My plan had been to write two or three separate “ distinctly separate “ articles; plans change. Paraphrasing something Sera Gamble said in the commentary at the end of "All Hell Breaks Loose I": When we do something to one character we often show it through the reactions/emotions of the other. Im finding these articles to be similarly affected.
 
In my first article, Daddy Issues, Sam Winchester Style; I kept my focus quite narrow and it worked, mostly. In writing this from Deans perspective Im finding it a lot harder to keep such a narrow focus.
 
First, Sams and Johns tumultuous times occurred pre-series, the fallout was clear, as shown in the Pilot, Sam had been gone and not in communication for four years. The growth we saw was not Sams coming to recognize himself as an individual but rather in learning to see his fathers point of view as well as finding a way to be himself.
 
Second, the growth we saw in Sam occurred in part because of Deans role initially as peacemaker but also through some critical interactions with parties outside the family, notably Matt in Bugs and Max in "Nightmare."
 
Third, while Sams emotional maturation regarding dad was affected because of Deans patient counsel, Deans less mature relationship with dad was similarly affected by Sams rebellious or better yet, mature and independent ways. Before anyone starts climbing through their computer to beat me up thinking Im saying Dean is immature or Sam a rebel; Im saying both. Both had maturity issues and both were rebellious “ and that can be for another article if you tell me you want. The point is that both grew and changed in how they viewed their father and how they viewed themselves interacting with him and much of that growth came from their interactions with each other.
 
Thus, having argued successfully “ I am writing this so I get to decide if the argument was successful or not “ that both brothers are critical to the development of the other, Ill be adding a broader focus on this article and show how Dean evolved due to Sams influence and also show some of Sams altered role as intermediary between Dean and Dad, albeit posthumously.
 
In an attempt to provide a framework for this journey the following are the phases of Deans development as I see it:
 

    Blind faith
    Thinking for himself
    Grief
        Denial
        Anger
        Bargaining
        Depression
        Acceptance
    The Impact of Brothers
    Now

 
By the way, if you really liked the short, simplistic view of my previous article, youll be disappointed as I found this one much harder to simplify since I intend to focus a lot on Dean and Dad but also expand with how Sam not only changed Dean but also changed roles.
 
By all means feedback is welcome because that helps me think about what I wrote and whether it made any sense or not, be gentle though I dont have the same constitution as a 67 Impala and am not likely to come back from all the abuse looking so fine.
 
Blind Faith
 
Season one doesnt give us much in the way of recognizable growth in how Dean views his dad until the end; it does, however, set the pattern:
 
this [the journal] is dads single most valuable possessionI think he wants us to pick up where he left off, you know, saving people, hunting things, the family business. [Wendigo]
 
Who cares, if he wants us there, its good enough for medads telling us to go somewhere, were going. [Asylum]
 
Dean: Dad doesnt want our help.
Sam: I dont care.
Dean: Hes given us an order.
Sam: I dont care. We dont always have to do what he says. [Scarecrow]
 
As an underscore to the level of importance Dean placed on strict adherence to dads orders we see something extremely unusual for Dean “ Dean left Sam; in the middle of the night, on the side of a dark road.
 
Now, some can mention that Dean left Sam in "Long Distance Call" and "Time Is On My Side"; I know I made a fairly big deal of it recently in reviewing "The Monster at the End of This Book." Those speak to a very different issue and while important and perhaps even will be a part of an article I have percolating for the summer hiatus *shudders*, they do not carry the import for this theme here.
 
Having established Dean as a ˜good son or better yet, as having blind faith in the man as Sam accused, Eric Kripke doesnt stop there and stunt Deans characterization.
 
To me there are two key moments that stand out in Season 1 that provide insight into why Dean is the way he is and both reference events that happened when he was very young.
 
1) When I was your age, I saw something real bad happen to my mom and I was scared too. I didnt feel like talkingbut see my mom I know she wanted me to be brave. I think about that every day and I do my best to be brave. [Dead in the Water]
 
2) John: I told you not to leave this room. I told you not to let him out of your sight.
 
