Old vs. New Sam Winchester – Part 1: Self


There can be no question that Sam Winchester has changed dramatically from the young man who left school on a short trip with his older brother Dean to the Sam we know now, ten years later. Many experiences, revelations, friends and enemies, losses and gains have coloured the man Sam has grown into over those years. If Season One Sam were to look today at Season Ten Sam, he’d see a wholly different man reflected back. The Sam who Dean left with from Stanford all those years ago had deep rooted anger towards the hunter lifestyle and his family, a powerful drive towards “normalcy”, and wholly different designs and understandings of moral absolutes. He was much more emotionally reactive and most significantly, had a completely different sense of self than the one he has today.

In this series, I want to look at all of these significant transitions Sam has made throughout the ten years on the road, beginning today with the latter: sense of self.

Sense of Self – Throughout the Years
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By the end of season ten, of course the Winchester’s lives have been wrecked and rebuilt and wrecked again, to say the least. Sam knelt before his brother, offered his neck and waited for the final blow and, though it never came, it was intense and heart-stopping. Despite this and the many other emotionally thrashing moments throughout the year, Sam remains a strong willed hunter with more legitimate, well-earned self-confidence in his instincts, as well as stronger independence and broader capabilities than he began with. He had these talents from the start of course, but at a more juvenile and unsharpened level as compared to this Sam. Early Sam is out of touch with his instincts and lacks trust in himself, so he hesitates; today’s Sam simply acts.

This flows nicely to sense of self, which has changed so dramatically for Sam over the years. When we first met Sam, he was young, angry, grieving at points; lacked a confidence in his own skills as a hunter, questioned many things and was more impulsive/emotion based in many ways. This Sam had been away from the lifestyle for a number of years and was pulled back in unwillingly to the supernatural world. The brothers lacked the synchronicity in some of their approaches they would later develop as well as some of the unspoken instinct for each other’s off the cuff game plan or instincts.
GuiltySam
For example, in 1.03 Sam questions Dean a few times about what draws him back to the town after they’ve “satisfied” an angry spirit – later in the series they’re more inclined to trust one another’s instincts. Additionally they’ll later understand the difference between satisfying a spirit and finishing a job. Sam is not only more confident in Dean’s abilities, but his own as well. In season one “Bloody Mary” we have Sam very nearly asking Dean for permission – “…you’ve got to let me do this.” – today, in the same circumstances, Sam would make a statement of action, plain and simple.


Turning Points
Saveyourass
At the end of season two, Sam tells Dean (a somewhat surprised Dean) that he doesn’t have a monopoly on brotherly caretaking. And we see throughout season three that Sam begins to step strongly into this role. Where season two was demonstrably about a more confident hunter, season three is largely about a balance in Sam and his relationship with Dean - it’s also the first time we begin to see how focused and driven Sam will become, the true extent to which he will go. True, Sam never lacked the passion when he was searching for John or revenge after Jessica’s death – after all, he is his father’s son. Here however we find that though Sam is without doubt emotional about the situation with Dean, he is more systematic and less allows his frustration (be it towards the ticking clock or Dean’s own seemingly blasé attitude) to throw him off balance.

Season three Sam has a maturity and focus, perhaps inspired by a specific deadline, that comes through in a whole new way as compared with previous seasons. This isn’t to suggest Sam was immature before, but Sam simply takes the reins and issues dictates at this stage, where he did not before.

vlcsnap 00225As time moves forward, Sam becomes more difficult to classify, because we have other influences impacting the character so dramatically. That said, these influences, including Ruby and the demon blood, work to emphasize character traits that pre-existed and develop. This Sam is the strongest yet, indisputably. Much like Sam in “Mystery Spot” his drive for revenge on Lilith is powerful and unending; to the point where rational thought fades away and the dominant, all consuming focus is that one end-game. Sam in “Mystery Spot” was not so different in his goal to find the Trickster, so we know this is a character trait rather than simply the influence of Ruby and/or the demon blood - though these surely helped cloud judgment to an extent.

Comparably, where Sam in early seasons was also driven by a desire for revenge on Azazel, it was far less vicious a drive. Whether it’s the motivation of the revenge (Lilith killed Dean, as did the Trickster) or that Sam is a more matured, powerful, strategizing hunter by this stage it’s hard to say. Ultimately, the bottom line is that by season four Sam has become a dominating force to be reckoned with, one way or another.

Sam is far less “little brother” in season four than in any previous seasons whatsoever. Again this is hard to comment on due to the blood drinking and demon-on-the-shoulder influences. However, this is a season where there are, as compared with the past three seasons, the least number of consultations. Rather, we see a Sam who takes the protector role, demanding reparations from the angels when Dean is hospitalized and stating that Dean is too weak to handle Alastair or face Lilith on many occasions.

Though these latter two statements about Dean’s “weakness” later became twisted with blood-high, the baseline was a protective concern. Of course Sam is always concerned for Dean’s safety, be it season one or ten, but his expressions of that concern move from tentative to outright as Sam develops; it being an outright, flat-out assertion by season four. As we know, Sam even kills Alastair eventually, in an intense scene after he is again unleashed on Dean. This is arguably as much action driven by a high as it is big-brother example behaviour.


