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I usually relish in the idea of tackling these deep character studies at the end of the season. No character to me in the history of TV is more fascinating to study than Sam Winchester.  However, when looking at Sam's character development in "Supernatural's" season seven, I'm very disheartened.  He started the season with a golden storyline.  We waited a whole season, one littered with foreshadowing and dire predictions that the wall coming down in Sam's head would lead to disastrous consequences, to see Sam's insanity play out.  Instead, his story fizzled after two episodes and became a gaping footnote in lost potential.  The fans may have been eagerly interested in Sam's gloomy plight, but the writers clearly weren't.    

I accept that long time viewers tend to have big expectations and demand their favorite character's story play out to its fullest potential.  It's hard to please fans and in the end the writers have to go with the way they see things, not with what fans want.  In going through every one of the season's episodes though, there is little evidence the writers in terms of characterization were writing with any clear vision, or even reading each others scripts.  It certainly doesn't look like there was any sort of master plan, and as a result Sam (and Dean) ended up floundering through most of the season without any real purpose or passion.  This is not how the first six seasons have handled characterization and the end result in season seven is nothing short of a massive disappointment.    

As I said in my "Deeper Look at Season Seven Dean Winchester" article, Dean wasn't given any clear mission or consistency from episode to episode.  He drank, he was depressed, he killed monsters with complacency and lack of desire, and he showed hardly any concern for his brother and his brother's very serious condition.  He was written as the dullest hero on earth.  As for Sam, the travesty to his character happens when they gloss over his extremely serious mental illness and make it seem for most of the season that he was fine with just a simple hand grab.  As a result, his character becomes one dimensional and robotic, for this guy can now take anything.  When it's time to finally address the elephant in the room, they give him a quick fix and it's over.  I realize that we didn't need to have Sam's deep struggles with hallucinations of Lucifer in our face every week, but the little indication that they were there from episode 3 to episode 15 asked too much from the viewers in terms of believability.  It really took away the human aspect of not only Sam's condition, but Sam himself.  

In looking at Sam's character development in each episode this season, one theme is consistent beyond the first two episodes.   The writers (excluding a guy named Edlund) wrote themselves into a corner with Sam and probably didn't have enough interest, energy, time, and/or skill to gracefully walk away from it.  The result ends up becoming sacrilege to the character driven writing from the past seasons that has made this show exceptional.  


Meet The New Boss

This is a fantastic continuation of the setup in season six's finale, "The Man Who Knew Too Much."  If you recall, Sam came out of his wall falling induced coma just in time to come help Dean and Bobby with Castiel, but it took everything he had.  It pushed him too far.  

As soon as Castiel disappears with his full blown and vindictive God complex, a very crucial incident for the season happens.  Sam collapses after being flooded by Hell memories and severely cuts his hand.  That cut hand is ends up being the glue that for most of the season holds Sam together.  While that may seem improbable, it isn't.  It's often the little things that bridge that fine line between reality and hallucination.  The hand thing, even though very overplayed by the middle of the season, is very clever and a good visual cue for the audience that Sam is struggling.  The problem was, it became the only thing. 
 
Sam falls in a coma again for an undetermined time (I assume a day or two) and wakes up just fine.  Well, that's what he wants Dean and Bobby to think anyway.  The collapsed wall in his mind has created a whole new problem "“ psychosis.  His hallucinations mirror that of a trauma victim, someone who's experienced extreme forms of torture and torment.  He quietly endures these terrifying visions, not letting on they're happening until Death tells Dean and Bobby (Those horsemen are real know it alls, aren't they?)  Dean takes the omission personally, confronting Sam about not letting him know he's got "crazy crap climbing those walls."  Sam's point is valid though, why bring it up?  It doesn't do any good.  He has to work it out on his own, for Dean and Bobby have their plates full.  This is very typical Sam behavior and as usual, it all backfires on him by the end of the episode.  He suffers a severe psychotic break and visions of Lucifer are now taunting him, claiming that what he's seeing isn't real.  He's still in the cage.  Sam, off alone, cannot snap himself back into reality.  

Hello Cruel World

Sam's broken mental state masterfully unfolds.  Dean and Bobby find Sam and snap him out of his vivid hallucination of Lucifer.  After a very long rest Dean wakes him, cares for his hand, and then asks for the truth.  It's not just flashbacks anymore, Sam's not able to distinguish what's real.
 
Oh, poor Sam.  He wants to be honest with Dean and Bobby, he knows he has to, but at the same time he knows they won't be able to understand.  He doesn't understand himself.  During his entire conversation with Dean and Bobby he's on the surface controlled and honest, but underneath very frazzled over the fact he's the only one seeing Lucifer in the same room and he's not sure what's real.  It's not only one of the most tragic scenes we've ever witnessed with Sam, but this is a problem he has to face alone and won't easily go away.  This is his reality.  I still get very emotional when Sam confesses the terrible truth about seeing Lucifer to Dean, who's acting pretty angry over what's happening.   

Dean:  You know that he's not real, right?  
Sam (fighting back tears):  He says the same thing about you.

Sam's predicament is devastating here.  Holding on the safety bar and trying to ride it out is clearly not going to work, and Dean's reaction isn't helping either.  However, both are reacting exactly the way they do when they're scared.  It's a problem that both know deep down cannot be easily solved.  It's a human problem, and neither are very good at dealing with those.  It's very, very eerie to watch a big guy in a deep psychotic break constantly field strip his weapon, timing how quickly he's getting it done.  Dean and Bobby certainly watch with daunting concern.  When Sam in a rattled state confronts Lucifer, asking what the end game is, the cleaning of his guns becomes the big clue.  It ends when he can't take it anymore.   Creepy, creepy, creepy - especially since Sam Winchester has never had a suicidal thought in his life.

Even Bobby doesn't know what to do.  Sam tries to talk to him about it, scared that after everything he's been through, crazy could be the thing that finally does him in (nice foreshadowing for later in the season).  Bobby tries to reassure, but it really doesn't help considering Sam sees Lucifer drive a poker through Bobby's heart.  Sam is truly isolated even though Bobby and Dean are right there.  It's fitting that when Sam does have his severe break, it's when he's left alone.  

Oh, the warehouse scene.  Sam is so lost in his hallucination he doesn't even remember driving there.  It's even more scary that he's totally out of his mind and has his weapon handy.  It's very interesting the conversation with Fake!Dean that Sam has in the car.  Fake!Dean is talking down to him, telling him that things aren't going to get better.  Sam's determined to fight his affliction, but Fake!Dean keeps knocking him down, throwing doubts in his mind.  I'm not an expert on schizophrenia and/or psychosis, but it's so fascinating this little war going on in Sam's head between his self assurance and his self doubt.  I do wonder if this is how he thinks the real Dean would react. 

  

Lucky for Sam, the real Dean has been looking out for him and is able to track him down.  Dean calmly, even though he's scared out of his wits, talks Sam back into reality.  He gives Sam the trigger he needs to differentiate reality from hallucination by pressing on his wounded hand.   Sam buys into it, and very slowly works his way back while Dean pleads to believe him.  This exchange is so gorgeous, so pure Winchester brotherly bond, it's perfect.  Dean should be the only one to pull Sam back to reality and appropriately he does it by sharing a coping mechanism he must of picked up himself after his trauma in Hell.  This is where I desperately wish we had more scenes, either this season or earlier, about both brothers eluding to their times in Hell.  Dean's Hell trauma was never explored very well.  It doesn't have to be much, something simple like both sharing an experience with just one sad glance here and there. 

In the car ride back, in the real Impala with the real Dean, the tone is so much different than Sam's earlier hallucination.  Dean is very scared.  He's not angry or berating.  Sam assures that there's no "white rabbits" and Dean gives an apprehensive, "Good."  From here on out, Sam tries to keep Dean convinced that he's not going to lose it again.  He probably doesn't want to scare his brother like that anymore.  Or himself.  He's determined to keep this under control.   

Sadly, though, Sam finds out just how much he has his work cut out for him.  After a frantic call from Bobby, they find his house (and technically their only home) burned down, Bobby is missing, and Edgar the Leviathan is waiting to attack.  Edgar takes out Sam with a tire iron to the head.  A very groggy Sam finds himself being rushed to the hospital with a wounded Dean, but all he can see is Lucifer.  His hallucination troubles are far from over.  This plunges Sam into a massive seizure.  Wow, wow, wow.  What's going to happen to poor Sammy now?  

Ben Edlund, you are my God. 

The Girl Next Door

WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED??  Ben Edlund gives Andrew Dabb and Daniel Loflin the GOLDEN setup to run with Sam's new problems, especially this being a Sam centric episode, and they totally ignore the fact that Sam is teetering on the brink of insanity and is seriously wounded in a hospital????  THEY GLOSS IT OVER????  Holy crap.  The script infuriated me enough with Dean.  It really, really, pissed me off with Sam. 

I just want to cry.  Seriously.  After Bobby rescues an unconscious Sam from the hospital, its three weeks later.  Sam fades out of reality for about ten seconds, does a hand grab and suddenly he's fine.  For the rest of the episode.  And the next one too.  And well, all the way until episode 15.  That's the precedence the writers decided to follow?  I'm all for creative license, but this ends up being a major disappointment in so many ways.  I wasn't expecting Sam melodramatics every single episode, but geez, grossly underplaying his trauma is not a great way to go either.  

I raised the Amy issue a lot in the Dean article, and I'm not sure I want to bring it up here, but I have to since such a stink was raised about it.  Sam is barely holding it together, we think anyway based on logic.  Sam did what he thought was right.  I'm not going to say that either Sam or Dean was right or wrong about the decision to kill or not kill Amy, but Sam really needed Dean at this point to trust him.  That trust is stone number one, remember?  That only happened last episode.   That's likely why Dean went behind Sam's back after Amy, but why didn't Dean just trust him in the first place?  Especially when Sam earnestly begged Dean to?  Oh, right, he's in a self destructive tail spin because he's having trouble trusting because of Cass.  That's the drama they chose to run with?  I re-iterate the opening comment.  WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED?  

Defending Your Life

It's auto pilot for a while now and we're left wondering who this beautiful machine is that's on our TV screens each week now.  Sam is just fine, back in hunter mode, working cases, focusing on his brother while Dean is all moody and depressed.  There is a hand grab in the beginning though, just to remind us Sam is still seeing things.  There's also a conversation at the end how Sam's seeing things but he's happy.  He even smiles.  No, not a red flag at all. 


Shut Up Dr. Phil

Sam is now fighting off extreme mental illness through jogging.  Good to know.  He's now skilled at marriage counseling too.  He tries to talk to Dean twice briefly and gets nowhere.  I can't remember if there's a hand grab in this one, but quite frankly, would it matter if it did?  In just three episodes, Sam is now wallpaper in the storyline. 

Slash Fiction

Considering this was an action thrill ride, Sam's issues deserve a pass for this ep, but they actually weren't glossed over like the prior episodes.  I let out a big "meep!" during that heart breaking scene at the jail when Dean's Leviathan counterpart tells Sam Dean killed Amy. It all plays out silently, but the devastated expressions on Sam's face tell volumes.  Anger hasn't set in, just pure hurt.  Dean has really done it to him this time.  He lied to him and betrayed that trust.  He pulled out that stone number one. 

Sam had every right to be angry at the end and definitely needed a cooling off period.  I'm glad that too many words weren't uttered at this time.  Maybe a comment about what happened to "believe me" could have been done but there was too much hurt floating at the time to have a rational conversation.  That can come later.  Oh wait, it doesn't.   

The Mentalists

Another massive, gaping, complete and total waste of a golden opportunity.  Did they not remember that Sam is not only dealing with betrayal issues, but he still has this psychosis thing going?  Did they not remember that Sam has a valid reason to be angry?  Did they not remember that perhaps he and Dean should discuss this in a realm a bit more than Sam backing down at the end and them moving on like nothing happened?  Where's the emotional arcs here?  Why aren't they following through with basics?  Why is Sam perfectly okay now?  Why am I still pounding my head against this wall? 

Season 7:  Time For A Wedding

Mark this episode right here.  Dog ear it.  This is the point in the season where the writers (except one named Edlund) totally gave up.  They decided to wash their hands of anything remotely connected to character development because they're too much work and get in the way.  It's time to start phoning things in, for those weekly tennis lessons aren't going to take themselves. 

Oh Sam, what did they do to you?  I just can't talk about this.  Nothing good came of this episode at all.  I'd prefer not to remember our precious Sam Winchester as a clueless buffoon suffering in volumes of embarrassing ways at the hands of a crazed fan that was supposed to represent at one point the good underneath the lunacy of the fandom.  How can such a major character be written to suffer anything so cringeworthy like this?  Was it supposed to be funny?  Why am I so mortified then?   

How To Win Friends and Influence Monsters

I'm trying to remember what Sam did in this ep besides amuse Dean through his turducken poisoning.  He put on the FBI suit, hung out in the woods, threw borax at Leviathan, yeah, I got nothing else.  

No, there was his chat with Bobby.  Sam is still very concerned for Dean.  It's through that conversation we are reminded that Sam is still struggling with hallucinations.  Well at least someone remembered that's a lingering plot point.  Sam, in a bout of completely twisted logic, thinks seeing Lucifer is okay.  That puts all his crazy under one umbrella.  Oh Sammy.  That's so misguided, so delusional.  You should have been in a shrink's office months ago.  It's so unfair someone as beautiful as you is suffering like this and no one knows it.  I'm also very sad that only Bobby is hearing this and buying it all.  Why aren't Sam and Dean having these conversations? 

Death's Door

Sam really processes grief quite differently from Dean, doesn't he?  Sam spends the entire time not far from Bobby, scared out of his wit, looking like he's on the brink of tears, ready to embrace the harsh reality that Bobby will not survive.  This is typical Sam.  He's so lost, needs to reach out to someone, but Dean is hurting so bad he can't talk.  When Sam does try, Dean gets pissed, so Sam clutches his hand.  This is where I wonder, what exactly is Sam seeing at this time?  Is Lucifer taunting, or trying to be sympathetic?  I realize there was little time to play this out, but wouldn't that have been fascinating to see?  Just even a brief glimpse as to how something this tragic is burdening Sam's already fragile state?  I guess that's what the hand grab was for.  I feel guilty for wanting a little more since the episode is clearly Bobby's story, but I did.  

Adventures In Babysitting

I might have been forgiving about omissions in Sam's storytelling in "Death's Door" because of the gravity of the situation, but I'm not forgiving here at all.  THIS was the golden opportunity to open up both Sam and Dean's psyches, show the horrible struggles of both within while trying to carry on.  Instead, we get a weak shout out to Twilight and a less than amusing scene of Dean in a cherry picker.  Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.  Of course what was I expecting?  This was an Adam Glass script after all.

Here's what SHOULD have happened.  How about Sam's grief overwhelming him during one scene to the point where things start seeping through those cracks in his reality?  Perhaps when he was captured by the vetala in his weakened state he starts seeing things again?  How about any signs that this sort of burden is not good for a man with some serious mental health issues?  Another good idea, Sam and Dean actually have a conversation about their grief!  Perhaps not in the beginning but definitely in the end. 

Sam falling asleep after a flat "I'm not okay" is hardly the exposition that he's having vivid hallucinations of Lucifer and on the brink of losing his grip on reality again.  He acts flat, robotic, wooden, and has no signs of emotion.  I know Sam is guilty of internalizing but in past seasons they've always come up with little ways to let his issues surface when he does that.  Remember staring at his haunting reflection in "Metamorphosis?"  That.  I swear, at this point I'm doubting Sam has any human left in him.  He's clearly a machine now. 



Time After Time

Don't get me wrong, I liked this episode and Sam's scenes with Sheriff Jody, but there's nothing in this episode that moves Sam's character along.  He's perfectly well adjusted and back to being the super hunter that he is.  Good for him.  Perhaps this would make sense if prior episodes had actually dealt with those underlying problems.  Given the context of this episode, exploring any problems just wouldn't have fit.

The Slice Girls

In my Dean article I referred to a wild pendulum swinging back and forth when it came to his behavior each week.  Sam's pendulum as well has some very impressive air span going at this point in the season.  Which Sam Winchester shows up this week?  Why it's agitated, pissy, laser focused on the job, not acting very smart (which we know is OOC for Sam).  He's closing his mind to possibilities about Bobby being a ghost (again, not typical Sam behavior).  Eugenie Ross Leming and Brad Buckner obviously forgot to read any scripts after "Shut Up Dr. Phil" for they thought the whole Amy thing was still going on.  Their tennis game must be exquisite by now.

I actually did see some signs of Sam cracking.  They were subtle but dammit they were there.  Was Sam right to kill Dean's daughter?  Of course he was.  Sam has figured out that Dean has an apathy problem and he's hesitating when it's time for the kill.  Sam knows that in their line of work, there's no luxury to consider "the tables are turned" defense.  If Dean thought Amy should die, then he should have easily killed Emma too.  She was a monster. 

That's all well and good, but Sam as well as Dean has always flirted with the gray areas.  Emma really isn't the problem.  It's that Sam is barely holding things together (this is using rational logic based on his supposed condition) and needs Dean to have his head in the game.  Desperately needs.  I think Sam truly knows that he could easily crack at any given moment.  Again, I'm speculating, since THERE HAVE BEEN NO OBVIOUS SIGNS. 

Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie

Just like with Dean, this doesn't fall in any character arc or follow any rational pattern.  It's a standalone.  While I do admit that perhaps Sam's fear of clowns was a little overplayed, I loved it.  After all, this was the guy who saved the world a couple of years ago.  The tough as nails hunter who can take anything dished out to him.  What in the world did clowns do to him as a child that has him quivering like a jellyfish every time he spots one?  Not just a clown either, but clown logos and drawings on the wall.  Heck, he fell apart in the motel room just talking about clowns on the phone with Dean. 

It's also fitting that Dean, the menacing older brother, would continue to exploit this fear as well for his amusement.  This episode could have been a disaster in epic proportions like "Season Seven: Time For A Wedding."  Luckily, it wasn't and in the end Sam was actually a better man because of his ordeal.  A glitter covered man, but that made it all the more fun.  Thanks to the inconsistent plotting of this show, it doesn't last and really doesn't amount to anything.   

Repo Man

FINALLY!  From a Sam Winchester perspective, this was the payoff we've been desperate for ever since Ben Edlund artfully showed us Sam's psychosis in "Hello, Cruel World."  The question is, why oh why didn't ANY of the other writers follow his lead?  Why tease us so cruelly for two seasons with all the statements about the ramifications of the wall falling in his head to only in season seven show it in two masterfully penned Edlund episodes?  I feel like Edlund's giant teddy bear in "Wishful Thinking."  Why????     

After twelve episodes of ranging from doing great to perhaps Sam is having minor struggles off and on, what's really happening in Sam's head is revealed in all it's disturbing detail.  It's really stunning that Sam dealt with these vivid hallucinations so well.  Or at least hid if from everyone so cleverly.  What's happening is very intense and so far from normal it's inconceivable that one person could hide this for so long.  There should have been at least some sort of sign other than the occasional hand grab.  It's quite maddening going from the over the top clown trauma in "Plucky Pennywhistle's" to this disturbing level of psychosis in "Repo Man."    

I get that Sam is not an ordinary guy.  He's endured nothing but horrific ordeal after mind blowing trauma and I've been raising the question for years why isn't this guy in a mental institution by now.  His threshold for debilitating crap is clearly through the roof, almost making him superhuman.  He certainly handles the extreme number of blows to the head he's received very well.  But still, extreme psychosis like this without discussing it with Dean or seeking any kind of help (I would have bought him at least self medicating) is pushing our limits of believability.  

Look how easy Lucifer was able to slip in and twist Sam's madness to new crushing heights?  All Sam did was give Lucifer one "shut-up" and suddenly Lucifer has control.  Sam has just assured his undoing.  It's so tragic, so stunning, so real in these types of conditions.  Sam was all this time a very mental sick person, teetering on a very dangerous edge. Which is why I must scream again, WHY WERE WE SUDDENLY BLINDSIDED BY THIS?  If the writers thought it would be fun to conceal this from us, with little to no clues, then go "Surprise!", they made a very grievous mistake.  This is a drastic disservice to the character.

None of that rant though is a reflection of this brilliant episode.  I still shiver at the thought of poor Sammy sitting on the bed while Dean sleeps, the flood of memories of Hell coming back in full force.  He's bathed again in Hellfire, and Lucifer's "Good Morning Vietnam" gets him cringing in total fear, and he's not allowed to sleep.  Oh, Sammy, come back to us.  The fact that Dean's none the wiser makes this 800 times more tragic.

Out With The Old

From Sam's perspective, I liked what was shown in this episode.  His condition has taken a tragic turn, his grip on reality is slowly slipping away, and he even tells Dean about it.  Who does nothing.  Oh man, the brotherly bonding possibilities here are totally wasted.  

This episode was clearly the transition episode in between "Repo Man" and "The Born-Again Identity" and it served Sam's story well.  It shifted the POV from Sam internally back to the view of the outsider.  Dean's story ended up being the total travesty, but I've already covered that.   

The Born-Again Identity

I get the intention.  Sam has given up.  That's exactly how he should act.  He's too tired, too disoriented, and after fighting what's in his head for a very long time alone he has no fight left.  There are no options to fix his very human condition.  It's hopeless and he's ready to die.  This is what happens when a human has to share space with Lucifer.  Castiel was right. 

Nobody writes Sam Winchester better than Sera Gamble...until now.  This was supposed to be Sam's ultimate breakdown.  Seven seasons of every freaking tragedy imaginable hitting this guy and now in what is a very logical progression, there's nothing left of his sanity.  Even worse, it's affecting him so bad that it's going to kill him.  The setup is perfect! 

So why did this fail?  Easy.  You can't have a main character tragedy of this magnitude in "Supernatural" and minimally show the brotherly bond.  One scene.  That's all we got. I mean, Dean disappears and leaves Sam alone to rot in the mental institution, waiting mercifully death the happen.  He didn't even try to call.  Considering every single week from "Adventures In Babysitting" to "Out With The Old" Dean checked in with Frank Deveraux, he can't check in on his own dying brother?  It makes no sense.  One broken cell phone is hardly a deterrent.  Even in "When The Levee Breaks" when they spent most of the time apart they were still fretting over each other in a very dramatic way.

When building up to a long anticipated scenario like this, I get it, expectations are high.  After all, we have been chomping at the bit for almost two seasons now waiting to see this happen to Sam. But why did this have to be coupled in the same episode with Castiel's return?  Why did Sera Gamble think it would be compelling to show Dean going off to find some miracle cure and work out his Castiel abandonment issues while Sam faced death alone?  Who would imagine that the same writer who so beautifully gave Bobby Singer the most poignant, emotionally crushing, sentimental hour long and well focused send off couldn't do a fraction of that for Sam Winchester?  

The deeper I dig into the analysis of this episode, the more dismayed I become.  So little made sense and too much was sacrificed   Take the opening scene in the back alley, which is quite stomach churning to see how low Sam has sunk.  It's shocking and very effective.  Why was Sam alone?  By the time Dean finds him at the hospital, Sam has already been treated for physical injuries, it's been determined his mental state is causing his symptoms and they've committed him.  That's easily a 24 hour if not longer process.  Shouldn't they have tried to find the next of kin?  Dean let Sam go away that long?  Why didn't we see any of that play out?  Did Sam ask for Dean in the hospital, and did Dean go through a big frantic search trying to find Sam?  Remember "Born Under A Bad Sign" where Dean is going out of his mind over a missing Sam?  We couldn't see that here?   It's perplexing since Sera usually isn't that sloppy with details like this. 

What was Sam's motivation for going on?  Why didn't he just follow Lucifer's advice at that point and blow his brains out?  It would have spared him.  He's clearly not doing this for Dean anymore.  He told Dean to give it up and his brother left him.  Sure he had a nice distraction and got to help Marin, but that was short and he didn't get any type of will to live from doing that.  The exercise did nothing to help his character, only tells us what we've always known about Sam, he's a hero.  

The ultimate insult is at the end.  Sam has progressed into a catatonic state, aka the "drooling mess" that's been prophesied for a long while now.  They can't show Dean giving more than one sentence of concern?  Remember "When The Levee Breaks" when Sam has his terrible seizure?  How terrified and shaken Dean was over just watching Sam go through that?  It's those little touches that were missing in this episode and the omissions were glaring.  

Then Sam is spared thanks to a quick fix from Castiel.  I accept that the writers wrote themselves into a corner and had no easy way of getting out of it, but that quick fix had very little pay off other than one great scene with Sam and Castiel later.  Nothing satisfying happened emotionally or character growth wise.  Sam's cured and they're quickly out of there without showing him get any sort of rest or a clean bill of health from the doctors.  Dean instead of grateful for having his brother back gives Sam a bunch of hard nosed crap about how they're targets and need to leave Castiel there.  That's the end?

I doubt this was intentional, but as a result of this choppy and ill conceived mess, Sam Winchester turned into more of a cartoon characterization than a believable human being.  He suffers horribly and the only person in his life that he lives for can barely muster concern for him.  Then an angel fixes him and his suffering was for not.  We have zero understanding why he's going on.  I don't know if that makes Sam look stupid or aimless.  I know one thing, he's not coming across as heroic or self sacrificing here.  This is what happens when good characterization goes bad.  

Party On, Garth

A massive missed opportunity.  Sam's entire recovery was limited to one line.  He's getting better, but he feels like the tape from "The Ring."  The crazy has been passed on.  Otherwise, it's business as usual for Sammy.  

In watching this episode, I remembered "Playthings." That was one of the few times we've seen full fledged drunken Sam.  He was clearly despondent back then over his "destiny" and what dark and diabolical plans the yellow-eyed demon had for him.  He made Dean follow through on his promise to John to kill him if he went too far.  It was a moment.  Sam and Dean could have easily had the same moment here.  They could have gotten drunk to see the Shojo and that's when Sam openly confesses how the entire ordeal in the institution still has him scared.  Or that he's still not okay.  Nope.  Heavy sigh.  

What else I didn't like was the rehash of Sam and Dean's conversation about Bobby from "The Slice Girls."  Sam's mind hasn't changed.  It can't be Bobby.  Um, why not?  Sam's usually far more open minded that this, even after a major crazy trauma.  He's also a lot smarter with his conclusions, like perhaps the flask wasn't around when he tried to contact Bobby.   

Of Grave Importance/The Girl With The Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo

Sam didn't get any kind of story here other than follow the bouncing ball of the case, ask questions to Dean about making Ghost!Bobby work, then fretting it won't.  You know, because Sam's an optimist but also a realist.  Just like Dean, we don't know which Sam is showing up each week either. 

Reading Is Fundamental

It's very in character that Sam forgives Castiel and not because of him taking away his crazy.  It goes all the way back to "Meet The New Boss."  Sam understands the concept of making mistakes in the past and deserving the chance for redemption.  But Sam and Castiel both share the extraordinary perspective of insanity and thankfully this was not forgotten.  They talked about it, and their short conversation gave us so much in so little time.  Sam is still very shaken by the entire ordeal.  It was beautiful.  It's also not enough, or perhaps too little too late, especially when Dean heard none of it.  


There Will Be Blood

Well there's...um...then that...er...at least Sam got to chop off Edgar's head.  

This episode featured the return of anxious, worried, pleading urgently for the betterment of humanity Sam.  He hasn't been around since the end of season five, right?  Just checking.  Not that I didn't enjoy seeing this Sam again, but where did he come from out of the blue like that?  

Survival of The Fittest

Sam is pretty much cured and well adjusted at this point.  There's no hope of going back.  If they did, then it would seem as though their rehashing ancient history.  The Sam is crazy ship has officially sailed.  

I'll tell you what was most interesting about this setup.  Season seven's objective was the take everything away from Sam and Dean, strip them down so bare that in the end all they had was each other.  The hope was together they'd be stronger, and their bond would be better than ever, but at the end they acted more like seasoned co-workers than emotionally connected brothers.  They're better hunters, but not better brothers.  

By the end of the season, the only thing left to be taken away was each other.  It was hinted heavily that Dean would be the last man standing, especially when Sam was struggling with his mental stability and near death issues.  So imagine our surprise when the last man standing turned out to be Sam.  This does create some amazing possibilities, especially when we didn't see this coming.  Sam certainly didn't.  How does he exist as the lone hunter, taking on the monsters that still roam the earth?  He doesn't have Dean, Bobby, Castiel, Rufus, Frank, or anyone to rely on other than himself.  Is he up to the task?  Judging by his devastation over Dean's disappearance, there might be an adjustment period. 

  

Season 8?

On top of everything shared here with the individual episodes, I didn't like in season seven how Sam was in reactionary mode most of the time.  This has been said many times on this site throughout the season, but the concept of story driving the characters instead of characters driving the story has done both Sam and Dean a great disservice.  It was a worthwhile experiment but clearly doesn't work in this landscape. 

Sam had plenty of struggles and now matter how much I point out how poorly developed and executed those story lines were, they're over and he's come out the other side.  He's stronger now.  Supposedly.  It's fascinating the possibilities of what kind of Sam Winchester can come from this.  Hell is behind him now, so is the wall.  There's only one way to go now, strengthen that bond with Dean.  Of course, he has to get Dean back first.  How will he handle that task?  Will he cross lines again? 

There's a number of things I can put on the wish list, but I'd rather let the new creative team have their way.  I think they know what's wrong, and know fans would like to see Sam and Dean take front and center again.  Their layers need to be exposed again, and if that means slowing down the MOTW or mytharc stories so be it.  I'd also like to see Sam connect with people again and not be so isolated from others.  They keep saying that Sam is the human one and the more sympathetic brother.  If that's true, it's about time they start showing it.  The boy has suffered enough. 

Coming up next, my review of season seven.  Failures in characterization weren't the only the burdens.  

Here are the previous "A Deeper Look at Sam Winchester" articles from other seasons:

Season Six
Season Five
Season Four
Season Three


 

Comments  

alysha
# alysha 2012-06-12 21:25
I looked forward to this. Sam is my favorite and I could spend hours discussing him. Well I used to. Now, what is there to say? I even noticed this write up wqs short and lacked insight. Not that you didn't try, but no matter how hard you dig, its a struggle to find meaning for Sam. It was a difficult season for characterizatio n. Both Winchesters were cheated out of such potential.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-06-12 22:10
First I have to say that you and I apparently share a brain when it comes to writers. We have problems with the same ones. I know Jeremy Carver probably needs to settle in before he makes writing staff changes, but I really hope that next season Adam Glass can be allowed to find a series that meshes with his talents, a nice procedural like The Mentalist or CSI.

I'll give a longer review later, but for now I pretty much agree with this whole look at Sam. I feel like the writers thew up a pack of 3x5 cards with character traits on them and then called a character and picked the cards to display the emotions. Dean got depressed, depressed, vengeful, apathetic, angsty, teasing big brother (Plucky Pennywhistle), apathetic, depressed. Sam got crazy, card blank, card blank, card blank, really crazy, blank card, blank card, blank card. Castiel got God complex, guilty, amnesia, guilty, catatonic, fun crazy, fun crazy, guiltily fun crazy.

The only thing I slightly disagree with you is when you say that Sam was never suicidal. Lord knows, we saw very little of Sam's POV in season four, but I did think it was very clear that Sam WAS suicidal when Dean was in Hell and before Ruby gave him a reason to live (vengeance). That was why Dean thanked Ruby after IKHYSLS, because he realized that without Ruby Sam would have been dead, either by his own hand or suicide by hunt. Other than that, I think you are spot on.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-12 23:17
I agree with you on season 4 Sam, I also think he was extremely depressed and verging on suicidal in season 5. I have to admit though other than him saying to Lucifer "I'll kill myself first", I have no evidence. Mostly supposition based on his character.
mer
# mer 2012-06-13 02:23
thanks, percysowner and kelly, for pointing out the other times showing evidence Sam was suicidal before.

I also want to add in season 1 when Sam didn't try to get himself out from under a burning Jessica and the show when he tried to go back into a burning house to get that demon. He and Dean had a conversation which basically was Dean: it's suicide...Sam: I don't care!

In Season 2, Croatoan Sam said "leave me the gun, I'll do it myself."

All these scenes broke my heart, esp. the one just after Dean's death when he was trying to take his brother's place.
alysha
# alysha 2012-06-13 05:53
So true about the index cards, such random characterizatio n. Just watched IKwYDLS yesterday. Agree that Sam was suicidal before becoming vengeful. We see that tendency in Mystery Spot to when we see that he had gotten shot.
kerinda
# kerinda 2012-07-07 23:16
what about the part when bobby found sam after he got out of panic room and bobby had a gun and said we are trying to help you boy and sam put the gun to his heart that looked suicdal to me or did he wanted bobby to kill him.
Yhello
# Yhello 2012-06-12 22:12
Awesome article Alice. Your wonderful comment about the season objective being to " take everything away from Sam and Dean, strip them down so bare that in the end all they had was each other." turned out to not be what the writers did. Instead they spent the season writing for some wonderful supporting characters and not fullfilling the potential for Sam & Dean at all, as you spell out in both your articles. While I get it that a 2 person show is really hard to do and that strong supporting characters give you a way to open up the show and give your leads a break - they were the ones who set this up as the seasons arc. The Guest Star of the week format gave each show a different feel and a different look but they care much more strongly about that than the fans do. We would have watched Sam & Dean sit on Bobby's couch all season arguing about food as long as there was character development. The writers were the ones who wanted to tear their world down, so they had a big job to do to make that work and they came up short. Thank God Jensen and Jared worked their hearts out to squeeze every ounce of juice out of what they were given. They and the great supporting cast gave us much this season that is worthy of re-watching.

As you also summed up well in Your Dean article, S8 has some Sam & Dean moments to answer for. Writing for a show like this 7 seasons in must be an enormous challenge and I for one could never sit in these writers swivel chairs. We expect story perfection and character brilliance while the network always wants cheaper, shorter and faster. I have full faith that JC & team are up to the challenge and I will be eagerly awaiting what they have in store for us for S8. Thank you Alice for these great in-depth evaluations!
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-12 23:23
You know I wouldn't have or even don't have a problem with a few episodes being guest star focused. I enjoyed the ones this season (well maybe less Garth would have been ok). It wouldn't be a problem at all if Sam and Dean had quality storylines and moments when they're on screen. But I think that was part of my problem with Party On Garth. After the episode before was so rush, esp. at the end, I wanted more brother time. And instead we got a very long segment of the shojo kill and then Garth and got basically 5 lines from the brothers. THAT WAS FREAKING FRUSTRATING!
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-12 22:40
Good article!

