This review is a little late because I was swamped at work, but the extra time to think over the episode turned out to be helpful in arriving at my final thoughts. Watching the episode the first time, I was put off by the on-the-nose writing of the comparisons between the Ghostfacers and the Winchesters, as well as the ease of guessing the killer. The plot felt like a Cole’s Notes of the Winchesters’ relationship woes, and I didn’t feel the need for the spoon feeding. Subsequent viewings, though, helped me realize the question of audience is crucial, and writer Jenny Klein constructed a play within a play narrative, with the Winchesters in the front row.

Klein plays with the idea of narratives being both true and false at the same time, which resonates for me in the way Sam and Dean’s narrative has unfolded. I understand Sam’s anger and hurt, but not the way he’s framing his issues. I understand Dean’s inability to see saving Sam as a bad thing, but not that he can’t understand Sam needs to hear him apologize.

I now think those points are supposed to rankle, both for me and Sam and Dean. The brothers haven’t been able to communicate to each other what they feel and why, because they haven’t yet really listened to each other. Each of them is reacting to his own perception of what the other feels, just as they were at the church in “Sacrifice.” Jeremy Carver said last season was all about perception, and I think that theme has carried forward to season nine.

SamDean bunker

In “Thinman,” Klein sets up a play within a play to allow Sam and Dean to get enough distance from their own feelings to get a clearer perspective on their issues. The episode begins by establishing the problem. Dean and Sam warily tip toe around each other as they decide to work together on a case. Dean illustrates his disconnect from why when he says to Sam, “I don’t know what you want.”

Sam is clearly frustrated to hear that. He’s tried to tell Dean what he wants. However, in his anger, he’s bundled together a lot of issues concerning Dean. Does he mean them all?

The rest of the episode places the Winchesters as audience to the Ghostfacers’ drama, which touches on all the Winchesters’ issues going back to the pilot.  Klein places actual dialogue the brothers have spoken to each other in Ed and Harry’s mouths, a strategy which only works well when the Winchesters are the audience. Unfortunately, when Ed and Harry first confront each other about Ed’s lie, they are alone with us as the only audience

ghostfacers fight

I think this scene is what really annoyed me on first viewing, as I don’t need to be reminded of the plot. Also, I love the Ghostfacers. I was so delighted to hear they were coming back. I love the actors, the characters, their dynamic—I was stoked for “Thinman.” I really didn’t like Ed and Harry being brought back just to stand in for Sam and Dean in an incredibly obvious set up. It felt like a waste of their talent.

When I watched the episode again, I realized that’s the only scene which is solely for the TV audience. The rest of the Ghostfacers’ drama plays out in front of Sam and Dean, and that’s where the episode gets interesting.

Dean smile

Sam and Dean have a lovely moment of connection when Dean reminds Sam of a childhood incident between the two of them. Sam fondly laughs along with Dean, but pulls back when he realizes Dean wants him to pretend all’s well between them. The connection becomes disconnection, perfectly punctuated by Ed’s knock at the door.

When Ed confesses his lie to Sam and Dean, both boys see the similarities to their own drama. Sam’s feelings burst out of him when he tells Ed, “Trust me here, secrets ruin relationships!” Dean hears Sam in a way he hasn’t previously, because this time he has enough distance not be triggered by Sam’s words.

Sam scream

Using Ed as a proxy works for Sam, too, as he zeroes in on what he needs Dean to understand. The lies are what he is having trouble forgiving, not Dean’s desperation to save him. I think the writing has been hinting at this distinction as the writers showed over and over Sam’s own desperation to save Dean when his brother was in danger. We see that scenario again in “Thinman,” as Sam screams when Roger is ready to kill Dean. Sam is no more able to stop being a brother than Dean is.

Sam has some alone time with Harry, during which he sympathises with Harry’s hurt and outrage at the lies Ed told him to lure him away from his relationship. Harry tells Sam he can’t go along with Ed’s wish to pretend nothing happened, and Sam understands that, too. Then the two of them get to the crux of the matter: what is forgivable? Sam tells Harry he has to work that out for himself, and of course, so does Sam.

Sam Harry

As Harry says, the situation is complicated. I loved the way Klein illustrates the shades of grey by having the play within a play include elements that are true to the Winchesters’ story and elements that are not, just as Roger and the deputy were doing with their constructed Thinman narrative. The scenario was fake; the murders were real.

Harry and Ed’s narrative has the same mix of resonant and distorted elements compared to Sam and Dean’s story. The most obvious distortion is the difference in stakes. Ed was saving the partnership. Dean was saving Sam’s life. There’s also the point that Dean accepted Sam’s right to choose his relationship in season eight, and Sam made his own decision to return. There are even more discrepancies between the two stories.

Ed and Harry do what they do for a different reason than Dean and Sam do what they do. While the Ghostfacers do want to help people, the motivation that drives most of their actions is the desire to be famous, to attract followers, to get on Dr. Phil. Ed pleads with Harry that they could just keep the Thinman lie going for the fans, because without Ghostfacers, they are just two ordinary joes.

Dean and Sam’s motivations for why they do what they do are very different. Neither is in it for the glory—there’s no glory to be had, only loss and heartache. They do what they do because they believe they make a difference. Sam may see Dean as selfish right now, and certainly his choice to save Sam had selfish aspects, but Dean’s desire to save people is not selfish. His vision of Sam as someone he wants to hold close because Sam helps him to be the person Dean wants to be is not selfish. We all have people we hold close because of what they bring out in us. The situation, as Harry says, is complicated.

Dean’s Mark of Cain comes back into the narrative in “Thinman,” as Dean coldly kills Roger in a way he can later cover up. Dean’s killed a human before, but this time was marked by the same cold calculation FutureDean showed when he used his friends as cannon fodder to distract Lucifer. Dean’s manner is not that different from Soulless Sam’s, either. Sam notices something is off, though he can’t quite put his finger on it. And that’s not surprising, since what is off is the lack of Sam for Dean.

Dean has always been a difficult mix of hunter and caregiver, able to torture but also driven to protect. John raised Dean to be both the perfect hunter and the perfect stand in parent, no quarter given for any failures. The elder Winchester has worried before how far he’ll go to protect his family, and that’s clearly a strong thread in this season’s arc. But he’s also worried how far he’ll go as a hunter, as we saw in “The End.”

Dean didn’t ever want to be FutureDean and he was sure Sam was his key to finding his balance, because he knows his love for Sam is at his core, not his ability to kill. If he loses the sense of family he has with Sam, that leaves Dean very vulnerable to the Mark of Cain, because he is capable of dark deeds.

Sam thinking

At the end of “Thinman,” Sam and Dean look equally sad and thoughtful at Harry’s vision of only one chair on the porch, not two. I think both brothers are taking a hard look at what their dispute is really about, because Ed and Harry’s story didn’t just bring the issues to the surface, it also projected a possible end if things don’t change. Sadly, I think just as Sam’s feelings are clarifying, Dean is falling under the sway of the Mark. He now has a better sense of what Sam needs than he did at the start of the episode, but he’s losing a sense of himself.

