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Open Supernatural Couch -  Mannequin 3: The Reckoning
The Glass Half Full

Is there anything more terrifying than seeing a person you love on the floor, unconscious, unresponsive? I bet some events come close, but this opening sequence send chills down my spine, and as Sam is trapped in his flashbacks, feeling his skin sizzle off for a perceived week, I am being reminded of a horrific scene in AllHellBreaksLoose. The desperate tone of voice coming from Dean’s core as he held his dead brother in his arm is the same we hear now. He checks him for vital signs, afraid that the Great Wall of Sam had crumbled and he had lost his brother. Again. On his watch.

More memories race through my mind, and flashbacks of my own crawl up from my locked-away past to the surface: a moment I had been unconscious and my boyfriend at the time kept praying ‘please come back, please come back’, words that somehow reached me in the darkness and brought me back. I remember his unfathomable relief and how hard he hugged me when I came to. That was a chilling moment for both of us. You don’t forget that. And Dean won’t forget it. He hasn’t forgot the other moment this scene looks like a mirror of, I’m sure. He’s back in that wet, muddy ghost town where he lost his brother the first time.

‘Sammy!!! Come on… come on…’ His voice embracing all ranges from fraught to helpless to defeated to desperately angry. ‘Come on, dammit!’

As Sam opens his eyes, he strains to breathe, still caught in the pain. I have to commend Jared’s acting once again. I don’t know if he’s ever seen a person coming back from a dissociative seizure. But he looks as if he just had one. He’s just as exhausted, troubled by headaches (I assume), while Dean gets him, confused and shaky, out of there.

We don’t see how Dean supports Sam getting out of their hideout, yet I think it’s safe to presume, knowing these brothers, that Dean shoved Sammy into the Impala and drove off, disregarding speed limits. Sam’s experiences in Hell are still shrouded in many shadowy mysteries…

What we do see now, however, is the first murder executed by a doll. An anatomically precise doll, actually, of the kind used in class to depict the position of human organs. We had one of those in Med School. And even in Psychology. It’s a quite popular item. And it’s super creepy.

Here we are with the number two of things that scare me the most. Number one would be clowns, then dolls (of all kinds, mostly porcelain dolls, but this kind does the trick also), then kids (hello, little creepy Provenance killer girl)… So, I’m grabbing on to my couch as the eyes of the damn thing start to focus on Mr. Mop who doesn’t survive the encounter for more than a minute.

‘Lucky for you, I’m a doctor.’

Oh, Sam, if I felt like I got hit by a planet, I’d have headaches, too. Speaking off, the next time someone asks me how I feel when I have some of my infamous (and horrific) migraines again, I will borrow that line. Talk about bringing a bit of Supernatural into your everyday life. Because – it pretty much feels like that… very descriptive and accurate here…

Okay. Dean offers Sam various coping strategies – meds, alcohol, violence. Because, those worked for him, effectively. We actually learn a lot about Dean’s survival mechanisms in this episode, and since the show was initially designed with two main characters coming from a more or less blue-collar background, their coping strategies match. Or, at least, Dean’s do. Sam, on the other hand, escaped that background and chose an academic road for a while, where he probably developed his healthy approach to eating and coping. He doesn’t drown his worries in alcohol, not right away, though. He tries other strategies first, only if those don’t work or when his heart is wrecked too much (like in Playthings or IKnowWhatYouDidLastSummer) he drowns his fears in booze.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t wish to depreciate ‘blue-collar’ people. I come from that background, myself. My parents were hard workers, and I am actually the first person in our entire family who took a different, academic direction. Alcohol was never an issue in my family, but it has been with friends. And patients of mine who come from that background, too, often find refuge with exactly those coping techniques Dean mentions here. I wonder, though, what kind of meds Dean was offering. Since he took them himself, I’d go with pills to lessen his stress and anxiety while not slowing him down (as he wished to stay alert, even when he was living with Lisa and Ben), so they won’t be classic tranquilizers. And here the shrink sighs because she doesn’t get a close look at the bottle to satisfy her professional curiosity.

It’ a very heartfelt conversation we get here. Dean, in older brother mode and somewhat angry at his younger sibling for scratching that wall and bringing himself to the brink of being – in truth – electrocuted by his memories.

‘What’s past stays past! You’re not kicking that wall again!’

‘So, I’m just supposed to ignore it?’


‘I might have done… who knows what. And you want me to just forget about it?’

‘You shove it down and you let it come out in spurts of violence and alcoholism.’

‘That sounds healthy.’

‘Works for me. This is not a joke. Your life is on the line here, Sam. This is not a debate. First you were a soulless dickbag and now you’re not. So we’re good?’

Their different approaches to this problem are again evident and clear – Dean trying to use his preferred mechanism, avoidance, while Sam goes with his inquisitive and penitent mind. Despite being aware how disturbing this situation is for Dean, Sam can’t just ignore the fact that he was responsible for ‘who knows what’ kind of atrocities without his soul, his moral compass. Even after getting a first glimpse of what experiencing flashbacks of this kind means, he has trouble just letting it be. I think it’s a testament to his courage that he is still willing to explore what he did, in spite of the pain he experienced during those agonizing two to three minutes.

I think both brothers might need a bit of education about how the unconscious works. Since I have discussed that in previous articles, I’m not going to be redundant here. The problem is, the unconscious doesn’t answer to any conscious master. You can’t control it. You can’t awaken it by the power of your will. The only influence you can have comes from confronting possible triggers to open doors to that stored away memory file. You can try to open Pandora’s box by deliberately exposing yourself to moments/noises/scents and the like that hold a connection to your past. And even then the unconscious decides whether it is ready to open a door – or not.

Even if Sam thinks ‘I want to remember’ he won’t be able to achieve that by sheer volition. The human mind doesn’t work that way. And since he doesn’t recall many memories, he will have trouble finding a specific stimulus to scratch the Great Wall of Sam with it. Occasionally he will stumble over a trigger (like the road sign in the last episode) that will bring memories to his conscious mind. But no matter how hard Sam tries to evoke anything from his soulless past, he won’t get the response he yearns for. That he wants it so much will keep him sentient and responsive for potential memories and that will in all likelihood help pave the road a bit. But the wall will come down when the unconscious deems it necessary, not earlier, no matter how much Sam likes to scrape at the damn thing.

Dean has a point in offering him the possibility of cathartic violence. I think that’s what he means when he says that ‘you let it come out in spurts of violence’. I imagine that Dean does have some experience in that field. We remember the last scene from YouCan’tHandleTheTruth where Dean beat Sam to a bloody pulp, as one example. Another would be his torture of Alistair in OnTheHeadOfAPin. At the time, these violent measures served his homoeostasis, to relieve dammed up drives, reducing tension and ending in a form of break down with him realizing – horrified – what he had done.

To blow off steam is clinically desirable and necessary. If you throw a bottle against a wall, you achieve a cathartic effect, reducing stress, without becoming an offender. The simplest variant of this kind of cathartic violence is the common outburst of rage. If we watched ourselves in slow motion at a moment like that, we’d notice that we become very still in moment before we burst. Muscle tone increases, accompanied by augmented perspiration and elevated blood pressure. The moment of the outburst, then, the tension dissolves and that creates a sensation of release and liberation, as if you let an edgy dog off the leash.