Hmm . . . what can I say about Season 7 Sam . . . hmmm . . . I'm wracking my brain to come up w/something but I got nothing! Unfortunately, I have absolutely nothing to say about Sam in Season 7 b/c nothing of importance happened to Sam this year!

"But Lala, how can you say that? Sam's wall fell, and he suffered debilitating hallucinations. "

Well, I can say that b/c we didn't see any real effects of the wall falling aside from a few episodes, and at the end of the day, Sam did not change or grow b/c of his experience. Nothing that happened to him had any significant impact on his life. In fact, that whole one-year arc - Sam jumping in pit, returning soulless, soul being tortured in Hell for 180+ years, and needing a Wall in his mind to block the Hell memories - was rendered completely pointless by this year's sloppy, neglectful storytelling. At the end of the day, Sam was not greatly affected by the wall falling. If he was, he kept it so private that even the audience wasn't privy to the extent of his problems. Sam was fine before the hallucinations, fine during them, and fine after they passed. He was fine the entire season. That's not a way to tell a story, IMO.

I know many feel the writers wrote themselves into a corner by making Sam's Hell sound so horrific, but I disagree. There were so many creative ways they could have shown Sam's problems like more spacing out, increased irritability or agitation, auditory hallucinations or hearing voices, more scenes like the one in the library in RM, scenes showing Sam whispering to himself and reassuring himself that what he's seeing is not real, more talks w/his brother about his hallucinations or how he's coping, or more interesting methods of pushing back the hallucinations as I didn't find it believable that his hand still hurt after months and months. Those are just a few of the ways Sam could have been shown to be having problems. I can think of many more ways the severity of Sam's problems could have been sprinkled throughout the episodes. Ignoring Sam's story for 15 episodes straight was not the way to go, IMO. If you want to show some massive breakdown towards the end of the season, you build up to it with little things. You don't show someone being absolutely fine and coping well, and then suddenly being on death's door. That's poor storytelling in my book.

Onto the episodes . . . .

So, Sam's story started off really well in MTNB and HCW. Those were great episodes, IMO. HCW was the BEST episode of the season, IMO. I loved the game Lucifer was playing w/Sam and trying to make Sam believe he was still in the Cage. I thought they could have played that up more. And not enough praise can be given to the warehouse scene, which was simply great! What a wonderful brotherly bonding moment. It kind of hurts to look back on this episode though. So much potential was lost and left unexplored. I'd actually prefer if these two episodes and HCW, especially, hadn't been so good given what we got in the end.

For me, Sam's story (and the show in general) went off track in TGND. We got one good scene of Sam spacing out, and that was it. No more spacing out or any other indication that he was having trouble coping. Plus, this episode started the pointless Amy drama. To this day, I have no idea what that whole thing was about. I'm not sure why Sam cared that Dean killed her; I don't know why Dean lied about it. That plot had no resolution to me, or rather the resolution given was lame, IMO.

I disliked DYL for taking yet another human trait away from Sam. I swear Sam is becoming more and more robotic w/how he never feels anything and can cope w/anything. Sam has felt enormous guilt since the show started. It's not just Dean that feels guilt. I wouldn't have a problem w/Sam deciding that the pain and torture he suffered in Hell absolved him of his guilt if we had been treated to Sam's journey to that point. Just last year, Sam felt guilty about what SS did, but now, he's guilt-free. Huh? Since when? How? Okay. By taking away his guilt, I feel it's just another excuse to not write for him on an emotional, human level.

Sam didn't do anything in Episode 5 that I can recall.

In SF, we learn that Sam sees Lucifer on a minute-by-minut e basis. That was very interesting, but, unfortunately, we never saw the effects of that. There's no way Sam should have been as functional when he was seeing Lucifer that much. What's the point of telling us (the audience) that if we don't see it have any effect on Sam. They're supposed to show not tell. Again, they could have made Sam more irritable or snappish - something to show he wasn't doing so well. We got nothing except the occasional hand rub.

Episode 7 just wrapped up that awful, pointless Amy drama. Dean yelled. Sam apologized. End of story. I was left not really understanding why Sam was so angry, esp. since he conceded that Dean was right to kill Amy. That entire drama was bad, pointless filler.

Episodes 8/9/10 did nothing for Sam that I can recall. He was just there. He may have pressed on his hand some, but that was it. Sam functioned just as well as he had been doing.

Even though I just read this article, I honestly can't remember what episodes 11 or 12 were about. I can't even recall their titles. One episode was AIB. That one was okay to me. Don't recall anything particular about Sam though. Hmmm . . . . fast foward to Repo Man.

I thought RM was okay. We saw more of Lucifer, but that episode began this "less menacing and frightening Lucifer, and more annoying, bratty Lucifer" trend. I didn't care for that. Plus, that guy killed that dog, and his conversation w/Dean was slightly boring to me. I can honestly say I'm not a big fan of RM.

Don't rememer the next episode or how Sam presented in it. Nothing comes to mind so I can't imagine that he was acting too crazy or anything.

I hated TBAI. It was a lousy wrap-up to an interesting, but horribly told story. I've mentioned this before but the lack of urgency or genuine caring from Dean toward Sam really threw me off and basically ruined the episode for me. When either brother has ever been in distress, the other has been there and shown his concern. IMTOD, Faith, AHBL2, Unforgiven, end of episode where Dean tortured Alastair, SS. I love getting good brotherly moments. We got nothing here. Dean just didn't seem all that concerned about Sam dying.

Plus, having Sam hunt while on the verge of death was pushing the limits, IMO. He's already robotic enough as it is w/nothing ever phasing or bothering him; we didn't also need to see him hunt while on his last breath. Dang, can the guy just be in his "crazy" moment. I expected that girl to be a Lucifer hallucination, but, sadly, she was real. How scared am I supposed to be for Sam if he's hunting while in the insane asylum and doing a pretty good job of it? Clearly, Sam will be okay. That episode felt like a rush to just get Sam's "story" over and done with so they could move onto the Leviathan plot. It felt like someone remembered the plot and was like, "Oh . . . yea . . . we have to wrap up Sam's hallucinations. Let's do that real quick." I only liked the beginning of the epsiode when Sam was lurking in alleyways scoring drugs. Plus, Lucifer was way too much like an annoying little brother in the episode than the Father of Lies. They wasted MP if you ask me w/that nonsense. My imagination runs wilds so color me disappointed w/writers can't seem to think of interesting ways to torture someone that aren't every expensive.

I got nothing to say about the rest of the episodes w/r/t Sam except that I knew Sam would never again discuss Hell or anything he remembered about being soulless after the horrendous TBAI. They squandered their opportunities w/the story. I wish JC (or anyone) could get a do-over b/c Sam's story was so interesting and full of potential. We could keep 7.01, 7.02, and Plucky's, and then fill in the rest.
alysha
# alysha 2012-06-13 06:02
I think there was no worry or urgency when Sam was " dying" because why should he be dying of psychosis? It makes no sense. I first believed he wasn't psychotic, that Lucifer was real, but clearly the writers ent with the simple explanation that Lucifer was just a hallucination. Which means Sam had mental illness all season and we never saw it.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-13 08:27
But Sam wasn't sleeping, and you can die from not sleeping. At that point in the show, the hallucinations had become so bad they were giving Sam insomnia. He wan't sleeping and was on the verge of death. Dean should have been more urgent about his brother's condition and less "ho hum" about it. He just didn't seem to care, and that was very unusual. The entire resolution was anti-climatic.

Heck, the story, itself, was boring to me. Sam rubs his hand and functions fine. Where's the drama and tension in that? I'll never understand why they chose the most boring, mundane way to tell what could have been a very interesting story.
alysha
# alysha 2012-06-13 22:07
ok, so sedate Sam. I'm pretty sure the body can'y fight that and he would have gotten rest. So what do they say in the episode, that they sedated him, but they can't get him to sleep???!!! I call medical fail (just like Dean's magically healed leg).
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-14 09:04
I hear what you're saying and understand your point. All I can say is they wrote that he was dying because of the insomnia. Maybe they sedated him, and Lucifer still wouldn't let him sleep. I don't know. I had stopped recording the episodes at that point so I can't rewatch it, and, frankly, I can't remember what the doctor told Dean about Sam's condition or what Sam said to Dean.

At the end of the day, we were told Sam was DYING. We may both think that was silly or makes no sense, but that's the story we were told. And since that's the case, I think Dram should have had a bigger reaction to his brother's impending death than he did. He behaved as if he couldn't care less. The story was already rushed and lacked tension; there was no reason to also have Dean not really caring if Sam was saved or not. There was no reason to have ZERO brotherly moments in the episode. i remember Dean saying to Sam, "You're not going to let me die in peace are you?" Sam's response was that he wasn't going to let Dean die period. That was a nice moment or Sam pleading with Dean to not die because they had just become brothers again.

Yes, I know the brothers love each other but there's no point in putting them in dire circumstances if the other has little to no reaction! What's the fun in that?

Everything was off about that episode, IMO.
airbat
# airbat 2012-06-13 17:14
Agreed with all of the above and with alice article - sadly I have to say.

I wish I could say that I look forward to S8, but with a whole seaons wasted that way concerning characterizatio n I am weary about what may come.

And I am still shaking my head disbelievingly because, clearly in 7.01 and 7.02 they showed us how it could be done. So why suddenly loose all the interest in your main charaters (sorry but Dean's wasn't better)?
Alice said it very well:
Quote:
WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED??
Yeah, that was I was thinking the whole season. At least Dean was shown one emotion - depression. Sam was like wallpaper.

I can only hope that Carver can rise out of these ashes, because I don't want to remember Supernatural as a Series that was once great.
Nita
# Nita 2012-06-13 00:30
Well, I agree with a lot of what you have said. However I think it was okay for Dean to kill Amy because that is just what Dean would do. I do not think that he particularly trusts anyone except John Winchester. Yes it was a little ruthless because he did it even though he knew it would hurt Sam if he found out. So he tried to hide it. That was not typical Dean (hiding and lying) and that is why he felt so guilty about it. It was the lying that he felt guilty about, not the killing.
I agree that the writers were not following a single thread when it came to Sam's characterisatio n. I am quite sure that they did not bother to read each other scripts and were lazy (unforgivable!) . I too was a little irritated at the palm pressing thing every now and then as if it absolved the writer's of trying to use their imagination to show what Sam was going through. At first I thought it was okay because after all what was the use of showing lucifer again and again? But on second thoughts (after reading your article) I think perhaps they could have shown something else other than Lucifer. Perhaps Michael? And what about Adam? What's happening to him? Could he also not be used to torture Sam? I wonder if the cost of getting these actors for every episode was a factor in the storytelling?
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-13 01:12
Sam is one of my all time favorite characters and I realized reading this how depressing I find the loss of Sam’s storyline this year. I have sliver of hope that some of the other problems I have with season 7 can be fixed in season 8 but I’m not sure Sam’s storyline can be fully rescued. There was so much missed opportunity after episode 2. I still liked most the individual episodes this season, but the continuity and overall storylines were weak at best and Sam’s is just tragic. I do hope that we do get some more follow through with his recovery from hell, but even if we do I not sure that can completely make up for the missed moments this season.

I don’t completely agree that we didn’t see anything of Sam’s problems from 3-15. But most of what I did see came through Jared’s performance. Because even watching again with a critical eye, I noticed a greater urgency and a frantic nature to his actions sometimes. Others didn’t see it so it’s obviously subjective. But regardless we didn’t get enough. But my bigger gripes come with his fix and after. We got like 2 lines and then later a brief conversation with Cas and that’s it. THAT IS ABSOLUTELY CURSE WORD, CURSE WORD, CURSE WORD RIDICULOUS. It is just bad storytelling. We have a MAJOR story spanning 2 seasons about one of the TWO main characters and we got one conversation between the brothers in BAI and then basically nothing else for that story. I agree, Sam’s story should have been dealt with separately from the Cas’ return. Maybe have the episode end with Dean finding Cas. But a good portion should have been more about Sam and even Dean and what they’ve gone through what they’re going through. And then a separate episode about the demons, Meg and Cas and maybe Sam saving Marin (although I did like that he was a hero even as he as falling apart). If Jeremy Carver or one of the other writers finds away to save that debacle I will bow down and kiss their feet.

Though I agree the setup from HCW was squandered, I actually liked Girl Next Door. Even the last scene wouldn’t be such as issue for me if it had been handled better in later episodes. I didn’t agree with him killing her, esp. after Sam asked him not to, but if used to deal with ambiguous kills and them playing judge and jury or ANYTHING, I would have been ok. But instead we get what felt like forced drama and finally Sam admitting Dean was right. OH THAT PISSED ME OFF. Since when is Sam all KILL, KILL, KILL. I guess he had brief period in season 3 (sort of), but had already pulled back by season 4. Sam use to fight Dean on morally questionable situations, like he did in GND, but in the Mentalist he has an abrupt change on heart for no apparent reason. I seriously thought they were going somewhere with this. Esp. after Sam killed Dean’s daughter without hesitation, even though she hadn’t yet killed. I thought we were going to get some interesting insight into the fact that Sam doesn’t trust himself anymore and therefore is relying on Dean’s judgment. And was freaking out because Dean was freezing and if he couldn’t rely on Dean’s judgment either, where did that leave them. NOPE NOTHING. In fact later we got Sam immediately writing off ghost Bobby. BOBBY.

I’m beginning to side with the pissed off Sam girls. I LOVE DEAN. But come on since when is he the ultimate authority of right and wrong. Why should he have total control and say over which kills are morally right. That’s ridiculous. He a great guy. But so is Sam and one of the things I’ve always liked about Sam is that he tried to see the big picture –the grey areas. The ones I can think of off the top of my head are Max, Lenore, Jack, Jesse and Amy. Some they were able to save, some they couldn’t, but all Sam TRIED to save. Now is he writing them all off as monsters too? Is everyone who is a “freak” fair game? I find the lack of discussion disturbing and not in Sam’s nature. Again with this I have a smidgeon of hope that with Dean in purgatory encountering monsters and Sam up here having to trust his own judgment that this issue will be brought to the forefront.

And maybe this will lead to a talk about if Dean actually trusts Sam. If Sam trusts Sam. Has Sam lost faith in his own instincts? Does Sam think Dean see him as a monster? Is that how he sees himself? If season 7 was a set up to deal with these long standing issues in a realistic way, I will take back every negative thing I said. And write a book worth of mea culpas.
Nita
# Nita 2012-06-13 01:13
And one more thing. It was really odd showing that Sam feels guiltless. It was rather ridiculous because Sam also feels guilt, and lots of it! If he says he is not feeling it, he is probably lying! But then the writers had to give some excuse as to why Dean was picked and not he! They could have easily got around this, but they had to add that stupid point about Sam not feeling guilty! That too when he was mentally disturbed with images of Lucifer! It just didn't make any sense.
The storyline of that whole episode was stupid. People who feel guilt are the good people. Real monsters never feel guilt. This point was never brought out. Sam could have pointed this out to the Egyptian God, but then was the writer thinking at all? Obviously not.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-13 07:22
I hated that about DYL as well. It made no sense because Sam has felt guilt in some form or fashion since the Pilot. And like I said, if we had been treated to Sam's journey to a guilt free state, I wouldn't be as upset but we weren't. They just decided that only Dean felt guilt because at that point we were in Dean's 13-episode depression/emot ional storyline.

Heaven forbid they focus on BOTH brothers at the same time. Can't have that now unless it's Sam's arc and then any other characters can be brought in.

I didn't like the Sam feels no guilt plot either!
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-06-13 17:35
The really annoying part is that all they had to say was that Osiris didn't put Sam on trial because he already knew that Sam was not capable of aiding in his own defense due to insanity or mental incompetence. It was a better excuse than "I feel I've paid my dues" and it had the virtue of being true. Or Osiris could have said that Sam's hallucinations were worse than the death that he normally deals out, so he would focus on Dean, who can be punished in the more traditional ways. So lazy and so stupid. When I can come up with a better explanation that takes 30 seconds the writing is really off.
Katie
# Katie 2012-06-13 19:54
I absolutely hated DLY. I don't have high standards for Adam Glass. (I don't anyone does including Adam Glass.) But this episode was worst than my bottom level standards. I've seen episodes of "The Secret Life of the American Teenagers" have better reasoning and writing than this episode! It was a pathetic excuse for an episode. It made Dean look horrible with him wanting to quit the case because Osiris was killing "bad people" like Amy was. It looked even worse because it made it look like Dean was feeling guilty for killing Amy instead of lying to Sam then quickly changed in 7x07. Then it brings up all these depression issues for Dean for this 13-episode arc that went nowhere. And it completely dismissed Sam's story. Sam is fine. He doesn't feel guilty which could have been a side-effect of Robo-Sam, but no, he's just fine. Huh? It was like they spent this whole episode about Dean, but then decided they had to say something about Sam, so they just added the first piece of crap they could think of. Sam went from wanting to kill himself to "I've paid my dues." No connection.

The thing that pisses me off the most is that they really didn't need an explanation. The way the episode was set up was that all the people who were killed went to a certain bar! Sam didn't go to that bar at the right time. Osiris caught Dean first. Therefore, Sam wasn't put on trial. It would be like justifying why Dean wasn't infected in "Asylum." Oh, Dean doesn't feel angry or have any issues with Sam, despite the fact that logically and emotionally, he would.

Sam having Lucifer around as a constant reminder that he screwed up wouldn't cause any guilt? Maybe if they had turned it into Sam had accepted that this isn't the real world, but better than straight Hell and he could at least pretend it was Dean, then I could accept Sam not feeling guilty. But that isn't how the season went.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-13 21:10
DYL was definitely my least favorite episode of the season. I think like the rest of the season it is partly because of so much lost potential. If they had really dealt with Dean's guilt even if it wasn't resolved. But even the issues they'd picked were kind of stupid. Because Dean knows Azazel was going to drag Sam into regardless (although Sam never brought that up really). And if you were to guess the #1 thing Dean might feel guilty for about Sam. What would it be? My guess would be agreeing to let him jump into the cage with Lucifer, which had his brain all scrambled to hell.

And why would he feel guilt about Jo hunting she forced him to take her on her first hunt? How about taking her on her last hunt where she was ripped apart by hellhounds and the blown up? Not that it WAS Dean's fault but it's not a stretch that he'd feel guilty about it.

Also I think it would have been much more compelling if they'd had this episode directly AFTER Sam found out about Amy and he defended Dean anyway. Despite being pissed. That could have been mined for gold level angst. And given BOTH a good story. Instead neither got one.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-13 21:05
All great ideas, Percy! I would have loved any one of those, esp. the last one. Anything would have been better than declaring Sam feels no guilt for anything, effectively, IMO, removing yet another human trait from him.

When did they decide to make Sam a robot? He feels no guilt. He handles debilitating hallucinations w/grace and ease. He forgives w/no problem. He functions perfectly well. How is robotic Sam interesting or realistic? Normally, I wouldn't have a problem w/Sam forgiving Castiel b/c that is classic Sam, but since no other human traits were displayed, it bothered me a bit.

------------------------------

Katie, I couldn't agree more w/you too! As you said, all they had to say was Osiris targeted Dean b/c Dean was in the bar. That's it. Why they put that nonsense in about Sam feeling no guilt, I'll never know.

I guess they didn't want to focus on Sam's guilt while in Dean's plot to nowhere The splitting of the season (not an actual split since Sam only got 4 measly episodes devoted to his arc) was a BAD idea!
KarenS
# KarenS 2012-06-18 19:07
Quote:
It was a better excuse than "I feel I've paid my dues"
Did it ever occur to you that they are actually intentionally telling us something about Sam's character when he says this?
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-06-18 19:22
Short version, No.

Long version, Considering how much I hate Adam Glass as a writer and considering I don't think he has ever given a thought about consistent characterizatio n for either Sam or Dean, the answer is no.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-18 21:14
I agree w/Percy. I don't think they intended much when they declared Sam was "guilt-free." As late as TGND, Sam was feeling guilt about stuff. How did he suddenly become guilt-free in the next episode? What was his journey to releasing his guilt and realizing that he can't punish himself forever for his mistakes or things out of his control?

If this had been a character arc, I would have been fine w/it, but it was just a line in the episode to explain why Sam wasn't targeted just like Dean. Even Bobby thought they would both be targets. Sam has felt guilt since Season 1. If he no longer feels gult for anything, the show needs to explain to us why and not w/a throwaway, contrived line at the end of an episode.

Why this show wants to spend NO time on Sam's emotional development will never make sense to me!
Nita
# Nita 2012-06-13 01:21
Kelly, I agree with you about Jared's performance. I too was watching it closely and realised that he did seem different and I was actually satisfied that he was not his normal self. However a little more drama would have been great!
Also I also wondered why Sam was killing so easily. I was also puzzled as to why he so easily let Dean off the hook. I sorted that out by convincing myself that it was the left over effect of the demon blood. Maybe the demon blood has changed him for good. BUT the writers did not mention it so it means they didn't plan Sam's characterisatio n. They left it to viewers to sort it out. Sad!
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-18 23:50
Hi Nita,
Sam ,i think in the show has almost everytime (may be everytime) has let Dean and Cas off hook easily....Do i like it? ...no. It just focuses on Sam's mistakes and the mistakes of others are masked to varied degrees....
Most of Sam's decisions are seen through Dean's eyes..even the demon blood thing the way Dean was about it would seem Sam buried Dean and started guzzling Demon blood...So yeah we are left to sort out what Sam thinks and arrive at the most possible reason for his action many times
Nita
# Nita 2012-06-19 03:13
Well, the story does show Sam making more mistakes, but always with good intentions. I guess that is why many of us have this sympathy for Sam. Despite his good intentions his actions are wrong and no one lets him forget it!
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-19 06:10
That is why i have a problem with Sam forgiving and forgetting so easily as he lets them forget it
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-06-13 04:08
Sam was written ridiculously in season 7 but the season has sailed past and what they did and didnt do for him has sailed with it.
The biggest opportunity the show has had since the earlier seasons to treat and write Sam has a human being and not a plot line and they ran from it rather than actually deal with it and its a shame because the writing does influence how people see a character and showing Sam as fine and barely struggling and acting with no guilt and well yes like a machine I mean this is a person we were supposed to believe had suffered non stop torture for nearly two centuries and I think back to Hell Sam in the season 6 finale and his words and we got season 7 and by presenting the way they did after the first two episode's then why should anybody take seriously what he goes through and what is done to him and even what he thinks and feels about any given situation.

Season 8 could be a fresh start for Sam that he does get that 'human story' but I thought season 7 was going to do that for him and I am reluctant to get involved with the potential for this character next season and wonder wether even if they do? is it too late?.

Thanks for the article Alice I completely understand your head banging frustration.
Supernarttu
# Supernarttu 2012-06-13 05:47
Wow Alice. A great analysis (or the lack there of) of a character that I love dearly and can't help but weep and weep over all that lost potential (which was bigger than Grand Canyon).

"It’s that Sam is barely holding things together (this is using rational logic based on his supposed condition)".

This quote of yours Alice, sums up pretty much all of Sams story this year for me. It was basically 95% of speculating and trying to see/seeing (tiny) signs of Sams struggle. Not counting a few episodes but yeah, that's about it. What a riveting story, huh?

I so agree that we didn't need to see SamvsLucifer in every ep from 2 to 15, but SOMETHING would've been nice. I especially liked the head banging hallucination from Repo Man. They could have shown something like that which didn't require Mark Pellegrino (if the money was an issue), or even something on a smaller scale: a dude slashing his throat/face burnt or Sam whispering to himselves, or nightmares or, again, just SOMETHING. Dean didn't have to see that necessarily, but Sam (and we) did. It would've made the mental issues a more severe and constant reminder, not just something left for the imagination for months on end while Sam was "fine". The hand grab was a nice touch but I'm finding it a very unreliable (and boring to watch) long term solution. I was at first thinking that it might be a clue that pain in general would keep the hallucinations at bay and that Sam would start hurting himself and we'd see cuts on his arms or something that would get worse with time. And then Dean'd find out and realize the severity of the situation (with his mental issues and with his hurting himself). But no. Yet another wasted opportunity. Yep, "frustrated" doesn't even begin to describe the situation for me.

I do find this season a bit more bearable when I take every single eppie as a standalone. Good eppies, but if taken as a whole, as a season? A big fucking mess. And concerning the characterizatio n??! I thought before that season 6 was the worst season but now I gotta say that, for me, season 7 is the worst, by far. And it's because of the massive setup and a great start with Meet the New Boss and Hello Cruel World. That was such a promising beginning. Maybe one of the most intense ever. And then it went nowhere fast. I didn't think it was possible to muck up an entire season so easily, but apparently it was. Sams storyline had an amazing start, a ridiculously weak and boring follow through and the lamest conclusion. Dean didn't even have that, just a rehash of his old issues which we've been aware of since season 4. And earlier. Both boys got shafted this season, big time. All that great potential wasted, I just wanna cry.

I sorely miss the first 5 seasons when they 'got it'. It isn't about the monsters or the BigBad or the guest stars. The brothers ARE the story. This season was the total opposite. Aside from few exceptions, most of the episodes left me feeling cold and detached. Or just plain puzzled or mad. I just didn't know this seasons Sam and Dean. They're fine. Or robots. And making more insult to injury, they weren't that bright or active either. The story was dragging them along and they were dragging themselves unwillingly to wherever the story went. They just didn't care. And neither did I. Most of the episodes themselves were okay to good but as a characters' POV in mind, I didn't get any kind of progress or continuity from week to week. Their behavior seemed to shift to serve the story. Like it has been mentioned, the story was the driving force not the characters (when it should always always be the other way around).

Now, a big silver lining was the cliffhanger, which I thought was pretty intense. I loved it. I'm really looking forward to season 8 and am trying to keep my expectations low. A fresh start. That's what I'm hoping for. And maybe we'll get the bonding back and some actual conversation and not the ever present doom and gloom.

Sorry, wasn't meant to sound so depressing but when talking about these characters, these boys that I love so so much, I can't help but be massively dissapointed by their stories this season.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-13 08:05
I also thought the "trick" to keeping Sam's hallucinations at bay was pain, not the occasional hand rub. Dean told Sam to recognized that the pain Sam felt from the cut on his hand was different from the pain in the Cage. Sam pressed on his palm hard enough to cause it to bleed so I thought we'd see Sam doing other things - once his hand healed - to cause himself some pain.

Admittedly, I did read a quote from Sera G. that said Sam's hallucinations would not last long b/c he would come up w/a solution, and that the solution would be worse than the actual problem. So, I assumed - which I guess I shouldn't have done but it made sense after HCW aired -that Sam might engage in a little self-harm from time to time to prevent the hallucinations.

That would have made more sense to me than Sam rubbing his hand the entire season, esp. since I thought it only helped b/c his hand hurt. I assume it didn't still hurt in DD. I'm not sure why that helped him all year long. It didn't seem to keep in line w/what Sera wrote in HCW.

In any event, both boys were definitely shafted, and the season, as a whole, was a mess. As you said, the heart of the show, to me, is the brothers and their relationship.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-13 09:20
Huh that's interesting maybe that was the original idea and then someone decided cutting was too dark. If so that was a bad decision because that would have been really interesting.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-13 13:51
Possibly. I agree that that angle would have been much more interesting than what was written!
kerinda
# kerinda 2012-07-07 23:45
I am with you on the sam thing I wanted to see him hurting himself or cutting but all we got was him runing and acting fine that really sucked for me.
Gwen
# Gwen 2012-06-13 06:12
Great post, Alice. Sam Winchester is my all time favourite character. I've never been so fascinated by a television character as I am by Sam. I was SO excited for S7, I was SO looking forward to seeing Sam's broken wall storyline playing out. After all the build up to it I was sure we were in for one hell of an angst ridden ride with Sam in S7. And there's nothing I enjoy more than the Sam angst. :lol: The first 2 episodes of S7 were perfect. So much Sam angst and, what was even better, so much of the awesome brotherly relationship. I've had issues with the show since the start of S4, I even gave up on it in S6 as I was utterly oversaturated with the angel stuff but the first 2 episodes of S7 had my love for SPN back in full force again. I was back in love. Totally and hopelessly. And then... complete and utter disappontment and frustration. What they did to Sam's storyline was awful. What they did to Sam was worse than awful. I swear Soulless Sam had more emotions than this S7 Sam. Sam has turned into a machine. A super efficient emotion repressing machine.
Repo Man showed us that Sam had been desperately unwell all that time so why did we not see any of this and instead get only occasional handrubs, and joke episodes like Time For A Wedding and the missed opportunities that were TGND, The Mentalists and Adventures In Babysitting. No emotions, no nightmares, no conversations with his big brother about the horrors of his Cage time . Nothing. Were the writers just not bothered? I didn't need to see Lucifer each week but surely the writers could have come up with some other ways of showing Sam's struggle.

And since TBAI we've had even more of...nothing. Nothing from Sam about his mental illness, about his near brush with death, his conversation with Castiel was more about Castiel than Sam. After all his ordeals and his ever so close brush with death you'd expect some change, some emotional scarring, some, dare I say it, character development. It does make me wonder what was the point of breaking the wall if they were going to treat the storyline so lackadaisically ?

To be equal, I hated what they did to Dean's character and storyline too. The rehash of his old issues just bored me after a while.

I'd also been excited by the thought that the boys were being stripped of all support networks in S7 and would only have each other. I was looking foward to some fabulous brotherly moments and a nice emphasis on the brotherly relationship. Again...so much disappointment. The brotherly moments were pitifully low in number. :sad:

I was especially hopeful of such brotherly scenes in TBAI and that episode was, probably, the biggest disappontment of all for me. Seriously...the y couldn't have given us a decent brotherly moment right at the end, some Awesome Big Brother!Dean moments?? The quick fix enraged me (although, sadly, like many, I was expecting it) but the lack of brotherly caring moments angered me even more.

Oh dear, I could rant further but I'll stop now.

Thanks for this article, Alice. Needless to say I share every drop of your disappointment and frustration.

P.S Thanks also for the screencaps. Just lovely. That teary eyed Sam pic from HCW always gets me choked up.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-13 07:59
Gwen, I had the same thought throughout the year: "Why collapse Sam's Wall if you intended to do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING w/that potential material?"

I'm still sort of shocked how wasted the story was. A time when we should have seens some kinks in Sam's armor, some actual frustration, irritation, or agitation b/c of his problems, we got nothing. Honestly, I feel like they write Sam as a robot or a superhuman who is never bothered or troubled by anything that happens to him. Sam started off being the emotional one. He loves to discuss stuff. Things actually bother him. Why show him not having any problems at all w/his hallucinations? Why show him being perfectly fine and then expecting people to enjoy the quick transition from fine to massive breakdown? I honestly feel like NO thought was put into this story or its execution.

Now, maybe, upon rewatching the season, I'll notice things about Jared's performance that I didn't notice while the season was airing, but from what I can recall, he was perfectly fine. I read that some scenes where he clearly showed distress or hints that he was having trouble coping ended up on the editing room floor! Why that would happen, I have no idea?

Good post! I couldn't agree more w/you! I was very disappointed in the entire storyline, in the whole season actually.
cd28
# cd28 2012-06-13 08:44
Your article made me laugh a little (in a sad way) because I agree with most of it. The one area where I don't is your assessment of Out with the Old. I think that was one of the biggest misses of the season. It should have been the episode that bridged the gap between letting Lucifer in and being completely mentally broken. Instead, all we got was Sam's a little sleepy. This is the one where we should have seen Sam gradually deteriorate over the course of the episode. But by not showing us his mental state, and only the physical side effects, this failure reduced his entire storyline to nothing more than a physical ailment - sleep deprivation.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-06-13 12:06
Turning it into a physical ailment enabled them to fix it easily where has emotional/pysch e based problems arent as easily sorted .
Hence why Dean's problems are never resolved and Sam's problem was and by the writers focusing on the physical they didnt deal with the real issues which were the emotional /pysche aspects.
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-06-13 08:58
Yep, Alice. You summed Sam's S7 story perfectly -- there wasn't one.

I heavily favor Dean's character, but even I have stated that Sam's story wasn't a story this season as far back as when Comic Con spoilers came out that Sam would be suffering from all the repercussions of his wall falling. I wasn't thrilled about that at all, because mental illness is a human condition; not a story, and it had no connection to the supposed supernatural Levi arc.

Further, as soon as the spoilers came out that both Meg and Cas would be in TBAI, it was obvious that the episode would be too crowded to do justice to the big 'breakdown.' As it turned out, the big breakdown was just a plot device to re-introduce Cas to the story. (And I still have no idea why Meg was even necessary or included as a sub-plot in the season or why the writers thought showcasing guest stars would be more interesting than showcasing something...any thing...about the two leads.)

I'll just add that I hope Jeremy Carver does something about the episodes Adam Glass and Eugenie Ross Leming and Brad Buckner write. Those two have been with the show since S1, and I've never liked the concepts of the episodes they write, starting with Route 666 and the stupid racist truck to a fanfic story of Dean had a one-night stand and 16 years later his daughter shows up on his doorstep.

In a recent Robert Singer episode, he said they were going to give Sam a human story for S8. I hope that human story involves more than Sam the Robotic Super-hunter who overcomes his afflictions to make an insignificant ghost kill while tottering on death's door.

If the objective of S8 is to repair fan relations, the writers need to start by giving the show back to Sam and Dean, put the focus back on the brothers, and give them each a story that connects them in some way. If one lead is apathetic and the other is robotic, why should I care about what's going on?

I would just as soon Carver forgets all the dropped storylines from S6 and S7 and start fresh.

God, I'm already feeling sorry for you about writing a review over S7. I hope you have a lot of hunter's helper on hand.
Amy
# Amy 2012-06-13 12:32
I agree so much. Hnestly I think the ONLY ones who care about Sam Winchester are JAred and his fans. Not the showrunner, the writers or directors. This includes jensen ackles.

The girl next Door was horrible. Horribly written and horribly directed. There was NONE of the warmth, soul and humanity in Girl that jensen infused in WAB. Yeah, I know the writing was crap but it doesn't absolve jensen. he was the director and he did nothing to make episode watchable.

