was wrong, so I'm fine too if Dean holds it against him, but that's not quite the same thing as shrugging off his killing. What happened to the eternally guilt-ridden Dean who feels responsible for everyone? Isn't the writer asking us to take notice of this?

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But if Martin is to be touted as a friend to the Winchesters that they should have had more consideration for, shouldn't he by that turn have had more consideration for Dean's judgment? Would it have hurt him to investigate more?
Martin did go along with letting Dean have a couple hours to investigate even though he didn't want to at all. Dean came back with what sounded like (and for all we really know, actually was) a cock-and-bull story. And now another person was dead. It wasn't out of line for him to think he'd paid due consideration to Dean's judgment.

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But his actions against Elizabeth, to me, can't be defended, and in show's past history that was enough to earn him a death sentence (you know, if being an associate of the Winchesters wasn't enough to do that already).
The series has shown us that people who do dumb stuff often get killed. However, we don't give the death penalty to mentally disturbed people, and Martin did not kill Elizabeth and did not intend to. It was less than what Travis intended versus the rugaru's pregnant wife, and the brothers did not say that Travis had it coming and let Jack escape.
Fluffy2107
#102 Fluffy2107 2012-12-10 16:38
I think Benny's only option had been to kill Martin.
He already had used Liz to bait him.
Not only her person, but he had deliberately cut her, to make Benny lose control.
And he might just as well have killed her, after taking Bennys head.
What Benny was doing here, was sacrificing his shot at humanity, to save his great-granddaughter.
He gave Martin every option out and in the end, he chose to save the only innocent person.
RMF
#103 RMF 2012-12-10 17:49
I agree that there is little reason to do this arc if the outcome is merely that Dean is a good judge of character, which is the status quo. Some would argue that Dean getting taken in would be a retread of the Ruby storyline. I think the difference would be that in this case, there is no specific intent to corrupt Dean, but the corrupting influence is there anyway. Dean wants so badly for someone to be that diehard, rock-solid, reliable comrade that it's eroding his judgment. It also leaves both Benny and Sam little room to follow their own desires or to have a breaking point without their "failing" Dean.
emmau
#104 emmau 2012-12-10 18:59
Michael in Something Wicked was well aware of the plan and consented to being bait. I never said that the boys didn't use bait, I said they didn't use innocents without their knowledge and against their will. Michael still fits that standard.

When did the boys use Rebecca as bait in Skin? They hunted for a monster in the sewers. Dean got caught, Sam got caught, and then Dean-shifter went after Rebecca. When the police caught them later, Sam and Dean separated. Dean went back to the lair and found Rebecca and Sam went to lay low with Rebecca, not knowing she was the shifter. When did they use her as bait?

But Dean didn't know that the baby in Two and a Half Men was bait for an alpha, did he? The Campbells and robo-Sam did, and they were narratively villainous in S6. That, to me, proves the point that canon shows that this type of behavior is generally considered wrong.

Yes, the possessed people are generally hostages, but the Winchesters didn't make them hostages. Again, demons are villainous, and their possession of others is generally considered wrong.

So none of this changes my view that show canon judges using civilians as hostages or bait without their knowledge or consent is evil and generally punished by death. YMMV, obviously.
emmau
#105 emmau 2012-12-10 19:13
Probably true any time a hunter dies. If Dean hadn't bought Benny's story when he confronted him all alone in the woods, and he'd taken him on and been killed, that would be result of Dean's choices, too.

Yes, I'd certainly agree that if Dean had taken on Benny and died as a result, it would have been his choice.


Bobby probably not, but John I'm not so sure. In any case, I don't think that Martin's actions were supposed to be right, but the question is, was his fate proportionate? Should Benny's actions be disregarded because he's interesting or likable?

I think there's a wide difference between Benny murdering a hunter in cold blood and Benny defending his family from someone who clearly had no compunction about causing her harm or using her to kill someone else, even if Benny is a monster. Show canon has punished hunters for this transgression before, with Travis in 4.4. Self-defense and protection of family is generally considered a valid defense. Was Dean acting out of proportion for what he did against Gordon in 2.3? After all, the cut he put on Sam wasn't that bad, right?

