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curled around these images
just enough to make us dangerous
Meta/Picspam: Hit Me With Your Best Shot 
26th-Apr-2012 07:46 pm
Thinky thougts

I recently made a vid of the Winchesters dueling and some of the responding comments got me thinking about all those moments the boys come to blows.

It's not often the Winchesters physically fight. So far, in 145 episodes, we've seen:

  • 5 times they've physically fought each other (Pilot, Skin*, Sex and Violence*, When the Levee Breaks, Slash Fiction*)

  • 7 times Dean has punched Sam without Sam retaliating (Asylum, Bloodlust, Metamorphosis, Born Under a Bad Sign, You Can't Handle the Truth, Appointment in Samara, The Girl Next Door)

  • - 3 times he knocked Sam out (Asylum, You Can't Handle the Truth, Appointment in Samara)

  • 2 times Sam has punched Dean without Dean retaliating (Born Under a Bad Sign*, Swan Song*,)

    - 1 time he knocked Dean out (Born Under a Bad Sign*)

  • 1 wrestling match (Tall Tales)

  • 1 time Dean wrestled Sam to the ground (What Is and What Should Never Be*)

  • And in slightly different categories:

  • 2 times Sam has shot Dean (Asylum*, Born Under a Bad Sign*)

  • 1 time Sam has "killed" Dean (The End*)

  • * episodes where one or both brothers were something "other".

    Often these fights happen when they are either cursed or not entirely themselves. But not always. I want to take a closer look at these fights to examine when and why they occur. I also want to see who wins most often and what that reveals about our boys.

Let's start at the very beginning...

1. Pilot (1.01)

I love looking back at the pilot episode. So many themes are set up in such a short time: Dean saving Sam, Sam leaving Dean (for Stanford - seen twice in this episode) and the boys fighting.

It's interesting that the very first time we see the boys together as adults they are attacking each other. It isn't as intense or as serious as the ones to come but I think it sets up the dynamic between the brothers beautifully. It's such a brotherly thing to do but it also reveals that these two know how to fight and that there's tension between them.

Dean knows who he is up against here so it gives him the upper hand. Sam is, quite literally, in the dark about who he is fighting and therefore is taking it a lot more seriously. Dean "wins" (pins Sam down) before he gleefully reveals himself. We get the sense that Dean might be stronger or more skilled until Sam turns the tables and in one swift move pins Dean down. Sam hadn't lost his touch as Dean thought he might have.

Throughout the series the physical confrontations often reveal an underlying mental struggle. Sometimes they are used to gain control of a situation, sometimes to express emotion.

This clash foreshadows the future push-pull between the brothers - sometimes light-hearted, sometimes deadly serious.

It's also worth noting that it is in this episode that we first witness Dean use physical aggression when he's angry. It's not a punch but he does shove Sam against the bridge railing when Sam hits a nerve by mentioning their mother. It's an early indicator of how Dean handles both Sam and his own emotions when things get too intense. Pushing, punching and fighting are all "acceptably masculine" ways of dealing and this becomes a recurring character trait for Dean.

Later, Sam mirrors this action in Salvation when he slams Dean into a wall. We only get these two examples of wall slamming (unfortunately) but in both cases the boys are expressing emotions that don't exactly require a punch but rather push to say "you've gone too far".

2. Skin (1.06)

This is probably my favourite of all the physical encounters between the boys. Mostly because it's not actually a fight between Sam and Dean, but rather Sam and the MotW (a shapeshifter). It's also much deadlier than the previous one and allows us to see our favourite brothers in full-on combat mode.

Shapeshifter!Dean has "downloaded" Dean's memories so we can assume that much of what we see here is actually how Dean would fight. Both boys seem to use a mix of "styles" - Sam putting his fists up as though boxing, using some karate-style kicks and taking advantage of any "available" weapons to hand (pool cue). They know each other's moves and it's from this scene we can assume the boys grew up sparring. Not!Dean says "Even when we were kids, I always kicked your ass". I know this is a taunt but it's not a far stretch to assume that Dean would probably have won most sparring matches between them. Dean's more experienced and until Sam's growth spurt (which must have come after he was 14) Dean would have been a lot bigger. Though we can see here that Sam has a few tricks of his own.

