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Supernatural is truth
People are crazy: Dean in Benders 
25th-Oct-2006 01:01 pm
myboys
People are crazy: Dean in Benders

What do we learn about Dean in Benders? He really cares about Sam and would do anything to save him. There you go – shortest meta in history.

 

But really, I thought, this is episode 15. I think we’ve got the message that Dean feels Sam is his responsibility. This:

 

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.

 

is hardly news to us.

 

I think the real point of Benders for Dean is it brings to the fore a theme that will become more important through this season and into the next. That is the fact that Dean will be forced to re-examine his own moral system, one that has been based on a simply duality “supernatural= should be killed; people=don’t kill”.

 

Mind you I think this simple dualistic way of thinking is one that Dean wants to believe in more than one that he actually does. We saw back in Nightmare that Dean didn’t have to spend anytime wrangling with whether he may have to kill Max – he just put him into the “monster” category, and that seemed enough for him. I think he recognises the moral ambiguity that people can introduce to his system:

 

You know, with our usual playmates there’s rules, there’s patterns. But with people, they’re just crazy.

 

and

 

Pa Bender: Have you ever killed before?

Dean: Well, that depends on what you mean.

 

In this episode Dean’s ethical framework is juxtaposed with two others.

 

In Kathleen we are presented with someone who is designated and good and on the side of law and order – literally. Someone we may expect to have a strong moral compass. Yet she transgresses when she kills Pa Bender in cold blood in revenge for her brother’s death. It makes us think – what would Dean do for Sam (or John)? Dean himself gives us some idea:

You hurt my brother, I’ll kill you, I swear. I’ll kill you all. I will kill you all!

 

The Benders are presented as amoral, motivated solely by their own desires. Yet they are linked to both the Winchesters and Kathleen by their care for family. The Benders are hunters with their own code, that over the years have obviously become distant from the societally accepted. Sound like any other family we know? How far down this path could the Winchesters go?

 

To look at it another way, I think Kathleen can be seen as a metaphor for Dean’s super-ego, and the Benders for his id and Dean himself as his ego.  

 

In psychological terms, the super-ego (Kathleen) acts as the conscience. It maintains our sense of morality, and works to keep us acting within societies accepted norms.

 

The id (the Benders) is all about our primitive desires and drives such as sex, hunger and rage. The id requires immediate gratification and doesn’t care about what is taboo or what is acceptable.

 

The ego (Dean) has the task of finding a balance between these two. It (Dean) has to balance the desires, while protecting the individual and paying heed to the world in which they live. A task we continue to see Dean struggle throughout the series.

Comments 
(Deleted comment)
25th-Oct-2006 04:50 am (UTC)
thank you!
25th-Oct-2006 04:03 am (UTC)
"How far down this path could the Winchesters go?" Creepy to think the Winchesters could get anything like the Benders, and I wouldn't have thought of that possibility on my own. I think the Benders were really extreme (and weirdly enough that makes it more of a subtle warning) whereas Gordon was more in reach (and more of an anvil of "THIS IS WHAT DEAN COULD BE").
25th-Oct-2006 04:50 am (UTC)
Sure I agree with you, adn I don't think the Winchesters are going done the Benders path - although from an outsiders point of view the Winchesters are outside 'the norm'.
25th-Oct-2006 04:57 am (UTC)
All true. Very intriguing breakdown of the id/ego/superego characters.

These kinds of metas always make me wonder if writers on the show really think this deeply about stuff or if they're just like "let's have a crazy serial killer, cannibal family and then ... oh yeah, a lady cop who does the deed we can't let our characters do, because we don't want to sully their goodguy image."
25th-Oct-2006 06:52 am (UTC)
*g* No no no! They are all sitting surrounded by stacks of Homer and Shakespeare and Jungian texts and regretting that they did some crappy "How to Write a Blockuster Movie" and "Advanced Beer Drinking" units at College and were stoned the day "Poststructuralist Analysis of Identity Tropes in Postmodern Literature" was being taught.
25th-Oct-2006 06:35 am (UTC)
It is a really nice point that you make re: the boys and the Benders. I can see the boys sliding down that road of distance from society. Not in strictly same way of course, but the same danger is there. I had never thought about it before, so thanks for bringing that up.

Viewing Benders the ep now, it is nice to see how Dean has moved away, IMO, from the Sam=responsibility mindframe in relation to tight spots. What I mean is that Dean feels he needs to hide things from Sam now in order to be strong, but when and if he needed to save Sam's life, he wouldn't view that as a responsibility first; but as loved brother in danger first, responsibility second.
25th-Oct-2006 06:54 am (UTC)
loved brother in danger first, responsibility second Really interesting point you make here about how Dean has shifted in realtionship to Sam - from duty to love in some ways as their relationship has become (re-)established.
Hadn't thought of it that way , but its very true.*nods*
25th-Oct-2006 10:33 am (UTC)
What do we learn about Dean in Benders? He really cares about Sam and would do anything to save him. There you go – shortest meta in history.

Hee. But yes, the "theme" was hardly new.

Interesting point on Kathleen as the Superego and the Benders as the Id here.
In general Dean seems to both vicariously feed his Id - see threesomes ;) - and subliminate it to greater/ family needs. Him - the Ego - seems to really struggle to find long-term balance. It works in specific situations as it does here but not overall.
25th-Oct-2006 11:09 am (UTC)
thanks! the id/superego/ego thing came to me as I was writing and I need to think more about in realtion to Dean generally.
(Deleted comment)
25th-Oct-2006 01:29 pm (UTC)
Sorry did you say something? I was distracted by your icon ;)

Thanks.
26th-Oct-2006 01:22 am (UTC)
I think the real point of Benders for Dean is it brings to the fore a theme that will become more important through this season and into the next. That is the fact that Dean will be forced to re-examine his own moral system, one that has been based on a simply duality “supernatural= should be killed; people=don’t kill”

Ooh. You give good meta. *g*

Mind you I think this simple dualistic way of thinking is one that Dean wants to believe in more than one that he actually does. We saw back in Nightmare that Dean didn’t have to spend anytime wrangling with whether he may have to kill Max

That's a really interesting point.

Pa Bender: Have you ever killed before?

Dean: Well, that depends on what you mean.


That line of Dean's seems to be about him making a differentiation between different types of killing. As if killing supernatural things isn't actually "killing." I really like the questions you raise here about how Dean views killing humans vs. kiling supernatural monsters.

I agree on the mirroring of the Winchesters-Benders, the common trait of unity of family (and tradition). It's creepy, isn't it? So alike and yet completely unalike. Dean eye-to-eye with Pa Bender is one of the most intriguing moments of season 1, just in terms of making me think.

Kathleen is super-ego, but she shoots Pa Bender. So Dean's conscience will do anything for family?
26th-Oct-2006 02:53 am (UTC)
So Dean's conscience will do anything for family? *nods* yeah good point, meta-mate.
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