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The Benders - Episode Information

Production Number:

Air Date: 2006-02-14

Dean searches for Sam when he is kidnapped by a backwoods family who likes to hunt humans and use their body parts as trophies.

A boy is watching TV with screams and monster sounds coming from the set. It’s obviously a horror film. Then he hears a noise and goes to the window to investigate what it is. Down below, a man walks into the parking lot to throw the trash and the boy keeps looking on. Walking back to the building, the man stops and hears a strange noise out of nowhere, he then looks around and looks underneath a car. He sees something and before he can run, he is dragged underneath the car as he tries to claw himself away from the thing but he fails. The boy looks terrified and backs away from the window.

After a few days, the mother, Mrs. McKay, is talking to a couple of state police and she tells them that her son has already told them everything that he knows. The two state police turn out to be Sam and Dean and they both persuade the boy to tell his story. Slowly, he recounts for them what had happened including the weird noises he heard which he describes as a “monster”. Mrs McKay then pushes her son to tell what he was watching on TV that night and he tells them it was a Godzilla movie. Dean laughs and tells the kid that he loves the show while Sam rather watches the newer remake. Sam interrupts and asks Evan whether he saw what grabbed the man, Mr. Jenkins but he didn’t. However, he did hear the monster leave and he tells them it sounded like a “whining growl”.

In a bar, the brothers are discussing about the case. Dean says it could just be another kidnapping but Sam points out that John had marked this place out as a possible hunting ground of a phantom attacker. Dean says that phantom attackers usually take people from their beds and not from parking lots. Sam agrees but there’s still so much more to investigate and Dean says they’ll ask around more the next day. Dean goes back to his dart game and Sam says he saw motel a few miles back, Dean turns around and tries to persuade Sam to stick around and have more fun but Sam thinks otherwise. Finally relenting, Dean goes to the restroom while Sam waits for him outside.

While waiting, Sam hears a strange noise and he pulls out his torchlight to have a look. He then peaks under a car but is only rewarded with a cat nearly scratching his eyes out. Laughing, Sam gets up and walks off. When Dean comes out the bar, he notices Sam is nowhere to be found. He searches for Sam and calls out his name but comes out fruitless. Dean then notices the traffic cameras and runs down the road looking for anything but there’s nothing.

The next day, Dean is at the local police station and he is talking with the deputy of the town. He introduces himself as Officer Washington, a state police. Dean says that he’s looking into a missing person’s case at which the deputy says that she didn’t realise the Jenkins case was being investigated by the state police. Dean says no, and that he’s looking for another missing person. Dean says he’s looking for his cousin who disappeared after a night out at the bar. The deputy wonders if maybe he had too much to drink, but Dean says, “What Sam? Two beers and he’s doing karaoke.”

The deputy smiles and types in Sam’s name into the database and comes up with a Samuel Winchester and his deceased brother, Dean Winchester, who was wanted to a string of murders in Missouri. Dean nervously laughs and says that the dead Dean was always the black sheep of the family. Still, the deputy can’t find anything else on Sam but Dean tells her that he saw the traffic cameras and she nods. Pulling out a stack of papers, the deputy tells Dean to fill the forms out while she goes to get the tapes. However, Dean tells her that he wants to follow her and persuades her. Finally giving in, they both leave.

In a dark looking cage, Sam finally rouses and is shocked to find himself all locked up. He then notices another cage across from him and there’s a man in there.

Dean is sitting on a park bench and the deputy appears behind of him with image captures from the traffic camera Dean was talking about. As he flips through the pictures, there are a few of an old truck but with a new number plate just around the time Sam disappears. The both conclude that the number plate was probably stolen and whoever has that truck has Sam. Suddenly, a van drives by and there’s a horrible noise coming from the engine to which Dean realises it sounds exactly like Evan had described the monster, “a whining growl.” It dawns on Dean that this could possibly be the work of humans and not a monster.

Back at the cage, Sam is kicking the cage doors trying to get out but it isn’t budging one bit. In the next cage the man stirs and Sam asks if he is Alvin Jenkins. The man says yes and is certain they’ll be killed. Sam asks the man how the things look like but his question is answered when they arrive, opening Jenkins’ cage to feed him. As they leave, Sam is surprised again to find that the things are actually just people. Sam climbs the cage and reaches for a cable hanging just over the cage and he tries pulling it free.

