Unicorns and Soulmates Part 2 – The Obsession of Love
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Okay, so in part one, the topic was Sam, Dean and what soulmates truly meant for them. In that article I declared that, as far as I was concerned, Sam and Dean were each other’s soulmates. They were uniquely and profoundly bonded to each other and though at times that bond may loosen and suffer its strains, it never breaks. This time around, let’s consider the predecessor of that bond – mom and dad.


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John and Mary Winchester were the ultimate in star-crossed lovers. Mary Campbell, the beautiful wide-eyed girl by day and secret, seasoned hunter by night. John Winchester: the young, honourable marine and (albeit unknown to John himself) Man of Letters incumbent. We have the demon fighter and the demon researcher – slayer and watcher, if you will. They met, fell in love and had a perfect, white-picket life for four years. Or so it would seem. Of course, nothing in the Supernatural world is ever quite that straightforward. All of this romance was without ever having the curtain-pullback reveal about the other and, on top of that, in season four we learned that John and Mary were actually a special project for the cupids – brought together because Dean and Sam had to be born to fulfill the special role of Michael/Lucifer vessels, the offspring of two unique bloodlines, the older brother and younger brother; well, we all know the lore.

So, Mary and John were fated to fall in love. An emotional cupid reveals to Dean and Sam in My Bloody Valentine that their parents started off hating each other but because the boys needed to be conceived, the cupids overcame this with some well placed arrows and a love tap or two. Personally, I’m not 100% a believer on the “hated each other” part – stories change through the grapevine after all and this particular Cupid was a bit of a chatterbox gossip by all intents and purposes. This is all secondary to my primary focus however.
 
This episode also demonstrated just how powerful an attraction was between those who’d been marked by a cupid was – we see that two people so marked literally devoured one another. Granted, this was enhanced by the effects of Famine’s presence at the time, but nonetheless the picture stands: the love and its power, its draw - particularly when two are further pulled together by a cupid is incredibly potent and all consuming. So my question is – if John and Mary were soulmates without the cupid enhancement, what long-term effects did that little bow have on two already in-love people?

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Let’s consider everything we know. Mary made a deal for John’s life as we witnessed in In the Beginning without a thought as to the consequences. Mary was not a naïve civilian in this exchange, she was a seasoned hunter raised in the lifestyle – she knew better. Yes, she made the decision out of love and grief and with no knowledge whatsoever of the life she was condemning her children to, none at all. But I can’t help but wonder, would Mary have made the same decision without the effect of the soul-bond created by the cupid? Would she have bartered harder to include her father? Her mother? Considered for just a second? Maybe, maybe not. Dean made a deal for Sam without a second thought in a moment of grief, and we know Sam tried to do the same, without the touch of cupids. Like mother, like sons?

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Supposing Mary made the same choices, let’s look at John. This is the big question for me, after all. The couple affected by Famine was all-consumed by one another – they literally couldn’t get enough of each other and were driven to their own ends by it. John, though not touched by Famine, is much the same. He is consumed by his wife’s death to the point that he constantly uproots his children’s lives, offers them no stability and limited security and nothing at all by way of a real life or childhood. All because John is frenzied, obsessed and fixated on his sole motivation: Mary. This is not to say John doesn’t love Sam and Dean, that he doesn’t protect them or think about them, or any of these things. Of course he loves his boys – we know that, he’s proved it – there is no question. Like magnets though, John and Mary are irrefutably, uncontrollably drawn together; and the I wonder – is there an effect of the enhancement of the cupid bow that means that these two super strength forces do what is necessary to find one another regardless of obstacle? Death or demon included?

There are countless occasions in which characters, be it Sam, Dean or non-Winchesters recognize and/or acknowledge the obsessive, one-note focus with which John runs his life. It was a point a contention with Sam and John for many years. Dean admits it to his demon self in Dream a Little Dream of Me – “My father was an obsessed bastard”- and of course Bobby and John were said to have argued about the way he raised the boys in his single minded quest as well.

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John and Mary were destined for one another – there really is no question about that, whether you have meddling forces of angelic kind with bows and arrows or not. The only question is how great the impact of that heavenly nudge had in the grand scheme – did it bring two pieces on the game board together sooner or did it cause an entire chain of dominos to collapse? So I leave you with this to consider: Just how long lasting is the effect of the cupid bow – and consider that the cupid mentions it took extra effort to put these two together. So, extra love dose then? Would Mary have made the original deal? Would John have been nearly as singularly obsessed and driven for all those years without the added power of Cupid? In your opinion, were John and Mary ultimately soulmates or just Heavenly tools?