Sam now has to decide what he can forgive. I think the Ghostfacers have one more parallel to offer the Winchesters. Harry is furious at Ed, but he kills to protect him when Ed puts himself in danger to save Sam. I suspect this is foreshadowing a choice Sam will also have to make in the not too distant future.

Sam secrets

I hope Sam’s journey will be helped by Dean giving him the apology for the lies, even if he can’t for saving Sam’s life. My guess is he will, as Dean does notice the similarities between Ed’s situation and his own. There is a difference in his tone when he says to Sam, “Got a bead on those tire tracks if you wanna . . . “ He’s less big brother bossy than usual. Dean had a front row seat to more than one narrative, and unlike the Thinman videos, the Ghostfacers’ story offers hope for a more lasting sense of connection between the brothers.

Comments  

cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-03-09 13:00
Thank you Gerry that was exactly what I have been trying to say about the current issues between the brothers. You said it perfectly. Sam has to decide what he can forgive. In The End Dean saw that he needed Sam to keep his humanity. As with Cain it looks like Dean might become that Dean (or worse). He is going to need Sam. Will Sam forgive Dean in time to save him? We shall see.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-03-09 13:00
Thank you Gerry that was exactly what I have been trying to say about the current issues between the brothers. You said it perfectly. Sam has to decide what he can forgive. In The End Dean saw that he needed Sam to keep his humanity. As with Cain it looks like Dean might become that Dean (or worse). He is going to need Sam. Will Sam forgive Dean in time to save him? We shall see.
debbab
# debbab 2014-03-09 13:07
Could not have said it better. I felt the possible foreshadowing as well. Klein made the differences btwn GF and the brothers just different enough. At first view I thought it was a bit heavy handed, even dressing the GF in similar wardrobes to the brothers towards the end of the episode, On second viewing, I see it as a clever piece of writing with character movement sometimes ever so subtle. It does seem as if Dean is moving closer to that 2014 Dean in "The End" but not sure he is even aware of his subtle change during a kill. 2014 Dean was a result of Dean and Sam splitting up as a result of well you all know. Someone had to say sorry and create the reunification. Free may play heavy once again. The sacrifice from the end of season 8 has not stopped its affect on Winchesters.
debbab
# debbab 2014-03-09 13:07
Could not have said it better. I felt the possible foreshadowing as well. Klein made the differences btwn GF and the brothers just different enough. At first view I thought it was a bit heavy handed, even dressing the GF in similar wardrobes to the brothers towards the end of the episode, On second viewing, I see it as a clever piece of writing with character movement sometimes ever so subtle. It does seem as if Dean is moving closer to that 2014 Dean in "The End" but not sure he is even aware of his subtle change during a kill. 2014 Dean was a result of Dean and Sam splitting up as a result of well you all know. Someone had to say sorry and create the reunification. Free may play heavy once again. The sacrifice from the end of season 8 has not stopped its affect on Winchesters.
Amruta Karve
# Amruta Karve 2014-03-09 14:49
Great review! Thank u for clearing my thought process and giving words for my thoughts. Your reviews have been amazing on the current issue between Dean and Sam. I am on Dean's side all the way through. Always have been. So it gives me immense joy to read that someone is explaining Dean's actions properly. Writing about Dean even. There's all Sam talk only out there. Thank you for talking about Dean. I loved your "The Purge" review as well. It was necessary to point out that though Dean made "mistake of lying", he didn't deserve to hear what Sam said in that episode about Dean being hero etc. And you did. Out there, most of the audience was either pissed at Sam or defending Sam altogether, saying how he's right. Thank you for pointing out that Sam indeed was wrong in saying all that shit to Dean and of course Dean's mistake.
Amruta Karve
# Amruta Karve 2014-03-09 14:49
Great review! Thank u for clearing my thought process and giving words for my thoughts. Your reviews have been amazing on the current issue between Dean and Sam. I am on Dean's side all the way through. Always have been. So it gives me immense joy to read that someone is explaining Dean's actions properly. Writing about Dean even. There's all Sam talk only out there. Thank you for talking about Dean. I loved your "The Purge" review as well. It was necessary to point out that though Dean made "mistake of lying", he didn't deserve to hear what Sam said in that episode about Dean being hero etc. And you did. Out there, most of the audience was either pissed at Sam or defending Sam altogether, saying how he's right. Thank you for pointing out that Sam indeed was wrong in saying all that shit to Dean and of course Dean's mistake.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2014-03-09 15:18
I loved the episode.I think the Ed Harry situation acted as an eye opener to Dean about what he was refusing to face.The lies.I hope the writers continue with this.I have hope that this situation makes Dean realize that he was wrong in lying to Sam and thereby made Sam feel powerless about matters pertaining to himself.
Quote:
There’s also the point that Dean accepted Sam’s right to choose his relationship in season eight, and Sam made his own decision to return
After he refused to listen to Sam and taunted him about it again and again and again.After the horrible text.It was not like Dean accepted because he understood Sam's pain or even considered Sam's initial explanation.Quote:
They do what they do because they believe they make a difference. Sam may see Dean as selfish right now, and certainly his choice to save Sam had selfish aspects, but Dean’s desire to save people is not selfish.
I don't think anyone has said that. I don't understand what the connection between Sam may see Dean as selfish right now and but Dean’s desire to save people is not selfish.Sam has not insinuated that.Quote:
His vision of Sam as someone he wants to hold close because Sam helps him to be the person Dean wants to be is not selfish.We all have people we hold close because of what they bring out in us.
It is if having someone means you have lie to them so that they Dance the dance you want.We may have people like that but they should not be trapped so that we can become something.Those people have their own wishes and preferences. Quote:
Sam now has to decide what he can forgive.
Which is kind of silly when Dean has not even apologized.Quote:
If he loses the sense of family he has with Sam, that leaves Dean very vulnerable to the Mark of Cain, because he is capable of dark deeds.
Does this mean Sam will be responsible if and when Dean goes off the rails?
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2014-03-09 15:18
I loved the episode.I think the Ed Harry situation acted as an eye opener to Dean about what he was refusing to face.The lies.I hope the writers continue with this.I have hope that this situation makes Dean realize that he was wrong in lying to Sam and thereby made Sam feel powerless about matters pertaining to himself.
Quote:
There’s also the point that Dean accepted Sam’s right to choose his relationship in season eight, and Sam made his own decision to return
After he refused to listen to Sam and taunted him about it again and again and again.After the horrible text.It was not like Dean accepted because he understood Sam's pain or even considered Sam's initial explanation.Quote:
They do what they do because they believe they make a difference. Sam may see Dean as selfish right now, and certainly his choice to save Sam had selfish aspects, but Dean’s desire to save people is not selfish.
I don't think anyone has said that. I don't understand what the connection between Sam may see Dean as selfish right now and but Dean’s desire to save people is not selfish.Sam has not insinuated that.Quote:
His vision of Sam as someone he wants to hold close because Sam helps him to be the person Dean wants to be is not selfish.We all have people we hold close because of what they bring out in us.
It is if having someone means you have lie to them so that they Dance the dance you want.We may have people like that but they should not be trapped so that we can become something.Those people have their own wishes and preferences. Quote:
Sam now has to decide what he can forgive.
Which is kind of silly when Dean has not even apologized.Quote:
If he loses the sense of family he has with Sam, that leaves Dean very vulnerable to the Mark of Cain, because he is capable of dark deeds.
Does this mean Sam will be responsible if and when Dean goes off the rails?
Alice
# Alice 2014-03-09 16:51
Whoo hoo! The upgrade worked. Happy dance. So, give the system a new test drive, and I'll try to figure out how to get email notifications working now. If you want to get emails whenever a comment is posted on a thread, just hit the subscribe box below. It will not be an automatic subscription.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2014-03-10 04:02
Alice ,This commenting way looks and feels very good.As a a plus point i can sign in just above the comment section of any article.Thank you all who are responsible for this.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2014-03-10 15:26
I like the new look! :)
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-03-09 17:17
Thanks so much Gerry, it is nice to see others can see the dilemma for both brothers in this situation too. That I am not alone in thinking that Dean is wrong and needs to apologize even as I understand how deeply ingrained it is in Dean to protect/save Sam. For Dean to be in denial is completely in character. He will get there I am sure. I think he is devastated about all of it. Deceiving and lying to Sam, letting himself be in turn deceived and lied to, and especially Kevin's death. No matter what has come out of his mouth. His mouth often does not reflect what he is really feeling. Sam not being dead is what he is focusing on at the moment.


