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A TALE OF TWO BROTHERS: by Dickens Winchester

two bros

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom. It was the age of foolishness. It was the epoch of belief. It was the epoch of incredulity. It was the season of Light. It was the season of Darkness. It was the spring of hope. It was the winter of despair. We had everything before us. We had nothing before us. We were all going direct to heaven. We were all going direct the other way.

- Charles Dickens. A Tale of Two Cities



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Those beautiful lines by Charles Dickens so easily sum up the current state of Sam and Dean's relationship, indeed the very state of their lives.

After a winter of despair, with nothing before them but grief and loss, blood and death and dirt, there was a spring of hope. Dean escaped Purgatory and the brothers were reunited.

It should be the best of times for the brothers' Winchester. They are together. There's no looming Apocalypse they have to save the world from. They've both spent time in Heaven and Hell, and now, after at least six Seasons of Darkness (the total depends on how you view the first season), this could be their Season of Light. They have the wisdom of the Word of God tablet to help them shut the gate on all demons forever.

And yet"¦ There is foolishness where there should be belief. And instead, this is among the worst of times.

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"You don't believe in me", observed the Ghost.
"I don't", said Scrooge.
"What evidence would you have of my reality beyond that of your senses?"
"I don't know," said Scrooge.
"Why do you doubt your senses?"
"Because," said Scrooge, "a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!
-Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol


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As many have pointed out - other WFB writers (you can read some of my thoughts on the issue in Bitten By A Change in Perspective), Jeremy Carver and even Castiel - a central theme this season is perception. But as Ebenezer Scrooge so adroitly noticed, our perception is affected by many, many things.

It's affected by our health, our sobriety (or lack of it) and our emotions. But it is also massively affected by the way we have chosen to interpret all the events preceding that moment.

It's called The Ladder of Inference. Basically, it's the idea that we make decisions based on our selective editing of the facts, not necessarily the full reality of the facts. We tend to dismiss information that might go against, or even refute our assumptions.

We all do it, and we do it everyday. We do it in simple ways, like tapping a watermelon to see if it's ripe. We remember all the times it worked to give us the perfect, juicy slice. We tend to forget the times it failed miserably. Of course when we mess up our decisions around watermelon, there's always the compost pile to solve the problem. Of more concern, is that we also make many, many inferences in our relationships.

Castiel tried to point out the Ladder of Inference to Dean in "A Little Slice of Kevin".

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DEAN: What the hell happened? Back there. Purgatory. I told you I would get you out. We were there! It was like you just gave up. It's like you didn't believe we could do it. I mean, you kept saying that you didn't think it would work. Did you not trust me?
CASTIEL: Dean..
DEAN:I did everything I could to get you out - everything! I did not leave you.
CASTIEL: So you think this was your fault? Everything isn't your responsibility. Getting me out of Purgatory wasn't your responsibility.
DEAN: You didn't get out. So whose fault was it?
CASTIEL: It's not about fault. It's about will. Dean, do you really not remember?
DEAN: I lived it, Cas. Okay, I know what happened.
CASTIEL: No. No, you think you know. You remembered it the way you needed to.
DEAN: Look, I don't need to feel like hell for failing you, okay? For failing you like I've failed every other godforsaken thing that I care about! I don't need it!
CASTIEL: Dean. Just look at it. Really look at it.


The memory Castiel encourages Dean to re-examine shows Castiel pulling AWAY from Dean. Not, in fact, Dean failing to grip Castiel tight, and raise him from Purgatory.

Dean's own issues and perceptions mean that he often looks to blame himself first. He wanted to save Cas. Therefore, Cas must have wanted to be saved. But, Cas was NOT saved. Ergo, Dean was at fault, and incapable of saving Cas.

Of course, Sam also likes to climb the Ladder of Inference. What he craves most is his older brother's admiration, respect and above all, his trust. So when Dean, under the influence of the cursed coin in "Southern Comfort" hurls these words at him, they're bound to hurt.

SPN 1043DeanPointsGun


DEAN: You never even wanted this life. Always blamed me for pulling you back into it.
SAM: That's not true.
DEAN: Really? 'Cause everything you've ever done since you climbed into my ride has been to deceive me.
SAM: What do you want me to say? That I've made mistakes? I've made mistakes, Dean.
DEAN: Mistakes? Well, let's go through some of Sammy's greatest hits. Drinking demon blood, check. Being in cahoots with Ruby. Not telling me that you lost your soul. Or how about running around with Samuel for a whole year, letting me think that you were dead while you're doing all kinds of crazy. Those aren't mistakes, Sam. Those are choices!
SAM: All right. You said it. We've both played a little fast and loose.
DEAN: Yeah, I might have lied, but I never once betrayed you. I never once left you to die. And for what, a girl? You left me to die for a girl?..  Benny has been more of a brother to me this past year than you've ever been! That's right. Cas let me down. You let me down. The only person that hasn't let me down is Benny.


Sam justifiably feels attacked, and believes those words are meant for him. His perception is, quite understandably and logically, that Dean has not forgiven him. What other possible interpretation could there be? Especially when paired with this exchange from "Citizen Fang":

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SAM: Listen, Dean, we came here on a dead body. You asked for some time, and now there's another dead body. Are we just going on trust here?
DEAN: Yes.
SAM: Okay. Because we've killed for a lot less, and you know how these things turn out for us.
DEAN: Yes, I do - too well. In fact, every relationship I have ever had has gone to crap at some point. But the one thing I can say about Benny - he has never let me down.
SAM: Huh. Well, good on you, Dean. Must feel great finally finding someone you can trust after all these years.
DEAN: All I'm saying is that Benny is innocent.


It could be each brother meant exactly what he said. Quite possibly that's the case. But for me some tumblers clicked into place with these two exchanges. It sounded like each brother was talking about himself!

When Dean says his relationships have gone to crap, he's meaning it's his fault they've never worked out. He's the one who screwed up. He doesn't have relationships. He has "applications for sainthood". It's what he does. He "lets down the ones" he loves.

Dean let Cas down because he couldn't save him from Purgatory. Further back, he couldn't convince him not to open the door to Purgatory in the first place.

Dean let Sam down when Sam was killed at Cold Oak.  Dean has never forgiven himself for not getting there in time.  Dean let Sam down this time because he died - AGAIN! What kind of a big brother dies, and leaves his younger brother unprotected? Not a very good one. What kind of big brother abandons his little brother, again and again? Not a very good one.

Samdying03Samdying15


Dean believes he's failed anyone who ever tried to help him. (Look at the deaths of both father figures - Bobby and John.) Benny helped rescue Dean from Purgatory. Now, he's asking for help so that he won't let Benny down too.

So when Dean asks Sam if he looked for him when he was in Purgatory, perhaps he's really asking "Was I worth looking for?"

And when Sam is expressing his yearning for a safe, normal life, it's quite likely he's just stating a desire that he's had since we met him, but that has been dormant due to more pressing concerns. But perhaps Sam is also really expressing his desire for Dean to live a safe, normal existence. For Dean to LIVE, period. Not to die, over and over again, leaving Sam to mourn him and try to live without him.

mauledHeartbrokenSam4


Perhaps Sam's comments about Benny and possibly having to kill him are really about wishing he could go back in time and listen to Dean's early warnings about Ruby. Maybe he's wishing they had killed Ruby before she could take them so far along the path to the Apocalypse. It's possible Sam still feels guilty about those mistakes, and the impact they had on the brothers' lives. Now, he's offering his brother the benefit of his painfully-learned experience. But to Dean's ears they sound like verbal attacks on Benny, and veiled threats to kill his vampiric Purgatory pal.

"The things that never happen are often as much realities to us, in their effects, as those that are accomplished."
- Charles Dickens David Copperfield


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The problem with perception is that we believe what we perceive is real. Perception becomes reality. We start basing our decisions on those perceptions. And suddenly, you have two brothers who love each other, but can not communicate with each other.

"Never close your lips to those whom you have already opened your heart."
- Charles Dickens

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Certainly under Supernatural spells and in moments of great distress, they'll blurt out all their resentments. But although they talk to each other, they never really listen. They never resolve any of those issues, or find a way to clear the air. So the pain gets put away, until the pressure builds up, erupting like a volcano of wounded feelings, burning everyone in its path.

So, what might the Winchesters say to each other if they had the benefit of Mr. Dickens way with words?

"I have been deceived, before, in the objects whom I have endeavoured to benefit; but I feel strongly disposed to trust you, nevertheless; and I am more interested in your behalf than I can well account for, even to myself. The persons on whom I have bestowed my dearest love, lie deep in their graves; but, although the happiness and delight of my life lie buried there too, I have not made a coffin of my heart, and sealed it up, forever, on my best affections. Deep affliction has but strengthened and refined them..."
? Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

Both Sam and Dean could use this quote to describe their new relationships with Amelia and Benny. They were both lost and alone, terribly damaged but still in need of companionship.

