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Cult Recap

'Supernatural' recap: Vampire pirates and tragic love in 'Blood Brother'

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Supernatural S08E05: 'Blood Brother'

© The CW

Season 8, episode 5

THEN! Sam (Jared Padalecki) found true love and took a year off from hunting, which ticked off his brother Dean (Jensen Ackles) something awful, since he'd spent the past 12 months fighting for his life in Purgatory alongside new ally Benny the vampire (Ty Olsson)...

NOW! After last week's divisive standalone 'Bitten', last night's Halloween instalment of Supernatural saw the show return to business as usual, though with a slightly different slant - 'Blood Brother' explores the unlikely bond shared between Dean and fanged friend Benny...

With "criminal prodigy Rain Man" Kevin Tran (Osric Chau) still managing to evade the Winchesters, Dean takes a break from the hunt for the elusive prophet to help out Benny, who's been badly injured in an attack on his old vampire nest.

When he recovers, Benny shares details of his clan's feeding frenzies with Dean - they'd board ships, massacre the crew on board, then sink the craft. As Dean himself notes, Benny's clan are essentially "vampire pirates" - two words that are bound to make a cult TV fan's heart sing when put together, so cool does the notion sound.

Supernatural S08E05: 'Blood Brother'

© The CW



But don't expect much swashbuckling bloodsucker action here - 'Blood Brother' is at its heart a tragic love story. Dean has always dismissed vampires as straight-up, unsympathetic monsters, so when he was faced with the somewhat sympathetic and rather charismatic Benny, he had to reassess long-standing morals.

Now, as the audience get to know Benny better and we're won over by Ty Olsson's performance, we face the same moral shift, particularly once we learn the details of Benny's dark and tragic affair with his lady love Andrea - a strong guest turn from Athena Karkanis.

Supernatural S08E05: 'Blood Brother'

© The CW



There are interesting parallels too between Benny leaving his nest for true love and Sam abandoning the hunter's life for Amelia (Liane Balaban) - perhaps the monsters and the men who hunt them aren't so different after all? Dean seems to be coming round to the notion, but Sam? Judging by his chilly introduction to Benny at episode's end, it seems like he's got a long way to go...

Elsewhere this week, we got another all-too-brief insight into Dean's wartime experiences in Purgatory when he traversed the hellish landscape with Benny and Castiel (Misha Collins). At this point, it's clearly Cas who's still the hunter's bosom pal - so what happened to make Dean bond with a vampire and apparently abandon his angel BFF? Intriguing developments presumably lie ahead.

Supernatural S08E05: 'Blood Brother'

© The CW



With Dean otherwise engaged, Sam spends much of 'Blood Brother' experiencing some (rather more sedate) flashbacks of his own. We learn a little more about his year spent living a 'normal' life and while the insights we get here are rather slight, there's fun to be had in watching his awkward early interactions with Amelia, who dares to diss Sam's army surplus fashion and, yes, even his flowing locks.

Traditionally the best Supernatural episodes have been those that focus on Sam and Dean as characters, rather than just on a monster of the week. Eight seasons in and pretty much all of the Winchester boys' quirks and character traits have been thoroughly explored, but 'Blood Brother' makes a valiant and rather successful attempt to add a few new shades to their respective palettes.

What did you make of 'Blood Brother'? Share your thoughts on the latest Supernatural episode below!

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