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S01.E15: The Benders

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After hearing in Hibbing, while masquerading as Minnesota state police, a boy's story about a monster probably was inspired by a Godzilla movie, Sam points out the county was marked by dad as suspicious and has the state's highest ratio of disappearances, but Dean just wants to relax, at least till the morning, until Sam disappears on the parking lot. Dean teams up with local police woman Kathleen, who even after finding out they impersonated cops decides not to arrest him before Sam is found, because her own brother also disappeared years earlier.

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I really like this episode. Its got all the elements--a good creepy story; nice Sam and Dean moments; some good music and some fun. I particularly like Deputy Kathleen and I like the way she and Dean work together. I also love the continuing issues with law enforcement and the continuity that Dean is supposed to be dead in the eyes of the law.


I especially like that they were both competent and smart. Even though Sam gets abducted, he's still actively trying to get free. And even though Dean gets waylaid by a 12-year-old girl, he's still badass and smart. I love that moment he chooses Sam to be the one to be hunted. Sam could have gotten hurt or even killed, but in the end he was the best chance strategically and protecting folks is their job. And, I also appreciate that the back and forth between Sam and Dean is banter not bicker--I do rather like the show more when they actually like each other.


This episode has a lot of atmosphere. I'm really drawn to that final crane shot of them walking back to town. When was the last time we saw a crane shot like this...All Hell Breaks Loose I? I'm not advocating they go shoot one, just to do it, I'm just saying I like it.


I find the actual case of the week to be truly interesting--just crazy people as apposed to crazy creatures--and most the guest cast carried their weight nicely. That girl was all sorts of creepy. I understand that the crazy family was supposed to be somewhat patterned after these folks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloody_Benders. I always liked they way used to weave in the legends and folklore of the early seasons, it was more homegrown legends and just really fit the tone of blue collar Americana that they struck early on. I'm not saying that the Greek/Roman Gods don't have their story value, just that I kinda feel like they've been overdone by other shows so I find I appreciate an episode like this more for the novelty of it.


I also understand that they were trying pattern it after that extremely disturbing X-Files episode, but I'm not sure they pushed it quite far enough to be even in the same league and I'm kinda thankful for that. That X-Files episode is still the only one I couldn't finish and still refuse to watch to this day. Not that they really could push it that far and be on the WB anyway.


Anyway, a really good and solid episode.

  • Love 4
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So, this one has two things I love and wish there was more of.


1) Law enforcement. I love the play between the Winchesters and the police, as opposition and then an ally. I like the expansion of knowledge and someone new to the world in a position of power.

2) Humans as the monster. I think that it would be common to have hunters mistaking fucked up people as monsters and then having to figure out what to do about it.


They need more of both, those are criminally underused elements at this point, but they've moved away from law enforcement as a threat and humans as the monster was never big. I miss Victor. They've kind of done it with Jody recently but it's all her helping them, which was what I hoped Victor would do, but it's random. I always thought the hunter world expanding and connecting with the police/legal system would be interesting. It looked like it might happen back in the day.


It also had a great fight scene, even if the ending was weak.

Something else they moved away from that I don't agree with.

I loved Kathleen, she was awesome. It's probably one of my favourite episodes.

Edited by amazinglybored
  • Love 2
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It's probably one of my favourite episodes.


I'm always surprised all over again by how much I love this one. It's one of my 3-4 favorite episodes of the season. 


And, I also appreciate that the back and forth between Sam and Dean is banter not bicker--I do rather like the show more when they actually like each other.


Amen! I also love Sam's look of utter delight when he sees Dean has come to rescue him. They used to SMILE at each other sometimes rather than perpetually pout and frown and scowl, and it's amazing how significant a difference that made in how I perceived their relationship. 


I love this one for all the reasons you guys mentioned: The character of Kathleen and the fun, interesting interplay between the Winchesters and law enforcement (as opposed to watching them interact with a gazillion generic demons and angels!), the idea of human monsters, the effective mood/atmosphere, the way a little adventure, fun and wry wit was integrated with the horror and gloom. 