anonymousN,

I firmly believe that Dean will apologize soon if the MoC doesn't drive him over the edge. He is very much aware that he crossed lines. At the same time he is glad Sam is alive.

I also believe Sam will not be held responsible for the MoC's influence, he will likely be the one to pull Dean back from the cliff. I can't speak for the fans who insist in seeing no good in either Sam or Dean. They will ALWAYS find ways to justify their hate. I will always try and find ways to justify my love for them.

Many disagree with me but I think Dean feels deeply conflicted about all of this. He is not verbalizing this. But to be fair, an honest non-angry discussion hasn't happened between them yet about this. I think the writers are doing this deliberately to prolong conflict between the brothers and fans.
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2014-03-11 03:26
Quote:
I can't speak for the fans who insist in seeing no good in either Sam or Dean. They will ALWAYS find ways to justify their hate. I will always try and find ways to justify my love for them.
At this moment I don't care what the fandom thinks.I am worried about how the writers are going to portray the events.My trust in the writers at this moment is shaky.
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-03-09 17:34
Does this mean Sam will be responsible if and when Dean goes off the rails?

No, AnonymousN, I think it means Sam will care, just as Dean cared when Bobby told him regardless of his feelings, Sam needed him more than he ever had. Carver seems to be revisiting many of the situations of seasons past, and though he is examining where the line is for saving a brother, I think he'll leave intact the central tenet that the brothers make each other stronger and their love is their weapon against evil.
Lilah_Kane
# Lilah_Kane 2014-03-09 17:47
Hola! I am back.

First thing to get out of the way. Love the look of the comments. It is easier to see and even I saw the unwanted spamming that the comments had got.
Three cheers and good work Alice!

And Gerry, like other reviews I also loved yours. Like yours and with the others you grasp again a new point of view and things to focus in each episodes. That is what I love to read. Thinman also like other episodes really have brought flashbacks of old seasons (that I actually watch now at the same time) Same trouble, same causes, but still different. New things begin to unfold what we didn't knew then.
Usually something has pushed the brothers to get trouble. It has been always something and what you said here. It is actually a good thing if something finally pushes them together not a part like the GF did in this episode. But like you said. It was way much more in everything. Thinman like many episodes on this season and maybe in the past also makes us look deep down under the surface. And what ever characters does it, the GF, Castiel, Crowley and yes, even Snooki has their part to play. Things need to change and also be the same. The brothers will always stay.
I will just stay and enjoy the ride what ever it may be. Keep up the good work with reviews!
Bluepony
# Bluepony 2014-03-09 18:57
Alice congratulations on the upgrade. Looks great.

Gerry, thank you for this well thoughtout and written review. As I said on Alice's review I did not like this episode at first watch. But after reading your review I have gone back and watched again. What you said has made a hugh difference in what I got out of the episode the second time around. I believe you have hit on what Sam sees as the problem eventhough, he listed what ever he thought would hurt Dean the most. I believe he even mentioned on the bridge when Dean left that Dean had lied to him again. That Dean didn't trust that Sam could handle the situation. Yes, Dean needs to apologize for the lying but to ask him to change his core being in protecting Sam is not going to happen. As you said Quote:
"Dean has always been a difficult mix of hunter and caregiver, able to torture but also driven to protect. John raised Dean to be both the perfect hunter and the perfect stand in parent, no quarter given for any failures. The elder Winchester has worried before how far he’ll go to protect his family, and that’s clearly a strong thread in this season’s arc. But he’s also worried how far he’ll go as a hunter, as we saw in “The End.”
I also agree with Quote:
Sadly, I think just as Sam’s feelings are clarifying, Dean is falling under the sway of the Mark. He now has a better sense of what Sam needs than he did at the start of the episode, but he’s losing a sense of himself.
I think with Sam disowning Dean as a brother, Sam has given up his good influence on his brother. You know the part where they keep each other human. But that being said I am more then ready for a Dark Dean. I feel that Sam is going to have the opportunity to understand where Dean is coming from in pulling his brother back from the edge.

Thanks again for your review. I really enjoy reading and seeing the episode from someone elses perspective.
percysowner
# percysowner 2014-03-09 20:04
Dean illustrates his disconnect from why when he says to Sam, “I don’t know what you want.”

The problem for me is Dean says this to Sam in regard to the one area Sam has been crystal clear about, that Sam wants to continue as Dean's hunting partner. Dean is all "I didn't think you wanted to hunt with me" when that is what Sam suggested and agreed to. I don't disagree that Sam is still sorting things out in his head, but Dean isn't listening to what Sam has said that is clear. IMHO, he being passive/aggress ive by ignoring Sam's stated desire to hunt with him.

Oh, the comments look GREAT ALICE!
anonymousN
# anonymousN 2014-03-10 04:07
Quote:
The problem for me is Dean says this to Sam in regard to the one area Sam has been crystal clear about, that Sam wants to continue as Dean's hunting partner.
I too think the same.
E
# E 2014-03-09 20:14
Hi Alice! Nice upgrade! This looks very slick and seems very user friendly too. Brava diva.

Gerry, I like this review very much. I often find myself not agreeing much with your take on things, but for the most part I think that this view of the episode is spot on. I liked the episode MUCH better on second viewing and even the ham-fisted conversations between Harry and Ed felt smoother and more relevant the second time around. I have a few things that I'd like to address that I don't exactly disagree with, but perhaps see a little differently.