Discuss.


Comments  

mary9930
# mary9930 2014-03-12 07:45
Thanks Elle. I really enjoyed that. It also gives some incite perhaps into how genetics may affect the brothers' bond.
Grace232
# Grace232 2014-03-12 13:33
Wow! That presents a whole new idea I had not considered. It blows my mind to think a little Cupid nudge could have caused Mary to make the deal without finding out the cost, John to be so obsessed, etc. Thanks for sharing this theory - this analysis makes for a very intriguing new view.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-03-12 21:23
Elle I am so sorry the following posts are completely inappropriate for this thread. I thought I was somewhere else. The edit option isn't working right now but as soon as I can I will remove my posts. You wrote a lovely article and I apologize for the rudeness of my comments.
castielsCAT
# castielsCAT 2014-03-12 15:46
I didn't read part one but am wondering what you think of the current storyline which will result in a changed relationship which Carver has defined as Mature. I have never seen them as soul mates myself per Sam's heavens and happy memories were when he was away from family and given his choice words to Dean, Carver appears to be
doubling down.

I have no doubt that Dean's heaven includes his memories of his family. However I am confused by the exaltation of the brotherly bond and their relationship as one of soulmates, a term usually applied to lovers; in the same place where Dean is also criticized for the manifestation of his love in saving Dean.

To me the brothers as soulmates is dysfunctional. Trying to kill your brother's friend is dysfunctional. Selling your soul is dysfunctional.

I am curious what people expect at the end of this.

My take is that the writers are not taking sides.

Last season we saw the ways Sam let Dean down and he
shows his love by doing something important to dean. This season Dean saves Sam out of love and disappoints him. To me the point is that they are both very different and they both need to accept themselves and each other.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-03-12 16:32
CastielsCat if you watch DSOTM again I am sure you will see that the heaven memories were being manipulated to influence Dean into saying yes to Michael. It was Ashe that insinuated that the brothers were soulmates. I don't think that JC is trying to destroy everything that Sam and Dean have ever done for each other. I think his intention is to let these two stand as individual people without every forgetting that their bond as brothers will never be broken. It might be tested and bruised but that is the premise of the entire series so it would be foolish to abolish it. As you can see the brothers are still together. It is clear every time Dean calls out to Sam for help and Sam comes running in a panic that these two will always be brothers that love each other. As Jensen has said on a number of occasions there is no bigger fan of the brothers than Jensen. He knows that this bond is the foundation of the show and what brought the vast majority of fans to the show to begin with. And I agree with you once these two knuckelheads realize that they love each other no matter what (after all that is the definition of love) everyone will be back on the same page until some other calamity comes their way.
CastielsCAT
# CastielsCAT 2014-03-12 18:30
Hey Cheryl42. I don't believe that their heavens were altered. Sam admitted that those were happy memories for him. I think that it is very much in character for Sam to have valued his time away from the family. He processed the shared family trauma differently than Dean because of birth order and experiences. Dean lost something that he has since treasured to the point of fetishizing family. Sam only knew the dysfunctional aftermath, so for him family is something that has prevented him from having a normal life. This fundamental difference in perception may also figure into their different mindsets regarding hunting. For Dean hunting is a way to preserve other families
and protect them from the trauma he experienced. For Sam hunting is the reason his family wasn't normal.

I have been struck hard by the parallels for the brothers in 8 and 9.
S8: The pilot opens with Dean disappointed because Sam gave up and didn't look. Dean's disappointment is revisited in the first half until there is a massive blow-up which is repaired to focus on the big picture. Dean admits he feels his purpose is to die saving others. Sam to save Dean does the trials. The trials emphasize how Dean suffered in Purgatory and Sam decides he should die out of some sense of atonement to Dean. Sam's jealousy of Cas and Benny perhaps indicates Sam's insecurity about living up to his brother. The season ends with Sam dying even though the trials were stopped because the revenge mission wasn't worth Sam's life. Note Metatron made the opposite decision to Dean; Metatron's revenge was worth Cas' grace.