I love the brothers and think their relationship is salvagable but... Sam honestly needs someone in his life who cares about him...cares weather he lives or dies. Someone who claims he wont shut Sam out in one breath and then in the next turn teir backs on him. (I'm looking at Bobby - honestly why do father figures keeps turning their backs on Sam?)

Sam needs SOMEONE to interact with. Someone who sees him worth getting to know....Someone who wont see Sam's flaws/flailings as a mirror of his own. Dean is always angry when Sam is shown as human.

And really.....the clown doll was mean spirited and purposely cruel.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-06-13 17:44
I honestly can't blame Jensen for the mess of TGND. He was given a script with almost no interaction between Sam and Dean and one where Dean PUNCHES Sam in the head, the same head that had just had a concussion. He couldn't change the script. I thought Jensen did a good job of resurrecting Sam's sympathetic side with Amy and did a really good job showing young Sam's resentment of his life, forming a bond with Amy and being generally Sam. Jensen couldn't do much with a script that didn't have a lot of Jared.

TGND was the start of a really bad arc. I don't know that any director could have saved the story, but Jared's Sam got to be sympathetic, vulnerable, and proactive. The script decided that the most important thing was how Dean reacted to Amy and his killing her.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-13 18:50
I agree you can't blame Jensen for script choices when he's directing. Look at Bugs that was directed by Kim Manners, he was one of the most respected in the business. Directors can ruin an episode but a tv show director don't typically have the power to change a lot of the script.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-13 21:53
I actually don't dislike TGND. It wasn't a bad episode, IMO. I liked seeing some continuity w/Sam's issues w/him spacing out in the beginning. I found Dean's fear for Sam's welfare to be palpable unlike in TBAI. The stuff w/teen Sam was okay to me. I liked the continuity w/Sam still identifying w/freaks and monsters.

Unfortunately, TGND kicked off that horrible Amy drama, so it is the epsiode where I feel the entire season went downhill. The episode, itself, never bothered me though. I just didn't care for the long, drawn-out aftermath.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-13 22:02
I feel the same way. I liked the episode. And I love Colin Ford. I just wish the follow up had been better.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-14 07:36
Yep. The episode needed a better resolution than what we got, esp. since they dragged it out for several episodes. Sam was angry enough to leave. Why? Because Dean was lying about Dean's feelings?!?!? Really? That's the reason?

Couldn't be more lame and unexpected if you tried!
Cindy
# Cindy 2012-06-13 18:48
Well, personally, I felt Jensen did a pretty decent job directing the episode. Unfortunately, the script was plain old boring and quite frankly, sucked. Also, from what I've seen and read, Jensen cares very much for the show as a whole, I'm betting that includes his character as well as Sam's.

So you think the clown doll was mean spirited and purposely cruel? You actually believe that was Dean's intention? You don't think very highly of Dean. Over 7 seasons, I've never know either brother to be purposely cruel to the other. Sure they've hurt each other, but no one loves Dean like Sam, or Sam like Dean.
Alice
# Alice 2012-06-13 23:37
To be honest, directing was one of the biggest strengths of season seven. I have nothing but pure praise for the directing across the board. Jensen is a damn good director. As Jim Beaver said at LA Con, if Jensen ever goes ugly he has a career as a director going for him.

Jensen not only got a piece of poop script, but some cool things that he filmed got chopped in the editing room. Fun stuff. Writing was super weak this season, but the editing was pretty damn bad too. Directing though, top notch.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-13 23:56
I thought Jensen did a great job. But the editing throughout the season had issues. Do you know, did they change editing staff?
Nita
# Nita 2012-06-14 00:35
Jenson is a talented director and the episode was great. It's just the ending which was bad and Jensen cannot be blamed for that.
kerinda
# kerinda 2012-07-07 23:56
yes it was bad the girl next door I kind of not going to blame jensen for that it was the writting to. they reran it one day and I said I will never see this ep again and cryed it was bad god I wish jared would direct one that be great but he said he would never want to.
Melanie
# Melanie 2012-06-13 13:24
The only thing I dont really agree with is that Dean left Sam alone to die in the hospital.. if you remember Sam left Dean in the hospital while he was looking for a possible cure in "Faith" Just like Dean did this season. The only difference is Dean checked himself out and found Sam.
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-06-13 17:39
The one difference with "Faith" is that Sam stayed in the same town where Dean was hospitalized and I always thought he was visiting Dean on a daily basis as allowed by the hospital's rules for visitors. I also thought he ducked out because he didn't want Dean to know that he was trying to reach John and getting no response at all.

Dean, OTOH just went to the cabin, which is pretty much defined as being in the middle of no where and was truly unavailable to see Sam while searching for answers. It was all very odd.
Cindy
# Cindy 2012-06-13 19:07
I don't understand the problem. The most important thing, for me anyway, was that Dean made sure that he got Sam the help he needed. I don't care if he would of had to travel to Timbuktu to do it.

In Faith, I wasn't thinking, "I can't believe Sam left Dean's side." I was thinking, "I'm glad that Sam is doing everything in his power to save Dean." Pretty much the same thing I was thinking in Season 6 when Dean risked his life to get Sam's soul out of the cage, and again in season 7 when Dean left Sam in the hospital in order to find someone to save Sam's life. But that's just me.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-13 21:31
The problem is the episode just didn't have that special something like previous episodes have had when one of the brother has died or is on death's door.

It was very anti-climatic. And it didn't help that Dean didn't seem all that anxious about Sam's situation. I keep saying this but there was no urgency to the episode. I think that is largely in part to the rushed telling of the story. Sam was fine in one episode and then on death's door in the next. It was too quick. A story like this should have been told over the course of the season. We should have seen hints of Sam's breakdown. Everything shouldn't have been presented as fine until the big breakdown. Sam's story lost a lot of momentum, IMO, when they decided to cut it off at the knees after HCW.

We never even got - at least not to me - one good brotherly moment or interaction in that episode. It was an utter disappointment and failure.
alysha
# alysha 2012-06-13 22:18
I never felt nor thought that Sam was dying. I've never heard of anyone dying of psychosis directly. The whole BS of the insomnia was too ridiculous for me to believe. The whole thing was sudden too! It would have been more plausible for the car hit to have given Sam an injury that Cas was needed for to heal. On top of it, i was convinced that Lucifer was real in some sense because, unlike the writers, i follow canon, and remember that an angel has a direct line to his vessel. i was disappointed that Lucifer was dismissed as a true hallucination. Boring in a show that is about the paranormal.
PaintedWolf
# PaintedWolf 2012-06-14 07:34
Sam wasn't dying directly because of his psychosis, he was dying from the insomnia, which was caused by the psychosis. And the insomnia thing, as in no sleep at all, can, in fact, be fatal.
Had Sam been admitted because of serious injury caused by the car, that kind of would have made the episode moot. The point was to show that Sam had finally cracked, and that his mental issues had got the better of him.
Yes, it is canon that an angel has a direct line to their vessel, but that wasn't the case here. While I don't think this story was handled perfectly in any way, in retrospect had it actually really been Lucifer, it again wouldn't have given any pathos at all to Sam going crazy because of what happened to him in the cage and as a result of the wall coming down. The fact that it was his own damaged mind that conjured up Lucifer, was, to me, far more effective than it would have been otherwise. I think it might have painted a pretty depressing picture of the whole thing too, because how do you fix that?
This may be a show about the paranormal, but it's always made a point that the characters are human. And this was a human issue, not a supernatural one.
But, hey, that's just the way I see it.
KarenS
# KarenS 2012-06-18 19:22
Quote:
The one difference with "Faith" is that Sam stayed in the same town where Dean was hospitalized and I always thought he was visiting Dean on a daily basis as allowed by the hospital's rules for visitors. I also thought he ducked out because he didn't want Dean to know that he was trying to reach John and getting no response at all.

Dean, OTOH just went to the cabin, which is pretty much defined as being in the middle of no where and was truly unavailable to see Sam while searching for answers. It was all very odd.
Someone pointed out (on the Dean article) that it made no sense for Dean to drive all the way to the cabin (in Montana) from the hospital (in Indiana) to find the journal he was using (Bobby's, yes?) and then drive all the way back to Indiana. That's got to be two days driving.

Of course it made sense for him to stay in Montana to do the research. And it's a good job he did, isn't it, since Emanuel was in Colorado. If Dean had gone all the way back to Indiana as you suggest, he would have had to drive all the way back to Colorado to track down Emanuel, and then drive all the way back to Indiana again. Another two days or so.

Dean actually has a way better excuse than Sam had for leaving Dean asleep and alone in a motel room when he got out of Hell even though they knew something supernatural was chasing Dean, possibly in order to drag him back to Hell. Dean also has a way better excuse that Sam did when he left Dean alone with a broken leg in Rufus's cabin even though he knew the Leviathans were searching for them.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-18 23:58
Quote:


Dean actually has a way better excuse than Sam had for leaving Dean asleep and alone in a motel room when he got out of Hell even though they knew something supernatural was chasing Dean, possibly in order to drag him back to Hell. Dean also has a way better excuse that Sam did when he left Dean alone with a broken leg in Rufus's cabin even though he knew the Leviathans were searching for them.
Both the cases where you say Dean had better excuse, well i disagree and think the opposite
KarenS
# KarenS 2012-06-19 07:53
Edited by Alice

Oh wow KarenS. Welcome back. I just love how you show up every so often just to slam our site and disrespect everything we do here. I have a history of your comments on this site. If you don't like us, don't come back. I'm not afraid to ban people, so consider this your warning.

I've updated our rules because it seems that you are not alone in your disrespect. This will not be tolerated anymore.


UPDATED 6/19 - We are not a Sam site, we are not a Dean site. Any comments that say one or the other will be edited immediately. No warnings. This disrespects everything we do at this site and it will not be tolerated.

http://www.thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/news/64-rules/14338-we-are-a-happy-site-but-there-are-rules.html
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-19 14:54
And, KarenS, why is this a Sam site? Simply because Sam is not being trashed or slammed for every action he's ever taken? Is that what makes it a "Sam site?"

I happen to think this is a very balanced site. I see no bias toward Sam or Dean. The authors of the articles seem to enjoy both characters. Alice was not happy w/either brother's portrayal and storylines this year. I'm not sure why some think that makes her biased towards Sam or this a "Sam site?"
Nita
# Nita 2012-06-19 23:17
I think it is important to distinguish our love for one actor over the other and not mix it up with the characters. This could be happening I think.
KarenS
# KarenS 2012-06-19 07:55
Quote:


Both the cases where you say Dean had better excuse, well i disagree and think the opposite
Though, if you think it was perfectly okay for Sam to sneak out after Dean got back from Hell to meet with his demon girlfriend but it wasn't okay for Dean to start researching how to help Sam as soon as he humanly could, that's a weird set of priorities...
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-19 10:19
But you forget Sam is human too if Dean is to be dragged to hell he can't do anything about it what is to say he has not ensured so that anything possible to stop cannot enter the room.Sam leaving Dean with the broken leg yeah after how many days was it? was it immediately.Sam knew what was happening and he knew what Dean's reaction was going to be and well Dean proved him right.I am not saying it wasn't Okay for Dean just that if it was okay for Dean it should be okay for Sam too.Quote:
Since this is a Sam site, I'm not at all surprised.
According to you this is Sam site well I, Sam Fan welcome here a Dean Fan's comment and not dismiss your views simply because you are a Dean Fan .
KarenS
# KarenS 2012-06-20 08:08
Quote:
I am not saying it wasn't Okay for Dean
But you were saying exactly that:

"Both the cases where you say Dean had better excuse, well i disagree and think the opposite"
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-20 09:27
OK .Sorry my bad i had to elaborate a little more..I meant i don't find dean's excuse anymore justifiable than Sam's.Just because i find Dean's excuse less justifiable or equally justifiable does not mean i think Dean has no rights to do what he has done or what he does .It was okay for Dean to do what he did because as a human he has that right i just disagree with the having better excuse part..
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-20 09:33
I think atleast the part that i don't agree with you about Dean having better excuse is clear by Quote:
"Both the cases where you say Dean had better excuse, well i disagree and think the opposite"
Quote:
I am not saying it wasn't Okay for Dean
This is about Dean's actions not his justifications. I am sorry i was not clear earlier,when i read the comment now it feels like i have abruptly ended that part sorry once again
KarenS
# KarenS 2012-06-25 08:15
Quote:
But you forget Sam is human too if Dean is to be dragged to hell he can't do anything about it
And Dean is not a qualified psychiatrist so he can't do anything to help Sam deal with his "condition" can he? Far better for him to do what he actually can, which is devote himself to finding help instead of spending vast quantities of time driving back and forth between Indiana and Montana.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-07-08 04:31
Psychiatrists are human. I don't know what you mean by
Quote:
And Dean is not a qualified psychiatrist so he can't do anything to help Sam deal with his "condition" can he?
when my father was in hospital at least my mom or me were there with him when we were allowed to visit.I did not know that i had to be a doctor to be there for my Dad.
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-06-13 13:25
I don't believe Jensen has any control over the episodes he receives to direct. He and Jared, are allowed as actors, some input on specific scenes but I do not think they have any major control over what is written. To say that Jensen doesn't care for Sam's character isn't fair IMO. They might not always agree with what is written but they also acknowledge that that is not their job. This also applies to Jensen as a director, a novice one at that.
Janna Balthaser
# Janna Balthaser 2012-06-13 16:43
I desperately hope Jeremy Carver and Ben Edlund read this. Desperately.
Katie
# Katie 2012-06-13 20:44
I find this pass season to be the real test of loyalty to the show. I knew the sixth season was going to be really bumpy and not as great as the others. There was no way it couldn't. Between Lisa and Ben, the time jump, returning dead characters, the suburbs, and hell, there was so much going on. You knew it was going to be different. Looking back now, it wasn't so bad. Yeah, there was a lot of dead ends and characters had to be written out of character to make the story lines work, but it felt like this was the set up for something good. There was so much to work with and places to go. I honestly thought that this season was going to be good when I watched the first two episodes. There was so much that could have been done! But it all fell apart. Completely.

For me, this season was a bigger disappointment than any other television season, movie adaptation, or book!! I know that sounds dramatic. But I have never seen writers screw and squander way more potential and story in my life! For all characters involved! They waste Dean with nowhere never-ending depression and apathy. They turned Castiel into the Kenny of Supernatural. (They don't even bother explaining how Castiel keeping coming back from the dead anymore. He really is Kenny from South Park.) To make matters worse for Castiel, they didn't even really try to make things right for Castiel. Everything he did wrong was brushed under the rug and instantly fixed, because he healed Sam. They didn't even try to connect how Castiel got to where he was in season six to how he was in season seven. Bobby got an alright story in the beginning, but the ghost story wasn't that great especially after an ending like "Death's Door." And Sam? It's not even a story. It's more of a joke. It's so frustrating.

I don't know what to say about Sam. There isn't much to say. I have a lot of issues with how all the characters were written this season, but it doesn't compare to my issues with Sam. Even, Castiel in the five episodes he was in, had more exploration with his mental issues than Sam. Despite, Dean supposedly being hurt and angry with Castiel, he showed more concern with Castiel's mental issues than Sam's. And to top it off, Dean seems to TRUST Castiel more than Sam!! WTH?!! After the warehouse scene, Dean showed very little concern for Sam and at times, he didn't even look like he wanted Sam on his team. How come Sam and Castiel's stories were flipped? Wouldn't it of made more sense for Sam to be the one acting crazy for a few episodes and Castiel being the one Dean was having difficulty trusting? It's just a thought.

They didn't need the Amy drama or the brotherly issues this season. If they wanted drama between the brothers, then Sam and Dean could have argued over Castiel's betrayal. Like Dean being upset with how easily Sam forgave Castiel or Sam being upset with how Dean wasn't even willing to try to save Castiel. Something!

A part of me just wants to sit down and cry about this article. I'm so angry and sad about Sam's "story" this season. I don't know what to write. There isn't much I can say. Maybe next season will be better. I don't know about Carver. He's got a huge hype to live up to. And his work isn't going to be easy. He basically has to repair broken characters. He hasn't been on the show for two years and Sam and Dean are nothing like how they were in the fifth season. I don't think starting fresh will help anything. He has to push forward and try to pick up the pieces of the characters. But everything looks so different from the front, so the writers might not think there is a problem with the characterizatio n.

I don't know how Jared or Jensen felt about their characters. I know that Jared liked Robo-Sam and Jensen had issues with the dialogue. But the actual characterizatio n? I don't know if the show is going to be more focused on plot or getting back to the characters. And honestly, I'm beginning to wonder if they can repair the characterizatio n at this point. Dean is so lost in depression and apathy that I don't know if they can make him look like he cares again. Sam changes with the plot of the episode half the time, but we've missed out on all the connections to how he get from point A to point B to point C.

I don't have any faith in Robert Singer. Especially after he said back in March that "I think you'll see coming up that Sam's Lucifer problem certainly lessens. That carried a lot water this year. Jared really had the brunt of the emotional story." Huh? First, if you cut any more of Sam's emotional story, then it's going to be a lot of "In the Beginning" episodes next season. Second, was he trying to be funny or Jedi mind-trick us into believing that Sam had an emotional story? Third, I really really hope that was a misquote from EW because you cannot look at the seventh season and think that Sam had an emotional story for the majority of it. Now, he's saying that Sam is going to have a human story. If this was a government, I would request a motion of no confidence for him and some of the other writers.

I don't know what to expect from Carver. I hope that maybe there will be better communication between the writers. . He's got to turn Sam and Dean back into characters. And that is easier said than done. Maybe having an end-game will help drive the characters to a point. I don't know. I don't envy his job right now, but I would love to be a writer in that room for this season.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-13 21:44
I heard about that quote of Sam carrying the emotional brunt of the season! HUH?!?!!?!?!?!

Who had the THIRTEEN (more like FIFTEEN) episode emotional arc this year? It sure wasn't Sam! That was Dean. Sam was in the backgroud for most of the season doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Sam didn't carry the emotional story this year. He could have, but they didn't write a story for him!
Jo1027
# Jo1027 2012-06-18 13:01
This is exactly how I view season 7. It was horrible after the first 2 epis. What I have a hard time understanding was how it could go from there to the crap that came after.
I don't trust Singer either because he was the one who suggested souless Sam and wanted it to last the whole season. Since he was co-showrunner with Gamble, he could have made sure that season 7 actually went where they said it was going to go but didn't.
I'm ambiguous about Carver. He wrote some great epis and one really awful one. Will he bring the show back to being about the brothers? I would like to believe it but unforunately, I don't. The last 2 seasons have left a bitter taste in my mouth.
MetamorphicRocks
# MetamorphicRocks 2012-06-14 00:32
I agree so much with the points in this article and with so many of the comments. Season 7 had many problems. Despite the fact that there were quite a lot of good stand-alone episodes, Sam and Dean’s storylines fell terribly short, and ended up being very uninteresting. I just don't understand how we as viewers are supposed to be very invested in what happens when Sam and Dean don't seem all that invested in anything (especially each other).

On a positive note, I do think Season 8 can turn things around. The writers can create some good characterizatio n for Sam and Dean within a few episodes if they are written very strongly and are somewhat cohesive.

Whatever Season 8 brings, Sam and Dean MUST be invested in one another. If that notion is prevalent throughout the season, then everything else has a chance to fall into place. I have hope that Jeremy Carver will get all of his writers together in that room and have a big discussion about where Sam and Dean are now. And that means mentally and emotionally, not physically. Kripke has stated in the past that the writers would see where the boys were at emotionally and with one another, and then write the monster of the week stories around that, even though they started out doing the exact opposite. Maybe they need to do that again, even for the bigger mythology of the season. If the boys' relationship is taken care of, all storylines can flow from that, and they would be richer for it, even if Sam and Dean have separate arcs.
PaintedWolf
# PaintedWolf 2012-06-14 05:14
I may be repeating much of what has already been said in the article and the comments, but I found after reading this, I needed to vent a little, too.
I absolutely agree that Sam Winchester is one of the most interesting characters I’ve ever met. I could write essays and essays on the guy.

I do think, though, this season has been a test of loyalty. What the writers did to Sam and Dean this season is a disservice, not only to the characters, the actors and the fans, but also to themselves. It seems, other than Ben Edlund, this season they forgot that they’ve spent these past years creating 3-dimensional, relatable, human characters, that are the reason most of us are still watching this show. Sam and Dean are the heart of Supernatural. Everything else is just the awesome icing on top.
This season was practically the Holy freaking Grail of potential for great character development, but it’s like everything little bit of effort they spent on the Winchesters was thrown out the window every time someone came up with a story about Egyptian gods or crazy fans who tie people up and force them to marry them (by the way writers-what Becky did to Sam? Not. Fucking. Funny)

I think the biggest mistake they made this season in respect to Sam is that we weren’t privy at all to what was actually going on in that screwed up head of his. So he decides he needs to deal with it on his own and hides just how bad it is. Fine. Pulls himself together so that he can at least be reasonably functional every day. I can deal with that. But if you’re going to do that, at least show us the process. The hand thing isn’t enough.
I actually like the idea that pain could’ve been the solution and that Sammy might have resorted to hurting himself. Yes, it would be dark and shocking and about six kinds of horrible, but it would’ve been a very effective way of communicating how bad it really was. But at least it would’ve given us something. If we can watch the guy drinking demon blood, I’m sure we might’ve been able to handle that. It’s a dark show, after all. Plus, it would have been a little more difficult to hide something like that from someone you’re with practically 24/7.

As for BAI, I admit I really enjoyed it the first time I watched, but that might have been because I was euphoric over them finally dealing with Sammy. I had a feeling that Sam and Castiel’s stories would coincide at some point, but in some respects, Cass’ big return seemed to overshadow the fact that Sam’s problems were actually killing him. And if anything could’ve snapped Dean out of that apathetic funk he’d been in all season, it surely should have been this. Instead, as many have pointed out, he didn’t seem to care. When Sam went catatonic, he just stood there as if waiting for the lights to go out. Where was the man who once died and went to hell for his little brother? Where was the scene where Dean got angry and afraid and tore Cass a new one and then cracked when he realized that this could be it? That Sammy might really die and there wasn’t much he could do about it? They totally could have scrapped the whole trench coat scene and rather gone for something like Dean explains that maybe Cass came back to fix it, so “Get your shit together, get in there and fix it.” You know, like how Sam reacted in OTHOAP.
And dammit, give us the brotherly moment at the end. Then when you do decide to give it the old quick-fix, at least mention it again more than once or twice rather than kind of sweeping it under the rug, hoping we won’t notice.

Okay, rant over, deep breaths.

Thing is, after reading this article and all the comments, there have been so many great suggestions, so many small things the writers could have done, it’s hard to see why they didn’t. They should know better by now.
At the end of the day, I still love this show, and I do think it can be fixed. Maybe having this forced time apart will be good for Sam and Dean. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that. Once they’re reunited, they need to work on their relationship, and start actually communicating with each other again, become the brothers they were at the end of season 5.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d be happy to watch that, even if nothing else happens all season.
I hope the writers realize that, too. (Oh, and that Adam Glass needs to go.)
Angelika Zimmermann
# Angelika Zimmermann 2012-06-14 16:30
I am from Germany and I visit your site nearly everyday and I enjoy it very much to get informations about my absolutely favourite TV-Show (honestly it's the only series I look since years). I have never passed a comment, because my English is not very good, but now I think I have to do that finally, because it hurts to read all those bad complaints about S7. I love Supernatural and I love those two guys (especially Sam fascinates me from the beginning), and when I read all your comments it sounds like the whole season was an absolutely mess. It's like a snowball, like one infects the others with lamenting and complaining. IMO it wasn't all that bad. I too missed the brotherly moments, the further development of Sam's hellstory and really good stuff for the boys. Nevertheless enjoyed it. Jared and Jensen did a great job as always. Jared was absolutely awesome in MTNB, HCW and eminentely in TBAI. The unsatisfying end of that episodes doesn't change anything on Jared's great performance. I really hope, Jared and Jensen won't read all that hard complaints about S7 (and also about S6, which IMO was a very good season that I like very much), because it would make them sad about their fans. So please, stop bad-mouthing finally, let us be happy, that we can watch those two awesome guys for one more season. When the show ist over, we will all miss them very much.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-06-14 18:28
Bravo angie.

Could season 7 have been better? Sure it could. Could it have been worse? Damn straight. Regardless of whether or not we saw what we wanted to see on screen, regardless of what we perceive to be missed opportunities, regardless of how we think it could have been done better, we still got 23 episodes of Supernatural, and there was good in each those episodes (*whispers to self* "Except for the goddamn Mentalists..... )

Mickey posted a link on his (her?) comment on this article www.thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/archive-articles/72-season-seven/17174-vote-now-the-winchester-family-business-supernatural-season-7-fan-choice-awards.html#comment-31338 which detailed some of the brotherly moments of season 7 and while they might not have been there in abundance, what we did get was sweet, heartfelt and memorable and as angie pointed out, we will miss them very much when they are gone.
Alice
# Alice 2012-06-14 20:46
Hi Angie! Thanks so much for taking the plunge and commenting the first time. Your English is actually quite good.

Naturally I can only speak for myself, but my criticisms in both this article and the Dean Winchester one were purely toward characterizatio n. There were several big problems with the way Sam and Dean were written compared to other seasons. As for the season itself, no, it wasn't all bad. I'll definitely cover the good and the bad in my season seven review which should be out in a few weeks.

I do agree. We are still lucky to have a show around. That's the beauty of the fan base though, we do love to point out issues. We're opinionated to say the least. We're also loyal though, despite out criticisms.

I hope you comment again! We'll certainly have plenty more upbeat things to say in other articles.
Nita
# Nita 2012-06-14 23:01
Hi angie. Well, I too enjoyed season 7 and loved season 6. However when one compared season 7 to the earlier ones it fell short.
Jane Ray
# Jane Ray 2012-06-14 19:27
I had to say "Well said. Good article". So much lost potential. I report all my fave quotes, just his one.
LynnE
# LynnE 2012-06-14 21:54
The first thing I want to say is how much I loved Alice's article.  Wow, did you hit the nail on the head, Alice.  I too, hope TPTB read this, and learn something.   I also loved reading all the comments, which amazingly seem to be in agreement, and had terrific insight from the fans.

I think both the characters of Sam and Dean were done a great disservice this season.  Dean's character was written badly, but Sam's characterizatio n was just sad.  I  want to cry when I watch the reruns of the first 2 episodes of the season, knowing that it was all for not.  The drama went nowhere.  When the third episode aired I was scratching my head wondering what happened.  Little did I know it was just one in a long line of head scratches. My disbelief turned to frustration and frustration to anger by TBAI.

TBAI was almost the last episode I watched.  It was a crime to bring a two year plot to such an abrupt end.  What was worse was that neither of the two stars of the show played a part in the resolution of the story.  Instead both Sam and Dean were passive in Sam's recovery.  In season one's DVD's Kripke said the relationship between the brothers was a third character; that character was nowhere to be scene.  What a shame that someone as talented as Sara Gamble wrote that episode.  My respect for her disintegrated after that show.  What's more is that I went from loving Castiel and being excited for his return, to dreading every time he is on the show.

The last few episodes of the season were better, but that is not much of a compliment.  I hope Carver can bring back some of the heart of the show.  What spoilers I have read sound like potential, but I thought the S7 spoilers sounded exciting too and look how wrong I was with that.

Thanks again Alice for always being able to give words to what I'm feeling.
EireneS
# EireneS 2012-06-15 02:33
Alice-I'm kind of new at reading these columns and commenting, so I would like to get a clarification of meaning with some examples, please. What is the difference between story driving characters and characters driving story? I understand the words-I just don't quite grasp the concepts and some examples would be very helpful. Thanks.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-15 08:19
I'm not Alice, but I can give you my opinion.

To me, a good story or show develops characters with certain characteristics or traits. After so many years, the audience comes to know how a character will react or behave in a certain situation. Now, if a writer wants his/her character to behave in ways he/she never has before, that writer will usually set up a scenario or circumstances to explain the "off" or odd behavior/action s. IMO, the best writing takes the audience on the journey with the character. That helps to make characters relatable, etc.

So, the phrase "story driving the character" simply means the writer wanted a particular story told and didn't care that Sam and Dean as written over the years wouldn't engage in X behavior, but because the story called for particular action, Sam or Dean took that OOC action. Essentially, it moved the story along.

For example, I'm sure many will disagree but I found Sam hanging around with Ruby after Season 3's revelation to be completely OOC and more story-driven than anything. I know IKWYDLS was supposed to help explain Sam's actions but it really failed, IMO, in that respect. I can buty Sam being revenge oriented because he has been that way since Season 1. I can buy Sam wanting to use his powers for good rather than evil. I can even buy Sam drinking demon blood though some explanation as to how he got started on that would have been nice, but I just can't imagine him associating with Ruby after she proved herself to be nothing but a liar and a manipulator. And I just don't think Sam would have willingly hung around her again. If she had presented herself as another PK but Sam was unaware of her true identity, that would have made more sense to me. Nothing about the character I watched over three years said he'd hang with the demon who laughed about Dean's impending death. I don't care how depressed or suicidal he was. Kripke needed to tell Sam's story better that year. I think we deserved more than one episode to understand how and why Sam went off the rails. We needed more insight into Sam and why he was making the whacked out choices he was making. Kripke, IMO, wrote for the story more than the character.

IMO, Dean was written very OOC in the episode "Fallen Idols" just so Sam could make his big speech. His characterizatio n was way off in that episode but Kripke had a story to tell so he told it despite how the characters normally behave.

And like I mentioned above, Sam has had guilt since Season 1 and experienced some in Season 7 so to have him say he no longer feels guilty about anything ever makes ZERO sense. The writers wanted Dean targeted and not Sam so they just wiped out a large part of Sam's character to serve their story.

Someone else mentioned Sam driving when he can barely keep his eyes open and continuing to hunt in that state. This is the same guy who was seeking out Dean and Bobby in MTNB when he knew he was having problems. Dean's complete lack of interest in Sam's issues or his Hell memories, in general - a big WTF. It's like the writers didn't understand the characters, and the showrunner let their crappy scripts stand without much change.

In all honesty, the best show let's the characters drive the story. Plot driven writing is just bad and inconsistent. You can't really know or relate to a character if he or she is always changing to serve the plot.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-06-15 10:48
I don’t necessarily agree that a character driven story is the best type of show. Characters react to the situations they find themselves in, they are the ones that are malleable, not the other way around and I don’t believe that stories should be written in such a way as to suit a character that we think we know or solely to enable to them to act as we would like them to. If we don’t see characters reacting to different situations then they become static and in time they will become two dimensional and secondary to the story being told.

There is also the danger that when we only see the characters behave in a certain way then we form an idealised version of them in our minds. If we only see stories that allow the characters to behave in the way we’re used to then we are not going to be getting a well rounded character and if we watch the story solely for the characters, then we need those characters to evolve and change.

I must be honest; I don’t see a huge amount of OCC behaviour from either Sam or Dean in season 7. I felt we got a lot of insight about their characters and their state of mind in relation to how they reacted to the situations they found themselves in. It was not necessarily how they would have reacted in the early seasons, but that’s not a bad thing.

We got to see a different side of Dean via his relationship with Ben and Lisa in season 6. It was different from what we knew but when we look at the overall character of Dean, how he behaved made perfect sense and given what we learned about him in seasons 1-5 it wasn’t OCC. I mean, outside of an AU episode, Dean deciding to go vegan would be OCC, settling down with a family isn’t.

Taking your example of Sam hanging around with Ruby, I think that was completely in character for him given where he was emotionally and psychologically at the time. In that situation, for me, both the character and the story were being served. The story itself was being progressed but we also got to see how far Sam had fallen, we saw the sacrifices he was willing to make, how much of his own soul he was willing to sell and how much he was floundering, all via his relationship with Ruby. I also don’t feel it was OCC because we have seen Sam’s tendency to look outside the box and to work with demons before. We’ve seen his willingness to sacrifice innocent lives to save Dean’s life as far back as season 3. We saw glimpses of Sam’s dark side back in season 2 so to be honest, his relationship with Ruby, sexual or otherwise, doesn't surprise me.

In relation to Dean in Fallen Idols, and with much of season 7, the behaviour that is being deemed OCC was evident in many situations in prior episodes and seasons. Dean is usually the more dominant in relation to hunts. We saw this as far back in Season 1’s Wendigo when Sam wanted to look for his father but Dean wanted to go on a different hunt; they did what Dean wanted. Sam usually went along with him unless it was something he really believed in, ie Hunted and Fallen Idols. Taking episodes in season 7 where Dean is being written off as OCC ie The Mentalists, all the negative characteristics Dean exhibited in that episode we have seen before, scattered throughout the seasons. It was just a case that we didn’t see them as concentrated and all come to the fore at the one time as we did in The Mentalists.

Dean’s ‘lack of interest in Sam’s issues or his Hell memories’ are not necessarily a big ‘WTF’ moment in the season. Yes, they would, and have, died for each other but Sam and Dean cannot be all about each other, and only each other, all of the time, nor should they be expected to be. There are a dozen different reasons why Dean may have acted as he did in relation to Sam and his issues in season 7. Perhaps he felt (knew from his own experiences) that talking about Hell wouldn’t help. Perhaps Dean felt it would not be good to talk about it as he believes in burying things deep (long established for Dean), perhaps he didn’t want to talk about the Cage for fear it would overwhelm Sam. Perhaps he didn’t want to talk about it because he knew that he wouldn’t be able to help Sam (as confirmed by Sam). Perhaps he himself was so overwhelmed by his own issues that he felt he couldn’t help Sam, perhaps he was investing all his energy in holding himself together. Dean season 7 is vastly different from Dean season 1, as is Sam. They can’t be expected to act exactly the same way as they did then.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-15 13:07
We'll have to agree to disagree on Sam hanging w/Ruby in Season 4. That was - and will always be - a huge WTF for me. I understand he was psychologically and emotionally scarred and suicidal, but I still don't think he would associate w/the one being that lied to him repeatedly the previous year.

My main point is I don't think Kripke did enough w/Sam to show us how damaged he was, just how far gone he was. I guess one could say him hanging w/a demon signifies this, but I just think the show should have been more blatant. As I said, one lousy episode was insufficient, to me, to show how suicidal and messed up he was by Dean's death. A quick montage like in Mystery Spot would have worked. I think a little more on Sam and his perspective in Season 4 would have been good - for me. His actions, esp. w/Ruby, left me baffled.

