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Inspiration is a wondrous creature â€“ suddenly it raises its head out of nowhere, when you least expect itâ€¦ after watching a couple of old Supernatural episodes, Indeepâ€™s song from the eighties â€“ Last Night a DJ Saved My Life â€“ was played on the radio â€¦ Suddenly words began to form in my head, pounding against my skull to be let out. Youâ€™re the ones who will suffer for it, I guessâ€¦
We know that demons lie, kill, betray and simply screw with the Winchester brothers (and their friends), but are they helpful, too, sometimes? After all, the importance of monsters in the Winchestersâ€™ lives canâ€™t be contradicted. The question is, could we paint some of that significance in a positive color or is it all badâ€¦?
Weâ€™ve had the imbeciles of demons, the almost human ones, and some really cool baddies (Crowley was one of those), and we had â€˜queen-bitchâ€™ Ruby, a former witch, and her boss Lilith who probably wasnâ€™t able to decide whether she preferred a childâ€™s body or that of a comely dental hygienistâ€¦
Demons played crucial roles in several moments in the brothersâ€™ lives. Iâ€™ve been wondering, what would have happened to them if it had not been for demonsâ€¦ or for some of themâ€¦
Paranormal creatures have been foes in a very traditional way (kill â€˜em and leave â€˜em â€“ and in the pre-colt-period exorcism was the method of choice to get rid of them), but they have also been ambiguous beings, even helpful, and sometimes they gave the brothers a glimpse at an alternative life. Angels did that, too.
Itâ€™s a terrible, terrible lifeâ€¦
The theme of alternative reality or altering the present reality has brushed past this show several times now.
The brothers had their encounters with crossroad demons: in Crossroad Blues Dean considered making a deal to get dad backâ€¦ even though he didnâ€™t answer Samâ€™s question concerning the matter we knew he had been a breath away from closing a deal (but Dean did so for the poor bastard who had sold his soul to save his wifeâ€™s life, thankfully not endangering his own soul at least this once), and in All Hell Breaks Loose he actually did cross that line. In Bedtime Stories and in (in flashbacks) I Know What You Did Last Summer Sam fruitlessly tried to free Dean from his deal.
In other episodes, demons, angels formerly known as demi-gods or simply angels toyed with the Winchesters to proof some absurd point or plainly because they had fun doing so or â€“ even more fundamental â€“ to just feed.
The Trickster (aka Gabriel) changed reality to enjoy his pranks in Tall Tales, then to hammer some message into Samâ€™s soul by killing his beloved brother over and over in Mystery Spot, and even later he tried to teach them yet another lesson, all the while pushing them during Changing Channels from one tv-planet to another in a manner that would have anyoneâ€™s head spinning. And that probably was not the last weâ€™ve seen of him.
Castiel send Dean back in time to stop important events in In The Beginning, and Zachariah tried to make clear that another existence than being a (celestial?) hunter was A Terrible Life and that Deanâ€™s resistance to give in to Michael was only one step closer to The End.
Furthermore, occasionally the brothers met demons able to change or influence realities, like the Djinn in What Is And What Should Never Be or the crocotta in Long-Distance Call.
Is there anyone out there who has never allowed that subjunctive to enter your brain with an idea like â€˜What if I had not done this? Wouldnâ€™t my life be better?â€™ I guess at some point, especially when we face difficulties in our lives, a question like that might arise â€“ when trying to solve a problem, we often strive to find out what went wrong or where we should have taken another turn, which is essentially not a bad strategy, as we learn from our mistakes. Every failure, every retrograde step eventually will allow us to advance.
Now, luckily no one of us has to deal with supernatural adversaries in a manner Sam and Dean Winchester are forced to. What would they do if they were not hunters? What would their relationship be like? Weâ€™ve seen a glimpse of one possible and heartbreaking reality in What Is And What Should Never Be.