Cathartic violence can’t be repeated indefinitely. The effect loses its power. Ideally it’s denoted by an outburst that is followed by calmness and fatigue and gradual inner relaxation, so that repetition becomes unnecessary. If violence is used repeatedly, often it loses its cathartic character, reinforcing itself, and the desired effect decreases. This stems from the physiology of the brain – when a specific neuronal area is used repeatedly this area is easier accessed.

So, acting violently, occasionally and controlled, can have the effect Dean offers to Sam, and Sam has had moments like that, too, for instance in WhenTheLeveeBreaks where he blew off the steam stemming from Dean’s doubting him by fighting with him. And, I guess, he did a lot of it while being without his soul, as his disposition to violence was a much more accessible one. But it’s not in Sam’s nature, not really, even though he has been violent under pressure. And Sam can’t accept Dean’s idea. To him it’s not healthy.

Before you get me wrong, kind readers, I’m not saying that violence is in Dean’s nature. He just chose that form of coping before and probably more often than Sam and knows about the possible cathartic effect.

‘Be my Valentine? Ah, have a heart!’

Another possibility to dissolve stress lies in taking on a new job – and thereby taking Sam’s mind off the questions that trouble him. (And I don’t know what a Snookie is – so I guess I missed a joke here. Anyone around to enlighten me?) A part of that taking-Sam’s-mind-off surely is Dean’s child-like search for a joke, even a tasteless have-a-(plastic)-heart kind. But that scene truly is funny. Dean loves to play around with these things… like a kid, actually. Not for long, as he rejects a call from Lisa. Not the first one, I reckon. Sam jumps to the conclusion right away. So either he just knows his brother very, very well (and of course he does) or he has witnessed moments like this since he came back. But – Dean reverts to his dear strategy of avoidance.

No time, really, to discuss these issues, as Dean notices the camera – and the guys are watching surveillance tapes a minute later. Ah, good times. Like back then when they were looking for the mandroid and Rob did a really good drop. Ahem, sorry. But I can’t think of that episode without recalling the hilarious gag reel…

Okay, back to this one. The brothers are sitting on a big, steaming pile of nothing while another factory member gets killed by a mannequin. And I grab onto my couch again. Did I mention that I am freaked out by these kinds of … ahem, objects? The things I do for this show…

Well, it’s good that the Winchesters are not as squeamish as I when it comes to these… ahem, thingamajigs. And another nostalgic moment bathes me in warmth, ha, the EMF is used again, and dolls are haunted. And Sam is not joking, they have indeed a ‘bunch of killer dolls like Chucky’ to deal with… And thank you Dean, lovely man, for confessing to find that ‘freaking creepy.’ I’m not alone! And Jensen is a master of pulling these faces. You just gotta love the fine nuances he brings into his work.

The brothers need a while to find common ground to the ‘squeaking clean’ dead guys, probably a vengeful spirit. And then they split up, a role reversal of the most wonderful kind. Sam nudges Dean to finally answer the phone, only to find out that Ben, not Lisa, has been trying to reach him, and the boy makes it clear that he is in a desperate situation – his mom is in trouble, not well, in fact ‘it’s bad, Dean!’

So, Sam puts Dean in the Impala to take care of Lisa and Ben. ‘I can handle it for 24 hours, Dean. I get you wanna bury it. But I have to deal with my past year and you gotta deal with yours.’ And Sam is actually right.

Each has to deal with their past year. It’s not like there is only Sam and his coming-back-from-Hell issue. There is also Dean who spent a year ‘as close to happiness’ as any hunter could possibly get, and he hasn’t managed to deal with it so far. Why else would he reject phone calls from Lisa. He realized that he isn’t a man to live with a family like this. Let’s recall for a second what he told Veritas in YouCan’tHandleTheTruth: ‘It’s the gig. You’re covered in blood until you’re covered in your own blood. Half the time you’re about to die, like right now. I told myself I wanted out. That I wanted a family. But what I’m good at is slicing throats. I ain’t a father. I’m a killer. And there’s no changing that. I know that now.’

And his biggest fear almost came true when he entered their house, a vampire, and almost fed on her. He brought his work home in a manner that exceeded even his worst nightmares. He had been able to handle the outer threats, but that he himself became one, which was too much for the man who, beneath this sometimes rough exterior, is as sensitive and compassionate and loving as a man can be. He lived that side of his nature with Lisa and Ben. With them he was almost capable of letting them completely in and allowing himself to be loved, to be deserving of their love.

But that changed when he almost killed Lisa and shoved her boy. I think, just as Sam is having a hard time accepting that ‘it wasn’t him’, so is Dean. We could also argue that it wasn’t him, but a vampire, but he still feels to have been a threat to them. That he still is, because if he kept a closer connection to this family, he might bring some other evil home – and not be around to save them.

So, while Dean drives to Lisa’s house, Sam investigates in classic Fed style. I like Rose’s sister, a kind woman, hurt beyond repair, it seems, missing her sister who did more for her than anybody could. Indeed – she gave her a kidney. Even in close families, that is an extraordinary gift. To assent to have one kidney cut out so that her sister would live, it’s not an act that can be taken for granted. Rose truly had a kind, generous heart. Which makes the acts of her colleagues at the factory even more despicable.

Sam connects the dots and begins more intense investigations at Ground Zero, Saltzman & Sons. And happens to question Johnny who was a part of the league against Rose. Luckily the guy is as bad an actor as he is a pathetic jerk. And Sam can smell that instantly.

‘Ask for something!’

A smiling, beautiful Lisa opens the door, expecting her date and freezes when she sees Dean who instantly realized that he has been conned. She asks him in, not amused about having to do this now. I love the following scenes. They are authentically awkward. If anyone had conversations in that neighbourhood, you will see that.

I understand that woman. Jealous Dean is not easy to digest. The way she handles this moment is so real and true to her character. She called him at least six times and Dean almost called her back about a hundred times. What is she supposed to make of that? Even the fact that he rushed to her when Ben called him doesn’t help her right now.

‘I’m not asking for anything.’

‘Then ask for something!’

‘I can’t ask for something. I know what I want, but I can’t have it, not how you live. My phone rings I think - tiny chance it’s you, big chance it’s Sam calling me to tell me you’re dead.’


‘No, don’t. Don’t apologize for anything. It’s just I get to this place where I’m okay and then you show up at our door. You keep doing that. Every time I think I’m never going to see you again. I’m trying to get over you.’

This is as heartbreaking as it gets. Lisa loves him. She does, despite everything that happened. It’s evident. She still loves him. But she does what she has to do to survive in her soul. When you can’t have the one you love (and she will never have Dean now that Sam has returned and he is back on his hunting job because there is always some monster to kill, some family to protect, some evil plan of global proportions to thwart) – what do you do?

There are many ways to deal with a situation like this. The manner Lisa chooses is one that deserves respect. She tries to set Dean free. She tries to get over him to be able to live a good life, for her son. She did everything he could for Dean. She moved house at least twice (if there have been more fits of paranoia that made Dean urge them to move, we don’t know. Could or could not be). She accepted who he is with great generosity and heart. She gave him a home where he could try to heal his wounds. She knew what she signed up for when she allowed him to enter her life, her house, her bed. What she didn’t know was that she wouldn’t be able to handle it all.

And we can’t blame her for that.