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Sam couldn't fall for an innocent like Jessica again, because he wouldn't see himself as being worthy of her. (Despite what he says about Hell burning away his guilt, I don't believe it. I think he carries a truckload around too.) It makes sense he'd find a kinship with another damaged heart and with someone so like Dean - snarky, sarcastic, independent and with a tendency to push down feelings, deny their existence and run away from anyone trying to show them compassion.

DeanBennyPurgatory2


Meanwhile, Benny shares many similarities with Sam. In Purgatory, he was smart, capable, and in control. He was knowledgeable, resourceful, and had Dean's back. But since his return to the world, he feels like he constantly has to fight the monster within, and that everyone is always judging him. It's very reminiscent of Sam, once he learned about his demon blood and destiny to become Lucifer. He's a tragic character.

Sam and Dean might also want to consider this fact about their complex relationship.

"It is because I think so much of warm and sensitive hearts, that I would spare them from being wounded."
- Charles Dickens Oliver Twist

 

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Even after all these years and all they've been through, they still worry about losing the other's love and approval. It's like children not wanting to admit to having done something naughty in case Mom & Dad get mad and don't love them anymore. Dean can't admit he voluntarily carried a vampire's soul out of Purgatory because that is such unDean behaviour. And Sam can't admit how devastated he was by Dean's death because that might appear weak.

The brothers would do well to remember they have friends who are willing to help them, if only they would ask.

"Family not only need to consist of merely those whom we share blood, but also for those whom we'd give blood."
- Charles Dickens

Or, put more simply...

Dean,Sam,Bobby

"Family don't end with blood, boy."
- Bobby Singer, No Rest For The Wicked

Bobby, you are so missed at this moment. You could bang their heads and hearts together and knock some sense into them. But, until you are somehow restored to this plane of existence, then Sam and Dean should remember they can lean on, as well as support, people like Sherriff Mills, Garth and even Charlie.

And finally,

"I confess I have yet to learn that a lesson of the purest good may not be drawn from the vilest evil."
? Charles Dickens Oliver Twist

 

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Over and over again, when up against the vilest evil, Sam and Dean have proven, and been shown that the purest good - the power of love - is the strongest force in the universe. What they must do now is use a little of that love to really hear what the other is saying. They might find they each want, and need different things. But sometimes, more often than you might expect, separate paths lead to the same destination. And as long as the other is waiting at the end of the road (in the Impala!), does it really matter the route there?

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"Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes."
- Charles Dickens,
Nicholas Nickleby

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Comments  

Bevie
# Bevie 2013-01-01 21:03
That was simply so beautiful and so very insightful. I loved it.
Thank you for that. I do love these brothers and wish so very much for them to realize how much the other loves them.
The hurts hurt way too deeply. :sad:
emmau
# emmau 2013-01-01 21:13
What an insightful piece of work this was. The use of the Dickens quotes was brilliant, and you managed to get to the heart of the matter for the Winchesters--th eir steadfast love for each other and their inability to see that their brother feels the same way. They talk, but they never really say what they need to say, and if they did they wouldn't listen. Poor boys. I hope they figure it out.

I really enjoyed reading this.
Denise Ferragamo
# Denise Ferragamo 2013-01-01 21:54
Great analysis of the dynamic between these two flawed and heroic figures!
Despite spending years working together and even dying for each other, it's tragic that they still can't tell each other how they feel, or at least deal with their feelings of self worth. They have mountains of hurt stored away inside that was never felt/examined/d ealt with , and that is never a good thing. I agree with you that they are projecting their feelings about themselves onto each other. I would love to see these guys get some counseling - lol.
sweetondean
# sweetondean 2013-01-02 03:39
Ah Pragmatic Dreamer, if I could hug you I would. This was just lovely, beautiful thought out and relayed.

A lot of what has bothered me around some commentary on Sam and Dean this season is the sometimes black and white reaction to what has and is continuing to happen within their relationship. The fact is, they are complex, deeply damaged and flawed individuals, who do and will always love each other and that in itself causes them no end of consternation and pain. I can see them no other way.

I feel like a lot of what you said about their past guilts and fears, is being over looked and both brothers are being somewhat harshly judged because of that. For me, how you have put their situation, hits the nail right on the head, as to who they are as individuals and who they are to each other and why they continue to struggle.

Carefully listening to each other is, of course, the key and something that they've always had difficulty with. Both of them.

Thanks a bunch for this, it's made me even more hungry for the end of this damned hellatus!

I love these two idjits and I'm in their corner, hoping they finally get to work some of this stuff out.
hedi
# hedi 2013-01-02 07:34
wow it was simply amazing! i totally liked the quotes from dickens' stories . you did an amazing job putting all these together.
and i totally liked your analysis of Benny and Amelia from Sam and Dean point of view. the more i think of it , the more i understand that you might be right about these two new tragic characters and why dean and sam choose them to fulfill the loss of their brother.

Thank you!
Hades
# Hades 2013-01-02 11:03
Interesting article, I get Dean's perception of what happened to Cas in Purgatory being messed with by himself no less but I dont see how Sam's perception of what Dean's rants in both Southern Comfort and Citizen Fang is being skewed. I dont see how Sam is reading what Dean's saying in the wrong way based on his own guilt. The words Dean uses are pretty clear so what exactly is Sam interpretting wrongly?

I have to agree with Sam's respeonse to Dean's cruel words in Citizen Cane as being based on the whole Ruby experience and I can say that because I have Jared's words to back me up. Sam was burned for trusting a demon as blindly as Dean is trusting Benny and I have no doubt the last thing he wants is for Dean to have to go through the same thing, especially since Dean still hasnt forgiven Sam for that mistake or choice.
percysowner
# percysowner 2013-01-03 23:19
I agree with this. The consensus is pretty well established that when Sam was influenced by Dr. Ellicott in Asylum and by the siren in Sex and Violence, he was expressing his real, deep down feelings about Dean. They are the feelings he would never have uttered if not possessed. He loved Dean enough to not say them, but they were his real feelings. So I'm not letting Dean get off with a double standard of "he really didn't mean it" with what he has said about Sam. It isn't like this is something new. Dean has expressed these feelings before. He did say everything was forgiven at one point, but wanting to forgive, and thinking you have forgiven doesn't mean you actually have. I think Dean tried to forgive what Sam had done, but in the end is unable to do so. I don't think Sam is perceiving things incorrectly.

I do agree that Sam is judge Benny by what happened with Ruby. He may be overreacting, or he may be learning from his mistakes. I also think that Sam has wanted to be safe for a long time and is not deceiving himself on what he wants his life to be like. I'm sure he does want Dean to be safe, but I also think he realizes that Dean gets to choose the life he wants and will not force Dean to try normal again. He really only pushed Dean toward normal to keep Dean from killing himself after Sam went into the Cage.

Sam may well be seeing his life with Amelia through rose colored glasses because that is what he needed. I'm sure he has seen much of life through his own prism and that he has made mistakes about Dean and John and even himself. I do think he is right to take Dean at his word when Dean says he doesn't trust him.

Yes, Dean misremembered what happened with Cas in Purgatory and I can see him being protective of Benny because he feels he has failed so many people that he has loved.
emmau
# emmau 2013-01-03 23:58
Is that really the consensus? I always thought it was a theory that Ellicot and the Siren greatly amplified Sam's feelings. I.e, he didn't truly find Dean pathetic in S1 or consider him to be whining in S4, but that his frustrations were blown out of proportions by supernatural influence. So am I now supposed to take Sam's cruelty under the supernatural as his real contempt for his brother? That's sad, isn't it? I'd rather stick with my theory--that Sam and Dean both have real (and realistic brotherly) issues with each other, but that supernatural influence blew those frustrations up into much more than they were on their own.

Now I do agree that Dean has tried to forgive Sam and believed that he had. So I'm not sure Sam has perceived that incorrectly. I think what Sam isn't perceiving is the root cause of why those old resentments are boiling back to the surface again--Sam's admittance that he didn't try to find out what happened to Dean and his frank unrepetentance for that choice. Sam seems to understand that Dean is upset, but he doesn't seem to recognize that he has any responsibility or recourse in fixing that. It's bizarre in a way, because Sam almost immediately offered up an apology to Kevin for "dropping the ball", but he's giving no ground to Dean at all.