I didn't see any OOC behavior in The Mentalists from Dean or Sam. That was just a bad episode wrapping up a contrived, lame, pointless arc.

Before The Born Again Identity aired, Fallen Idols was the ONE and ONLY episode of Supernatural I ever hated. I hated the characterizatio n for Dean. I hated the resolution to the Season 4 troubles. I hated Sam having the nerve to fault Dean for him drinking DB and hanging w/a known demon. Yes, I know he said it was ONE of the reasons, but it shouldn't have been a reason period as Sam - while generally follows Dean's lead - has no problem doing what he wants when he really wants. I simply hate that episode and have never watched it again. Can Dean be bossy? Sure, but never has he been so obnoxious and annoying as in that episode. He didn't treat Sam like that in the Season 5 premiere or in GGY, so why was he suddenly so obnoxious w/his brother, esp. after coming to Sam and asking him to hunt together again?!?!

For me, Dean was being twisted to serve that lame episode. That's just my opinion.

Just to clarify - I'm not saying Sam and Dean always have to act or react the same way. If the writing is good, it will make sense. When the writing is not good, then you have a problem. I, personally, had no problem w/Dean's behavior in Season 6 nor did I find it OOC. Some traits are more ingrained in people and aren't likely to disappear, such as Sam's habit of walking away when upset or Dean punching when anger or worried. I don't think Dean would ever not ask about his brother's welfare just as Sam would never ignore something troubling his brother. In Season 6, Dean immediately asked Sam about Hell and later tried to talk to Sam about it. Granted, he was talking to SS, but he still asked. After 7.03, Dean expressed no concern about Sam or how he was managing that I can remember. I find that odd.

I found the lack of brotherly interaction this season odd.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-06-15 18:11
Quote:
but I still don't think he would associate w/the one being that lied to him repeatedly the previous year.
I'm not sure if Sam was aware that Ruby had lied to him repeatedly the previous year. Didn’t she say something along the lines of “Hate me all you want, but I have never lied to you, Sam” in 3.16? Sam believed that Ruby could help because all the way through season 3 she was selling the idea that Dean could be saved if they worked with her. As she said “You want to save yourself, this is how, you dumb, spineless dick”. However, Dean refused to do that and I imagine this was also one of the things that prompted Sam to work with Ruby in season 4; he felt the decision to not work with Ruby in season 3 led to Dean not being saved.

Quote:
I hated Sam having the nerve to fault Dean for him drinking DB and hanging w/a known demon.
Sam didn’t fault Dean for him drinking demon blood. The blood was never mentioned. Dean was being ‘obnoxious’ and ‘bossy’ because that is how Dean oft times is. Big brother status means he’s been pulling rank on Sam since season 1. It might often have been done in a friendly ‘Let’s move it, Sammy’ kind of way but the higher rank aspect of the relationship was always there, as it was in Fallen Idols. You don’t just lose 25 odd years of conditioning.

The same applies to his trusting of Sam. Dean didn’t trust Sam all through season 4, and realistically he didn’t trust him going back much further than that. Regardless of what he wants, he can’t just snap his fingers and automatically trust him. (Add to that, this episode (Fallen Idols) came right after The End, which saw Sam as Lucifer. Is it any wonder Dean was being a tad overbearing in this episode??)

However, regardless of whether or not Dean means to be bossy or is doing it with the right intentions, it is constraining. When you’re always being told what to do and expected to just follow without question; that does wear on people. When Dean came back in season 4 he expected the status quo to be as it was before he died because he’d never known it to be any other way, but it couldn’t be as it was before because the dynamics of the relationship, and Sam himself, had changed too much. In Fallen Idols, Sam was being honest with Dean and that was in character for Sam in season 5. Had he not said it then Dean would never have known it was an issue and the old resentments would have built up again. It was quite similar to Dean using the word ‘freak’ in The Girl Next Door. You’re never aware something you’re doing is a problem until you’re told it’s a problem.

Quote:
For me, Dean was being twisted to serve that lame episode. That's just my opinion.
And your opinion is perfectly valid. However, Alice wrote a very interesting article some years ago in relation to a number of scenes that were cut from episodes (www.thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/article-list/11333-the-best-deleted-scenes.html) and I realised that, with all the footage that they shoot, they only get to show 42 minutes of it so I feel that everything they put in has to serve a purpose.

Take, for example, Sam sleeping with Ruby. It wasn’t necessary to the overall storyline, not to the same extent that drinking the demon blood was. The writers had to have known the controversy it would cause. It would have been much more character friendly, brotherly relationship friendly and viewer friendly had they not done it but they did, so why? In the same regard, I don’t believe The Girl Next Door was just an episode that ran away with itself. I believe that the show knew exactly what it was doing when it had Dean kill Amy in the manner he did. It would have been much more character friendly, brotherly relationship friendly and less divisive had Dean not killed Amy, or for the show to have shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was right to do so (i.e. hiding from Sam a newpaper detailing another Amy murder) but they didn’t do that so again, I'm led to ask why. I feel it reflective of Dean's lack of trust in everyone, himself included, at that time.

Fallen Idols was the same. Despite how he wanted to be, Dean's mistrust and wariness of Sam's decision making abilities inherently led him to act as he did. It was only when Sam spoke up for himself and started proving himself that Dean eased up.
Nita
# Nita 2012-06-15 22:58
Viewers were forced to assume that Sam was damaged psychologically because of Dean's death. It was never shown dramatically. I read somewhere that this was done deliberately to introduce suspense (gave us all a surprise didn't it when we found what Sam had been up to) but as you said, it could have been shown as a flashback and it was just a few minutes that were needed! Sam being so lonely and desperate that he turned to Ruby. Not showing it at all was careless.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-16 00:57
I agree, Nita! It was careless and did a great deal of damage to his character from which he has never fully recovered.

Many viewers still can't stand Sam b/c of stuff in Season 4. I just wonder if things would have been different if we, the audience, had been treated to more of Sam's pain, to more of his journey to hopelessness and despair. The season aired w/Sam in a hotel room w/a practically naked Ruby. Not a good way to start off, IMO.
EireneS
# EireneS 2012-06-16 03:07
What about the episode Jus in Bello-where Dean dies over and over every repeated Tuesday and finally is dead when Friday arrives. Sam went cold stone detached and soul-less acting while hunting for the Trickster. It pretty much showed us what Sam would be like without Dean. Sam was obviously psychologically and emotionally damaged due to Sam not being able to help Dean and being without Dean. It seems it was a pre episode, perhaps to get us ready for the long haul of Sam without Dean in Season 4.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-06-16 08:15
Quote:
Viewers were forced to assume that Sam was damaged psychologically because of Dean's death.
I don’t believe that viewers were forced to assume anything. The groundwork for Sam’s season 4 state of mind was well laid in season 3. We got an excellent account of what he’d be like in Mystery Spot. It’s not a stretch to believe that Sam would be the same, if not worse, when Dean was in hell. We also saw how atypical and desperate Sam was acting in episodes such as Bedtime Stories, Jus In Bello, Time is on My Side and No Rest for the Wicked. Even everything about Sam’s first scene in Lazarus Rising, when he tells Dean that he tried everything and how he wishes it was him that got his out, reeks of his desperation. His final line in that episode ‘I don’t know if what I’m doing is right', also shows (to me) how conflicted and damaged he was.

Up until I Know What You Did Last Summer we were getting snippets of Sam’s new-found nature ie the parallels between John and Sam that could be drawn in Metamorphosis and In the Beginning, when we could compare how cold and obsessive John got without Mary to how cold and obsessive Sam got without Dean.

in relation to I Know What You Did Last Summer, while I know that a lot of people will focus on the sex scene between Ruby and Sam, there was a wealth of information about Sam's state of mind in that episode. His scene with the crossroads demon, where he showed his repressed anger and desperation was excellent in that regard. We later saw how suicidal he was when he met the two demons.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-16 14:52
Hi Tim,
I know what you did last summer, yes i think i knew Sam was sleeping with Ruby without that episode. What i mean to say is they should have sold that story like a hot cake but it was stale when i got it.
As far as Mystery spot goes how he was in that epi i think changed his reactions in the impending Dean less four months
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-17 15:41
AnonymousN, I agree w/you! From the very first episode, we knew Sam had aligned himself w/Ruby. Many speculated they were sleeping together so I wasn't too surprised to find out they were in IKWYDLS. What was more shocking was the "demon blood drinking," and they never even attempted to explain how Ruby introduced it to Sam or why Sam agreed to it.

I believe I've stated my issues w/Sam even speaking to Ruby again, and I stand by my statements. It was OOC to me. I don't think Sam using his powers was OOC. If he had gone "darkside" like Willow in B:TVS, I wouldn't have been shocked. I still don't see him talking to Ruby. She lied to him the whole previous year and admitted to doing so in NRFTW. Sam asked her to show him how to save Dean, and she basically said she couldn't or that it was too late or something. She tricked him - plain and simple. He knew it in NRFTW. Kripke didn't bother to adequately explain - at least to me - why Sam would now trust anything that came out of her mouth. For me, his behavior in hanging around her was OOC.

I liked MS Sam. He seemed very focused and determined and revenge-oriente d. Now when Bobby described Sam as being quiet and then leaving, it sounded like MS Sam, but as we saw in IKWYDLS, Sam was a drunken mess. He wasn't robotic, quiet, and determined.

He was depressed, suicidal, and drunk. I just wish they had played it up some more. Have Bobby tell Dean that Sam spent most of his time drinking and staring into space before he left Bobby's. I think the scene w/the CRD was fine, but I would have loved a scene at Dean's grave w/Sam declaring that he will do whatever it takes to get him back. Yes, I know it was implied, but frankly, I'ms ick of everything w/Sam being implied or assumed. With Dean, you get dialogue or scenes. With Sam, the audience is just expected to assume things. Dean's speech to Sam's dead body was incredibly powerful. Why didn't we get a similar scene w/Sam? I'm not saying it had to bet he exact same scene, but show me this man's grief! I want to see it! I don't want to see him walking drunkenly into a room w/demons. Apparently, a graveyard scene was filmed but cut . . . WHY?!?!?!?!

IKWYDLS should have been all about how lost and in despair Sam was. To me, his despair was not reflected in his actions w/Ruby. That was revenge. Give me the despair and grief before the revenge. If Ruby just had to be included, the very last shot should have been Ruby coming to a Sam about to kill himself, telling him she could help him rescue Dean from Hell.

I really liked Season 4 when it aired. I still like it, but I do think the season did a disservice to Sam w/the lack of POV.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-06-17 16:15
I think they cut the graveyard scene because like Dean we were supposed to see Sam 3 mths down the line and has we follow Dean's pov we were seeing Sam through him.
It tied into their whole 'what has Sam being doing while big brother was in hell' sl The mystery girl Sam was with that turned out to be Ruby and everything as we know that followed that.

They went for mystery rather than sympathy and the graveyard scene which was important in Sam's grief didnt fit into what they wanted to do and it hurt Sam sadly
Dean.s grief was so palpable you could touch it when Sam died.The Sam we saw and met up with after the ending of the season 3 finale was 3 mths down the line and sleeping/associ ating with a demon a big difference to the eyes of a audience.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-17 17:18
Yup! They made a big mistake w/Sam in Season 4. We see him 4 months later, sexing it up w/Ruby when we should have seen him drowning in a bottle first!

They only cared about their big (non) mystery than doing Sam, the character, justice!
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-18 08:07
I will tell you what should have been the beginning of season 4 .Sam getting drunk because of despair and then trying to deal with that Demon and the demon refusing...Then Dean rising from the grave.
Here you have suspense (did he deal with the demon or not?Was it Ruby he made the deal with? What happened so that Sam went from a drunk mess to a demon banging guy?) and you also know how Sam was after Dean's death without waiting and without guessing (which i do a lot in case of Sam)...Also demon blood part is hidden
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-18 08:24
I like it. We should have started off with Sam dealing with Dean's dead body and then showing Sam a few weeks later at Bobby's, drunk and in despair. I really like the idea of Sam talking to Dean's grave. Maybe vowing to do whatever it takes to save him from Hell. Then, as you said, we could have seen Dean being resurrected.

I know that wanted to make Sam a mystery but they hid too much too early in the season. I love Sam but it was hard to understand him by the time they revealed what he had been up to - not to mention IKWYDLS was not the strongest episode. It should have delved more into Sam's mental state.
Kristine
# Kristine 2012-06-17 14:35
Quote:
Viewers were forced to assume that Sam was damaged psychologically because of Dean's death. It was never shown dramatically.
I don't honestly get this comment. I didn't feel "forced to assume." Sam saw his brother torn to shreds in front of his eyes and knew Dean was suffering in Hell for him. There is no "forcing" to see that he would be psychologically damaged by this. It is 100% clear that he would be, because how could he not be?

And everything he did in S4 with the blood etc is a reflection of that psychological damage. It is all there, and was shown dramatically, and I don't see a need for there to be – for example – a line of dialogue in which Sam literally says, "I am psychologically damaged because of my brother's death and that is why I am doing this." Some things have to be inferred by the viewer, as opposed to spelled out by way of what is referred to as an "idiot lecture" when it comes to narrative technique.

But obviously that is my view. Jared certainly sold it to me with his nuanced performance.
Nita
# Nita 2012-06-17 22:40
I certainly agree with you about Jared's nuanced performance. But what I meant by saying using the word "forced to assume" was that I wasn't satisfied with the script. I wanted a more detailed explanation as to why Sam was doing something that he had promised Dean he would never do. After all, we do respect dying wishes of loved ones don't we. If Sam could not respect this simple wish of his brother, I wanted to be shown why. And I did not mean that I wanted Sam to say "I am psychologically damaged." That was not a fair statement by you. I wanted to be shown how his mind worked, what brought him to the point to defy Dean's dearest wish even as he was in mourning. I do not think that is too much to ask for, but then as other commentators on this forum had pointed out, we never did get Sam's POV. That was what I meant by being "forced to assume."
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-18 07:16
I agree w/this entire post! Like you said, I also wanted to see more. I wanted to know why Sam had fallen to the point he had, and I don't think it can be adequately be explained by "Dean died." Dean told Sam to remember what he and John taught Sam, and Sam started drinking demon blood and sleeping w/a demon. Please tell me how he got to that position.

IKWYDLS spent too much time on Ruby, IMO, instead of Sam. By that time we all knew he was hanging w/Ruby . . . . so please tell me how he got that point. Plus, I don't think Sam's entire summer or storyline should have consisted of one measly episode.
cd28
# cd28 2012-06-15 15:14
Limiting storytelling to "characters driving the plot" and "the plot driving the characters" is probably oversimplifying things too much. There should be a third category, "the plot driving the plot" and the characters reacting, meaning the action is being driving by events greater than or separate from the main characters.

But I think the issue here is what lala2 was getting at - characters acting OOC in an obvious attempt to get the story to a certain place. I also think that one of the big problems we have now is that no one can say with certainty anymore what is OOC for either Sam or Dean. If you asked me about season 2 Sam, or season 2 Dean, I could say with a certain degree of confidence how I thought each of the characters would react to a given situation. But it's just been too long since we've had quality, consistent character development for either of them, so the fans are reaching back to "how would season 1 Sam react," "how would season 4 Dean react," "how would season 5 Sam react," "how would season 2 Dean react," depending on which place in time they liked their character best.
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2012-06-15 17:53
And that, cd28, is why I am reluctant to say that characters are acting OCC. I don’t regard people not acting as they have in the past to be OCC because people are not consistent. Past experience, new knowledge, different situations and a different mindset will always lead people to act differently to how they did in the past. Let’s say for example, on a Monday, I give a student extra work for misbehaving and on a Tuesday I don’t give extra work to the same student for misbehaving. Is that OCC or is that based on the circumstances, the student and also (unfortunately) my mood?

Dean trusted Castiel over his brother for a lot of season 4. He also trusted him unequivocally in season 5 and for most of season 6 so his actions then were based on that ‘I can trust Castiel’ mindset. However, if in season 8 Dean is put into a situation where he was asked to trust Castiel, would he do it? If not, is this then OCC for Dean? If Dean calls Sam a ‘freak’ at some stage in season 8, is that consistent for Dean because he’s done it before or is it inconsistent because he knows doing it will hurt Sam? If Sam decides to not walk away from an argument, is that OCC? The list is endless.

If I may take the Amy situation (because that’s the one that is easiest to do), would the Dean of Season 3 or 4 have killed Amy so readily? Probably not. Would the Dean of season 1 have killed Amy? Most probably. Would pre-series Dean have killed Amy? Most definitely. So what the hell is OCC for Dean?

The same can be argued for Sam. For the past 4 seasons he’s made cataclysmically bad decisions, he’s had Lucifer dictating his actions, he’s had the soulless side of himself dictate his actions and he’s found himself, while in his own mind, doing heinous things. Just because Lucifer isn’t there anymore doesn’t automatically mean that Sam will revert back to earlier season Sam.

Character development is not consistent, it is definitely not linear and there is nothing to say that that development can only go upwards. If we only ever learned and grew and learned and grew then by the time we died we’d be like Yoda. There are always going to be steps backwards in that development. Had Dean reached a stage where it was no longer ‘If it’s evil, we kill it’? Yes, and that was Dean ‘developmentâ €™.

Up until the end of season 6, Dean for the most part acted at all times with the knowledge that what he was doing was the right thing to do; what to kill, working with Crowley, putting Sam’s soul back, wiping Ben and Lisa’s memories etc. However, in the interim he had seen his best friend keep him in the dark for over a year, manipulate him, lie to him and use him for his own nefarious purposes. Add to that the events with Sam, Bobby and even Lenore, is it any wonder that Dean no longer trusts his own judgment and so is acting ‘OCC’?

For me, many of Dean’s actions in season 7 were less about being OCC and more about regression back to when he last trusted himself and his actions, the last time he had control of situations; season 1-2 Dean.
cd28
# cd28 2012-06-15 18:50
I think I mostly agree with this. Probably about 60 percent of the time when I read someone else say Sam or Dean is out of character, I disagree because I see their characters differently. The exceptions are the traits that are so well defined - for example I have a huge problem with Sam being dumb or Dean not caring about family.

But I do think there should be ongoing focus on the part of the writers on refining who the characters are as the seasons progress. It's ok to have season 7 Sam be different than season 3 Sam, but we need some good character episodes showing us who Sam is now, how Hell and his other experiences have changed him, and why he is different from the way he used to be. This season I felt like I wasn't the only one confused as to who Sam was - the writers were too - which is why they all seemed to be approaching him differently.

But getting back to the original point of the plot driving characters, was either Sam or Dean's reactions to Bobby's ghost story at any time out of character? IMO, no. A case could be made for any of those reactions. But when Sam and Dean start flipflopping from one episode to the next without much explanation given as to why, then I have to assume that their reactions are being driven by a desire to move the story to a certain place, rather than by careful consideration of what Sam or Dean would do under those circumstances.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-18 02:06
@Tim and cd28 I agree with you both. Because while characters can't remain stagnant, I need to have some indication of where they're coming from and why they've change. Especially with major personality shift, such as Sam's black/white views towards monsters. And Dean's lack of urgency when it comes to things regarding Sam. That urgency hasn't really changed since season 1, but all of a sudden he not as invested in the relationship? At least that's how it seems to me. Now Sam was more hardcore in season 3, but they actually explained that flat out-no guesswork required. But all I have this time is some vague idea that he doesn't trust himself. No clue if that's true. Same with Dean, no idea why he has been more withdrawn from Sam even though he was being a total worrywart as late as GND.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-18 07:13
Exactly! Since the Pilot Dean has worried about his brother, esp. when his brother was in harm's way. As you said, we saw it in TGND and even ATFAW. That's not a personality trait that would suddenly change nor should it. If Dean were in trouble, I'd expect to see a big reaction from Sam as well.

It doesn't take much to explain why a character has changed or is behaving atypically.
Clarity
# Clarity 2012-06-17 06:27
"Dean trusted Castiel over his brother for a lot of season 4. He also trusted him unequivocally in season 5 and for most of season 6 so his actions then were based on that ‘I can trust Castiel’ mindset. However, if in season 8 Dean is put into a situation where he was asked to trust Castiel, would he do it? If not, is this then OCC for Dean? If Dean calls Sam a ‘freak’ at some stage in season 8, is that consistent for Dean because he’s done it before or is it inconsistent because he knows doing it will hurt Sam? If Sam decides to not walk away from an argument, is that OCC? The list is endless.

If I may take the Amy situation (because that’s the one that is easiest to do), would the Dean of Season 3 or 4 have killed Amy so readily? Probably not. Would the Dean of season 1 have killed Amy? Most probably. Would pre-series Dean have killed Amy? Most definitely. So what the hell is OCC for Dean?"

Yes I think he would have killed Amy in Season 3 or 4. Dean's never been shown to be swayed by pretty girl monsters with a sobstory. She'd have given him her sobstory, he'd have said "That's too bad really but...you should have thought of that before you murdered 4 people::gank::" .

It wasn't about doing it readily, Dean knew the story she'd given to Sam, so he was working off the same information Sam was. It was about doing what had to be done.

As for Season 4, Dean was right to trust Castiel over Sam in Season 4 and he never trusted Castiel blindly in terms of his actions. Dean was constantly questioning and fighting Castiel on things in Season 4, even when he gave in in On The Head of a Pin, he didn't so gladly, it was more a case he couldn't see a way out of it and at the time Castiel did genuinely believe it was what needed to be done, so Castiel wasn't lying. The trust between them was earned in Season 5. Castiel lost that trust at the end of Season 6, as well he should have when it came out he'd been lying for so long about so many things and been behind most of their problems.

But where did Dean trust him over Sam? Sam was soulless for part of Season 6 and Dean was right not to trust him, but after that he didn't show too many issues with it, all things considered. I don't recall Dean trusting Castiel over Sam in Season 5 either. Trusting Castiel blindly would have meant he'd have ignored it when the actual clear evidence when his lies became apparent(when he repeated the phrase in The Man Who Would Be King and Dean recognized it from the conversation he, Sam and Bobby had had earlier).

Dean goes by his gut because his instincts are very good. They have been shown repeatedly and consistently to be very good. In fact the only time Dean gets in trouble is generally when he does NOT trust his gut. Even Castiel in The Man Who Would be King said that Dean's defense of him to Sam and Bobby was Dean going against his instincts so even Dean had a feeling Castiel might be up to something, it was more a case of he didn't want to believe that after Castiel had earned his trust, and rightfully so at the time, that he'd betray that trust. Dean's trust needs to be earned, he doesn't give it by sobstories or by stroking his ego, etc etc, it needs to come through repeated trustworthy actions which Castiel had shown.

I can't think of many actions Dean took in Season 6 based on trusting Castiel, most of Dean's actions were based on Castiel not around in point of fact. When Dean asked about what was wrong with Sam after Veritas, Castiel "found out" he didn't have a soul, which was the truth. He didn't tell him how Sam ended up that way, but he did tell him there was no soul. He didn't let himself be blackmailed by Crowley for a period based on trusting Castiel because Castiel was of no help to them at that point. Castiel's effect on them in Season 6 for the most part was indirect, the result of a deal they knew nothing about and which they couldn't have known anything about but which trusting Castiel had very little to do with them not knowing anything about.

I can't think of anything major that would have been different if Dean hadn't trusted Castiel. If Dean didn't trust Castiel, he'd never have tried to get in touch with him regarding how Sam got out of Hell. Castiel lied about it, but it's not like if Castiel wasn't around Dean would have done anything differently. If Castiel wasn't around, Dean would have looked for an answer, as Castiel said he didn't know, Dean was still looking for an answer. So his actions would be the same in both cases, just without the little pit stop of Castiel sticking his hand in Sam's chest. In point of fact, despite Castiel lying, Dean's trust of him still helped lead to getting Sam's soul back, because Castiel luckily did not lie about Sam's soul being gone when Dean had him check him out after Veritas. He said "no soul". It's not like Dean would have had any other way to find that out prior to that.

Let's not forget Sam's betrayed that exact same trust himself in Season 4. The reason Dean doesn't trust is because he's been massively betrayed. Not for an episode, not about one thing for a few weeks but both Sam and Castiel, at different times, created a whole web of lies that went on for a year or more to Dean and when Dean discovered it they both used the excuse that somehow it was Dean's fault they did it AND that he was somehow weaker, dumber not as good as them.

Heck even Soulless Sam lied to Dean and worse Bobby lied FOR Soulless Sam because Bobby didn't even realise something was wrong with him(which is like WTF? if ever there was one, seriously Bobby after all that sob song about how wonderful and awesome Sam is at the end of Season 5 you don't notice something is wrong with him when he comes back Soulless?) Sam was alive, seemingly, and no one thought Dean deserved to know. They all decided he'd be better off living a lifetime in mourning. Castiel because he didn't want to admit he screwed something up, Soulless Sam because he just give a damn and didn't want Dean's conscience around, and Bobby because somehow he thought Dean would be able to live any kind of "normal life" thinking his brother was in the Cage(and given that it was clear Dean was living half a life that was a lie, in a constant state of waiting for the other shoe to drop AND spent a good deal of time trying to research some way to get Sam out of the Cage, shows that wasn't such a good idea and in the end it just made things worse for ALL of them, Dean, Lisa and Ben, Sam(who walked around for a year with no one who cared realizing he was Soulless), Castiel(who maybe would not have gotten in so deep with Crowley if Dean had been around and up to speed on Sam).

To be quite honest, it's rather amazing Dean trusts them as much as he does, because he has in fact still shown a lot of trust in them. Not so much Castiel recently because Castiel just came back but even that you can tell he really wants to, because Dean actually likes to trust people he cares about and he does so until they make it impossible for him to do so any longer. But a person can only be burned so many times and hear some version of "you're weak/pathetic/n ot as strong/not as smart/just a human" before the whole giving of trust starts to become harder to do. And Dean's heard some variation of those things from people he loves quite a lot, whatever the excuse they had at the time for saying it. Dean's also shown himself to be quite forgiving, it's just he's had an awful lot of big stuff to forgive and the more it happens, the longer it takes to push it through the garbage compacter.


Point being, yes things can be out of character. I don't buy the "but it's OK for it to be inconsistent" because that's just an excuse for lazy writing, of which there has been much, imo, over the last two seasons. I can only hope now that Jeremy Carver has come in showrunner he can shore up the ship. Things can be inconsistent for who the characters are at the time within the context we've seen them and yeah I do entirely believe they were often written out of character within the context they were in at the time(meaning out of character for how they should have been acting considering the events that happened to them up and happened in Season 6 or Season 7).

And that means all of them. Not just Dean, but all of them, IMO were all over the bloody place, often their actions made no sense from one episode to the next. They'd just randomly switch sides on various issues, literally, from one episode to the next for no apparent reason.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-06-17 08:59
The show needs to start giving us Sam's pov and not make it about wether Dean can trust him .The show created that drama back in season 4 and now every thing about Sam hangs off the fact does Dean trust or forgive him.

People complain that there is more to Dean than being big brother well there is more to Sam than the perpetual wrong doer that he is seen has by some and it's high time that was laid rest.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-17 10:17
I couldn't agree more with you, Sharon! More POV for Sam could never be a bad thing!
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-06-17 12:40
Quote:
I couldn't agree more with you, Sharon! More POV for Sam could never be a bad thing!
That depends on which side of the fence you are sitting on
More Sam pov would not make it so easy to target him and it would equalize things up alot better that it isnt has a black and white as some seem to think it is also Sam would have a voice he desperately needs :-)
cd28
# cd28 2012-06-17 13:05
I'd like to see more Sam POV not to quiet to extremists who seem determined to hate Sam no matter what he does, but because without it, the heart of the show is missing. We're not getting a brother relationship if we're only seeing one perspective. We need to see two humans who sometimes help each other and sometimes hurt each other, but who love each other, balance each other out, and are going to confront each other and say the things that only siblings can get away with saying when it's called for.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-17 15:17
Yeah, Sharon, I have to agree w/cd28. I don't think there is anything the writers can do to change the opinions of those who hate Sam. They seem to hate everything about Sam. He can't do anything right. He never says the right thing. To them, his actions are never good or pure; they're always selfish. To them, Sam is self-absorbed, hypocritical, obnoxious, and awful. Those "fans" aren't interested in understanding or sympathizing w/Sam, IMO.

I want more Sam POV b/c like cd28 said, I feel it would lead to a more balanced show. I love Dean, but the entire show is told from his POV. Don't get me wrong, I want Dean's POV, but I also want Sam's.

I was most interested in how Sam's hallucinations and Hell Wall falling would play out this year. Needless to say, I was quite disappointed when the story was abruptly halted for like 15 episodes and then wrapped up in 2! I never got to hear Sam talk about his Hell or how jogging, etc. helped him cope. I feel we got the bare bones of a story, the skeleton but none of the meat, the substance.

I just want to hear more from Sam. This season was a perfect set up, but the writers squandered the opportunity to develop Sam. It's a shame. If Dean's in Purgatory, then I want to know how Sam feels about it. I don't want to be left in the dark w/Sam or to have ONLY ONE episode focus on Sam's thoughts/feelin gs.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-17 11:10
Could not have said it better.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-19 00:02
Quote:
"you're weak/pathetic/not as strong/not as smart/just a human".
Just a human is not Dean's complaint but fans complaint about Dean..Dean seems perfectly fine about being "Just a human".
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-19 01:08
I agree with you, anonymousN, that Dean himself has no problem with being "just a human." I would, however, argue that the powers that be seem to have a problem with "just humans." In the last several seasons, we've seen the "just humans" more often than not take a back seat to the supernatural characters, be they angels, demons, ghost-father-fi gures, or various others with supernatural gifts. I'm not sure Dean fans would have a problem with Dean being a human if humanity was truly celebrated, instead of being paid lip service while it's clear that being just a human is a liability while supernatural powers are really what's necessary to save the day. Of course, this problem could easily be solved by allowing Dean and Sam to be the center of the story and to save their day on their own, without the help of supernatural powers/friends, and for both of them to be actively involved in the action and the emotional arcs, instead of Dean constantly freezing during the action while Sam constantly standing in the background during the emotional moments. At least that's one Dean fan perspective on the point.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-19 03:44
Quote:
if humanity was truly celebrated,
I did not understand what you meant by that..I think lots of times when either of the brother was loosing humanity the other tried to save him whether they failed or succeeded..they tried...but humanity alone is not enough when fighting a war (like in Jus something bello where Nancy and everyone died but Dean upheld humanity)here they did not have proper information as ruby was truly a genius...Also Dean was never just human he was the chosen vessel but if he said yes to michael half the world would be obliterated and by saying no he showed courage by being just human ..Humanity need/did not win the battles but it sure did win the war
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-19 09:32
@emmau I don't think Dean going up against Michael and Lucifer and being the last man standing can be called lip service to humans. And even if you take that out. Dean has a tendency to make the right called and Dean almost always choosing humanity.
When Sam took on demons using supernatural means he shown to be wrong, but when they take on things using human means, they're heroes.

@ anon N In Jus In Bello, I really thought that Ruby had betrayed them, in order to try to convince Sam to go against Dean and choose a darker path the next time.

Imo Dean's always been human, except when he was a vampire. He had a supernatural storyline, but unless he said yes he was still human. But regardless your right by choosing humanity he helped save the world.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-19 11:39
You know, Kelly, I thought at the time that Dean going up against Michael and Lucifer was supposed to humanity's moment of triumph over humanity. But in the interviews with Kripke (Dean was there to deliver the car) and show's complete nonacknowledgem ent of Dean's presence being important in the finale (Sam saved the world, Sam took one for the team, etc) has pretty much led me to believe that the PTB don't see Dean as particularly important in the grand scheme of Swan Song. Do I need anyone to kneel down and kiss Dean's feet because he came to Stull? No, but a little recognition that humanity did a have a roll in saving the world would have been nice.

Personally, I didn't need Dean to say yes to be part of the finale. But I needed him to be more than the deliverer of the car. To me, Dean saying no was a moment of triumph for humanity, and then show tossed it away by having Sam say yes. Dean saying no was a defeat for humanity, but Sam saying yes was the only way. So for me, that message was completely muddled.


Yes, Sam taking on demons using supernatural means was shown to be wrong, but he used those same means to take on Lucifer and it was agreed to be the right choice. For me, that again completely muddled the message that was sent. Was I suppposed to conclude it was wrong later because Sam needed (according to Kripke) the car to trigger his memories and defeat Lucifer? If I was, they weren't clear, because they said that he needed the blood to survive long enough to plunge in at the beginning and never contradicted that-the memories to me just provided motivation. I see what you're saying, but for me, Swan Song was not particularly successful in delivering the yay, humanity message, and in the seasons following that episode has reinforced that for me.

As for Jus in Bello, I loved that episode right up until the last two minutes (and on rewatch I prefer to skip them). Yes, it was humanity triumphed--unti l Dean and Sam were told that it didn't matter and the people at the station died anyway. Was it part of Ruby's manipulation? Possibly, and that was probably deliberate to set up Sam's reasons for following Ruby in S4. But the end message of that episode, to me, was not yay humanity.

I think my problem is that humanity rarely seems to win the battles these days, so winning the war almost feels like the PTB saying, "Oh, that's right it's the finale so I guess we better make our heroes win out against the impossible enemy who's been two steps ahead and kicking them around all season." I'm fairly sure that's a pacing problem, but it still seems to lead to "Humanity can't match up against Lucifer/angels/ Leviathan until it's the finale and we had to remember who the heroes were." If show were able to show Sam and Dean winning battles as well as losing them along the way a little bit better, I think that message would be more clear.

And while I enjoy secondary characters, show has become very lazy in making Sam and Dean dependent upon characters like Castiel, Meg, and ghost!Bobby (and human characters, but usually aren't present for the "Oh, that's right, humanity's supposed to triumph" finales) to save the day. I like Team Free Will, but in S7's last episodes particularly Sam and Dean couldn't do anything without the help of their supernatural allies, whether it was being saved by Bobby, needing Meg to protect/wrangle Castiel and provide distraction, or needing Castiel to find Dick for them.