Dean: He looked at me different, you know, which was worse. Not that I blamed him; he gave me an order and I didnt listen and I almost got you killed. [Something Wicked]
 
These two critical events focused Dean in a way that Sam never was. Sam grew up willing to ask questions about their fathers motivations likely because of the shelter Dean provided. Dean, likely still lost in his own unresolved grief over the loss of his mom when he was not yet five, ˜lost his father when he was ten “ at least in his own eyes. I suspect he purposed neither to lose Sam nor to let Sam lose what, for a short period of time, Dean had had, love, protection and perhaps a little bit of independence.
 
It may seem farfetched but I'll offer my own experience, course you cant validate, you can only take me at my words but here it is anyway. When I was ten or eleven my brother [older by two years] was diagnosed with a serious, life-altering and potentially life-shortening disease. It altered our family dynamic immensely. My brother was deeply affected, depression, anger, rebellion. My parents were struggling with how to help him, what the condition meant, would they lose their child all while battling an extremely angry young man.
 
For my part I became the helper, the quiet one who worked extra hard around the house to keep as much peace as possible. By no means was I perfect but I worked very hard to cause little to no trouble. I can assure you that while I was praised for being the ˜good girl and I did enjoy being good “ less negative consequences to be dealt with “ it caused immense internal pain for me. I resented my brother, resented my parents for their shortcomings as parents [as perceived by me with all my vast parental experience [*sarcasm dripping here*]
 
My point is that even one as young as Dean, at ten years of age, can recognize and determine a course of action to protect some semblance of happy family. Dean had had happy family memories from when his mom was alive, not many, very likely nothing more than shadows but they were there and he longed for their return. So, he became as close to a perfect son as possible. Thats not normal, he didnt disobey orders, he didnt question ordershe learned quickly there was no room for such.
 
Sam, however, was sheltered from that and his independence flourished far healthier than Dean's I'll add. Also, Sam had four critical years at Stanford to add to and strengthen his independent personality. When Sam angrily challenged his father in Dead Mans Blood you were just angry that you couldnt control me anymore, he summed up much about their relationship prior to Pilot; Sam had become his own person, something Dean had not done with respect to his father.
 
Another example of that is this exchange:
 
Sam: That makes no sense, why doesnt he just call us and tell us what he wants.
 
Dean: I dont know but the way I see it dads given us a job to do and I intend to follow it. [Wendigo]
 
Sam questioned motives and, when not given answers, he rebelled. Dean, not only good son but ˜awesome brother, sought to provide answers when he felt he could and it didnt violate orders.
 
Heres a great example:
 
Sam, dad was never disappointed in you, never. He was scaredeven when you two werent talking he used to swing by Stanford whenever he could, keep an eye on you, make sure you were safe. [Bugs]
 

 
Changes
 
By the time Sam was discovering a new appreciation and respect for his father Dean was beginning to discover some independence, a new maturity in his interactions with dad. When Sam questions whether Dean is really okay with just falling into line and following dads orders in Dead Mans Blood, Dean is unconvincing in his response of, If thats what it takes. Before this episode ends Deans new outlook on his relationship with his father is clearly redefined, not once, not twice but three times.
 
Dad, all due respect but thats a bunch of crap.
 
When dad challenges that, Dean backs up his stance and does not back down. When John orders them to leave after cleaning out the nest, Dean does not agree and we quickly learn why; Dean ignores the order and he and Sam assist their father in his confrontation with the vampires.
 
At the end of the episode were further shown that Dean has matured by his response to his dads statement that he and Sam ignored his order.
 
We saved your ass.
 
Sam is clearly stunned and likely looking for cover; Dean stares resolutely and unapologetically straight into his fathers eyes.
 
Dean has moved squarely from foot soldier and peace maker to independent and it gets better from here as he squarely shows that hes his own person. He backs this up when dad attempts to imply “ directly “ that somehow Dean has not been doing his job watching over Sam.
 
John: All right. When were you going to tell me about this?... Something like this starts happening with your brother you pick up the phone and you call me.
 
Dean: Call you, are you kidding me? Dad, I called you from Lawrence. Sam called you when I was dying, I mean, getting you on the phone I got a better chance of winning the lottery. [Salvation]
 
Both brothers discovered new territory in their relationship with their father; then he was cruelly taken away. I posit that both were similarly grief stricken.  An argument can be made that Sams grief was not given appropriate importance but I contend that the loss continues to impact him in the now but it is shown in the change in Sams actions and views life rather than verbalization.
 