I think that stems from Sam's perception that he had no choice about what he could do after Dean disappeared. There was nothing he could do, so he had to find his own life. Only in 8.8 did Sam start to acknowledge that he ran away and sought out Amelia because they were both lost and damaged. By Amelia's words, they just wanted to be messes together, and only now that he's gotten distance is he seeing it might not have been his only choice and perhaps not his best one. That is not to say that Sam didn't have good reason to choose the way he did--I think he fairly fell apart after Dean disappeared and coped only as he knew how. But, as Pragmatic Dreamer so deftly pointed out, Sam doesn't do well with admitting weakness, especially not to Dean, so he adopted an "I learned to enjoy the finer things" instead of admitting that it was more along the lines of "I just fell apart and ran." So to me, Sam's perception issues revolve around his relationship with Amelia and also his mistakes in dealing with Dean after his return.
emmau
# emmau 2013-01-04 00:20
Which isn't to say that Dean doesn't need to shoulder his own responsibility for what has gone wrong in the boys' relationship at this point. Pragmatic Dreamer has done a great job in pointing out his misperceptions and issues this season. His relationships with Sam, Castiel, and Benny are all influenced by those perceptions, and he's starting to sort through them, the same as Sam. I hope that they'll both get it together (as much as a Winchester can) sooner rather than later.
lala2
# lala2 2013-01-04 01:52
Quote:
Is that really the consensus?
Pretty much. As Percy said, I think most people feel Sam felt those thoughts at that time and under those circumstances, but he would never have voiced those thoughts but for the Siren or the ghost in Asylum.

I'm not sure why Sam being frustrated w/Dean never taking a stand against John is cruel or bad. I should probably duck the rocks that will be thrown my way, but I can even understand why S1 viewed Dean as somewhat pathetic for always following John's orders. Sam knew Dean was smart and capable of making his own decisions, so I think he was frustrated by Dean's inability to follow his own path. I can see that.

The comments in S&V were pretty bad . . . . just as bad as Dean's comments in the Garth episode. I can't say much about that.

Quote:
Sam seems to understand that Dean is upset, but he doesn't seem to recognize that he has any responsibility or recourse in fixing that.
But short of going back in time to make a different decision, there isn't much Sam can do to make Dean feel better. What can he do? He can apologize, but it will seem empty. He can try to explain himself, but it will likely fall on deaf ears. I, personally, can't wrap my mind around Carver's choice for Sam so I can definitely understand why Dean is lost.

Carver, IMO, really screwed Sam w/this choice so unless we learn that Sam had a mental breakdown and was incapable of searching or has been manipulated by the supernatural in some way, I'm not sure how Dean will move past Sam's decision in a realistic way.
emmau
# emmau 2013-01-04 06:58
Well, learn something new every day. Being frustrated with Dean for never taking a stand against his father isn't bad. Calling someone pathetic and not having a mind of their own kind of is. I'll agree if you will that people tend to harbor negative thoughts about others that they'd never say, and I can see why Sam would have them. But that doesn't make voicing them uncruel. I'll agree that the words in S&V and Southern Comfort were both pretty bad, but I still think that they were more than the boys felt and would have voiced if they had been control of themselves at the time. We can, of course, agree to disagree, and I get the added bonus of going against the consensus. Fun.

Now, I'll agree that I don't understand Carver's choice for Sam and why Dean is so hurt by it. At the same time, I find the idea that not apologizing for hurting someone because it doesn't seem like enough a cop-out, honestly. In fact, it's a bit like what Sam did regarding looking for Dean--it was hard and I didn't know how to start so I did nothing. That's partly how they got into this mess in the first place. Sam could show that he understands why Dean is upset, because right now he really seems like he doesn't. Sam could try explaining that he was emotionally lost, instead of just saying, "Well, I tried nothing and was all out of ideas, and then I found something better, so . . ." Instead of just flatly stating his attention to quit hunting and trying to sell Dean on how much he'll enjoy hunting alone (why Sam thought that would work is beyond me), he could have talked to Dean about what his actual plan for their being brothers while he's in normalville. If he has one, which at the moment I doubt. I find it a bit insulting for Sam to say that he's incapable of talking to Dean, making him understand things, or getting him into a chick moment because it's hard with Dean. Of course it is, but Sam's managed before when he really found it important. So again, I'll agree to disagree that Sam has done all he can and has no part in their current conflict.
lala2
# lala2 2013-01-04 12:41
Okay . . . I have a better understanding of your point now.

I will agree that Sam's words in Asylum were cruel but I guess I have come to understand his position a bit more than I did when Asylum first aired.

Sam's chief complaint during was that Dean was blindly following John's orders w/o thinking for himself and that Dean still wanted John's approval. I think Sam did see that as pathetic because he (Sam) recognized that Dean is quite smart and capable of making his own decisions. Sam didn't think Dean needed to follow John's orders like a "good little soldier." That episode, IMO, highlighted that this had been an issue for Sam for quite some time. There are hints that Sam challenged John much more than Dean, and that Dean - in Sam's mind - won John's favor by being much more obedient and compliant. As grown men, I can understand why that greatly frustrated Sam and even why he may have viewed it as "pathetic."

And I'm not trying to sugarcoat or downplay what Sam said, but the reference to being "pathetic" was to getting John's approval IIRC. I don't think Sam meant that Dean was a "pathetic" individual in all ways, but just when it came to their dad. Again, I'll duck the rocks but I understand that. Sam felt like they were both grown adults who were capable of making their own decisions and who deserved to be treated as equal partners. Dean only wanted to do what John wanted so this naturally caused conflict btw Sam and Dean.

Again, this may be controversial, but I think Sam meant exactly what he said in S&V, and I think Dean meant what he said in SC. At those particular points in time, that's how those guys were feeling, IMO. And while it's harder for me to understand Sam's S&V speech than Dean's SC one, I think both speeches just represented how the other felt at that particular moment in time.

Quote:
Now, I'll agree that I don't understand Carver's choice for Sam and why Dean is so hurt by it. At the same time, I find the idea that not apologizing for hurting someone because it doesn't seem like enough a cop-out, honestly.
I hear what you're saying, and I actually agree. Yes, Sam could apologize for hurting Dean. I never meant to imply that he shouldn't or couldn't do that.

It's not clear to me if JC's Sam understands that Dean was hurt by Sam's choice. I would hope that if Dean told Sam how much Sam's decision to not look for him hurt him, Sam would feel compelled to apologize but who knows? I don't understand JC's version of Sam and don't have much of a handle on how his Sam addresses issues.

I saw your post as saying Sam has a responsibility to fix Dean being upset w/him, and that's where we may disagree. He can apologize, but I don't think there is much more he can do to allay Dean's fears. He could always just continue hunting w/Dean, but I hate to think that Sam has to give up his dreams just to make Dean happy.

Carver has, IMO, created a very nasty problem/conflic t btw the boys. I have no idea how he plans to resolve it, esp. in a realistic way.
emmau
# emmau 2013-01-04 19:11
I can understand and agree that the construct you've built here for Sam's words in Asylum makes sense. Since show likes to throw these bombs and never really deal with them, much like they did in S&V and SC, it's as good an explanation as any. It also fits with the characters Sam and Dean were in S1. I think it can be argued that Sam might have thought Dean's compulsion to follow orders was pathetic, but that the possession-esqu e amplification removed all qualifiers. I can go with that.

As for S&V, I guess I really don't want to think that Sam looking down on having PSTD due to hell and considering talking about it two times whining was really Sam's true attitude. Maybe it was, but I'd rather keep my illusions. Dean's better brother tirade is similarly hard to swallow, though I have to confess it doesn't hit me the same way (though I accept perspectives vary). In the end, I'm not sure there's a wrong way to view it, so I guess we'll all keep rolling along.

At this point, I'm not sure what JC's Sam thinks about Dean. Once upon a time, Sam claimed to know Dean better than anyone, so it seems like he should be able to figure out why Dean was hurt without Sam spelling it out for him. Though truthfully, Sam really isn't that much better at dealing with Dean's emotional baggage than Dean is with dealing with Sam's. They both seem to adopt an 'avoid it and hope it all blows over' technique, despite the fact that it works about never.

I don't understand why saying Sam has a responsibility to fix Dean being upset automatically = Sam having to stay in hunting. I think Sam could, as I said, express some empathy for how Dean was hurt and provide some reassurance about how he's not going to just disappear or cut off contact when he returns to normal. Let's be honest, Sam (and the Winchesters) have a track record of being all or nothing kinds of guys, and I don't think it's an unfound concern that Dean might fear that Sam returning to normal = Dean never hearing from Sam. Of course, Dean has to be open to listening and believe Sam when he says these things, so it's not just on Sam. But I dislike the idea that fixing what's wrong with them is completely on Dean because there's just nothing Sam can do to help alleviate the tension.