"Quote:
His vision of Sam as someone he wants to hold close because Sam helps him to be the person Dean wants to be is not selfish. We all have people we hold close because of what they bring out in us. The situation, as Harry says, is complicated.
I don't agree that Dean's pinning of all of his self worth and his moral center on Sam as being unselfish at all. It's incredibly selfish, if unconsciously so. He's making Sam responsible for his personhood, his reason for living and is doing so because he can't find it within to muster up any worthiness in himself. This goes way beyond those people we hold dear because they bring out the best in us. As Dean himself said "there aint no me if there aint no you." This type of thing, this bolstering of ones ego should come from within Dean, not be pinned on to Sam. Because Dean is looking outside of himself for his reason to live and work and his sense of self worth, he will always be disappointed in what he deems unsatisfactory evidence of that self worth, because Sam can't provide what needs to come from inside. Even Sam, Dean's greatest ally and the one who loves him best can't provide those things for Dean adequately because Sam can't know ultimately what Dean needs deep down inside of himself; Sam can't battle Dean's demons, Dean must figure out how to do that on his own. Dean should be finding his self worth from within, not trying to get it from Sam. I think that both brothers need each other to a certain extent, but in this way Dean is putting a fundamental need onto Sam that he can't possibly fulfill for Dean, so Dean continually feels let down, which in turn feeds his awful sense of worthlessness and thus is control over Sam and his unwillingness to let Sam make decisions for himself, which has lead us directly to the current situation.

And then there's this:
Quote:
Dean didn’t ever want to be FutureDean and he was sure Sam was his key to finding his balance, because he knows his love for Sam is at his core, not his ability to kill. If he loses the sense of family he has with Sam, that leaves Dean very vulnerable to the Mark of Cain, because he is capable of dark deeds.
It's not that I disagree exactly, it's more that I fear that this will come to fruition in a not so good way for Sam. It's already started actually. I fear that Sam will be made to bear the blame of Dean's eventual fall to the MoC. It may not even be something that the Show endorses or intends (although Sam has been hung out to dry by the PTB many, many times before) but fans are already setting up Sam to blame for Dean's eventual fall. Dean seems to be having a hard time taking responsibility for what he's done wrong, and I would like to see him own up, now for his role in the possession and later if/when he goes down that dark road due to the MoC. I don't suppose I can stop the fans from metaphorically lynching Sam for something that isn't his fault, but it would be nice to have Dean acknowledge that any issues arising from the MoC where based on his own decisions; decisions he made BEFORE he and Sam had the conversation that started this whole mess at the end of Sharp Teeth. I am not saying that you are endorsing such a thing.. it's just that what you wrote sparked the fear in me that Sam will be made a scapegoat for Dean's actions and that Dean will not own up to his own weaknesses and errors. Dean is a great guy.. heroic, funny, snarky and smart. But he CAN be wrong and often is; and he is certainly wrong at the moment even thought he refuses to admit it. I'd like to see him acknowledge his wrongs from time to time the way Sam has repeatedly for his own misdeed since season 4. It makes him more of a man, not less IMO, to be willing to admit to his errors. I don't see Dean doing this right now. Maybe he will be able to do it later after the crisis of the MoC passes and the dust settles.
nappi815
# nappi815 2014-03-10 07:35
E, I agree with your post. there is a selfishness in on what dean puts onto sam, even if he doesn't realize it. I've believed for some time now that dean's issue with sam stem from his own issues of self loathing. he doesn't like what he sees in the mirror. he said that himself in daldom. nobody hates dean Winchester more than dean Winchester, as noted by the king of the crossroads himself. I think that's one of the reasons hunting is so important to him. when he hunts, he saves people, and when he's saving people it makes him a hero. in ass when the girl told him he was just a scared little boy and she felt sorry for him..he said, don't feel sorry for me, i'm a hero....i'm a hero. I think for dean, being a hero is his only saving grace in regards to how he feels about himself. I think that's why he gets upset at the very thought of sam wanting to be normal and live safe. as e stated, sam is responsible for dean's personhood. he looks to sam to give him his own self worth instead of having it for himself. for dean, without sam, he is a dark ruthless killer. so he holds sam tight. but he holds sam too tight. dean needs to acknowledge his own worthiness. I've said in my posts that dean is unwilling or unable to acknowledge what he did to sam was wrong because once he does he would have to acknowledge the why.
just a note...sam too has issues of unworthiness as well. he once told dean, he was the least of them. he asks what the upside is to his being alive. he responds...so.. .when dean tells him finishing the trials will kill him. sam too has to deal with this issue as well.
Winchesters...: p
BookLady
# BookLady 2014-03-09 21:18
E - You raise some interesting points. I, too, hope that Sam is not blamed for Dean's descent into darkness via the MoC.

I do hope Sam is important in pulling Dean back from the darkness, but more as support in helping Dean fight his demons, in helping him believe in his own value. Dean needs to see he is so much more than a killer or a loved one's savior at all costs. Things happen and when they do, he is not a failure if things go sideways. Perhaps the MoC will test Dean in ways he needs to be tested so that he will be able to see that he can endure and come out on top thus giving himself a better, more realistic view of his worth. Maybe he'll be able to undo what he learned about himself in Hell, under Alistair's training - that he will no longer turn evil under dire circumstances? Maybe Dean bearing the MoC will be like Frodo carrying the Ring and Sam will have to be like Samwise - helping Dean complete his task and stay in touch with his humanity?

It'll be very interesting to see where the rest of Season 9 takes us!
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-03-09 21:39
Hi Percy!

TQuote:
he problem for me is Dean says this to Sam in regard to the one area Sam has been crystal clear about, that Sam wants to continue as Dean's hunting partner. Dean is all "I didn't think you wanted to hunt with me" when that is what Sam suggested and agreed to. I don't disagree that Sam is still sorting things out in his head, but Dean isn't listening to what Sam has said that is clear. IMHO, he being passive/aggressive by ignoring Sam's stated desire to hunt with him.
To me, what Dean is doing is tiptoing around Sam, because he doesn't want to presume Sam wants to spend time with him. This isn't chasing Gadreel down, it's a plain ol' monster hunt. Last episode, Sam walked away from a potential conversation with Dean. I think the scene showed both guys not knowing how to make the next move. Sam's angry, but he still wants to be with Dean, or he wouldn't be there. Dean knows he owes Sam an apology, but he's not going to apologize for saving Sam, which he thinks Sam wants to hear.

If the two of them took turns doing some active listening with each other, I think they would find a way forward that meets both their needs - Sam could let Dean know he understands losing a brother is horrible and for Dean, because of his upbringing, more like losing a child. He could clarify whether he's hunting with Dean because he wants to or whether he has one foot out the door like he did in season 8. Dean could let Sam know he understands his decision to lie to Sam rather than give him the choice to expel Gadreel was wrong and didn't respect Sam's autonomy, and big brother or no he does trust and respect Sam's decisions. And parental overtones and all, he has to accept humans die, even Sam. It's a part of being human.

