1.15 The Benders

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Promotional image from The Benders
Title The Benders
Episode # Season 1, Episode 15
First aired February 14, 2006
Directed by Peter Ellis
Written by John Shiban
On IMDB The Benders
Outline Sam is abducted by a family of cannibalistic hillbillies while he and Dean are investigating several decades' worth of missing people.
Monster The Bender family
Timeline Mid-end May, 2006
Location(s) Hibbing, Minnesota
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Contents

Synopsis

Promotional poster for "The Benders."

Dean and Sam are investigating some mysterious disappearances in Hibbing, Minnesota. After interviewing a young boy who heard something when the last victim, Alvin Jenkins, disappeared, Sam himself goes missing, kidnapped from a parking lot outside a bar in the same manner as the other victims.

Dean reports his disappearance to the local Sheriff’s office, pretending to be a police officer looking for his cousin.

Inside a barn, Sam is being held captive in a cage, as is Alvin Jenkins. Two hooded figures enter and leave food, and Sam is astonished to find their captors are not supernatural beings, but people.

Deputy Kathleen Hudak begins helping Dean, and they identify a truck making a noise similar to what the witness reported. However, Kathleen discovers Dean's true identity along with his damaging police record (1.06), but motivated by the disappearance of her brother years ago, she agrees to continue the search for "cousin" Sam in hopes that she will also discover what happened to her own brother.

While Sam is trying to escape, the door on Jenkin’s cage opens, and against Sam’s warning he leaves the cage. Once outside, Jenkins is pursued, hunted, by two men who eventually kill him.

Kathleen and Dean follow the truck to where it enters a property, but as they prepare to follow on foot, Kathleen handcuffs Dean to the sheriff’s car.

When Kathleen approaches the house, the door is answered by a young girl, Missy Bender, who distracts Kathleen while her father, Pa Bender knocks her out.

Dean manages to escape from his restraints just before two other members of the Bender family approach. Dean finds Sam and Kathleen in the barn and he sadly confirms for Kathleen that he has seen her brother’s car near the house, evidence that the Benders were responsible for his probable murder. Dean is unable to open the cages, and goes to the house to search for a way to open them. He finds grisly and gruesome human remains decorating the house. Missy Bender surprises him and stabs him, allowing the rest of her family to attack and overpower him.

Pa Bender boasts to Dean that his family has been hunting and killing humans for generations. He threatens Dean with torture to find out if other police are on the way, and then says Dean must choose whether Sam or Kathleen will be the prey for the next hunt. Dean chooses Sam, but then Pa instructs his son, Lee, to go and shoot both Sam and Kathleen.

Out in the barn, Sam has freed himself and Kathleen and they overpower Lee, and then the other Bender son, Jared, who comes to investigate. Sam knocks Jared out, and then shoots Pa Bender, leaving Kathleen to cover him while he searches for Dean.

While alone, Pa Bender taunts Kathleen about her brother’s death, and she kills him.

Dean has escaped, and locked Missy Bender in a closet. Kathleen joins the brothers and tells them she killed Pa Bender as he tried to escape. She lets the boys leave before the police arrive and admits that knowing her brother’s fate has not assuaged her grief.

Characters

Definitions

Music

  • "Rocky Mountain Way" by Joe Walsh
(plays at Kugel's Keg bar, with Dean playing darts and Sam doing research)
  • "Sweet and Low Down" by George Gershwin according to S1Com
(plays while Pa Bender is in the kitchen)

Quotes

Kathleen: Alright. What’s his name?

Dean: Winchester. Sam Winchester.
Kathleen: Like the rifle?

Dean: Like the rifle.
Kathleen: (about Sam) Does your cousin have a drinking problem?
Dean: Two beers and he’s doing karaoke.
Pa Bender: So, what, you with that pretty cop? Are you a cop?
Dean: If I tell you, you promise not to make me into an ashtray?
Dean: I'll say it again. Demons I get, people are crazy!
Dean: Eat me... No, no, no, wait. You actually might.
Sam: Dude, they're just people.

Dean: And they jumped you? Must be gettin' a little rusty there, kiddo.
[...]
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.