Then again, considering how Carver is planning on two more seasons, I'm not sure how he plans to resolve the latest version of normal vs. hunting drama. At the moment, he's set the boys so far apart that I'm not sure how they can get back together without it seeming like one of them just caved, but I hope they can find a way to make it look like they found common ground again.
lala2
# lala2 2013-01-05 09:02
Well, some have speculated that the DB was influencing Sam and his feelings & thoughts at the time. I read interesting theories that Sam's feelings were the result of Ruby's blood (i.e., her blood was evil thereby Sam had "evil" thoughts).

I don't know. That seems more like fanwanking than canon to me b/c the writing doesn't, IMO, support that theory. If that was the story Kripke was trying to tell, then I think he failed. Sadly, S&V just seemed like Sam's thoughts to me.

I, personally, think the problem w/Sam's speech in S&V - at least to me - is I didn't see any weakness on Dean's part. Many say he was changed after Hell or wasn't behaving like himself, but I never saw that. Yes, he had nightmares, etc, but Dean was pretty functional, IMO, during S4. He never seemed off his game or scared to fight Lilith as Sam claimed. There was very little PTSD in S4 IMO.

Now, I haven't seen S&V in a long time, but I believe Sam mentioned being stronger and a better fighter than Dean. I think he definitely felt that way at that time. Sam was, IMO, quite arrogant and overly confident in S4. That was the addiction and maybe the effects of the blood. But he also "boo-hooed" Dean's feelings re: Hell. I thought that was really harsh and cruel, and it made me question if Sam had any respect for Dean at all. In fact, I remember making my first post ever online about that episode and how upset I was w/Sam.

That said, I do believe that's what Sam felt at that moment in time. Could it have been the demon blood? Sure. Maybe the DB didn't give him those exact thoughts, but it did make him more arrogant than he was in previous seasons. He clearly felt very powerful and was riding off the high of the DB and saw some "weakness" in Dean. Granted, I didn't see much weakness in Dean - not that I recall - but I think that's the story they were trying to tell.

In any event, Sam would have never disclosed his feelings if it hadn't been for the Siren.

I definitely think Dean meant every word he stated in SC. On a subconscious level, Dean has not really forgiven Sam for any of the bad choices Sam has made and holds Sam responsible for many things Sam can't even control. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that on a subconscious level, Dean blames Sam for the destruction of their family. I think that was mentioned in S5 in that game show episode.

Dean may think he's forgiven Sam but he hasn't. He still feels Sam will leave him and that Sam doesn't love him as much as he loves Sam. Dean may not have said much, but he was clearly hurt and devastated by Sam's choice to not look for him and just move on w/his life. That revelation only raised Dean's insecurities about his place in Sam's life. And Dean may be like me in that he never truly forgets when he feels he's been wronged so I think the ghost or whatever brought all that to the surface. So every resentment or problem Dean has w/Sam came to the forefront.

Dean feels Sam abandoned him for a girl. Dean also feels that he has been let down by all his friends and family, and at this moment in time, the only one who hasn't disappointed him is Benny. As Dean stated, for Dean, Benny is a bettter brother to him than Sam has ever been. I don't think the ghost gave Dean the thoughts or anything. The possession just allowed Dean to say what he would have never said and what he's subconsciously thinking.

The thoughts expressed in S&V and SC are not nice, happy thoughts but I guess I see no reason to think the boys didn't mean what they said.

I'm not sure what else Sam can do to make Dean happy that doesn't involve Sam giving up what he wants out of life. Dean seems to believe they can only be family if they travel and hunt together. He won't be happy if they aren't traveling and hunting together, so what can Sam do? I don't think any reassurances that he'll KIT w/Dean will appease Dean.

I do think Sam will cave and return to hunting. That's what he has to do b/c that's the only way he can remain on the show.
emmau
# emmau 2013-01-05 11:43
The theory about DB and S&V makes sense to me, though you're right that it wasn't spelled out in canon that it was part/cause of Sam's apparently fairly low opinion of Dean at the time. I'll agree that that's really what I had the most problem with in that episode, because I also didn't feel the 'weak' and 'boohoo' comments really reflected what we'd seen on screen. I will also agree that Sam may have been having negative feelings about Dean at that moment that he never would have expressed, but for me, I still like to think Sam really didn't think that badly of his brother and the possession amplified things.

I agree that Dean felt terribly let down by the time SC rolled around re: Sam and his choices. I further agree that Dean really believed he had forgiven Sam for everything, but I do think that Sam's seeming detachment from him stirred a lot of that back up, and that it was further amplified by the possession (soulless Sam, for example, is never something we've seen Dean show any resentment towards Sam about--on the contrary, he seemed to go out of his way to say soulless Sam wasn't Sam's fault. Then again, that could have just been the writing).

So I guess in long format that all just says I still agree to disagree that the boys' words were all their thoughts, because I do still think that the possession amplified their issues. But perspectives vary, and that's fine.

I think we haven't seen Sam try anything to make Dean happy at this point, so I can't say what would work and what wouldn't. I still think it gives Sam a pass to say, "Well, it probably wouldn't work, so it's fine if Sam doesn't try to do anything to fix things." Dean has let Sam go before. He may not be thrilled with it, but he can make peace with it. Maybe that's something he'd have to come to on his own, but I do believe that Sam could take actions or try to help Dean.

But in the end you make a good point in saying that in the end Sam's going to remain with hunting if the show's still ongoing, so all this conversation may not mean anything. At the same time, though, I hope it's not presented as Sam just caves, because nothing's going to get better between the boys if Sam is there out of obligation and passive-agressi vely resenting Dean because of it.
percysowner
# percysowner 2013-01-04 07:19
I completely agree that I don't think Sam's feelings about Dean in season one were so out of line. He was frustrated that Dean was refusing to pull away from doing what John wanted no questions asked. I'll go even farther. I don't think Sam's FEELINGS about Dean's actions in season four were all that terrible either. Feelings are feelings. Living with someone often has people feeling anger over irrational things or being unfair to them. Living with someone 24/7 only makes it worse. My ex suffered from depression and even though I knew he was ill having him refuse to look for a job, any job while insisting that our daughter give up going to a school where she had received significant financial aide, so she could live at home, save him money and we could use her college savings so he didn't have to look for work made me think many really awful thoughts about him. The trick was to vent to friends and then deal with him without anger or blame. So I understand Sam's reactions. They weren't nice, but for the first half of the season Sam tried to connect with Dean and as things deteriorated, Sam simply pulled away dealing with his own issues.

I don't blame Dean for what he FEELS about Sam after returning from Purgatory. His constant digs at Sam are what are making the relationship verging on toxic. Sam originally was calm and honest. He didn't look for Dean and there is nothing he can do to change that. He realized he should have looked for Kevin and he has taken steps to correct that. He told Dean that he built a life and that he no longer wants to hunt. I personally don't see that as cruel, but as not giving Dean false hope. After all, when he left for Jericho it was just this one job. Then when Jess died, he was only going to hunt until they found what killed Jess. Now he really wants Kevin and closing the gates of hell to be his last job and he doesn't want Dean holding onto the idea that he is back for good. Yes, he said he wanted his life to count for something, which was harsh, but Sam's hunting experience isn't Dean's. Sam's years in hunting involved saving a few people, but almost damning the world. It involved feeling like he was drowning in evil and becoming more and more violent and killing more and more humans. He tried to escape some of the violence by using his powers to save the hosts and that led to an Apocalypse. Sam sees hunting as destructive to the world and his soul but he hasn't pushed that on Dean. The only time he asked Dean to live normal was to keep Dean from melting down after Sam was gone, something Dean had done before., Dean's being devastated by Sam's not looking for him has caused him to lash out by bringing up Sam's failing repeatedly, even when not under the influence of anything that we know of. Most interestingly, Dean's needling is that Sam wants a normal life. This is probably because the writers have decided that having Sam explain why he didn't look for Dean is some big surprise down the road (or at least I hope so), or that it simply isn't a big deal that Sam didn't look, unlike most of fandom. In any case, Dean's actions are driving Sam away.

Frankly, I have issues with the statements that Sam was a horrible person to feel what he does about Dean and if he expresses it just proves how awful Sam is, but if Dean is relentlessly cruel to Sam it's all Sam's fault because Dean is just hurt by Sam's actions when Sam thought Dean was dead. Like I said earlier, I hate the double standard, especially when it boils down to Sam is always wrong.

