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TV Review: Supernatural 8×09 – Citizen Fang

by Demi Moumas, Reporter

An episode that focuses on Dean’s relationship with Benny, finally! I love the conflict that this episode has between the Winchesters and Benny. Not only that, but you see how far Benny goes to not be like the other vampires in the series. You also see how much Sam does not trust Dean’s word.

Supernatural 8×09 – “Citizen Fang” starts off with Benny in a gumbo shack playing waiter. He is being watched by Martin, the hunter they met in an insane asylum back in season 5 episode 11 (“Sam, Interrupted”), who was put on Benny by Sam. After Benny’s shift, the vampire goes into the woods because he smelled something wrong. Martin follows and hears a shout. He sees a dead body with a torn neck and blood everywhere. Seeing the body and no Benny he assumes the worst and calls Sam. Well, you know what they say about assuming don’t you Martin?

After an argument, Sam and Dean go to Louisiana to see if Benny really is the monster behind the death. They meet up with Martin to find out what he really knows. Dean figures out that the man didn’t actually see anything (too many holes in the crazy hunter’s story) and requests a few hours to find the truth himself. Sam seems intent on killing Benny though, but allows it. Now to me it seems Sam is being a bit hypocritical considering he shacked up with a demon for a while.

Moving on, Dean investigates the gumbo shack and meets Elizabeth, the owner. There he learns Benny went ‘fishing’. He tries to call his friend, but ends up leaving a message. He then finds Benny later after the vampire buried a newly dead body. As their stare battle went down, I was reminiscent of the first time Dean met Castiel (and subsequently stabbed him), considering Dean had a machete in his hand. It seems now when there are conflicts with friends; Dean makes sure he is armed in some sort of fashion. Benny is calm despite this and explains to Dean there is a vampire, Desmond, from the old days. He is trying to gain street credit with his new nest and is trying to persuade Benny to help him. Unfortunately for him Benny said no and the rogue vampire didn’t take kindly to that. So he is killing humans in the neighborhood to lure Benny in. In a Freudian slip, Benny also reveals that this place in Louisiana is his hometown from way back when. Dean also finds out that Elizabeth is Benny’s great-granddaughter (whom Dean flirted with before knowing). In his monologue, Benny reveals that Dean and Elizabeth are the only ones to keep him from going full vamp, his only friend and family. Thus, we see the similarity Benny has to Dean, not having many friends or even family. In that note, Dean tries to warn Benny that his little brother really doesn’t like him and to let him try to explain things to Sam.

It is kind of sad that Benny and Sam don’t get along. I understand Sam’s skepticism about Benny, but what happened to the Sam that let vampires who didn’t kill humans go? Does Sam not remember Lenore? In the episode “Bloodlust” back in Season 2, Sam defended Lenore and let her and the vampires with her go. Why? They didn’t kill humans and proved they went against their nature. So why can this not be for Benny? Is it because he came from Purgatory? Is it because he is not Sam’s friend and is Dean’s? These are the conflicts I have with Sam. He is a bit hypocritical. Benny has done nothing wrong….yet.

Another conflict that pops up is when Dean explains how all his relationships have turned bad except for the one with Benny. Sam takes real offense to that. It seems the conflict the Winchesters have is starting to boil over now that Benny has come into play. Dean trusts Benny with his life while Sam simply refuses because Benny is a vampire. Perhaps Sam is seeing that Benny is as Dean says: someone who has not failed him. I think Sam might feel that Benny is going to overshadow him in Dean’s eyes, pushing Sam further down the trust ladder. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t. The trust issues have been an underlying component to Supernatural for a long time. Now they are filling starting to come to light or at least burn their way through to show a breaking point. Perhaps this is the season where the brothers will actually solve their eight season long unsolved issues.

One of the most heartbreaking things about this episode is after Sam tries to get Dean to get off the case because he is ‘too close’ to it. And after Martin bashes Dean over the head, it doesn’t take much to convince Sam to go after the vampire. But while one Sam and Martin’s hunt, Sam gets a text from Amelia. We later learn that Dean switched out the number to one of his burner phones. While cruel, it just shows how much the brothers are having problems in trusting each other. I understand sibling rivalry, but that is going a bit far just to get your brother to do something.

It is when Dean and Benny are taking care of the rogue vampire that Benny shows his valor. The rogue vamp sliced Dean’s neck making him bleed. After taking care of him, Benny has a moment of hesitation before turning away. In my eyes he showed me just how hard he is fighting to not drink human blood. After that, they have a moment outside the gumbo shack that is reminiscent of Dean and Sam after a hunt. This demonstrates just how much trust and reflection of brotherhood they share.

Unfortunately, Sam included a reformed basket-case and Martin is so focused on killing Benny he goes after a human to lure him out. A hunter, someone who goes after supernatural creatures to protect humans, harms one. The Winchesters might have had their times where they harmed humans, unintentionally, but they never deliberately go after one to use as bait. Martin defies all that to get one vampire. It’s sad really, but the scene where he is eating the cherry pie was very foreboding. The redness and the messiness of the plate told of how someone was going to die and end up bloody. Well, the odds were not in Martin’s favor.

It is also an emotional scene to see Benny struggle in front of the last family member he has. Blood was drawn trying to force him to act on his vampiric instincts, but he pushed them away despite that. He also didn’t do anything rash to endanger Elizabeth’s life (can’t say the same for the Winchesters). These calm and collected acts of restraint led Benny to voluntarily put his head down on the counter, ready to die in order to keep his loved one safe.

This episode was a great character development for Benny. It fed us piece of his past and his present personality and mindset. It also showed us how deep the conflict between the Winchester brothers really is. Each brother has some kind of issue that they need to deal with in order to get closer. Dean needs to work on his abandonment issues and Sam with his rebellious attitude. The only thing that grated me was that they threw in a rogue vampire as a plot device. It seemed like they were saying, the conflict of having two hunters try to hunt down Benny isn’t enough let’s through in a rogue vampire to push it a bit more. Now I get that the vampire brought everyone to that town, but they could have expanded on his role just a tiny bit. All in all, I think that the episode was great in the movement of Benny’s storyline and development of the season arc. I can’t wait to see how Benny’s association with Dean works out in the rest of the season. How will Sam react to it as the little details of Purgatory and their relationship start to come out?

Rating: ★★★★☆
ComicsOnline gives Supernatural – “Citizen Fang” 4 crazy hunters out of 5.

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