Character Regrowth & Rebuilding


Naturally, experiences throughout the show have cost Sam his confidence in himself as much as they’ve built it. After all, learning that Azazel infiltrated his intimate social circle and that Lucifer always intended for Jessica to die so he could be the vessel of Satan for example, well it’s kind of a blow. During this run of time, we see Sam take a step back from the life as he questions many things about himself and what he knows, but he also rebuilds and manages to come back. Though Sam has to take some time away, he never loses his core self – it is a matter of his esteem being shaken. Ultimately, of course Sam proves just how strong he is when he overcomes Lucifer and takes back control of his body in one of the most well-known scenes in Supernatural history in “Swan Song”. Even in season eight after being away, Sam is still Sam – compelled to help even when not hunting.

MTM188Yet when Sam is at his weakest it is when his character blooms the greatest in confidence and surety of self. Sam absorbs both Soulless Sam and Cage Sam as he is putting his mind back together – proof positive that the strongest of the three entities, the most powerful sense of who Sam himself is as a man, a hunter, a brother and a friend is one who accepts what he is, who he is, and everything that is comprised of – and overcomes the pain, learns from the experiences and moves forward. Sam rises from the coma and though he is struggling with hallucinations, he still ultimately joins the battle. He was strong enough to absorb both pieces of himself and recognize he needs both of those elements because they are part of who he is. This is one of the strongest showings of Sam’s sense of self throughout the series as it displayed the individual parts of him: the pain and intelligent, astute hunter and the heart that balances the two. 


Sense of Self: The Present


Where in season one, Sam was more of an emotional disarray at times (and rightly so), Sam’s emotional identity is resecured and stronger for the scars: his mind has been shattered, his brother betrayed him (justified or not), his adopted father was killed, surrogate family members killed – and he overcame it all. From this point, we see Sam build on these experiences. Finally, throughout season ten and in the finale we can see the culmination of these experiences in all of Sam’s choices and how his sense of self has matured without deviating from the true core of who Sam is and ever has been.  Sam is surer, more independent and calmer in his actions about both finding and curing his brother. He makes informed decisions with absolutes and though they are inspired by an array of emotion he also recognizes he must take the lead and make judgment calls – be they good or bad calls not in question here – and makes them. In the end, his sense of himself, as it’s always been, comes down to his family. Sam has faith in his brother, he also identifies that something must be done in those last moments with Death and offers himself to save his brother, and the world too.
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When we met Sam, he loved his family and hated the business of hunting. It conflicted his sense of right, so defined then by the more traditional notions of justice. Today, through experience and over time Sam has balanced the two ideas – right and family - rather than hold them in conflict. Sam Winchester’s sense of self has always comes down to what is right and truly it is this belief that has experienced metamorphosis;  it has seasoned and blossomed over ten years and today, rather than Sam distinguishing himself on this alone and separate from, is instead demarcated by his family.



What are your thoughts on Sam’s sense of self? How has it changed over the years? Was there a major turning point or key moment (besides most mid-season finales/finales)?

Offer your insights in the comments below and look for the next part coming soon!

 

Comments  

Jen
# Jen 2015-08-14 07:47
It was funny I was having a slow day today and I was thinking I would love to write a article about Sam, how or what subject I hadn't decided. So I came to WFB for some inspiration and here it is a beautifully written article by Elle Thank You so much.
I totally agree with Elle, Sam has found Self.. It has taken him a loonnnnng harrowing 10 yrs of possession, guilt, mis - guided trust, wrong direction to get were he is in S10 going into S11. And what a journey. We have actually travelled this road with him - how often do you get the chance to literally watch someone grow like that.
I love this mature, confident, assured young man, who has found his life's purpose in his hunting, and most of all his brother. I'm hoping we get to see alot more of SAM !! in S11 -- this go get them kick ass Sam :):):)
Jen
# Jen 2015-08-14 07:49
Oh just a unrelated comment IS HELLATUS OVER JET ----------- I"M SURE YOUR COUNT DOWN CLOCK IS SLOOOWWWWWWWWWW WW :(:(:(:(:(:(:(
disgruntled ex-viewer
# disgruntled ex-viewer 2015-08-14 10:02
Oh, Elle you portrayed my vision of this character completely. The only thing I want to add is some key points in defining his character which you missed in your survey, but which seem to be important. I mean the whole story of how Lucifer and his servants tempted Sam to say yes and how he rejected these temptations overcoming his own weaknesses in the process. Sam was tempted by Hunger for demon blood and chose not to satisfy it, he was tempted by the chance to revenge and he was tempted by the power, and chose humility instead. And he really had wanted all those things, or those wouldn't have been temptations at all, but what was important that he found the inner strength to reject them, rebuilding his character in the process.
JJA
# JJA 2015-08-14 17:51
The Supernatural people should one day shock all of us and give Sam/Jared a crew-cut.