I think this conversation will eventually come, probably not articulated this much ;) , but neither guy is ready to have it in the opening scene. I think they're far closer by the end of the episode.
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-03-09 21:57
Hi E!

Quote:
I don't agree that Dean's pinning of all of his self worth and his moral center on Sam as being unselfish at all. It's incredibly selfish, if unconsciously so. He's making Sam responsible for his personhood, his reason for living and is doing so because he can't find it within to muster up any worthiness in himself.
I agree that Dean has low self-esteem, and that only he can find his way forward with that. But I don't think his view of Sam as someone who helps ground him and brings out the part of him he most wants to be is unhealthy. I think we are social creatures and our relationships form part of our identity. Dean's not alone in that. I think it's Freud who suggested when we lose a loved one, we lose the part of ourselves we shared with that person. We grieve for what we've lost in ourselves as much as losing the physical person. Another way to say it is, "No man is an island."

To me, Sam and Dean both see the other as someone who has seen the worst in him and believed in the best in him. It's that belief that Dean needed in "The End" and Sam needed in "Swan Song." I don't think it's toxic; I think it's very human to need relationships.

That said, I agree both Sam and Dean have issues they need to address themselves. Dean does need to believe he can't save everyone, and that includes Sam, and he doesn't carry the weight of every failure in this difficult life they need. Sam needs to believe he is a loveable worthy person just as he is, and he has no need to atone for past mistakes.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-03-09 22:06
In regards to Dean saying " I don't know what you want"

Is it possible, I am not really sure of this, that this may have been the morning after Sam walked off when Dean tried to say something to Sam? Dean already thinks Sam doesn't want to be his brother. Could Dean might have been unsure of how Sam would feel the next day? Maybe Dean was being passive/aggress ive, I don't know, but he seems to want to have Sam with him usually.
Trucklady
# Trucklady 2014-03-09 22:15
Love the new comments section Alice! This is so much easier to read and I love all the additions for personalizing our comments. I also like that now we can like someone's comments like we do in Facebook. Your pain and agony was well worth the outcome. Thanks Alice.

Gerry, great review whether it be late or not. I love the ideas that you brought forth and even though I have rewatched this episode many times now I see things just a little better maybe clearer now. Thank you.
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-03-09 23:13
Thanks for all the kind comments on the review. I really appreciate this community as a place to discuss this show!
CastielsCAT
# CastielsCAT 2014-03-09 23:19
Great review. I more or less came to similar conclusions myself. However I really love the play within a play analogy. Sadly Shakespeare she ain't. I still think the dialogue was painful.

I don't predict Sam making a kill. I predict more of a Stull scenario with Sam showing his love gmail Dean despite everything. The lying of one brother broke the relationship in season 4 too after all.

The revisited major themes from earlier seasons began last season starting with the premier. I see seasons 8-9 as linked storyline and thematically.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-03-10 00:34
CasielsCat it is nice to see someone from the IMDB board posting here. I have seen your more recent posts. We know there is a 10th season maybe this storyline as in S4-5 is a story that will end the series. With Sam and Dean choosing each other either in death or in one of them (I would assume Sam) dying for good. I still like Jensen's ending even though it is terribly sad.

This episode is a turning point for the brothers. If they turn away from each other now I see Dean falling more and more under the influence of the MOC and Crowely.
E
# E 2014-03-10 08:46
Quote:
I agree that Dean has low self-esteem, and that only he can find his way forward with that. But I don't think his view of Sam as someone who helps ground him and brings out the part of him he most wants to be is unhealthy.
I guess this is where we differ in our opinions, so with respect, I'll have to agree to disagree. I feel that Dean's attachment to Sam is incredibly unhealthy as it currently stands because Dean isn't looking to Sam to, as you say, "ground him and bring out the part of him he most wants to be," Dean is pinning the entirety of his self worth onto Sam and that is something that nobody , not even someone as awesome as Sam can accomplish for Dean. There is no Dean as far as Dean is concerned, there is only Sam, and this mind set is terribly unhealthy and has created a desperation in Dean that has made him do terrible things like allow Sam to be possessed rather than let him die, the consequences of which resulted in Kevin's death. This is the level of attachment that I see Dean having for Sam, a terrible and destructive desperation fueled by the fear that he cannot, even won't live without Sam because he has pinned all that he is on him and ultimately has no sense of self. Dean has said it himself, "if there ain't no you, then there ain't no me." I don't find any of this even remotely healthy, and it's been shown to be completely unhealthy, especially for Kevin.

Now, I am not saying that Sam doesn't have a similar, unhealthy attachment to Dean. Sam has shown that he's willing to sacrifice his own life rather than loose his brother's trust in him (Sacrifice). But Sam has also shown that he is not willing to allow others to be hurt in his desperate attempt to secure Dean's regard, at least not since season 4, when his actions to regain Deans' trust brought on the Apocalypse. So, while Sam's attachment to Dean isn't much healthier, it is a little less destructive.
Gerry
# Gerry 2014-03-10 09:21
That's fine, we can agree to disagree. :) Mind you, I do agree Dean has some soul searching to do, as does Sam. But I think they'll meet in the middle. Sam's attachment to himself is pretty destructive, and I think he has work to do there. He's been flipping back and forth between deciding someone else can do the job, because people will always die (including Kevin last season) to deciding he should die because he needs to clear his slate. Neither place I think is healthy for him. I think he needs to get back to his mindset that he needs to show Dean the light because he has hope. That line of thought vanished out of the story as soon as Sam articulated it. I think it's going to return and drive Sam's story.
CastielsCAT
# CastielsCAT 2014-03-10 11:15
Neither brother is perfect. Whereas this season shows Dean letting Sam down last season focused on How Sam has let Dean down. Dean didn't get an apology. He just dropped thev issues because of more important business and in the finale assuassured Sam that nothing was more important than him and that nothing would change the fact that he loved him. In the process Dean learned more about how Sam thought and Sam learned that Dean doesn't want SIM grandgrand sacrifice from Sam; he wants Sam by his side. I don't think Dean apologizing is the big end of this storyline. Last season the discord pushed Sam th o do the trials to please Dean. This season events have propelled Dean to punish himself wit the MOC and caused Sam to say that he can't be brothers. The loss of Dean's primary human connection is the push towards Dean losing his human side.

Benny needed Elizabeth and Dean to maintain his humanity over his inner monster. In Citizen Fang (god how I loved that episode) Benny commented that Dean still had Sam. He doesn't believebelieve he does have Sam now. Nice foreshadowing show.

Is Sam's behavior partly the reason for Dean's slide. Yes. Is blame going v to be assigned? No. It's leading us to a great storyline and greater understanding of the brothers and their differences by each other.

I agree with Carver's choice to mature and change the relationship. However I think the fail will be fans that cannot let go of the bumps in the road before. The fandom was fractured before 8, and the hated for Dean is palpable hear as the hated for Sam is elsewhere. It makes discussion nearly impossible some places. This site reputedlyrepute dly lost a reviewer because of it.
Alice
# Alice 2014-03-10 14:01
I really hate going off topic, but hey, I’m the admin and site owner, and I guess if anyone has a right…I'm replying to you Castiel's Cat since you brought this site into the discussion, but please know that I'm generalizing to a lot of behavior in general and I'm not saying this is anything you've done specifically.

