‘Supernatural’ Season 8, Episode 9 Review – Moving on From the Past

Published 2 years ago by , Updated December 8th, 2012 at 10:40 pm,

supernatural season 8 episode 9 benny Supernatural Season 8, Episode 9 Review   Moving on From the Past

In this week’s episode of Supernatural, “Citizen Fang”, Sam puts Dean’s vampire friend, Benny, in the cross-hairs of a crazed hunter who threatens the life of one of his descendants, forcing both Winchesters to come to terms with the past and, in some cases, move on from it.  Is Supernatural beginning to leave behind its flashback storylines?

After being released from a mental hospital, Martin Creaser, an old friend John Winchester, is tasked by Sam to keep an eye on Benny and his thirst for blood. When a string of murders point to a fanged attacker, Sam and Dean disagree about who could behind the attacks. As Benny and Dean team-up to track down the real vampire attacker, Sam and Martin still believe that it is Benny who is behind the murders. But when a message from “Amelia” pulls Sam away from the case, “mentally-off” Martin takes it upon himself to deal with Dean’s vampire friend in his own way.

Although the case itself is simple and essentially over within minutes, “Citizen Fang” manages to bring Sam and Dean’s past relationships to the present, helping both Winchesters – as well as the series – to move out of flashbacks and push for a bigger, brighter and (hopefully) better future. In many of the past season 8 episodes, Supernatural’s use of flashbacks – though required to piece together some semblance of a backstory for its time-jump – was more or less awkward in its execution, often juxtaposing emotional tales of the past against weak plots involving the Word of God. Even if you loved them, the initial use of flashbacks was never ideal.

When comparing Sam and Dean’s flashbacks, Sam’s flashbacks were always the most compelling, even if it was Benny, from Dean’s flashbacks, who ultimately shined. A death mystery on Supernatural is never as strong as an emotional tale – and last week’s episode proved it. The moment in which Castiel returns to the series, essentially ending Dean’s flashbacks, the character of Benny was able to stand alone in his own tale, no longer held back by the use (or misuse) of scenes depicting what happened in purgatory. While many fans were already intrigued by Benny from his previous appearances, it was this week’s episode which sold him to the entirety of the series’ fan base.

supernatural season 8 episode 9 martin Supernatural Season 8, Episode 9 Review   Moving on From the Past

Up until now, Benny had always been a character that could go either way: helpful hand or enemy-in-disguise. And while Benny helped Dean out of Purgatory, as well as commented about how he’s changed, audiences have had enough television experience to know that friends can become foes extremely easy – especially on Supernatural. Because Benny is a large figure who commands attention, he needed to wholeheartedly become a victim in order for audiences to finally accept his intentions as true. And that’s exactly what happened.

In order to help Benny make this transition, Martin Creaser, this season’s proverbial sacrificial lamb, was brought back, helping to tie the series to its past seasons as it makes steps to evolve itself for the future. Admittedly, Creaser’s use in the episode is, at times, very poorly handled. However, thanks to Jon Gries’ exceptional performance as the crazed hunter, awkward scenes of Sam abandoning him don’t do much to deter from the main story. Still, they are quite noticeable.  Additionally, Sam’s quick response to Amelia’s plea for help, – though completely within the realm of what the character would do – felt like nothing more than an attempt to quickly include her in an episode which attempts to put the past where it belongs – in the past.

Now that Supernatural has, essentially, moved towards wrapping up its focus on Sam and Dean’s past relationships, helping to cleanse itself from the Leviathan-filled season 7, season 8 will be able to somewhat continue anew. Although Kevin, the Prophet, and the Word of God aren’t the most intriguing storylines the series have ever seen, having to include them with all of this season’s needed exposition – and as previously stated, clean-up from last season – didn’t provide the season with the foundation it needed it shine. Hopefully now, with some tidying of storylines and character development, Supernatural will return next year with the intense drive fans know the series has.