I think Jared would go for it (besides, it would grow back soon enough), and he'd look really HOT with a near shaved head.
Tawrens
# Tawrens 2015-08-19 02:48
Dean never betrayed Sam and if you ask me Sam has turned more childish in season 8-10 then he was in any previous seasons ever thanks to Carver's butchering of the characters Sam especially. Fortunately it looks like he won't get the chance much longer as season 1 is the lowest rated of all the seasons. The ratings went from 0.2-1.1. Seasons 1-5 were in the 2. to 3. and Seasons 6-7 stuck on 'death night' Fridays did 1.1 to 2.9. Ever since Carver took over the ratings are getting steadily lower which means if Carver isn't tossed SN will end up cancelled.
Suzkatoon75
# Suzkatoon75 2015-08-19 04:02
Actually season 9 was one of the highest rated after season five in the shows history and season 10 did well before it was moved to wednesdays in half season and the ratings dropped. Blaming Carver is so easy but not fully the truth. Ratings are complicated matter and not black and white so one thing is not the only one affecting it.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-08-19 08:32
I guess it depends on what your definition of betrayed is.
SPN is doing just fine in the ratings. Pedowitz is still very high on the show. The show is still wildly popular word wide. For an 11 year old show SPN is doing just fine.
BoGirle
# BoGirle 2015-08-19 08:52
Yes cheryl, I agree, it does depend on your definition of betrayed. If a betrayal is to do something that knowingly goes against the expressed desires and wishes of another person then that is a betrayal and that is what Dean did. He may've had good reason, but so did Sam to feel that as a betrayal.
BoGirle
# BoGirle 2015-08-19 08:47
Supernatural is the CW's second highest rated show. It doesn't matter how the show is doing against other big network shows like CSI, it's about how it's doing on its own network, and it's doing just fine. And with world wide conventions, Netflix, Hulu, TNT, Funko Pop dolls and other merchandise Supernatural is a HUGE money maker for the network. Its in NO danger of being canceled. The only thing that will stop the show at this point is if the J's themselves pull the plug, which neither are inclined to do because neither of them wants to be unemployed with very few prospects for more work after the show is done. I think both J's will stay right where they are. I envision season 12 and possibly even 13. After Supernatural is done it wouldn't surprise me one bit if both J's move on to other types of work rather than acting.... Jensen is already paving the way for a shift to directing and Jared seems to really enjoy producing.
LEAH
# LEAH 2015-08-19 12:13
True E but I also firmly believe that when the show ends these guys will have no problem at all finding work. They have proven themselves capable of carrying a series on their shoulders, they have a great reputation in the industry for being professional and kind (funloving and goofy too), having filmed in Vancouver is not a detriment as there is a huge film industry there now. Many actors have fallen off the map when when they are difficult or quit a series to become a "movie star". These guys know how very lucky they have been to have had this opportunity. They will still be young when the series ends. Maybe they will or maybe they won't star in a series again but I have no doubt at all they will continue to find work as long as they want in the TV or possibly movie industry. We've disagreed on this before, you think they will have no prospects, I think they will have abundant prospects. People who have earned so much respect and have done such fine work will always have opportunities I believe. Maybe it is wishful thinking but I firmly believe this to be true. I would bet one of my kidneys on it. :)
BoGirle
# BoGirle 2015-08-19 20:34
For their sake I hope so. I worry because they've been in Vancouver for so long and disconnected from the Hollywood audition mill. And in the world of films, 35 is over this hill! especially for CW shows. Can you imagine NOT seeing them on your TV every week?
LEAH
# LEAH 2015-08-19 22:45
Many shows and movies are filmed now in Vancouver. It is a huge industry there. And just because they aren't in Hollywood doesn't mean they are unknown to people there. They will go to Texas anyway when the show ends to be with their families and plan their next move. They are known in the industry at large. They have agents who will be looking out for them and they can hop a plane anytime to take a meeting or go to an audition anywhere. I would imagine at this stage many productions would hire them based on their bodies of work and reputations. I think the days of beating the pavement for auditions are behind them. There are many many former TV stars who are in there 40's, 50's, 60's and up who are still working in the industry today. In some top rated shows. Talent and a good reputation goes a long ways. I would be vey sad to see them walk off into the sunset never to be seen again on our TV screens. I just don't believe it will happen E, sincerely.
disgruntled ex-viewer
# disgruntled ex-viewer 2015-08-19 13:56
to betray - to fail or desert especially in time of need. I don't know how else to charactarise the refusal to let his brother back after he had learned that he was Lucifer's vessel, when the whole world of hunters turned against him, leaving him alone in the whole world against the devil. I also don't know how else to characterise letting his brother go without him to a suicadal mission to kill Lilith, just because his feelings were hurt. I also don't know how else to characterise the intention to say Yes to Michael to be able to kill his brother "when he says yes to Lucifer".
LEAH
# LEAH 2015-08-19 15:38
Dean is ultimately always there for his brother. Despite some things he has done in anger. Sam has also stormed off in anger a few times and engaged in some things that could also be called betrayal. They are always there for each other in the end. I won't engage in Sam vs Dean stuff but neither one is perfect. These things always turn into people going back for seasons to drag out stuff to bash one character or another.
disgruntled ex-viewer
# disgruntled ex-viewer 2015-08-19 16:38
Sam did some regrettable things in the past, can't argue here. But he never did anything which can be called a betrayal. He never left his brother in a difficult situation without his help and support. Storming off in anger doesn't mean betrayal, doing something against somebody's wish is also not a betrayal. They both did such things, and it's normal for two strong characters. Sometimes one of them is right, sometimes the other, sometimes both of them are right, sometimes both of them are wrong. But leaving his brother alone in the world when he is a fair game for everybody including the devil itself and suggest he should pick the other hemisphere is entirely another kettle of fish. I just can't understand why Dean blamed Sam for "letting him down", if Dean knew what he himself had done.
LEAH
# LEAH 2015-08-19 16:56
I am not going to give examples and feed this but Sam did a few things that he may have thought were right but were betrayals in Dean's eyes. If I am correct Sam left of his own accord in that instance. Dean saying pick a hemisphere was him saying that maybe them being together causes more harm than good. I am not criticizing Sam here. Dean had a change of heart in the next episode when he realized what may happen and that they are always better as a team. Sam wasn't wandering defenseless and helpless he has always been strong and capable whether with Dean or without Dean.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2015-08-20 02:43
Quote:
I just can't understand why Dean blamed Sam for "letting him down", if Dean knew what he himself had done.
Hypocrite- a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.It is okay when he does it.But if sam does it No no no...even after 5 seasons no no no.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-08-19 16:20
Neither brother ever betrayed the other with the intention of doing harm to the brother or anyone else. Each may have thought that they were doing the right thing but it was always with the intention of saving the other brother (or not letting him turn into a monster) or saving all of humanity. They have both made mistakes while being manipulated by the supernatural.
And Dean felt that saying yes to Michael was a suicide mission, in his mind they both would have died. Sam hadn't come up with his "genius" plan yet.
LEAH
# LEAH 2015-08-19 15:55
I really can't agree with your first sentence. I think Dean has done some things that could be called betrayal and Sam has shown a lot of maturity these last several years. Both of these brothers have done regrettable things but they are always there for each other the end which to me is the point of the whole series. Both of these characters could have been written better at times in the Carver era IMO.
Tawrens
# Tawrens 2015-08-19 02:50
That's supposed to be season 10 but my 0 is sticking.
disgruntled ex-viewer
# disgruntled ex-viewer 2015-08-19 16:52
Each may have thought that they were doing the right thing
Agreed, but only one of them judges the other and puts the blame on him, though he himself is not perfect. Funny, only he who never betrayed doesn't have the trust of his brother, but himself has an unshakable trust in his brother.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-08-19 20:58
Sam did do things that to Dean were a "betrayal". Running away from home as a teenager, going to college, leaving the life. Those are betrayals to Dean. To most of us it is the normal actions of a rebellious young man. To Dean, keeping Sam safe, having his family around him (when it had been so brutally ripped away from him) was Dean's identity. In all of these long (hopefully endless) years of SPN this has never changed. Dean may have wavered and doubted but in the end he has always known that he loves Sam above all others. Now I know that some of Dean's choices have created outrage and I know he has been judgmental and sometimes callous with Sam, but I have never doubted Dean's love for Sam. Just as I have never doubted Sam's love for Dean.
They approach their relationship in very different ways. That is what was so apparent in the church. Dean was asking why Sam didn't think he loved him above all others. Sam (who has never doubted Dean's love) was begging for Dean to trust him above all others. For Dean it is all about love, devotion and family (he has always been afraid that Sam might not need him. Like sometimes John didn't need him). For Sam it is all about trust (since he knows he has Dean's love). He wants to be the brother that Dean can rely on. Dean doesn't seem to understand the difference. At least he hasn't figured it out yet. Maybe before the series is over they will understand where the other is coming from.
samandean10
# samandean10 2015-08-19 22:36
Quote:
Maybe before the series is over they will understand where the other is coming from.
I hope so too, Cheryl. But to achieve that they would actually need to have a conversation! And I don't mean one of their patented exchanges of a terse, cryptic sentence or two, with some weighty silences, before one of them walks away. One of my biggest frustrations with the last two seasons is the lack of meaningful discussions between the brothers about their relationship. I honestly can't remember the last one- maybe during Trial and Error? I don't really count their exchange at the end of Sacrifice because as satisfying as it was, it wasn't exactly a discussion. I want them to both have their say, listen to each other, and then respond thoughtfully. I just watched Fallen Idols recently and it was astounding- Sam and Dean each calmly talked about their relationship and seemingly resolved one of the issues between them! What a concept! An honest dialogue between the brothers! That is high on my wish list for S11.
BoGirle
# BoGirle 2015-08-20 21:43
Cheryl and S&D!! Yes yes and more yes to a brother conversation! I agree that there has been precious little conversing between the brothers lately. What we've been getting are half conversations designed to confused and conceal more that to enlighten and it's beyond frustrating. I REALLY wish Carver would get over that tired out old dramatic cliche. They are either talking at cross purposes (Sacrifice) or being inexplicably vague for no reason (Sharp Teeth, The Purge), or worst of all not saying anything, lying deliberately (also for NO reason) or participating in that beloved "what's wrong?" "nothing" passive aggressive crap that goes nowhere. Since when do either of these guys have "nothing" wrong? Another thing about conversations, or the lack of them since Carver took over is that the boys no longer discuss the obvious. In About a Boy neither brother even mentioned the unbelievably obvious role reversal that was going on. Why wouldn't it even be mentioned one time when it was so in our faces the whole episode? It was a wasted opportunity to connect back to the boys past. And in in pretty much all of season 10, how come Sam and Dean didn't discuss even one time Sam's understanding of what Dean was going through carrying around and being effected by the Mark of Cain? I mean geez there was a wealth of common ground for the boys to connect to there, but they didn't, not even one time that I can recall. I know dialogue is difficult to write, but COME ON!!
disgruntled ex-viewer
# disgruntled ex-viewer 2015-08-20 06:40
I agree with most of what you said. But in the phrase "Those are betrayals to Dean" - "to Dean" is a key word. He always wanted Sam to be dependent on him, I think may be because of his own low self-esteem, I think that he has always been afraid that if Sam doesn't need him he will leave him. That's why every demonstration of Sam's independence and strength of character, every Sam's action which was against Deans wishes is a "betrayal" to Dean. Dean wants Sam to be absolutely obidient to him. He thinks that if he doesn't control Sam, he will leave. And he is still unable to notice that he himself did certain things, which may be considered as betrayals, though Sam has always been loyal to him.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-08-20 10:20
I don't think that Dean is that despicable of a character. I think it is more of abandonment issues. Mom abandoned Dean. John abandoned Dean. Sam living his own life was an abandonment to Dean. It had nothing to do with Sam's obedience or Dean's control over Sam. That would be a horrible show to watch. All of Dean's motivations stem from his fear of being alone. Mom, Dad and Sam all left Dean. It has nothing to do with loyalty. It has everything to do with family.
Sam is all that Dean has left in the world. It is a heavy burden for Sam to bear but he understands (as the conversation in the Purge spelled out) why Dean does what he does. Dean knows that Sam can have any life he wants. That Sam can be happy without him (not dead of course. We have already seen what that does to Sam). It isn't the same for Dean. He clings to Sam because that is all that is left of his family (humanity in most cases).
The whole theme of this show from the first scene in the Pilot has been family. And what the Winchesters will do for their family. Dean loves Sam more than anything in the universe. That is abundantly clear. Same goes for Sam.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-08-20 14:16