Martin was wrong, so I'm fine too if Dean holds it against him, but that's not quite the same thing as shrugging off his killing. What happened to the eternally guilt-ridden Dean who feels responsible for everyone? Isn't the writer asking us to take notice of this?

I think purgatory has been freeing Dean from some of his guilt issues this season, and I can't say that's a bad thing necessarily. We saw this in 7.2, when Dean was willing to kill Crowley while he was possessing Mrs. Tran for the greater good, even though she was someone they knew. In this case, Dean wasn't even the one who brought Martin in, so he's not going to feel the same responsibility as he might have if he had been. But Dean is very consistent on people being dead to him, so to speak, when they act against family (see Gordon, 2.3). So to me, it still works as IC for Dean. YMMV.

Martin did go along with letting Dean have a couple hours to investigate even though he didn't want to at all. Dean came back with what sounded like (and for all we really know, actually was) a cock-and-bull story. And now another person was dead. It wasn't out of line for him to think he'd paid due consideration to Dean's judgment.

You make a good point there in saying that Martin did give Dean a few hours out of consideration. I'll concede there. I"m not sure why we would think that Benny was lying at this point, though.

The series has shown us that people who do dumb stuff often get killed. However, we don't give the death penalty to mentally disturbed people, and Martin did not kill Elizabeth and did not intend to. It was less than what Travis intended versus the rugaru's pregnant wife, and the brothers did not say that Travis had it coming and let Jack escape.

Well, either Martin was too mentally disturbed to be hunting and he never should have been called in, or else he wasn't mentally disturbed enough for it to hinder him and he's responsible for his own actions. To me, show can't have it both ways, and I don't know that they're really trying to. To me, show is being entirely consistent on their view of people who hurt innocents for expediency or leverage in a hunt. Again, to me the difference is that Travis hadn't acted against Dean or Sam, so it wasn't personal, and Sam didn't kill Jack because of Travis--he was still trying to talk to him until he realized Dean was in danger. Again, I really don't see a big inconsistency. YMMV, obviously.

**I'll be shocked if I did the quote thing right. My apologies if not.

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I don't think that they nor John nor Bobby would have tied up an innocent human and used them as a hostage against a monster, so I can't agree that Martin did what every hunter would do.
Bobby probably not, but John I'm not so sure. In any case, I don't think that Martin's actions were supposed to be right, but the question is, was his fate proportionate? Should Benny's actions be disregarded because he's interesting or likable?

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So I don't think it's the fact that he went against Dean's wishes or that he wanted to kill a vampire that led to the lack of sympathy for him--it's the fact that he terrorized and put an innocent human in danger in order to achieve his means. That's not something I can get behind, and I'm fine if Dean holds that against him.
Martin was wrong, so I'm fine too if Dean holds it against him, but that's not quite the same thing as shrugging off his killing. What happened to the eternally guilt-ridden Dean who feels responsible for everyone? Isn't the writer asking us to take notice of this?

Quote:
But if Martin is to be touted as a friend to the Winchesters that they should have had more consideration for, shouldn't he by that turn have had more consideration for Dean's judgment? Would it have hurt him to investigate more?
Martin did go along with letting Dean have a couple hours to investigate even though he didn't want to at all. Dean came back with what sounded like (and for all we really know, actually was) a cock-and-bull story. And now another person was dead. It wasn't out of line for him to think he'd paid due consideration to Dean's judgment.