When we come to a decision, we don’t know whether that choice will prove to be wrong (or right). We act solely on our knowledge in the very second when we decide. And I’m sure Lisa thought she could do it, live on these terms, and slowly it dawned on her that she can’t. It requires a lot of courage to accept that, to be able to say ‘I made the wrong decision, I can’t do it, I see that now’, instead of going on at any cost. The price she would have to pay would be high – constant worries, jumping at every phone ring, afraid to hear that Dean’s dead.

Wives of soldiers, policemen, fire fighters live like that. Some are able to do it, some are not. In my line of work I’ve encountered many women who were not able to live like that in the long run.

Lisa has to think of her son. If she breaks, who will be there for him?

Confucius said ‘let go of what you love. If it returns to you, it is yours forever.’ There still might be a chance for Lisa, Dean and Ben. Perhaps not now, but someday. In the meantime she has to learn to live without him to find some inner peace. On the other hand, a part of me hopes for her to find a new life with the doctor.

I’m grateful for the break we’re given here – I need to breathe for a moment. Sam saves Johnny in time, and I love the set decoration here! There’s a puppy dog calendar on the wall… and, well, I have a thing for puppies, ahem… four legged ones and those on two legs… Oops. Jas, get back to business, will you?

Freaked out Johnny tells Sam everything about the vicious joke they played on Rose and how she ended up dead. It was an accident, yes, but neither of the guys in question owned up to what they did. They buried her like trash somewhere in the woods, so, we could say, they had it coming. Johnny actually was the only one who wanted to notify the police. And Sam offers him a way to get off easily. Because – true – who is he to say that Johnny deserves to die? While Dean speaks with Ben, Sam digs out the grave, burns her bones and informs Johnny that he was safe. ‘Johnny, look at this as a new beginning – a lot of chances not to be a jackass.’ I think this moment is also a parallel to what Sam is trying to achieve – to begin a new life, one that will be some kind of atonement for earlier deeds. If he can save Johnny and influence him to be a better person, does that mean he has a shot at making amends himself? This kind of philosophy has often been a part of Sam’s nature, as in Playthings. I wouldn’t be surprised, if it applied here, as well.

Unfortunately, Sam has no idea that one part of Rose remains keeps walking around in her sister. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

‘Why can’t you just say I’m sorry and come back?’

Dean tries to find out what Ben was so worried about. ‘A date is not an emergency, Ben.’ – ‘If is if it’s the third one. I watch TV, I know what that means.’

Is that cliché about the US really true? That the third date means you go to bed? It’s in various books I read about the States, but I never actually considered it to be a fact. Well, in any case, Ben is worried out of his wits. For him it was an emergency. Because he wants the man he learned to love like a father. And Ben reacts like children often do – when parents don’t get along, they often assume it’s their fault. They try to make amends, even when they don’t know what it is they could have done. It’s a terrible burden on any kid’s shoulders. Dean tries to explain and ends up putting in words that he is big in the sacrifice business.

‘Just ‘cause you love someone, doesn’t mean you should stay around and screw up their life. So, I can’t be here.’

‘You think something will follow you home?’

‘No, no, I don’t, but I think my job turns me into somebody that can’t sit at your dinner table’ (what I’m good at is slicing throats. I ain’t a father, I’m a killer) ‘and if I stayed you’d end up just like me’ (just like he ended up like his dad, his mother ended up like his grandfather, passing on the family tradition)

‘Why do you say it like you’re so bad?’ (Don’t you just love Ben? The boy has such incredibly good instinct)

‘Well, trust me, I’m not someone you wanna aim to be.’ (Oh, Dean, your self-esteem hasn’t improved a bit, has it?) … ‘I’m sorry, Ben, but you see this way you get a shot to live whatever life you want. Pick one, pick five. Because with me, there’s just the one road.’

‘You’re a liar, Dean!’ (Ben exposes him, oh yes, he does) … ‘You say, family’s so important, but what do you call people who care for you, who love you even when you’re a dick?! You know you’re walking out on your family, right?’ (Family don’t end with blood, Dean. Remember where you’ve heard that before?!)

And Dean hasn’t anything to answer. The boy is right. Dean is such a courageous man. But in a situation like this, he succumbs to his biggest fears – that something might happen to them on his watch. That the man he also is, the killer, might lose control (as it happened while he was a vampire) and hurt them. He is not able to face that fear as a challenge just yet. With all the worry eating away at him concerning Sam and the notion that he might lose his brother to his hell memories, his strength is not entirely there. He’s weakened. And he’s sad. Not the best requisite to return back to family life.

As he drives away, Dean remembers the many moments with Lisa and the kid, as if that part of his life was ending and he was seeing it once again, as a personal, quiet, beautifully sad memento of a life he once had… Emily Bronte’s Heathcliff comes to mind: ‘what does not recall her? I cannot look down to this floor, but her features are shaped on the flags. In every cloud, in every tree, filling the air at night and caught by glimpses in every object by day, I am surrounded with her image. .. the entire world is a dreadful collection of memoranda that she did exist and that I have lost her.’

Dean is saying good-bye.

This collage of images from his life with Lisa and Ben was poetical, and I wish the scene had been given more time. Ooooh-ooo Love hurts…. Yeah, what a song to carry on that scene with Johnny and his pitiable relationship with his sex doll. What a lonely guy, indeed. A lonely dead guy, that is. Well, Sam, it isn’t over. There is a part of the dead sister still around. And then finally, Sam learns the truth. And I must say – that’s a twist we didn’t get before. Living remains of a spirit, a transplanted organ. What a great idea! And fascinating dilemma – what can they do now to stop Rose?! Find a non-haunted black market replacement kidney? Eventually Hoodoo comes to mind after Dean meets them.

‘Hey, you leave my baby alone!’

But before they can explain their plan to Isabel (and us, the audience), Rose christines the Impala which is not a sex doll, of course, but she holds the same importance for Dean as the sex doll did for unfortunate Johnny.

I can’t help myself, the way Jensen runs here in this scene, I feel reminded of the little Yorkie following him in YellowFever. He has a way of Jack Sparrowing sometimes, and looks adorable doing it.

Finally, Dean stops in front of a shop, sure that this move will have the Impala crush into the store and jumps to the side at the last second. ‘I’m sorry, Baby!’ Unfortunately, Isabel gets hit by a piece of glass and dies, and with her the grief stricken ghost of Rose. It’s a sad ending, but one that saves the brothers from actually pondering cutting out the haunted kidney…

Now, it’s the Impala that needs some replacement organs. Dean works on her at Singer Auto, as Sam provides him with some beer. It’s not a happy moment, but a peaceful one.

‘We saved a few dicks and we killed an innocent girl. I got a heartbroken kid and a woman who’s so pissed at me… I see what you mean about facing your past…. It’s … it’s awesome, thanks…. All we do is make a mess.’

‘That’s not true. We save lives, now and again.’

‘Yeah, I guess. I’m just tired of all the bad luck, you know.’

‘Well, number one: bad luck is kinda in the job description. And two: it’s not all bad. Really, look at me, I mean, at least Satan’s left a building.’

‘Yeah, it’s the little things’ (Ah, Dean, yes, we get the irony, sweetie)

‘…and I have a soul. Because of you. I never thanked you for that, did I?’

‘That’s all good, man.’

‘Well, thanks.’

‘you’d do the same for me.’

‘I mean it. Look, we keep our heads down, keep swinging, we’ll lose some, but hopefully we’ll win more, and… I don’t know, anyway, for what it’s worth, I got your back.’