I think this is how Dean really feels about Sam.
LEAH
# LEAH 2015-08-20 14:21
Couldn't agree more. Nicely said.
disgruntled ex-viewer
# disgruntled ex-viewer 2015-08-20 17:09
He clings to Sam because that is all that is left of his family (humanity in most cases).
Not exactly unconditional love.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-08-20 17:57
I think that Dean has proven multiple times how much he loves his brother. That is never in doubt. Because he clings to him doesn't mean he doesn't love him. I don't know how much more Dean could do to prove his love, but he has me convinced.
disgruntled ex-viewer
# disgruntled ex-viewer 2015-08-20 07:08
Sam did do things that to Dean were a "betrayal". Running away from home as a teenager, going to college, leaving the life.
Yeah, if you are born in the family of plumbers, even don't dare to dream to be a musician, or you can happen to become a Mozart. :D
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-08-20 13:45
Yes and it turns out Sam was never going to become a Mozart. He was always going to be manipulated into living the life that the angels wanted him to live. If it hadn't been for Dean things might have turned out very differently for Sam and humanity.
disgruntled ex-viewer
# disgruntled ex-viewer 2015-08-20 17:11
cheryl42, I was kidding. Do you seriously think, that these things were seen as betrayals by Dean? He can't be so petty.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-08-20 18:02
Ok conversation over. If you choose to see Dean as petty nothing I can say will change that. I don't. I wouldn't watch the show if I did.
disgruntled ex-viewer
# disgruntled ex-viewer 2015-08-22 09:38
I said quite the opposite. I think he is not petty, and he never thought that Sam's going to college to be a betrayal. I think the opposite, that he always wanted the normal life for Sam. At least it is about Dean of the first seven seasons.I'm really surprised that you, loving both characters, of such a poor opinion about Dean. Funny, but I am trying to defend Dean here, and I never doubted that Dean loves Sam and you argue the points I never said.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-08-22 09:57
Well I am not sure what your point is. In DSOYM Dean clearly intimated that Sam going to college was a betrayal. "This is the night you ditched us for Stanford". In S8 TAE yes he reversed that feeling. I would assume because of all that they (Sam in particular) had gone through. I don't know what you mean by Quote:
Dean of the first seven seasons
.