The deputy and Dean are in her car, driving along the roads trying to find anywhere that the truck may have turned off. Just as she educates him about how some of the houses have private back roads, the screen in the car bleeps indicating that information has just arrived. While she drives, the deputy hits a few buttons and is troubled by what she sees. Slowly, she calls out to Officer Washington, and she tells him that she ran his badge number all the while she stops the car by the road side. She further informs him that his badge has been stolen, to which Dean looks surprised and she then shows him the picture of the actual Officer Washington that she has displayed on the screen. It’s a shot of a slightly overweight African American man. Dean tries to save himself by saying, “I lost some weight? And err… I have this Michael Jackson skin disease?”

The deputy isn’t buying it and orders Dean out of the car but once more he tries to talk to her. He tells her about how he feels responsible over Sam ever since he pulled him out of the fire when they were kids. It’s always been his job to keep him safe and he begs the deputy to continue searching for him. The deputy is still reluctant to believe Dean and tells him she has to take him in, but at that moment, she looks at a photo pinned in her car of a man. She sighs and says she’ll do just that after they find Sam.

Sam is still trying to pull the cable free and he finally succeeds in doing so, but is rewarded for his effort with a bracket. Jenkins snorts and sarcastically celebrates Sam’s achievement but just then, Jenkins’ cage door opens and he think it’s an electrical short. Sam has a bad feeling about this and tells Jenkins’ it could be trap, telling him to get back in the cage. It seems Sam could be right when Jenkins’ door closes automatically but he had already left.

Outside, Jenkins’ is running through the rain when he sees a knife on the floor and he picks it up. He runs into the forest and is suddenly tripped by a couple of man who attack him. He tries fighting them off but in the end, he is hunted down and killed by their spears in cold blood. Jenkins’ screams can be heard all the way back to Sam who is now very worried.

After a whole night of searching, the deputy and Dean are still looking and are at a town drinking some coffee. Dean asks the deputy why is she willing to help him and the deputy tells him that her brother disappeared a few years back and still hasn’t been found. Dean doesn’t know what to say but the deputy says they need to continue searching.

Once again driving on the roads, Dean suddenly spots a small dirt road and the deputy stops the car. She tells Dean to stay near the car while she investigates but he protests. After a few short exchanges, the deputy makes Dean promise that he’ll let her handle it and Dean says he promises. The deputy then has Dean shake on it but as he does so, she pulls out her handcuffs and cuffs him. Dragging him to the car, she locks the other side of the cuff to the door handle. Dean cannot believe he was duped and tells himself, “I need to start carrying paper clips.”

Walking through the dirt road, the deputy comes upon a rundown and dirty looking house. She knocks on the door and a small and skinny child answers the door. The girl asks who she is and the deputy introduces herself as Kathleen the deputy of the town while the girl says her name’s Missy. Kathleen asks if Missy’s mother is home but Missy says that she’s dead. The deputy shows Missy a picture of Sam but Missy looks up and starts smiling. Kathleen asks her, “What?” but Missy continues smiling and answers, “That’s gonna hurt.” Just as Kathleen turns around to find out what she means, a man hits her over the head with a shovel, knocking her out cold. The man smiles and tells Missy that he wants to see her brothers. Missy obeys and replies, “Yes, daddy.”

Still handcuffed to the car, Dean looks around for anything that can pick the lock and he spots the car’s antenna. Unfortunately, it’s just a little too far out of reach but Dean struggles hard to reach it anyhow. Just as his fingers are able to touch the object, he hears the uninvited ‘whining-growl’ and Dean picks up the speed in trying to reach the antenna. We see the two brothers getting out of the truck and unlocking the front gate, making their way to Kathleen’s car. Painstakingly, Dean unscrews the antenna off, and bends it into a makeshift pick. The two brothers reach the car but Dean is already gone, and they both, who are unaware Dean is even around, drive the car away.

Deputy Kathleen awakes in a cell and looks around seeing Sam in the next cage. She asks him if he’s Sam Winchester and Sam confirms it. Kathleen tells him that his cousin’s looking for him and Sam breathes out a whisper of thanksgiving. But his joy is short-lived when Kathleen informs him she had handcuffed him to the patrol car. Just then, the door opens and it’s Dean who enters it much to their relief. Kathleen is amazed that Dean got out of the cuffs and Dean merely grins. He then focuses on the locks and tells Sam, “This locks are going to be a bitch!” at which Sam tells him that all the doors are controlled by the power box on the pillar near the exit. Dean looks at the power box to see if he can do anything and Sam updates him that the “things” behind all of these are just people. Dean can’t help but mouth a remark, “And they jumped you?”