Deans grief was given a great deal of exploration in Season 2 and similar to Sam he continues to deal with the ramifications of his upbringing and relationship with his father, his struggle is more verbal. Both brothers while having similar issues have differing ways of dealing with it, and it is to the writers credit that they show that in different ways. This not only allows both characters to be their own individual, but it also allows for more depth in the storytelling “ and gives yet another reason to have to watch the episodes from all seasons again and again and again “ and then one more time.
 
GRIEF:
 
Season 2 treats us to a new Sam and a shaken Dean. Sam takes on the role of helping his brother, not only helping Dean through his grief but also helping Dean see their father in the new light that Sam now sees him in. Weve likely heard of these stages, many of us have likely experienced them or are experiencing them. I
 
DENIAL:
 
I love Bloodlust for many reasons [Back in Black, AC/DC; the introduction of Gordon, Amber Benson] but there are excellent character moments that catapult this episode high on my list of favorites.
 
Sam: You dont think I can see what this ishes a substitute for dad isnt he, a poor one. You slap on this big fake smile but I can see right through it ˜cause I know how you feel, Dean. Dads dead and he left a hole and it hurts so bad you cant take it but you cant just fill up that hole with whoever you want to. Its an insult to his memory.
 

 
Ouch. But it beautifully parallels this conversation Dean had with Gordon just before and it teaches Dean something he doesnt want to face “ but we all know “ Sam knows him.
 
Dean: Cant talk about this to Sammy [the loss of dad], gotta keep my game face on but the truth is Im not handling it very well. I feel like I have this”
 
Gordon: Hole inside you and it just gets bigger and bigger and darker and darker?
 
I remember reading fan comments about this very exchange, some were resentful that Dean opened up to Gordon; they felt that conversation should have been had with Sam. Ill say it straight out: Those fans missed the whole point. The point wasnt to give us, the fans, a ˜bro moment, rather it was to clearly show Dean how much his brave face isnt fooling Sam and that for all his belief hes still the big brother and can protect Sam the truth is that Sam is just as capable of taking care of Dean as Dean is in taking care of Sam.
 
Their exchange in "Children Shouldnt Play With Dead Things" cemented that fact when Sam challenged Dean for the third time at least “ that he didnt have to carry his grief alone and that he [Dean] was the only one who thought he had to do it alone. Might I suggest that Deans self-imposed punishment from "Something Wicked" was still a shadow in his life; course it didnt help that dad whispered a terrible secret that added a new and heavier burden.
 
"Bloodlust" also showed a shift in Sam, he has a new understanding regarding dad and Dean and hes willing to take on the role of teaching Dean some things about their father, something Dean did most of Season 1.
 
Dean: Wish we never took this job; jacked everything upthink about all the hunts we went on, Sammy, our whole lives, what if we killed things that didnt deserve killing. The way dad raised us
 
Sam: Dean, after what happened to mom dad did the best he could.
 
Dean: I know he did but the man wasnt perfect.
 
Amazing what a little time, a little maturity from life [college] and some genuine openness from dad [Dead Mans Blood] can do to ones outlook. Sam showed his significant growth by defending their father, formerly Deans job.
 

 
ANGER:
 
"Children Shouldnt Play With Dead Things" clearly showed Sam in caretaker role. The opening scene establishes that Sam is burying his past resentment and he does it quite maturely. Dean is in the process of moving from denial to anger and it isnt pretty. Good thing Sam is 23 with some life experience behind him as he assumes his new role as caretaker to Dean because Dean is a handful here.
 
Dean is angry at Angela Masons father for what he perceives to be an unnatural act which results in a zombie; his real target is his own father because hes begun to put the pieces together regarding his miraculous recovery and his fathers sudden death.
 
Oftentimes when writers want to make a point, be it in a book, textbook or in this case a television script theyll repeat a word or a phrase. Whats dead should stay dead, is a phrase Dean angrily confronts Angela Masons father with but he is really talking to John. When he repeats it at the end of the episode after staking Angela in her own grave, he is in essence trying to bury that anger at his father and the realization that he is alive because of something his father did. Hes unsuccessful at both.
 
The exchange with Sam at the end of the episode should assuage anyones frustration from "Bloodlust" and is well worth repeat viewings.