And the snarky remark about me loving both characters was completely uncalled for. I do love both characters and I do believe that I have repeatedly pointed that out. Avatar aside.
disgruntled ex-viewer
# disgruntled ex-viewer 2015-08-22 11:28
I'm sorry, if I seemed snarky, I didn't mean to. What I was saying, I don't think that Dean clings to Sam at the cost of Sam's wishes, as you seem to imply. Just remember "What Is and What Should Never Be", how happy Dean was that Sam has a normal life, or "Wishful Thinking", he was disappointed and upset that Sam didn't want a normal life anymore, or "French Mistake", when he suggested to stay in the alternative reality just because Sam could have a normal life there, though it meant they wouldn't be brothers there. That were clear signs of unconditional love, "clinging to Sam" is not. So I don't think you are right in this point. I don't doubt Dean's love for Sam, I just don't think that Dean just clings to Sam because he is the only family member alive.
Though I also think, that despite his love for Sam, he doubted him a lot without any real reasons and wavered in his support for his brother, making the right decisions only in the last minute and, sadly, only under some external influence. How all above said can be seen as "disparaging the character" is above my understanding. I see Dean as multi-layered and complicated character, having his strengths and weaknesses, and I'm really surprised that his weaknesses and mistakes can't be mentioned.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-08-22 13:32
I don't think that Dean clings to Sam at the cost of Sam's wishes. Sam did run away, did go to college, Sam did go his own way to find John in Scarecrow. These were betrayals in the sense of abandonment, also events that Dean tried very hard to come to terms with, that Sam didn't need Dean as much Dean needed Sam. Almost every demon and angel played on those fears for the first 5 seasons.
These are complex and conflicted characters I agree. In the episode WIAWSNB Dean wanted that life for Sam as much as for himself. In that life there were no demons no monsters. Mary was still alive and John wasn't rotting in Hell. He couldn't have that life and neither could Sam.
And yes Dean does cling to Sam because he is the only family that he has and the only one that matters. Dean raised Sam from the dead where he was presumably resting peacefully in heaven. Dean shoved an angel in Sam even though he knew the consequences. This has been an overriding theme in the entire series. Dean loves Sam no doubt but because Dean is a complicated character and not one dimensional he also would go any lengths to not go on alone. Hence "there ain't no me if there ain't no you". But this is also the brother that sold his soul to hell to keep Sam safe. And killed Death for threatening Sam. So yes Dean is afraid of abandonment and yes he loves Sam above all others.
disgruntled viewer
# disgruntled viewer 2015-08-26 07:43
I don't think that Dean clings to Sam at the cost of Sam's wishes. Sam did run away, did go to college, Sam did go his own way to find John in Scarecrow. These were betrayals in the sense of abandonment, also events that Dean tried very hard to come to terms with, that Sam didn't need Dean as much Dean needed Sam
You know, I think that that is exactly Dean's problem up to season 10. I think that when Dean understands, that Sam doesn't leave Dean not because Sam needs him, but because he loves him, a lot of their misunderstandin g will diappear.
Dan115
# Dan115 2015-08-20 18:19
According to you he can! I'm not sure what you want. If you think people who happen to love BOTH characters are ever going to buy into the Sam=A saint, and Dean=Despicable betrayer of poor-pitiful-be at-down Sam for the whole series, it isn't going to happen. I will concede Dean can be a major jerk. They both have done things that weren't always nice. Dean more than Sam no doubt. But I will never ever have such a low opinion of Dean OR Sam. They have BOTH been through so much pain and each one has their own methods of dealing with that pain. Dean lashes out sometimes. But he has always been there when Sam needed him in the end. See how I did that? I managed to say my piece without disparaging either character or being snarky.