Sam wonders about these people and what they want because all they seem to do us release their prisoners and kill them, like a hunting game. Dean says with their “normal playmates” there are always rules and patterns but with humans, anything goes. Sam nods and asks Dean if he saw anything up there. Dean says that he saw a lot of cars with number plates from all over and he figures that when they kidnap people they take their cars too. Kathleen suddenly asks Dean if he saw a black mustang about 10-years old and Dean says he did. Kathleen looks saddened by the news and Dean realises it must’ve been her brothers. Turning back to Sam, Dean asks Sam if he needed a key to unlock the controls of the power box and Sam says yes but he doesn’t know where it is. Dean leaves to go back to the house to find the key.

He then wanders into a basement and he looks around, only to see jars of pickled human parts and organs ala Grissom’s office from CSI. As he further searches, Dean finds photos of the brothers and their dead “prey” including one of Jenkins. Dean shudders and says, “Demons I get, but people are crazy.” He then finds a stairway leading up and goes through a door, right into the living room of the house. He carefully threads through the house and bumps into a wind-chime only it’s made out of human bones. Dean glances into the kitchen sees one of the Benders sawing and chopping into something which looks rather gruesome but Dean’s attention if drawn to a box filled with a few keys. He tries to reach for it but as he turns around, Missy sees him. Though she looks surprised, she overcomes it and throws a dagger at Dean; pinning his jacket to the world. She calls for her father and the two brothers arrive, picking a fight with Dean. Pa Bender then creeps up behind Dean and knocks him out with a frying pan.

As he comes around, Dean sees the entire Bender family crowding around him. It’s a creepy revelation but Pa Bender tells him that he came from a long line of hunters though he discovered that the best hunt just happens to be people. He excitedly tells Dean about the joys of hunting people but Dean is disgusted. Pa Bender interrogates Dean if more cops are coming but Dean doesn’t plan on saying a word and shoots another wisecrack, “Eat me. No… wait… you actually might.” However, Pa Bender doesn’t take too kindly to Dean’s wit and threatens him with a red-hot iron rod, and even gives him a taste on how it feels against flesh. He forces Dean to choose between Sam or Kathleen to be released and hunted and he painfully chooses Sam.

Instead of releasing him, Pa tells his sons to just shoot Sam in the cage and then Kathleen much to Dean’s horror. As Lee Bender opens the door to Sam’s cage and aims the gun at him, Sam reaches for the bracket and throws it at Lee.

Upstairs, Dean threatens to kill the whole family if they kill Sam. But back down, Sam has overpowered Lee and takes his gun though it’s jammed. Pa and Jared Bender go look for Lee downstairs and they leave Dean with Missy. Together, the father and son hunt for Sam and Kathleen who have escaped. After a mad fight between the four, Jared accidentally shoots his father though not fatally. Sam then punches the lights out of Jared and they throw him into the cage. Kathleen is then pointing a gun at Pa and tells Sam that she’ll watch him while Sam rescues Dean. When Kathleen is left alone with Pa, she confronts him about her brother and she asks him why he did it. Pa only laughs and tells her, “Because it’s fun.” Kathleen is enraged and we hear a gunshot ring through the air.

Sam and Dean exit the house and head towards the other Benders, when Kathleen comes out of the barn and she asks the brothers where’s Missy. Dean tells her that they locked her in a closet and he asks her in return where Pa is. Kathleen takes a moment to answer but she tells them that she shot Pa as he tried to escape. Dean is a little taken aback at Pa’s sudden demise but is definitely not distressed over it; however, Sam looks at Kathleen as if knowing what she had done.

With everyone locked up, Dean regretfully tells Sam that he left the car at the police station. Kathleen is talking to her walkie-talkie and she informs the brothers that the police are on the way and it’s better if they both make themselves scarce. Dean and Sam give their condolences to Kathleen on the final chapter to her brother’s mysterious disappearance. She tells them she thought she’d feel better once she knew what happened but it doesn’t seem that way. Still, she urges them to get going before the rest arrives. Not wanting to have a meet and greet with the police, Sam and Dean begin their long and slow walk back to their car.

--- END ---

By: Joanna

Cast Information

Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki

Guest Stars:

Episode Music

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“The Benders” takes a break from the usual monster-of-the-week recipe and looks into the darker side of humanity. Dean’s disgust at human-hunting is a little overly done as he keeps mumbling things like, “Demons I get, people are just crazy!” and “With people they're just crazy.” Then again, it could be a possible reason why he’d rather deal with demons and ghouls and stay single most of his life (I’ve decided to disregard the existence of ‘Route 666’).