So to sum up what was probably unnecessarily long, I respectfully disagree that show's main message was humanity was triumphant at the end of season 5, based on its episodes, the subsequent episodes, and the powers that be's comments. I further think that show hasn't done a great job of championing humanity throughout seasons, only pulling that card at the end of the season when it's time to wrap up storylines. So if humanity winning is show's ultimate message, they need to do a better job depicting that on-screen, in my opinion. I'm enjoying the discussion, though. Thank you.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-19 12:13
Why can I never catch the typos before I post?

I thought Dean going up against Michael and Lucifer was supposed to be the triumph of humanity over the supernatural.

Dean saying yes was a defeat for humanity, but Sam saying yes was the only way to save the world.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-19 13:18
I didn't see it that way at all. I saw as what saved Sam was his connection to his humanity. He wasn't able to overcome Lucifer because he was so strong from drinking DB, but because of Dean and their connection. Dean and his entire life with him flashing by when he saw that little man in the ashtray was what let him defeat Lucifer. So love for his brother enabled him overcome one of most powerful being in the universe- I saw that as being very human.

As far as Dean, He came there for Sam knowing there was very little hope but get to be there for his brother who might not even know he was there. He was getting the crap beat out of him and all he kept saying was he was here for Sam, basically telling him he loved him-I find that incredibly heroic and there nothing supernatural about it

I haven't had a problem with Cas' help. I could see where it COULD be a problem but I have seen that many circumstances where he's flown into save the day at the last minute. I know there's been more but the only one I can't really think of is tBAI but that was a totally kickass scene and his big reentrance scene. I have other issues with that episode but that's not one of them.

I enjoy the debate. In my family it's a form of entertainment. So as long as it stays pretty respectful, I like seeing different POV's. Even if I completely disagree with them, people often bring up things that I missed or make me see something in a new way.

I have the same problem with typos.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-19 14:13
I always find myself in a strange place re: Swan Song honestly, because I see what they were trying to do on one level, but on an instinctive level it just doesn't work for me. So, yes, I see exactly what you mean with Sam's humanity overcoming in that episode. I also agree that Dean's actions could be seen as incredibly human and heroic in that episode. I think this is the message that was intended.

It doesn't, for me, negate the paradox of Dean saying yes = defeat of humanity/Sam saying yes = humanity's only hope. Nor does it explain how the powers that be and their subsequent episodes refer to Swan Song, i.e., Sam saved the world alone and Dean isn't mentioned as having any role in that victory. It certainly doesn't address Sam's DB drinking was bad until it was completely necessary to save the world. This is probably one of those moments where I shouldn't read interviews, because I think Kripke's interview permanently tainted any enjoyment I could derive from the episode. It cemented for me that Sam was meant to be the hero of the episode, and Dean's only role was to learn to love his brother right, therefore his actions weren't so much heroic as corrective for his earlier "bad" treatment of Sam. However, that doesn't mean my view is the only right one, so I understand why Swan Song works for you.

I really don't have much of an issue with Cas's help--indeed, he was barely in S7 and was more adversarial than helpful in S6. I like Cas. But Cas certainly isn't the only character, human or supernatural, that the boys have had to rely upon to save them/the world. I do think, as I stated earlier, that Cas, Meg, and ghost!Bobby do help undermine the humanity triumphs, as the avatars for humanity are unable to function nor triumph in the war without being propped up by the supernatural.

I agree that debate is definitely a form of entertainment, as long as people don't take it to personal and/or disrespectful levels. It does offer the opportunity to reexamine things and gain new perspective, which can reinforce or change your views. I think I made it through this response without typos, even!
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-19 14:49
But Emmau, if you had never read Kripke’s article, from the episode, you would have never gotten the idea that DB drinking was good, would you? The only reason you got upset is b/c of what Kripke said in the article, right?

I honestly didn’t see SS as making any statements about drinking demon blood being okay. I saw the episode as an opportunity for Sam to fix what he broke (i.e., setting Lucifer free). Sam had to consume demon blood so his body wouldn’t explode or fall apart like Nick’s. To me, that was just a plot point. The demon blood drinking occurred in one scene in the episode. I never focused on it that much. I liked how Sam didn’t want Dean watching him drink that crap, and I liked how Dean was disgusted by it. Even though I didn’t care for a lot of Season 5, I really loved SS and have watched it several times now. To me, it was a great episode.

If Kripke had some larger message to convey about Dean finally accepting Sam as a supernatural being or Dean being okay w/Sam drinking demon blood, then I think he missed the mark. I didn’t come away from SS w/that impression. I honestly don’t know anyone who did. The only people I’ve seen who believe what Kripke said are those who read the article/intervi ew. And if you have to read an article/intervi ew to get the underlying meaning of a show/scene/stor yline, then the writing has majorly FAILED, IMO.

Kripke wrote a story and put it out there for the world to interpret. I honestly don’t care what he hoped to convey b/c that’s not what I saw. There’s nothing about SS that even hints at what Kripke is saying - at least not in my opinion. Dean didn’t delightfully slay a few demons for their blood or tell Sam how he now understood why it was so important for Sam to drink demon blood. Sam didn’t proudly gulp down the demon blood while the others patted him on the back! The act was performed in secrecy and practically under cover. It was not celebrated or rejoiced. It was a disgusting act and was treated as such, IMO. Whatever Kripke THOUGHT he was doing, he failed.

Sam had to drink DB for the SOLE purpose of housing Lucifer. It wasn’t made a part of his daily diet or something. Sam wouldn’t guzzle any DB now either. I’m not sure what Kripke was talking about in that article, but he clearly sees the show way differently than me. I’ll stick to my interpretation b/c I like it better :-)
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-19 15:13
No, I definitely had issues with the sudden introduction of the demon blood drinking in the finale, even without Kripke's words. I thought at the time it completely undermined Sam's struggle with demon blood in S5, as well as the message that it had led to his downfall in S4, in one episode. This action had been viewedas wrong right up until the finale, when suddenly it was necessary for Sam to defeat Lucifer and save the world. So they might not have meant to make a statement about the blood drinking by including it, but then, why include it at all? The need to drink blood hadn't been mentioned for Nick throughout the entire season. Was it really introduced haphazardly in the finale, or was there a purpose behind it?

Kripke's words proved to me that there was a purpose behind it. So while it might have been a plot point to you, the 180 was important here to me. Kripke's words were definitely part of it, and as much as I wish I could pretend I hadn't read that interview I can't. But the blood drinking is and always will be to me a problematic part of the finale. It doesn't matter if they did it gleefully or were ashamed of it--suddenly an action that had been proven indisputably wrong for the last two seasons was suddenly right, even necessary, to saving the world. Kripke might not have successfully stated his point to you, but I do think the point was there and purposefully made. It doesn't work for me to ignore points that the show/creator makes because I like it better, though I wish it did. It's there, and I can't ignore it. I didn't love Swan Song before that moment, but that definitely altered my view of the episode and the show's entire stance on blood drinking from that point on.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-19 16:16
I get your point on the DB, but like lala2 I didn't really get hung up on it. The way I saw it was that Dean trusted Sam enough to risk him drinking DB again, even though it was abhorrent to him. I'm not totally sure it was a necessary plot point. But I would have missed that heartbreaking scene by the car, when Sam asked Dean not to watch. He was still so ashamed even though his was about to throw himself into the cage. For some reason that always gets to me. I did see Dean a hero that episode, but I will admit that it was Sam who broke my heart, esp in that scene. I can go TOTALLY angsty emo over that episode.

I read the article, I think, (I know I've seen the quote you're talking about) but it was well after I saw the episode so I didn't really effect my attitude towards SS.

I have no idea if this is actually what he meant. But I took it as Kripke misspeaking. That what he meant was that Dean would have to learn to trust Sam again and ACCEPT and love him as he was. But I wasn't really doing the msg board thing then so I didn't know about the controversy thing. That was just my impression and I didn't think too much about it.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-19 17:36
Emmau, it was mentioned. In the episode right before the finale, Castiel, Bobby, and Sam are driving to that warehouse. Sam is telling them about his plan. Castiel approves the plan (unlike Bobby) and tells Sam that Sam will have to consume 4 gallons of DB if he goes through w/it. Sam is clearly shocked and grossed out and asks why. Castiel tells him that the DB is necessary so his vessel doesn't blow up. He said Nick had been drinking it by the gallons for weeks now. Bobby then tells Sam that's one more reason to NOT go through w/the plan.

The DB drinking was NEVER, in my opinion, presented as good. It was a necessity to Sam saying yes, but it had nothing to do w/the outcome of the big showdown. The DB, itself, did not defeat Lucifer. The DB had nothing to do w/defeating Lucifer.

The DB's sole purpose was to protect Sam's body from explosion or serious degradation while Lucifer was in him. That's all. It's not like Sam drank DB and then quickly sent Lucifer to Hell. It didn't give Sam any powers that he used against Lucifer. It was a plot point. That's all.

Why introduce it? Because it's a horror show and a nasty concept for many people to accept? I'm not sure. I don't think it had any other deeper meaning.

I'm still not seeing how you feel SS made DB drinking "good" or "positive." Sam doesn't drink DB. He would never do that again. Dean doesn't support Sam drinking DB now. Why would he? If DB drinking is so positive now, why isn't Sam doing it?

I don't see who SS make it okay to drink DB. It's never good. It served a purpose in SS, but it didn't change my perspective on DB. I don't support it and would be grossed out if Sam suddenly started drinking it again.

And my point in talking about how the act was received is if Kripke meant for it to be seen as good, would Sam have shamefully done it in private, would he have shamefully asked Dean to not watch him while he did it, would Dean have walked away disgusted by the whole thing? If it was meant to be seen as a "good" thing, then why did Kripke present it as a disgusting, bad (but unfortunately necessary in this instance) thing?
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-19 17:58
All right, I'll stand corrected. It was mentioned the episode before the finale. Still, that's an awfully long time to go through a season and have it just crop up as a plot point at the end. Even in 5.19, when Lucifer's vessel was clearly deteriorating, Gabriel couldn't have dropped that information? No, and to me it seems like it was a last minute addition with a definite purpose in mind. Combined with Kripke's comments, I don't believe it was just because it's a horror show and it's gross. Demon blood had a very charged and negative connatation throughout the series to just throw in at the last minute because.

While demon blood might not have been called "good", it was, in the end, determined to be the right thing to do in order to defeat Lucifer. Was it treated shamefully by Sam and Dean? Yes, but it was still done because it was right and necessary, and it was made specifically a point that Dean had to agree to this, something he'd been vehemently opposed to, before Sam would go through with it. Therefore, I do think it was part of Kripke's message that Dean needed to fulfill his purpose in the series by learning to love Sam the right way, i.e., accepting his choices as right. Therefore, the demon blood was right. It doesn't have to be good to be right, and in this case, it was. We can't say it didn't work. Sam had to in order to be strong enough to house Lucifer and save the world, so it was the right decision. If he hadn't, the plan wouldn't have worked either way, because Sam would have exploded, according to Cas. So, in fact, the demon blood was essential and necessary and it did its job.

So I'm afraid I have to disagree that this was a meaningless plot point added for gore. It was, in my opinion, added for a very specific message that Dean needed to accept and agree with Sam's choices to be a good brother, which he apparently hadn't been the season before. Now Sam is not choosing to drink demon blood, and Dean can accept his choice not to. I doubt it will ever come in the series again. As always, your mileage may vary.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-19 18:46
Do you think Sam would drink DB now? Do you think Dean would support Sam feasting on some DB now? Do you see drinking DB as a positive, good thing for any of the characters to do? Do you think drinking DB is right?
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-19 19:24
No, I don't think drinking demon blood is right. I don't think it's a good or positive thing for any character to do. Do I think Sam would drink demon blood for kicks? No. Do I think Dean would support Sam drinking demon blood any old time he wanted? No.

Do I think Swan Song presented it as the right and necessary choice? Yes. I doubt it will ever come up again, but if it did, would show make the same choices--presen ting demon blood drinking as necessary and right and have the boys fall in line? Yes.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-20 00:00
I doubt we'll ever see Sam drinking DB for kicks. He just ain't gonna do it.

The only reason the DB came up in SS was b/c Sam's plan was to say yes to Lucifer. That's it. That doesn't make it "right;" that made i necessary to the plan. That's all.

We can agree to disagree b/c I didn't walk away from SS thinking drinking DB was cool or right under any circumstances.

What Sam did wasn't even natural! It was supernatural and required supernatural measures like the DB.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 00:09
By right, I mean it was the right choice for Sam to make in that case. And it was, since he didn't explode before he was able to defeat Lucifer. But if that means we're agreeing to disagree, fair enough.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-20 00:38
Not being funny here . . . but what do you mean when you say "right?"

Drinking the demon blood was something Sam had to do. He couldn't vessel up and NOT do it. It was a necessity. In that instance, I didn't really see the act as right or wrong b/c Sam literally HAD to do it. He had no choice in the matter if he was going to say yes.

I saw the act as just gross - the way I always viewed it. For me, I guess it depends on the circumstances. If Sam decided to chow down on some demons next season, that would be "wrong" to me. It wouldn't be "right" b/c Sam drank DB in SS to vessel up properly.
I emmau
# I emmau 2012-06-20 00:53
I simply mean Sam was right to drink the blood in that instance, because that's what he needed to do to in order to house Lucifer so he could be defeated. It was the right choice, because it enabled him to save the world. I agree with everything you're saying--it was a necessity for Sam to do it. I don't think it was a choice he wanted to make, especially after the season touched upon his addiction and his fight against it. But in the end, it was the choice he had to make, so it was the right choice in that instance.

Now, I feel like I have to repeat that I hate the demon blood drinking in the finale. I hate that show ever put it in there, and I've already stated my theories about why it was included in terms of Sam and Dean's storylines. But I do feel like show was angling for 'sometimes in a war, good people must do bad things' justification, and therefore I do think Sam drinking blood was considered the necessary, and therefore, right choice in that case. At this point, there's no need for Sam to do so to defeat a demon, or any other enemy they've been presented since Lucifer because it wasn't necessary to defeat them. Sam randomly chowing down on a demon at this stage wouldn't be considered right, because it wouldn't be necessary.

Did that help at all, or was it just more confusing?
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-20 06:28
About the good people doing bad things...It would have been bad if they had not considered all possible ways of saving the world and then decided what was the best way ...The best way happened to be Sam saying yes, Dean saying no and Sam drinking demon blood so that he can house Lucifer long enough to jump into hell ...I did not know about Kripke interview ( same like the Sera one which told that Dean knows about Castiel opening the door to panic room to let Sam out) so this is what i thought..I know where you are coming from with your views but i saw it differently..Dr inking Demon Blood was necessary but not right that is what i got from that episode
I have not taken seriously what demons and angels have told about Sam and dean (e.g Sam being John's favourite or Zack's spiel to Dean)(even Castiel before he joined team free will) because it was all said to influence them but at the same time Sam and Dean being Candid in siren episode, Bobby being candid in Veritas well such statements were not influenced by supernatural but the inhibitions to say such statements were removed and also they were not tempered with other emotions..
Also just because Michael said his part is over does not mean it was over and Dean showed it spectacularly.. till then he had believed what demon said about sam being john's favourite etc but at that moment he defied what Michael asserted and well Michael i think still regrets counting out Dean...what i mean is just because Michael said it does not mean it is true and well the canon showed it so too..If you neglect Humanity it is going to bite you in the ass
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-20 08:28
No, that wasn't confusing :-)

For me, I see a distinction between doing what's necessary and doing what's right. Because Sam had to drink the demon blood to house Lucifer, I saw it as more of a necessary evil rather than "right." And him drinking it in SS didn't erase, for me, the wrongness of the act or the times when the show said it was wrong. Again, I don't think Kripke presented it very well if he intended to make some big statement re: DB drinking. If that was his goal, he failed in my opinion. It just didn't come across in that episode for me.

I think we both agree that Sam didn't want to do it, Dean didn't want to agree to it, and that Sam wouldn't do it again. To me, that makes it a bad thing - period. I guess I have a problem w/saying Sam was "right" to drink DB in SS. I wouldn't say he was "right." I would say it was something that had to be done. And something that has to be done isn't necessarily "right." For instance, Dean lied to Sam to get him into the panic room. Lying isn't "right," but it's what Dean had to do to help Sam.
Nita
# Nita 2012-06-19 23:13
For me at least Dean was more heroic than Sam in SS, if I have to compare. Objectively speaking both were heroic, but when it comes to emotion, I was more affected by Dean's story. He risked his life to save his brother, it was more or less suicide. It was like if Sam was going to go, Dean was ready too. When it comes to Sam, well Sam would continue living on in Lucifer if he failed. I know he would be a tortured soul in there, but that's why I said both are equally heroic objectively speaking. But I could not help but feel more for what Dean did at that point. I loved SS.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-20 00:04
Like Dean told Bobby and Castiel, he wasn't going to let Sam "die" alone. I loved that line. I liked Sam's line in TMWKTM about not leaving his brother alone when he took on the Hell memories.

I love how much these brothers love each other, and how much they are willing to risk for the other. In SS, Dean risks his life. In TMWKTM, Sam risks his sanity. Love it!

They are the heart of the show, IMO.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-19 14:41
As far as “Swan Song” is concerned - I never saw it as Sam, the Supernatural, saving the world while Dean, the human, does nothing. I saw it more as Sam righting his wrongs. Sam, foolishly, listened to Ruby and freed Lucifer, and like he said in SS, he let Lucifer out so it was up to him to put Lucifer back.

I’ve never looked at it in terms of Sam being “supernatural ” and Dean being “human.” I know you may disagree but I saw it as a team effort. I loved that Dean wouldn’t let his brother die alone just liked I loved Sam taking in Hell!Sam’s memories b/c he didn’t want to leave his brother alone. To me, the end was about family. Dean was there for his family. Sam was able to gain control of Lucifer b/c of the rush of memories of his family, his brother. Sam made the ultimate sacrifice for his family and the world. I loved SS. The episode was about family to me, not supernatural beings vs. human beings. The entire show has been about family to me.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-19 15:01
I understand what you're saying, but since show laid the first seal, as well as at least partial blame for Sam listening to Ruby on Dean, what was his opportunity for redemption? Dean's sense of responsibility for the Apocalypse ended completely in PONR, when he realized that being Sam's brother was more important than doing what he thought necessary to save the world, and he was, as Michael put it, no longer part of that story. That is problematic for me, especially since two episodes later it was definitely more important for Sam to put doing what he thought was necessary to save the world, i.e., saying yes, than to stay on earth to be Dean's brother. The double standard there just doesn't work for me.

As for Sam, he put all the blame for Lucifer on himself, when no one else did. Everyone acknowledged at one point or another that he thought he was doing the right thing, would have done the same, etc. So why the finale should be handed to him (and though it might have been meant to be a team effort, every following episode describes this moment as Sam's victory, not TFW)as redemption? I don't understand why defeating Lucifer was suddenly Sam's responsibilty/r edemption instead of TFW saving the world. I think Swan Song would have worked better if it had been framed this way.

Again, I don't mind Dean representing humanity, willing to go and be with Sam no matter what. But there was no credit given to humanity, in the form of Dean, Bobby, or Cas, who was arguably human at the time. Their contributions are not recognized--onl y Sam's--in any discussion of that episode or any episodes that follow. So to me, that episode did not represent family--it represented Sam's redemption/sacr ifice. Family was, to me, at best shown as the plot point, in the form of flashbacks, that made it possible for Sam to make his sacrifice and save the world. So, yes, I do disagree that this ended up being a team effort, because ultimately it isn't the team that is credited for saving the world. I wish it was.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-19 17:51
Well, I hate Fallen Idols and think Sam was talking out of his @$$ so I've never really factored that episode's wackiness w/the finale.

At the end of the day, it seemed like everyone blamed Sam, and only Sam, for the Apocalypse. Dean did in the crappy FI. I believe Castiel did indirectly. He faulted Dean for not stopping Sam. I believe Death followed Castiel's logic in that Dean was at fault for not stopping Sam.

I saw the Apocalypse being laid on Sam's shoulders from everyone. I haven't really re-watched too many Season 5 episodes b/c I didn't care for Season 5 but I recall Sam being blamed for bringing on the Apocalypse while Dean was being pressured to stop it.

I hear your point though. I just disagree. I never looked at SS as a Sam victory or a Dean victory. It was just a victory. Neither brother holds more importance to me than the other. The episode was good to me b/c of the brotherly moments at the end. I loved that Sam managed to gain control of Lucifer b/c of his brother. I loved that Dean went to "die" w/his brother. I thought the whole thing was quite sweet. And like Kelly, I also really liked the scene w/Sam asking Dean to not watch him drink the DB. I just plain liked that episode. Hahaha! It was one of the best episodes, IMO, in a season of average episodes.

I guess we can agree to disagree.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-19 18:07
Again, I'm afraid I can't just throw out pieces of canon because I don't think they fit. I wish I could, though, because it'd probably make my viewing experience more enjoyable. :-) However, if we're throwing Fallen Idols out, it's pretty much the only episode where Dean blamed Sam, so if we're agreeing it was cracked writing, I have no problem. By and large, Dean's issues with Sam were on a much more personal level, mostly centered around their relationship and trust.

Now, I'll agree that Castiel threw some blame Sam's way at the beginning of the season, but by the end he certainly wasn't. Dean wasn't, either. Over the course of the season Dean and Sam were both blamed for the Apocalypse as I remember it, and Dean did feel pressured to stop it. I also remember Dean and others telling Sam it wasn't his fault and that any of them would have killed Lilith. I am not the resident authority on S5 myself, but that's my recollection.

I agree that we'll have to agree to disagree about SS, because I doubt we'll convince each other differently. Still, I enjoyed the discussion.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-19 18:30
Honestly, I'm not sure how you were even relating FI to SS. What does Sam saying Dean's bossiness was one of the reasons he followed Ruby have to do w/Sam accepting responsibility for bringing the Apocalypse?

I hate FI, but I'm pretty sure someone posted dialogue after that line where Sam clearly says he's not blaming Dean for what he chose to do, but Dean's treatment of him led to his future actions or some other such nonsense. Frankly, that's a backwards way of blaming Dean to me, but that's just my opinion. I know some disagree.

At the end of the day, I heard Sam say - often during Season 5 IIRC - that it was his responsibility to fix what he broke. That's what I heard. I saw that as him taking full responsibility for the Apocalypse. I don't care what he said in FI. Now, he's saying he make mistakes and must fix them.

I understand you may disagree. I think we can both agree that FI sucked in terms of the reconciliation btw the brothers. Where we disagree is that I don't fault Sam for what I honestly think was crappy, inconsistent writing.

I do understand that some can't see past the characters to the writing. I think my years of soap watching has allowed me to excel at separating the two. LOL!
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-19 18:44
Fallen Idols came up because I was stating that Dean was, in fact, given responsibility in the first seal breaking and in Fallen Idols for the Apocalypse, but was never given the chance to have redemption. Sam accepted responsibility, but so did Dean, both for his actions and what he considered his role in ending it, and in the end he was not given the opportunity to earn the same redemption Sam did in Swan Song. That's how Fallen Idols came into the discussion.

Yes, I'm sure Fallen Idols is another one of those things that we're going to have to agree to disagree about. The dialogue may have had Sam saying it was his responsibility, but to me, saying Dean had an impact on his actions and caused him to go along with Ruby is saying, "You have to change before I can make the right choices, because you had a hand in my making the wrong choices." That is, to me, putting the blame/responsib ility on Dean. It was a backwards way of blaming Dean, I agree, but to me, it's there.

Yes, the writing did Sam a great disservice there, because they never allowed Sam to talk about what he was going to do differently in order to change/make things up personally to Dean. We got a very specific charge, apology, and change from Dean, and Sam was not afforded the same opportunity. They also did Sam a great disservice in having him place responsibility on Dean for his following Ruby, when he clearly had started while Dean was in Hell. I am in complete agreement that Fallen Idols was an equal opportunity bad episode for Sam and Dean.

I think the reason people don't see past the characters it's because theythink they shouldn't have to ignore bad writing in order to make the show make sense. Also, sometimes the writing is just bad, but sometimes it's bad because it is there to convey a plot point that the PTB want to convey. But you're right, we should know by now to separate bad writing from Sam and Dean by now, yeah? :D
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-19 18:52
Thank you. I now understand your position :-)

Fallen Idols came up because I was stating that Dean was, in fact, given responsibility in the first seal breaking and in Fallen Idols for the Apocalypse, but was never given the chance to have redemption.

See, I don't believe Dean needed any redemption from breaking the first seal. I think Dean is utterly and completely blameless in that act. He gets a huge pass from me b/c he was in HELL when he did it. I never felt Dean did anything from which he needed redemption.

So I now understand your position. If you feel Dean should have been allowed to redeem himself from that act, I better understand why you were disappointed w/the Michael arc, etc. For me, he was not at fault for breaking the first seal.

I hold Sam more to blame for the seal he broke than Dean's seal.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-19 18:49
I don't agree that his part ended in PoNR and I don't think that was the choice he was making. He chose to believe in Sam, but they option wasn't Sam or the world. The option was say yes to Michael and billions die. Or believe in Sam and have a chance to save everyone.

I have rewatched season 5 a lot and trust me all the blame was put on Sam. In 5.1 Dean says something about expecting him to go along with the plan, even though they knew how to stop it all along. Zach brushes it off saying Dean had a chance to stop his brother and failed. And except for Dean saying he broke the first seal in FI, the same episode where he completely blamed Sam, there was no other mention by anyone that others had a hand in it.

Such as in I Believe Children Are Our Future, Cas blames Sam by saying he made the wrong choice, and Cas never mentions anything about his part. He also calls Sam an abomination in 99 Problems. Looking back at the season 5 list, there is some sort of mention of it or at least the DB in almost every episode. That's why I can't understand saying no one ever blamed him. Or that it was brushed off.

Dean did say "who would've have thought killing Lilith would be a bad thing" and I think he maybe he said wouldn't mind killing her too. But he never said he thought Sam was right or that he would have made the same mistakes as Sam. I'm not saying the writers put all the blame on Sam, but the characters in the show definitely did.

I recognize the others contribution, esp Dean's, and my guess it that a lot people do. I know I seen many comments on boards about it. And Cas recognized them in TMWWBK. And even this season they said saved to world a time or 2, referring them collectively.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-19 19:07
You make a good point, and I'll agree, Kelly. In PONR Dean chose to believe in Sam, putting their brotherhood over what he felt was his duty, saying yes and putting Lucifer away, possibly resulting in the loss of billions of lives. I do, however, feel this was undermined when Sam made the choice to say yes, despite the fact that he himself said it was a million to one shot that his choice wouldn't result in Lucifer destroying the world, leaving Dean behind. And I'm afraid I have to disagree, because I do think PONR pretty much ended Dean's involvement in the mytharc other than delivering the car in Swan Song. But we've already agreed to disagree there, so I'll let that alone.

I will also bow to you in terms of S5 rewatching, as I'm sure you've done so more than me. I'll further agree that Castiel said Sam made the wrong choice (which he did) without admitting to his own part. Given S7, that seems to be a genuine character flaw of his. I think bringing up the abomination crack without the accompanying, "But you're my friend" is a bit misleading but he did say it, so fine.

I think it's splitting hairs, honestly, to say that Dean acknowledging that no one knew what killing Lilith would do and he wouldn't have minded killing her either isn't equivalent to saying Sam thought he was doing what was right and that he might have done the same. I still don't see how that is Dean putting the blame on Sam. I will, again, bow to you on the other characters on the show, but since I'm told that I shouldn't take every other character denigrating Dean as weak as gospel, I'm not sure why I would be expected to take other characters' statements about Sam's blame to heart.

As for recognizing others' contributions, I'm sorry, but I don't see it on screen. Cas's comment about them saving the world a time or two is not what I'm looking for in order to believe show recognizes Swan Song as a group effort, honestly. There's more evidence to the contrary there, in my opinion.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-19 20:11
I can see your point on Sam saying yes it just didn't have the same effect on me. I still disagree on Dean part ending.

I'll agree on splitting hairs. I didn't think that is what you were saying. I'll give the abomination thing too. I did find it funny, if a bit mean.

Dean flat out said he blamed him in FI but pulled back a little a the end saying he (dean) wasn't blameless. But treated him, stayed kind of withdrawn until he started to become completely hopeless again. And then it became pretty clear to me anyway that he' never REALLY forgave Sam at all in DSotM, 99P and PoNR.

I'm don't remember the Dean is weak conversation (probably a sign I'm spending too much time online). But I actually do remember him being told he was weak on several occasions. But always by bad people (and I'm of course including angels) and Sam when he was being a dick in S&V.Regardless I'm sure it effected is self esteem. Was that what the convo was about?
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-19 20:31
Fair enough. If it didn't impact you, it didn't. I perceived the reception of Dean and Sam's possible yeses as a double standard and it did bother me. But not all things hit fans the same way, and that's fine.

I hate Fallen Idols probably the most out of any episode this show has ever produced, so I'm not a fair person to speak upon it. I do think that Dean blaming Sam on the phone, when he never said anything before or after to that effect, was done specifically to put Dean in the wrong and make Sam's speech to Dean casting backhand blame on him for following Ruby acceptable. I'll leave it there re: that episode. As for Dean's behavior towards Sam in S5, I'm not sure why forgiveness means everything goes back to the way it was before, or why it equals trust. I can forgive people that have hurt me, but it doesn't mean things will ever really be the same between us afterwards. I think Dean's pain in DSOTM is unrelated to S4 and has much more to do with Sam's "family just doesn't mean the same to me" memories. 99P and PoNR are definitely low points for Dean personally, and therefore all of his relationships suffer, as I recall. But if I did assume that it all stemmed from his S4 hurt, it probably still wouldn't overly perturb me. Let's face it--Winchesters are some grudge-holding men.

Yes, I am referring to the many and varied times Dean has been told he's weak, pathetic, etc. I find that when Dean fans complain about this, a common response is that it shouldn't be taken to heart because it's other characters (or that they're just right, like Bobby, but that's a whole different kettle of fish). I assume the same should apply to angels/demons telling Sam he's to blame for the Apocalypse.

Now, I'm sure it did affect Sam, just as all the cracks affect Dean, as it serves as confirmation bias. Sam believes the Apocalypse is all his fault, and Dean believes he's 90% crap. When they continually hear it, it reinforces their esteem issues and makes things worse (as well as giving hating fans ammunition, but that's something different, too). So I was being a bit flippant earlier, but I will admit that hearing that in S5 probably affected Sam, just as Dean's upteen "suck it up, you're pathetic" speeches hurt rather than help him.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-19 21:27
Oh is it the Bobby speeches that bother you? Bobby definitely uses a tough love approach on Dean. I have heard that bothers some fans. It never has with me because you it is so obvious that Bobby loves Dean a lot and he is generally a grumpy old man. I don't remember him ever calling Dean weak though. He has said suck it up and Boo Hoo in the context Bobby said it didn't bother me (of course I say suck it to my nieces and nephew a lot). I saw it as his way of breaking through to Dean. Kind of the same when Frank and Elliot said it, but w/o the love. I didn't really see those effecting his self-esteem, but I could be wrong. Now when Sam said it in S and V I'm sure it hurt, spell or not.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-19 21:45
Yep, I'm one of those fans. I don't equate yelling insults and put-downs as tough love. Plus, to me, there's a big difference between telling kids fighting about kid stuff to suck it up and telling someone who was just strangled by his brother/admits to being basically suicidal to just suck it up already. Bobby (and others) use that attitude to push Dean into the behavior they want to see from him, and Dean complies because that's Dean, but his underlying issues don't go away or improve. It would be one thing if they actually seemed to help Dean, but they don't. His self-esteem/iss ues haven't gone away or gotten better over the years--if anything, they've gotten worse. I think about S7 when the ghost of Ellen allegedly begged him to tell someone how bad it is. Bobby prods him in 7.9, and when Dean opens up he gives him yet another round of "Boo hoo, whatever" speeches. Problem solved! Except not. So yeah, I don't see where the endless parade of "Boo hoo" speeches have done anything but reinforce to Dean that he shouldn't talk about anything because no one wants to hear it.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-19 21:52
Bobby's speech in 4.22 bothered me b/c Sam had just strangled the heck out of his brother! Dean had every right to be upset and to not want to be bothered w/Sam at that moment.

I thought the speech should have been re-written as to not completely invalidate Dean's justifiable feelings. Instead of telling Dean, "Boo Hoo. Families make you miserable," why not have Bobby say: "Look, Dean, I know you're upset. You have every right to be but you can't focus on that right now. We have to stop Sam. The world is at stake."

That would have been better than what Bobby said, and I think it would have motivated Dean all the same. I know Bobby said something to Dean this season that got fans in an uproar, but I don't recall what it was. I guess I wasn't too bothered by it myself.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-19 22:37
I see what you both I saying. I maybe even agree to some extent. But I don't see as any different than Dean telling Sam to bury all his anger and pain. None of these views are psychology healthy, but not as if any of these guys are poster boys for mental health. So both Dean and Bobby, gave others the advice that works for them (as they see it-not as well-balanced people see it LOL). Honestly all 3 of them could do with some serious time lying on a couch discussing their feelings.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-19 22:44
I'm afraid I do see a difference between "Bury your pain and keep going--that's how I deal" and "Boo hoo, princess, how dare you have issues with your brother strangling you!" I'll agree none of them are poster boys for mental health, so I can agree that neither bit of advice was helpful, but the delivery methods, to me, were quite different. I don't even think Bobby was giving advice that worked for him, because in S5 when he ended up in a wheelchair he certainly didn't suck it up and carry on--he was bitter and angry and managed to use that to one-up both Dean's hell issues in 5.7 and Castiel losing his home, family, and powers in 5.20 or 5.21, I don't remember which. I very much agree they could all use some time on a couch, though.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-19 23:30
Dean didn't come off harsh in his advice to Sam though. If Dean had said something like, "Sam, crap happens. Quit whining about your problems and move your @$$. We don't have time for your crap," then that would have been similar to Bobby's words in 4.22. Hahaha! I know I'm exaggerating a bit but that's how I took Bobby's speech.

I saw Bobby invalidating Dean's very natural and reasonable feelings given what had just happened. Dean was upset. He didn't feel like Sam was his family at that moment. Bobby basically told Dean to quit crying and go after Sam, the brother who just assaulted him. I think Dean deserved a moment to be angry, and if Bobby had told Dean he could hold a grudge or ream Sam out after they saved the world, etc, that would have been better than acting as if Dean had no right to be angry.