Just one more question why would a "disgruntled ex viewer" even be here?
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2015-08-21 02:19
Quote:
If you think people who happen to love BOTH characters are ever going to buy into the Sam=A saint, and Dean=Despicable betrayer of poor-pitiful-beat-down Sam for the whole series, it isn't going to happen.
Nice strawman.But then again I do not expect anything more.Quote:
Just one more question why would a "disgruntled ex viewer" even be here?
The same reason you are here , and I am here.to comment.Quote:
Dean more than Sam no doubt.
I cannot believe you would say that.Comparing i.e Sam vs Dean.Oh my god that is a big no no here.
Quote:
I managed to say my piece without disparaging either character or being snarky.
I do not think disgruntled ex-viewer is here for your classes.but yeah congrats that was a wonderful piece of commenting.
disgruntled ex-viewer
# disgruntled ex-viewer 2015-08-22 10:07
But he has always been there when Sam needed him in the end.
there is a slight difference between "always been there" and " been there in the end", don't you think? That's all I was trying to say. Dean wavered in his support, Sam never did that. Nevertheless Sam trusts Dean unconditionally , Dean doesn't trust Sam. I find some irony here. But I see that just mentioning some facts from the show is a big no-no here, if it concerns Dean. I'm sorry, I didn't know.
Dam115
# Dam115 2015-08-22 13:46
What you see as "facts" and I and some others see as facts just differ that's all. I notice that people here can and often do criticize Dean. Mostly it is given a pass because he isn't perfect. He has done some things that are not defendable. However if it's about Sam people lose their minds. Even the slightest suggestion that Sam may have done something wrong upsets people no end. I happen to think that neither character is above reproach. I defended Dean in this case because I thought it was an unfair assessment.




