So that, coupled with a four-week hiatus, generated this little article: A look back on some memorable brotherly hugs.
I’ll state up front that I have a wee bit of a loose interpretation of a hug, sometimes the hug is while one brother is dying *wibble* and sometimes it’s not so much a hug as it is – well, something else. You’ll understand as I get going.
First up, ‘death hugs,’ which are brutal:
The first ever still stuns me every time I watch it: "All Hell Breaks Loose Part 1", Sam, fatally stabbed in the back by Jake, falling to the ground and Dean racing to grab him before he face plants. The entire scene of Dean trying to reassure his dying, and then dead, brother, as well as himself, is heartbreaking. Since it was the first of such moments, its impact resonates even to this day.
In "Do You Believe In Miracles", we were treated to the reverse, near identical moment, as Dean, fatally stabbed by Metatron, seeks to impart one final brotherly sentiment to Sam, who has done his best to half drag/half carry his dying brother from the warehouse and, in so doing, is trying to reassure Dean. Whereas the ‘death hug’ of "AHBL Part 1" carried only a one-week break, "Do You Believe in Miracles" ‘death hug’ carried the dreaded summer hiatus, 20 weeks. Wow!
We’ve had hugs upon reuniting, such as Sam and Dean reuniting in "Lazarus Rising". At that time, we were left with the image of Sam somewhat cradling the hell hound-ravaged, and very dead, body of Dean while copious tears flowed in "No Rest For The Wicked". (I give kudos to Jared for being so vulnerable with Sam and pouring out his character’s grief in such a raw manner.) Then, some 19 weeks later, "Lazarus Rising" premiered and we were treated to not only a fabulous hug between Sam and Dean, but to this fan’s Bobby-loving heart, an equally satisfying Bobby and Dean hug.
There have been other return hugs: "Exile on Main Street" showed Sam and Dean hugging, although that one, to me, is tempered by the fact that it wasn’t really Sam; no soul after all. However, later that season, in "Like a Virgin", we get a hug that is all kinds of awesome as Sam awakens from his coma and finds Dean and Bobby in the study talking. Sam’s soft-spoken and incredulous “Dean” followed by his intense, almost frantic and clinging hug just punches me in the gut. From there, he goes on to give Bobby a similar hug; although Bobby, visions of Sam nearly killing him still fresh on his mind, is a tad more reticent about receiving it. Still, those two images are glorious.
We’ve had some great ‘death hugs’ and returned from the dead (or hell or the cage) hugs. We’ve also had some pretty spectacular hugs that seemingly come out of nowhere – that is, to the one receiving the hug.
The first ever was "Mystery Spot". It set the bar very, very high. Who can forget that moment when Sam, awakening after his confrontation with the Trickster, sees Dean and realizes that not only is he freed from the time loop, but that his brother is alive and well after half a year of separation – well, half a year in groundhog’s days, that is. Sam, ignoring his brother’s teasing about music and sleeping all day, flings back his blanket and sheet and strides purposefully across the room and envelopes his brother in a massive hug. Dean is stunned and caught off guard at his brother’s actions, but he allows Sam to cling to him for a moment before asking him just how many Tuesdays he had.
This was the first episode I ever watched, and this moment remains as powerful today as the first time I watched it. In fact, it actually increases in power.
Similarly, Dean gave such a hug to Sam in "Pac-Man Fever". Sam is physically suffering due to the trials and Dean is beside himself as he can do nothing but watch. Dean and Charlie have just realized that their greatest fear is losing the one they love the most, but both have come to realize that sometimes you do have to let them go. Dean returns to the bunker, after seeing Charlie off, and finds Sam. Sam starts to apologize for not being honest with Dean about the effects of the trials but Dean cuts him off, without saying a word; simply walking across the room and enveloping Sam in a bear hug. No words need to be spoken; Dean’s motives are clear: I’m here, Sam, and I support you. (Too bad the writing kept vacillating, but that’s another article (one I never intend to write, either. ;-)
We also have Dean returning after he makes the deal with the Crossroads Demon and finds Sam alive and well. Dean has been holding vigil for a couple of days, likely, over his dead brother’s body and then, in an instant – and after a really bad deal, but who is to quibble when it comes to a dead brother or a live brother? – Sam is alive and well. Dean hugs him so tight that poor Sam winces as the contact is painful with still healing wounds.
There’s also Dean’s return from Purgatory accompanied by a brotherly hug – after some holy water, a silver blade, and some Borax. Sam was very confused, not only at seeing his presumed-dead brother alive and well, but also by Dean’s near maniacal state – something understandable since Dean had just spent a year in Purgatory where it was war 24/7 with 360 degrees of combat. Sam’s confusion was multiplied many times as not only was he reeling from the revelation that Amelia’s husband, thought killed in battle, was alive and well, so, he steps aside to assist Amelia in her decision, but now he is rudderless and alone again, facing the prospect of reintegrating, possibly, into hunting, so he opens the door to Rufus’ cabin and finds Dean. They hugged, but it wasn’t the same as some of the others as both brothers were reeling from recent events.
