Look at all those colors! And the little plastic chairs outside! (I've stayed in maaaybe two motels that came with chairs outside; this is a rare gift.) And the colors are mismatched and everything. The backs are smooth vs. scalloped, and the handrails are angled vs. arched. The two chairs are as immaculately mismatched as possible. <3
And look at that sign!!! And that weird "the 70s and IKEA mated" lamp!! Also, I'm not sure why I find this so endearing, but I find it so endearing that Sam still has his beer in his hand when he follows Dean outside, lol. In the scene, Dean hands Sam a beer and then is cryptically like "okay I'll see you in a day!" You know there's no way Dean thought that that was going to actually work, but at least disappointing Sam now gives Dean time to ease into those waters and protract the experience. Like, he knows eventually Sam is going to have to know about Benny, and where Dean needs to go right now. But he doesn't have time to explain all that, nor the will, so he does that Dean thing that frustrates Sam so much. Even now Dean can't actually tell Sam about Benny--but if it has to come out, then Dean will do it slow. He'll show Sam Benny because he can't tell him. And then when they have to talk, they'll talk. But not a moment before.
Wait, I was talking about the disco lamp, not Winchester psychology. (Is there a difference?)
Also, here's a beautiful shot of SAM USING THE PLASTIC CHAIRS. He's really just out there to tee him up for one of SPN's awkward flashback transitions, but I like to think that the weather was all right and the room smelled a little too strongly of cleaning solvent, so Sam decided to work outside. They never get to. Not for this part of the job, anyway.
This episode has way too much excellence for me to handle (a great Sam and Dean convo about Kevin; fantastic Castiel dialogue in Purgatory; marvelous Sam and Amelia interactions).
Here's a beautiful shot of stuff Benny stripped from the vampires he killed. Ephemeral plunder:
Which I'll also note that the second Benny lays this all out for Dean, Dean steals the money clip. XD He doesn't ever stop talking to Benny and the scene keeps moving, but that money casually finds its way into Dean's hands. By the end of the scene, Dean's also taken the money from the wallet and pocketed that, too. I enjoy klepto Dean generally speaking, but I enjoyed these scenes especially because the camera/acting didn't draw as much attention to the act as they do in other similar scenes. You just get a little bit from Dean's eyes when he's checking to make sure Benny's attention is otherwise occupied.
Also, who taught this man how to sit in a boat:
And okay, I feel like drawing comparisons between Benny and Sam, and Dean and Amelia, is pretty basic. Like, okay, there are parallels, whatever. But there was some really neat stuff in this episode, and I don't think what I was responding to was just SPN plopping down some parallels, you know?
I think it's super interesting that during his car ride with Benny, Dean realizes that Benny's main backstory--rolling with his vampire fam until he met a woman who showed him the alternative and greater possibilities of life--is what Dean perceives Sam's Purgatory year to have been. Dean doesn't react the way he does with Sam, though. And of course he wouldn't. It's not just because Sam is more important to Dean than Benny is; but Dean's hold on Benny's story and who he is is flexible enough to naturalize this new information. For Dean with Sam, that's way harder--especially since in Sam's case Dean would be on the receiving end of that departure. But even if he weren't I think Dean would have a much harder time fitting this into his idea of who Sam is, and the trust and security he finds in that. And I think Dean's aware (or becomes aware during this adventure) of the parallels, too. Because when Benny starts waxing about doubting reality Dean freaks out a little and tells Benny that he's seen someone go down that road and it's never a good one. I'm sure Dean's seen plenty of hunters lose their grasp on reality for any number of reasons, but I'm certain that right then, he means Sam during S7.
I think Sam's struggle is similar, though instead of freezing up and grasping for some static picture of who his brother is, Sam goes the opposite way and lets his idea of who Dean might be spool way out (re: my 8x03/04 comments about Sam making room for the things that are different about Dean (and himself) so as not to have to brush elbows with things messy and immediately past). He can recognize "angry lady" Amelia as someone who's experienced some kind of trauma, and sort of work within that arena to get to know her and how to interact with her. He doesn't quite do that with Dean. And again, I honestly thing everything is just harder the closer you are to someone. What's interesting is that Dean watches Benny fall out of love with Greek-pirate-vampire-lady because now that she's a monster she's lost what Benny found attractive about her (her humanity). That would be hard to watch, given that Dean also thinks Sam is giving him up for something else/something better, and knows that he's come back different, too.
This episode also ups the ante on the question of how different, too. Because we get increasing snatches of Castiel's fate in Purgatory, and his coming apart/his hurtling toward the reality that he is not going to make it out. And by the end of the episode, we get Dean expressing concern about Benny's mental state, and how he's coping with the world post-Purgatory. Dean's Escape Purgatory Hero Team is disintegrating, having escaped the hot zone (well, not in Castiel's case just yet, but) only to be crushed with the weight of living with the aftermath. Outlook? Not great. D:
But ohhhhhh my godddddd words can't describe how much I love Sam and Dean's phone convos in the vampire nest. XD Dean picking up his phone when he really shouldn't be making any noise at all, and Sam wondering why Dean's whispering, and being all WTF when he's given the reason. Dean being like, as;kfa;lkja;kf shut up I texted you my 20! It's interesting to me that Dean picked then to call Sam up. He left Sam behind at first, but now he wants him there. It's probably a tripartite motivation: 1) Dean has finally conceded that Sam knowing about Benny is inevitable, 2) Dean is finally ready to tackle that process of revelation, 3) Dean's in a vampire nest and he really wants Sam's backup. Like, really a lot.
And Sam wants to be there, like, really a lot. Angry panicked!Sam is one of my favorite flavors of Sam and all of his scenes in this ep are filmic gold. <333 There's this scene where Sam calls Dean, gets Dean's voice mail, and Sam just drops his phone to go rattle around somewhere in the bottom of the car so he can floor it. <3______<3
And then there's this final scene, where Benny and Dean return to the mainland to Sam waiting on the docks. Sam and Benny shake hands, Sam realizes Benny doesn't have a pulse. He looks to Dean. Recognizes Dean knows. Surreptitiously goes for a knife--but not quickly. He's still probing out the situation. Benny notices, but doesn't do anything. Dean notices, and Benny sees Dean notice. Dean just gives Sam a look that means "no" and Sam trusts him on that. There's this whole dramatic kinesthetic dance going on with barely any movement at all, and the entire dance comes down to mutual trust. That, through all of this, is still rock-solid there. Even given Benny's comment that he's sure "you two have a lot to talk about." I want to be more precise about what, exactly, electrifies me about that, and about all these little specific interactions in this ep, but I think I prematurely blew my load marveling at the mismatched plastic motel chairs. XD
I love this episode so much. I love this show so much! Especially since I haven't seen any of S8 (except for the Amelia scenes) since 2013, so there's a lot of the nitty-gritty that feels essentially all-new to me. :D