Both Sam and Dean ne
emmau
# emmau 2013-01-04 07:55
Sam has every right to his feelings, of course. I do think that his feelings of frustration were justified in S1, even if the words that came out were unkind. I can understand how dealing with Dean in S4 would be hard for Sam. The brother he'd relied upon all his life came back as almost a different person, and that would be difficult to cope with. However, looking down on him for having trouble dealing with hell is a bit like looking down on a soldier for having PSTD after being held captive in a prison camp. So I'm afraid that doesn't work for me. But since I think that Sam's feelings were amplified (as were Dean's in SC), I can forgive that. I further agree that both Sam and Dean suffer from not having sounding boards/friends to vent with while being in each other's pockets 24/7.

It's hard for me to say that Dean is justified in feeling hurt, but all the brothers' issues are his fault for actually expressing that hurt. Yes, Sam has every right to normal, and he has a right to leave whenever he wants. I find the idea that Sam was overwhelmed and come to see hunting as the cause for his losses, therefore wanting nothing to do with it understandable. But if he can realize he could have done more for Kevin and apologize to him, why can't Sam do the same for Dean? Why can't he, while stating his intentions to leave hunting, express that he doesn't want to lose his brother and express how he plans to keep in touch with Dean once he leaves the hunt? This seems to put all of the onus on Dean for fixing their relationship at this point, despite acknowleding that Sam's actions are part of the problem. Sam is making it clear that he looks down on hunting (his experience being different isn't really cover for stating that something he knows Dean is committed to doesn't count, in my opinion), and he's not making it clear where his brother fits into his life at this point. Dean did, even if it's not what Sam wants to hear. Similarly, Dean may not want to hear Sam's ideas, but he still needs to hear them so they can deal with each other and find common ground.

I feel like you're putting words in my mouth here. I never said Sam was a horrible person or that Dean wasn't at fault for the problems between them. I think Dean has to find a way to deal with his anger and he has to stop digging at Sam for what he can't change. I think Sam has to work harder to reach out to his brother, and he needs to show some sign that he understands Dean's feelings and show some sign that he wants their brotherhood to continue after hunting. So I'm not sure where the accusations on double standards is coming from.
Amy
# Amy 2013-01-04 10:50
Sam and Dean are BOTH responsible for their relationship weather Sam hunts or not. I have to ask....how is Sam supposed to figure out how their relationship would work/Dean fits in his life outside of hunting when NEITHER brother can figure out their relationship/ta lk to the other when they are 2 feel apart?

I mean...really the only thing Sam can tell Dean is exactly what Lisa told Dean "Come when you can. I'll be here." But Sam has Souless Sams memories. There were a few phone calls but Dean never bothered went to Lisa and Ben unless they were in trouble.

Add that to Dean ... which we all know... that Dean doesn't beleive they are/can be family unless they are joined at the hip. And right now Dean doesn't think Sam is even worthy of being his brother. If Dean truely wants a relationship with Sam Why ISN'T Dean asking Sam what Sam thinks regarding their realtionship if Sam leaves hunting? Why doesn't Dean tell Sam that if Sam does leave hunting that Dean DOES want a relationship with Sam?

As their relationship stands I can't see Sam even thinking Dean WANTS Sam in his life unless he's ' by his side driving down crazy street."

By the way...Sam's done crazy and it nearly killed him and destroyed the world. And its apparently destroyed thge brotherly bond. So why wouldn't Sam opt for a little sanity.

Plain and simple before Sam or Dean can think about figuring out how their relationship will work if they arn't hunting together...they need to figure out their relationship and how they fit into each others lives NOW.

They...yes I include Sam....they are pushing each other away so neither ...Sam nor Dean should be surprised WHEN the other leaves or shuts the other out completely.

They need to stop. Just stop. TAke some time out and think about what they want from themselves, each other and then come together and talk.
emmau
# emmau 2013-01-04 19:47
Absolutely the biggest obstacle Sam and Dean are facing right now, Amy--how can they figure out how their relationship will work and how to deal with each other when they can't step out from behind their walls and their issues and actually listen to each other? Who knew Garth would be so right--they're talking to each other, but neither is listening and they are pushing each other away.

You mention how Sam might see Dean's interactions with Ben and Lisa as a template for how their relationship would work out, which is interesting. I'd love to know how Sam feels about the situation right now, because to me, he's tunnel visioned on the goal of leaving hunting, and I really don't think he knows any better than Dean what's going to happen. But if he thinks their relationship might go the same way, does that worry him? Reassure him? I assume he doesn't want to lose Dean completely, but it's hard to say right now, isn't it?

I will agree that Dean very closely associates family with proximity, and that does make things very difficult. I also believe he's lashing out at Sam's brotherhood status, because it seems that Sam's the one that gave up on him first. If Sam doesn't care enough to even try to find him, why would Dean see their brotherhood the same way as he did before? Now in saying that, I don't think Dean is looking past his own hurt to see where Sam might be coming from, any more than Sam is looking beyond his own defensiveness to see where Dean is coming from. Again, I agree that they are both wrong in that.

I'm not sure where I ever said that it was wrong for Sam to opt for a little sanity, or leave hunting. I can also see why he might wonder what Dean wants from their relationship if he's not by his side, just like Dean might wonder what Sam wants from their relationship if he's steeped in normal. I simply mean that, like Dean, there are things Sam could do to make the situation better that he's not doing. It's not all on Sam, but I do think he has responsibility here, too. So it seems we do agree on that.
lala2
# lala2 2013-01-04 13:01
But at the end of the day, if Sam finds NO meaning or purpose in hunting, then that's his right. His feelings re: hunting shouldn't impact Dean's feelings re: the job. A job has to have meaning for each person involved. Right now, hunting has no meaning for Sam. He feels he could be doing better, more important things w/his life. He has a right to feel that way. Dean has the right to feel the opposite way.

Sam wasn't trying to hurt Dean's feelings when he made the comments he did re: hunting. He was just stating how he felt. If Dean took offense to those comments, then I'm not sure what Sam can do about that. Sam should be able to voice his opinions w/o Dean taking offense and vice versa, esp. when it comes to hunting, etc.

I don't think the issue of Sam leaving hunting has been addressed very well this season. However, I don't think Sam believes he has to tell Dean that they will still each other b/c I think Sam thinks that's a given. For Dean, being apart means never seeing each other again. I don't think living separate lives has EVER meant that for Sam. John is the one who told Sam to stay gone when Sam left. But for John's ultimatum, I'm sure Sam would have stayed in touch. And we know Sam and Dean talked for at least two years before breaking all contact.

Maybe Dean needs to express his fear to Sam so Sam can address it b/c I don't think Sam sees it that way.
emmau
# emmau 2013-01-04 19:37
I'm afraid I have to disagree--if my sibling stated that they didn't want my job because they wanted their life to count it would affect me. It might not affect the way I felt about my job, but it would definitely hurt that my sibling thought so little of something I thought was worthwhile. There are definitely ways to say, "I just can't do this job" or "I want something different" without saying "What you do doesn't count."

Now, is it possible that this whole conversation revolves around a fanon issue rather than a canon issue? Possibly, but again, I have to object to the idea that if Sam says/does something hurtful he's powerless to do anything about it or that it's pointless to try to make amends. If Dean took offense, Sam certainly could clarify what he meant--if he meant that he no longer finds hunting meaningful for him, he could say that. Dean, likewise, needs to find a way to realize that Sam's opinions about hunting may not necessarily reflect the way Sam feels about him.

The thing is, we have no idea what Sam thinks leaving hunting entails now that Dean is alive. Maybe he doesn't think he has to tell Dean that they'll still see each other, but like I said above, the Winchesters' past track record to me should suggest otherwise. Sam has left and not picked up his phone before without John being involved, so I don't think Dean is completely out in left field to be afraid. (And technically, since Kripke admitted he screwed up re: the years at Stanford, so I'm not sure Sam and Dean are meant to have talked). I like to think things would be different this time, but given what's up, who knows?

I'll agree that Dean might need to express his fear to Sam, but shouldn't Sam also want to figure out how he can make the situation better on his own? Dean needs to consider Sam's issues re: Amelia and normal and how his attitude is affecting Sam. I don't think it's too much to ask that Sam similarly reflect on how his actions/attitud e is affecting Dean. But right now they're both so caught up in their own fear about the other's regard for them and their own issues to really take that step. Hopefully they'll figure out a way to reach out to each other soon.
percysowner
# percysowner 2013-01-04 20:21
Except Dean spent all of season one telling Sam that going to college and living the life Sam wanted and thought was worthwhile was ridiculous and not worthwhile, and no one ever suggested that Sam had any right to get mad about that. Heck, Dean immediately sounded contemptuous when he found out Sam was looking into college. In fact he told Sam that Sam didn't REALLY mean that he wanted a life out of hunting. But you're not suggesting that Dean apologize for 1) telling Sam that Sam doesn't know his own mind and 2) for telling Sam that a normal life isn't worth much. Dean has done the same thing to Sam and he has done it a lot longer. Why is it when Sam makes one remark that hurts Dean's feelings about his job Sam needs to apologize, but Dean, never has to? Just because Sam let's Dean's remarks about how awful it is to want safe and normal roll off his back, doesn't make what Dean says any less offensive than when Sam says the same thing.