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anonymousN
In reply to: cheryl42

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because Sam was not from a family of plumbers.


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cheryl42
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I'm not sure what you mean.


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anonymousN
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Sam not from family of plumbers so Sam=/= Mozart.Disgrunt led was talking abt family of plumbers Sam was from family of mechanics/hunte r.


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cheryl42
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Ok, well I don't understand what you mean but we can let it go.


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anonymousN
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Agreed, but only one of them judges the other and puts the blame on him, though he himself is not perfect. Funny, only he who never betrayed doesn't have the trust of his brother, but himself has an unshakable trust in his brother.
perfect


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cheryl42
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https://31.media.tumblr.com/2eda974fa979981eda06005822f74ec0/tumblr_np5p8e3nqx1qafea7o1_500.gifDean will always be the protective parent.

But I wouldn't count on any long meaningful conversations. I think SPN is just going to move along into more of an action/supernat ural type show.


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anonymousN
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Dean will always be the protective parent.

That is Dean's problem which i see on the show.


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cheryl42
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I agree it has been a problem for Dean his whole life. Parents never stop parenting. He will never stop protecting, loving Sam.


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anonymousN
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He is not sam's parent.That was Mary and john.Dean tried to be a substitute..but what he was to sam was extraordinary.A parent he tried to be one that much I will give him.
What I see him is being extremely protective..a parent no.He was a very good brother.
Just because he was a protective does not mean he was Sam's parent.If Dean is to be a parent he is a very bad one.
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cheryl42
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Well let's just say caretaker then.


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What you see as facts and I see as facts just differ in this instance that's all. You are used to saying what you want here about Dean unchallenged most times. So when someone does you think it is a no-no. You are entitled to your opinion. No one said you didn't. I happened to have thought that particular statement was unfair and I strongly said so. People here lose their minds if you dare to hint that Sam may be less than perfect. People on Imdb lose their minds if you hint that Dean is less than perfect. I happen to love them both and think neither is above reproach. You did come across as snarky and if that wasn't your intention I apologize. My comment about your username was a fair question. Not intended to say you don't have the right to post. You obviously still DO watch the show so I was confused. I would think you would just be "disgruntled viewer". Many people here are, that is no big thing.
Dan115
# Dan115 2015-08-22 14:08
OMG what the hell happened there? I am so sorry. I don't know how that happened.
disgruntled viewer
# disgruntled viewer 2015-08-26 07:01
At first I stopped watching the show and came here after 10 season finale to learn if it is worth resuming. People here convinced me to go on, because they said a lot of good things about it. I post here under my old nickname to be recognised as the same person. That's all. :) I think now I'm disgruntled viewer. I agree with you that neither of the main characters is above reproach, but I don't like to discuss characters in general, to discuss who is better, who is worse seems to me to be counterproducti ve, as it distorts the message of the show. I prefer to discuss their actions in this or that cases. So I raised this issue of betrayal and trust only because I think that it is important theme of the show. You see I think that the show tells us that absense of trust leads to a betrayal, and a betrayal leads to the mistrust and that in turn leads to defeat. It's a vicious circle, which can be torn only with unconditional trust, just "because you are my brother". And vice versa, the unconditional trust leads to victory. You see, Dean let Sam to go to kill Lilith alone because he didn't believe in Sam ability not to turn into a monster, he wasn't beside him, when he hesitated about that nurse, feeling that killing her would be wrong, one word from Dean would be enough to stop him at that moment, but instead he got the false message from Dean and it led to the epic fiasco of letting Lucifer free. Then, in The End Dean's refusal to let Sam back because he didn't believe in Sam's strength would have led to the end of the world, but for Zachariah's lesson as we were shown in that episode. Then in Point of No Return Dean didn't believe in Sam and it would have led to the end of the world but for Sam's demonstrating his unwavering belief in his brother. The vicious circle was torn, Dean decided "to return the favour" and trust Sam and it ultimately led to the victory over Lucifer.
So, you see Dean's disbelief in his brother led him to abandoning him when Sam needed him, and that, in turn, led to catastrofic events, or would have led, if he wasn't made to change his mind. Sam, in his turn, always believed in his brother and never abandoned him in need. So he never let Dean down, never betrayed him exactly because he always believed in him. It's an important point of trust/letting down the show tried to come across, in my opinion.
I never wanted to say that "Dean is worse than Sam", I was only trying to say that he was wrong on that particular occasion. And because the theme of letting down/trust is important in the show, I think it can't be ignored.
Dan115
# Dan115 2015-08-26 14:49
Thank you. I appreciate you explaining your thoughts in more detail. I don't disagree or dispute some of your views, I do others but that is OK. Blanket statements like "Dean has always betrayed, Sam never has" tends to strike nerves in people. A lot of it is in perceptions. The perception Dean has of Sam. The perception we fans have of each character. Dean has had trust issues with Sam that is quite true. In Dean's mind he has felt what HE thought was betrayal from Sam. I feel Dean loves and trusts Sam as much any any other human being on earth. About most things. But he has always felt that Sam will desert him at some point. It colored his perception since the pilot. When Sam left to go to college he felt deserted. It wasn't desertion. It was Sam doing what he felt he needed to do. When Sam lied, sneaked out and drank demon blood with Ruby he felt betrayed. It wasn't a betrayal to Sam, he felt justified. He was trying to take out Lilith and exorcise demon's without killing the host. He told Dean he was weak because he felt powerful. Anyway these guys have both contributed to the skewed perceptions they have of each other. It's not black and white never has been. Dean tends to lash out when he is hurt, that's his protective mechanism. Sam tends to internalize his. These are my opinions of course and as some people used to say on this site mileage will vary.