‘Yeah, I know.’

What they are basically saying is ‘I love you.’ It’s good that I keep tissues at hand when I watch this show.

This time, Sam is trying to offer some comfort to Dean by reminding him of the good they achieve, of what they are capable of, because they do save people. They can’t save everyone. In other episodes, long ago, Dean tried to offer the same ideas to a desperate Sam who needed to save as many people as he could to prevent becoming some evil thing.

Sam sees hope in their future, even though it’s going to be tinted with the occasional failure, and he tries to make Dean see it, too. He reminds them of what they have – each other, and that he will always have Dean’s back. And this time, for the first time in a long time, Dean knows and believes it, too. There is relief in his eyes. Perhaps he can find hope again. And Sam will be there to help him with it.

This episode was a wonderfully nostalgic one, I liked it a lot. A monster of the week, two brothers investigating like in ye olde days, and heartfelt brother talk throughout the whole episode. And yet, it was new. Both have grown, well, we often grow through pain, and these two have had their considerable shares of agony. I don’t doubt there will be more (come on, we know our show), but they stand by each other in unwavering manner. Committed. Imperturbable. Resolute. And, most of all, loving.



# nancyL 2011-02-20 18:50
Jasminka, I enjoyed this (your article and the episode).

This episode definitely had a season one or two feel to it. I am enjoying the second half of this season alot more than the first ten episodes.

FYI, Snookie is (to put it nicely) a tramp from the MTV show 'Jersey Shores'.
# Jasminka 2011-02-21 08:05
NancyL, thank you for your comment and the enlightenment of my ignorant European mind.
I agree, this espisode had an early season feel to it, and I just liked it!
Cheers, Jas
# Yvonne 2011-02-20 22:03
Thanks for opening the couch Jas.

The more reviews I read about this episode, the more I like it. Yours has definately pushed me over into the fuzzy feelings territory. Not that I didn't already have a brimming heart over that closing scene.

Love your take on Lisa. That woman really is fantastic. I wish and wish there was more room for her character on the show. But at the same time, I'm glad there isn't since that would probably end in a horrific death.

Thanks to NancyL for the enlightenment on what a Snookie is. I was quite at a loss as well.

And Jas, as far as I know the cliche about the American 3rd date isn't true. Or at least, the majority of people I know, have spoken with about the topic and simply heard about; do not live by that rule. As far as I know, that is a myth perpetuated by Hollywood since sex sells.
Or, maybe I'm completely off and will be embarrased by my ignorance :lol: ;-)

Loved the article. So excited at where the boys' relationship is heading.

On a total side note, I'm recommending that you watch "Lars and the Real Girl". It's one of the sweetest love stories and will hopefully help with how those dolls creep you out. I actually felt for John and his 'Jenni' cuz of that wonderfully wierdo movie. :-)
# Jas 2011-02-21 08:13
Yvonne, you know, you always have room on this couch, right ;-) ? Fuzzy is okay, isn’t it? I felt reminded of The Princess Bride, actually, where Wesley keeps saying ‘As you wish’ but he is, in truth, saying ‘I love you’. That’s how this last scene felt to me… guilty in the fuzzy department.

And looks like I’m going to have to look up that film… Thank you!! Love, Jas
# CitizenKane2 2011-02-20 22:07
Thanks for the article.

I enjoyed this episode more than "Unforgiven", probably because I have an aversion to SoulessSam :P

I liked the way the Lisa/Dean story was protrayed (and I enojoyed your analysis of it) - while I do wished that Lisa / Dean worked out, I do also think that that may not have worked for "Supernatural".

Oh, and the "kidney" twist was unexpected. :)
# Jas 2011-02-21 08:13
Hi CitizenKane2, happy you liked my take here. I also (still kinda) hope that the Dean/Lisa/Ben Lovestory could work out, but I also doubt it. But – it was a nice illusion while it lasted and the man had at least a little shot at some kind of happiness.
Thanks, Jas
# anonymousN 2011-02-21 01:40
Is there any number for devil between 275 and 420...Well a very nicely penned article.I felt sad for Dean .I don't want the show to end but come on they deserve happiness too, if not at least a happy parting from loved ones (as happy a parting can be).I just hope Ben doesn't resent Dean for too long ...he does really understand him and what you wrote about Lisa are my thoughts about her too...Sam's wall in head really makes him an unlikely candidate for happy ending. At least i hope he gets peace after the wall breaks and not suffering ...but that scene at the beginning makes me doubt that.
# Jas 2011-02-21 08:14
Hello AnonymousN, though I would love to see a happy ending for the guys, like you, I can’t imagine them riding into the sunset to a woman waiting for them… I think there might be still important surprises along the way, perhaps even this one…?
Cheers, Jas
# rmoats8621 2011-02-21 01:57
Thanks for the wonderful review.

There was another moment that had to do with the Snooki comment that made me smile. I remember recently that Jared admitted to being a fan of "Jersey Shore" while at the same time Jensen admitted to liking "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills". Both watched the shows with their wives. Jensen even stated something to the effect that it was like watching a train wreck on tv and very addictive. I really liked how the writers picked up on this little tidbit and incorporated into the storyline. Both guys must have smiled and wondered who snitched on them? Gen and/or Danneel?
# Jas 2011-02-21 08:15
rmoats8621, thank you! Interesting and funny theory you have there…. Ah, can’t anyone of us be a fly on the wall in the writers’ room? :-)
Thanks ,Jas
# Junkerin 2011-02-21 05:07
* Sits down verry carfully *

