Sam and Amelia
It is a totally reasonable and entirely relatable situation of two people establishing some sort of relationship in the wake of substantial loss such that they had both endured. Having said that, nothing of what we were shown about the progression of that relationship suggested it would have been lasting, enduring, and Heaven-forging love – regardless of whether or not either of their loved ones returned. Why? The depth of the connection just wasn’t there, at least from where I’m standing. We’ve seen Sam in a long term impactful relationship before ““ Jessica ““ and even in the brief (as in, blink and you’d miss it) glimpse we had at that, there was more connection, sweetness and demonstrable love between the two. Yes, Sam was younger and both were less scarred, for lack of a better word, by life. But Sam and Jess had a relationship as opposed to, to paraphrase Amelia’s father, two people clinging to one another while adrift in their own sea of grief.
So, Amelia is not now, nor was she ever a unicorn. Sam didn’t give up hunting for her ““ he just happened to not be hunting upon their meeting. Their relationship was necessity. I’m not saying they didn’t care about each other; rather the foundation was never truly there. And without a foundation ““ the house that “love” builds, just won’t last.
So, what does this have to do with Sacrifice and why was that my “aha!” moment?
Lisa and Dean
We’ll get to Sacrifice, but first let’s talk about Dean for a moment. Much like his brother, Dean stopped hunting (or at least made a valiant effort to) for an extended period of time after losing Sam. Also like Sam, during this time Dean found extended companionship with a partner and set up house with a lovely young lady and her son: Lisa and Ben Braeden. By Meg’s definition, a woman who Dean apparently stopped hunting for, Lisa would be Dean’s unicorn then, yes? Let’s examine this.
Lisa was a far more appealing character than Amelia; most likely because she was developed over a prolonged period with careful thought as to fitting her into the Winchester world, as well as the special connection between Dean and Ben. Unlike with Sam and Amelia, I believe absolutely that Dean truly loved Lisa and Ben. Dean left Ben and Lisa; he elected to let them go because it was safer for them despite what he wanted. And Dean even did this before Crowley kidnapped Lisa and Ben. After this event, though it physically pained him, Dean removed his impact from their lives entirely because again ““ it was the best thing for them.
In the final scene at the hospital he explains to a memory-wiped Lisa and Ben: “I’m the guy who hit you”¦I just”¦I lost control for a minute and I just wanted to say that I’m sorry. I’m real happy you two are both okay and uh, I’m just glad you’re life can get back to normal now”¦.anyway, I’ll leave you two alone.” Not only is this a beautifully written and delivered scene, but the pain Dean is in makes it clear how much he loves these two and how hard it is to walk away. All of this is underscored when he threatens to punch Sam is his brother ever mentions them again.
This is not to say, however, that Lisa was his soulmate. To start with, let’s go back to Meg’s point about a “unicorn” being the one person who is capable of getting a Winchester to give up their hunting lifestyle. Well, Dean goes back to Lisa at Sam’s behest, actually. In fact, this is Sam’s dying wish for Dean. Knowing Dean as we do otherwise, it’s hard to imagine he would have spent his time mowing the lawn and barbequing willingly without that outright request from his baby brother.
The Real Unicorns
So by my count, neither Sam nor Dean have given up hunting for a woman but have instead only given up the hunting lifestyle for each other in one way or another. Overcome with grief or the last request of a condemned little brother. Whatever way you choose to look at it, they quit for love alright ““ just not romantic love.
And truly, that is the heart of what Supernatural is about ““ two brothers who love each other above and beyond all else. Sam and Dean pull each other back from the brink; they sacrifice immense and untold amounts for one another and are set adrift without the other. Is there someone who Sam would give up hunting for? Yes, his brother. And visa versa. They don’t, though, because in truth they keep each other strong and grounded in “fighting the good fight” – because in the gloom and struggle that doggedly pursues every day the Winchesters live, be it the big days where they are pushing the leviathan back from consuming the world as we know it or the (relatively) smaller days of a less complex salt-and-burn, Sam and Dean keep each other going. Nearly every episode of every season, or at the very least the big moments contained therein, are a running laundry list of examples be they dialogue, flashbacks, touches, defenses or simple exchanges of glances between the boys that prove this point over and over again. Consider Dean’s conversation with Bobby in All Hell Breaks Loose II:
“”¦something good can come out it; it’s like my life can mean something”¦I couldn’t let him die, Bobby. I couldn’t. He’s my brother.”
Without Sam, Dean is a half person. And without Dean, Sam is loses parts of himself too. This was witnessed in Mystery Spot and of course in the entirety of season four, the repercussions of losing Dean having such a profound effect on Sam overall.
When it comes right down to it, Amelia and Lisa aren’t the unicorns in this equation and never could be. The profound and unbreakable bond between Sam and Dean has been proven time and time again, they shared a Heaven Darkside of the Moon and now they’ve chosen each other over the world, is there really any doubt? Sam and Dean are the only unicorns at this party.
(Stay tuned for Part 2 – Examing the key role soulmates have played in this series since its inception!)