 
BARGAINING:
 
This episode has multiple reasons to be called fabulous: The mytharc expansion, the excellent script by Sera Gamble, the introduction of Steve Boyum as director [who now has helmed, Dream a Little Dream of Me, In The Beginning and Death Takes a Holiday] but it is also wonderfully ˜on the nose as it shows us Dean is in the bargaining stage of grief, literally. I love Crossroad Blues.
 
This episode is crucial for many reasons that, if I went into here, this article would never get finished so I suggest going back and rewatching it, and then go right to AHBL I&II to see where much of the tone and words and emotions utilized here were repeated. This episode is crucial for the purpose of this article because it moves Dean through the bargaining stage right to depression. It also emphasizes again the role change of Sam in regards to their father as noted in the following exchange at the end:
 
Dean: How could he do it?
 
Sam: He did it for you.
 
Dean: How am I supposed to live with thathe should have gone out fighting that was supposed to be his legacy, you know, not bargaining with the damn thing, not this.
 
Sam: How many people do you think dad saved, total, Evan Hudson is safe because of what Dad taught us thats his legacy, Dean.


 
DEPRESSION:
 
Im tired, Sam. Im tired of this job, this life, this weight on my shoulders, man, Im tired of it. [Croatoan]
 
Depression can take a long time to overcome. Im not sure Dean has ever overcome this stage fully.  I suggest Dean is still very much dealing in varying degrees and stages of grief over his father. While much of Season 1 showed Dean fairly carefree embracing the life of a hunter Season 2 suggested weariness, brought on in large part due to the death of dad. However, that death came with the burden of Sams unknown destiny and raced towards Deans fatal move. Season 3 offered Dean a one-year clock to death, one that ran out and Season 4 has him dealing with the fallout of death, resurrection and his own destiny. We have clear indications that Dean is not over dad, either his fathers death or his own relationship with dad.
 
Dad is clearly a pressure point for Dean, much like the idea of being different, a freak, is for Sam. I dont know if Alastair was telling the truth about John being on ˜the rack for 100 years and not breaking; we may never know. We do know that demons lie but they also tell the truth especially if it will mess with ones mind. Was Alastair telling the truth? Not sure. So far Dean believes it and that adds to his burdens.
 
While in Croatoan and Hunted it was fairly obvious Dean was moving into depression I believe that was over several things, dads death, Sams fate and his own future especially with regards to Sam.
 
ACCEPTANCE:
 
I believe Dean journeyed into acceptance but never stayed “ too much happened to quickly to allow full healing; instead Dean has regressed at times into depression, bargaining, anger “ and not without reason for as much as Jared may flinch when he sees Sera Gambles name on a script [naked and crying and maybe even dead] Jensen similarly fairs poorly [tears, having brother die in his arms, dislocated shoulder to name just a few “ hmm, maybe an article on which writers have been the cruelest over the years??? *shakes self, jots note for future brainstorming session and gets back to this article*]
 
Im not sure Im able to fully capture this stage but Ill give it a try. I suggest Dean reached this point in What is and What Should Never Be, but he didnt stay there. The pivotal scene where Dean talked to dads grave is not only moving but it marks the first time weve ever see Dean question his life and question his father. Sam was the one who asked questions about why they didnt have a mom or why they followed orders; Dean followed orders. Here Dean fully embraces that independence that Sam had shown which led him to leave for to school in the first place; for Dean the result is that he gives up his imaginary happiness and returns to what and who he is.
 
Course I know what youd say “ well, not the you that played softballyour happiness for all those peoples lives, no contestbut why? Why is it my job to save these people? Why do I have to be some kind of hero? What about us? Moms not supposed to live her life? Sammys not supposed to get married? Why do we have to sacrifice everything, dad?
 
Its a beautiful and tragic moment for Dean.


 
The Impact of Brothers:
 
While Dean taught Sam a few things about their father, Sam has had a tremendous impact on Dean. We saw him take over the role of defending John to Dean in how they were raised [Bloodlust] and again for sacrificing himself to save Dean [Crossroad Blues] but there have been two pivotal moments in which Sam has pushed Dean to a new understanding of not only his father but himself: Playthings and Dream a Little Dream of Me.
 