It's interesting that Sam had to remind himself that this isn't really Dean he was fighting. You're not him. It's as though thinking that it could be Dean would mean he might not give it all he's got. And this is a fight to the death. It's also important for Sam to show the shapeshifter that he is not as vulnerable as his other victims were. Sam knows this isn't Dean, whereas the other victims were convinced their loved ones had turned on them. (It's curious that this becomes quite a strong issue later on between the brothers - the threat of them turning on each other.)

Not!Dean wins this fight rather convincingly. Sam puts up a good fight but he is finally pinned to the floor and strangled before real!Dean comes to the rescue. I'm pretty sure shapeshifters are stronger than humans, which would count for the win. And Sam was on the back foot right from the outset - having been knocked out by the shapehshifter before the battle even began.

There's a lot revealed about the brothers in this episode. Mostly Dean's jealousy of Sam having a chance at the "apple-pie" life. Sure, it's coming out of the mouth of a monster but I believe much of it is Dean's thoughts. This type of reveal is the start of a pattern of the boys expressing their inner thoughts to each other whilst not themselves.

3. Asylum (1.10)

I know this isn't a physical fight as such but I want to include it because it is rather revealing and a lovely counterpoint to the Skin episode. This time Sam has a chance to air his grievances.

This isn't exactly not!Sam because it is him - though he is altered by Dr Ellicott's mind control. As with shapeshifter!Dean, Sam is able to voice his inner thoughts and feelings. He reveals that he's sick of following his brother's orders and is tired of Dean being a "good little soldier" - following their dad's orders without question.

Sam fights by shooting his brother. It's drastic and opens up a rather large can of worms in regards to the "issues" they have with each other. I find it interesting that these two episodes reveal the brothers' capabilities to actually hurt each other when let loose.

Dean ends up taking control of the situation by tricking Sam. Whereas Sam has "lost his mind," Dean has used his. Dean lands two solid blows to Sam's face to knock him out. It's the first time we actually see Dean forcefully hit Sam in the series. There's quite a bit of emotion tied up in that punch. Dean's just heard what Sam really thinks of him and even though Dean knows Sam isn't quite himself those words stung. The punches were also ones of necessity. Dean needed to knock Sam out to be able to kill the monster. I love his little apology to Sam after he knocks him out.

4. Bloodlust (2.03)

This punch is so awesome. Before you all yell at me, it's not "awesome" because Dean hits Sam, it's awesome because this is the first time we see Dean unleash his anger on Sam (unlike the punches in the previous episode which were more necessity than pure anger). It's awesome because it's the continuation of a pattern started in the Pilot - using force when pushed too far. As much as Dean is protective of his little brother he is not averse to putting a fist in his face when he's pissed with him. It's happened five times to date (not counting the two "necessity" punches). It's also interesting because Sam has never thrown a single pissed punch at Dean. This is part of their brother dynamic. Sam tends to walk or run away when pissed. Dean throws punches.

It's so very Dean - it's physical, immediate and explosive. It's also a big brother thing. Just something about big brothers whaling on little brothers. Each time Sam receives a pissed-off punch from Dean he literally takes it on the chin. He doesn't retaliate. Sam verbally pushes Dean, sure. Here, he almost wills Dean to lash out at him. Get rid of some of that pent up hurt and anger over John's death. I get the feeling Sam knows this is how Dean deals and this probably isn't the first punch he's received.

5. Born Under a Bad Sign (2.14)

This is most definitely not Sam beating Dean. It's demon!Meg. This is pretty damn brutal. It's interesting that Dean does little to fight back here. I know he's in a lot of pain and that would make it difficult but I feel like he's holding back because he still sees his little brother. Fighting back would also be exactly what Meg wanted. She has been pressuring Dean to hurt or kill Sam the whole time. To do what John said must be done. But Dean refuses. It's not until she's gone that Dean can "safely" land a punch on Sam (something he probably wanted to do the entire time). And we musn't forget that Meg!Sam landed a solid punch on Dean earlier in the episode to knock him out.