Dean has been telling Sam what Sam wants since the pilot when he told Sam that he left because he wanted normal and Sam responded that he didn't want normal, he wanted safe. Yet to this day, Dean talks about Sam wanting normal, completely ignoring that Sam has specifically said he wants safe. Dean didn't even bother to really learn Amelia's name even though Sam told it to him immediately. And then, he made sure he could use Amelia against Sam whenever he felt like it.

Do I wish Sam had at least TOLD Dean why he was so sure Dean was dead? Of course. The big flaw in the writing is that Sam and Dean are not asking the most obvious questions. Sam saying I thought you were dead should have been answered with why did you think that? How many times have we disappeared and still come back? Even better, Sam could have said I was sure you were dead because... But instead the writers wanted conflict.

Dean hides Benny from Sam, knowing full well what happened when Sam hid Ruby from him. When Sam finds out, the obvious question is why didn't you tell me about Benny? But Sam doesn't ask that and then Dean could go into detail about Benny helping him in Purgatory and show us the flashback as he tells Sam, so Sam gets a better idea of why Dean trusts Benny. Again there is no reason except to create conflict. I'm not even talking about the emotional component. They aren't having Sam and Dean exchange basic information. They are both giving name, rank and serial number and that is it. And it makes no sense in many ways. I don't even know how Sam got the Impala off the Sucrocorps sign where Meg left it. Did he call a tow truck and say yes, I do look just like the guy who was on the FBI's most wanted list AND like the guy who was part of a pair of serial killers and yes Suprocorps is a big flaming, blown up building, but just get me a tow and I'll mosey away. The conflict is built on neither brother acting like real people.

Sam told Dean in season one that he didn't have to hunt to have Dean in his life. Maybe he needs to repeat it, but even when he was soulless, once Dean knew he was alive Sam stayed in touch with Dean even when Dean chose to live with Lisa. Those actions alone should be proof that one brother hunting doesn't mean they have to lose touch forever.

I think Dean needs to consider the things he has said to Sam. If he really trusts Benny more than Sam, well there is nothing to say, but he should acknowledge that Sam is hurt by that. If he doesn't he should apologize. The one thing he does need to apologize for letting Sam thing that Amelia was in danger, possibly being pinned to the ceiling with fire dancing around her, merely to keep Benny safe. And if we are talking about working on wrong assumptions maybe Dean should reassure Sam that no, he didn't send Sam on this wild goose chase because he knew Amelia had worked things out with Don and he wanted to slap Sam in the face that the woman that meant something to Sam was lost to him forever, because I do think that Sam does believe that and I do believe that Dean didn't mean that part.
emmau
# emmau 2013-01-04 20:51
When did anyone ever say Sam had no right to be annoyed when Dean took digs at normal in S1? I always figured he did, and that he had a right to be. Sam and Dean both took shots at each other’s choices re: hunting and normal, especially in the beginning of S1, because they were trying to sound each other out and get a rise out of each other. The ‘simpler’ days of S1 were never that simple, in my opinion. I’m sorry, but I also missed where this season Dean told Sam that a normal life wasn’t worth much or that his desire for such was awful and wrong. I do remember him not taking Sam’s desire for normal and college seriously, and for that he is wrong. Sam and Dean have gone around the hunting/normal carousel so many times now it’s surprising either one takes the other seriously. But to be serious, yes, when/if Sam and Dean ever work things out, they should both be more respectful of each other’s choices, now that you’ve asked me to address it. I also believe that at least part of Dean's scorn can be directly attributed to Dean's anger at Sam not looking for him and seeming nonchalance about that fact, but that does not give Dean a blank check for his behavior.

I haven’t seen Sam make the distinction between normal and safe this season. I remember him saying he found something he never had before, and that he took time to enjoy the finer things. So I’m not sure how that applies this season. Sam told Dean Amelia’s name once, that’s true. It was also coupled with, “There was a girl, now there’s not.” I’m not sure that really implies the depths to Sam’s feelings, and he’s been only slightly more forthcoming about his year than Dean has. Now, none of that is an excuse for Dean’s trick with the cell phones. It was low. I’m not going to debate that point, nor have I ever done so in my recollection.

I agree that Sam should have been more forthcoming about why he would have been sure that Dean was dead, or if he even was. I believe I remember Sam saying that he didn’t know whether Dean was dead or scarfing down tacos somewhere, so I’m not sure that we can even declare that Sam truly believed that Dean was dead, just that he didn’t know what had happened and he didn’t try to find out. But yes, Sam was given some bad things to deal with for the sake of conflict, and by saying that, I’m not sure why some of Dean’s less than fine moments wouldn’t rate that same cover. Certainly he was given hurtful things to say and do that served to ratchet up the conflict, yes?

I also agree that interjecting Ruby rather than Amy into the conversation would have made much more sense. There is much more of a parallel there in my opinion. I can further agree that the boys aren’t having conversations that include more than basic information on both of their parts, and part of the reason for that is to keep conflict going. So that’s a good bit of common ground there between us, isn’t it?

Yes, Sam told Dean in S1 that they would always be a family, even separated. RoboSam hung out with Dean because “it felt right.” So Dean might take comfort in that, if it hadn’t happened after he disappeared for a year and found out Sam didn’t try to find him. The most events are usually the strongest in our memories. So, yes, I do think Sam should repeat his intentions, and I think it would probably help.

Yes, Dean does need to consider the things he’s said and what affect they’ve had on Sam. I think both the Winchesters owe each other apologies at this point. I’m not sure why Sam would think Dean knows so much about Amelia and Don considering Sam has told him nothing more than her name, but if for some reason he does believe that Dean should clarify. I have no problem with that at all. I’ve maintained all along that both Sam and Dean are responsible for the mess between them as well as cleaning them up—I was simply questioning the idea that there was nothing Sam could do and that all the responsibility is on Dean. Again, they are both responsible, and they both have some apologizing and work to do to get back on solid ground.
emmau
# emmau 2013-01-04 20:54
And by "When did anyone say . . .", I mean, when did I say. I can't speak for fandom at large or factions therein, nor would I want that thankless task. All I can do is speak for my own responses, and I really don't remember implying that Sam didn't have a right to his feelings about Dean's behavior.
lala2
# lala2 2013-01-05 10:18
I guess I think some comments don't need qualifiers like "for me" or "in my opinion." I don't remember when Sam made the comment re: hunting or how he made it, but I thought it was clear he was referring to himself and how he feels about it. Wasn't there some follow-up to that comment? I can't remember.

In any event, I'm not saying Sam can't or shouldn't apologize if he learns Dean's feelings have been hurt by something he did or a comment he made. He can and should. I just don't know if Sam knows Dean was hurt by the hunting comment.

And I must agree w/Percy in that Dean spends much of his time dismissing the things Sam wants in his life so I guess they are on even footing in hurting the other's feelings re: personal goals, desires, etc.

I don't think either brother should have to read the other's mind though. If Dean's worried that Sam will never speak to him again if Sam leaves the huntig world, then I think he should express that to Sam. That way, Sam can address the issue. Dean's passive aggresiveness is certainly not mature like Carver claims!

Right now, the boys are in a really bad place. Sam doesn't want to be there hunting, and Dean has no faith or trust in Sam. I'm not sure how Carver plans on fixing a relationship he has utterly destroyed for no reason other than conflict.
emmau
# emmau 2013-01-05 11:29
I'll have to agree to disagree, because to me if you say something as a blanket statement, it's a blanket statement. If you mean something just applies to you, it needs a qualifier. If I say, "Having carpet in your house is stupid", that doesn't tell the listener that for me carpet doesn't work for me personally because I have allergies. I personally don't recall any follow-up remarks to the comment, either. What you've said may be what show meant, but for me, it just didn't come through that way. Perspectives vary.

I can agree that Sam and Dean both are dismissive of what each other wants/needs in their life, especially now, because they are both wrapped up in their own needs and issues at the moment. I'm not sure why Dean doing so is personal and wrong, but Sam was just making a statement referring to himself, even if sounds like a blanket statement. I fully agree that Dean is wrong to denigrate Sam's choices. But Sam downing hunting isn't any different.