Dean did not do that to Sam in Sam, Interrupted. I haven't rewatched that episode recently but I think Dean was somewhat exasperated and asked Sam if he was going to say yes to Lucifer. Sam said no, and then Dean said, you have to bury all that pain and anger to address at a later time. To me, he didn't invalidate or trivialize Sam's feelings the way Bobby did.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-19 23:43
That was my take on it as well. Dean wasn't harsh or insulting with Sam--he was giving Sam advice on how to handle his anger, i.e, in the same manner Dean handles his issues. He didn't tell Sam he didn't have a right to be angry or that he didn't have a right to have the issues he did--he was just giving him a coping strategy. It may not have been super advice, as Dean isn't renowned for his emotional health, but it was genuine and it wasn't insulting or belittling of Sam's feelings. Bobby wasn't telling Dean to store his feelings for later--he was outright denying that Dean had any right to have the feelings he did.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-20 00:20
And if I remember correctly, I think Dean even said he understood why Sam was angry and that Sam had a right to be angry but that Sam couldn't allow that anger to consume him at that moment.

It wasn't the healthiest advice (but since that plot went nowhere for Sam I guess it really didn't matter), but it was genuine and non-insulting. Like you said, Bobby denied Dean the right to be angry b/c families are about pain or whatever he said.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-20 00:24
See now I actually found Dean's comments worse than Bobby's because Sam was reaching out to Dean and Bobby was slapping Dean upside the head for writing his brother off.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 00:34
I'm not sure I understand. Do you mean Sam was reaching out to Dean in 5.11 or in 4.22? I think Sam was sharing a revelation about himself with Dean in 5.11, and Dean responded by giving him advice on how to handle his issue--not particularly great advice, I think we can agree, but it is Dean's coping strategy of choice. As lala2 pointed out, Dean didn't discount Sam's feelings or denigrate him for having them--he was telling him he could handle it.

In 4.22, I didn't see any sign of Sam reaching out to Dean. As for Bobby, he completely dismissed Dean's justified feelings of anger in 4.22, denying that he had a right to any reaction at all. I personally don't for a moment believe Dean was going to write Sam off forever, but he was entitled to have a moment of hyperbolic hurt there. Bobby completely ignored that, telling him that only Sam should matter and his feelings did not. While Dean understood where Sam's anger came from and validated its causes, Bobby gave him "Family's supposed to make you miserable." I don't see how that's comparable.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-20 00:37
Oh and the words weren't quite that kind. I could remember exactly so I looked them up "So what if you are. What are you going to do? take a leave of absence? Are you going to say yes to Lucifer? What?! Then you take that crap and bury.Forget about it Because that is how we keep going that is how we don't end up like martin."
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 00:43
I didn't say Dean held his hand or handled things perfectly. He didn't call Sam names, however, and he didn't tell him he wasn't entitled to his anger. He was giving Sam advice on how to handle his anger so he didn't go crazy, and it is the way Dean was coping with his depression. So I stand by my assessment of the conversation.

I still don't see how that's worse than "Boo hoo, princess! Family's supposed to make you miserable!" Bobby went much further than Dean did in 5.11--not only did he basically tell Dean to keep his issues to himself, he ridiculed him for having issues with Sam in the first place. Again, it might be a matter of perspective, but for me Bobby's speech was definitely worse.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-20 01:08
Ok now you are going to think I'm terrible. But I just rewatched the scene (I have to much time of my hands right now that's clear) And after watching I was going F@CK YEAH BOBBY.
Dean was giving up and saying he wasn't sure if Sam was ever really his brother. And Bobby tried to talk calmly to him a first, but we Dean said that he lost it. Gotta say I'm on Bobbys side on this one.

Bobby said “I know you’re pissed and I'm not making any apologies for what he’s done but he’s your-“
D Blood. He's my blood is that what you were going to say
B He’s your brother and he’s drowning
D I tried to help him and look what happened
B So try again
D It’s too late.
B there is no such thing
D NO! Bobby damnit. We have to face the facts Sam never wanted to be part of this family. He hated this life growing up. Ran away to Stanford first chance he got. Now its like déjà vu all over again. Well I’m a sick and tired of chasing him. Screw him. He can do what he wants.
B you don’t mean that
D Yes I do Sam’s gone. I’m not even sure if he is still my brother. If he ever was.
B You STUPID STUPID son of a bitch. Well boo hoo. I so sorry your feeling are hurt princess. Are you under the impression that family is supposed to make you feel good, make you an apple pie maybe. They’re supposed to make you miserable. That’s why they’re family.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 01:16
No, I don't hate you. I simply don't agree. Dean talking out of hurt does not mean to me that he was completely giving up on Sam. I don't think that this is an attitude he would have held for very long, so I think he would have snapped out of it and reached out to Sam soon enough, because that's who Dean is. We've seen it time and again.

But since Dean wasn't moving on Bobby's timetable, Bobby felt justified to completely ignore Sam's actions and pile all the blame on Dean. He starts by saying Dean has a right to be pissed, but it doesn't matter because Sam's the most important thing here. When Dean doesn't agree and continues to express his hurt, in an admittably hyperbolic manner that I think is pretty normal for someone who has been hurt to the level that Dean was, Bobby loses it and completely dismisses Dean's right to have any feelings whatsoever about the situation, because family is supposed to make you feel bad and you should go running up begging for more.

So yes, I feel that was a lot harsher than what Sam got in 5.11, and reading that only confirms my feelings that Dean handled Sam's feelings/issues a lot better than Bobby did.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 01:45
Though now that I think about it, Bobby in this episode is quite comparable to Dean in The Mentalists. Sam was gone longer than Dean was apart from Sam in 4.22 and didn't want to take Dean back at the beginning of that episode. Dean let Sam work through his feelings, which appeared to be passive aggressive, and then Dean laid the tough love on him (without even calling him a name!). Sam realized it was family's job to make him sad and appropriately apologized for not reacting correctly to being lied to, which isn't even as bad as being strangled so he really overreacted. I'd always found that speech OTT for Dean, but now it becomes clear--he was channeling Bobby's tough love, which means he was right. Did you see it that way, too?
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 01:48
All right, that was teasing. I apologize. I'm getting punchy, so it must be time to take myself to bed. Thank you for the discussion.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-20 08:26
Sam was important at that time because of what he was going to do..normally when one of the brothers is feeing down, hopeless or dense the other tries to reduce what the former is feeling that was one of the times when Sam was going to do something monumentally stupid and Dean had the golden may be only chance in stopping it ..the priority at that moment was stopping Sam and not exactly Sam himself.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-20 07:30
The speech still bothers me, Kelly. I really agreed with Dean's point about being tired of chasing and running after Sam. He'd done that his whole life and was "done" in that moment. He was upset. Sam had almost strangled him to death, and then left him on the floor so he could hang with a demon. At some point, you can't stop a relative from making a bad decision. He tried. Sam wouldn't listen. He didn't feel like trying again.

The part that most bothers me is the final part of the speech. That's where Bobby, IMO, conpletely trivialized Dean's feelings and insults him. I'm sorry but Sam literally put his hands around Dean's neck and began to strangle him. Dean was already on the ground so that was completely unnecessary. Whose feelings wouldn't be hurt in that instance? Who wouldn't be upset?

Bobby is also a hypocrite because he was surely acting like a "whiny princess" around a re-souled Sam, blaming Sam for something Soulless Sam did and having the nerve to tell Dean that dome part of the "real" Sam wanted him dead or some other such nonsense! Did Dean "boo hoo" him? Or call him a "whiny princesss?" No. Dean respected Bobby's right to feel the way he felt but didn't want Bobby treating Sam like crap while poor Sam would be clueless as to why Bobby suddenly didn't like him anymore or was uncomfortable around him. Bobby acted like Sam was getting away w/something b/c he couldn't tell Sam what Soulless did. Why would he want to? Was he itching to make Sam feel like crap or something? It's not like there was anything Sam could have done about it at that point anyway? Bobby is a hypocrite!

Plus, I'm not sure Bobby's words even motivated Dean. He was zapped away to the angel waiting room shortly after that conversation. There was nothing to do there but think. Emmau's right in that Dean wasn't going to "give up" on his brother. He was just upset at that moment in time, and IMO, he had every right to be.

I also disagree that Dean's words were mean to Sam in SI. They were literally running from the asylum when Sam stopped to discuss his (contrived, sudden) inexplicable rage (that only lasted that one episode). Can you tell I didn't like Sam's arc in Season 5 of basically being wallpaper? Dean was in a rush to leave but still wasn't disrespectful of Sam's feelings, IMO. Like I said, he was exasperated and wanted to know why Sam was telling him this stuff and if it meant Sam was planning on giving up. When Sam assured him he wasn't, Dean gave Sam the advice Dean takes: bury it and keep it moving. He didn't say Sam had no reason to be angry or that Sam was being selfish for his feelings or that Sam needed to grow up and quit whining over his lot in life. He didn't trivialize Sam's feelings like Bobby did.

Now, Emmau, I know you said you were tired but I just wanted to throw out my disagreement with Dean in 7.07. Sam was upset, and Dean had no right, IMO, to try to control that amd put it on his timetable. The problem w/TM, of course, is that it was never really made clear why Sam was upset. Was it b/c Dean lied or b/c he felt Dean didn't trust him? Who knows?
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-20 08:38
Sam strangling Dean was bad...what about Dean punching Sam in the veritas episode even when he was un concious?
I never blamed Dean for that action as i understood why Dean did what Dean did and where he is coming from and Same with Sam strangling Dean as Dean's words only were enough at that moment..
Again i maintain at that moment from Bobby's view point it was necessary to Stop Sam and the only person who was remotely capable of that for him was Dean and if Sam waiting for something from Dean was any indication he was right..Should Dean not feel hurt? yes he should
. after all he is human..but at that moment they had to stop Sam because that went above and beyond Sam's pride and Dean's hurt....
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 09:18
Honestly, anonymousN, the only way I got through the soulless Sam arc was to completely dissociate robo-Sam from the real Sam, to the point where they weren't even the same person to me, or else I would have spent half a season hating Sam and I didn't want to do that. So for me, in the Truth episode, Dean wasn't beating Sam into unconsciousness --he was beating down the monster who used him, allowed him to be turned into a vampire, and indirectly lost him his family. Since this monster, robo-Sam, didn't sleep or apparently feel pain, I didn't really have much of a problem with it. I realize it doesn't work that way for everybody, but that's how it worked for me.

I do understand that in 4.22 that Dean was probably the only one who could have gotten through to Sam, and so he had to be the one to go after him. But that, to me, doesn't excuse trivializing Dean's justifiable pain and hurt at a year of being lied to and finally strangled. The fact that the strangling is never brought up again and is only covered in a blanket "I'm sorry for everything" only makes it worse. Again, your perspective may vary, and that's fine.
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-06-20 11:03
To be honest I wish they had never done that strangle scene it has caused nothing but strong feelings towards Sam and for me it was a unnecessary scene esp as we saw Dean then rolling around on the floor like he had been shot.It also took away from the intial fight and Dean's words and part in the whole thing.

Sam was not in a good place that should of been the focus at that point but the moment that happened that all went out the window .I know some love season 4 but the way Sam was written harmed that character no end.It took away from Sam's fears and pain in WTLB,s it was a horrible scene and created such bad feeling towards Sam.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-20 11:52
Yes we view situations differently,for me souless Sam was not Sam but a part of Sam and i questioned Dean beating Sam after he was unconscious because it was questioned as to why Sam strangled Dean after he was down,I said i understand that part.I can never hate Sam or even Dean if he was in Sam's situation.
Bobby did not trivialize but prioritized at that point.At that moment stopping Sam was necessary.The strangling translated to Dean not trusting Sam for better part of season 5 ,may be not the strangling in itself but whatever happened in that room so it was there in the undercurrent for me
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 12:02
I know intellectually that souless Sam was a part of Sam, but did bother me so much it helped me cope with him to dissociate him from that character completely. Otherwise it meant some part of Sam was culpable for soulless Sam's actions, and that was too much for me. I realize my coping strategies are not other viewers' coping strategies, however.

That's right--Bobby prioritized stopping Sam over Dean's issues, and maybe he was right to do so. But it could have been done without trivializing Dean's issues, and it is my belief that he did. I agree that a lot of the pain and loss of trust Dean suffered throughout S5 happened because of 4.21. Dean did his best to bury it, and one could attribute that to both Dean's personality and Bobby basically telling him he had no right to be mad because family's supposed to make you miserable. I doubt Dean would have shared much, but this for me is another one of those moments where the "Boo hoo, you have no right to have issues" speeches might have worked short-term but in the long run don't help and possibly make Dean's issues worse. Just my opinion.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-20 13:24
I disagree that Bobby trivialized or atleast i didn't get that feel also for me what Bobby told was family was meant to make you miserable not that he should not have issues but to focus on what was important .Long term it did make dean's issues worse but it was not Bobby who had to make amends but Sam and dean among themselves.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-20 13:26
Also i do not know whether you were referring to me about coping with SS .For me it was not about coping but just what they told SS was and i took it as it was no coping was needed for me
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 13:35
Well, I think this is one of those agree to disagree moments, then. Telling Dean that they don't have time for his issues because there are more important things to think about is trivializing them to me. You're right that Dean and Sam's issues are between Sam and Dean, but that doesn't change the fact that Bobby wasn't helpful to Dean personally or in the long run Dean and Sam's reconcilation by dispensing that advice. To me, that is not an inconsequential thing.

I'm sorry I wasn't more clear. I definitely needed coping strategies to deal with soullless Sam, because I disliked him quite a bit. I recognize that not every fan felt that way and thus did not need to cope with having him on screen. Again, different perspectives, and that's fine.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-20 15:14
Yes ,because Dean's issues were infact trivial when compared to world ending or atleast the possibility..ye ah i think we have to agree to disagree..nice talking to you goodnight
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-20 12:15
Dean’s beating of Sam in YCHTT was ridiculously excessive, IMO, and supported my theory that Dean has anger management issues! I disagree w/those who say Dean knew Sam wasn’t his brother. That’s not true at all. All SS said was that he didn’t “feel” it anymore. He said that he hadn’t “felt” it since he returned from Hell. For all Dean knew, Sam could have been cursed or a spell could have been cast on him. He had no clue Sam was w/o his soul. He was angry about Lisa/Ben and “Sam” so he took his frustrations out on Sam’s face!

That was beyond excessive to me. I hate that scene, esp. since SS seemed quite sincere in his plea for Dean’s help. One punch to knock him out would have been fine but the 15 punches to the head was really excessive! I’m surprised Dean didn’t beat SS into a coma.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 12:30
I'll agree that the beating was excessive. I fully agree that Dean had had nothing but frustration and pain since the beginning of the season, and when presented with a target that the truth goddess there said wasn't human, therefore wasn't his brother, he unleashed. I'll agree definitely that Dean has anger issues. I don't believe for a minute that soulless Sam was sincere. He was perfectly fine doing whatever he wanted and being soulless (which is why his half hearted commitment to being resouled never rang true and his murder attempt on Bobby did.). He knew he'd been found out, so to speak, and to me seemed to think that Dean thought he was a monster because of what the truth goddess said (not what soulless Sam said) and might kill him. But Dean didn't.

And let's be real--if it was possible to beat someone into a coma on this show, both Sam and Dean would have been dead from head injuries a long time ago.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-20 14:06
I’m just saying it was a little much for me! Even though I love horror, I do not like realistic portrayals of violence, esp. excessive violence. I’m okay w/slasher flicks but “real violence” squicks me out. Dean punched him way too many times for me. And for the record, it is hard for me to watch Lucifer pummel Dean in Swan Song for the same reason.

While Dean may not have beat Sam into a coma, I think we can agree that he beat Soulless Sam into unconsciousness !
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 17:33
Oh, I agree it was excessive. I'm not sure I would count this show as showing real violence, because like I said, Dean and Sam would have probably been dead from head injuries years ago with all the knocking out they've experienced. But I agree, it is hard to watch Sam and Dean beat each other that way.

I agree that Dean beat soulless Sam into a coma, but I disliked soulless Sam intensely, so I have to admit it didn't bother me as it would have if it had been fully souled Sam.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-20 19:05
When I speak about it being "real" to me, I'm actually referring to the visuals, not the actual consequences from the act. I don't like seeing people repeatedly punched in the face or on or about the head. I will cringe and think, "Stop already."
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 19:12
I understand what you're saying, and I agree. It's pretty uncomfortable to watch.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 09:25
Oh, I agree, really, lala2. The Mentalists was a messy end to a messy, badly written arc. The entire Amy issue was badly done, a bald attempt to insert melodrama and conflict into the boys' relationship with little thought put behind it. At the time, I was just happy to see it was over, but at the time I did think that very odd that the writers didn't even allow Sam to voice his issues. They just had him run away, refuse to speak, and then affect an air of passive-aggress iveness. Even after Dean's outburst, he still never spoke about his issues re: the Amy situation. Dean's sudden outburst speech was not only unlike him (I stand by saying he suddenly turned into Bobby there), it didn't address any of the trust issues Sam might have had at that moment. It was wrong. The ending sequence suddenly pinned all of Dean's issues on lying to Sam, when it was clear before and after that episode his issues stemmed from various other things. So, again, I agree The Mentalists was a mess of an episode for both Sam and Dean, capping off a mess of an arc that's probably best forgotten as soon as possible.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-20 13:53
Emmau, I do hate The Mentalists. That episode didn’t resolve any of the earlier conflict btw Sam and Dean. I also hated Sam just capitulating to Dean’s POV b/c it made the entire drama even more pointless. What was the point if Sam didn’t have any resolve re: his feelings? If one obnoxious speech by Dean could sway Sam’s opinion, then why did he go missing for a week? Was Sam just be pissy for no reason? I don’t believe so, but that may as well have been what happened!

Since Sam is the one who was so angry, we should have gotten his POV about why he was so angry, and why he hadn’t contacted Dean in a week. We should have gotten “better” story. TM was a horrible episode to wrap up an equally horrible, pointless story! And as you said, I don’t think Dean’s issues had anything to do w/lying to Sam.

There was no depth to the story! It was very shallow!
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 17:31
I agree completely. It was a poorly done arc from start to finish.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-20 11:02
The words were being cut off when I type so I posting further the board. Then I need to go get stuff done. Cause I've been a total slacker.

I guess the physical fight for me wasn't the heartbreaking part of that scene or from what I could see for Dean. The were both beating the crap out of each other and didn't have as much control because of the DB and went too far. But if he'd intended to kill Dean he would have. Dean seemed more upset about the fact that he left. Which makes since to me since they're in a job where they get tossed around all the time. But choosing Ruby that hurt.

So for me the heartbreaking part of the argument and then Sam leaving. And Dean said some horrible things. Sam did he didn't think Dean was strong enough to take on Lilith, but since the only reason Sam was strong enough was because of the DB. I didn't think that was really a blow to Dean.

But Dean called Sam a MONSTER. Even when he knew how much being called that killed Sam in Metamorphosis and how he'd feared it for years. The he loved the most in the world basically said he was evil. When in Sam's DB soaked brain he was only trying to save the world and Dean. From his addled point of view why would he stay.

So from my POV, in this case, Dean needed a slap upside the head. Especially when he was going on about how Sam never wanted to be with him and how he wasn't really he brother and had never been. I was getting pissed. I know he was hurting too. But like Bobby said, Sam was drowning and was going off to very possibly getting himself killed. There was no time to get stuck in his pain and misery. As much as he might deserve too. So yeah still with Bobby on this one.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 11:20
I'll agree that the fight was awful on both sides. Sam nailed Dean on not being strong enough to take on Lilith, which he knew was a trigger point for Dean after S&V, and Dean called Sam a monster (though he did stop himself from saying it initially and only followed through upon Sam's prodding). So to me, they're even there. They both said something they knew was hurtful to the other.

The physical fight between them was rough to watch but we've seen the boys fight before. For me, it is the fact that Sam, stronger with demon blood, not only beats Dean but stops to strangle him. Saying if he'd intended to kill Dean he would have doesn't make it better, because for me I would understand it more if it had been a heat of the moment, hopped up on blood action and when he realized what he was doing, stopped.

I don't think we can specify exactly what upset Dean--I'm sure leaving and choosing a demon over him was a big part of that. I don't think I can say that the strangling didn't come into play at all, but maybe it didn't. I can say as a fan it is an issue for me. On the other hand, it's easier not to feel sympathy for Dean if you just look at some of the things said/done to him and say, "Oh, well, that didn't bother him."

I really don't understand how you can say Dean deserved the right to get stuck in his pain and misery, that he was hurting, but still say he had no right ot his reaction because Sam should come first. That's basically saying you acknowledge Dean had a right to have a human reaction, but you're mad at him for having one. But to each their own.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-20 14:36
Kelly, I basically saw Dean calling it like he saw it. Sam was consciously drinking demon blood and consciously tapping into his “demon-givenâ € powers to do stuff. Sam was not, IIRC, laying the blame for his actions on anyone but himself. He said he was acting the way he wanted and doing what he wanted to do. Sam said he was choosing to drink demon blood and possibly b/c a monster. I’m not sure how else Dean could have interpreted Sam’s actions. Plus, don’t forget, Dean was crying before Sam punched him in the face. Dean didn’t want to call Sam a “monster,” but that’s how Sam was behaving.

I had no problem w/the physical fight. But like Emmau pointed out, Sam CHOSE to strangle Dean when Sam had clearly WON the fight. Dean was on the ground, defeated. There was NO reason for Sam to walk over to him, bend down, and then began to strangle him. None at all. Maybe if they had still been fighting, it wouldn’t have been so bad or if it looked like Sam had lost his head for a moment. I agree w/Sharon. That scene never should have been included or Sam should have specifically – on-screen – apologize d for what he did or mentioned it in some way in Season 5. I’m not one who was “on the fence” about Sam, so while I was not happy w/Sam’s actions, I never started hating him or anything. Those on the fence just hated him afterwards and still do. Those who already hated him, their hate only grew by leaps and bounds after WTLB.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-20 18:13
emmau, You're right just because I didn't think there was weak just because it wasn't strong enough to take on Lilith doesn't mean he didn't considering the year had it's definitely a possibility. I personally think Sam wasn't trying to hurt him. He was just worried about him (this was before the fight when he was trying to get Dean to go w/ him and Ruby). Dean had already died once because on her.

There's no way of knowing what Dean felt about Sam strangling him. Dean's never brought it up since and he has brought up everything else that happened then so that was just my take.

And I definitely feel sympathy for Dean. He had basically raised Sam. Had gone to hell for him. He had Sam back every second. And he'd gone there to save Sam from himself and Sam beats the crap out of him and then leaves. I definitely felt for him.

But there was an urgency to the situation with Sam and Dean simply didn't have time to wallow in the pain like he had every right to do. If I had to live 1 day of there lives I would curl up in a fetal position for a month.

The thing is (and I'm just speaking for me) often when people respond with kindness when your hurt or upset. You give into the pain. Several times there were moments I was shaky but making it and someone asked me how I was doing and I lost it. I'm not saying Dean would have started sobbing right the in Bobby's living room. But he was clearly heading down a path of unproductive and not even realistic thoughts (never been my brother my ass).

If Sam hadn't been headed towards a suicidal mission, my guess is that he'd have let him stew and THEN pushed to go find Sam. But they knew Sam was going to take on Lilith. If Sam had died without Dean trying to reconcile he would never have forgiven himself-even though he wasn't too blame and I'm sure Bobby knew that. And if Bobby wasn't such a miserable old bastard I'm sure he could have found a much less grumpy way of saying that. But IMO Dean responds well to tough love. He is uncomfortable with the touchy feely approach.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 18:34
I can agree that Sam might not have thought he was saying something terrible to Dean, though how he wouldn't realize that given Dean's reaction to S&V I can't be sure. Dean clearly doesn't respond to being treated as unneeded.

No, we don't know how Dean felt about being strangled. My personal theory is that the PTB knew they'd gone a step too far and never wanted to bring it up again. I think it did rebound on Sam with fans, because that did stick in fans' minds and the fact that it was never answered for was a writing choice fans take out on Sam.

I'm sorry, but I was confused. When you say that Dean had every right to feel the way he did, but then tell me that you were angry at him and thought Bobby was right to scream insults at him, I don't know how to reconcile the two.

Now, I'm willing to agree that Dean responds to tough love. When people deride him, he does whatever he thinks is necessary to please them, which is a pattern that I suspect started with John. That doesn't make it a good thing for him in the long run. As I've said before, all of the "You're pathetic" speeches haven't helped Dean's self-esteem/sel f-worth issues one bit over the long run.

I think we've seen Sam use not a touchy-feely approach, but a calm, matter of fact, listen to me because I care about you and you need to hear this approach with Dean in episodes like 2.4 and 3.7, and it was just as effective as any "Boo hoo how dare you have issues" speech in getting results--no insults or derogatory name-calling required. I would understand and respect that a lot more, quite frankly.

I understand the urgency of the situation, but I stand by my opinion. The way Bobby handled the situation made it quite clear that Dean's issues were trivial in the face of Sam's, and he had no right to them. In fact, they were never addressed again, except through a blanket apology from Sam in 5.1. No one gave Sam tough love or any criticism about how he'd treated Dean, and Sam himself never specifically addressed how he'd damaged their brotherhood. In the end, the message was Sam was the only thing that was important. Yes, it was possibly life and death, but that doesn't mean Dean deserved to be treated as a second-class citizen in their brotherhood by Bobby. We can agree to disagree, of course, but that's how I see it.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-20 19:44
I was NOT angry at Dean-frustrated yes. He was sitting there telling Bobby that Sam didn't want to part of there family and that Sam was never his brother. I know he just had a fight with the guy, but Bobby was right to figuratively knock him upside the head for that.

Sam had made a lot of mistakes that year. But he'd also done a lot for Dean as well and all the other years before that. They have one horrible fight and he's ready to write Sam off, as Sam goes to die. So yes I am very frustrated with Dean in that moment (because I'm sure it would have eventually passed. Of course it likely would have been to late to do anything but it would have passed). But I can of course understand WHY he was hurt and anger, for all the reason I listed above. The two feelings aren't mutually exclusive.

About the tough love. We just see Dean's response to it differently. I know he has self esteem issues but I personally don't think the come from Bobby, even partially. I think most comes from his dad, who had an extremely high standard for Dean. And put him in charge of Sam's behavior even when Sam was an adult. So to some extent I think Dean thinks when Sam fails he fails. Even if rationally he knows that's not true. He was having self esteem issue long before hell, but when he broke and started torturing he saw that as a complete failure IMO, that's when he started having all the "weak" issues. Especially since the person he patterned his life after, John, didn't break even after a hundred years. I'm sure a little comes from Sam in season 4, but other then the fight and S and V, Sam really has never been unkind to him IMO-tell me if I forgetting something. No wait fight in Scarecrow and whammy in Asylum. But almost all that was long before Bobby's this tirade.
Quote:
I think we've seen Sam use not a touchy-feely approach, but a calm, matter of fact, listen to me because I care about you and you need to hear this approach with Dean in episodes like 2.4 and 3.7, and it was just as effective as any "Boo hoo how dare you have issues" speech in getting results--no insults or derogatory name-calling required. I would understand and respect that a lot more, quite frankly.
Yeah, but that was SAM. Dean responds to Sam saying something much differently than if Bobby or anyone else said it. And Bobby was trying to do that and Dean was waving him off.

I think will probably just have to agree to disagree on Dean's reactions to Bobby.

"No one gave Sam tough love or any criticism about how he'd treated Dean, and Sam himself never specifically addressed how he'd damaged their brotherhood."

Actually Dean handed out something extremely painful shots in 5.1, 5.2, 5.4, 5.5. Then he threw away the amulet in Dark of the Moon, basically telling Sam their relationship no longer mattered to him. In PoNR, he said he just didn't believe in him anymore and that he thought he would say yes to Lucifer because he was too weak.

Others put the totally responsibility for the Apocalypse on his shoulders ALL season long. There wasn't too many mentions of their brotherhood, because really why would most of them care.

And I'm sure if Sam had gone to Bobby and complained about Dean in anyway, I'm sure Bobby would have let loose. But Sam was barely saying anything non-work related to anybody that year. In fact, 5.5-5.11 the only time he reached out to talk was when Dean told him to shove everything down so they could do their job. Then nothing again until DSOtM when Dean yelled at him for having the wrong heavens (which he had no control over and were probably manipulated by Zach) and then threw the amulet away. And 6 episodes later he was jumping into the cage for almost 200 years.

Not than Dean had a great year either in any way, but I don't understand when people say there were no consequences for Sam.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 20:51
I apologize for misunderstandin g. I thought you had written that you were mad at Dean for his reaction, but there is a distinction between frustration and anger so I better understand. Sam made many mistakes that year, and they had many fights—only one was physical. I’ll agree that Dean behaved as if he was ready to write Sam off, but we both agree that this almost certainly would have passed quickly. So frustration I understand—be lieving he was deserving of belittling treatment is the point at which we part ways.

I don’t think that Dean’s self-esteem issues come from Bobby, but I don’t think Bobby does anything to improve upon them. We all know Dean has many issues that stemmed from childhood and grew worse as time went on. John can be traced to the source, but he is not the only contributor. Similarly, John is a primary source of Sam’s issues, but others have certainly added to his issues, including Dean. It is my view that every speech that basically tells Dean he’s pathetic for having issues adds to his feelings of inadequacy and general unworthiness. Things were made worse by hell, and it’s my feeling that when you know someone is suffering the aftereffects of a trauma you don’t pile on the judgment and make that person feel worse for having those feelings.

I’m not going to make any comment on the times either Sam or Dean have been unkind to each other, because I feel that has the potential to go to a Sam vs. Dean place. Not necessarily between us, but I’ve been on message boards where conversations like that explode. No reason to bait the hook, so to speak, so if you don’t mind I’m going to leave that point alone.

My point in bringing up Sam’s way of dealing with Dean is not to say that Bobby and Sam should react the same way to Dean (well, maybe . . . ) My point is that it seems to be accepted that “tough love” is the only way to get through to Dean, and I think Sam is proof that it is not.

I misspoke, and I apologize. I meant to say that no one gave Dean any tough love or criticism on Dean’s behalf about the way he treated Dean or how Sam damaged their brotherhood, the way Bobby stuck up for Sam at the end of both S4 and S5. Bobby’s given Dean more than one speech about how he’s not being a good brother. I don’t see any equivalent statements being made on Dean’s behalf.

I never said Sam faced no consequences in S5. I simply said that no one confronted him on Dean’s behalf, and to me, Sam never directly addressed the mistakes he made in his personal relationship with Dean. I feel like his feelings of guilt re: releasing Lucifer were the focus of his redemption arc of that season, and since I didn’t blame him for that, I found it rather unsatisfactory. Again, I’m afraid responding point by point will lead to Sam vs. Dean territory, so I’m going to avoid that and stick with the discussion at hand, if you don’t mind. If there’s a specific point you’d like me to address, please let me know.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-20 21:51
Quote:
I’m not going to make any comment on the times either Sam or Dean have been unkind to each other, because I feel that has the potential to go to a Sam vs. Dean place. Not necessarily between us, but I’ve been on message boards where conversations like that explode. No reason to bait the hook, so to speak, so if you don’t mind I’m going to leave that point alone.
I'm definitely with on that one.

I guess I misunderstood your regarding Sam's consequences. Sorry. Dean DID call him all the damage he did to them several times and I think several people made comments about betrayal or something but I the only one I can remember is The Nutcracker game in CC, Sam was asked about choosing Ruby over his brother and Gabriel made a comment about brother's betrayal when comparing them to Michael and Lucifer.

But I think the only Bobby would even care about his betrayal unless it could be used to get Dean to say. I do think if it Sam had said anything about Dean or whined about what was happening he would have completely gone off him. But like I said, Sam wasn't really saying anything to anybody.

Talk-about-our- feelings Sam went completely withdrawn. He did try to apologize several times to Dean but Dean got really angry and cut him off.

Also, as weird as it sounds, Bobby wasn't as close with Sam, so unless Sam said something I don't think Bobby would bring it up. He just didn't have the talks with Sam like he did with Dean. Grumpy or not. They talked about cases. But before season 7, Bobby and Sam didn't have any talks by themselves really.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 22:03
Thank you for your understanding.

I do remember the comment from CC, but to me it hardly counts, as it was in Japanese and neither Sam nor Dean had any idea what was said. I don't remember Gabriel's comment about betrayal in comparing them to Michael and Lucifer, but it sounds probable. Did Gabriel actually reference Sam's past behavior, or was he simply referring to their respective vessels? Did Sam actually respond, or is it one of those Dean and Sam exchange a look and nothing ever comes from it moments?

I can't help how I feel, and I do feel if Dean deserves to be screamed at and denigrated by Bobby re: his treatment of his brother, Sam should have been gifted with the same. If this is the benefit of being close to Bobby, I would have readily handed Sam that tie, as it seems toxic half the time.

I remember Sam trying to apologize to Dean twice in 5.1 and getting cut off. I don't remember Sam broaching the subject again, but I could be wrong. I also remember the apology he made was, "I'm sorry. For everything.", which just didn't give me what I wanted. I agree that Sam became withdrawn after that, and show never specifically addressed what Sam was doing to repair the damage to the bond. I think narratively, that was a problem for me because it did put the onus on Dean to grant forgiveness rather than on Sam to prove himself, as he said he would do in 5.4. This is not Sam's fault, of course, as it was a writing decision, but I still find myself underwhelmed in terms of Sam's redemption arc in S5 because I do think they showed Sam addressing the seal side much more than the betrayal side. This is just my perspective, though.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-20 23:43
Frankly, I feel Kripke broke something - the brothers' relationship - that he didn't quite know how to fix or wasn't very interested in addressing all the issues the trashing of the relationship created.

I agree with Kelly in that Sam spoke to no one about his feelings for most of Season 5. He tried to express things to Dean in the premiere, and he confessed his desire for DB in 5.02 but that was it. He was inexplicably angry in that one episode but I can't recall any other confessions. Sam's voice was silenced in Season 5 much like in Season 4.