I really love the scene where Dean realizes Sam has disappeared from the parking lot---something about the way Jensen depicts Dean's mounting panic has me rewinding that scene every time I watch it! 

  • Love 1
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I really love the scene where Dean realizes Sam has disappeared from the parking lot---something about the way Jensen depicts Dean's mounting panic has me rewinding that scene every time I watch it!


I was really surprised how much this scene struck a cord with me when watching last night. I mean, I've seen this episode more times than I probably should admit to, but it still feels somewhat fresh and there's still little things to learn, IMO.

  • Love 1
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I rewatched it last night.  I really like Kathleen and the fact that she shares my name doesn't hurt, lol.  She smart and so ready to do the right thing but just enough heart to help out.  I really like her end response about getting a ride that she is willing to be firm and say no.  Both boys knows she killed the dad, but neither will call her on it, nor can they afford to do so. 


So you have an officer of the law breaking the law, but in someways because it's a TV show, you kind of go yes.  I know we're supposed to be horrified by the idea, but  I just enjoy it and don't bother over thinking the show.


I think that is when this show can get really weak, when you over think it.


I really like how Dean is so smart that he can get out of the cuffs just in the nick of time but a little girl warning takes him out.  But to be fair it was three guys as the girl just stands there and screams.  Shame he can't escape when it's only a little girl that is guarding him at the end.


I like when the brothers rescue each other.  Although it is a weak point that both the sheriff and Sam easily escape their cages but couldn't do it earlier.  But that is one of the things I really enjoyed about the earlier eps, that they could escape on their own and didn't have so much supernatural help.  I really wish they had kept the search for John a bit longer than season 1. 

  • Love 2
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This is one of my favorites for S1 as well. Love the relationship between Sam and Dean here and the work with Kathleen. The villains were creepy as hell...people, man.

Still laughing at the records search where Sam and Dean are both 6'4. Whoops!

  • Love 1
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Also, it's kind of hilarious that Kathleen got a cuff on one of Dean's wrists and somehow with just that managed to get him back to the car and cuffed to the handle.

  • Love 1
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Love love love this episode.  Honestly, have seen it way more times than I can count.  Funny that an episode of Supernatural with literally nothing Supernatural in it would be one of my faves, but there it is.

Hits all the right notes with me: worriedDean, FranticDean, Smart and Resourceful Dean.  Sam gets snatched, yes, but he's smart and resourceful, too, doesn't seem particularly afraid for his life/he's in control and thinking the situation through.  He manages well in hand to hand, which sorely lacks in later seasons, lol. 

The issue is raised here, again, about people vs monsters.  Its not by accident of course.  The show is already stepping across the line with Sam and his abilities, and they're using their stories within the episodes to work through the issue and character feelings about it.  Its nice... no big anvils about evil or freaks, etc.  In this case, even though Dean threatens to "kill them all", I actually believe, had the situation presented this way, that Dean would have tied them all up after a thorough beating, called the cops, and left them for the law to deal with.  They were human.  Sick and evil and murderers, but human and there was no reason the law couldn't have dealt with them.  vs Max from Nightmares... no one would be able to hold Max in prison or stop him from hurting others.

...course, had the Bender family killed Sam I think he would have killed them.  Hmm... well at least some of them, lol

Loved Kathleen.  Great guest actress and PiP.  

This episode just gets it all very, very right.

  • Love 5
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I love this episode too, and those people were far more frightening than half the "monsters" on the show.  But I think that's very true in real life too, so it worked.  Lots of suspense in this one...I still find myself panicking every time I watch, thinking Dean won't get himself out of the handcuffs in time.  

I find that I like just about all of the episodes where the boys interact with the police or FBI.  

  • Love 5
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Kathleen was awesome. And a great plot.  I love the grittiness of the farmhouse/barn.  So GROSS.  I was a little bummed they went for a hillbilly accent in Minnesota but I'll fanwank that as they were transplant when they got into trouble in the south.  

