Supernatural's Ty Olsson Previews Benny's Return, 'Unresolved Issues' for the Winchesters
When Supernatural‘s Dean escaped purgatory, he did so with the help of a vampire named Benny. The bond resulting from that experience, says the bloodsucker’s portrayer Ty Olsson, “goes to a level that most people don’t ever experience in their lives.”
Though we know why Dean wanted to return to the land of the fully living, Benny’s motives for aiding the Winchester brother haven’t been as clear – until this Wednesday’s episode (The CW, 9/8c). Read on to see what Olsson tells TVLine about his character’s “driving force” and what we can expect from Benny’s first meeting with Sam.
TVLINE | I was taken aback by the scenes between Benny and Dean in the premiere. Just how close is their bond?
It’s extremely close. And it’s close in a way that very few people can understand. I have likened this to being behind enemy lines, a battle in hostile territory. These two have been at war, back to back, against the enemy for a year in purgatory. A bond like that, only people in the military that have gone through a warlike situation could possibly begin to understand. Their connection goes to a level that most people don’t ever experience in their lives. It’s absolute dependency on another person for survival and companionship and safety. That connection is too difficult to describe.
TVLINE | When Benny first approached Dean, it seemed like he just needed him out of necessity to get out. Is there a turning point where it goes from that to something more?
Yeah, we see little glimpses of how that happened in the flashbacks to purgatory. I keep saying, they could have done a season of what happened in purgatory. We see some of how those connections grew stronger and how it developed into something a little deeper and more personal. But it’s suggestions. We don’t go fully into it. We get moments of it and glimpses of it and flashbacks of moments of connection and how that trust was earned so that it becomes more than just necessity.
TVLINE | This week, Dean has to go help Benny. What kind of trouble has he gotten himself into?
[In] Episode 5, we learn why he was in purgatory, how he got there. We learn a lot about Benny’s backstory… The trouble that Benny gets into is that he’s got some loose ends to tie up, so to speak. There’s a pressing reason why he wants out of purgatory and a need to clean up those loose ends and resolve what happened before. There’s a really interesting storyline about where he came from and how he got into purgatory and how he died and how he was turned. It’s a driving force that gets him in the middle of a pretty messy situation. And it’s powerful enough for him that it becomes a single focus. That’s what drives him to get out of purgatory, why he searches out Dean.
TVLINE | Benny goes after his Maker. Why is that important for him?
It’s all tied into how he was created, how he ended up in purgatory and the drive and obsession that he has to rectify his situations. There’s some revenge themes in this episode. And a lot about family. It’s an interesting thing, because it really starts to show what Benny has to go through that makes him more alone in the world.
TVLINE | And how is the reunion between Dean and Benny? Even though it’s under these dire circumstances, are they happy to see each other?
[Laughs] Yes, Benny is certainly happy to see Dean. By the time he gets a hold of Dean, he needs a friend, for sure. They reconnect. We see a very human side to Benny in this episode. We see a lot about who he is and why he is like he is, why he’s chosen not to drink blood anymore and what he wants from this life. There’s some twists and turns that are really, really good. I’m excited for everyone to see this episode because the writers just killed it. It’s so well done.
TVLINE | This is episode also marks Sam and Benny’s first meeting. How does that go?
I think it’s safe to say we don’t hug it out. [Laughs] Sam and Dean have spent their entire adult years hunting down monsters like Benny. For Sam, this is like a mind explosion because his brother is suddenly buddy-buddy with a monster. That first meeting, there’s not a lot of dialogue in it. It’s a brief meeting. It’s a short scene, but it’s a very powerful scene, just seeing that tension build between the trio, where Dean clearly has Benny’s back. It leaves us knowing that there’s going to be a lot of conflict and a lot of unresolved issues between Sam and Dean – after we hug, of course. [Laughs]
TVLINE | How honest is Dean with Sam about his history with Benny?
I think that’s a question for Jensen [Ackles]. But I suspect it’s one of those things where you hear stories about people who come from heavy duty war zones. It’s not something you want to talk about. You don’t want to talk about what happened while you were in the trenches, the things that you saw, things that you did. I suspect it’s not easy for Dean to discuss that with his brother — this change and why and how it came about. There’s kind of a post-traumatic stress syndrome in both the Benny and the Dean characters. I don’t think it’s something that Dean can just sit down and go, “OK, here’s what happened in the last year.” That’s probably what adds to the conflict – that he’s not able to just be open about it.
TVLINE | Dean and Benny obviously got out of purgatory, but Castiel didn’t escape with them. Did they have a role to play in that?
That situation is revealed later. I cannot tell you or the SWAT team will come in and shoot me.
TVLINE | We need to talk about a scene that has been bugging me since the season premiere: When we see Benny talking to Dean on the phone, he’s standing right outside of a funeral. Is that something we should be reading into?
You should absolutely be reading into it because that’s what the writers want. They want you to be going, “What the hell is he doing there?!” [Laughs] That’s exactly the purpose of that scene, so we’re not quite sure what’s going on and what that means and how it’ll play out in the future. And it does play out, but on a subtle level. I’ve described Benny as a character who’s lost between worlds. Even though he’s back in the real world, he’s still kind of in purgatory and trying to find out who he is and where he belongs. That scene gives you very subtle nuances to Benny’s struggle.