I wonder if its truly a coincidence that in both these cases its a drunken Sam that is the instrument to jumpstart Dean in a new manner of thinking on his father and how he should respond to his upbringing? Is it that Sams vulnerability and open pain has always been something Dean cannot tolerate? [Bloody Mary and Bugs], is it that because Sam is drunk and not fully engaged that Dean is able to absorb the words because he does not have to so immediately put up his defenses? I dont believe there are coincidences in this world, Supernatural, so I think there may be something here.
 
Sam: Dad told you to do it, you have to.
 
Dean: Yeah, well dads an ass. He never should have said anything, I mean, you dont do that; you dont lay that kind of crap on your kids.
 
Sam: He was right to say it.
 
Wow. Sam pulling the ˜dad gave you an order card and then saying their father was ˜right, two very unusual events even with Sams new understanding of dad. Deans immediate, angry and honest answer shows the first real spark that hes beginning to remove those rose colored glasses hes been wearing with regards to dad.


 
It culminates about a year later in Dream a Little Dream of MeIll let the clip give you the words and the impact.
 

 
Here, facing eternity in hell and more importantly, sparked by the honest vulnerability of Sam Dean stops hiding from himself and faces up to the fact that he does have value and that he can think for himself and just because he made a deal doesnt mean he has to just lie down, like George Darrow in Crossroad Blues, and accept it. At the very least he admits to himself that he is worth saving, a fact hed refused to accept since weve first met him. He gave up in Faith, Sam didnt and up until now hed given up that he had a choice.
 
In both the above scenes Dean finally is honest with himself, Dad wasnt always right and he [Dean] does have value beyond being a good soldier. In both instances it was Sam who got him to see that.
 
NOW:
 
So where is Dean now? Confused? Angry? Depressed? Likely all of those and this coming episode whether its a trick or its real is going to stir up a lot of issues for both Sam and Dean. For Dean it perhaps is a chance to really settle some things about dad. It could just complicate things.
 
Im definitely looking forward to Jump the Shark. The idea of a third brother [even though I suspect hes not around for long] does bother me a bit. I dont mind if ultimately its a trick, be it a demon, the Trickster, the angels or some other creature. Should Adam truly be the third Winchester brother I admit, it will bother me, however, Im only a passenger on this Supernatural journey and Ive signed on knowing that this is Eric Kripkes ride which hes graciously shared. So, having accepted the invitation to ride along, I must recognize that I have very little say in the final destination or any stopping points along the way [that doesnt stop me from hoping that Ruby meets her final demise this season though].
 
I firmly believe that this episode is going to be an opportunity for Dean to continue his exploration into his thoughts, emotions, hang-ups (positive and negative) and more about dad. Similarly I believe Sam will have a lot to think about regarding not only dad but also by having the opportunity to be a big brother, that insight could be very interesting as well.
 
So how many hours until Jump the Shark?  (Note from Alice - Too many!)

Comments  

vana naine
# vana naine 2009-04-21 05:26
Hello again!

Now, before I'm starting to argue with one point I do not agree with (or have different point of view to the situation), I have to say, I like your articles.
The information is mostly not new, but if you put it together like that, it's very comfortable to follow.

BUT
The idea of Sam helping Dean to deal with their fathers deal with demon, Sam accepting the deal, because he is so _mature_? (This is weird phrase, but I don't know how to say that normally).
I do not agree at all.
I don't think this deal should ever been made. I think John's relationship with his sons was unhealthy and the relationship between Sam and Dean is also unhealthy.
(Hey, I have 2 kids I love above everything else - but if one of them died, I would not take eternal torment upon myself to reverse it. AND my children are so much younger then John's. I mean, all their lives should be in front of them and it would seem even more unfair for them to die.)
But death - really - is not such a bad thing. People die. That's world's way, and we should be happy that we had some time with them, and yes, we may be very sad, and grief is so painful - but that's life. (Or death, if you wish.)

I think Sam accepted their fathers deal because he could live more easily with John dead than with Dean dead. Losing Dean was (is) so much more terrifying to him. So he saw John's doings as ultimate sacrifices for both of them, maybe even some way how John could make up all his mistakes as a parent, and felt mostly gratitude, not giving much thought to what actually happened to his father in hell.