Sam is NOT, and has never been, close to Bobby so Sam never talked to him. He couldn't talk to Dean. He and Castiel aren't friends so Sam had (and still has) no one. He has no friends or allies outside of Dean. Lately, Sam keeps his thoughts and feelings to himself. He's wallpaper.

I agree with Emmatu in that Sam never specifically apologized fir the stuff with Dean. That's the regret I wanted to see. That's the apology I wanted to hear but I didn't get it, which goes back to, IMO, Kelly's point about Sam talking to no one. We didn't get Sam's POV so we didn't get those apologies, etc. Kripke stopped seeing Sam as a character and more like a plot point or the motivation for further Dean angst.

"While Sam may have feelings about almost killing his brother, his starting the apocalypse is way more important." that's how I think Kripke & Co. thought. There has to be a reason why nothing emotional about Sam is ever explored. Why the audience is seldom treated to how Sam feels about the crazy things that have happened to him?
Nita
# Nita 2012-06-20 23:59
Quote:
Sam is NOT, and has never been, close to Bobby so Sam never talked to him. He couldn't talk to Dean. He and Castiel aren't friends so Sam had (and still has) no one. He has no friends or allies outside of Dean.
That is what I had thought about several times during the show. It made more sense then that he became close to Ruby. But I felt bad for Sam because two important supporting characters seemed to care more about Dean than him.
I am also inclined to believe that Kripke saw Sam's character as more of a plot point than as a real character who had his own POV and who had someone else other than Dean.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-21 08:07
I definitely think Kripke stopped exploring Sam's emotions along the way. Some have said that since Sam usually has the mytharc, he can't also have the emotional arc. I think a well-written show could achieve both.

To me, the first season achieved this. Kripke admitted to "forgetting" that John was Sam's father as well in Season 2 so we didn't get much of a reaction after ELAC.

Plus, the whole idea that John was willing to kill Sam was never properly explored. How in the world did that make Sam feel about John? They already had a strained relationship. I know now Sam probably thinks John was right given all he's done but who knows?

I also think Sam's plan in TSRTS was interesting. Mary said she couldn't leave John because she was already pregnant. I always wondered why Sam still didn't insist on the plan or tell her the problem wasn't Dean but him. I think Sam would have said that, and it would have been a nice little emo moment.

I'm not sure why Kripke lost all interest in the emotional side of Sam. Sera, the supposed Sam girl, didn't have much interest in that side of Sam either. Sam shouldn't be treated as a plot point or something for Dean to angst about. He's a character in his own right and should be explored like the other characters. Bobby and Castiel - side characters - got more exploration in the last few seasons than Sam!
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-21 09:13
I agree that a well-written show should be able to give two leads both an emtional storyline and an action storyline, so to speak. For a long time this show has had an issue with that. Sam gets the mytharc to the point where some fans view him as just a plot point (I don't, but I understand how some might), and Dean gets the emotional plotline (which became completely stagnant because there was no resolution to any issue) and no connection to the mytharc/overall story. It doesn't seem like it should be that hard to give them both emotion and mytharc. I will further agree that last season seemed to completely miss the mark with both boys--Castiel and Bobby both had more active/relevant emotional and mytharc storylines seen through to resolution than the leads! (Not that this is Castiel or Bobby's fault, but seriously.)
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-21 00:56
You know I would kind of like for these issues to be brought up again next season, if it fits within the seasons storyline. Although I might be in the minority on that. But it just seemed to me that with all Dean's trust and monsters issues this would be a good time to resolve some of the remaining things from the past.

I think Sam would like to opportunity to build able to completely rebuild the absolute trust they once had. Don't get me wrong I think all Sam has done since season 5 SHOULD'VE proved to Dean he could be trusted.(I don't count Robo-Sam that's wasn't Sam, although Dean could easily still have issues regarding that time). But with all the Dean's been through with Sam and Cas, he's having a hard time dealing IMO.

Dean seemed distant in S7 after episode 3 and he even said he was having a hard time trusting ANYBODY after Cas. And that was the reason he killed Amy, because Sam's judgment was compromised. IMO in season 2 or 3, he would have trusted Sam's judgment and warned her if she ever killed again he'd be back. I know many think it was a perfectly good kill and he was right to do it. But he didn't even talk to her himself to get a read on her or listen to her side of things. He just almost immediately stabbed her knowing she had a kid who needed her. With a kid involved, I think he normally would have taken more time to considered if nothing else.

I think maybe he has written off anything supernatural and that somewhere down deep he has included Sam in this and it's eating at him. Because he seemed to trust Bobby when he was alive, despite saying he didn’t trust anyone. But once he knew for sure he was a ghost he pretty much wrote him off too. BOBBY. I don’t know. Dean reminded me more of Gordon this season. If it’s supernatural kill it. And Gordon wanted to kill Sam and that was way before Sam had done anything.

So to me, with Dean being in purgatory with all the monsters, when he gets back would be a great time to revisit his issues with Sam’s inner freak. Either by being even more hard core and having to work his way back. Or having a greater understanding of them by whatever happened down there. OR coming back with some non human element that he has to deal with.

And I know you’re not going to like this but I want Dean to acknowledge what he did to Sam as well. Sam fully deserved a beat down after season 4. He deserved everything Dean said to him at the beginning of S5. But it kind of kills me that Sam possibly went to hell not knowing if Dean really loved him. I know that’s the complete EMO side of me coming out in me, because I wonder the same thing about John (see his Father’s Day post). AND Sam wasn’t quite as close to Bobby.

That is why the amulet still bothers me, when he tossed it, to me it was tossing their relationship. That happened only a few weeks before SS. He and Dean had been at such odds all season 5 and a lot of 4 too. They’d had kind of made up but as much as I love PoNR I thought the reconciliation little too short considering everything that went down. And they spent that entire episode saving Dean from saying yes and a few episodes later Sam has a plan to say yes and to jump in cage and no one tries that hard to stop him. Like I said, I think Dean agreed, because Sam wanted to redeem himself and save the world and he wanted show Sam he had faith in him again. (Having every intention of getting him out.)

But the complete emo side of me worries that Sam wondered if Dean was okay with it because he thought Sam deserved it. And because they were no longer what they once were, because again S1 Dean would never have let him do that. If so, Sam jumped in the hole thinking Dean didn’t really love him anymore but he did it anyway to save Dean and the world. And his only request was that Dean go live a apple pie life. That KILLS me. Because Sam spent the last year before Dean went to hell catering to his every whim and trying everything to save him. I know the circumstances were completely different but still-

I’m aware I spent the last few days saying that Dean showing up there was the ultimate sign of how much he cares and it was. I have NO doubt Dean loves him. But would SAM necessarily see it that way, after all he could be there to try to get to Sam to just save the world. It didn’t bother me quite as much when they were taking care of each other. But this season, they were more like friendly coworkers a good portion of the season.

So this season Dean basically said he doesn’t REALLY trust Sam. He killed someone who he’d called a freak, knowing that is how Sam sees himself (even though she was only saving her son by killing drug dealers. I kind of think S1-3 Dean would have killed a bus load of bad people to save Sam.) This went behind Sam back even though he’d just the episode before asked Sam to make him stone #1 and trust in that. Then proceeded to lie to him for the next few months.

After Sam found out he seem to stop trusting himself and just went along with Dean’s opinion. He went so far over to Dean’s way of thinking that he killed his niece without hesitation even though she was nowhere near Dean and also wrote Bobby off pretty much immediately. BOBBY.

SEE TOTALLY EMO RIGHT!

But my point is, with this book that no one will ever read because it’s too freaking long, is that this might be a perfect opportunity to deal with things Sam never said to Dean and things Dean never said to Sam. I would like Sam to take up his mantle of forcing them to discuss things, which he seemed to drop in S5, for better or worse. AND I want it all to fit into a great storyline. Is that really asking SO much? HA!
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-21 01:42
The tragedy of the last few seasons is that so many interesting issues/storylin es were brought up for both Dean and Sam and ended up going nowhere. I would love to see some of those storylines revisited and actually brought to resolution. Is it probably too late for some of them? Yes. For example, I think the ship has sailed on Sam rebuilding the trust they once had due to his actions in S4 (and I agree that it’s completely not fair to hold soulless Sam’s actions against him. But we can dream, right? (Not necessarily about that issue, but about dropped storylines.)

I hoped last year when they introduced the idea of Dean’s trust issues just overwhelming him after Sam in S4, Bobby in the beginning of S6 (I never knew why it wasn’t a bigger deal that he didn’t tell Dean Sam was alive for a year—that was horrible), and Cas at the end of S6. I thought that was a natural storyline for him, but in the end, like so many Dean storylines it was dropped, never to be heard from again. I should have known better, as dropped storylines has been the story of Dean for 3 seasons running.

They started wonderfully, because it made sense for Dean to be distant after 7.3 (when Sam, after suffering from mental issues in 7.2, took off, refused to talk to Dean, but then demanded complete trust from him) and kill Amy. I do think Dean would have been more receptive to Sam in S2 or S3, but by S7 not only couldn’t trust Sam’s judgment because of his hell damage but had it proven to him by angels and demons alike that trusting the supernatural always comes back to bite you. I’m not going to debate the Amy issue again, except to say that if she had the right to judge who was worthy of living and dying I think Dean just as much right to judge her. On the other hand, I would expect Dean to be more cautious about a kid, so that was concerning. Or rather, it would have been had the whole storyline hadn’t been a cheap ploy for angst and drama between the boys.

I will disagree that there was any sign that Dean included Sam among the supernatural and felt guilty about it. He stated clearly that he believed Sam was too close to judge, just as he was with his daughter in a latter episode. I think that is bringing the emo, in my opinion. I found the writing on ghost!Bobby to just be bizarre. First Dean was suspicious and Sam optimistic, and in the very next episode Sam was suspicious and Dean optimistic. Show couldn’t decide if they were playing by early season, middle season, or latter season characterizatio ns and ended up making a mess. Though I suppose it's comforting that both boys were given the chance to be right, considering how Bobby ended up.

I think Dean returning from purgatory would be a very interesting way to deal with Dean’s trust issues (as I don’t see any sign that Dean has Sam inner freak issues at this point—I think Sam still has freak issues and projects them onto Dean, but that’s my opinion). I think it would be interesting to see him come back hardcore or even feral, and have Sam be the beacon of humanity leading him back. Maybe that would also give Sam a chance to work on his freak issues, as well as seeing things from Dean's side while Dean gets to see them from Sam's.

Yes, I’m going to have to agree that the EMO side is pouring out at this point, because honestly, if Sam hasn’t figured out that Dean loves him despite everything I really don’t see any other thing Dean can do to reassure him. He came for Sam after their fight in 4.21. He stayed with Sam in S5, worked through his issues, and did exactly as Sam asked—gave his blessing to Sam sacrificing himself for the world and even arrived to sacrifice himself just so Sam wouldn’t be alone. In S6 he went against everyone’s wishes and saved Sam’s soul from hell, and he did his best to make sure the wall wouldn’t crack. When the wall did crackin S7, Dean was drowning in his own depression but still managed to find Castiel and save Sam’s life. Honestly, I don’t know what else Dean could possibly do to prove his love to Sam.

I think that’s why some fans get so frustrated—De an can’t win. If he didn’t allow Sam to jump in S5, he was a terrible, bossy, controlling big brother. When he did give his blessing, he didn’t fight hard enough (even if he did protest long after anyone else on TFW) and gave Sam the impression he didn’t love him. Either he stays his overprotective self and is a bad brother, or he lets Sam make his own choices and is willing to sacrifice his life to be with him and is a bad brother. There is no right answer there for Dean.

Now, this season, I’ll agree that basically Dean didn’t trust anyone. He killed a monster Sam didn’t want dead, despite the fact that she freely admitted to killing people (and we have no idea whom all she judged as “bad” and if they really were). He couldn’t trust Sam’s judgment, both because of his hell issues and because Sam was projecting his freak issues onto Amy. He did lie and go behind Sam’s back, and that was wrong. He wished Bobby to still be around, but once he was revealed to be a ghost, he knew he couldn't trust him. He didn't really trust Frank or Garth or Castiel. This was a big issue for Dean that show pretty much kicked to the curb, and I'd like to see it addressed.

Sam’s choices are his own, so I’m sorry but I don’t blame Dean for what Sam decides to do. He killed his niece because he believed she would kill Dean and that Dean was too close to the situation, just like he’d been with Amy. I had no problem with that. The Bobby thing was so inconsistent I can’t hold it against either of them, especially since Bobby did pretty much go darkside just like they’d feared by possessing a woman and strangling Sam. However, I will agree that I think since S4 Sam has been much more hesitant to trust his own judgment, made worse by the hell issues, and I think time alone while Dean is trapped in Purgatory might give Sam time to regain mroe of that self-reliant side. That would be great for him.

So, in short, I’d love for S8 to deal with Sam and Dean’s issues. I’d love for Sam to return to being someone who is willing to carefully push Dean into talking and be wiling to talk himself, which he isn’t always. I'd like to see him regain some confidence and self-reliance in his time alone. I’d like Dean to be able to work through some of his trust and self-esteem issues while fighting to survive in purgatory and dealing with its aftermath, so we actually get a stronger brotherhood, instead of the “See, they’re fine” patch we’ve gotten the last few seasons which has never fixed the problems. So, we agree!
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-21 01:57
Though now that I think about it, I don't know that we did see Sam hesitate that much in going his own way or pushing his viewpoint after 7.7. In 7.8, Dean wanted to go on their Vegas trip, and Sam went camping. In 7.11, Dean wanted to go to Frank and Sam wanted to go help the girl hunter, and Sam went. In a multitude of episodes following that, Dean wanted to concentrate exclusively on hunting Dick Roman, and Sam wanted to go on small hunts. They went on the small hunts. In 7.22, Dean wanted to go into the alpha vamps guns blazing, and Sam wanted to talk it out. They walked in so Sam could try talking it out. I think the boys had a lot of give and take this season, when you look at it. Sam wasn't meekly following behind Dean--after 7.7 they very much worked as partners.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-21 02:53
We do agree- mostly. I do have a few quibbles-of course.LOL.
With the Amy, I wasn't so much trying to debate the rightness or wrongness of the kill (although I can totally see how it looked that way-and I was against so probably subconsciously. ..) as I was trying to point out that even for Dean this was pretty hardcore, more like Gordon. Add to that to the kid and the trust issue it created and I think it shows Dean going a little dark. He didn't really even hesitate. Just gutted her.

About Dean including Sam among the supernatural, I agree there have been no obvious clues (and maybe I'm just creating the ones that I see). What I'm saying is that if Dean IS becoming more Gordon, whose view was that are no shades of grey when it comes to monsters, then what repercussion could that have on his relationship with Sam.

He was so distant through most of the season, even when Sam was dying , that like I said if this was the first season I watched I might think the were coworkers. Very friendly, know each other well but not too connected. Dean wasn't mean, he just didn't seem that invested. Now I thought Sam showed he was invested. To me he look completely panicked whenever Dean was in trouble but obviously that's a matter of opinion. Now it could just be bad writing but I'm kind of hoping there was a reason for this.

This next bit is what comes of not letting us inside Sam's head for the last 3 season (well except to show us how he was going crazy). With Sam I was more saying I could see after this last season, how some of those niggling doubts buried in there (buried because they never deal with anything) could resurface. Wondering if his crazy was one burden too many for Dean to deal with and that is the reason he checked out. Wondering if deep down Dean's still worried Sam will have to be put down because all monster's do. That's how a lot of hunter's think.

And I don't think Sam has much faith in himself at all anymore. So I do think he has been following Dean's lead when it comes to moral decisions. Because he did fail so badly before.

I wasn't trying to say Dean was wrong to let Sam jumped or that he should have argued more. I was trying to show the timeline in the weeks leading up to Sam jumping from Sam's POV and show that they had BARELY reconciled at all before.

Then there was Robo Sam and they had a very good months before the wall fell and now he could see himself as possible huge burden on Dean. With himself to partially to blame for Dean's depression and withdrawal.

Which I'm sure he is. Or at least his condition. But there has to be more to it otherwise he would have been a lot better after Sam was better. And he was a little better, but he was still not that engaged-so partially I looking for possible reasons behind Dean's funk.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-21 09:30
I wouldn’t expect the two of us to completely agree on everything, but it’s nice to at least have common ground, yeah?

I can agree that Dean’s dealing with Amy was like Gordon. You could also argue that Sam’s dealing with Emma was pretty Gordon like, but overall I do think Dean was returning to a more black and white mindset this year. Not that show explored the reasons why beyond a single line, but I do think it was the result of being bitten too many times by working with angels, demons, and the supernatural in general (and the fact that Amy was killing people--sorry, I couldn't help myself).

I again agree to disagree. We’ve seen no sign of Dean including Sam in the supernatural, and even when Dean was more black and white in S1-S2 he didn’t treat Sam that way. I don’t think that has any bearing on Dean’s issues at this point. I agree he seemed more distant in TBAI than he might have been in earlier seasons (though still determined to save Sam’s life), but Dean wasn’t particularly invested in anything at that point. His depression (when show remembered this “storyline” ) had brought on a lot of apathy about everything, but he was still there doing the job, watching his brother’s back, and doing whatever he could to help him.

I don’t know that I felt Sam was more invested than Dean. I think at times he showed concern (or just disapproving looks), but at others, he yelled things like, “I don’t care how you deal.” I think both Sam and Dean were victims of bad writing this year, and I think anyone picking with an agenda could find evidence against both boys if they were so inclined. I doubt there’s more of a reason than bad writing, honestly. Show itself didn’t seem that invested in Dean or Sam this year.

I agree that I don’t know how much faith Sam has in himself. I would also say I don’t know how much faith Sam has in Dean, considering the side glances and disagreements they’ve had this year. Sometimes on the surface they look fine, and others . . . . As I said in my second post, I really don’t see signs that Sam followed Dean’s lead any more this year than he has before. There are times Sam leads and times Dean leads. But I’ll admit that is perspective, and that I wouldn’t mind an emotional plotline for Sam in S8 exploring his faith in himself as he spends Dean’s purgatory time alone.

But again, that’s the paradox—Sam asks Dean to agree to him jumping but secretly is upset with Dean for giving him what he wants? There’s no way for Dean to win, and I hope that’s not how Sam was supposed to feel.

But Dean didn’t blame Sam for robo-Sam’s actions. He didn’t even want Sam to know about them, and he never blamed Sam for what robo-Sam had done to him. Now, could the stress and pain of those months have worn on Dean and deepened his issues? Absolutely, but there is no sign that Dean held any of that against Sam—in fact, we have his word that he doesn’t. So yes, Dean is depressed and has issues, but that doesn’t mean they’re all about Sam, in my opinion.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-21 10:53
Yeah I was probably over-thinking, per usual, esp when it's late and I'm getting tired.

Probably Dean's depression and withdrawal are exactly for the reasons they seem. 7 years of taking hit after hit, Sam's betrayal, having his brother be soulless (because even not blaming Sam it definitely wreck havoc in Dean's life), losing Lisa and Ben-putting their lives at risk, Cas betrayal having to save the world from ending several times now. And Cas bring down Sam's wall just was just one blow too many. The only thing is I've known some people who were extremely depressed and even if they could working up concerned for they're own well being they were able to for others. In fact, one guy I know actually got better for a while because helping her helped take his mind off his own problems. I guess that what I thought would happen with Dean. I figure if there was one thing that could motivate him it would be almost losing Sam (And obviously he did find Cas to save him) but we agreed he was less invested. But not everyone reacts thing same when they're depressed so its probably just that.

I just would have expected them to try to bring that to some resolution this year, if its not supposed to be a storyline next year.

The "I don't care how you deal" line is when the things I saw as Sam's near panic to have Dean stay alive. Basically saying drink, have random sex, do whatever motivates you to keep going but you HAVE to stay alive. As much as Sam hates Dean's self-destructiv e behavior, if that is what got him through the day, he didn't care because he couldn't lose him. Sam of the past would have forced him to talk, but this Sam was starting a downward spiral. I don't think he able to process anything in that moment but don't die.

I didn't really see Dean being THAT b/w in 1 and 2, in Bloodlust he let Lenore go. He'd start to go to far and Sam would talk to him and reign him back in. Dean was even the one defending Andy in Simon Says despite all the evidence against him, I think mainly because he refused to accept that Sam might be on some evil path. But this Dean is much more like Gordon, who wanted to kill Sam. That's where that whole thought process comes from.

But again probably over-thinking. And probably because I hate the b/w approach to hunting. I liked when they asked it what they were doing was right.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-21 11:22
I understand what you're saying, but I also agree that I don't think every person suffering from depression reacts the same way. I think Dean spent years dealing with his issues and coping by helping others. He flat-out stated that was part of his motivation in 1.2. This year, it just stopped working for him, because I think his failures, or perceived failures, blinded him to any good he'd done, making him wonder why he even bothered. But still he continued hunting and trying to save people, because it was the right thing to do. I can't fault him much for that.

I really never thought they were going to resolve Dean's storyline this year, because they haven't resolved any of Dean's storylines for a long time now. They've left the emotional trauma light flashing over Dean's head for years, because 1) Jensen is very good with emotional trauma and 2) show can't seem to come up with anything to do with Dean. If they actually resolve his "storyline", they literally seem to have nothing else to do with him. In that way it was similar to what happened to Sam this year. Show is so used to having "What's wrong with Sam?" push the storyline that this year, when they bit off more than they could chew with the hell damage after they pretty much set it up to be fatal in S6 they had no idea what to do with him. As lala2 said below, I'm not sure there's much reason to go into deep analysis about this season, because I think we're honestly putting more thought into it than the PTB did at times.

I can see how the "I don't care how you deal" line was supposed to be an off-shoot of Sam's panic in that episode, but it still seemed odd to me. Several episodes before this we had seen Sam giving Dean looks and commenting about his coping method of choice, drinking, so I'm not sure where this sudden nonchalance was coming from. But if I'm to credit some of Sam's inconsistency and lack of focus on Dean on his spiralling down (which I can readily do), I think Dean deserves the same pass with his depression.

I think we saw Dean struggling with the black and white issue in S1 and S2. By his own admission, in 2.3 it was his instinct to kill all vampires, and only Sam was able to pull him back. Dean becoming more black and white might make him more like Dean, but it is, in my opinion, a Grand Canyon sized leap to say that means he somehow started viewing Sam as a monster or something to be hunted.

Look back to Nightmare and 2.5, for example. Dean was ready to kill Max, who despite having a sob story was killing people (just like Amy). But in 2.5, Dean was ready to give Andy every benefit of the doubt because 1) he was starting to see more shades of gray and 2) he knew Sam was so strongly associating himself with him as a Special Kid. He really wanted Andy to turn out to be okay, because then Sam would see that he wasn't doomed. I agree that he wanted that proof for himself as well, but he also wanted it FOR Sam, who again was projecting the other "freaks"' actions onto himself. This is something Sam does, and Dean was trying to help. I don't think that should be held against him.

I am not a fan of the black and white approach to hunting, but I think a lot of that has come from the writing. To me, show has taken on a very nihilistic tone in the last few seasons. Angels are the same as demons, humans are just as monsterous as humans, there's no good, just bad, so what's the point? Kill them all. Think about how little focus Sam and Dean have had on the PiP the last two season. How many have died? How many ended up being bad people we didn't really care about anyway? Sam and Dean killed humans doing wrong this year without so much as blinking an eye, let alone monsters. I think in the last several seasons all the good and purpose have been sucked out of hunting, so it's pretty much nothing but killing evil, not saving people. That, to me, is where show has really gone wrong.

I don't mind shades of gray, but show has pretty much gone all black. Trusting the supernatural has always turned out to bite them in the end. The world wants to commit suicide, and the people within in it aren't any great loss. One of the themes this year and last (sporadically) is that there's no escaping your nature. Dean doesn't believe he can escape being a killer. Bobby the ghost couldn't escape becoming an evil spirit. Angels, demons, monsters, Amy, etc, couldn't escape their own murderous natures. Sam couldn't escape the wall coming down. Only in the finale did destiny get bucked when the boys were able to take down Dick, and that really only happened because Crowley (following his nature) set them up. I'd like there to be a little more white in Supernatural's mostly black and bleak outlook, and I'd like there to be a little more care for saving people rather than just killing the next evil thing and moving through the ineviteable misery that is their lives because they have no other choices.

Well, that was a lot. But I'll stand by it.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-21 11:25
Dean becoming more like Gordon. See, this is what happens when you climb up on your soapbox--the typos just sneak in there.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-21 12:07
Yeah the show has gone pretty dark. I would like to see them saving people too.

I agree that Dean didn't have much of a storyline this year, although oddly they focused a lot more of the one he didn't really have. Than they didn't on Sam who did have one, but they just didn't do much with it really. Hopefully they'll both have a really good storyline next year.

I must be coming off hard on Dean with you because you keep mentioning blame and holding things against him. Other than the disconnect with Sam in big moments. I thought Dean was doing amazing well considering all he's been though. And that he was still pretty adorable all the time. I love both brothers.

Even when I thought he was being a complete ass in parts of S5, I understood his reasons. But I didn't really fully understand his disconnect with Sam this season and it bothered me. Because he did work up anger and panic when Bobby was dying but not when Sam was, even though he saved him. My other thought that maybe he was more suicidal than he let on and if Sam died he'd have no reason to hang on anymore. So his response lacked urgency because if Sam died they could both move on.

But like I said I was just over thinking all of it.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-21 13:18
I think that would be one of my main prescriptions for fixing what's ailing this show right now--lighten up! Things are so dark that saving people has pretty much dropped off the radar, as has hope. I loved Sam's "Hope is kind of the point" from Roadkill. Somewhere along the way show lost that, and I'd love to see them find it again.

I'll agree to that--show spent a lot of time highlighting and then beating Dean up for his issues this season without every really exploring or doing anything with them. They spent a lot less time than they should have with Sam's issues (which I at least partially blame on the fact that they wrote themselves into a corner by making his issues so dire-sounding the year before), and then resolved them haphazardly. In fact, did you notice they dealt with Sam's crazy issues by handing them off to Castiel and Dean's alleged revenge issues to Bobby? This season's handling of the boys was painful, it really was.

Honestly, yes, to me you did come off as pretty harsh on Dean, but then I fully admit to leaning towards Dean so it's natural for me to want to defend him. I didn't get the sense that you liked him, or that you thought he was doing much right at all. I'm glad to find out I was wrong.

I will completely admit to Dean has his moments of being an ass. He's certainly not perfect. I understand why his disconnect with Sam bothered you, even if you understood it. I understood Sam's actions in S4, even if they did bother me. I do think it's easy to get down on either boy, but it's important to remember that they've always had good intentions.

I think, if show put this much thought into it, Bobby's death was really the last straw for Dean. His last support was really lost then (I know Sam wanted to support Dean, but mentally he wasn't in the right place and he's just as not as practiced with being the care-taker as Dean is due to his little brother status. That is not a criticism to him because neither is his fault, but they were hinderances). I do think that he was determined to save Sam, but he saw himself as failing his family so many times I don't think he had much faith in his ability to help Sam anymore. I do think that if Sam had died, Dean would have followed quickly afterwards, probably in suicide by hunting Leviathan. But he didn't give up while Sam was alive, and he did save him.

This season was enough to drive any fan crazy, in my opinion, and trying to figure it out could twist anyone up.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-21 10:10
Kelly, there is no doubt in my mind that Sam knows Dean loves him! None at all. Dean agreeing to Sam's plan in SS erased any doubt that Sam may have had that Dean didn't trust him. dean rescued Sam's soul, and Sam thanked him for that.

Season 7 is an anomaly. I don't think the lack of closeness btw the brothers had anything to do with Dean not trusting Sam or Sam being unsure of Dean's love. The season was written horribly after 7.03. The writers decided, for some unknown reason, to isolate the brothers to their own stories. That's why we didn't see Dean asking about Sam or Sam asking too much about Dean. I'd love to believe there was a larger goal or purpose to it, but I don't. The writers have proven themselves to not be that forward thinking or to have longterm goals in mind. For some reason, this season was just bad in terms of direction and characterizatio n.

Not to return to that awful Amy drama, but I don't think Dean killed her because he didn't trust Sam. I saw Dean disagreeing with Sam re: killing Amy as he has done numerous times before. Dean stopped debating Sam after Sam's big speech about being a freak and accepting it. Dean does NOT see Sam as a freak or monster. He never has, and that's why he tends to forget that Sam associates the word "freak" with himself. When Dean saw how upset Sam got, I think he just dropped it and decided not to argue with San anymore about it. That was my take on the Amy situation. I honestly didn't see it being about Dean not trusting Sam's instincts, etc. I saw it more as Dean not wanting to fight with his brother about a "freak" when said brother self-identifies as a fellow "freak" who controls it like Amy. I was surprised they went a whole different route with it. At the end if the plot, I wasn't sure what it was about.

In any event, I just think it's hard to take anything from this season, Kelly, and try to analyze it or make it mean something. The writers were all over the place and seemed to have no ultimate goal for the season or the characters. Sam's story wasn't fully explored. Dean's story was left unresolved as usual. It was just a bad season - for me, the worst season of Supernatural.

I honestly think the brothers are in a good place in their relationship.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-21 11:09
Yeah lala2, you and emmau are both probably right. I was my overthinking what was very probably just bad writing. I kind of would of liked this to be linked to the storyline next year and was forcing it.

Dean DID say though he was a monster in their big fight and he told him in Metamorphosis that if he didn't know him he would want to hunt him.

I have to be right on SOMETHING. LOL.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-21 11:28
Yeah . . . when I was typing that Dean has never thought of Sam as a freak, I did think about WTLB and almost qualified my statement. LOL!

Here I go - I do think Sam's psychic visions scared Dean a great deal in Season 1 b/c Dean didn't know what was happening to Sam. But while he was worried about Sam, I don't think Dean began to view Sam a freak.

I think Sam saw himself as a freak before AHBL, but after that episode, I think he really saw himself as a freak b/c of the demon blood. I know that's why he didn't tell Dean b/c Sam thought it would confirm - for Dean - that Sam was a freak/monster.

In Metamorphosis, I think Dean was very angry and upset w/Sam for hanging w/Ruby and using his powers. I don't think he saw Sam as a "monster" yet b/c he knew Sam. Dean said he would hunt Sam IF he didn't know Sam. But then Dean made some really hurtful comments to Sam about Sam being able to relate to Jack b/c Jack has something evil inside him like Sam. I do think Dean backed down from those thoughts after Sam's speech about why he was using the powers.

Fast forward to WTLB and Dean is implying that Sam is a monster if Sam is willingly and voluntarily going down this path. Again, I think Dean was more upset w/Sam's choices than a genuine fear or belief that Sam is a monster/freak.

It is all very interesting though! And there's nothing wrong w/a good analysis. I liked reading your thoughts and hope you enjoyed mine :-)
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-21 12:23
I absolutely enjoyed your analysis! And I'm glad you don't think I'm COMPLETELY off my rocker. LOL.

In S6 I had no worries that there was in lingering issues on Dean's side. Maybe a few deep deep down with Sam, just because the reconciliation happened so fast and most of the s between them weren't mentioned. But Dean's was so happy to have his Sammy back, that IF he had any that would reassure him.

But with trying to figure out a reason for both their behaviors this season, I drove myself a little crazy. So really it's the damn writer's fault. HA!
LEAH D
# LEAH D 2012-06-21 17:34
Hi Kelly,Emmau, and Lala2,
Just wanted to pop on and say how much I have been enjoying your comments the past few days! Very lively and intelligent discussions, sometimes from opposite sides of the fence, but always respectful and civil. Much appreciated.
Gwen
# Gwen 2012-06-21 18:13
Kelly,Emmau, and Lala2 - I'd just like to say that I've also been thoroughly enjoying your discussions these past few days. :-)
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-21 19:20
AWWW. That's so sweet. Thank you both. I've
enjoyed them too. I love to hear others POV's
so if you have any thoughts you'd like to share
about whatever. I'd love to here them.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-21 20:35
That goes for me as well. It's always interesting to hear what other people think, and debate can be a lot of fun! Feel free to join in anytime!
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-21 20:51
Me three :-)

Thanks, Leah and Gwen! This debate has been a lot of fun for me as well! Please feel free to chime in at anytime. The more the merrier!
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-21 21:00
Kelly, you are most definitely NOT off your rocker! Hahaha! I completely understand your desire to make sense of the odd characterizatio n of the boys this season. But I think you nailed it w/the bad writing.

I really do wish more thought had been put into Dean's and Sam's storylines this year, esp. Dean's. He has been depressed in some form or fashion since Season 2. He's been disillusioned w/hunting since Season 4. I just want him to find his passion for hunting again. I want him to enjoy hunting the way he used to. I want him to get back to the "family business" of "saving people, hunting things."

I know this is the Sam article, and you can't measure my level of disappointment w/his story, but Dean has been in a holding position for years now. They keep pulling form the "Dean's depressed" bag for his stories.

I guess I'm even more sad Dean didn't get a good story b/c we spent FIFTEEN (or more) episodes on his arc only to leave it unresolved! That's ridiculous. Sam's had a great beginning, non-existent middle, and horrendous end.

So much more could have been done w/both boys' stories.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-21 21:22
I definitely think both Sam and Dean got the shaft in terms of story this season, albeit in different ways. Nobody's off their rocker for having trouble figuring out exactly what the writers were doing with Sam and Dean this season.

So little was done with Sam's storyline it was nearly criminal, in my opinion. In terms of Sam's storyline, 7.2 was the highlight, and it all went downhill from there.If you set up such a dire set of circumstances in S6, you can't really go with a "I've got Lucifer in my head, but it's cool" from episode 3 to 15. Then your big dramatic ending is to . . . transfer his issues to an angel. Somehow. Honestly, that never made sense to me at all. To add insult to injury, when Mark Pelligrino was allowed on screen to show us what Sam was going through, he acted more like an annoying kid than the scariest demon/angel in existence. By 7.17, I was ready for someone to just smack Lucifer upside the head and tell him to stop being such an obnoxious brat. That's not the reaction I should have been having. It was just a fail all around.

And lala2, I cannot second your comments here enough. Dean's been nailed with the emotional trauma storyline since S2. They never resolve it--occasionall y they make it worse, but nothing's ever fixed, because then Dean wouldn't have a storyline the next season. This year, they spent a lot of time telling us what we already knew--Dean's not in a good place mentally. Periodically we got someone to berate Dean for being depressed, and that's . . . pretty much it.

