Again, we had a wide range of ratings in this episode poll and it was interesting to read comments on the reasons for your ratings. We also received a few trivia tidbits (from lanalyn_del_roe) which I will add to my comments and a great gif(stir_of_echoes) - which I would urge you go and see in the poll comments. Thank you everyone!
Joe Walsh - Rocky Mountain Way
(Kugel's Kec bar, with Dean playing darts and Sam doing research)
George Gershwin - Sweet and Low Down
(A little faster version of the record Pa Bender is listening to in the kitchen)
For future reference, I have decided to add a note here about various evaluation by people on the fact that this is not a regular monster of the week episode, which makes it seem uncharacteristic of the show to some, while being a refreshing change to others. At Supernaturalwiki, this episode is said to be "...one of only two episodes to date where the monsters are human, the other being 4.11 Family Remains." I do not agree with this statement, since we have already seen 2 episodes in which humans were the "monster of the week" - Nightmare and Faith. There are also numerous episodes of witches in future episodes, who are human. A big difference between this episode and the other two though is that it has no supernatural connections whatsoever - and maybe this is what the Superwiki was implying. Nightmare had the workings of a demon and Faith had a reaper so each is connected to the supernatural world while The Benders is not. I would argue though that these supernatural beings were not the object of the hunt in either of these episodes so they should not be included in the same category as other "supernatural monster" episodes but rather be included in the "human monster" category.
People in the comments have also mentioned that an important point is being made by the episode - that supernatural beings do not have to be involved for humans to become monsters themselves. I think this is actually a hidden theme of the show, and reminds me of several episodes in Season 5 where demons tell Sam and Dean that humans are capable of being monsters without any help from them. From a rewatch perspective, it would seem that the critics who were negative about the episode when it first came out for reasons that it is not consistant with the show might want to reevaluate their assessment.
That being said, lets go on to the original comments.
First, remember this comes right after Nightmare - where Dean tells Sam that "as long as I'm around, nothing bad will happen to you."
We start then with the little boy watching Godzilla and Mothra (the original version) and seeing how Alvin Jenkins gets dragged under a car and disappears. I don't quite remember what I thought when I first heard the sounds of the abduction, but on a rewatch we can distinctly hear the sewer lid being opened, and the sound of that noisy van driving away.
One of the interesting things about this episode is that for obvious reasons, there is not much of Sam except for at the beginning before the abduction, and at the end. I usually can find several good expressions from both Sam and Dean to put in two banners but I had a hard time of it this time because Sam is not really part of the plot.
Here is a great scene, however. I love Sam and Dean's State Police uniforms. Sam especially looks quite "dashing" - and the way they take off their hats...
Sam and Dean find out an important fact - the "whining growl" (which we heard) and we find out a not so important fact... That Dean likes the original version of the Godzilla movie while Sam likes the remake. I like the way Dean and the boy connect - the boy's "Yuck!" when Dean tells him about Sam's preference and Sam's face.
Here is another nice scene from the bar where Sam and Dean are investigating Jenkins' case...
It seems Dad has noted the history of missing persons in that area in his book. Sam also notes that the area has the most missing persons per capita. Which is definitely "wierd" as Dean puts it. They decide to check it out some more. Dean wants to have another round of beers before heading to a motel, but Sam convinces him to get to bed early. Dean sighs: "You really know how to have fun don't you, grandma."
Sam goes out of the bar on his own and is abducted - gone before we know it.
Having seen the traffic cams, Dean goes to the police right away the next morning. I wonder how he felt all night, and whether he drove around looking - He couldn't have slept at all. We can see the worry in his face, even while he talks about "Dean - the black sheep of the family... handsome though..."
He tells Deputy Kathleen Hudak, "Sam's my responsibility and he's coming back. I'm bringing him back." Kathleen has had her brother abducted so she can relate to this. She lets Dean come along on the search.
(Trivia: The Actress playing Kathleen also plays Sheriff Mills)
Here, we find out where Sam has been all this time. At least he's ok, and it seems he's in a cage next to Jenkins, whom they had been searching for.