To be true, I had some trouble with this ep. I liked your review better and will now rewatch it. :lol:
For me it was a verry depressiv ep, Sam in Hell and no seeing a way to cope with it, MOTW wins this time, Dean breaking up with Lisa and Ben and it ended even more depressing with seeing no hope. As I sayed I had trouble with this one.
# Jas 2011-02-21 08:16
Junkerin, don’t worry, my couch is not boobytrapped… 8)
I am happy that I inspired you to rewatch the episode. Have fun finding the gems here! Thank you for commenting, Jas
# Julie 2011-02-21 10:49
Thanks Jas
Lovely to be back on the couch again.
After the heartwrenching opening alone we need this, the desperation in Deans` voice and demeanour were almost palpable, and were indeed so reminiscent of those awful scenes in AHBL. His reaction when Sam regained conciousness, hauling him up and running, demonstrated just how terrified he is at the propect of Sam scratching at the famous wall. He may now feel vindicated in his warnings and I am sure he will use this in his efforts to persuade his brother to stop inviting in the memories which may induce these cracks. Whether Sam will listen or indeed have any control at all over these remains to be seen.
The `coping`strater gies used are very interesting, everyone needs to recognise and develops their own, Dean certainly knows his, I dont think Sam does but he needs to develop some PDQ. The violent outburst have certainly been demonstrated on many occasions with varying degrees of effectiveness, sometimes used out of sheer frustration and helplessnesss. I agree this was the case in `You cant handle the truth` and I think other examples when this was cathartic was in the bashing of the Impala in ELAC and the decapitation of the vamp in Bloodlust but I dont think this was the case at all in OTHOAP as then it had quite the reverse effect as, although it was undoubtably brutally violent, it was done under extreme duress and caused more damage to Dean him himself than the supposed victim.
The Dean, Lisa, Ben situation gave us yet more hearbreaking scenes, as all 3 find themselves in no win situations. Dean is terrified in what he could `bring home`to them, not only in himself but also in what untold evil entity could follow him there. I was pleased that there was no reason here for us to blame or dislike Lisa for her choice in trying to move on for both herself and her child. The scene between Dean and Ben was so moving and left me wanting to hug both a little and a big boy. I hope this managed to give some reassurance to this child that his has no need to blame himself for his `father` leaving. It seemed so tragic that there should be yet more guilt piled onto Dean here. I really think that one of the biggest fears he had in the relationship with Lisa was the influence he was having on her child and the worry that he would end up just like him. The tragedy is in some respects there could be no finer example and role model for a child than a man who demonstrates unfailing love and loyalty to his family and friends, being willing to literally go to hell for them, if only he could begin to see this and the many other positive charcteristics, but unfortunately this is never the case. I think we need to make room on the couch as some professional boosting of self esteem is more than called for there. The Bronte quote was very apt and beautiful but I did have `issues` with Dean and Heathcliff being mentioned in the same paragraph!!!
So to the `job` which did have a lovely nostalgic feel to it. For me not since Bloody Mary crept out of that mirror has an image creeped me out like the eyes on that model did ( as you know I do have `eye` issues!) But it was so nice to see the brothers working together as in the old days . We saw some of the old humour there, I loved the scenes of the possessed Impala and the apology in making her crash onto the window .
The end again was very moving, so touching and lovely to see the real connection and love back between them, as this time we know that finally they do indeed have each others backs , we certainly have waited long enough for it.
Thanks again for the article Love Ju
# Jasminka 2011-02-21 15:30
Thank you, dear Julie, for this. It’s so very sad, true, that they are in this no-win situation, and perhaps that’s at the core of the heartbreaking in this episode.
On the other hand, it might be an as-if-it-was-a- no-win situation, as the interpretations of the people involved make it so. Dean thinks it can’t go on, so does Lisa, but at the moment they are not willing to give it another try for understandable reasons.

It’s a shame that Dean is still not able to see his own worth and his inner beauty. It’s as if he is constantly running from that imagined Dorian Grey painting – as if he was bad. Bless you, laddie….

And, Ju, I hope you saw that I didn’t compare Dean to Heathcliff here, right ;-) ? I just loved the quote, I think it’s one of my all time favourites…
Love, Jas
# Julie 2011-02-21 17:34
Jas , of course I knew you were not comparing Dean to Heathcliff. Would you ever dare to do this? ;-)
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2011-02-21 11:43
Hi Jas,

As usual, your couch is a wonderful spot to sit and think. In fact, I sat and thought so much that my comment was getting so long, I decided to just go and write my own article. Thanks for the inspiration, and for giving me so much to think about. And sigh, it was a heartbreaker of an episode, with so many layers.
# Jasminka 2011-02-21 15:32
Hi Pragmatic Dreamer, this sounds interesting. I'm happy to have been of service in the inspiration department. Bring it on, dear! ;-)
thank you for letting me know! Best always, Jas
# amy 2011-02-21 14:49
Loved reading your insights.

I dont disagree Dean would make an awesome father/husband/ role model. But several things worry me. Dean's control alcoholism to control his pain. And now he's doing powerful possibly illegal drugs.

Was he doing them while with Ben and Lisa? What if Ben found them? What if he got curious and sampled them?

I think before Dean attempts to pursue a relationship with anyone he needs to figure out away to deal with his self worth issues. I hated the whole Lisa/Ben storyline but i sympathised with Lisa in the way Dean left her hanging. Sure, she was terrified of getting THAT phone call but i think her fears could have been alliviated if Dean hadn't shut her out.

Lisa I think expected to have a partner but instead Dean did what he always did with and does with Sam

He shoulders his burdons alone; he doesn't let any one help and on top of that he assumes everyone elses burdons. It took Sam a long time before Dean would open to HIM. And even then Dean only opened up when he was about to fall apart.

I dont know but I think Dean has to change how he thinks...that he doesn't have to do it alone or BE alone. Sam, Bobby, Lisa they can stand by him, say and do the right things until they are blue in the face. But Dean will never start healing until he decides to help himself.

I dont know how one goes about it but I look at Sam and his self loathing about being a freak. He decided to change what it means, to turn it from a negative to a positive. I think if he hadn't been manipulated By A Ruby and the Angels he could have found a way to make it work.

And maybe it did because Sam seems to have come out the tunnel a little wiser and a little stronger.

Deans an incredibly strong person, I know he could do it. He just has to TRY to help himself.

But I geuss Julia Roberts was right in Pretty Woman. Its easier to beleive the bad stuff.

Which is ironic because Dean never takes the easy route....except in this. Its easier to think bad about himself. Its easier to push people away.
# Jasminka 2011-02-21 15:41
Thank you, amy, for your elaborate comment. You know, actually I don’t believe that Dean uses illegal drugs.
I don’t think he would choose that road. I rather believe that the butcher-shop-ex -doc gave him some meds, probably in the neighbourhood of tranquilizers/a ntidepressants/ antipsychotics, there’s a plethora to choose from.

I think Dean has this huge problem letting anyone in (completely) because he has never learned to do it. In his mind, his survival and that of the family depended on him shouldering the bad parts alone and protecting them. It’s like an autopilot function.
He has no experience when it comes to letting someone in and going the whole way. Not even with his closest family. He hasn’t let Sam in in various ways (and neither has Sam), it’s a very dysfunctional Winchester tradition, sadly.

But, as in every person’s life, there still are possibilities to change… I’m hoping both with be wiser and even stronger and more courageous to try the road not taken…
Cheers, Jas
# Brynhild 2011-02-21 17:52
Practically you took my words from my mouth! This is exactly what I was thinking while watching the Dean/Lisa and Dean/ben scenes.

I don't think that Lisa took back her offer to Dean in "Two and a half men"; I don't think she's just scared for her son or incapable to handle such a life. She was alone with the kid for a long time, before Dean showed himself at her door, so I guess she's perfectly able to being a single mother, or a mother with a man who come back every now and again.

No, I do think that Lisa stepped back because it was Dean who closed himself to them. Too scared of himself to see that could be some way to keep things together. Too used to handle problems and issues alone (because too often John wasn't there to help him), trying to not be a burden for anyone, to actually go and ask for help.

And Lisa couldn't give her love and understanding to someone who pushes them away. You can't allow someone in your life, if he's not ready to allow you in his life.

Poor Dean! He never learned how to ask for help, he never knew he wasn't meant to be the only one to carry the cross. And poor Lisa, too. Clearly loving someone who can't allow himself to be loved...
# Bevie 2011-02-21 14:58
Oh Jas, that was beautiful and had all the reasons why I loved this episode. I've been waiting for almost 2 and a half years to see a new episode just like this one.

I've seen some did not care for it at all, and I can't understand their reasons. This had everything I wanted to see. The brothers back together doing their thing and relating so well to each other. Mannequins and clowns creep me out as well, Jas, and I remember when it was asked during hiatus what we'd like to see I answered "A Chucky doll". Careful what you wish for, eh?

I was hurting dreadfully for Dean, Lisa and Ben. I still want, when the hunting ends, for Dean and Lisa to make a go of it. Right now, it brings me to tears and it hurts that Dean has such a low opinion of his wonderful self. He just can't see it and I guess he wouldn't be Dean if he did.