Good action sequences. And I also agree that Sam was very effective here in the combat.  I like that Dean trusted his brother to survive the hunt if they were to hunt him.  

"Demons I get, people are crazy."  Indeed.  

  • Love 5
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1. The first scene was awesome. The outfits, likable witness kid, "He likes the remake."

2. Apparently Hibbing is just the place to be for competent lady cops. I wish we could've seen Kathleen again.

3. Dean's worry over not being able to find Sam. And him actually being able to go to the cops when Sam disappeared. And the screen that lists both Sam and Dean as 6'4". And that Dean can't resist calling himself handsome. But why is there no picture on file for him?

4. Poor giant Sammy in that short little cage. I love that he tries to kick the door open with both legs.

5. "I lost some weight. And I got that Michael Jackson skin disease." Great work by Jensen in this scene and the cop actress. I actually believe he'd go to jail peacefully if she helped Sam.

6. Missy is so disturbing. And I love the fight with the men of the family versus Dean. And the torture scene after, but why do they keep going for the eye horror?! I think eye threats are my clowns. "You hurt my brother, I'll kill you I swear! I will kill you all!" It's a classic for a reason.

7. "Demons I get. People are crazy."

8. It's the little things. The victrola player. The jar of teeth. Creepy. The bonding of the brothers as they walk down the road at the end. "You're getting rusty there, kiddo."

9. I always love when Sam disarms people and hits them in the face.

  • Love 5
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Wow, okay, I guess I'm drowning in the deep end. I agree there were "moments" in this episode, but I put it in my bottom 5. "The Ultimate Guide To Supernatural " put it at number 16, which I found amazing, but I guess somehow I've missed the boat. Sam and Dean work better as a team, but for me, having Dean with the Sheriff made it impossible for him to be Dean. Then he gets captured by that dreadful family. Does Sam rescue him? Nah. We just get the two of them philosophizing at the end. Yawn. Villains...when the writer becomes enamored of his own creations, things go south pretty fast. I watch the show for my heroes, not to see the baddies and a good gal get the attention. At least the above magazine put "Rememer the Titans" at 190. I wouldn't have given that one such a high rating either. I'm going back to watch "The Benders" again to see if I can figure out what I'm missing...

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22 minutes ago, 10kfever said:

I'm going back to watch "The Benders" again to see if I can figure out what I'm missing...

Good luck, but don't be upset if you don't. There is something about this show that makes it different for different people. There are quite a few episodes that are favorites and that I know theoretically are well written and acted... but I still don't like them or just find them "meh". Biggest examples for me: "Lazurus Rising" (a favorite for many, but I have issues with it), "On the Head of a Pin (another favorite... I hate it), "Citizen Fang" (Haaate!) "The Magnificent Seven" is often cited in critics choices, but for me, I thought it was meh at best, (and that's if I'm being generous.) Whereas the same critics often trash season 7, whereas I loved it. "Slash faction" is in my top 25 for sure, and season 7 is in my top 5 of seasons (at #4 or #5, depending on the day).

So it's okay to not like this one and not see why the critics or other fans like it either. It just makes you a rather usual fan of the show. ; )

  • Love 2
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The bad guys were nice and creepy, if not a bit cliche. The sound effects while he cut up the body were particularly gross/disturbing.

It was weird to go from an episode with some forward momentum to this one. Also, two episodes in a row with a human as the had guy element. That is probably more noticeable on binge watch. 

I enjoyed it. It wasn't deep or groundbreaking but it was creepy. It kinda reminds me of Asylum. Old school horror with the set and props doing a lot of the work. 

Agree with everyone else that Kathleen was a good character. I particularly liked that she knew they weren't totally legit and let them go but wasn't going to go out of her way to help them

  • Love 3
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On 5/6/2017 at 11:29 PM, bettername2come said:

And that Dean can't resist calling himself handsome. But why is there no picture on file for him?

That's a good point.  I can't believe I never thought of that.

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