Kathleen gets back to Dean on the traffic cams, and here is another nice photo shot:
Dean hears the screaching of an old van and with the traffic cam photo, figures out that they need to look for a car. He still probably thinks it's a monster and not just a family of crazy hillbillies...
Sam finds out otherwise:
"They're just people."
During the search, Kathleen finds out that Dean is not a police officer. This is an important scene for understanding Dean's responsibility and love for Sam:
"When we were young, I pretty much pulled him from a fire. And ever since then, I’ve felt responsible for him. Like it’s my job to keep him safe. I’m just afraid if we don’t find him fast—please. He’s my family. " Kathleen takes pity on him and decides not to take him in
Sam, meanwhile is trying to find a way to escape. Jenkins tells him: "Why don’t you give it up, Sammy, there’s no way out." Remember how Sam hates that? Especially coming from someone other than his brother. "Don't call me Sammy!"
He pulls a braket loose and Jenkins makes a smart-alic response:"Well, thank God, a bracket. Now we’ve got ‘em, huh?" The funny thing is Sam ends up using the braket to distract the bender and keep from getting shot outright, doesn't he? After Jenkins goes out and gets killed.
The second day... Dean and Kathleen are on the search again. It seems that Kathleen trusts Dean enough to know he is not going to run with his "cousin" still missing. Dean is puzzled by Kathleen's lenience and asks her why.
"I know what it’s like to feel responsible for someone"
I like how it's Dean that sees the turnoff to the bender's "farm." The whole scene where he is trying to get the cuffs off before the benders find him? Awesome.
While he's doing that, Kathleen is being bonked by daddy bender while being distracted by Missy.
"That's gunna hurt."
(Trivia: the girl that plays Missy also plays Dean's daughter in Amazons)
Now to my favorite scene - starting with the legs of someone coming into the barn where Sam and Kathleen are kept. Sam and Kathleen both look to the entrance with trepidation - and the roll up to the intruder's face. Dean! Dean sees Sam and...
"Damn, it's good to see you!"
*Give me a moment to sigh and enjoy the scene - jump over to the gif - sigh...*
Dean, on hearing that "they're just people," tells Sam:
"And they jumped you? Must be gettin’a little rusty there, kiddo." (Remember that for the ending scene.)
He goes searching for the keys and finds the pictures and stuff of people whom these benders have killed. And here the quote that everyone knows:
"Demons I get, people are crazy."
The most interesting thing about this episode is that Dean does not rescue Sam. He gets caught, and Sam actually rescues Dean! Dean being tortured and interrogated though - I wouldn't miss that for the world. So here are some scenes:
Dean hearing a sound while looking around the house for the keys and right before he turns around.
"I’m gonna kick your ass first. Then yours."
He could have maybe taken them if there were just two aye? I guess he forgot about the dad in the kitchen...
" If I tell you, you promise not to make me into an ashtray?"
"What? I thought you said you were gonna hunt him. You were gonna give him a chance."
"If you hurt my brother, I'll kill you. I'll kill you all."
As nesmith said in the poll comments, it is amazing how Jensen shows Dean going from "cocky to near-panic to rage in the space of a few minutes."
We have an awesome fighting scene for Sam here - which unfortunately I can't show - but it kind of shows how competent both Sam and Dean are and how they are able to deal with various dangers together.
I would like to note here a similarity with Faith and Nightmare. Although Sam does not come out and say it in this episode, we see again that the brother's rule is "we don't kill people." In the end, (maybe only because Sam was not hurt...) the humans were locked up and left for authorities.
At the end, Dean tells Sam: "Don't ever do that again.... Go missing like that..."
Sam, grinning, "You were worried for me."
Dean: "If you vanish again, I'm not looking for you."
Well, he does of course. But that's another story.
Sam at the end says: "So you got sidelined by a 13 year old girl huh?...I'm just saying you're rusty there kiddo."
Location - Hibbing Minnesota
Clothes in episode(Link): Season 1 by hells_half_acre