Loved to see Sam doing the FBI stuff and solving it all by himself. He really is back and better than ever it seems. (although we do know that wall will be causing angsty moments ahead)

Couldn't feel sorry for the victims this time and sympathised with the poor girl ghost entirely.

Johnny and his doll? I've seen a documentary about that kind of thing, so it wasn't unbelievable to me. He probably went along with the nasty joke to make himself feel better about his own strange obsessions.

Like dmakdavis, I would love an episode with the brothers in a happy spot, like back in 'Hell House' in season 1. Right now I'm just so grateful they are really together again.

Love your comments Jas, as I'm usually right there agreeing with all you say. Love your couch, and really wish you could get Dean and Sam on it and give them a little insight into their emotional problems. I think you'd like that too, no? ;-)
# Jasminka 2011-02-21 15:45
I’m happy that you liked this, Bevie, thank you, dear!

So it was YOU who wished for a doll? Okay… crucifixions to the left, one cross each… ;-)

Oh, and you are so right – I would love to get them on my couch and open their eyes to some of their issues. It wouldn’t take much to perhaps change a few of them and bring them at least a bit of relaxation. Well, I’d say, they have my number. But It’s up to them to want to change. And so far, they both seem uncomfortably comfortable with how they are, meaning: they probably don't suffer enough within their own skins to truly and significantly want to change, poor lads. Sniff. Nothing I can do…

Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2011-02-21 17:46
I love that Dean gives out these throwaway comments like ‘...bursts of violence and alcoholism’ that on the surface seem quite funny but when you think about them, they reveal so much. I’d say if you started diving in the depths of Dean’s still waters you’d end up in Australia! I know Dean is pushing the whole avoidance technique on Sam but I doubt it will work though. Dean prefers to deal with things as they happen whereas Sam will look to deal with them before they happen.

I think Sam’s refusal to take the pills Dean offered is notable. Did he say no because he’s on a health-kick or because he thinks as he’s already an addict, no sense in risking another vice? (Or did he say no because taking pills with no label on the bottle is never a good idea??)

Dean and Lisa I loved, it was complete avoidance in play. (I actually really like Lisa, I think she's great for Dean and I wouldn't be disappointed if they came back) It’s almost as if he didn’t want to be the one doing the breaking for fear of hurting Lisa. At least this way (by letting her ‘officially†™ end it) he’s giving her some semblance of control and dignity.

Dean actually reminds me of me in this regard. As a youngie, I hated breaking up with people so very often I just wouldn’t. I’d start act differently and eventually they’d end up dumping me. Ok, it wasn’t very noble but this way I could hold the high moral ground. (I'm obviously so fantastic that any guy would be devastated if I dumped him!....)

Oh, out of the mouths of babes (or teenagers in this case). I’m delighted that Ben (of all people) revealed the light to Dean. Ben has copped a lot of flak over the past few months so he was due this moment. Kids are so wonderfully astute. We think they don’t have it in them to notice things but they do, and very often say what we, as adults, don’t have the neck to say.

Also, you could nearly imagine Sam saying the same sort of thing when he was 12 as Ben did here.

I was as confused as you were about the ‘Snookie’ thing. After the rather disturbing ‘plushies’ reveal last week (what the hell!) I decided to not even google it for fear of what I’d find out...

And you’re dead right, a strange peace had settled over the boys at the end of the episode. There’s such a comfort in familiarity but this familiarity came as a new beginning. The boys starting all over again, reiterating things they said earlier in the season but this time those words had depth and meaning.

And once again, we had the subtle reversal here. Earlier in the show, Dean constantly validated hunting to Sam whereas now it’s Sam’s turn to support Dean when he is wavering in his hunting faith. It’s the small bits like this that I love; when one if falling the other will carry him and vice versa..

Unfortunately, based on the first 40 second of this episode, I’ve completely revised my original theory that as Sam’s wall slowly crumbles, Dean will be there to strengthen him and they’ll all end up happy. (Damn you, episode!) I don’t think that’s going to be the case anymore. Given the effect that 2-3 minutes of minor leakage had on Sam, I now feel there’s just too much damage and when the wall goes, they won’t be able to shore it up. All that Castiel predicted in Caged Heat will happen.

Maybe (hopefully) I’m having a bad couple of days but now there’s a part of me (the part I want to kick the crap out of and tell to shut the hell up) that thinks the actual (series) end will come with Dean having to kill Sam, a sort of mercy killing so to speak. I dunno, maybe he’ll ask Castiel to take him up or something and then Dean will choose to join him soon after. Could you please tell me that I’m thinking absolute crap here and they’ll end up living on a farm with puppies and baby donkeys and chocolate cake for all eternity.

Please (and thanks)....
# Yvonne 2011-02-21 20:31
You are thinking absolute crap.

They'll end up living on a farm with puppies and baby donkeys and chocolate cake (and pie!) for eternity.

But thanks SO MUCH for instilling the above nightmare in my noggin. Won't have it I tell you! I won't! The kill curse is broken! The prophesy made crap! New storyline, remember? *whimper* Don't like this thought/theory of yours at all. Hurts too much.

Tim, you are an evil genius to rival Kripke and company.
# Jasminka 2011-02-22 00:32
Yvonne, dear, you can have some chocolate cake, too, I'm sure! :lol:
# Junkerin 2011-02-22 07:44
I would like some cake too, is there some tea left?
I´ve been thinking about it and even I don´t see the puppies and farm, there is still this blood line issue. I mean because of Team Free Will there was no apocalypse but there will be (has to be) one in the future. So Sam and/or Dean have to have descendants.
This is for me althougt the final proof (if it was needed) that Dean isn´t the biological father of Ben. If Ben would have be Deans son, heaven could have chosen him as plan B or C.
# Jasminka 2011-02-22 07:58
Hey, I live on tea :lol: , there is always a wild array of teas in the house.
Cheers, Jas
# Brynhild 2011-02-22 08:48
Well, maybe Ben is still too young. Maybe he could be a choice in the future, if he really was Dean's son... and this could be a good reason for him to keep fighting... :-*
Tim the Enchanter
# Tim the Enchanter 2011-02-22 11:17
You are thinking absolute crap.

They'll end up living on a farm with puppies and baby donkeys and chocolate cake (and pie!) for eternity.

But thanks SO MUCH for instilling the above nightmare in my noggin. Won't have it I tell you! I won't! The kill curse is broken! The prophesy made crap! New storyline, remember? *whimper* Don't like this thought/theory of yours at all. Hurts too much.

Tim, you are an evil genius to rival Kripke and company.
Yvonne, could be worse. Could be John....
# Jasminka 2011-02-22 00:32
I have always wanted to get to Australia at least once in my life, dear Enchanting Tim. Good idea to use Dean as a ‘transporterâ €™ :-x , ha. Very Monty Python.

But I also wouldn’t take pills I don’t know the name or function of. Working in this field, you could say I’m familiar with any kind of abuse or negative effect. What works for one person, might be horror for the other. Good instincts my boy had there… He probably can’t lay a finger on it, but he has every reason to be careful.

Awwh, Tim, what you describe about your mechanisms as a ‘youngie’ is so common, really. Many people do that, behave unbearably or stage situations where they would get dumped to protect their self-esteem. Most people do it unconsciously. If you were/are aware of that, I’d say you’ve grown considerably into a person who knows even some uncomfortable sides to you, and that is very commendable. Oops, sorry, you didn’t ask for a session… professional hazard, :-* you won’t take it amiss, will you?