I remember there being a bit of an uproar about Dean treating Sam like this but, man, Dean really copped it in this episode. From worrying about Sam when he was missing, to believing Sam killed a hunter, to being knocked unconscious, to being shot and just damn worried about Sam. I think it's totally in character to take some of that frustration, anger and pain out on Sam. From that one punch Dean's told Sam he's had one hell of a day. (A bit of added trivia: apparently the punch wasn't written into the script. The Js wanted to mess around with a punch and they liked that take the most so it stayed).

6. Tall Tales (2.15)

This is a rather wonderful brotherly tussle. They are pretty frustrated with each other by this point but they don't actually throw any punches. It seems perfectly right that they would wrestle like this and it makes me think that they probably did a lot of this kind of wrestling growing up. As all brothers do, I suspect. You have to think that Sam would win this just on size alone, but Dean has a few sneak moves up his sleeve so I think they are evenly matched. Also - wrestling! \o/

7. What Is and What Should Never Be (2.20)

This encounter is very short but worth mentioning as it wonderfully mirrors the Pilot tussle between the boys. It's another instance where one brother is something "other" (alternative universe!Sam) and serves to show us that without a hunting upbringing the boys would not be able to fight like they do now. I love Dean's line "That was so easy, I'm embarassed for you."

8. Metamorphosis (4.04)

Oh boy. The king of all pissed Dean punches. If I had to pick my favourite pissed Dean punch (two punches in this scene) this would be it. There is so much anger, hurt and frustration contained in these two punches. Again, (as with Bloodlust), it's Dean's way of dealing with Sam when he thinks he's done the wrong thing. Sam, who has done everything Dean told him not to do. Sam, whom he loves more than anything in the world, and is putting himself in danger by allowing his powers to manifest themselves. Once again, Sam doesn't retaliate because he knows where Dean is coming from. Sam verbally defends himself but he accepts the beat down. He knows he's crossed the line.

It's interesting to note the different ways fights in the Winchester world work. Sometimes they help by relieving tension (like in Bloodlust and Tall Tales) or by opening up the doors for discussion, like in this episode. Sam knows Dean is pissed so in giving Dean this outlet he's also clearing the way for a proper discussion. Though sometimes the fights make things worse...like the next one.

9. Sex and Violence (4.14)

This battle is the result of a lot of underlying distrust. Sure, the boys are cursed (or rather poisoned) but as with Skin and Asylum some truths come out. This is a painful fight to watch because even though they are acting under the spell of the succubus they are voicing some real grievances. It seems they have to be something "other" in order to say what's really on their minds. It's a shame they don't (or can't) hear each other. Neither of them is in a caring or sharing mood at this time. So what they are saying is more for us. It's a device the show uses to good effect, I think.

I like that we get the mix of verbal, mental and physical fighting all at once. Pretty damn intense.

This is a no-holds-barred fight. They are out to kill each other and Dean wins this one fair and square. They are as evenly matched as they ever get in the show and it's likely that Dean would have put that axe through Sam if Bobby hadn't come to the rescue.

10. When the Levee Breaks (4.21)

*sob* If I had to pick a fight that was the most painful to watch this would be it. This one is a heartbreaker because it's the result of a whole season's worth of built-up tension, distrust, anger and love.

This is the climax of all the fights so far in the series. It's an example of how far both of them can go when fuelled by this level of anger and frustration. Neither of them can communicate their point verbally (though both try) so it results in them arguing with their fists.

Dean can see how far Sam has fallen and Sam just can't get through to Dean how important what he's doing is. Sam is fighting to save the world whereas Dean is fighting to save Sam. They only slog it out like this because of the all-encompassing love they have for each other. It's a passionate fight and one that Sam desperately needs to win. And he does.

I don't believe they are on an even playing field here. Sam is hopped up on demon blood and fuelled by an absolute rage. Dean is hurt, betrayed and on the back foot. This is also the first time Sam throws the first punch. He leads the charge and all but kills Dean in the process. He pulls back before choking the life out of Dean (thank God!) but only to turn and leave (like he often does). Dean's comeback is a rather feeble, but heartbreaking repeat of his father's words "You walk out that door, don't you ever come back." But he's lost the fight and it looks like he's lost Sam also.

