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Recap: Supernatural S 01 E 15 The Benders
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."

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 police woman, Kathleen, who has a brother who previously went missing along with many other people in this county. They track a vehicle to an isolated rural setting, where they find a family who have poor hygiene and 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; and 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 their victims' corpses posed as if they were deer or other game.
  • The Bechdel Test: Failed.
  • 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: A cop, Kathleen, runs Dean's police badge and tells him what she found.
    Cop: 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...
    • Later when Kathleen claims she had to kill the father because he tried to escape.
  • But He Sounds Handsome / Call Back : A police officer mentions that Sam's brother was killed and suspected of murder.
    Dean: Yeah, Dean, kinda the black sheep of the family. Handsome, though.
  • Call Back: Dean references his Paperclip Lockpick escape in the pilot.
    Dean: I gotta start carrying paper clips.
  • 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.
  • Deggans Rule: Failed.
  • 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 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. The patriarch has even taught his 13-year-old granddaughter to hunt people!
  • 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 favourite way to spend time together.
    • The father also when he's injured.
  • Impending Doom P.O.V.: Shot of Sam's feet from under the car.
  • Impersonating an Officer: For once, Dean get caught doing this when Kathleen runs his badge and discovers it was stolen.
  • Insistent Terminology: Also a Call Back to the Pilot (S01, Ep01).
    Sam: Don’t… call me… Sammy!
  • Ironic Echo:
    • In this episode Dean says:
    Dean: All I’m sayin’ is, you vanish like that again, I’m not lookin’ for ya.
    Dean: Good. No that's good. We always told each other not to look for each other. That's smart. Good for you. Of course we always ignored that because of our deep abiding love for each other. But not this time, right 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 kind of 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, as Evan was wrong about the monster, but right about the whining growl.
  • Kissing Cousins:
    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?
  • 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 subject 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 just plans to kill both Kathleen and Sam outright, no hunt involved.
  • Serial Killers: The Bender family.
  • Shout-Out:
    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: 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 red 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 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.
    • But, 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 supernatural beings.
    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.
Supernatural S 01 E 14 NightmareRecap/SupernaturalSupernatural S 01 E 16 Shadow

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