A bit early but since the episode isn`t rerun anyway, here comes:
Action Hero: Sam in Benders
After having his chest ripped open, his eyes bled, being tied up and beaten by a Shapeshifter, the Hookman and a nasty Poltergeist, being stung by about a million bees and choked by a freaking lamp cord
, enough is finally enough for Sam Winchester and he takes back the night and ultimately no prisoners in the Benders.
At first however, he himself gets taken prisoner and thrown into a cage. And I know they`re a family of batshit crazy cannibalistic hillbillies but they should get points for doing that AND stripping Sam off about a few of his normal layers. ;)
this is the second time the brothers are separated, only this time it`s involuntarily.
Interesting little side note here, Sam doesn`t really seem to be into the bar scene. I`m guessing it is Dean who always drags him with in another attempt to have him participate in Dean`s ideas of fun and possibly get him laid. :) Yet even if it weren`t for his grief I`m getting the idea that Sam still would be more comfortable in the company of a good book. And in that Sam=me, so where is MY Dean? *g*
That however leads to Sam being a more active paticipant in the hunt as the Season progresses since he does seem to take over the research part more, especially when Dean is off partying it up.
During Sam`s captivity his training and capability shine through. He remains calm, tries to assess the situation and be pro-active. In other words, he doesn`t break under stress. Compare that to the guy in the cage next to him who shows a more "normal" everyday reaction here: fretting, driving his blood pressure up by envisioning fun times of gang rape and lashing out against Sam`s attempts to calm him down. And predictably he also run headfirst into the trap the Benders lay out for him which Sam clearly wouldn`t have.
Sam is very much a soldier here, showing courage under fire.
And despite all his protests to the contrary, when push comes to shove Sam is a Winchester, a fighter. It`s not in his nature to just lay down and take it.Some fanfic writers may disagree with me here, I know. ;)
He might be more scholarly inclined than the rest of his family but I believe the hunting instinct is in his blood as well.
I`m not sure how much of his physical training he kept up with at Stanford. I can certainly see him rejecting to do any routines he might have resented having to do growing up. Yet he is undeniably in good physical shape and in both the Pilot and Skin did put up a good fight against Dean and Not!Dean both. So clearly either the martial arts training was so extensive that it became second nature and he can rely mostly on muscle memory there or he at least kept up with a modicum of exercising.
His fighting style is also interesting to note, especially compared to Dean. The latter has the more compact muscular build of a streetfighter and I think his style reflects that. It`s more down to buisness, grittier in a way.
Sam on the other hand, while usually trying to downplay his size and making himself physically more unassuming (hunched posture, multiple layers to cover up his body), knows how to play to his strengths in a fight. He uses his height and reach to his advantage yet doesn`t make himself a target by performing rolls and such. He also knows how to play multiple enemies and redirect their attacks against each other.
And I`m not favoring either one here, it totally makes sense that they would fight in a way that best fit their physicality.
But all of the personal empowerment notwithstanding there is still a fair amount of big brother worship going on. Sam shows absolute trust in Dean`s ability to find and save them when Kathleen mentions his "cousin" looking for him. And his expression upon their renuion says as much.
I think a part of Sam will always look upon Dean as a child/little brother just as vice versa Dean will never fully let go of "Sammy, his boy." Of course that can go either way as a child not only worships but also resents their parental figures sometimes.
Cute little side-note here however was his angry-frustrated: "Don`t call me Sammy"
-line. He has pretty much given up on correcting Dean on the matter and I feel this isn`t because he is suddenly starting to dig the nickname, as pretty much evidenced here, but he doesn`t feel the need to emancipate himself as much in Dean`s eyes. They`ve grown closer together and Sam feels Dean now values/sees him more like an equal, a part of the team and a fellow adult and no longer just as wittle Sammy.
That doesn`t go for random extras however. :)
Sadly the episode didn`t give us some key scenes. For example it would have been interesting to see how Sam would have reacted to Dean choosing him for the Benders to hunt. I feel Sam would have been proud of Dean`s faith in him there. We also didn`t see his reaction to finding his brother had obviously been tortured. And of course it could have been a nice angsty scene if the Benders had taken Dean to the barn to try to torture an answer out of him in front of Sam and Kathleen. Two words: shirtless whipping. What, I`m old-fashioned. *g*Benders
is also an interesting episode in terms of Sam`s morality.
On the outside Dean might truly look like the "belligerent one" whereas Sam appears to be the gentle giant. But I think in this case looks can be deceiving and Sam should not be underestimated. There is definitely a dark and dangerous edge to him and with his history and upbringing, how can there not.
The episode doesn`t make it fully clear if Sam knew what Kathleen was about to do to Pa Bender. Yet I think it can be heavily infered. Yes, the choice ultimately was hers and if Pa wouldn`t have run his loud mouth about killing her brother in good fun, she might not have done so.
the brothers had the debates over killing humans and Sam took the position of a firm "No way" there. Yet he seemed to accept the death of Marshal Hall in exchange for Dean being saved with a lot more ease than Dean or rather his guilt appeared more over putting that on Dean. And I`m not saying he was carelessly dismissive of that man`s death or anything but I felt he was able to justify it to himself more easily. And - this might be entirely my perception - there was even some sense of dark satisfaction at Sue Ann`s demise at the hand of the Reaper.
Not that I found him to be unsympathetic there, quite the opposite I could identify with him very much but in the end I can`t help but thinking that morality is as situational for him as it appears to be for Dean.
Or even more so since Dean`s morality seems to run in circles of black and white, at least in thought, while Sam remains more fluid and dare I say more unpredictable. He is not a bad person or even terribly trigger-happy, but there is certainly a darkness to him. And with the right amount of provocation, especially targeted at his weak spot *cough* Dean *cough*, I`d be hard pressed to predict the outcome. For me at least that adds a fascinating layer to the character.