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Recap: Supernatural S 01 E 15 The Benders

Recap of Supernatural
Season 1, Episode 15:

The Benders

Alright, you wanna play games? We'll play some games.

You know, with...our usual playmates, there's rules, there's patterns. But with people, they're just crazy.
Dean

Written by John Shiban.

Directed by Peter Ellis.

Airdate: February 14, 2006.

Sam is abducted by a family in Hibbing, Minnesota, who enjoy hunting the most dangerous game.

The Winchester brothers investigate a disappearance of a man in Hibbing, Minnesota. Before they get far, Sam is kidnapped from the parking lot of a bar. Dean enlists the help of a policewoman, Kathleen, who had a brother who previously went missing, along with many other people in this county. They track a vehicle to an isolated rural area, where they find a family who hunt humans as a family tradition.

Body count:

For this episode = 2 humans.

For the series so far = At least 131 humans; 9 ghosts; 1 god; 1 rawhead; 1 shapeshifter; 1 wendigo.


Tropes appearing in this episode:

  • Awesome McCoolname: A bar in Hibbing, Minnesota called Kugel's Keg with a line of motorcycles parked in front.
  • Badass in Distress
  • Battle Trophy/Creepy Souvenir:
    • The bones hanging from the ceiling and jars full of organs and teeth.
    • The photos of the victims' corpses posed as if they were deer or other game.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    Dean: Sam's my responsibility. And he's comin' back. I'm bringin' him back.
  • Bird Caged: Sam and Jenkins are kept in small metal cages.
  • Blatant Lies: Kathleen runs Dean's police badge and tells him what she found:
    Kathleen: It says here your badge was stolen. And there's a picture of you. [she turns the computer to reveal a heavy-set African-American man]
    Dean: I lost some weight. [laughs nervously] And I got that Michael Jackson skin disease...
    • When Kathleen claims she had to kill the father because he tried to escape.
  • Brother-Sister Incest/Kissing Cousins: Referenced:
    Pa: Only reason I don't let my boys take you right here and now is that there's somethin' I need to know.
    Dean: Yeah, how 'bout it's not nice to marry your sister?
  • But He Sounds Handsome: After Kathleen mentions that Sam's brother was suspected of murder and died:
    Dean: Yeah, Dean, kinda the black sheep of the family. Handsome, though.
  • Call Back: The database reminds us that Dean is officially dead.
  • Calling Your Bathroom Breaks: Dean.
    Dean: Alright, I'll meet you outside, I gotta take a leak.
  • Cannibal Clan: The Benders, named after a real family of murderers.
    Pa Bender: Tell me, any other cops gonna come lookin' for you?
    Dean: Eat me. Oh, no-no-no, wait-wait-wait, you actually might.
  • Catch Phrase: We have two uses of "son of a bitch" by Dean.
  • Cat Scare: Sam looking under the car.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Creepy Child/Little Miss Badass: Missy. Also a Knife Nut.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: They may be murderous sickos, but the Benders do care for each other.
  • Evil Feels Good:
    Pa: But the best hunt is human. Oh, there's nothin' like it. Holdin' their life in your hands. Seein' the fear in their eyes just before they go dark. Makes you feel powerful alive.
  • Eye Scream: Pa threatens to take out Dean's eye with a white-hot poker.
  • Fair Cop: Kathleen.
  • The Family That Slays Together: Sam and Dean investigate a murder, which they discover is the work of a crazy redneck family that has been hunting people for the ultimate hunting experience. Even the granddaughter, who's only thirteen, enjoys it!
  • For the Evulz: "Because it's fun."
  • Great Big Book of Everything: Dean knows something is wrong when he finds John Winchester's journal left behind on the hood of the car.
  • Hillbilly Horrors
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Well, monsters are the real monsters, but at least you expect them to be cruel.
    Dean: Demons I get. People are crazy.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game
    Pa: I've hunted all my life. Just like my father, his before him. I've hunted deer and bear—I even got a cougar once. But the best hunt is human.
  • I'll Kill You!: Dean, giving his opinion on the Bender family's favorite way to spend time together.
    • The father when he's injured.
  • Impending Doom P.O.V.: The shot of Sam's feet from under the car.
  • Impersonating an Officer: For once, Dean gets caught doing this when Kathleen runs his badge and discovers it was stolen.
  • Insistent Terminology: Also a Continuity Nod to "Pilot" (S01, E01).