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Supernatural returns Wednesday, January 16, 2013, with “Torn and Frayed.” You can check out a preview of the next episode below:

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  1. It was a great episode! Loved the scene with Benny seemingly sacrificing himself and us not knowing for a while it that was the end of him or not. I like that guy.

  2. Liked Benny alot in this episode. Finally they cleaned him up and he is a pretty nice bit to look at and his voice is awesome.

    That was about all I liked. I keep waiting and hoping that the show will get its zing back, but it just doesn’t happen. Couldn’t wait for Cass’s return last week but it turned out to be a very weak show.

    Hope the mindless flashbacks are gone finally, but nine episodes in??? Was finding out Amelia’s hubs was back from war really worth waiting for?

    I agreed with everything in the article. Well written. And yeah, I’ll be back in January watching with hope anew.

  3. liked the ep, do not agree with the article too much

    • Not for next Wednesway, I hope. Supernatural is on holiday “Hellatus” now and will be back in January (Jan 16)

      • Balls! “Wednesday” of course!

  4. Pretty much tired of watching the show now. Castiel’s character has been gutted and Sam and Dean have emofests every season. Just get along and kill some things already. They act more dramatic than girls going through abortions on One Tree Hill every week. It shouldn’t take 9+ episodes to get them back to normal.

  5. Descendant not ancestor, in the first paragraph. Benny is Elizabeth’s ancestor, so Elizabeth is Benny descendant. Martin threatens Benny’s descendant.

    And I disagree that Sam’s flashbacks were the more compelling. I did not really feel any true emotional connection and chemistry between him and Amelia. To be honest those flashbacks kind of bored me. I enjoyed the Purgatory scenes a lot more.

    Benny is a great character and I was really excited through the episode, hoping that Benny turned out to be innocent and then fearing for his life.
    Sam had every right to be angry at Dean for trusting Benny, when Dean himself killed Amy, Sam’s childhood friend, but I still kinda wanted to punch him in the face.

    I think it was an amazing episode.

    • Sam’s childhood friend had gone back to killing people and said she’d do it again if she had to, so Dean felt he did what he had to. Benny only killed to defend himself and his family (which the Winchesters themselves do). Besides, Sam seems to want to kill Benny out of personal feelings (jealousy and anger at Dean) more than a real reason.

  6. Anyone, how comes benny was out in broad day light and nothing happened to him? Is he not a vampire? Last I heard was in supernatural the daylight causes them PAIN at least. Seems like plot hole to me, or is there explanation for this reason.

  7. These are the best episodes; the ones about the characters. I could take or leave all the huge season long story arcs that try to outdo the previous year. What happened to Kevin? Don’t really care. Ideally both parts work together; but when they don’t, like in this season, it’s clear what’s more interesting. Character development is much more compelling, not the big bad.

  8. Can’t believe the author feels Sam’s FBs were compelling. They bored me to death. Purgatory FBs were awesome. Well shot and well done. Dean and Benny scenes have been the best this season. Sam and Amelia lack chemistry. I may sound a bit too judgemental but I think Balaban’s acting chops is a bit suspect. That relationship does not trigger any strong emotions in me. In fact I think Jensen and Ty have great chemistry. JA and JP are great as usual. I wish they would show more of purgatory and less of the Sam & Amelia soap opera. I want Sam to embrace hunting quickly so he gets to be part of the main storyline. Love triangles dont have a place on SPN.

  9. I loved the episode and season 8 is shaping to be a better season compared to season 7. Also, I disagree on the “Dean being a hypocrite for defending Benny” the fans keep slapping on Dean’s character because he killed the kitsune chick. Unlike Benny, the kitsune chick already told Dean that she would kill again in the future if his son get sick again.

    About the main story arc, while I do agree that it’s weak, it more compelling that season 7′s main story arc since you it still have more mysteries to unravel-Who’s Metatron and how’s he related to the main 4 archangel, why hasn’t he been mention before, why did he leave and when he wrote down the Word Of God, did he saw God personally since Ana mention only 4 angels saw God’s face and that might be a reference for the first 4 archangel who appeared in early season. Also, what are the other WOG for. Previous seasons main story arc is about the freaking Leviathan and that’s it while in season 6 is why are the monster breaking their pattern.