This site takes a lot of flak from fans. Why, because it’s an opinionated fandom. It’s a volatile fandom. It’s a splintered fandom. It’s kind of a pain in the ass fandom. ? Underneath it all, we have one love. We love Supernatural. The rest in my mind is just a bunch of crap.

I don’t see a lot of Dean hate here. None of the reviewers especially have any hatred toward a character. I certainly love all of them, although I started my blogging stint for Supernatural trying to figure out just what the hell was going through Sam Winchester’s mind because we never got insight as to what was happening with him because he internalized everything. This was back in season three, but it still happens today in stints. We really had no idea what was happening in Sam internally until “Mystery Spot” and the insights have been few and far between. So yeah, it’s a habit.

But I digress, because that’s not the point of this message. We’ve had lots of writers and commenters come and go, all for various reasons. I’ve had people quit on me before for reasons I still fail to understand. I can’t lose sleep over it though. I’m sorry, I can’t put this more bluntly. It’s a TV show.
Blogging for a large, volatile fandom is hard. Super hard. When you write anything online you’re sticking your neck out and in this fandom there’s always someone waiting with an axe. In the case of sweetondean, she just didn’t want to write like that anymore. She decided she enjoyed the safe haven of her personal blog. I respect that. I have much thicker skin because I’ve been deflecting insults and attacks non-stop since season three. I apologize for the dramatic statement, but I’m just as much a battle weary warrior as the Winchesters. I stand up for this site though because I created it, I’ve put in astronomical amounts of time, commitment, and personal anguish into it, and I’m not going to let bickering fans ruin it. This started with me and some rambling, it can end that way if need be.

We have other pro-Dean writers on this site. I brought Gerry on board because I knew she was one. Sofia is very pro-Dean as well. When she has a chance to write, Pragmatic Dreamer is very pro-Dean and writes very refreshing perspectives on his character. I even checked all the other writers and not one has ever uttered a “Dean sucks” mantra. So enough of “this site” having Dean hate.

I can’t make commenters come here and take certain positions. I’ve got Dean fans telling me how much we hate Dean/Jensen. I’ve got Sam fans jumping on me that we aren’t pro Sam/Jared enough. Castiel fans have all but disappeared, which depresses me because I’m very pro Castiel and have been since day one. I can’t dare talk about another character like The Ghostfacers because all anyone wants to debate is Sam and Dean. I just long for the day where we can all just go back to being Supernatural “fans” and the rest of the crap gets buried. When we talk about the actual show and stop taking conversations to “my character is better than your character” territory.

All opinions are welcome. If your opinion exists though to antagonize another fan instead of “respectfully disagreeing” we don’t need it. That’s not our way. It never has been. I don’t care what site you go to, I can’t think of anything more disrespectful than trashing someone else’s years of hard work by openly stating how you dislike a site all because every comment on that site doesn’t have your favorite character up on a pedestal crowned with sainthood. We don’t do that for any of them. If you think differently, there are so many other places to discuss this show. Perhaps we aren’t for you.

Thank you.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-03-10 11:23
Gerry Well to be fair Kevin didn't die and seemed to be doing alright on his own until the Winchester's (and his mom) showed up. In fact Kevin died because of Dean really. I don't know where they are going with Sam this season, but I do agree he needs to decide he is better off alive and working with Dean than dead and Dean slipping away into darkness. I really believed that Sam thought he could lead Dean to the light until it became clear that he wasn't going to survive the trials. And after a whole season of Dean reminding Sam of all of his past failings on top of assuming Dean was dead probably finally wore even optimistic Sam down to the point where death to atone for his mistakes seemed the only way out. But he did, in the church and in the hospital, choose to live so I think he will come back around to realizing he has more work to do. The end of this episode to me was a pivotal moment for Sam. He can either turn away like Harry or he can choose to accept who he is which is one of the hero's of the story and Dean's brother or he can live a life with an empty rocking chair.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-03-10 11:49
CastielsCat SweetonDean doesn't want to hear bashing of either brother as well. I think if you visit her blog you will see that brother bashing is not allowed. I don't want to speak for her but my understanding is she was tired of the constant bickering that you find on many websites and wanted to stick with her own blog where she could monitor every post and delete anyone who didn't like either brother and loving the show was an absolute must. There is a little more leeway on this website to express opinions as long as everyone is being respectful of each other and the actors/characte rs, writers etc. And by the way no one hates Dean. I think just like on every site there the ridiculous fear that one brother is going to take the brunt of the fandoms wrath over what a future storyline is going to be. It does get a little silly sometimes.
JFSDISPATCH
# JFSDISPATCH 2014-03-10 12:23
"Dean didn’t ever want to be FutureDean and he was sure Sam was his key to finding his balance, because he knows his love for Sam is at his core, not his ability to kill. If he loses the sense of family he has with Sam, that leaves Dean very vulnerable to the Mark of Cain, because he is capable of dark deeds. "

Agree completely. Which brings us to: "Whatever you do, you will always end up here. Whatever choices you make, whatever details you alter, we will always end up—here. I win. So, I win. " Lucifer to Dean/2009 in 2014. (The End 5x4)

I've been waiting to see how this was going to play out all season. I think we're about to find out.
CastielsCAT
# CastielsCAT 2014-03-10 14:25
Alice, I actually wasn't referring to the reviewers per second but more the atmosphere fostered by commenters that work the system to ensure a very Samcentric dynamic prevails. I really think Gerry is a great addition. If I don't read some of the other reviews it is because I prefer a more serious review that tackles issues. I read your reviews when they are offered even though my perception is that you do prefer Sam. I am looking for a fresh perspective to my own and come here to better understand Sam. If I don't always comment it's because I don't want my viewpoint to rile up an already contentious situation. I sometimes lack tack when push comes to shove as you have seen.

For better or worse I mentioned that I found the new reviewer to offer a balanced perspective that I really liked on imbd when others mentioned that they avoided this site because of perceived bias.

I can give an example of what might be perceived as a bias. Recently someone brought up Dean discussing his issues with Sam's behavior as something bad that Dean did repeatedly, I forget the exact language but that is the gist. Yet Sam is lauded when he brings up things that he doesn't like about Dean. Both characters have a right to their individual feelings and both have a right to discuss them. TO reiterate this was a commenter issue not a review issue.

There is a serious situation at IMBD where fan wars have spread to personal attacks and bad feelings. The anger permeates a lot of the threads now. This fostered a discussion of where else to go. I am sorry it was in my mind when I replied to Gerry's review; however I think it is important to remember that the writers are not thinking about tit for tat. In the real world that kind of behavior is childish and petty. They are trying to move the brothers and hopefully us past that. The boys are very different people and htey need to acknowledge it and accept it and move on.

So I take no offense and hope no one here does either.