    Sam: Don't...call me...Sammy!
  • Just Between You and Me: Pa tells Dean about his family's crimes when they have him tied to the chair:
    Pa: We give 'em a weapon. Give 'em a fightin' chance. It's kinda like...our tradition, passed down, father to son. Of course, only one or two a year. Never enough to bring the law down, we never been that sloppy.
  • Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films: Double Subverted Trope: Evan was wrong about the monster, but right about the whining growl.
  • Mercy Lead: Kathleen gives one to Dean at the end.
  • Messy Hair: How we know not to trust Missy from the start.
  • Minnesota Nice: Subverted Trope.
  • Mundanger: Nope, nothing supernatural going on here, just hillbillies. Not any less dangerous.
  • Omniscient Database:
    • Kathleen types "Winchester, Sam" into the police database and gets:
      Record ID DF-23094
      Name: Samuel Winchester
      Born: May 2, 1983
      Place of birth: Lawrence, Kansas
      Physical description: 6'4" Height 180-190 lbs Brown Hair, Brown Eyes
      No distinctive markings or tattoos
      Relevant links: Dean Winchester (deceased) - brother of subject
    • When she clicks on the "Dean Winchester" link, she gets:
      Record ID DF-23094
      Name: Dean Winchester
      Born: January 24, 1979
      Died: March 7, 2006
      Place of birth: Lawrence, Kansas
      Place of death: St. Louis, Missouri
      Physical description: 6'4" Height 175 lbs Brown Hair, Green Eyes
      No distinctive markings or tattoos
      Subject was prime suspect in multiple homicide investigation in St. Louis area prior to his death
      Relevant links: Sam Winchester - brother of subject
  • Sadistic Choice: For Dean.
    Pa: Looks like we’re gonna have a hunt tonight after all, boys. [to Dean] And you get to pick the animal. The boy or the cop?
    • What makes it even more sadistic is that Pa Bender plans to just kill Kathleen and Sam outright, no hunt involved.
  • Serial Killers: The Bender family.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Dean and Evan discuss Godzilla:
      Evan's mother: Tell the officers what you were watching on TV.
      Evan: Godzilla Vs. Mothra. [Dean smiles]
      Dean: [excitedly] That's my favorite Godzilla movie. It's so much better than the original, huh?
      Evan: Totally.
      Dean: Yeah. [He nods towards Sam] He likes the remake.
      Evan: Yuck! [Sam glares at Dean and clears his throat]
    • Sam mentions Spring-Heeled Jack and Mad Gassers as examples of phantom attackers.
    • We get a few cultural references from Alvin Jenkins about his concerns about being raped.
      Sam: Waitin' for what?
      Jenkins: Ned Beatty time, man.
      Sam: I think that's the least of your worries right now.
      Jenkins: Oh, yeah?
      Sam: Yeah.
      Jenkins: What do you think they want, then?
      Sam: Depends on who they are.
      Jenkins: They're a bunch of psycho hillbilly rednecks, if you ask me. Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.
  • Shovel Strike
  • Take That: Dean isn't a fan of the 1998 Godzilla.
  • Tap on the Head: Dean is knocked out by a pan.
  • They Call Him Sword: Lampshaded by Kathleen.
    Kathleen: Alright. What's his name?
    Dean: Winchester. Sam Winchester.
    Kathleen: Like the rifle?
    Dean: Like the rifle.
  • Torture for Fun and Information: Pa with the white-hot poker.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Sam says St. Louis County has more missing persons per capita than anywhere else in Minnesota, although in Real Life this does not seem to be the case.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • Dean just has to tease Sam, even when Sam is locked in a cage:
      Sam: Dude, they're just people.
      Dean: And they jumped you? Must be gettin' a little rusty there, kiddo.
    • Sam gets Dean back later:
      Sam: So, you got sidelined by a thirteen-year-old girl, huh?
      Dean: Oh, shut up.
      Sam: Just saying, you're getting rusty there, kiddo.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Dean seems to differentiate between killing a human and killing supernatural beings. Although it could just be that some of the things he hunts (ghosts, demons, zombies...) aren't really alive in the first place.
    Pa: You ever killed before?
    Dean: Well, that depends on what you mean.
  • You Got Spunk: The Benders like Dean.
    Jared: Yeah, this one’s a fighter. Sure would be fun to hunt. [Pa laughs]
  • You Killed My Father: Kathleen's brother.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go:
    Dean: What? I thought you said you were gonna hunt him. You were gonna give him a chance.