This storyline could’ve been inspired by John Dickley’s novel entitled ‘Deliverance’. Written back in the 70s, ‘Deliverance’ talks about four men who are caught in a game of cat and mouse with a couple of mountain locals as they struggle to survive. In fact, Alvin Jenkins (Jon Cuthbert) did say, “Ned Beatty time, man” which further backs that theory up. Ned Beatty, by the way, starred in the movie adaptation of the book as the character Bobby Trippe.

But still it’s a little odd to have the episode named ‘The Benders’ yet not presenting to the viewers that the family name of these hillbillies is Bender. I could be wrong, but I definitely don’t recall any of the characters mentioning the word Bender throughout the episode.

Aside from that, there were two other things I noted in this episode that were unusual. At the beginning when Jenkins was kidnapped by the Benders, he was dragged under a car. Now, from the looks of it, Jared (Ken Kirzinger) and Lee (Shawn Reis) are both rather large men and it doesn’t seem feasible for either of them to crawl under a car just to wait for Jenkins to look under. They strike me as men who would rather hit him with a baseball bat than drag the fellow under tight spaces. Unless of course Missy goes along for the ride and is stronger than she looks.

The other thing was when Deputy Kathleen (Jessica Steen) did the search for Sam Winchester and got Dean’s profile as well, there wasn’t a photo of Dean or Sam. I’m assuming that since the case from ‘Skin’ the authorities would’ve gotten a decent picture of Dean. As for Sam, he was after all a college student and I imagine they do take photos in college for things like college IDs and so forth. Wouldn’t they have looked at Sam’s college and gotten more information on him? I know showing the pictures of Dean Winchester would’ve ruined the plot but realistically, most police databases have photos and better descriptions of murderers.

Oh, and just one more point, although this one’s rather frivolous, but the profiles pulled up by Kathleen stated that both Dean and Sam are 6’4”. It’s rather apparent that Sam is a whole lot taller than Dean.

The strongest point in this episode was probably when Dean is captured and tied to the chair while Pa Bender (John Dennis Johnston) tells him the joys of human hunting and the flood of emotions he gets from watching people die. There’s no guilt in his voice but only excitement like any hunter would feel from catching and killing its prey. What’s even scarier is probably the fact that his children have embraced such a sport without questioning it.

Even with all the evil within him, Pa cares a lot for his family and he threatens both Dean and Kathleen when they jeopardise the safety of his family. I don’t know which is more disturbing, the need to hunt and kill another human being or his ability as such a heartless person to be concerned for his own flesh and blood.

Of all the ghouls, demons, spirits, monsters and phantoms none of them matched up the eerie level that Missy has set. When she first steps out of the home, one does get a feeling that she’s just an innocent child who is forced into the world of murder and coldness. Even when she answers Kathleen’s questions, she doesn’t show any inkling that she’s a true Bender until she flashes the evil smile. The moment she warns the deputy that, “That’s gonna hurt” the impression of innocence we get comes unexpectedly crashing down. Missy’s one of the youngest characters to be introduced into the show and yet she scores a perfect ten in the creepy factor. That 13-year old has my vote for “character that should be brought back”.

I was slightly disappointed that Deputy Kathleen turned into such an easy pushover. At the start when she first appeared, it seemed like she was a no nonsense woman who took her job by the book. But within seconds, Dean has managed to talk her into letting him do things his way. I was hoping she would’ve put more of a struggle and not just take a look at her brother’s photo and go all soft. She did, however, redeemed herself slightly when she fooled Dean and handcuffing him to car despite his attempts to sweet talk her once more. Somehow locking the car doors was rather sensible and I couldn’t help but chuckle at that simple thought when everyone was preoccupied with finding Sam.

Throughout the season, Supernatural has stayed true to its dark themes both in storylines as well as in the human aspect. While a lot of shows try to preach goodness by which the heroes and heroines always make the right choices and stick to being “ethically right”, Supernatural veers off a little from that same course. It’s clear in the episodes ‘Faith’, ‘Nightmare’ and now ‘Benders’ where for the first two, Dean was ready to kill both Reverend Roy and Max even though they weren’t demons and he didn’t seem to have qualms about coming to that decision. While in ‘Benders’, Deputy Kathleen doesn’t even bat an eyelid when killing Pa Bender in cold blood but lets her rage take control. It’s interesting to say the least, and it does make the viewer speculate if the good guys will or will not make the “right” decision. That idea doesn’t have the episodes as predictable and keeps people on their toes instead of going, “Yeah, he/she’s not going to kill him. Heroes never do things like that.” It does give a nice touch of reality.

By: Joanna


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