On another topic. You previously said that you would welcome my insights on Sleepy Hollow. I looked for your reviews and saw that you have none. Were you inviting me to review it? I am reviewing it for IFP slowly (I will be more timely next season! ) but perhaps the review can be reposted? I am asking to clarify. There is a lot of new genre coming out. It is great that you are expanding the roster.
Alice
# Alice 2014-03-10 23:15
I'm so sorry to hear that the IMDB boards have splintered too, Castiel's Cat. That isn't a moderated board, right? If so attacks are probably very bad there. I welcome everyone from IMDB with open arms here, but we aren't a forum per se. We write articles and let people discuss in comments. We hope that the threads follow the spirit of the article but that's often not the case lately. I certainly am getting fed up of all the Sam vs. Dean stuff that seeps into every thread and I've been trying to come up with better ways to guide the conversation into less hostile territory. After all, we're all fans in the end, right? Unfortunately, people get so bent out of shape over the littlest thing. I want to be able to expand threads to all sorts of fans and all sorts of topics. I tried a forum once though and it failed. So I'm always trying to come up with ideas.

I totally forgot about the Sleepy Hollow thing! When we picked up Sleepy Hollow, it was in week 5. The reviews were pretty general to begin with, then I had another reviewer take over, and then she stopped submitting reviews before the last two episodes. I couldn't keep up because I'm doing all the work here, plus The Originals, plus Arrow, plus site admin over there. So I had this idea to start over from episode 1 this summer and go every week to episode 13. I was going to do very detailed reviews because the mythology is so involved and left so many clues!

Yes, I'm inviting you to review it if you're interested. Are your reviews detailed? Of course I don't want to step on the IFP boundaries either. I don't mind the review being in both places but they might. Otherwise, it'll be a fun summer activity for me. I'll leave it up to you, but I'll never turn down someone who wants to write! Thanks for reminding me of this.
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2014-03-10 14:43
You guys are doing a bangup job of describing the brothers and their issues. There's only so many times I can like a post but I can name names: Nappi,E.,percys owner, trucklady.

And thanks for this great review,Gerry. As always you lend new insight into an episode I thought I had all figured out.

Also to the PTB, the new format for commenting is "awesome"! Now I won't have quite so much spelling gibberish in my posts.:D
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2014-03-10 15:35
Thanks Gerry, I agree with your review of this episode. I wasn't super enthralled on first viewing, I thought it was a little too much in your face, but the second go round, I got what Jenny Klein was doing. It was very clever. I was really stoked to see the Ghostfacers again and was expecting a funny ep, and there were funny moments, but it was also sad. I really hope we get to see them together again. Dean is really starting to feel like Dean from "The End", and that was in 2014. When he killed the bad guy, it was done with no emotion whatsoever. Yes he deserved to die, but I think the Mark of Cain is having an impact on him. I am really loving this season and can't wait to see what's coming up next.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-03-10 18:57
Sylvie The WinchesterBros. website has a live interview with Jensen posted today. Warning there are major spoilers but a lot of what is being speculated is answered. It is a great interview with Jensen about his character throughout the series.
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2014-03-11 07:52
Thanks, I'll be sure to check that out. I love me some spoilers. ;)
Sandra K
# Sandra K 2014-03-10 22:34
First off, love the new look.
Secondly, Thank you for this review! I saw this right off when I was watching and was super surprised when I started seeing the comments about how lame it was and how dare the writers trivialize the conflict between Sam and Dean. From personal experience, I know that sometimes it takes a parallel incident to allow one to see the complexities of a situation that once seemed black and white. And hat's off for the Shakespeare reference :)
Rick D
# Rick D 2014-03-11 16:21
Gerry, don't know if you'll recall, but I was really down after the last episode while you believed it showed hope. Well, this episode turned it around for me, I loved this episode, and it was the first time I thought we could really see an equitable resolution to the brother's problems, without just making Sam out to be the bad guy who doesn't love enough. That would have been nice, right?

However, I have to admit that feeling was tenuous and fleeting, after listening to Jensen's recent podcast interview. Have you heard it? Maybe it's my fault for listening to actor's ramblings, but I couldn't help thinking "Well Rick, you dumbo, you almost fell for it again! You believed in Sam, while the writers laughed behind your back." Turns out the show isn't about two hero brothers, just one and the selfish (expletive deleted). Hey if other people want to watch a show about the Big Hero and his brother the selfish (expletive deleted), then they are welcome to it. I think I'm done.
Katan Kitsch
# Katan Kitsch 2014-03-12 03:24
This was a really great break-down of the writers intentions, thank you for the dissection of this episode. It's possible (probably not likely but possible) that this is really a very long set-up for the last time the themes of Sam's free will vs. Dean's co-dependence will be re-hashed and the show will close the book and move-on...again not likely...but just in case let me point something out...Dean has made some terrible panic-induced decisions, but why has no one examined the fact that Sam is a terrible and unreliable friend and family member? Furthermore, he won't take responsibility for the decision to not complete the trial. Dean did not in fact make that decision for him.

There is a lot of focus on Dean as the aggressor because of the dishonesty in his deal with Gadreel, but let's look at Sam's history and what it means for this current relationship crisis. Sam expressed anger at Dean for convincing him to not finish the trials. Truth is, ultimately that was Sam's decision to make and he hasn't taken responsibility for that. Take a look at that last scene from season 8. Sam says some really unhealthy stuff. He was looking for a way to punish himself for the mistakes of earlier seasons and was talking like a teenager on a suicide hotline. Seeing a soldier do what needs to be done is one thing, watching your kid brother say he hates himself and thinks he's impure just before he kills himself is another. Not that Dean wouldn't be spouting self-hate and whatnot if the roles were reversed. I get the sense Sam would have been disturbingly comfortable watching his suicidal brother complete the trials, even if it meant all of the self-hate would never be resolved. Also, maybe I missed a bit of lore, but what is stopping Sam from starting from trial 1 and going through the whole process again? Also, I can't wait to see them cure more demons as promised in Season 8. Anyways, Sam has felt his free will challenged through his whole life by Dean, his dad, various villains, etcs., and has come to associate abandoning his family with being free. In Heaven, his personal heaven scenes always involved an escape from Dean and Dad. When Dean went to purgatory with no leads, he abandoned the search in favor of a boring girlfriend and a dog. The theme was established in the pilot when Sam was free to go to college and showed nothing but contempt when Dean showed up. The revenge thing was a strong motive in the first season, but really I get the sense Sam understands he won't truly be free until all the bad things are dead and feels nothing but anger and disenchantment for the concept of family. When he's not busy being possessed, addicted, soulless, dying, or otherwise occupied we get a chance to see the Sam who feels superior pretty much always and doesn't form deep emotional connections.