Dean: Shut up.
Jenkins: What is it?

Sam: It's a bracket.

Jenkins: Oh thank God, a bracket. Now we got 'em, huh?

Trivia & References

In the scene where Dean enters the Benders' barn to find Sam and Kathleen, the original script had Dean humming the "Dueling Banjos" theme from Deliverance, a horror film that shares some story elements with this episode (most notably the antagonists being murderous backwoods psychos). However, possibly because they couldn't get the rights to the music, in the episode itself the humming is cut out, though you can still see Dean's mouth moving.
The episode takes its plot from the classic short story "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell.
Both Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles cite this episode as one of their favorites in the first issue of the Official Supernatural Magazine:
Jensen Ackles: "...the guys on "The Benders" - the whole family - were also great..."
Jared Padalecki: "I realize that wasn't supernatural at all, but it was a fun show to film and a fun one to watch."
This episode has similar themes to the The X-Files episode "Home," which features a secluded family that has a long tradition of inbreeding and violence toward anyone who comes close to its members. Both episodes play on the same themes: a strong (and perverted) sense of family and a vision of horror that isn't brought by demons or creatures, but humans. It is often said to be the scariest and most disturbing X-Files episode.
According to police computer file Sam was born May 2, 1983, in Lawrence, Kansas. He is 6’4”, 180-190 lbs., brown hair, brown eyes. Dean was born January 24, 1979 and "died" March 7, 2006.
There was a family called The "Bloody" Benders in Kansas in the 1870s, who killed over a dozen people. They were finally exposed by a man looking for his missing brother. More on the Bloddy Benders here.
Mrs. McKay: Tell the officers what you were watching on TV.

Evan: Godzilla vs. Mothra.
Dean: That’s my favorite Godzilla movie! It’s so much better than the original, huh?
Evan: Totally.
Dean: Yeah. [nodding towards Sam] He likes the remake.
Evan: Yuck!

Godzilla first appeared in a self-titled 1954 Japanese film. Many films featured Godzilla - in the fourth film Mothra was enlisted to fight him. The foes met again in the Millenium series (1999 - 2004) movie called Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. The remake Dean refers to Sam liking is most probably the 1998 American remake Godzilla starring Matthew Broderick.
Godzilla and Mothra are referenced also in 4.10 Heaven and Hell by Ruby and Sam as a metaphor for their plan to get the angels and demons to fight each other.
Kathleen: These traffic cams take an image every three seconds, as part of the Amber Alert program.
In the United States and Canada, an AMBER Alert is a notification to the general public, by various media outlets, of a confirmed child abduction." The alert goes out through a large number of outlets, including television, radio, and email, and usually includes a description of the abductor and his/her car and license plate.
Jenkins: But I’m waitin’.

Sam: Waitin’ for what?
Jenkins:' Ned Beatty time, man.

Ned Beatty is an award-winning actor whose debut role was in the famous 1972 horror movie Deliverance, where he played a suburban man viciously raped by psychotic mountain men. See Deliverance for other episodes which have quotes from this movie.
Kathleen: It says here your badge was stolen. And there’s a picture of you. [she turns the computer to reveal a heavy-set black man]

Dean: I lost some weight. [laughs nervously] And I got that Michael Jackson skin disease...

One of the numerous controversies that surrounded singer/performer Michael Jackson throughout his life was his changing physical appearance. One of these changes was a drastic whitening of his skin, which Jackson attributed to the skin disease vitiligo but has also been rumored to be the result of bleaching creams.
Jenkins: They're just a bunch of psycho hillbilly rednecks... lookin' for love in all the wrong places.
"Looking for Love" is a song from the album of the same name by country singer Johnny Lee.
This is also a second reference to Deliverance, which also featured "psycho hillbilly rednecks" who sexually assaulted the protagonist.
Filming location: Memorial Peace Park, Maple Ridge (in front of the ACT), Bordertown.
This is one of only two episodes to date where the monsters are human, the other being 4.11 Family Remains.

Minutiae

Sam is kidnapped outside a bar called the Kugel Keg.
Alexia Fast who played Missy Bender also played Emma in 7.13 The Slice Girls.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts

Promotion

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