I think everyone can agree that we hope Jeremy Carver can do better by both Sam and Dean in S8.

(And I know this is the Sam thread and we've talked about Dean, but to be truthful I feel like the conversation has jumped from thread to thread so much the last couple days I have no idea where I'm posting most of the time.) :oops:
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-22 12:11
I put my reply on the bottom of Dean's article,
since this was all about him and I was running
out of space anyway.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-20 08:18
I think Dean had to be Sam's brother so that Sam had the strength to tame lucifer.Being Sam's brother was what was required from Dean to save the world in Swan Song Same as for Sam going to hell was necessary to save the world..the main goal was saving the world with minimum casualties and not who gets to say yes in the process ..At the end it was the brotherhood i.e Sam being Dean's brother and Dean being Sam's brother that saved the day..That is what i thought after seeing Swan song and to this day is one of my most favorite episode..
Sam told Dean one of the reason's why he went to Ruby was Dean's bossiness and that blame which was put on him he redeemed by going along with Sam's plan and not once again bossing Sam...
Supernarttu
# Supernarttu 2012-06-20 07:39
I'm sorry, not trying to start anything with this comment, but do you actually think that it was the 'car' that got to SamLucifer in SS?? That if the Impala had just sat there on the cemetary, and the sun had gleemed from the right angle on the window, that he'd just been able to wrestle back control?!?! From the Devil? Sorry, but that's just ridiculous to me.

The Impala was their home, yes. But the flasback that SamLucifer had was a HUGE sign that it was DEAN who made that home. Without him, it was just a piece of metal on wheels. I can never ever see that scene as anything but DEAN saving Sam. And talk about courage, taking on two archangels with a car and a kickass attitude.

It was the power of love that saved the day (and the world).
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-20 07:56
Completely agree w/you, Supernarttu! Sam had a rush of memories of his brother, not the car or anything else! Sam was able to wrestle control from Lucifer b/c of his love for Dean!

Great post!
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 08:56
I'm just quoting Kripke when I say that. He did an interview after Swan Song, and when asked about Dean's role in Swan Song, his answer was, "Of course Dean was important. If he hadn't been there to deliver the car to the cemetery, Sam couldn't have saved the world."

Now, on one level, I'm sure he meant that the Impala triggered the memory of Dean and home and family, etc., just as you've described. On another level, it's hard for me to ignore the fact that the show creator, writer of at least the teleplay of the finale, flat out stated that Dean's role in the finale was to get the Impala to the right place so the sun could gleam in the right angle and trigger the memories, and that his physical presence there meant nothing. Anyone could have delivered the car and triggered the memories, according to Kripke, and that, for me, is quite problematic.

I understand miles may vary, though.
Nita
# Nita 2012-06-20 09:52
Kripke's words need not be taken literally. Sure, the Impala was important, but the Impala is their home and it's synonymous with Dean in a sense. And whatever Kripke said we cannot forget how it actually played out. Lucifer was hitting Dean and Dean was bleeding profusely, and then Sam looked at the car and the memories of Dean and him came flooding back. So it was Dean who was the trigger, not the Impala. That is how I see it.
Supernarttu
# Supernarttu 2012-06-20 10:11
I'm not so sure on how to take his words. Knowing press, it could've been taken out of context or he just chose bad wording to what he ment. Because that was not what I took home from that scene.

And besides, what happens on screen is much more vital to me than what the writer/creator says about certain eppie. Sure, I like watching and listening the commentaries on episodes but that does not make me change my mind about said eppie. I still think that the car was useless, unless Dean was there. He couldn't just pop there on the cemetary and Sam just "flipped a switch" and was himself again. It had to be more angsty and drama driven. There had to be blood. It would've been quite dissapointing to have Sam take back the control at the mere sight of Dean. I think that scene was as big a sign to him as it was to us, of what the car stood for: Dean. It was all about his brother. And I wouldn't want it any other way :)

Plus Kripke loves that car. He wanted to make it a part of the story, since the car 'is' their home, has been from the start, so I thought it was a very sweet and touching story from start to finish. And did not take the credit for saving the world. Or maybe as a shelter for Sam and Dean, maybe as a symbol of their love and loyalty. Their brotherhood.

But naturally, opinions may wary, some people hate that episode with the fiery passion and I'd like to change their view but sadly I know that I can't. I just wish that all fans could see it the way I do, it was a celebration of family (with the saddest ending). The power of love, as corny as it sounds.
Nita
# Nita 2012-06-20 10:25
One more thing. If the car had been "delivered" by someone Sam could not have got those memories just like that. He may not even have looked that car! Now imagine Dean coming without the car. He would have gone straight to Lucifer, trying to get to Sam inside. Lucifer would have attacked him, and the Sam inside would have been affected. Just looking at Dean's face could have brought back a flood of memories. The Impala was a fictional device, a symbol, that's all, something that had a dramatic impact. A visual aid for viewers.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-20 10:12
I hadn't heard that quote. But are you sure he wasn't just being flippant. I noticed he had a tendencies to get defensive and snarky when talking about SS.

I wholeheartedly agree with most the posters here, it was Dean not the car that Sam connected too. I think Dean saying I'm here Sammy. I'm here. Was seeping through to Sam and then he saw the toy soldier and FLASH. Both boys saved the world with help from Cas and Bobby.
Alice
# Alice 2012-06-20 10:35
I was in the Comic Con press room when Eric Kripke talked about Swan Song. Below are his EXACT words. I got a recording of the whole thing. BTW, this is one of the most popular articles ever to run on this site, "Eric Kripke Defends Swan Song"

-------------------

This is Eric's exact words at one of the press tables when asked in a roundabout way if Dean's role was diminshed in the finale:


"Everything can be open for interpretation. Far be it for me to tell fans what they think of the show is, it’s for them. I can just tell you what it meant to me. This show has always been about family from page one to page five thousand. It’s never been about one brother, it’s been about the relationship between the both of them. For me it’s like a ying/yang thing. Salvation of the planet depended on both of them acting equally. And had Dean not decided to sacrifice himself and go to be with his brother because of the love and relationship between them trumped all. Had he not learned to do that, to forgive his brother and love him over the years of training and learning experience of the show, then he would have never gone out there and Sam would have never seen him, never would have seen the car, and he would have never had the strength to take over his body and save the world. So to me, that’s a two man alley oop."

(Question) He played the role he was intended to play.

Yeah, and one he would have never done in the Pilot but learned to do in the finale. To me that's what it's all about. But people, you know...as long as they're watching they can think whatever the Hell they want.


http://www.thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/archive-articles/33-con-reports/10378-eric-kripke-defends-qswan-songq-not-regrets.html
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 11:05
Reading the quote again, two years out from being initially annoyed by the finale episode, leaves me with mixed feelings, I'll admit. I think in the rush of instinctive reaction, things can look quite differently than they do later on. I can agree that Kripke was pretty defensive by this point (his Chuck avatar speech about endings being hard was proof enough of that), and this was his answer to Dean fans who did (and some still do) see the finale as sidelining Dean. I frankly have never believed that the Dean of the first season who loved his brother wouldn't have come for Sam in the finale. Dean has had no problem sacrificing himself for Sam at any time in the series, so honestly, I think Kripke was blowing smoke there in saying that Dean took some kind of journey in the series, when he really ended up being pretty much the same guy he was at the beginning--the loyal, loving brother. And that's okay, because that's the Dean I love, but yeah, that part of the quote still annoys me. It wasn't some big momentous moment in their relationship for me, because this is always who Dean was, and if Kripke didn't think so that makes me sad.

I understand that Kripke loves the car, but I still don't care for its presence getting equal billing with Dean. To me, the quote still very much reads that way. But I do see that Kripke did intend for it to be a two man effort. I do think he meant that Dean was the basis for the memories and love that gave Sam strength. I'm not sure how effective it was for me, but I do see his intentions, and that's something I'll have to think about more. It doesn't make it a great episode for me (the Lucifer-Michael talk-off remains painful) and it doesn't for me excuse the fact that most every episode after this never acknowledged Swan Song as anything but Sam saved the world and never acknowledges Kripke's "two man alley oop", but I see where he's coming from. I'm glad to have read it again. It doesn't completely change my mind, but it does make me less annoyed with Kripke for ending his 5 season plan this way, so thank you.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-20 11:26
Quote:
I frankly have never believed that the Dean of the first season who loved his brother wouldn't have come for Sam in the finale.
That's not how I took that. I took that to mean that the Dean of season 1 would never have let Sam sacrifice himself. EVER.

About the car. My family teases me about the fact that I love the Impala even though it's a gas guzzler.(I try to be green) I jokingly respond "Well it did save the world. It gets a pass." But I don't think anyone seriously thinks the CAR saved the world. Dean and Sam both were necessary components. The impala was their home but the trigger could have just as easily in my view been the amulet (if Kripke was sick of it and had Dean chuck it in the trash-stupid Kripke). The association to Dean and a lifetime of memories was what mattered.

I going to disagree with you on the non credit. Cas mentioned it in TMWWBK and this season when they were talking about saving the world again they were talking collectively. There might be other times I don't remember.

Now I REALLY do have to go get things done. What a slacker.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 11:37
That's not how I took that. I took that to mean that the Dean of season 1 would never have let Sam sacrifice himself. EVER.

Well, that would have made more sense, honestly. But I don't think that's what the quote from Kripke says. He said that if Dean hadn't learned to forgive and love Sam correctly over the course of the show, he wouldn't have sacrificed himself by going to be there for Sam. I just don't believe that's true, so for me that part of the quote still doesn't work.

Oh, I agree that generally it's not believed that the car saved the world. But the trigger was the car, not the amulet, not Dean himself, but the car. I am working on concentrating on the fact that the car is a connection to Dean, though.

I don't remember any times personally, except for the vague comments from Cas you mentioned, and for me that doesn't stack up against the "Sam saved the world" quotes I remember. But we can agree to disagree.

Good luck getting things done, and thanks for your time in the discussion. I've enjoyed it.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-20 11:59
Cas mentioned it on the show ..More over Lisa gave Dean and only Dean credit (some one correct me please if i am wrong)..The quotes you saw were of Fans not on the show i don't remember someone on the show solely crediting Sam for that
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 12:09
I remember Dean crediting Sam alone, more than once. I don't remember Lisa giving Dean credit for saving the world, but I could be wrong. But if she did, good for her. I like to think someone who cared about Dean acknowledged to his face that he was instrumental in saving the world/stopping Lucifer. that's a nice thought.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-20 13:31
I don't remember Dean crediting Sam,I know i am being lazy but do you remember in which episode just that i have only till season 5 with me i watched others online sad that i don't have season 6 with me..
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 13:50
I'm sorry, but I cannot give you specific episode numbers right now. I do remember when Dean was arguing to save Sam's soul that Sam saved the world, how could they leave his soul to be tortured? Indirectly, I remember Dean getting on Castiel's case about not answering Sam in 6.3 because Sam "took one for the team" and deserved respect. I can't do better than that for you, but I certainly think that it indicates that Dean does consider Sam a hero for 5.22.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-20 14:34
Thank you.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-20 20:05
I remember Dean saying that too. I think it was in the Third Man, not positive. Yeah Dean definitely gave the credit to Sam, but it's Dean. It not like he's going to brag about that moment, it was one of the worst in his life. He might not even see himself as a hero for what he did, but that doesn't mean he's not.

I think lala2 already answer the Lisa thing.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 20:56
And honestly, I would be happy if show had balanced the scales by having Sam credit Dean the way Dean credited Sam (I'm not sure why Dean's gratitude/high opinion of his brother is not relative to the discussion).

Instead, Lisa is the one to give credit to Dean. I have a whole host of opinions on the misbegotten "storyline" that was Ben and Lisa, but she did try to build him up and make him feel better for at least a few episodes before the hatchet job in YCHTT. Would I have preferred the words to have come from Sam, Bobby, or Castiel? Sure, but this was the bone the PTB threw Dean, so I'm afraid I have to take it.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-20 21:14
Sam was soulless at the time so I can understand why he didn't give credit to Dean.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-20 21:18
True enough, but Sam wasn't soulless after 6.11. Look, I'm not really blaming Sam (or Bobby or Castiel or anyone else) here. I do cast a side-eye at the PTB, however. I accept that mileage varies.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-20 23:19
True but Sam didn't boast or brag about stopping the apocalypse either. Neither brother is the type to "toot his own horn."

Honestly, no one was talking about the apocalypse anymore at that point. I'm not sure why it would have been mentioned by anyone at that stage in the show.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-21 00:12
I'll bow out after this, but I never said that Sam boasted or bragged about stopping the apocalypse. I'm not sure how that germaine to the discussion. My point was that I do remember characters, including Dean, pointing out that Sam saved the world, which is symptomatic of the PTB's paradox re: Swan Song. Kripke credited this as a two man effort, but to me, this was not how the situation was viewed within universe. It wasn't mentioned much, but to me, Team Free Will was not credited with saving the world more often than they were, and that is my issue. Again, I fully understand that my perspective is not everyone else's, and since I feel like we're going in circles I'll step away from this particular debate with a let's agree to disagree.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-21 08:34
I wasn't accusing you of saying Sam bragged or boasted about his role in the Apocalypse. I was just giving my opinion on why Sam never mentioned it.

When Sam returned, I just feel like no one was mentioning the Apocalypse anymore. You're right in that Sam could have said thanks for showing up at that cemetery, but the writers had moved on. To be honest with you, it never registered with me. What I mean is the fact Sam never thanked Dean did not bother me, but it would have been a nice scene. I think we both can agree on that!
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-21 00:37
It has never balanced scales and that is okay,POV ,Focus of myth arc,third person praising for saving the world (Only Dean mentioned about Sam saving the world ),and many more..it is just how the show is..do i feel sometimes it was unfair yes now not so much...because it is 40 min show (i hoped always it was double this length Ha Ha )
I will tell you why Lisa's credit is huge for me...She was not there at Stull she came to know about it later and the way she says it it was like only and only Dean was responsible where as for Sam there was no one for such an exchange so my issue is more about Sam not having any such character
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-20 15:00
You're right about Lisa. In EOMS, she says, "Well, if a guy who has basically saved the world shows up on your doorstep, you know he's going to have problems" or something to that effect.

Lisa did not credit Sam. Lisa had some sort of inexplicable, irrational hate toward Sam - a man she NEVER met! Didn't she say Sam only made Dean miserable? And that Dean was better off when Sam was "dead?" Lisa was a miserable witch!
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-20 14:57
Quote:
I frankly have never believed that the Dean of the first season who loved his brother wouldn't have come for Sam in the finale. Dean has had no problem sacrificing himself for Sam at any time in the series, so honestly, I think Kripke was blowing smoke there in saying that Dean took some kind of journey in the series, when he really ended up being pretty much the same guy he was at the beginning--the loyal, loving brother. And that's okay, because that's the Dean I love, but yeah, that part of the quote still annoys me. It wasn't some big momentous moment in their relationship for me, because this is always who Dean was, and if Kripke didn't think so that makes me sad.
I couldn't agree more w/you! I've never read the comments before, but I must say that - while I enjoyed SS immensely - I'm thrown by Kripke's comments re: Dean. As you said, it's like he wants to say Dean had to come to a place where he loved and accepted his brother . . . . but Dean's always been at that place. LOL! The Dean of Season 1 would drive to Stull Cemetery just like the Dean of Season 5 did. The Dean of Season 8 would. Any Dean would. LOL!
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-20 11:09
Now that sounds exactly like what I took from SS. I have no problems with that.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-20 11:56
Me too
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-20 14:50
Interesting . . . I agree on some points - the main one being that the show is about family b/c that's how I've always viewed it - but disagree that the Dean in the Pilot wouldn't have sacrificed himself for Sam. Yes, he would have. I'm not sure what Kripke means by that. We learned early on the lengths Dean would go to to save his brother.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-20 18:23
No of COURSE Dean would sacrifice himself for Sam-regardless of the season IMO. But I truly read that as meaning that Dean would NOT have let SAM sacrifice himself, regardless of the circumstances in season 1. In fact, since he did sacrifice himself in season 2 I don't how he could possibly mean that.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-20 19:16
Oh, that makes more sense! If that's what Kripke meant, he didn't express himself very well - at least not IMO.

Here is the confusing part to me: "And had Dean not decided to sacrifice himself and go to be with his brother because of the love and relationship between them trumped all. Had he not learned to do that, to forgive his brother and love him over the years of training and learning experience of the show, then he would have never gone out there and Sam would have never seen him, never would have seen the car, and he would have never had the strength to take over his body and save the world."

Had Dean not learned what? To sacrifice himself and love and forgive his brother? Huh? I'm like: Kripke, what are you trying to say? I understand why some (many) were confused by his comments.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-20 19:56
No. I think the learned part was just learning to forgive and trust him. Because it would take a lot of trust on Dean's part to think Sam was strong enough to overcome Lucifer, especially since it entailed drinking DB, something Dean always distrusted.

Yeah maybe Kripke could have said it better. But I kind of think people should give the guy a break. It's not like he was reading off a cue card or had a speech memorize. He was speaking extemporaneousl y in a press room.
Supernarttu
# Supernarttu 2012-06-20 16:02
Well, now reading his actual words and I definitely don't see it as "Impala saving the day". I still see the episode as I've always seen it. I think a lot what he says can be taken as not literal, so it just depends on who reads it I guess.

To me it just solidifies what I've always known :) Yes, my bias of loving the ep is showing, but I don't really care. I think Eric was very sweet and honest and even though I agree that no matter which season, Dean would've been there for Sam, I also think that Kripke was talking about Dean letting Sam go. The Dean of earlier seasons, couldn't have done that (and didn't do it). If you love somebody set them free. Even if it means hell. And that is the biggest sacrifice Dean made. Out of love and respect.

But I like that Kripke said that people are entitled to their opinions and will have them no matter what he says. I kinda got the impression that he knew he couldn't please everyone. If some people thought it was crap, no matter what he'd say could change that.

And let's be honest, the fandom can be a bitch and has been quite bitchy to him for a long time. I could never ever hate him for creating this show and these characters and all the great episodes he's written. I personally dislike the hate he's got from "us". But again, opinions, free country and all that.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-20 18:53
Good post, Supernarttu, but I do think Season 1 Dean would let Sam go if Sam really wanted to go. He did it in the Pilot as well as in Scarecrow. Dave gave Sam his blessing to leave and told Sam he was proud of him. Sam even recognized that Dean was saying good-bye to him.

But I do agree that Swan Song was about the family. Heck, the entire show has been about family to me. I love SS. I thought it was a great episode.
Supernarttu
# Supernarttu 2012-06-21 14:32
Oh, sorry if it got confusing, but I actually meant as "letting go" that Dean wouldn't have let Sam sacrifice himself in earlier seasons, let him die. And go to hell. I'm 100% certain that he could not have let Sam do that, it was against everything he believed in. Even if Sam had wanted to do it earlier, I bet he would've pulled the older brother -card or try anything to stop him. I think it's their familial roles at play. Sam the little brother and Dean the older brother who was more than a brother, a parent even, and parents prime directive is to keep their kids safe. But there will be a day when said kids grow up and step in to their own. And while I do think that Dean loved and respected Sam and considered him an adult and an intelligent and independent person, he still saw that snot-nosed kid that he raised. It's hard to get out of those roles. Just like Sam was so used to Dean always been there for him, he had to learn that it's a two-way street. And not to take his brother for granted. And stop fearing that Dean would leave him. It's been a big learning experience for both, but I think they show's done a pretty good job of portraying that, atleast that's what I've gotten out of their relationship.

Until this season naturally, which has been one big WTF moment when their stories have gone nowhere fast or they've acted in a way that has had me scratching my head in puzzlement. This season they were just off.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-20 14:44
I agree w/Nita and Supernattu. What matters to me is what plays on screen and how I interpret it. I don't really care what the writer intended or what the writer hoped to convey.

No matter what Kripke said, I, personally, don't see Dean's role as limited to driving the car to the cemetery. I love that Dean was there for his brother, and that he didn't want his brother to die alone. To me, the show is about family and SS showed that. I love that episode.
Sage
# Sage 2012-06-21 07:30
I can't believe it was the car per se.

The Impala is a symbol: of Dean (who can deny that!), of his childhood and his family. Represents home for Sam.

And this is just how I read it, but to me, it helped closing the issues Sam had at the beggining of the series. He wanted a normal, apple-pie life, a home. I think the Impala represented that home he used to think he didn't have, represented that life on the road he hated but now accepts.
Supernarttu
# Supernarttu 2012-06-21 07:47
Huh. Re:Sams early issues, I think you are right! I believe he did need that reminder that he did have a home. And not as a house as we (and he) had all first imagined. He had a home in Dean. And the car. Oh love :heart:

Thanks for this comment Sage, it made a lot of sense.
Nita
# Nita 2012-06-20 09:49
Supernarttu, I agree, as much as I love Sam. Without Dean Sam would not have been able to muster up that motivation or strength to overcome Lucifer. This is not to downplay Sam's role. It was his great love for Dean which gave him that strength. Love moves mountains, if it is deep enough and Sam's love for Dean is what saved the day as well. The biggest mistake Lucifer made was try and hurt Dean and he paid the price
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-19 14:22
But Dean does not "constantly freeze" during the action. The only time I've seen Dean "freeze" was this year in two "off" episodes. The first time made no sense, and the second time was just as baffling.

I read that the director for the first time said Dean "froze" b/c a child was involved in the middle of the fight, and Dean was thinking of how to finish it w/o injuring her, bu that did not come across. It just seemed like Dean stopped for some unknown reason. I think he also stopped in the Elliott Ness episode, and again, it didn't make much sense.

In any event, I don't see Dean as constantly freezing during the action. Those were isolated, inexplicable incidents, IMO.

I must also agree that there has been nothing positive about Sam's "supernatural powers." All the PKs went a little crazy except for the one w/the twin, and who knows what he would have turned into if he had lived. Sam's powers, IMO, have not been presented as good. Even if he still possesses them, which he should, I doubt he'd tap into them b/c they've only caused him harm/trouble.

To me, the show has shown that it's best to "be human."
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-19 14:35
I will definitely agree to exaggerating both on Dean's freezing and Sam's emotional silence to make a point. However, I think Dean has definitely needed to be saved more times than he's been able to be proactive at the ends of episodes this season, including the inexplicable freezing. I'm not sure whether this is supposed to be because of Dean's depression "storyline" or if it's just the way the writing works, but I do think there's been a lot of Dean getting thrown against the wall/freezing/n eeding to be saved while someone else gets the kill in the last two seasons. This doesn't mean I need Dean to get all or even most of the kills, but to me that past seasons felt much more even about this than the last two. I am willing to admit this is a matter of perspective, but that is how I see it.

I could agree that nothing positive has been shown about having supernatural powers, outside of Swan Song, where it was necessary to save the world, or the times where someone supernatural, be it witch, angel, demon, or other, had to step in and save the boys. However, show has spent, to me, a lot of time having characters look down on being human and only being proven wrong in the finale, when show remembers who the leads are. So again, matter of perspective, but I don't feel like show has shown it's best to be human a good majority of the time.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-19 15:15
I hear you, Emmau, but remember the first two seasons? Dean saved Sam in practically every single episode for the first 2 years of the show. IIRC, Sam was always being thrown or choked or almost taken out by the "big bads." It has never bothered me much though. I never thought Sam was weaker b/c he needed rescuing or that he was incompetent or incapable of doing the job.

I don't disagree that Dean has been saved more in the last two seasons than the previous seasons, but, again, but it hasn't bothered me much. I don't think it means he's depressed or slow or losing his edge. It just happens.

I was more troubled by his inexplicable freezing in the two episodes I mentioned than anything else. In the episode w/the teenage hunter, he literally just stopped and did nothing. It didn't make much sense to me. I read what someone said the director intended and felt he truly failed in conveying that. But given how bad this season was, I can't say I'm too surprised!
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-19 15:23
Well, I think it's one of those mileage varies moments then, because it does bother me. In the first season, I always credited Sam's 4 (or 2) year absence, as well as Dean being a more experienced hunter trained to protect his brother. Plus, to be honest, it always seemed fair to me, because Sam got the lion's share of the plot in S1-2, so Dean got a lion's share of the action. That balances. In S6 and S7, despite Dean being declared rusty after his one year absence, we really didn't see Dean being less competent than before--just all of the sudden he was unable to kill anything and someone else had to step in and do it for him. It wasn't truly explained or balanced with any storyline in compensation, so I really don't understand the reason. When you have episodes highlighting Sam's falling apart and descent into madness, like Out With the Old, yet Dean still needs to be saved--that's a problem for me. Perspectives, of course, vary, and that's fine.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-19 18:01
Yes, it all really depends on how we view.

I don't go into an episode expecting Sam to make the kill b/c Dean got the last two or vice versa. I just watch the show.

I began watching b/c I like the horror/sci-fi genre, and this show looked like the type of show I would enjoy. I loved it from the Pilot. I liked both brothers from the start.

To me, the show is about two brothers and how they handle the supernatural and/or the crazy things that happen to them. I never saw Dean as having no storyline b/c Sam is the one w/the psychic visions. It was just the story. I don't compartmentaliz e the show in that fashion; I never have.

I agree w/you about Dean "not" being rusty in Season 6. He seemed fine to me and was as good a hunter as ever.

As you said, we each have our own perspective so it's best to agree to disagree.

If it's entertaining to me, I'll enjoy it.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-19 18:10
I agree it's all a matter of how we watch the show. I'm not sure why liking both brothers is a factor--I may lean towards Dean, but that doesn't mean I don't like Sam. But I do understand that some fans focus on things that others don't, and those same fans might not consider things the others do, etc. I'll agree to disagree, and I enjoyed the discussion.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-19 18:36
For me, some people are overly invested in their fave getting the kill or getting the storyline - I just want a good story.

I think this fandom is very divided, and I haven't found many truly bi-bro fans like myself. I couldn't care less who gets the kill or who is saved by whom - just tell an entertaining, logical story, and I'll be satisfied. When a poster has a fave, I feel things get bogged down into this competition btw the boys and who got what (i.e., if Sam gets the story, Dean gets the kills). That stuff doesn't matter to me. They can both get the kills and the stories. I don't care.
emmau
# emmau 2012-06-19 18:46
Fair enough.
Nita
# Nita 2012-06-19 23:23
I think it ruins the story if one tries to favour one brother over the other. In fact reading some of the comments have left a bad taste in my mouth. There are times when my heart goes out to Dean, and at other times to Sam. Kudos to the writers and producers of the show.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-20 00:30
I couldn't agree more w/you. I think to truly enjoy the show you must like both brothers. You can't just tolerate one while loving the other. IMO, you have to like both of them, and you definitely can't hate one of them. It's a two-lead show. If you hate one of the leads, you may as well turn off the show b/c you're bound, IMO, to be disappointed or frustrated.

Like you, there are times I'm upset w/Sam and times I'm upset w/Dean. There are times when I sympathize w/Sam, times when I sympathize w/Dean, and many (most) times when I sympathize w/both.

I think both are generally good guys whose hearts are in the right place. I think they both love, respect, and trust each other. The brother relationship is not dead to me like others. That relationship is the reason I watch the show.
KELLY
# KELLY 2012-06-20 00:41
@lala2 and Nita Great Comment! Agree completely!
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2012-06-17 08:13
For me atleast i never worried about Dean's forgiveness because the show always focuses on what others wronged him but never on what messes he created... So i never care about Dean's forgiveness
Kristine
# Kristine 2012-06-17 14:39
Quote:

Dean’s ‘lack of interest in Sam’s issues or his Hell memories’ are not necessarily a big ‘WTF’ moment in the season. Yes, they would, and have, died for each other but Sam and Dean cannot be all about each other, and only each other, all of the time, nor should they be expected to be. There are a dozen different reasons why Dean may have acted as he did in relation to Sam and his issues in season 7. Perhaps he felt (knew from his own experiences) that talking about Hell wouldn’t help. Perhaps Dean felt it would not be good to talk about it as he believes in burying things deep (long established for Dean), perhaps he didn’t want to talk about the Cage for fear it would overwhelm Sam. Perhaps he didn’t want to talk about it because he knew that he wouldn’t be able to help Sam (as confirmed by Sam). Perhaps he himself was so overwhelmed by his own issues that he felt he couldn’t help Sam, perhaps he was investing all his energy in holding himself together. Dean season 7 is vastly different from Dean season 1, as is Sam. They can’t be expected to act exactly the same way as they did then.
I agree so much with this and am enjoying reading your comments very much.

Dean is only human...
Nita
# Nita 2012-06-15 08:49
It wasn't even very difficult to give some sort of excuse why Dean was selected to be judged by the Egyptian God, not Sam, but the writer made no effort to do so. That is why I think the writer had no idea who Sam is or what makes him tick.
If you really understand the character it is not too difficult for a clever writer to manipulate emotions and twist things a little. Unfortunately some script writers of Season 7 had no idea who Sam and Dean Winchester really are. And for some reason the show runner didn't bother to explain the characters to them.
If you have to write a script for Supernatural the writer needs to watch the show from the first season to the end. At times I think some fans would make better script-writers! At least they understand the characters of Sam and Dean inside out!
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-06-15 09:38
Defending your Life was abit aimless for both boys really. Guilt is a interesting aspect of the human pysche to deal with but in this case they decided Sam's didnt exist and had evaporated and Dean's didnt make much sense.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-15 13:09
Yes, they had Dean feeling guilty for stupid stuff like Sam and Jo becoming hunters. There are several things I could name for which Dean could feel guilt like Lisa/Ben or Jo's actual death. Why they chose things that didn't have much to do w/Dean made no sense just like Sam's "guilt-free" being.
Angelika Zimmermann
# Angelika Zimmermann 2012-06-15 16:13
Hi Alice, thanks for your nice words about my English. Honestly I learned a lot more English since I watch SN, because my oldest son, who ist definitely to be blamed for my SN-addiction, recommended me permanently to watch it in English. Finally I gave in, and from the moment I heard Sam's and Dean's own voices, I coudn't watch it any longer in German. Especially the german voice of Sam is awkward. So well, here I am, a 55 year old married woman with two sons completely addicted to a tv-show. Sometimes I think I'm crazy, I should sit on the sofe with my husband looking football or something else, instead of lying in my bed looking SN on my laptop. But well, it is like it is and I am okay with it. Alice, I'm a very big fan of your country since my childhood, I read tons of books about it. Can you believe, I've never been there, because like Dean I prefer driving, because I have a problem with the .... But, hey, my oldest son, who is a medicine student promised me, from his first salary as a doctor he will take me, set me in a plane, give me some little narcotization and drive with me to the Grand Canyon, one of the biggest dreams ever in my life. We will see. So, thanks for your great work on that site to all of you!!! Hope you can do that for a few more seasons of SN.
Ardeospina
# Ardeospina 2012-06-15 20:41
Hi, angie!

Just popping in here to say that I hope you make it to the Grand Canyon because it is AMAZING. One of the coolest places I've ever been. My mom and I spent the entire day staring at it and didn't get tired of doing so. You'd think after a while it would get boring, staring at a large hole in the ground, but nope. It never did. So good luck getting there!
Nita
# Nita 2012-06-15 23:04
angie, welcome to the fifties club! :-) I am from India and in the same boat. My daughters (who are in their twenties) introduced me to Supernatural which they have been following since the first season. It was during the fifth season that I started seeing a few episodes because they talked so much about it, specially about Jensen, (when the sixth was going on in the US) because here in India they show it afterwards. By the time the sixth started airing in India I was hooked (they have just started the 7th season here). After that I saw all the episodes until the end of the 7th season online!
I do not like any other tv show except the Big Bang theory. In fact I don't like watching television at all, and that is why my addiction to Supernatural has surprised me. In fact it's embarrassing.
Kristine
# Kristine 2012-06-17 14:27
"the menacing older brother"

I hope you don't mind me saying so, but I can't help seeing that as questionable word choice? Please forgive me if I've misunderstood and you were using it facetiously!

I've seen complaints about why Dean wasn't more clearly upset or stationed by Sam's sickbed 24/7 in 7.17. I remember similar complaints about Sam's less than bothered reaction in Yellow Fever, and at the time a lot of people defended Sam and said he was simple inured to further loss. I think the same might apply to Dean here.

I was very disappointed with the season and got the impression all along that Dean and Sam were only with each other out of necessity. I hope the new showrunner will remedy that as well as bring Cas back as the "third Winchester." Because there has been more genuine brotherly affection and regard and more follow up to what they have all gone through in the fanfiction virtual season Redemption Road than there was in the actual show this season.
lala2
# lala2 2012-06-17 15:05
Kristine, the brotherly moments were painfully light this year. We started off really good w/MTNB and HCW and even TGND, but after that point, we got nothing btw the brothers.

For me, the Sam/Dean relationship is the heart of the show. I think this season suffered for not showing the "heart," for isolating the brothers and having them behave more like co-workers or business partners than brothers who would die for each other.

I definitely complained about Dean's "lack of caring" in TBAI b/c it was so odd to me. The episode, itself, was poorly written, IMO, and rushed. It felt like the writers remembered Sam's storyline and decided to wrap it up as quickly as possible. But in addition to the bad writing, both Sam and Dean seemed "off" to me. Dean was just going through the motions and didn't seem to really care that his brother was on the verge of death. Sam didn't seem to care too much either. It was just bad all around.

I'd be fine w/the idea that Dean had suffered too many losses at that point, and that's why he was so "blase" about the whole thing but I don't think the writing helped to establish that. At that point, I believe Dean's depression arc had "ended." The whole thing was very "ho hum" to me, and I just found that odd. I'd expect Dean to express more concern, interest in Sam's fate but that didn't happen.

Bad writing and bad direction, IMO.
Nita
# Nita 2012-06-17 22:52
I agree with every word you wrote.
Dean could have expressed more concern, after all his brother was going into the madhouse and maybe forever and maybe to death. This does not mean that I thought that Dean should be holding Sam's hand. No. He is a hunter and he had to keep doing his stuff, and trying to Sam till the last minute. Even in Yellow Fever (as Kristine pointed out) I thought it was silly to show Sam laughing as Dean struggled. I think the director was at fault then, and in this case it was either the editing or the writing. After all this show is about the brother bonding. But as you said, Dean reacted as if the person in the mental asylum was a colleague, not a brother.