Since this year’s season premiere, fans have wanted to know more about the year Sam and Dean were apart. We’ve gotten hints but not until “Blood Brothers” are fans given a better understanding of the indelible mark left on them during that time. But it doesn’t stop there; Benny, Dean’s vampiric partner Purgatory stands front and center of this episode and, once again, Kripke and Co have created a wonderfully deep secondary character whose presence only electrifies an already amazing show.

Benny finds himself in a bit of a predicament

Speaking of Benny, he gets things started in head-lopping fashion. Arriving at the docks, he confronts some of his vampire brethren as he searches for the ‘Old Man’. Said vampires don’t cooperate so he takes things to the next level. After surviving the fight a bit worse for wear, he puts a call in to Dean for a bit of ‘remember that IOU?’ assistance. The call interrupts the argument between brothers regarding their futile attempts at tracking down Kevin, everyone’s must have prophet. When Dean tells Sam he has to go, he’s less than pleased with Dean for skedaddling in the midst of their Kevin search. His parting shot at Sam is a reminder that, while he only needs a day to take care of his “personal business,” Sam had a year. It’s not a fair jab but, despite his unwavering loyalty (something hinted at during his flashbacks to some serious scrapes he and Benny shared in Purgatory) Dean has never really been the understanding sort, especially when it goes against his personal way of doing things.

A chastised Sam remains in the motel, doing a bit of digging to Kevin’s whereabouts. His hacking isn’t relegated to just Kevin as he’s also doing a bit of sneak peeking into Amelia, but not because he’s a psycho stalker, just “concerned”.

Hopping back on the primary vein of the episode, Dean arrives at Puget Sound and provides a bloodied Benny with some much needed sustenance in bagged blood. There’s another journey back to Purgatory where Benny provides a bit more in-depth explanation to their plan to escape Purgatory. This scene also includes everyone’s favorite seraph, Castiel. A prior comment by Benny is highlighted here. Despite the angel and vampire being in agreement that Cas probably won’t be able to escape under the same loophole that Benny and Dean can, it doesn’t change anything in the latter’s eyes. Back to the present and a fast healing Benny. The vampire tells Dean he’s hunting his maker. After a bit of research, they find the Old Man is holed up on Prentiss Island. Benny tells a bit more of the story; how he was his master’s favorite and how, just like so many other things, it all comes back to a woman. In Benny’s case, her name was Andrea, a vampirate of the high seas. His job would’ve been to report to his nest her coordinates, but instead of that, he sailed away with her. Being with her steered Benny to change, to become more aware of the lives he was taking. Unfortunately their happiness didn’t last long; the Old Man caught up with the lovers and had been killed as he tore out Andrea’s throat. But when Benny and Dean reach the manor on Prentiss Island, he comes across Andrea. Her presence distracts the vampire and while Dean ends up hiding, Benny is beaten down and shackled up. While Dean works on a plan, Benny and Andrea share a tender moment; one where Andrea shows she still has feelings for Benny, even giving him the keys (and blade) to kill the Old Man. We’re given another glimpse into Purgatory where Cas, Benny, and Dean are on the run, being tracked by the Leviathan.

Sam remembers his time with Amelia

Back at the mansion, Dean’s doing some serious vamp killing—who says you can’t get positives out of some “360 degree combat” in Purgatory— while Sam makes his way to Dean. With nothing else to do but think, Sam again goes back in time, thinking of Amelia. There’s something about her that captivates him, eases the rampant chaos inside of him. At the mansion Benny’s taken to the Old Man, who’s a bit less Old Man and the Sea, and more with J. Crew model type. He’s tired of this life, and though Benny wants him to fight, he appears to have ended the Old Man’s life without hesitation. When he comes back to Andrea, his head is clear and he sees that the Andrea before him is not the same woman he fell in love with all those years ago. For a moment it looks as if Benny has given up, showing his belly for Andrea to carve out. But Dean intervenes, killing Andrea as Benny watches. Benny asks Dean why; why did he keep his word, a confusion the vampire cannot truly make out. But can’t he? The final flashback to Purgatory shows the triumvirate of Benny, Dean, and Cas truly becoming their own ka-tet (for all you Dark Tower fans) when Benny goes to Cas’s aid.

Dean’s two ‘brothers’ finally meet

The two make their way back to the mainland in introspective silence. Sam is waiting for them and when he shakes Benny’s hand, he realizes the other is a vampire. Dean waves off Sam’s initial reaction to kill Benny, one the vampire is all too aware of. “I see you two have a lot to talk about,” the vampire remarks, before leaving the brothers in silence.

“Blood Brothers”, though not in a direct line with the primary story arc, is a nonetheless important episode. Dean’s secret partnership with Benny is revealed while the latter’s mysterious background is fleshed out, hinting at his potential as a recurring character. But more to the point, it lights a match to the underlying tension between the Winchester brothers and is another stumbling block in their mercurial yet devoted relationship.


Next Week: Garth is back…’nuff said.