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The French Mistake
Buried in all that screwball madness, there is a touching sentiment that comes from Dean. He's willing to stay in the alternate reality if Sam could continue to have that good life. A life that doesn't exist for them in their world. Sam has wealth, a hot wife that loves him, no angels or demons to screw anything up, and all the bad in the world exists only in TV land. Who wouldn't want that, let alone someone who has been cursed since the day he was born? He gets though the answer he really needs to hear. Sam doesn't want to live in a world where they're not brothers.
My Heart Will Go On
This episode is another reminder of how important family is to Dean and his unwavering loyalty to them, even extended family. It's all he has. Sam, Bobby, and even Ellen and Jo, that meant more to him than anything. In the end it's all clear, they look out for one another. Oh, and Celine Dion sucks (yeah, I had to get that in there).
Dean Winchester in the old west is a dream come true! Who doesn't want to watch the equivalent of a wide-eyed jovial kid loose in a candy store? Best Dean Winchester episode ever. We haven't seen this side of Dean in so long. Loose, freewheeling, happy, he experiences the perks of the job for once. He gets to be a cowboy! Sure, the serape thing doesn't work out in old west Wyoming, but he adapts. We knew he would. He becomes the sheriff and looks oh so good doing it. He's even telling raunchy jokes again! Joy, joy, joy. It's good to see him back into old form. If anyone deserves this break, it's Dean.
Dean is back in his old form. His focus is so clear, get the bad guys and protect the innocents. He gets to be funny too, coming up with the best name ever for the new species of monster.
He's still uncompromising though and draws the line when acts of humanity are required. Take the case of the two boys they "rescued" after their parents were murdered. It's something he and Sam could painfully relate to. Castiel gets angry that they want to take the boys to their uncle because there's a bigger picture. Dean refuses to stay. These boys need their family and that matters most. Sadly it's that human reaction that's used against them, but Dean wouldn't have done it any different.
It's also cool to see Dean Winchester have his fighting spirit back. They aren't going to take any more harm from Mother of All. He will stop her once and for all, even going back to his reckless ways to do it. He won't deal with her, for he doesn't make deals with monsters. The memories of being forced to work with Crowley are too fresh. The best part though is he defeats Mother of All doing what he used to do, take huge risks that border on reckless. He's got guts, you've got to give him that. Come on, you were all cheering wildly when he said "Bite me," weren't you? Welcome back Dean Winchester.
The Man Who Would Be King
Sigh. It doesn't last.
Poor Dean. Between this and the next few episodes, an old theme is revisited. Anyone that has ever cared for him has left him. First there's his unlikely friendship with angel Cass, someone he regards as family just like Sam and Bobby. Just like Sam a few years ago, Castiel has pulled the ultimate betrayal. He's chosen a demon over him. Dean takes this hard, very hard. Dean learns of the plan, Castiel is going to open the door to Purgatory. He can't allow that to happen.
He and Bobby try to keep Castiel out, but it doesn't work. Castiel wants him to back his plan, but Dean refuses. He tries to appeal to Castiel and their deep bond, asking him to trust him. They can find another way, they can fix this. Castiel pushes the proverbial knife through his heart though, the plan doesn't need fixing. Dean takes that as the ultimatum. He's going to stop Castiel and his plan with Crowley. Castiel challenges him to do just that and doesn't seem threatened. After all, Dean's only a man. Ouch.
Let It Bleed
It's a forgone conclusion that Dean was going to become unhinged over Ben and Lisa being taken and threatened. He went back to torturing, he single handedly took out a group of demons, and man did he let his violent side take front and center. His behavior even got Sam drinking again! All that's stereotypical Dean though and to expect anything else could be considered out of character. But why he did that is something he's said before. "Lisa and Ben, wherever they are, that's 100 percent on me." He won't even accept Sam's help. Oh yes, this man is drowning in guilt.