    The only thing that’s bugging me about this season is Sam being out of character and his flashback needs to pave for a better result/ending or all that boring ass melodrama romance flashback are just that, boring normal we can’t never be love story. Hope that Don’s dead and the one that they found was a leviathan and he’s the shadow that we saw at the beginning of season 8.

  10. I totally disagree with this assessment of the flashbacks. I think they were well handled and especially liked the Purgatory flashbacks while Sam’s seemed weak and sometimes uninteresting. His relationship with Amelia is not compelling in the past or present. But the season is still going well. And I loved this episode. I’m relieved they didn’t go cliche and make Benny evil. His friendship with Dean is a highlight of the season.

  11. Well, here’s my opinion. Do I like Season 8? Absolutely. I feel season 8 story is much stronger and I like the Word of God arc very much, although I feel the execution of said story is not the best. I feel, as weak as they Leviathans story was, and as weak as a villain they were, the execution was strong. i thought last season had many emotional punches and great character interaction and moments.
    But I feel I partially agree with this article, I think great days are ahead, and for the first time so far since word broke of a possible two more seasons, that they can actually pull it off.
    I like the Sam and Amelia moments, although I say agian poor execution. I think that many flashbacks were indeed necessary to really make some of us at least, truly feel that Sam had something special there, even though the performances left something to be desired. Amelias old man coming in saved that in my opinion, he was good.
    As i stated weeks ago, for the most part I feel Jensen and Jared are phoning it in, but they are getting better. I am spoiled and have 6-7 seasons of fantastic chemistry with them together or with supporting characters, their great individual performances etc, and until recently I wasnt feeling that this season. But it looks as though they are finally digging in and getting better.
    I think Cas has been great so far, like where that is going very much.
    Problems with continuity though? Hell yeah. as another mentioned, since when do Vamps get to hang out during the day? He was in the shade, does only direct UV sunlight burn them up? Or has that never been part of SPN rules? Cas was a mental case at end of last year, was the fight with Dick Roman and a year in purgatory enough to set him straight? Or is he unstable and can flip flop from serious to geeky anytime? Either way works for me, he’s great, just would like to know where we stand as the viewer, unless theres more surprises to come. What happened to Meg? Did Crowley bust her up and I just forgot? Why does Crowley seemingly have his own “meat suit”? i.e. he possessed Kevins Mom, then red smoked it back to physical form? When all other demons go from one body to another, Crowley, possibly due to being the King of Hell, is able to change his physical form into smoke to inhabit another? Sounds like an oops to me…but could be wrong.
    Does purgatory have a day and night cycle like Earth? When Dean and Cas arrived, purgatory was creepy as hell with red eyed things waiting for a meal, but most of the flashbacks has seen Dean and benny walking during the day? Wouldve been more scary and believeable if it was perpetual dark. But whatever.

    I always liked Garth and never thought or got the impression he was completely incompetant, and I’m ok with his new rank in the Hunter army, but its obvious Sam and Dean are the better hunters, not to mention countless others, so why have Garth be the new Bobby? Still Ok with it though, just seems like lazy writing.

    All in all though, I like the direction, just hope part 2 of this season has better execution. And i still think Amelia has a bigger part to play. i hope anyway for all the build up and time dedicated to building a back story. Oh and more more thing, when Sam first left Amelia in the beginning of season when getting word that Dean was back he snuck away in the night, the dog was still on the bed, and i believe Amelia had eyes opened and stayed quiet. But in the flashback, he (looks like anyway) left during the day saying she and Don deserved a chance. Did I miss something?

    Peace out.

  12. Vampires are weakened by the sun but, cannot be destroyed by it like the traditional vampire. So vampires are able to walk in the sun even though it’s painful.

    I was under the impression that Crowly hid his “meat suit” behind the door so that when he was done with Kevin’s mom, he could easily get back to his original body. Demons love to stick to the same body – they form an attachment to it. I could be wrong though.