It's probably worth mentioning Lucifer!Sam killing Dean in The End (5.04) here. It's the next time we see violence between the brothers and even though it didn't technically happen we did witness it. We saw the final result of Sam succumbing to Lucifer - "his" foot snapping Dean's neck. It's gut wrenching. It's the ultimate use of one brother being used to hurt the other. It's the price they would have paid if they decided to part ways and not support each other. (Luckily we didn't get THAT outcome!)

11. Swan Song (5.22)

The last time Sam was possessed (by Meg, BUaBS) "he" pummeled Dean fiercely. This beating makes that one look like a cake walk. This time Lucifer has control over Sam's body and the beating is brutal. Lucifer is not only beating Dean with his actions but also Sam.

It's extraordinarily powerful when "monsters" use one brother to hurt the other. The boys often take a beating but when the person doing it is wearing the face of your brother it adds an extra level of hurt and heartbreak. As with the last beating Dean took from possessed!Sam, he doesn't attempt to fight back. Instead he uses words, reassurances. He knows Sam is in there and instead of trying to fight back he lets Lucifer do his worst hoping Sam can hear his support and love. It works and Sam is able to beat back Lucifer to save the world. It's interesting because Sam doesn't always hear words of support and love from Dean (he's a man of action after all) so by using words now it's enough, I believe, to reach Sam in a way that retaliating physically won't. Also, Dean knows Sam would be trying to fight Lucifer - that was the plan after all. It's an interesting contrast to when Sam was possessed by Meg. They have both learned so much since then.

12. You Can’t Handle the Truth. (6.06)

This is another pissed punch from Dean. Or rather a lot of extremely pissed punches. Dean ploughs into Sam, having found out that he's been lying to him ever since he got back from Hell.

There was some fan uproar with this beat down but it was very in character for Dean, I felt. Consider all the times Dean punches Sam - it's when he's been conflicted and angry (Bloodlust), hurt (BUaBS) or betrayed and angry (Metamorphosis). Here it's a culmination of ALL of these things. No wonder he loses it.

At this point we (and Dean) didn't know what was wrong with Sam or even if it WAS Sam. My feeling is that Dean wasn't actually seeing his brother when laying in to him here. He was seeing a monster and that's what makes this beat down one of the hardest to watch. I don't feel that Sam "deserved" this treatment (he didn't ask to be soulless), but I can definitely see where Dean came from when unleashing this fury on Sam's face.

It could also be that this is Dean's only course of action. He knows Sam is lacking emotion and whereas in the past a single punch would have telegraphed to Sam how Dean was feeling, a single punch at this point won't cut it. Dean knows he has to take control and this is the only way he knows how. It's particularly brutal and quite shocking as we've never really seen this level of fury come out of Dean before.

13. Appointment in Samarra (6.11)

This is another punch of necessity, though it does carry emotion. Much like Dean's punch in Asylum he had to take control of the situation quickly and a swift hard punch does the trick. Unlike his volley of punches in You Can't Handle the Truth, this is much more controlled and tactical and, unlike Asylum there's no apology. He's still carrying a lot of emotion - anger, desperation, worry and despair - and even though it's more controlled we can see all this behind it. "Hi Sam. I'm back." Punch!

14. Girl Next Door (7.03)

Another pissed off punch from Dean and I have to say I really felt this one. It came out of the blue and at a time when Sam had already had a lot of knocks to the head. But in true Dean form he was acting with emotion. Sam had left without word of where he was going. He says: "New rule, you steal my baby you get punched". But of course it's more than just Sam taking his car. He was scared and worried for Sam and this is Dean's way of showing Sam just how much he cares. As in the past the aggressive explosion of violence opens the door for discussion. As in the past, Sam doesn't retaliate. He knows Dean has to let off some steam and he is now, hopefully, open to hearing his point of view.

I don't think Dean can be blamed for using his fist in showing this level of concern. It seems counterproductive but considering his upbringing and job it's hardly surprising. And besides, Sam is aware of it and probably feels he deserves (maybe even needs) Dean bringing him into line like this. Though it's interesting that after this incident we haven't seen this dynamic between the brothers again. Maybe they are moving on from this kind of solution.