You know, I’ve had that thought often before – that the end will mean Dean killing Sam, one brother slaying the other, this time, however, as an act of mercy. Like when you put an animal in excruciating pain down.

I do hope you and I are wrong here, though! I don’t think I would even like to ponder what my emotional reaction to that would be. I can be such a wuss sometimes. Reserve some of that chocolate cake for me, please. I don’t eat it, but should that happen, all diet will go out of the window and I will need lots of comfort food! Can I have some cream with it?

Go raibh maith agat, Tim, Slán. Jas
# Karen 2011-02-22 11:07
Hi Jasminka
Once again a heartfelt and insightful article.
I really felt so bad for Dean in this one.
That opening scene and the scenes between Dean, Lisa and Ben, was so heart wrenching.
I believe Dean wants to have a life with Lisa and Ben, but is torn between them and his hunting life with Sam. I also think he feels he would be putting them at risk and that somehow he doesn’t deserve them. I really do hope someday things could work out between them, maybe when the series does come to an end. And maybe Sam will hook up with Sarah, I liked those two together.
Hey if you’re going to dream you might as well dream big.

As for the episode itself I didn’t mind it, I liked the ghost and kidney angle.
The mannequins were pretty creepy, especially Johnny’s “girlfriend†. I have to say that was a little disturbing.
However I also feel there was too much going on in this one.
Maybe they should of saved the MOTW for another episode and just focused on the relationship side of things.
Instead of working on a case, they could have had the brothers go to Bobby’s. This would have been a great opportunity for Sam and Bobby to reconnect while Dean was at Lisa’s.
Kind of a ‘Mending Old Fences’ episode.
I think there could have been some touching and funny moments between Sam and Bobby.
Anyways thank you for some much needed couch time. Cheers!
# Jasminka 2011-02-22 14:30
Oh, Karen, thank you so much. True, there was something utterly heartbreaking in this episode, and as much as I am with you on hoping that Dean (and Sam) might get a real shot at happiness, I can’t believe their lives (as invented by the writers) will give that to them.

Dean, that sweet lad, doesn’t have any reason to believe that he isn’t good enough or undeserving of love or a family like this, but that’s just what he often feels, I reckon, and it’s so real for him that this notion, that everlasting pain, jeopardizes every chance he might have at finding peace and happiness.
He has done so much for people he loves, sacrificed everything a person can possibly give and still there is no peace for him.

That’s one part in this paranormal show that is so very much linked to reality, because life often works that way. The kindest people often don’t have a chance, much like Rose didn’t get one.
The people with the biggest heart get hurt, because they also are the more sensitive ones. I just hope that Dean (or Sam for that matter) will grow stronger than they are already to deal with any kind of pain that might come from that dark, dark corner.

I’m so honoured that you love to stop by to take a seat on my couch, and there is always a standing reservation for you, dear. Love, Jas
# BagginsDVM 2011-02-22 11:26
I apologize for missing your couch last week, Jas, but I made it this week! I needed that box of tissues several times during this episode.
You made me feel a little better about whatever pills those were that Dean had. Initially my mind went directly to something illegal & addictive, perhaps because a loved one walked away from me several years ago in part because he loved his drugs more than me. No matter how flawed, Dean Winchester is still my hero, & I didn't want to think of him as a drug addict. The "bouts of violence & alcoholism" are concerning enough, but at least Dean consciously acknowledges them as coping mechanisms.
This episode was a no-win for anyone. Dean's interactions with Lisa & Ben broke my heart. How I wish Dean could really accept that he is a good man & worthy of the love offered to him! I understand Lisa's decision, but hope that someday when the series does end that she & Ben are there for Dean. The talk between Dean & Ben was long-overdue & I was glad to see Ben express his feelings for Dean, even if it probably laid more guilt on Dean for leaving again.
I enjoyed seeing Sam insist on Dean going to Lisa & Ben. That's our Sammy! His sincere thank-you & "I got your back", with that glimmer of a smile on Dean's face indicating that he truly believed his brother this time, made me get my tissues again.
On a fun note, Dean's run from the possessed Impala reminded me of Jack Sparrow too. He just needed to flail his arms a little more!
# Jasminka 2011-02-22 14:37
Hi Dawn, never apologize for not being able to make it, dear! We have lives outside of this fandom or the show, and that is needed and good.

And don’t worry, I always have tissues around, it comes with the territory. I call it my ‘wail box’.

I am sorry to hear about your personal experience, I can imagine how that must have hurt, even more because you probably were not able to change that person’s mind, as drugs can be stronger than a human mind, unfortunately. (((sending hugs)))

I am a bit torn with episodes like this. On the one hand I adore this kind of drama, and then I want to run away from the heartbreaking sensations, aren’t we a fine team of masochists? And don’t we love it?
You know, it can’t be illegal to wish for Dean to flail his arms just a tad more (and could someone at whatever convention please ask Jensen whether he ever had Jack Sparrow in mind when doing scenes like that?)

Thank you, dear. Blessed be, Jas
# LAF 2011-02-22 13:16
I am curious what you think of the haunting quote of Lisa's in "You Can't Handle the Truth" when she told Dean that he would "never be happy with Sam in his life" or such words.

I thought about it in this episide, and I think I agree with her, unless you redefine "happy" so far that it no longer resembles itself. I guess "happy" is not his goal, then.
# Jasminka 2011-02-22 14:43
Hello LAF, I reckon, Lisa didn’t shoot at being happy, either, with her words there.

I’d say, as long as Sam is in Dean’s life, he will never be able to think of himself. He will always think of his brother who has been the one big centre in his life and that he has to be there for him, to protect him and guide him, no matter how old sweet Sasquatch is.

I suppose as long as Sam is in his life, Dean can’t even think of creating a life of his own. It might work like a classic Pavlovian conditioning – when Sam is around, sad, in danger or… you name it, the protect-and-car e-for-my-brothe r program jumps into action and Dean hasn’t found a way to change that, probably because he never really deemed it necessary.

I agree with you that Dean’s goal is not ‘happy’. I guess it’s relief – to have done the right thing.

I hope I have answered your question at least a bit to your satisfaction. It’s late here already and I’ve had a rough day that left me quite tired, and my brain isn’t working at normal speed. Thank you for commenting and your interest here! Cheers, Jas
# FMJemena 2011-02-23 10:00
Yes! Thank you, Jas. (A Smiley kiss.)

Still, the epi left me with an overwhelming need to kick halfway to the other side of the Universe the SPN God's ass. I want happiness for the boys--I won't accept anything else.
# Jasminka 2011-02-23 10:46
Thank you, FMJemena! Perhaps we should persuade Alice to add a kissing smiley (though I don't know what those look like) to the collection of possible smilies...