Because accepting someones death is _so_ different from accepting someones eternal torment in some awful place. I don't think Sam could have accepted this, if he properly thought about things. So I assume he just stopped at "grateful" and "he gave his _life_ for Dean" and did not think any further.
But Dean did.
And that's why Dean was so much more broken. Not because Sam took his grief more maturely but because Sam was in "denial" part all the time.

When Sam was finally in Dean's place, there was no maturity, no letting go, there was "only blood and pain". And I understand him perfectly.

Those deals, nothing good comes out of them. This is _not_ the right way to love your family.
This is destruction and self-destructio n all the way down.

(I like your articles. It's nice to see someone thinking about this family stuff. /Even as I like Ruby very much and I also hope secretly that she is Meg inside and there is some wonderful link between her doings and old Yellow-Eyed-Dem on, whom I also loved greatly, and you don't love her at all, AT ALL :cry::/)

Bye and have a good spring!
Elle
# Elle 2009-04-21 15:34
Hello! I am enjoying your article series as well - it's nice to examine the Winchesters at a family level instead of a myth-arc level once and a while. That said, I too have to disagree with your analysis of Dean.

What I think everyone overlooks in the automatic labelling of Dean, early in the series, as a foot soldier is that it's not so much about blindly following dad, it's about doing what needs to be done to keep the family together or safe (ultimately, Dean wishes these could be one in the same, but as he acknowledges in Shadow, this is not the case).

I also don't agree that Sam is the more mature one, whether it is the result of going away to college or being "rebellious" or anything else. In fact, I think Sam has had a number of immature moments throughout the series, moments of petulance in which he is then surprised by reality, such as the scene you provided when he realizes that John visited him at school.

They handle things differently, period. Sam doesn't have quite the same dynamic in the family as Dean does - he was able to have a childhood to some extent where Dean was *always* required to be vigilant and responsible. From the time he was four and a half years old, Dean has been responsible for another human beings life- Sam. I don't believe Dean had/has blind-faith in John, but he did have a trust in him. In combat, you can't constantly be questioning the orders of a superior/author ity or it will lead to bad things - death, most likely. Dean experienced this in the flashbacks of Something Wicked. He didn't follow the orders of his superior and it left Sam at risk and exposed (not that I agree with Dean bearing the responsibility for that or being raised with military mentality - he was a child, after all). My point is that Sam grew up with a totally different understanding of the world because Dean provided that for him. Sam didn’t watch his mother and childhood home burn, Sam was never responsible for ensuring that his brother was taken care of at the expense of his own mental, physical and emotional well-being (not to be confused with the idea that Sam hasn’t saved Dean or sacrificed for him, I’m simply talking about growing up). We know that Dean traditionally kept his emotions and personal torment to himself almost 100% of the time, where Sam was more inclined to release his, in a healthy way. So, Dean has a completely different outlook on things than Sam. Sam understood the world from what could be termed a “normal” outlook where I would argue Dean was never afforded that luxury.

Additionally, part of the “blind faith” or absolute adherence to their father comes from Dean’s own lack of self-worth, especially in the early seasons. Dean doesn’t have faith in himself, so why would he trust his own inclinations over and above those of his father? Especially after Sam leaves for college when Dad is the only one left. I have to imagine that Sam questioned John enough when they were younger and Dean played peacemaker so much that he got entirely fed up with it. In my house, I am constantly mediating between my parents when they fight about my brother – so I can relate to Dean in his role of peacekeeper. It isn’t a fun job and it’s draining.

I don’t agree that Dean’s view of John changes to “more rebellious” after John’s death, and even before then when the three of them are hunting vampires. I believe that Dean always does what has to be done for his family (case in point: Crossroads deal), even if that means questioning an order from their father every now and again. I think by this point he has gained perspective, because remember – Dean has NEVER been away from their father during hunts for an extended period of time, so he had to put more trust into his own instincts and abilities as a hunter than he did before. I don’t that Sam had anything to do with it, one way or the other; so much as Dean and time facilitated this change. After John trades himself for Dean, he still doesn’t believe he was worth it. As he says to Bobby, in AHBL2 – “At least this way my life can mean something.” I really think the dynamic with Dean and John has a lot to do with Dean’s loss of childhood innocence and his own sense of devalue.