15. Slash Fiction (7.06)

This is a very interesting fight. Dean has to fight and kill both LeviaSam and LeviaDean. As in previous fights with their "other" (Skin, BUaBS) or "altered" (Asylum, Sex & Violence) selves some truths are revealed.

I am going to directly quote maenad here as I love this line of thinking:

There’s a bit of a blurry line there with Slash Fiction. They used the ‘other Dean’ to tell Sam the truth about Amy and about Dean’s fears for Sam’s sanity, but it was Dean who did all the fighting. Interesting, I think, in the way it redirects Dean’s anger. When he goes up against the Sam leviathan, it’s actually highlighted in the dialogue that it’s not Sam: ‘Sammy? … Not Sammy!’ and Dean looks a little freaked out when he decapitates him – there are all those underlying fears of losing Sam, and he’s not angry at Sam. But when he takes out his own leviathan he remarks ‘That felt good’, showing up his self loathing, his discomfort in lying to Sam and his suicidal tendencies. He doesn’t want to fight Sam, he wants to fight himself. But circumstances are forcing him to fight Sam – since he will lose him at the end of the episode and have to argue with him to get him back.

I love the idea that Dean enjoyed killing "himself" as a way of reflection his own self-loathing. I suspect there's also a level of anger at the Leviathans using their bodies to go on a killing spree. It's those multi layered themes that makes this episode one of my favourites of S7.

There haven't really been any major physical bust ups between the brothers since You Can't Handle the Truth. The boys seem to be on a path of recovery and much of the distrust and rivalry is behind them now.

Dean states in Hello, Cruel World (7.02) - "I am your flesh-and-blood brother, okay? I’m the only one who can legitimately kick your ass in real time." It's a fabulous acknowledgement of how Dean has dealt with Sam in the past. It's rather ironic that words about violence became words of comfort and support. But it's something Sam understands. It also sums up the world these boys live in.

The boys have been through some tough times and no doubt there are (hopefully!) plenty more to come. But the days of using a physical confrontation to either speak unspoken truths or put each other in their place seems to be past. They are coming clean with each other more often and they don't seem to be have those underlying secrecy, distrust and frustrations issues they used to. Without them we may not see the Winchester brothers come to blows again. It's hard to say.

Something I do know though - if the boys do ever fight again I'll be mighty curious as to what brings it about. They always exist for a reason and pack a powerful punch whenever we witness them.


THANKS! Massive thanks to my two fabulous betas meanad and bythedamned. Their input has been amazing and if this in any way coherent it's due to them! *HEFFA SMISHES* <333
26th-Apr-2012 12:31 pm (UTC)
Please allow me to express how impressed I am by this, like, wow! Man, I fail in the fan stakes, big time. I've been thinking I'd love to main line the series in the hiatus, especially as I know and love seas. 1 and 2, so much, and I'm vague on others. I know, SHAME on me. I think my idea will make waiting for season 8 more bearable.

I read somewhere that Jensen had said they were being all nice and friendly, not "star ego-ish" to aid the pick up of the show for another season. (Wonder if that really helps?) I just had a thought, maybe they want to outdo their buddies on Smallville, and get to 10 seasons. I'm ok with that :)
26th-Apr-2012 01:01 pm (UTC)
Ha! Thanks BB! Doing stuff like this makes me go back and look at stuff. I love finding connections and trying to make sense of it all. But you know me...I'm somewhat passionate about this show...;)

Oh and really? Jensen said that? How curious that egos might play into decisions about whether a show would be picked up. Our boys certainly don't seem to have mighty egos. They seem well grounded and grateful from their success with the show.

I hate waiting to hear about S8. The more I hear "it's going to happen" the more I worry it won't.

Thanks for popping in sweetie. *hugs*
26th-Apr-2012 12:45 pm (UTC)
*comes out of lurk mode* Hi! Although I, for one, don't like it when the boys fight, its good to read something that shows the situations in a different light and not colored by emotion. Great job.

Also, I wanted to say that I have been watching and loving your vids for some time now and I apologize for never commenting.

Thank you!

26th-Apr-2012 01:05 pm (UTC)
Yay for de-lurking! I'm glad this made you come out...;)

I don't like it when the boys fight either (other than watching the Js work so well together).