Joining you in the happiness-for-t he-winchesters campaign,

smiling, Jas
# Chandra 2011-02-23 16:01
I didn't read all the comments, because there's just way too many. But it seems like I'm the only one who thinks this. When Dean was talking to Ben, saying how he didn't want him to be like him and having other paths, I didn't see it as low self-esteem. I've said similar things to my daughter. It's kinda funny too, that when I've expressed that to others, they also accuse me of low self-esteem. It's not that, though. It's that I want my daughter to be better than me. To have more chances, more choices, and hopefully (I hope, I hope) to make better choices than I did. To me, that's pretty much what Dean was saying to Ben, with the difference that he had only one road to follow, mostly due to his upbringing. His life is a hard and brutal life and he wants better for Ben. On top of that, imagine if you had a child (or imagine your child, for those of you that already do) and you live in a world like Supernatural. Is the life of a hunter what you would want for your child? Could any parent want that for their child?
I think part of being a parent is wanting the very best for your child. And I think that when you become a parent, even a surrogate one, you see the mistakes of your past much more clearly. We all make mistakes of course, and you can't keep your children from making them no matter how hard you try. But I think that when you can see your past mistakes for what they really were, it also lets you see paths that you hope your child will never tread. Because you love them. Because you want better for them.
And I think that's how Dean feels in regards to Ben. How many hunters has he seen destroyed because of the life? Physically, emotionally, fatally? He wants better for this kid.
...that got kind of long and I'm not even sure I did a very good job of explaining it.
# Jasminka 2011-02-23 17:57
Hi Chandra, thank you for elaborating on your thoughts. You did explain your position well, don’t worry.

You have a point, and I don’t think that what I wrote about Dean’s low self-esteem and your thoughts are necessarily exclusive.

I agree wholeheartedly that Dean wouldn’t want to wish such a life on Ben, simply because he knows from his own, painful experience how unbearably high the price is he would have to pay – since Dean has been paying it from his childhood days on.

I think, though, and that’s the point where I addressed Dean’s self-esteem issues, that with his ‘I am not someone you wanna aim to be’ he wasn’t aiming solely at the hunting business, but at the picture he has of himself – that he is a killer, not a father, and I found it sad that Dean still isn’t able to see the beautiful sides of his nature. He has no trouble pointing at the darkness in his life and his (perceived) self, but I guess when asked about his ‘good’ facets, he’d have trouble naming them.

His whole demeanor speaks of his love for that child. And that’s heartbreaking, really. Thank you so much for raising your voice. Best, Jas
# Chandra 2011-02-24 09:40
Hi Jasminka,

I absolutely agree that the two points aren't exclusive. And I do think that he has low self-esteem, at least to a point. He does see good sides of himself, or some of them anyways, but they make him uncomfortable. Which is possibly why, the only times he says something good about himself, it's as a joke.

Maybe, when he was talking to Ben, it was both of those things. Him not liking himself that much, and at that moment he probably didn't. I could see him taking all or most of the blame for how things fell apart. But also the strong driving force of his love for Ben and his desire for Ben to live a better life.

Thanks for the reply, it made me think deeper into the issue than I had before, and consider a different point. I'm glad you understood the point I was trying to make. Explaining things was never my strong suit, but maybe I'm getting better. :)

TTFN, Chandra
# Jas 2011-02-24 10:23
Thanks, Chandra, and I do agree that Dean sees good sides of his nature, too. I wish he would see more of those. If he was to make a list of traits that are good and those that he deems bad, I bet the 'bad' list would be longer... :-?

And I think, you're so right there, that he wants Ben to live a better life, much as he had hoped for Sam to have a better life (remember when he said to him how proud he was of Sam for pursuing another path? I don't remember the episode, but it was Season1). He's so good at hoping the best for others. I do hope he'll start thinking about himself a tad more. He is such a wonderful man. It's painful that he isn't able to see what we, the audience, noticed long ago.

Cheers, Jas
# Chandra 2011-02-24 11:33
Yes, I agree that the bad list would be longer. Which is sad to see in anybody, but especially so in a character who has so much goodness and so much to admire. I think though, the fact that he is so selfless, wanting the best for others and not for himself, is a huge part of what makes his character so beautiful.

It's a fine line to walk, isn't it? A delicate balance? Seeing too much good in yourself and not enough of the bad side is almost, if not as bad, as seeing too much of the bad and not enough of the good. I think he would lose a lot of what makes his character so good if he started to think too much of himself and want too much for himself.

A good example might be when Sam accuses him of being selfish for selling his soul to bring Sam back. I don't remember Dean's exact response, but it was something along the lines of, yes it was but he's given enough to this family and he's due. This point is very easy to understand and sympathize with almost entirely because it is very true and because of his selfless nature. Were this "I'm due" to become recurring all sympathy and understanding would be lost. On the flip side of that, if it never happens, things become insanely depressing and heartbreaking, backbreaking and hopeless.

In my eyes, him walking away from Lisa and Ben was more touching than sad because it seemed to me like he was doing it more for their good (or at least he believes it's for their good) than it is because he doesn't deserve it. He admits to himself that he wants it, but can't have it. It's sad but also beautiful, because the reason he walks away is for others and not for himself.

Having said all that, I really do hope that when they eventually end this show, it better be with a happy ending. I can handle a whole lot of sadness and heartbreak as long as there is eventually a happy ending.

Sorry that got so long, but thank you for the thought provoking responses. I enjoy seeing another point of view, especially when it's well written and well thought out and makes me think and see more.
Ta, Chan
# Jasminka 2011-02-24 18:51
To my experience, dear Chan, those people one would call selfless and caring often get wounded, and have trouble carrying the weight they put on their shoulders by, simply, caring.

Dean is one of those people. You are right that it is a fine line to walk, a line of acceptance of the good parts and those we’d prefer to hide or neglect.

If it gets out of balance, we venture into clinical territory. If a person believes he has to be good, because only then he will be what he wants himself to be (or what he presumes others want him to be), if he sacrifices so much because of that inner drive that it has to be that way, there is a selfish element there, too, of course. Because that person wouldn’t feel right not acting that way or would have to suffer from a very bad conscience. So, even people who act selflessly do it also because of a hint of selfishness.

I’ve met people in my line of work whose
narcissism was fired by acting ‘selflessly†™. They needed to do that to feel good about themselves, and whole. ‘I’m as selfless as they come’, something in that neighbourhood. That’s the other side of the narcissism coin – to be able to suffer the most, to act selflessly, to be able to sacrifice the most, etc.

Before you get me wrong, I’m not saying that Dean’s a narcissist. He’s not, of course not. But he owns a kind of narcissism every one of us has in their system, the part that keeps us going, makes us want to achieve something and feel good about ourselves. It’s not pathological, but it’s also there. If Dean didn’t act the way he does, he wouldn’t feel right, would he?

I think somewhere along the way, Dean found a central trait for him: that he has to sacrifice. Basically everything for those he loves and cares for. It’s become a driving force for him. So, you are quite right to say, that he walks away for Lisa and Ben, but there is also another side to it: he walks away because he can’t help himself, because if he didn’t do it, he’d come into conflict with everything he believes about himself.

And thereby he’s also protecting what he believes to be the right thing to do, and – is protecting himself with it. Perhaps, if he couldn’t act this way, he’d slide straight into a deep depression because he wouldn’t be able to keep his inner compass of his self-image.
The poor guy is already depressed, and thankfully in a way that allows him to function, but he could also easily trip and fall into that abyss where he wouldn’t come out without help. (I already reserved a seat on my couch, just in case ;-) )

Thanks, Chandra, for this interesting discussion. Take care, Jas
Chandra Jebodh
# Chandra Jebodh 2011-02-24 23:14
I had never actually thought of it that way, the narcissism relation to selflessness. It does make a lot of sense though. And I absolutely didn't think you were referring to Dean as a narcissist. :)

Your insight is very intriguing and interesting to read. Thanks for sharing. :D