Sam doesn’t show Dean independence, in my opinion, by leaving for school, questioning John, etc. I believe that to Dean’s way of thinking (and, I’d probably be inclined to agree if I’d lost as much as he had), family is the be-all, end-all. In his speech to John in What Is and What Should Never Be, Dean doesn’t talk about himself personally the way he names Sam and his mother. He collectively states “we” indicating [to me] his family. Dean defines himself completely in terms of his family and here, his concern is for their happiness. Dean doesn’t give up this “world of happiness” because he has gained “independence ”, rather I think he does it because the greater good is important to him too. And Dean never, ever puts himself before anyone; therefore he couldn’t put his own happiness in this fake-world before the lives of people in the real world.

The realization in Dream a Little Dream is more about Dean’s own self-worth. I agree, that he is finally admitting he has value beyond a soldier. As I said though, I think Dean’s ardent following of John stemmed more from his desire to maintain the status quo in their family, keeping them together and safe, and the best way to do that was to follow their Dad, who has been the only constant in Dean’s life up until very recently. It was easier for Dean to follow orders than to question them and risk his believe about complete worthlessness confirmed if/when John brushed him off, or whatever else he might have said/done if Dean confronted him. DALDOM is about Dean admitting to himself that he has value, not that John was wrong and fallible.

Ultimately, (after my incredibly winded explanation) I don’t agree that is was Sam who allowed Dean to realize these things about himself but instead it was being away from John that had this effect. I believe that Dean came to these realizations (albeit slowly) all on his own largely as a result of having to be the leader and being apart from his father for the first time in 20+ years and being able to put trust in his own capabilities. Dean had a chance to think, execute and succeed without John hounding him for a change. Prior to Hell, these were tenuous beliefs that Dean was starting to form. Now, he is back to square one, if not lower, and even Sam is telling him he’s useless.

I too am excited for Jump the Shark. I’ll admit this “third Winchester brother” thing gives me a little pause, but I trust in Kripke and know that he won’t steer us wrong! It will be interesting to see their individual reactions to this new brother.
elle2
# elle2 2009-04-21 17:14
Hello, great comments, elle and vana naine, thank you.

I was hoping to get some discussion and you've provided it wonderfully.

Vana naine, I agree, this family (as much as I love them and wouldn't have them any other way) is unhealthy. Mary makes a deal -- born and raised a hunter, she knew very well that deals with evil lead to bad things. She paid the price and consigned her children to the very life she stated she never wanted for them.

John, loved his boys so much he said he couldn't/wouldn 't watch them die [uh, anyone remember writing class...pure foreshadowing here) and thus he made a deal and Dean lived. In making that deal I'm convinced John knew all about Mary's deal, all about the demon blood... he didn't care though, he couldn't live having had a son die. Heck, we even saw that he was willing to 'waste' a bullet from the Colt to save Sam, should not be surprising he'd bargain the thing away, and his life to save the other.

Dean, learned from dad (that's the way it goes folks, parents teach children either by design or chance) and Dean through grief, through guilt, through low self-esteem...c ombined both Mary's and John's traits and made the deal for Sam.

Sam, last Winchester standing followed suit...sure, he tried to make a deal and was denied, but revenge then became his motivator [kinda like John] and he psuedo embraced that which he's railed against for the previous three years. He's now transformed himself to full on demon blood pumping through veins freak...everyth ing he never wanted to be.

Uh, unhealthy anyone? Yeah, and I think that's the whole point [and face it, a lot of the reason we all tune in]

I love that Kripke makes the characters pay a price for their actions/decisio ns. They don't get brushed under the table. Make a deal? Pay the price, suffer the consequences... and never in a vacuum either 'cause others pay the price as well (most recently Pamela, Bobby (certainly the drinking Bobby we could see in LR, he suffered as well) Good times.

As for Sam's maturity? What I was trying to show is that Sam, likely due to Dean's protection or however you want to characterize it in giving Sam some semblance of a childhood, was able to become more independent, to the point of leaving for school. Sam was more realized at that point as he made choices and took action and went by what was best for himself. Yes, it is also selfish but that's the struggle in learning to become your own person.

I'm not condemning or condoning the fact that he was gone for four years and hadn't called home [speaking of which, it's been a week plus three days since I spoke to my parents...*jots note on to do list*] Sam took a chance and struck out to become ...well, Sam, not just John's son or younger brother.