Let's look at SC--at the end Sam made a whole speech about how he didn't want Dean knocking his normal choices or expressing any feelings about how Sam left him to twist in the wind or he'd leave (an ultimatum of his own). But before that, Sam just swallowed what Dean said, letting his own anger come out in detachment and and with his own passive agression ("You want me here, I'm here" and the comment about hunting). So I think Sam deserves some praise here for being the first one to figure out that just letting your anger simmer under the surface isn't going to work and outright state what he wanted, and Dean stopped.

By what I'm reading here, though, before that Dean had no obligation to realize how his words/actions might have been negatively impacting his relationship with Sam. If Sam didn't tell him, he should just assume that his behavior was just fine and that it didn't bother Sam in the slightest, because Sam didn't tell him. I don't agree with that, personally. If Dean is not treating Sam with the respect he should, it's not all on Sam to point it out--Dean should realize it and do his part to end it as a good brother. Now no one is perfect, and sometimes we don't realize what we're doing to others without it being spelled out. To me, though, that doesn't erase responsibility for our own behavior.

So why is it wrong to expect Sam to demonstrate some self awareness, if he's supposed to be the 'mature' one this year? Let's be real--passive agression is a big part of Sam and Dean's methods of dealing with each other. Dean definitely needs to stop the passive agression that his own hurt and anger are causing him to express. Sam needs to stop the passive agression that his defensiveness and unhappiness about being in the hunting world again. Dean needs to lay out his issues the same way Sam did, and Sam needs to listen when/if he does. But again, if Sam is the 'sensitive' one, does he really need everything spelled out for him? He really can't figure out why Dean is upset that he didn't look for him? I find that fairly astonishing. Dean and Sam shouldn't only care about what issues their brother has with them when it's shoved in their face--they should have some awareness. This is something they both used to have more of, but seems to have disappeared as they've 'matured.'

I agree that they are in a bad place right now, and that they both share the blame. But to me, again, Dean and Sam both need to come to some realizations and make some amends in order to get back on track. I'm not sure what Carver is planning, since as you point out Dean has seemingly lost all faith and trust in Sam and Sam doesn't seem engaged with Dean because he's looking for the exit. It'll be interesting to see what comes next.
emmau
# emmau 2013-01-05 12:01
Actually, the biggest problem with SC is the big problem with S&V, Asylum, or any of the big blowout episodes that show sets up--there's no follow-through. The bomb gets thrown, but no one deals with the aftermath. Once Dean's issues were all out in the open, whether they were all genuine or amplified, the boys could have actually addressed them and mitigated at least some of their issues. But instead, it all got shoved right back under the rug to fester (which one could argue is at least part of the reason the issues were still there for Dean--he just shoves them all away and doesn't deal with them so they don't go away) the for the sake of keeping the conflict going. The boys would have been in much better shape in my opinion if they'd actually confronted that, but as Pragmatic Dreamer points out, Sam and Dean both run from dealing with the possibility of losing the other's esteem. Let's not talk about it, and maybe it'll go away! That's worked just about never.
JuliaG
# JuliaG 2013-01-04 21:13
Regarding why Sam apologized to Kevin and not Dean, I think that it's because Sam knew Kevin was alive and he let him down. But he thought that Dean was dead, so he did what they had agreed they would do if it happened again: he didn't bring Dean back from the dead. So he doesn't feel he has to apologize.

In "Levee", Dean told Sam that all he wanted was for him to be "okay". After Dean was sent to Purgatory, he must have been afraid of how Sam would cope, alone and still reeling from the events of the last 2 years. But Sam didn't self-distruct. He didn't drink demon blood, he didn't sell his soul , he didn't use his powers or tried to kill himself (I think). He survived and didn't hurt anybody. He found a way to go on. Shouldn't Dean be grateful for that? Happy even? Sam did the right thing and it's not good enough for Dean, so I understand how Sam would be frustrated.

On the other hand, although conversations like the one with Amelia's dad make it clear that Sam truly believed that Dean was dead, I'd like to know how he became convinced. There was no body after all. I wonder if the writers simply expect us to take Dean's "death" at face value and disregard what we were left with at the end of season 7. How did Sam get to "Where's Dean?" to Dean's dead? I really wish his story would be told better.
emmau
# emmau 2013-01-04 21:33
That explanation makes some sense to me, in that Kevin knowingly let Kevin twist and didn't necessarily know that he did the same to Dean. At the same time, wouldn't the fact that Dean is obviously upset about the situation lead Sam to apologize, even if only to try to make him feel better and mend some fences? That, to me, is another moment where the writing isn't exactly helping Sam out much.

I think that Dean's anger isn't really so much about what Sam actually did during his year of normal as what he didn't do. But being the emotional mess that he is, he can't come out and say, "Sam, I am upset that you didn't even tryto find out what happened to me." So instead, it comes out as "Sam, I can't believe you left hunting." Since Sam doesn't seem to see that, I can understand his frustration. Of course, the other explanation is that the PTB have gone for a reset in attitude to S1, so of course we have to have Sam downing hunting despite his past statements about how what they do matters and Dean downing Sam's choice for normal despite his past statements that he just wants Sam to be happy/safe. The strings are bit visible there, Pinocchio.

I wonder if show firmed up Sam's belief in Dean being dead from the premiere because of the response the line received, or if Sam's ambiguity in Dean's fate in the premiere stemmed from defensiveness. As Pragmatic Dreamer pointed out, Sam doesn't like to admit weakness in front of Dean, so he might have been unwilling to admit that thinking Dean was dead sent him into a tailspin that ultimately caused his inaction. I'm not sure we'll ever know, and I'll agree, JuliaG, that the uncertainty about what Sam thought and how he reached that conclusion hasn't done Sam any favors either.
emmau
# emmau 2013-01-04 21:33
Sam knowingly let Kevin twist. Drats.
Hades
# Hades 2013-01-04 07:44
I agree Sam wanted Dean to live normal because he wanted him safe and to not make the age old Winchester mistake, but I also believe that he came to the conclusion that Dean wanted some kind of normal/non hunting life based on Dean's own actions and words. He basically took Dean's running off to say goodbye to Lisa as Dean wanting normal not hard to come to that conculsion. But what Dean really wanted was a family of his own and not normal at the time Dean saw that family in Lisa and Ben and therefore a normal life. I'd also say that Dean wanted a family with Lis and Ben and thought the only way to have that was to have a normal life, I think he discovered during that year that he really didnt want normal but he deffinatley still wants a family of his own in some way maybe he now sees that family in Benny/Garth/Cas etc rather than a wife/child.

My point is Sam didnt come up with sending Dean to live with Lisa and Ben on his own, he genuinely believed it was what Dean wanted as in it was Dean's choice so Sam did not forece anything upon Dean. Dean clearly wants to hunt and Sam seems to get that, he isnt pushing Dean to give up hunting because he himself wants o do so he's recognised Dean's choice again clearly stated in how he tells Dean that he should carry on hunting even when Sam himself will no longer be doing so. Both times Sam has acknowledged Dean's chopice and feelings and has not pushed Dean to do anything.
Leah
# Leah 2013-01-05 13:26
This has been a great discussion by all of you these last few days but would just like to weigh in on the idea that there is a consensus about Sam experiences with the siren and Dr. Ellicott which would lead to the conclusion that the same applies to the spectre.

First of all I personally never thought that Sam meant all the harsh things he uttered under those influences, I am not saying that some of those thoughts never crossed his mind but I felt that the supernatural beings plucked them up and infused them them with so much rage that it was WAY out of proportion to the actual feelings held.

My feelings about the spectre are much the same. In the episode people went into a murderous rage over a 30 yr. old prom date, a late loan, the writing of police reports and baseball game call. These were not issues that these people had simmering under the surface all the time in their daily lives. I don't think it is fair to say that Dean was harboring a hotbed of seething resentments against Sam all the time. I am not saying that anyone actually said that but sometimes it is characterized that way. I DO think at one time or another Dean has thought these things but I think that he had forgiven Sam for most of them and the spectre's rage sought all those out AND amplified them into what was spewed by Dean. He was already hurt by Sam not looking for him, which was also amplified to a high degree. I think Dean does feel somewhat betrayed by Sam which has led to him making some hurtful comments. He should not be excused for that, but I am in agreement there has been little or no meaningful conversations between them and that is on both of them IMO. I don't think that Dean really thinks anyone is a "better brother" or that he distrusts Sam. He trusts him to have his back all the time.

The Benny situation has certainly altered that to a degree. I feel that Dean trusts and considers Benny a friend and ally but I also think that if Benny were to give in to his nature, that they have an unspoken (mostly) understanding that Dean will do whatever he has to do. And I have no doubt that all bets would be off if he ever threatened Sam.
emmau
# emmau 2013-01-05 14:38
As usual, it seems, someone has managed to state my position in a much more concise manner. I think there's a difference between the nasty flash thoughts we all have from time to time (that we usually stamp down and feel bad about) and actively holding a belief. I think Sam might have had some of the thoughts in Asylum flash through his mind, but I do think the possession sought out those thoughts and amplified them beyond what was actually there.