S9: Dean starts out the season going to extremes to save Sam because it is not in him to let him die. The angel save also saves Cas and Charlie his extended family. Inbthe first half Dean beats himself up over his lies to Sam. He blames himself for Kevin's death and Sam's anger. Believing he is worthless except as a blunt instrument he takes the MOC. Dean is again at that point where he doesn't value his life. The brothers are at odds. I am leaning towards Dean becoming immortal when he uses the blade and Sam's love stopping Dean from a heinous act... a reverse Stull. I am thinking Sabaddon and the love stops the kill because no revenge is worth Sam's death.
Then in 10 pure mytharc please.

But yes I am convinced that the writers are not going for a punitive scenario for either brother. More simply it looks like they want them to realize both are individuals with unique baggage. They see family and home differently. Their idea of saving each other is different. Their idea of hunting is different. They need to stop equating their differences with love or lack thereof. It's kind of goofy when it's spelled out.
kaj
# kaj 2014-03-17 06:51
Hi, CastielsCAT.

I agree with you about Heaven's memories not being altered significantly because although Zach is capable of altering their mind I don't think he altered the brother's memory. But I think he ALTERED the memory sequences in which showing up the wrong memory to the right person.

For example, I think Sam has a lot of happy memory with Dean that he can chose as his greatest hits in Heaven but... since Zach was in charge at the time he was able to pull up different memory for Sam and drop him into. So, Zach didn't alter the boy's head in anyway. He only pick the memories that he was sure will hurt Dean. I think Dean remembers correctly about their parent's fights.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-03-17 09:43
kaj I tried to edit that to say influenced but my edit button won't work. I agree the memories were true they were just shown in a way to influence Dean into giving up on Sam and say yes to Michael.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-03-12 20:16
CastielsCat according to the comments from writers and EK at the time the memories were altered in order to make Dean lose his faith. Which he did. This was a pivotal episode for Dean. It was what pushed him over the edge and made him give up. It was only Sam proving his unrelenting love and devotion to Dean that saved him from becoming and angel condom. Even Castiel couldn't get through to Dean. That was a very powerful moment for the brothers.

And yes it is true that Sam thought that Dean was dead and he lost all hope. Dean wanted to do the trials to get revenge for the death of his mom, dad and what was done to Sam. In other words what means most to Dean, family. Sam did the trials because he didn't want to lose Dean again. Sam was not jealous of Castiel and Benny. Sam was disappointed in himself. He was trying to tell Dean that because of him, because of all of the mistakes and poor decisions that he had made he felt that Dean was forced to turn to others instead of his own brother. He felt that Dean didn't trust him and he wanted to atone for his mistakes by doing the one thing that he thought Dean wanted more than anything and that was to close the gates of hell forever. Of course that couldn't have been any further from the truth. Dean valued his brother above all else. I am sorry I don't get the parallel with Metatron and Castiels grace.

Dean was desperate to save Sam at any cost. He was actually on his way to make a deal with Crowely when Gadreel showed up. If Sam had died Castiel and Charlie might never have needed saving but that is an argument that I never seem to win so I guess at some point I have to let that go. Yes Dean blames himself for not being able to protect Kevin. Sam feels that if Dean hadn't let him be possessed by a psycho angel Kevin might not have died. At the very least it wouldn't have been Sam's hand that killed him. And for the life of me I can't figure out how Dean went from hell bent for leather on killing Gadreel to becoming Crowely's tool. I realize that Dean was in a bad place but Crowely? Seriously? Crowely? I think it might be an interesting bookend if Dean who was once destined to become a servant of heaven ends up a servant of hell. The only thing that I can see that will save Dean in the end is their love for each other otherwise it will kind of a weird storyline.
CastielsCAT
# CastielsCAT 2014-03-12 20:54
Cheryl42, Metatron's revenge quest parallels Dean's. Dean closing hell and Metatron casting angels out of heaven n. Closing hell was articulated as Dean's revenge in the pilot. Sam did the trials to save Dean from dying while doing them. When Dean realized closing the gates would cost Sam's life Dean decided that the price wasn't worth it. In contrast Metatron was happy to sacrifice Cas' grace. Metatron was willing to sacrifice his brother's grace for his revenge.
If that was the writers intent I cannot argue with it. I watched the early seasons in a vacuum. Those memories made sense for Sam's psychology.

Ummm. We're going to have to disagree about the jealousy. I look at these three events and that's my summation of Sam's mindset.

1. Sam's murderous intentions started after Dean said Benny had never let him down in Southern Comfort.

2. In Torn and Frayed Sam is no longer Hellbent on killing Benny; instead he tries to blackmail Dean into never seeing him again.