So now we have Dean who has been following the direct order of "watch out for Sammy" since before puberty still struggling to understand Sam as a human being. But let's not forget, Sam has always viewed Dean as an obstacle to freedom and has no intention of understanding Dean as a human being. Since Sam doesn't form emotional connections and doesn't believe in family, he can't possible understand the totally normal reaction of not wanting your brother to die. I'm hoping the upshot of this is that the boys will actually begin forming an emotional connection to eachother that is more than "we're family, we're SUPPOSED to save eachother." And also maybe we'll see Dean move past the co-dependence thing and define himself in some other way. Here's hoping. And also, curing demons please.
Liz
# Liz 2014-03-12 13:55
Thanks for the review, Gerry.

Quote:
This was a really great break-down of the writers intentions, thank you for the dissection of this episode. It's possible (probably not likely but possible) that this is really a very long set-up for the last time the themes of Sam's free will vs. Dean's co-dependence will be re-hashed and the show will close the book and move-on...again not likely...but just in case let me point something out...Dean has made some terrible panic-induced decisions, but why has no one examined the fact that Sam is a terrible and unreliable friend and family member? Furthermore, he won't take responsibility for the decision to not complete the trial. Dean did not in fact make that decision for him.

There is a lot of focus on Dean as the aggressor because of the dishonesty in his deal with Gadreel, but let's look at Sam's history and what it means for this current relationship crisis. Sam expressed anger at Dean for convincing him to not finish the trials. Truth is, ultimately that was Sam's decision to make and he hasn't taken responsibility for that. Take a look at that last scene from season 8. Sam says some really unhealthy stuff. He was looking for a way to punish himself for the mistakes of earlier seasons and was talking like a teenager on a suicide hotline. Seeing a soldier do what needs to be done is one thing, watching your kid brother say he hates himself and thinks he's impure just before he kills himself is another. Not that Dean wouldn't be spouting self-hate and whatnot if the roles were reversed. I get the sense Sam would have been disturbingly comfortable watching his suicidal brother complete the trials, even if it meant all of the self-hate would never be resolved. Also, maybe I missed a bit of lore, but what is stopping Sam from starting from trial 1 and going through the whole process again? Also, I can't wait to see them cure more demons as promised in Season 8. Anyways, Sam has felt his free will challenged through his whole life by Dean, his dad, various villains, etcs., and has come to associate abandoning his family with being free. In Heaven, his personal heaven scenes always involved an escape from Dean and Dad. When Dean went to purgatory with no leads, he abandoned the search in favor of a boring girlfriend and a dog. The theme was established in the pilot when Sam was free to go to college and showed nothing but contempt when Dean showed up. The revenge thing was a strong motive in the first season, but really I get the sense Sam understands he won't truly be free until all the bad things are dead and feels nothing but anger and disenchantment for the concept of family. When he's not busy being possessed, addicted, soulless, dying, or otherwise occupied we get a chance to see the Sam who feels superior pretty much always and doesn't form deep emotional connections.

So now we have Dean who has been following the direct order of "watch out for Sammy" since before puberty still struggling to understand Sam as a human being. But let's not forget, Sam has always viewed Dean as an obstacle to freedom and has no intention of understanding Dean as a human being. Since Sam doesn't form emotional connections and doesn't believe in family, he can't possible understand the totally normal reaction of not wanting your brother to die. I'm hoping the upshot of this is that the boys will actually begin forming an emotional connection to eachother that is more than "we're family, we're SUPPOSED to save eachother." And also maybe we'll see Dean move past the co-dependence thing and define himself in some other way. Here's hoping. And also, curing demons please.
Great comments, katankitsch. Interesting observations that I agree with.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-03-12 14:36
If you start your comments with the premise that the writers are intentionally writing Sam as an ungrateful and deceitful character it is hard to have a healthy balanced conversation. Just like Dean is considered a hero of the series well so is Sam. They have both been heroic, made mistakes, sacrificed (yes it is true even Sam-remember the cage) and been conflicted over the entire run of the series. I am sure you would get quite the argument from Jensen that Sam doesn't love his brother as much as Dean loves his. Sam's character came from a position of not having real nurturing parents. Other than poor Dean who was not equipped to handle such a burden. His view of family has always been different than Dean's. Children that have been deprived of parental (especially a mothers) unconditional love often have a difficult time forming emotional connections with others. We have seen Sam struggle with that through out his life. I think especially last season and this the writers have made it clear that Sam doesn't feel his life is worth more than anyone else's. His willingness to sacrifice himself for the greater good was specifically pointed out when he wanted to make sure that his death would be final and that no one (especially Dean) would be harmed by being brought back unnaturally. Even Cas tried to teach Sam that his life was worth saving. I really think where they are going with his character is he is finally going to be given his chance to save Dean, something he has never been able to do. I think both of these guys are going to see what it is like walking in each others shoes and get a better understanding of each other. Sam being unwilling to save Dean no matter who has to pay the price is going to be tested I think and Dean might have to make a choice about Sam as well. This season is about letting these two characters learn to stand on their own without ever forgetting that they are brothers always no matter what.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-03-12 19:25
Hi Cheryl! Nice post. Unfortunately the idea that the writers, the PTB and now the actors dislike Sam is very pervasive. The interview, although I don't think Jensen intended to say he disliked Sam, has now added fuel to the fire. Who am I to say those people are wrong? I just don't agree. I have hope the show is going down the path we think it will. I have faith that this will end in a good place for the brothers.
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-03-12 20:29
LEAH I don't have any problem really with Jensen's interview. Everyone is entitled to their own point of view but I honestly don't think that the TPTB are deliberately trying to destroy one of their lead characters. These have always been two distinct characters. From the beginning of the series Sam and Dean have been at odds with each other off and on. I have never felt that either brother was ever written as having done anything other than what they thought was the right thing. I love this show and I have faith (because Jared said so) that all will be alright in the end. Unfortunately we are running out of season so I have a feeling this is going to be carried through to season 10.
LEAH
# LEAH 2014-03-12 20:48
I am a little afraid of that myself. People are jumping ship (sadly) and I was hoping there could be some resolutions that might make everyone happy but now I am not so sure that is ever going to happen.
CastielsCAT
# CastielsCAT 2014-03-12 20:46
Cheryl42, I think Jensen was sharing Dean's viewpoint in the interview. Frankly it is pretty much how I assume Dean feels about things. On the Deancentric boards the comments were very well received. As we discussed elsewhere the brothers are individuals with different viewpoints and processed their family trauma very differently. It's not meant to he a tit for tat situation. I think they will reach a better understanding and probably agree to disagree. Sadly I think the writers miscalculated fans' emotions. I know a number of folks have said Sam is irredeemable at this point. I don't see the writers being able to reach consensus for all fans. Therefore I am not sure the process will have been worth it even if I understand why it was undertaken. .
cheryl42
# cheryl42 2014-03-12 20:55
Yes I know if you mainly visit Deancentric sites it is true that is the feeling you get. However the online fandom is very small and I think vast majority of fans don't find fault with either brother since it is easy to see what their motivations are. Sam is not irredeemable to the fans of both brothers or those that lean towards Sam. I think the biggest fear is that the whole story line is going to get dropped with no real resolution. Which to me would be a total waist of the first half of the season.