I’d include the photos, but this article will simply be way too long. I suggest you go to Home of the Nutty (where most of these photos came from, thank you!) and look at the files for "We Need to Talk About Kevin". Dean’s face is a mixture of desperation and relief. Sam’s face is a mixture of surprise, joyous shock, and confusion. There is so much these two men reveal in their eyes – even when their eyes are closed.
Throughout the series – still ongoing, lest you think I’m eulogizing or anything here – there have been some other notable moments, to me at least. The first is in "The Pilot". This is absolutely not a hug, but it does show us brothers being, well, brothers: Sam and Dean stumble upon their missing father’s motel room. Sam picks the lock while Dean keeps lookout and then, as Sam enters the room he reaches back and grabs the back of Dean’s jacket and physically yanks him into the room. I love that moment. It is so Sam and Dean. (Boys will be boys.) On the episode commentary either Kripke or David Nutter (the director) offer the insight that they told Jared to be very real with that pull and surprise Jensen. He did, and it works.
There are another couple of hugs that my nostalgic, sentimentalizing mind adores, and they come in "Shadow". We’ve spent over two-thirds of the season learning how much Dean idolizes his father and how much Sam feels separated from his father. We’ve watched Sam come a long way in understanding his father and wishing desperately to find him, not only to join up and hunt the demon but also to try to make amends for all the hurt between them, and then there is a moment at the end of "Shadow" when Sam and Dean return to their motel room and see a strange figure silhouetted by the window: Dad. In one instant Dean says Dad and strides across the room into his father’s strong embrace. Each man is clearly overcome with emotion for a few moments, but then they gather themselves and there is a chance for Sam and his father to face each other. It’s awkward, but then love overcomes and Sam and John are each in an embrace. It’s a wonderful healing moment for these three strong men – and this fan melts each and every time.
As usual, Kim Manners is a master at staging the scene. At the moment when Dean and John hug, Sam is still hanging back at the entrance to the room. He watches from several feet away as his brother and father reunite; true to how he feels about his place in the family: the outcast. But, when Sam and John hug, Dean is standing very close watching his brother and father start to mend their troubled relationship; true to his place in the family: the glue that keeps them together.
There have been other moments to enjoy, such as Dean checking Sam’s injuries after Sam and Gordon fight in "Hunted", then there’s Sam checking Dean’s injuries in Wendigo after rescuing him, or Sam helping Dean to their father’s room as the doctors work on him in "In My Time of Dying". The list could go on. (Feel free to add others.)
One of my other favorite moments comes during "Lucifer Rising". After the entire Season 4 was spent slowly but surely dismantling the brothers’ close bond due to separation, differing ideas on how to go about stopping Lilith, lies about memories and about Ruby, and so much more, there is that moment after Lilith and Ruby are dead and Lucifer is about to rise that the brothers realize they have to escape, and they each simultaneously grab the jacket of the other. It’s a beautiful moment that cements the fact that no matter what – and there has been a lot of what over the years – they will not leave the other behind.
Feel free to add your other favorite hugs or such moments between the brothers. While I love a good hug, I do appreciate the restraint the show uses to not give us such a moment every few episodes – it would lessen the impact.
This, however, was pretty darn good.
As always, thanks for reading, Elle2
And of course the reason why it is so believable
It's adorable! Like Jensen's flirty look at the camera in the season 8 hug that so puzzled Jared.
ETA: This as a GIF is possibly real annoying - let me know and I will take it down. ;)
That scene from Sacrifice is a great scene. I actually have it in mind for another article that I have in the thinking stages. ;) I love listening to the commentary on AHBLI for that final scene, especially the part where they discuss how the network execs wanted them to stay with the overhead crane shot and not go back in for Dean's agonized "SAM!". Kripke and Co. knew what needed to happen: we needed to be right back in the agony with Dean at that moment.
i'm just glad that dean is starting to see it all now....;)
And maybe we're long past this point, but at the time it was devastating: that all Sam's good memories in heaven were without Dean. Has Dean forgotten that, have subsequent events made that experience insignificant, or is that thought still there in Dean's subconscious?
And Dean wanted Sam to stand and watch Dean in a close moment with a mother that Sam never had.