3. He shows great emotion because Dean turned to Benny instead of him.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-03-12 21:11
If you remember when Benny saved Sam in Purgatory Sam told Dean that he was mistaken about Benny and that he was cool with any decision that Dean made concerning him. That was long before the church. And Sam and Castiel were also friends. Sam had never shown any animosity towards Cas in fact he was the one who was constantly reaching out to him when Dean had given up. Blackmail Dean? I don't remember that scene. And yes that was the whole point of the church scene was Sam's confession to God and Dean about how he had let Dean down (you do remember how Sam's many mistakes were brought up repeatedly throughout the season). But I get it you have never made any secret of the fact that you are not a Sam fan so you see the character in a very different light than fans of the brothers or of Sam in particular. So before we get into a tit for tat conversation that is only going to get us into trouble I suggest we take this conversation to the let's discuss thread intended for this type of back and forth.
percysowner
# percysowner 2014-03-12 22:47
I actually believe that Mary and John didn't like each other before the Cupid intervened. Dean indicated that the memory of John not coming home was real. John falling asleep in front of the TV may have simply been exhaustion, or it may have been because he didn't want to come to bed. I see Mary and John and fairly tragic. They were two people made to live each other who didn't LIKE each other very much. Marriage is hard and liking your spouse, being compatible with them does a lot to keep a marriage strong and happy.

I believe Mary made her deal because of the influence of the angels. I think John may well have become so obsessed with finding Mary's killer because of that as well.
amyh
# amyh 2014-03-13 12:57
Percy John and Mary loving eachother but not liking eachother sounds a heck of a lot like Sam and Dean. The two situations make me think about what Klaus said in an episode of The Originals (another set of siblings as screwed up as the Winchesters) "We're far too damaged to remain together."

The writers - it feels - seem to be writing with that in mind. And maybe like John and MAry.....Sam and Dean shouldn't be together. (anyone wonder that maybe the real love of Johns life was Adams' mother?) I also dont see them as soul mates. I simply can't see soul mates having such deep and serious misunderstandin gs of eachother.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-03-14 13:17
amyh I don't know what the writers or JC are going for but as far as soulmates I consider my husband and I were soulmates. We couldn't have been any more different if we had been born on different planets. We were at odds with each other, we came together and we struggled all of our short life together to understand each other. But one thing I never doubted was how much we loved each other no matter what obstacles were put in our way. That is how I see Sam and Dean even now when they seem so far apart it is evident by their actions that they still love each other. Every time Dean calls for Sam's help and every time that Sam comes running it is evident that they will never not care for and love each other.
kaj
# kaj 2014-03-17 06:20
Hey... wow! Love this new commenting page!

Definitely a Heaven's tool.

I remember Dean said that their parent's marriage wasn't perfect until after she dies.
MARY: (on phone) Hello? … No, John. … We’re not having this conversation again. … Think about what? … You’ve two boys at home. …
DEAN: I remember this. Mom and Dad were fighting and then he moved out for a couple days.
SAM: Dad always said they had the perfect marriage.
DEAN: It wasn’t perfect until after she died.
MARY: (on phone) Fine. Then don’t. … There’s nothing more to talk about.
Mary hangs up the phone and turns away from the table. She sniffs as if she’s fighting back tears.

This episode alluded that Dean was used to comfort his mother when his parents fought, which means they fought a lot. I think John and Mary, although they seemed happy, they were both incompatible in character. Cupid said that they couldn't stand each other at first. Opposites attracts only happens in romance novel. In real live, it rarely results in long lasting (or happy) marriage. Definitely the product of cupid's arrow.

Note that the cupid and the Heavenly host needed to work hard on John and Mary. My logical thinking is like this: For Cupid, it's very easy to get two people together. More over if the certain two people are already compatible and attracted to each other. But for a cupid to work hard despite the aid of their powerful magic arrow... wow, how bullheaded and stubborn could John and Mary be that a cupid had to work hard to bring them together.

I remember Voldermort's parents. His mother poisoned his father with love potion and resulting in terrible backlash after she ended the potion intake. The repressed feeling and forced feelings came out as fights and small explosions. Abandonment and obsession.

So, I stand by my opinion that John and Mary's marriage is the product of Heavenly intervention resulting in John's crazy obsession and Sam and Dean's unhealthy co-dependence by product of the crazy obsessed father. It's a domino effect I think. If I want to blame someone, I blame the Angles and Demons. After all the plan had already in motion for years before John and Mary even born. What we see is only the result of the well played poker game between Angels and Demons.