And thanks... I'm glad you like the vids...<33
26th-Apr-2012 01:00 pm (UTC)
This is amazing. Wow-the amount of work this entails. I love that you did this. And I had to take the time before going to work to read it through (and re-read some bits). I plan on re-reading again after work. Thank you!

26th-Apr-2012 02:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much hun. So glad you liked it. And thanks so much for rec. :D

26th-Apr-2012 01:17 pm (UTC)
Great topic, and great analysis! This post is very well written.

I love that Dean won the Sex And Violence fight after Sam said that Dean was holding him back.

if the boys do ever fight again I'll be mighty curious as to what brings it about.

Interesting to think about!
26th-Apr-2012 02:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I can't tell you how much it means to me that you say it's well written. It's always the thing that worries me the most. (Of course it helped tremendously that I had 2 awesome betas).

The Sex and Violence fight is a killer. So much force. I love that they were equally driven, but maybe Dean was more so feeling he had something to prove.

Hee... you know I'll be on the look out for them fighting now! (Not that I want them to of course.)
26th-Apr-2012 01:25 pm (UTC)
As much violence as they have in their lives, it's not surprising they use it to communicate at times (or at least Dean does). And the actual violence when they're both more or less themselves - as opposed to possessed/shapeshifter/mindcontrol is all the more heartbreaking for it.
(Metamorphasis & When the Levee Breaks)

I really like how Sam overcame Lucifer in Swan Song and agree that the combination of Dean's physical passivity & talking instead of touching/punching (not to mention the IMPALA MEMORIES) was so epic and still cheer about how the whole package beat the pants of the devil....
/I digress

I was so relieved in Slash Fiction that Dean's secret was out. Who needed something like that hanging over them again -- certainly not Dean or Sam or any of us. ;P I did get the sense that Dean was relieved, too. He was too tired to carry that around for long and sincerely didn't like keeping things from Sam. What an internal battle, huh? Not wanting Sam to find out because Sam might get angry and leave vs. not wanting to lie to Sam because he might find out and get angry and leave. Yikes! Poor Dean!
27th-Apr-2012 02:14 am (UTC)
I agree - being brought up around violence and it being part of your job, no wonder it's used as a way to communicate.

The Swan Song moment at the end was equally amazing and uplifting and SO heartbreaking. The Impala played a crucial role in saving Sam and THEY'VE LOCKED HER IN A CORNER! Boo..

/digress too

Slash Fiction was a turning point I think. That was the last secret they had between them - unless we count Sam checking for Bobby and not letting Dean know - but even then that was dealt with reasonably.

Dean is always so conflicted! I think that's what makes him such a fascinating character.

26th-Apr-2012 01:40 pm (UTC)
Amazing! The work you put into these meta picspams is awesome and really enjoyed...I'm thrilled (and captivated) every time I see you've produced a new one.
I actually like when the boys fight, in particular when Dean strikes Sam.It was interesting to learn there has been 7 scenes of Dean hitting Sam with no retaliation. I love learning new things and you are a great teacher! Thank you so much!!
27th-Apr-2012 02:20 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. I have to admit I was surprised to see how many times Dean has hit Sam with no retaliation.

I'm really glad you enjoyed it.
26th-Apr-2012 01:46 pm (UTC)
Just magnificent! I have feelings! And thoughts!

I think you really capture the essence of your post, and therefore the show in this This clash foreshadows the future push-pull between the brothers - sometimes light-hearted, sometimes deadly serious.

I also think you highlight the evolution of the boys relationship over the years, and the differences in the boys makeup. We know about Dean's repression - he even said himself about his pain and anger "You shove it down and you let it come out in spurts of violence and alcoholism" which he does.

As you point out, Dean's punches are often as much about his feelings about himself, or about other things, as they are about Sam. The sequence in You Can't Handle The Truth, reminds me so much of Dean letting loose on the Impala in ELaC. In Truth I think Dean is hitting the monster/killer in himself, the one that’s torn him from Lisa, as he is the monster that Sam is revealed as.