Dean didn't. Dean remained the dutiful son. Again, absolutely nothing wrong with that and he's right, in battle, there needs to be the leader and the soldiers and questioning orders gets people killed. Dean is very right. However, the fact that he surpressed his own dreams or even the thought of having dreams is by no means healthy and ultimately is unsustainable.

Both brothers, through time, experience (as in college and a year(ish) on the road together) influenced the other. Sam, having had the cushion of distance to smooth away the harsh emotions, was first able to look at his father differently through interactions with Max and Matt, then he was more readily able to process what Dean had likely been telling him all along.

Dean, having had time to hunt for close to a year could realize, without dad nearby to help or hinder or whatever, that he makes his own decisions and is a quite capable hunter as well as able to perceive people (and kids) [and I'm firmly convinced Dean is smart in S1, so many comments have been made that Dean isn't shown as smart in S1 and I don't see it. There's plenty of scenes where he shows his ability to recall Anasazi symbols, what kills a Wendigo, how to make his own EMF thingy and lots, lots, lots more. Dean's smart]

Through their time together both were able to see themselves, the other and their father differently...a las, had it been a show about two brothers and their father travelling the country in a truch and Impala hunting evil, well then that's what we'd be watching but it isn't so we get to go this route...and I'm loving it.

So, just some further comments from me. One of the reasons I'm going back and rehashing some 'old material' is that this is a show that builds upon what's come before and as time, and seasons, pass the picture becomes more and more complete. By no means are we there yet but more of the picture is being revealed. Further, I want to have a good outline in my mind for this Thursday's Jump the Shark as to where our boys were then and where they are now with respect to family as however this thing turns out, it's going to dredge up some daddy issues somewhere.

Enjoy!
Mae
# Mae 2009-05-22 10:18
Fascinating article, Elle2!

The only point where I would beg to differ would be in the section on Dean's blind faith. In it, you mention that the only time Dean left Sam by himself was in adherence to Papa Winchester's orders in Scarecrow and that you felt that when Dean and Sam split off to work solo in Time Is on My Side (TIoMS) and Long Distance Call (LDC) this fission was for an entirely different reason.

I agree that there were other reasons for Dean's splitting off from Sam in these episodes; however, it appears that he is still being influenced by his father as evidenced by the fact that he believes (or wants to believe) that John is the caller in LDC call and follows the caller-John's orders, thereby leaving Sam. In TIoMS, Dean splits off from Sam in order to chase down the Colt which, granted, is a weapon that might help Dean escape his deal, but which is also an item his father held in high esteem. I wonder if Dean fears what his father would think of the boy's losing the Colt so carelessly. So here, again, I felt that Dean had been influenced by the memory of his father to go a different way than Sam.

Sorry, I don't mean to dispute your article. I just thought that there was still a connection, even in those later 3rd season episodes, with Dean's leaving Sam only on John's orders. Of course, now there is the full fourth season to consider and incorporate into this article... but that's what Hellatus if for, right?

BTW, as a (soon to be) mental health counselor, I LOVE that you are applying the Kubler-Ross stages of grief! I started watching the show last year during my first year of grad school and so, of course, began applying many theories to the characters of the show (which I believe is somewhat healthier than applying them to myself or to my friends/family! ) I have always wanted to write an article applying theory to the family dynamics on this show and now feel more inspired to do so.

Thanks!
elle2
# elle2 2009-05-22 12:24
Hi, Mae,

Thanks for the great comments! You bring up an excellent point regarding LDC, especially) that I had forgotten about. As for TioMS...definit ely this is one of those times where Dean is 'blinded' as it were with revenge...Bela! I do think there is much to your supposition that Dean harbors some sense of guilt or shame or ...geez, this would really (not) make Dad proud, we lost the Colt! So, excellent points.

Thanks for the shout out to the stages of guilt...the article fairly screamed for that type of an outline, especially as it got to be so much more complicated than I had originally intended. There is much more to say on this 'issue' and I really look forward to what Season 5 will bring now that Dean has spoken aloud that he is not dad. Couple that with what he learned and finally is beginning to address about dad from JTS and how he likens Sam to dad and then acted like dad and then Bobby told him not to be like dad and .... awesome stuff.

I hope you do write such an article on the family dynamics...I'd love to read it. You're right, this is exactly what hellatus is for.

:-)