Quote:
But his actions against Elizabeth, to me, can't be defended, and in show's past history that was enough to earn him a death sentence (you know, if being an associate of the Winchesters wasn't enough to do that already).
The series has shown us that people who do dumb stuff often get killed. However, we don't give the death penalty to mentally disturbed people, and Martin did not kill Elizabeth and did not intend to. It was less than what Travis intended versus the rugaru's pregnant wife, and the brothers did not say that Travis had it coming and let Jack escape.
emmau
#106 emmau 2012-12-10 19:13
Rats.
E
#107 E 2012-12-10 22:37
Don't you mean let Jack's wife escape? Sam fried Jack. They let Jack's wife escape but they never learned if she was pregnant. I always did wonder what they would have done had they known she was carrying another rugaru.
eilf
#108 eilf 2012-12-10 23:30
I agree. Dean has been weird about Benny since minute one. There is clearly some reason for his hiding everything to do with Purgatory from Sam even after Sam found out about Benny. Bitten was actually the perfect opportunity to explain the situation to Sam, but he didn't.

Memories of the situation with Amy would be a bit of a problem for him when he would have explained; but not as much as Sam hiding Ruby until he was caught.

Sam hid Ruby as much because he knew Dean would call him a freak (which he did) as because he knew he was doing something wrong - the two things had equal weight in his mind I would think. However his logic about saving victims was correct, Dean suggested that it was Ruby faking him out and he wasn't rescuing people at all but we know that it DID work because he did it on other occasions. So it was right for the wrong reasons.
eilf
#109 eilf 2012-12-10 23:32
And Dean hunted Amy personally with every intent of killing her and none of seeing if she was going to do anything else wrong.
eilf
#110 eilf 2012-12-10 23:36
I agree with you on two of those but they really shouldn't have used Michael as bait. He was a child, and they had to talk him into it, that was a bad decision. But it wasn't something they then decided was precedent for other hunts.
emmau
#111 emmau 2012-12-11 00:02
After murdering four people with no remorse or consideration for the pain she'd caused their families, how much more wrong did she need to do? Mileage varies, but I've never understood that line of reasoning--you can't go to court and say, "Well, what about all the days I didn't murder a stranger and harvest their brains?" Pretty much the days you did are the only ones that count.

I never thought that killing Amy was personal for Dean. She was a monster who had slaughtered humans, and Dean's been fairly consistent in thinking that monsters shouldn't be allowed to do that (bearing in mind that the PTB have given both Dean and Sam moments of character aberrations to fit a storyline). She was a murderer and a danger to humans as she showed no sign that she would be hesitant to kill again if she felt justified, so Dean made sure she wouldn't. I don't think it was much more complicated than that. My opinion only, of course.
eilf
#112 eilf 2012-12-11 00:08
Sam put Martin to watch Benny, he was in the Shack when the creepy guy was asking about Elizabeth. He saw him leave and Benny followed him, then he tripped over the body.

Martin was misled by the fact that he thought Benny might be protecting Elizabeth and also because the body was there. But there are a couple of issues with this:

1) If Benny was a vampire out hunting then Martin would have caught him draining the victim. If Martin had been completely rational it he would have realized there was something wrong with the picture of the body all alone immediately after the kill.

2) The sound from the attack is of a blade - a vampire wouldn't need to use a blade. Though often they don't attack until there is a cut so maybe? But it seems odd.

There's a point actually if a vampire attacks a human and cuts their throat (but doesn't feed off them) because they think they are going to harm someone else does that make them fair game for a hunter or not?

So there are two options:

Either Benny was set up the way he said. In which case Sam and Dean both look good - Sam because setting Martin to watch him meant they had a jump start on other vampire hunters and perhaps saved Benny's life and Dean because he was right about Benny.

or

Benny set up Martin to believe he was guilty to fool Sam and Dean into believing he is a good guy (as a result of the other events in the episode). If that is the case they are both going to come out of this looking bad, Sam for not using a more reliable witness and Dean for placing too much trust in a monster.
emmau
#113 emmau 2012-12-11 00:11
I think part of the reason that Dean hasn't talked to Sam is because Dean is Dean. But another part of it is that Dean doesn't really trust Sam anymore. As Kelly reasonably pointed out, Dean was extremely hurt by the fact that Sam didn't look for him, and at this point he's withdrawing behind his walls to protect himself. So telling Sam about Benny is divulging things to Sam he doesn't want to tell. Part of him might have been thinking, "Well, why would you care what I did in purgatory, or what I did to get out?"