That episode introduced us to a stuck-up Sam, law student, respectful son, but reserved in regard to Dean. Sam, in fact, looked down on his brother â€“ â€˜I see you started off Momâ€™s birthday with a bang, as usualâ€™ â€“ and was not comfortable or at ease with him (backing away when Dean touched him, counting off Deanâ€™s misdemeanours from some years back). Dean, on the other hand, worked at a garage, the impalaâ€™s trunk littered with skin mags and candy and fast food wrappings. He led a rather unspectacular, normal life, dating a lovely nurse, without any greater ambitions.
In this reality, both probably would not have gotten along, even if Dean had tried to make it up to Sam (which he only aspired to do because he remembered that he didnâ€™t belong there, the Dean from that particular reality might not have cared that muchâ€¦). The gap between the brothers was huge.
In Itâ€™s a Terrible Life they did not even know each other. Dean was superior in rank to Samâ€™s tech support status, a career guy who needed to detox and who prepared himself to spend the upcoming years working his butt off to become some big Kahuna in that company. After some awkward moments they found out how great they worked as a team and decided to quit their jobs in order to pursue some other, more rewarding life â€“ â€˜saving people, hunting thingsâ€™.
In the beginning of the show, before we became acquainted with the cosmic plan for the guys and the horrific ordeals that caught up with them, there was some Indiana-Jones and Jedi-Training-Camp â€“ vibe about the show as well. A twisted version of the all-American road trip. There was that great, classic car that put up a â€˜this is a cool showâ€™ sign, and its gun-stuffed trunk would have made Indy proud. There was an appealing ease about the brothers taking care of business, accompanied by some of the best rock music ever written (Iâ€™m still hoping to hear Thin Lizzyâ€™s The Boys Are Back In Town and BTOâ€™s Taking Care Of Business,â€¦Eric Kripke, how about that?)â€¦ all that angst and pending apocalypse was not yet thereâ€¦ and somehow, after watching the first seasons I began to think â€“ they needed the demon world.
This was the Winchestersâ€™ calling. And their curse. No light without darkness. They were protectors of the innocent, sometimes of the guilty, they sent Evil back to where it belonged or simply cut off some of its heads â€“ but they paid a price for that kind of heroism.
Nevertheless, they enjoyed aspects of that life â€“ in particular Dean. He had never even considered being something else but that. He had dreams of a family, a loving wife, kids, but essentially all he really tried to be was a hunter. He did not allow himself to even aspire another life.
Deanâ€™s self esteem had always been low, depending on his qualities of being a good son and brother â€“ and a skilled hunter. As long as he was able to protect his family and â€˜kill some evil sons of bitchesâ€™ he was fine. Dean was not made to be a scholar. It wasnâ€™t his goal. Although he apparently did read, he had more fun watching porn, flicking through Busty Asian Beauties mags and working on his car. So, with all that in mind, he would have probably indeed become a mechanic, perhaps eventually developing an alcohol problem (as he seems to have a tendency to drink in stressful moments), had he not been a hunter.
Fixing cars doesnâ€™t carry anything heroic with it per se. Mechanics work long hours for low pay. Itâ€™s hard and dirty work. Unless they really dig that job, their self-esteem will not be buffered automatically by the outcome of their work. Dean would not have been able to draw on his skills of saving others to feel somewhat significant, as he would not have learned how to save anyoneâ€¦ except perhaps using his fists in a bar brawl.
And Sam? Sam wanted to be a lawyer. He did not choose law without reason â€“ growing up with a family that lived on credit card scams and hustling pool might have fuelled his wish to live within the law. Depending on the direction his studies might have taken, Sam would still have been able to help others â€“ with his skills as the lawyer he was about to become.
Who knows what profession Sam would have chosen had they not been in the monster killing business. My guess is, he would have gone to college nonetheless, as he was of an academic mind. Chances are he would have ended up in an office, working on his career, non unlike Dean in Itâ€™s A Terrible Life.
The fact remains, that we love to see the brothers do what they do. There is nothing glamorous about their lives, but we love to follow their exploits. They are modern day heroes, even though you cannot put any aesthetic value on the kind of horrific fights they get into. Itâ€™s mostly blood and gore â€“ and heartbreak, and yet they are the adventurous archeologists (well, you know, Indyâ€™s heirs) of this generation.