The center of The CW’s Supernatural — and in every fan’s heart — has always been two brothers who drive the open road, “saving people, hunting things,” but occasionally characters have come in to shake up the dynamic, or even come between Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki).
On season eight, one such character introduced was Benny (Ty Olsson), a vampire Dean met while down in Purgatory, who fought alongside the Winchester brothers and earned his trust so much that Dean pulled him out of Purgatory once he returned topside. The two went their separate ways, but in the next all-new episode, “Blood Brother,” they reunite when Benny finds himself in trouble and Dean rushes to his side.
On paper it may seem like Dean is choosing his makeshift brother over his biological one, but don’t worry Supernatural fans, Olsson assured Celebuzz that Benny is not out to rip apart the Winchester bond in any way; his focus is on finding a way to survive in a world he no longer understands.
Celebuzz: When we were on set, Jensen pointed out that he really enjoys the Benny and Dean story, not only because it’s a different side to his character, but also because he really likes working with you.
Ty Olsson: Well, first I wrote Jensen a very large check to say nice things about me!
CB: How did you guys work on developing the relationship between the characters?
TO: We didn’t discuss their relationship beforehand. We both have been doing this a long time, so we do our homework, and we come together, we know what we’re bringing to the table. The great thing about working with an actor like Jensen is he’s present and available and a giving actor… When you work with someone who’s as good as Jensen is, it just brings your game up. So there wasn’t much of a plan going in, but there has been discussion since. When we hit a pause, we’re like ‘What do you think about this?’
CB: How will we see the connection between Dean and Benny grow as we get to know more about their time in Purgatory?
TO: I think that connection starts off as a brothers in arms connection and relying on each other for survival in Purgatory, but after a year of that, it’s just inevitable that they’re going to get to know each other better and more personally. It’s those moments of high stress, for anybody, and constant [fear of] death that you reach out for another human being and some kind of connection… Obviously a lot of that happened in Purgatory, but now that they’re out of Purgatory and back in the real world, they both have that issue of re-assimilating back into society. There’s also that connection of us both going ‘OK, well, I guess we go back to our lives.’ And how do we deal with that in the real world? It’s not like they can always be hanging out, and you see in [“Blood Brother”] a little bit more of that kind of connection between the characters. We’ll see it deepening.
CB: Do you think Benny is being honest and keeping his nose clean, as Dean warned him to do? Or have there been moments we haven’t seen where he’s slid back into old vampire ways?
TO: I think he is being straight with him. The more interesting storyline, and the way the writers are going, is that Benny is dealing with his hunger and this conflict that he has about not being human but also not fitting into the vampire world. That really heavily shows that turmoil that Benny has. I think Benny’s still in Purgatory. He’s not in heaven; he’s not in hell; he’s lost. He’s still in battle, but he’s in battle with himself, and it’s the hardest one yet because he just doesn’t fit anywhere.
CB: Is a part of Benny just trying to find a way back to the place that he called “pure”?
TO: You know how a lot of people spend [years] in jail, and they’re unable to live on the outside, and they keep going back? There’s certainly a possibility that that’s something he tries to solve his problem with. But I don’t think you can just go back to Purgatory so easily! And I also think there’s a drive in him to try to find a way to connect with the world.
CB: When we first saw Benny and Castiel (Misha Collins) meet in Purgatory, it didn’t go very well. Will Benny ever warm up to him?
TO: I don’t know that ‘warm up’ is the word! [Laughs] I think that need for survival keeps them at odds because of the parameters that they established in earlier scenes in Purgatory. I don’t think that becomes a buddy-buddy situation; I think there’s always a third wheel, and in this case, it rotates.
CB: Is that ‘third wheel analogy’ also how Benny feels about Sam when Dean calls his brother for help on “Blood Brother”?
TO: I think Benny understands the conflict that Dean is going through, regarding letting his brother know. I think Benny’s aware that Dean is torn between his actual brother and his army brother, so to speak, and he doesn’t push too hard on that button because Benny’s smart enough not to get between them. He’s looking for a connection; he’s not looking to disconnect others.
CB: Going forward on the season, how involved will Benny be in helping Dean with cases, like searching for the tablets?
TO: I don’t know anything about that at this point. The episodes coming up with Benny, Benny’s in a situation where he’s focused on his own situation right now, and I don’t know that there’s any room for him to be helping out with anything else. We’ve got some great episodes coming up that talk a lot about where Benny came from and his struggles, and they’re going to tell you a lot about what’s up with Benny.
Supernatural airs Wednesday at 9 PM on The CW.
How do you feel about the addition of Benny this season on Supernatural? Sound off in the comments below!