Dean left his calm thinking behind and ruled with his heart. All that emotional rage clouded his judgment. I certainly understand that given the circumstances. However, it left Dean vulnerable. He's been struggling ever since "Mannequin 3" over his guilt of coming into Ben and Lisa's lives and breaking their hearts. He knows despite his wants and needs, he should have never exposed them to his life. He sees them suffer here again and can't take it anymore, especially when Lisa almost dies. He can't take Ben being angry at him anymore. In a moment of weakness, he has Castiel wipe their minds. They won't remember he existed.
This choice crushes Dean, and gets Sam angry (if anyone has a sore spot about having memories wiped...). Poor Dean, he actually has to say goodbye to Ben and Lisa by telling them he was the guy that hit them in a car accident and he's sorry. They were forgiving, not knowing the real truth. No wonder Dean turned away and fell apart. He didn't want forgiveness. He knows full well he's far from earned it. This loss is as devastating as when he lost his Father. The overwhelming guilt, the despair, the loss, this is going to haunt him for a very long time.
On the other side is his strained relationship with Castiel and this is a headscratcher. Remember "When The Levee Breaks?" How Sam pleads with Dean to back him up, come with him to kill Lilith? The deal breaker was Ruby. Dean even calls Sam a monster and says he couldn't be trusted. "Let It Bleed" plays out that scene all over again. Castiel appeals to their friendship, to all he's done for Dean. "Has anyone but your closest kin done more for you?" Yet Dean refuses to stand down. Why? Crowley. I do wonder, wouldn't Dean have learned? Sure he was right with Sam, but that did so much damage to their relationship. Wouldn't it have gone better if he had stood by Sam's side, no matter what? That's exactly what Bobby tried to drill into his head in "Lucifer Rising" and it looked like he was getting through too. Now, he's going down that same road. (Please note none of this is a criticism on the character, more a question of creative direction).
Sure Dean is stubborn. Sure he has a case of wounded pride. He doesn't take betrayal well either. But again, wouldn't the results have been different if he had stood by Castiel? There's no way he could have guessed that Castiel would turn on Sam next, but it's interesting how he reverts back to this pattern. Even after Castiel saves Lisa and Dean is grateful, all that happena is a "I wish this changed anything."
The Man Who Knew Too Much
With his defiance of Castiel still firmly in place, everything continues to unravel for Dean. Castiel, like everyone else, knows Dean's greatest weakness. He takes down Sam's mind wall, putting Sam in a coma and kicking off the internal fight in his head. Dean can't do a thing, which makes everything about a hundred times worse. All he could do is go after Castiel and Crowley in hopes of stopping them from opening Purgatory. He has to leave Sam alone to fight his own battles and hope that Sam will come around to help.
He makes that choice to do what Sam would want, even if it wasn't the one he wanted to make. He has that much faith now in Sam despite everything they've been through. Yes, he spent a lot of season six worrying and trying to protect Sam and being there ended up make a huge difference, even if Dean didn't realize it. The whiskey he drank left clues for Sam that he was at Bobby's. He could smell it in his dream state. The same went for shining the light in Sam's eyes, thus enlightening hi, to the presence of his stalking soulless counterpart.
Dean's going into season seven with plenty of vulnerabilities. His speech to Castiel at the end, even though it's placating, is truthful. He has lost a lot. Ben, Lisa, Castiel, and now possibly Sam too. At least the Sam he knew. Will he find his old fighting spirit, or will the burden's of Sam's issues and his own personal losses become too much? We have another whole season (and likely more to find out). I'm personally hoping that Dean gets his fighting spirit back, but he needs to address some of those lingering issues before that can happen. Hopefully he and Sam can lean on each other for healing. They both need each other more than ever.
Coming up next, A Deeper Look at Season Six Sam Winchester.
Here's the links to the other previous looks:
A Deeper Look at Season Five Dean Winchester
A Deeper Look at Season Four Dean Winchester
A Deeper Look at Season Three Dean Winchester