Thank you for the clarification of your username.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2015-08-21 02:13
because Sam was not from a family of plumbers.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-08-21 08:47
I'm not sure what you mean.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2015-08-21 09:21
Sam not from family of plumbers so Sam=/= Mozart.Disgrunt led was talking abt family of plumbers Sam was from family of mechanics/hunte r.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-08-21 09:57
Ok, well I don't understand what you mean but we can let it go.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2015-08-20 02:46
Quote:
Agreed, but only one of them judges the other and puts the blame on him, though he himself is not perfect. Funny, only he who never betrayed doesn't have the trust of his brother, but himself has an unshakable trust in his brother.
perfect
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-08-20 00:02
Dean will always be the protective parent.

But I wouldn't count on any long meaningful conversations. I think SPN is just going to move along into more of an action/supernat ural type show.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2015-08-21 02:14
Quote:
Dean will always be the protective parent.
That is Dean's problem which i see on the show.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-08-21 08:50
I agree it has been a problem for Dean his whole life. Parents never stop parenting. He will never stop protecting, loving Sam.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2015-08-21 09:23
He is not sam's parent.That was Mary and john.Dean tried to be a substitute..but what he was to sam was extraordinary.A parent he tried to be one that much I will give him.
What I see him is being extremely protective..a parent no.He was a very good brother.
Just because he was a protective does not mean he was Sam's parent.If Dean is to be a parent he is a very bad one.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2015-08-21 09:59
Well let's just say caretaker then.
Sharon
# Sharon 2015-08-20 02:14
Genuine conversation between the two would be redundant anyway the show doesnt believe in Sam,s side it would not be a conversation worth having.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2015-08-20 02:47
Sharon, you win the jackpot.
disgruntled ex-viewer
# disgruntled ex-viewer 2015-08-20 06:50
Yeah, it would be a conversation where Sam once again would underline how he screwed up in the past, and how he owes Dean everything and how gratefull he is, and Dean would magnanimously accept Sam's point of view, telling him that he loves him despite all Sam's mistakes and "betrayals".
disgruntled ex-viewer
# disgruntled ex-viewer 2015-08-20 05:46
The problem with the current authors of the show is that they distorted the content of the previous seasons in some ways. They tried to heavily emphasise that it was only Dean who always saved Sam and looked out for him, and now Sam is just trying to return the favour. But, as the matter of fact it has always been mutual. Dean saved Sam's life a lot of times, but Sam also saved Dean's life countless times. Only in Faith it happened twice, and it was only one episode. The current authors also seem to show Sam as a very good person, but who made a lot of mistakes in the past, and Dean as being always right in the past, so they constantly remind us of Sam's mistakes and never mention Dean's. They also seem to try to underplay the significance of Sam's sacrifice, hence the thanks to Dean for saving the world, and not a single mentioning of Sam's predominant role in it. It doesn't happen often, but Pac-Men Fever, Bad Boys, About a Boy are bright examples of such an approach.
disgruntled viewer
# disgruntled viewer 2015-08-30 17:29
One more point which really reveals the true core of what Sam really is and always has been. This theme goes through the whole series and first shown in Wendigo when he threw himself weaponless between a wendigo and a bunch of kids. This trait of his character developed in the course of time and again was clearly in Adventures in Babysitting, at first when he shoved away his own grief because some unknown kid needed help and then when he drew vetala's attention to himself to save the father of that kid. And the peak of that amazing ability to always put other people, people he doesn't know ahead of himself, his feelings, his needs was in The Reborn Identity when he saved that girl when he was in mortal agony with his nails already peeling off. I don't know about fandom, but to me this type of heroism trumps all killings of monsters, though it may be not as spectacular. And this is exclusively Sam's. It comes to him as natural as breathing.
disgruntled viewer
# disgruntled viewer 2015-08-30 17:47
I will admire that simple click of a lighter in that circle of salt more than anything else shown in all 10 seasons.