You make a good point about the spectre in SC. Am I supposed to believe that this is the pettiest town in America, with seething resentments about softball games and paperwork? I think these were minor annoyances that people might have held subconsciously, but I don't think that they were something they ruminated upon every day. Similarly, I don't think Dean was constantly harboring ill thoughts about Sam and his past bad actions, but his hurt by Sam not looking for him and the spectre blew things up and pushed them out. I am with you, Leah, in that if Benny was a threat to Sam there would be no question who he would pick. Dean was ready to kill Benny for killing random strangers, so I don't think if Sam's life was in danger he would hesitate. No matter how angry he can be with Sam, there's still no one he would rather be with. He's never shown any interest in hanging out with/hunting with Benny the way he has Sam, so I don't believe that Benny has in any way replaced Sam.

I think the brothers' failure to comminicate with each other is, at this point, their biggest obstacle.
emmau
# emmau 2013-01-04 00:05
I do think Sam's perception issues aren't so much with Dean's words (though I do think Dean's anger was amplified beyond his actual thoughts while possessed, just like Sam's was in Asylum and S&V. As for Citizen Fang, let's be honest and admit both Sam and Dean know how to push each other's buttons even in sober situations). I think what Sam isn't acknowledging is the root of Dean's anger this season and how he's not looking for Dean and his blase' attitude about that choice have hurt his relationship with his brother. Don't misunderstand-- they've both had a hand in damaging their relationship this season, but I think as Pragmatic Dreamer pointed it out it's all rooted in their insecurities with their brother's love and regard for them. These boys.

As for Jared's words about Sam's reasoning, I just don't feel like canon is bearing that out yet. The Ruby card hasn't been played multiple times--the Amy card has. At the moment, onscreen Sam is not equating Benny with Ruby. Perhaps he should, because I think showing concern for Dean getting burned by Benny the way he was by Ruby would probably play better than bringing up Amy.
emmau
# emmau 2013-01-04 00:06
Sorry, this was in response to Hades. I'll figure out how to work quotes better someday, and that'll probably help make my responses clearer.
lala2
# lala2 2013-01-04 02:00
Quote:
As for Jared's words about Sam's reasoning, I just don't feel like canon is bearing that out yet. The Ruby card hasn't been played multiple times--the Amy card has. At the moment, onscreen Sam is not equating Benny with Ruby. Perhaps he should, because I think showing concern for Dean getting burned by Benny the way he was by Ruby would probably play better than bringing up Amy.
I completely agree w/you here. This idea that Sam is upset w/Benny b/c of his past w/Ruby is NOT coming through in the dialogue, IMO. I feel it is a lot of fanwanking. It's good fanwanking and would make perfect sense given the character's history, etc. Unfortunately, Carver is not writing Sam any dialogue that explicitly states this.

I know this will ruffle some feathers, but Sam, IMO, comes off more jealous than anything else. I honestly have no clue why he's so concerned w/Benny. If Dean gets burned by Benny, then that will be Dean's problem. It will be his lesson to learn. If Sam has a problem w/Benny b/c of his past w/Ruby, then Carver needs to have him speak on that in detail. For me, one off line about being burned is insufficient.
Hades
# Hades 2013-01-02 11:05
Also wanted to add how odd I find it that Dean and Amelia are so alike and yet so many people dislike Amelia and Sam and Benny are so alike and yet everyone just loves Benny? Does that not seem bizaar to anyone else?
st50
# st50 2013-01-02 12:53
“It is because I think so much of warm and sensitive hearts, that I would spare them from being wounded.”
– Charles Dickens Oliver Twist

I really enjoyed your article and the use of Dickens references. Lovely analysis. It really is still all about perception.
Gotta love these imperfect, flawed, messed up boys. If we didn't "Think so much of warm and sensitive hearts", this whole season wouldn't seem so painful. ;-)
Giorgia
# Giorgia 2013-01-02 17:42
WOW! that was beautiful!
I agree on ...everything you wrote!

...an old wise friend used to tell me "you see in others what you have inside yourself" - well in Italian it sounds better.. ;-) - they cannot trust each other 'cause they feel they are not worthy to be trusted themselves

and thanks a lot also for all the lovely Dickens quotes...I enjoyed them a lot!
Grazie :-)
LoveMeSomeDean
# LoveMeSomeDean 2013-01-03 13:10
An absolutely beautiful piece of art. Your analysis is spot on and the quotes fit perfectly. How much time did you work on these quotes.

I still think if Dean were to root around in Sam's back pack he will find a folded peice of paper...ask Sam what is this? Sammy replies "it's a pony" Dean realizes Sam has been holding on to the Samulate for 3 years. This is " I love you" in Winchester speak. A girl can dream
Amy
# Amy 2013-01-03 16:41
Quote:
An absolutely beautiful piece of art. Your analysis is spot on and the quotes fit perfectly. How much time did you work on these quotes.

I still think if Dean were to root around in Sam's back pack he will find a folded peice of paper...ask Sam what is this? Sammy replies "it's a pony" Dean realizes Sam has been holding on to the Samulate for 3 years. This is " I love you" in Winchester speak. A girl can dream
Unfortuneatly because Dean threw away the Amulet it is no longer a symbol of Winchesters love....its a symbol of broken trust and a deep loss of faith. It symboolizes nothing but pain and heartache. It should stay buried at the bottom of that trashcan.
LoveMeSomeDean
# LoveMeSomeDean 2013-01-03 21:45
Amy I have to disagree.

When Dean threw the Samulet away it was because his heart was broken to realize he and Sam did not view family in the same way. Yes he was loosing faith in his brother and pretty much everyone and everything. Dean was in a very dark place at that time.

When Sam gave the Samulet to Dean as a child it was done out of love and understanding for what Dean did on that Christmas day for him.

In my script: Sam took the necklace out of the trash and held on to it all this time in hopes of mending the hurt Dean experienced that day. I invision Dean stumbling upon it and remembering what the necklace actually symbolized. When it was just Dean and Sammy in that hotel room all by themselves. Each one trying to make the other one feel better. I think this is a reflection of their current situation.

It says alot about Sam and how deeply he knows he hurt his brother. I feel Dean acted out of anger when he threw the necklace away. He also hurt Sam by throwing it away. Sam's expression when he saw Dean drop the Samulet was as heart wrenching as Deans expression when he was making the decision to throw it away. I actually gasped when it happened because we all new what that necklace meant to both Dean and Sam.

I know a lot of fans would like to see it come back. I think it could be a stepping stone for them to start to work out their issues. When things are tough one or the other will remark " Do you remember when we use to just hunt Wendigo's". They are searching for a simpler time and the Samulet would possibly take them down memory lane to that simpler time.

I do enjoy the friction between the brothers this season. I think it is realistic for 2 brothers who have gone through what they have gone through over the years to be stressed. I always found it amazing they very rearly if ever talk about the past. So of course at some point "it" has to hit the fan. Right now it is hitting the fan fast and furious.

I think the Samulet could be the peace pipe/Wendigo they are seeking.

Dean does not have to wear the necklace in my script I just want Dean to know Sam held on to the necklace all this time because it did mean something to him (Sam). It means Sam loves his big brother.
lala2
# lala2 2013-01-04 02:03
I agree w/Amy. Kripke ruined the amulet when he had Dean trash it b/c Dean couldn't handle that Sam had happy memories w/o him!

It's been so long since Dean trashed it that it wouldn't, IMO, make sense for it to return. I don't want to think Sam's had it w/him all this time in the bottom of his duffle bag.

The amulet's gone . . . . along w/the brotherly bond, IMO.
Amy
# Amy 2013-01-04 08:24
In MY script Sam DID take the amulet out of the trash too. BUT Sam buried it at the foot of Marys grave along with John's dog tags.

The past is the past. We can't go back. we have to keep moving forward. Sam can't be the little brother Dean played fireworks with. Sam isn't that innocent 12/14 yr old kid anymore. They have both changed and to try to force those old roles on each other is what led to the samulet tossing in the first place.

If Dean only wants Past Sam then he and present Sam have no future relationship. I'm sorry the Amulet as much as I adored it is a relic from by gone era.
love2boys
# love2boys 2013-01-03 20:11
That was beautiful, insightful and well-written. If only we could get Sam and Dean to read it!
Sharon
# Sharon 2013-01-04 03:45
I know some want the Amulet back but to be honest I wouldnt be comfortable with Dean wearing it now. What ever that represented is not the same anymore.