Its so interesting that really the only time Sam has attacked Dean is in "Levee" and even then you can argue he wasn't in his right mind. I mean he's said himself Most of the time, I can hide it, but...I am angry. I'm mad at everything." (Sam, Interrupted) .

Yet he never hits Dean, even when provoked. Why???

Sam does attack him with words, and he leaves him on a number of occasions. Maybe we do see the real Sam in 'Levee' and that’s what he's always been afraid of – if he lets his anger out physically the outcome could be catastrophic. I mean we see that anger released in Asylum, and he does shoot Dean!

27th-Apr-2012 02:33 am (UTC)
Thank you hun! (and thanks for the pick up..<33)

That quote is perfect. It sums Dean up so well, especially in light of how he uses violence. Not just against the big bads but against Sam also.

In Truth I think Dean is hitting the monster/killer in himself, the one that’s torn him from Lisa, as he is the monster that Sam is revealed as.

Oh yes. That's a great observation. A bit like Dean feeling good about killing the Levia!Cas - he's killing something of himself when doing that.

I love the comparison to the Impala also. In fact, I'd liked to have included something about Dean whaling on the Impala because I think that ties in nicely to him taking out that emotion on things/people he loves. (I think he was very close to laying a punch on Sam there but refocused that emotion instead).

Yet he never hits Dean, even when provoked. Why???

I have been pondering that question myself! I can't decide if the occasion just never rises - as in, that level of explosive anger or it's just not the way he deals. The shove against the wall is pretty close, but not quite a punch. Maybe he knows that walking away from Dean hurts him more than a punch on the jaw.

Sam has said that he has this constant anger inside him (Sam, Interrupted) and yet we see him handle it so differently to Dean. But you could be right. Walking away might be his way of making sure he doesn't do something catastrophic.

Thank you for the extra thinky! I love it...
26th-Apr-2012 02:17 pm (UTC)
WOW! Great analysis of our boys and how they have dealt with their emotions and the causes of their various beat downs. Definitely a lot of food for thought in this meta as to what makes our boys tick. Thanks for this.
27th-Apr-2012 02:33 am (UTC)
You're welcome! I'm really happy you liked it. :D
26th-Apr-2012 02:53 pm (UTC)
wow, nice work! And completely agree: nothing says I love you more than a punch in the face, with these guys.

I actually think that punch at the end of Born Under a Bad Sign is relief, you know, how you'd start to yell at somebody the second he/she walks to within hearing distance after you have worried sick about him/her.

One thing I found interesting in the episode Skin is that when Dean shot not-himself, he hesitated a little before he pulled the trigger; kind of like Sam couldn't really let loose, completely, when fighting not-Dean. I really like the subtlety of it.
27th-Apr-2012 02:37 am (UTC)
Thanks so much. :)

that when Dean shot not-himself, he hesitated a little before he pulled the trigger;

Yes. Isn't that interesting. I imagine it's the first time they have been faced with "themselves" when having to fight or kill. It must be pretty freaky....

26th-Apr-2012 03:14 pm (UTC)
So I had more thoughts (and more wine!)

This is tangential to the main thesis of your post, but in a way, it illustrates for me, why the idea of Wincest works for me. What we see here is how so often, the expressions of their feelings is physical.

And when they're not punching each other it’s a hug. When they're reunited after one of them dies (okay that sounds weird!), they don't have long "omg you're back!" speeches – just a hug. So in that context, sex makes sense as another part of the Winchester vocabulary.

However one point you post puts like to is the fanon idea that Dean is the bottom in the relationship because he doesn't want to risk hurting Sammy. (and I'll leave my deconstruction of the fannish construct of the bottom for another day!) . Dean loves pounding into Sammy!
26th-Apr-2012 03:22 pm (UTC)
26th-Apr-2012 03:21 pm (UTC)
I really enjoyed this! God I hate/love it when they fight!
27th-Apr-2012 02:45 am (UTC)
Thanks hun. Thanks for reading. <33
26th-Apr-2012 03:43 pm (UTC)
This is the awesomest thing.  Perfect mix of caps and meta.  What a lot is revealed when you step back and look at all the seasons together.  I can't watch the fights.  I'm lucky if I get through them once so this was cool to see details without having to watch it again.  I really like your observation about how Dean in Swan Song handles that fight verbally and how that probably makes all the difference.  I had forgotten about Slash Fiction and I think I have to go back and actually watch that one.