Of course, that's not fair to Sam, and like Sam's hiding Ruby, made the situation worse. As with SAm hiding Ruby from Dean for fear of his reaction, hiding Benny from Sam in order to avoid a bad reaction became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Dean and Sam are both happy hypocrites--the y each want to be able to keep their secrets, but want full disclosure from their brother.

Sam hid Ruby because he knew what he was doing was wrong. I agree that there is a parallel there as well, because Dean doesn't seem to entirely trust Benny, as much as he said he hasn't let him down. He knows that loyalty to their past relationship (as well as what appears to be actual like) dictates that he let Benny go, but he's still waiting for the other shoe to drop with him as well. Dean doesn't trust anyone, so he knows there's a possibility that Benny is going to go rogue. Of course, Benny is responsible for his own choices and if he does go back to the blood that's on him, not Dean. But that ambivalance makes Dean's feelings even more complicated, which makes him shut down, and round and round we go. Poor boys.
eilf
#114 eilf 2012-12-11 00:14
Fair enough, I withdraw my argument.
percysowner
#115 percysowner 2012-12-11 11:06
Bobby, probably not. I personally have believed since season one that John was probably using Sam and Dean as bait for the Striga in Something Wicked. Leaving 2 brothers alone and seemingly unprotected in an area where a monster that kills siblings to feed always felt like John setting them up. I think John believed the Striga wouldn't realize that Dean was armed and was going to sneak in while both boys were there and Dean would have handled it, plus I think John was keeping watch just in case, but I will always suspect that in the end, John set Sam and Dean as bait.
vivian
#116 vivian 2012-12-11 14:52
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Dean doesn't trust anyone,
Yes, I think Dean doesn't trust Benny blindly as he wants Sam to believe - he is just being nasty, venting his frustration for Sam "abandoning" him (as he sees it). If he did, he wouldn't have confronted Benny with a ready machete behind his back.

Future Dean didn't trust Present Dean in "The End" episode - hell, he cuffed himself to a post! Can't blame Sam for acting like Dean (LOL!)

And in the same episode ("The End"), Dean called himself a 'dick' - which is consistent with his callous atitude in "Citzen Fang", albeit justified to save both Sam and Benny.
vivian
#117 vivian 2012-12-11 14:57
By the way, Dean freed himself from the cuffs same way he did in "The End".
lkeke35
#118 lkeke35 2012-12-15 12:50
I too have fallen in love with Benny. Ty Olsen is wonderful and I hope they keep his character around for a while. I would not be averse to him becoming a part of the Winchester Support Group like Cas and Garth, (while still retaining some of his character's ambiguity.)

I don't think that Dean has told Sam much of anything about Purgatory ,that said I still think that Sam's beef with Benny is really about Dean. The only real emotions I've been able to glean from Sam this season is resignation, fatigue, guilt, anger at Benny and a new found interest in humnaity which is really fuuny when you consider that he didn't do anything for anyone but himself for a year. I think he still feels trememdous guilt about his year off to live a normal life and this new gung ho attitude about saving people is his attempt to make up for it and convince Dean that he's back in the game and has his back. Dean is not buying it and neither am I.

I think Sam needs more time off to get his head right. I still don't think he gave himself enough time after Dean disappeared. He needs to find out who he is and what he really wants out of life and he's not going to do that if he keep attaching himself to people just because he's alone and/or in pain. He jumped ritght into a relationship with someone just as damaged as he was. He just latched onto any port in a storm, which is something he's done before whenever he and Dean have been apart (Jess, Ruby). He needs more alone time or something.

What I'm getting from Sam is that he wants a relationship with his brother, he really does, but is too beset by his own emotional fatigue and damage to be able to properly do this. Dean can't either. He's too damaged and self-focused from his time in Purg. , although he's making baby steps at least.
Daisymae
#119 Daisymae 2012-12-18 11:24
What makes a monster? Is it just being a monster or does it depend on being a killer? Vampires are monsters, but if they don't kill they aren't a threat. Do they still deserve to die?

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