These stories are not one-sided. Dean is not the only one who gets hurt.
now it's just as easy to say that sam holds the pain of dean telling him that benny was a more of a brother than he ever was. sam believing that dean never needed that penny to say it. and dean's following behavior to seal that belief....sendi ng that text to sam....all leading to sam's belief that he came last in his brother's eyes....behind a vampire and an angel, and as such was willing to die, because death was much more bearable than disappointing dean again....even when sam questioned dean in s9 about the upside to being alive, and dean's response to that was them fighting the good fight...sam with his low self esteem took that to mean that dean only saved him so he wouldn't be alone...while that in part is true, it's not the only reason...but sam couldn't see it...because his monster won't let him. :(
as dean did with sam, so sam did with dean....sam's lack of self worth had sam believe that dean's actions were because dean didn't love him. that he had failed his brother and was nothing but a disappointment. but the way I look at it, dean's anger at sam had nothing to do with sam at all. I believe that dean projected his own anger at himself, and at cas(he was the one who left him in purgatory)..... .towards sam. I think dean's own issues of self loathing played a significant role at dean's inability to hear his brother when he told him he thought he was dead. and it's most definitely dean's self hatred that had him come up with the ludicrous notion that sam would ever leave dean anywhere for a girl. I totally believe that dean resented sam not because sam left him and purgatory and dean suffered down there, but because dean didn't suffer down there. dean admitted to feeling free. he found a calm down there? would he have with sam by his side? dean became the very thing he despised in purgatory and sam wasn't around to keep him human... dean's behavior was in essence about him and his inability to deal with his demons...even dean's friendship with benny was never about trust, but dean bonded with a vampire, a monster, a killer...what does that say about dean? dean is the one after all who gave amy that speech about monsters and that there is no exception because they are what they are. why would dean make benny the exception...he knew going in that benny only helped him because dean was his ticket out of purgatory. The way I see it, I think for dean, he had to believe benny to be more than he was, he needed to believe in benny's nonexistent humanity because otherwise dean is just a monster. In his efforts to deny this monster inside him, dean built this fascade and nearly destroyed his relationship with his brother. Dean's usual tactic of avoidance/denia l and deflection added to sam's low self esteem and his belief that he's nothing to dean but a failure and he came last in dean's eyes.....well again, misunderstandin gs between the boys.....
if you really pay attention to both s8 and s9....it's really one epic brotherly moment. firstly, you only hurt the ones you love the most. the boys are comfortable enough taking their demons out on ea. other because their love is that strong....they know the other will forgive....when you're in a bad mood, isn't there one person you take it out on...because you know you can...I usually did on my mom...because I know she loves me and will forgive me.... if you sat and watched s8 and s9....even with all the misunderstandin g and hurting ea. other....it's really like I said, one monumentally epic brotherly hug.....it's beautiful
:)that wasn't very brief was it.
eilf...I don't think they chickened out on the story you wanted....I think it's happening right now. ;)
You know, the angels and demons really have screwed around with these brothers' relationship, as if they didn't already have issues. Of course, it is most obvious when they're under the influence of an outside force like the siren, but some of the harshest things said by Dean to Sam were in his head when he was detoxing in the panic room. Upstairs Dean is telling Bobby about his concern for Sam while below, in Sam's mind, Dean is calling him a monster. Another time Dean was driving the car and said Sam would never be OK but that was really Lucifer. And then how Ruby manipulated the phone message from Dean when he was in the beautiful room. Dean listened to Bobby's advice about being a better man than his dad, swallowed his pride, and called his brother and apologized, but Sam never heard those words and only heard cruel, hurtful words instead. While they've definitely said things in anger (or sometimes reluctantly said something they didn't want to admit but was true of how they felt at the time), those instances I mentioned are examples of harsh words that were not even said by the brothers themselves.
Just an observation.
As far as Dean's comment about it not being Sam's memory, I never saw that as mean, just an explanation of why she was ignoring Sam. Since Sam wasn't in that memory, she couldn't interact with him. (In a similar way, the Thanksgiving meal continued with the family talking to each other and to Sam even though Sam had gotten up and left the room.)
I definitely think Dean dropping the amulet in the trash was a sign of how deeply hurt he felt. I can't imagine how much in turn that must have hurt Sam.
Don't feel bad about a poor word choice - it happens to everyone occasionally, it is sort of nice actually to see everyone on the same page for once so thanks for that ;)
I would like to mention a couple of hugs that I thoroughly enjoyed that didn't make your list: now two of them are not sam and dean hugs...but still, they are, for me a joy to watch...
dean hugs his mom in wiawsb
dean hugs Jessica in wiawsb
and another one of my favorite sam and dean hugs....the one in taxi driver when sam comes back from purgatory.....t hat one gets me every time.
thanks again for such an enjoyable read....looking forward to more like these. :)
Great additions! Yeah, that hug from Taxi Driver is great. There were quite a few hugs during those darn trials, Taxi Drive, Pac-Man Fever and, of course, Sacrifice! I'm working on a review of WIAWSNB, one of my all-time favorite episodes...so many great hugs there as well, and all so different!
"Eye hug" Great term! That was pretty great. Just another moment in a long line of great moments in that episode. I agree, that dang Mystery Spot hug is the standard bearer for me, with Lazarus Rising reunion running a very close second!
Playful fight from Dean's side and brother pickering and it ends on this greet. For some reason I really liked that whole scene.
I love that scene! Thanks for adding the photo. I'm working on a brotherly moments article and darn it if just about the entire Pilot episode couldn't just make that entire article! Love it...like you: For some reason!
Hope you enjoyed these. I did.
And that vid is also missing few later hugs so the number is even more.