This made me have thinky thoughts and I hope it's ok to put them here.  Over the course of the show we've been shown that Sam has been driven by this big bundle of rage and yet it's Dean that is more likely to throw a punch.  Sam's anger seems to come from frustration and a loss of control over his life and Dean's tends to come from hurt or fear of loss.  Maybe Sam maintains more composure physically because to do otherwise would be to give up some of his control over the situation and Dean's more like a wounded critter lashing out.  Sam only throwns the first punch under his own mental control in When the Levee Breaks and then there is something bigger he's fighting for than solely his relationship with Dean.  When we see Sam fighting as a kid, it seems to be at the defense of other kids, not so much on his own behalf.  Is it fair to say in these cases that Sam fights in cold blood with forethought and Dean usually fights in the heat of the moment and it's more reaction than thought out?  

With how steeped in violence their lives have been, it's no wonder a lot of emotion ends up getting expressed that way first.  I can't imagine John was a talk before punch kind of guy or a spare-the-rod parent.  Seems like he provoked a violent response from a lot of his peers, including Bobby.

As an older sibling, whomping on the younger one(s) is the way a lot of the early differences get settled.  Might is right.  Eventually the younger ones catch up size-wise but the pattern's been established.  Older sibs physically keep the younger ones in line because it's part of the whole look-after-them mindset being expressed by someone too immature to understand a different way.  It's reinforced if parents handle it the same way.  Nobody else better come anywhere near the younger ones with mayhem in mind though and I think Dean pretty much follows through on this, even when he sees the threat to Sam being Sam himself.
26th-Apr-2012 11:49 pm (UTC)
Nobody else better come anywhere near the younger ones with mayhem in mind though

This is so true. Famously, I took down a bully who had hurt my younger brother Michael and told him "Nobody beats up my kid brother but me!" I was really thrilled when Lucifer says pretty much the exact same words about his younger brother Michael in Swan Song. To me, it just says everything about the sibling relationship.

The bully never touched my brother again. And that brother now weighs literally twice as much as I do. The younger ones don't just catch up size-wise. As Sam and Michael can attest, they overtake you too.
26th-Apr-2012 04:07 pm (UTC)
Omg, this is perfect! I'm utterly fascinated by your analysis of the boys' fights, and impressed all over again by how thoughtful Show is about every single thing that happens. All the layers of meaning invested in the boys' interactions just boggle my mind - and it feels like J2 really get that as well, from the ad-libbed afterthought punch Dean gave Sam in BUABS to their zeal in wrestling each other (in the outtakes) to the facial expressions that make their 'successful' blows so heartbreaking. Thank you so much for this, it's glorious :)
27th-Apr-2012 09:39 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm so glad you found this interesting. The show does give us lots to mull over and I get a kick out of trying to find patterns and connections.

Thanks so much for reading and commenting. <333
26th-Apr-2012 07:44 pm (UTC)
This is brilliant, wonderful, thought provoking meta and a great image composition as well!
I'm mightly impressed.

And you're absolutely right, it packs a powerful punch when we do see the brothers get violent with each other, so much of the show is spent portraying one brother protecting the other that the physical confrontation is jarring, strangely so in a show with so much violence.

On a different note: how've you been, bb? I haven't spoken to you in ages! *hugs* <333
27th-Apr-2012 09:42 am (UTC)
Hey honey!

Thank you so much. So glad you liked the images as well. I've loved trying to work out the best way to present pics. Still working on colouring and stuff but I like new challenges. :DD

And yes, I agree. Because their relationship is primarily based on love and protection when we see them belt into each other it's heartbreaking.

And I'm good!! Except I'm back at school after a lovely break. It's been hard to go back....

26th-Apr-2012 11:02 pm (UTC)
I love your meta. I love your illustrations! (I know both take lots of time!) But especially, I love how you don't judge the boys or show favoritism. Wish more fans were like you!
27th-Apr-2012 11:33 am (UTC)
Thank you hun! When I do stuff like this I try to see it from both sides and be objective. I'm glad that came through... :D

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