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curled around these images
just enough to make us dangerous
Daily Burst -Greatest Hits (8.06 Southern Comfort) 
11th-Nov-2012 08:19 pm
Thinky thougts
This is my broments entry for theheartofspn. I needed to say a lot more about this one so I have created a separate post - which became meta. I suppose everyone will have their own take on that scene. Here's mine.


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There's no doubt there is a heap going on in this scene. I am so excited that we are getting some full on, intense brother moments once again. This stuff is the heart of the show for me. I know the brothers arguing is painful and hard to watch but DAMN it's powerful. It's a clear signal that this show is still about the brothers and their messed up relationship. In fact, it feels more so than it's done since season 4.

I am intrigued by some of this dialogue. It HAS to be pulled apart yes? ;)


Dean: You never even wanted this life. Always blamed me for pulling you back into it. ...

Sam: That's not true.

Dean: Really? Everything you've ever done since you climbed into my ride has been to deceive me.

Sam: What do you want me to say? That I've made mistakes? I've made mistakes Dean.

I think it is easy to only focus on what Dean is saying in this scene. He is revealing all those deep seated hurts and so it draws our attention. But I think it's really (really!) important to remember one of the themes of this season and that's - perspective. Sam says "it's not true". It's hard to really know if Sam does actually blame Dean for pulling him back into the hunting life but from everything we have seen over the years there's no evidence (whatsoever) that this is the case. He's never told Dean he resents him for getting him from Stanford. If anything, Sam is the one to continue hunting even when Dean wanted to give it up.

I believe that this is a "guilt" that Dean is carrying and the spectre has picked up on that and is allowing Dean to vocalise this. If you recall episode 7.04 (Defending your life) Osiris puts Sam on the stand and tries to get him to confess that he blames Dean for getting him from Stanford. Sam denies it and Osiris believes him, stating that it's Dean that needs convincing. It looks like Dean is projecting his guilt for bringing Sam back into the life onto Sam here.

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Garth: That's not Dean, Sam.

I think this is an extremely important statement from Garth. Sam is talking to possessed Dean, trying to reason with him as though it really is all Dean. Sure, some of what Dean is saying rings true to Sam. They are all issues that Sam probably knows Dean is harbouring. But these are NOT things that Dean would say out loud - especially not to Sam. I know Show is using the spectre to have Dean voice his inner issues (which he does) but we also have to remember that part of who Dean is, is being able to keep these real feelings at bay. He may well feel all these things but the "real" Dean can rationalise these feelings.

The spectre seems to remove this rationalisation so those old, deep and hurtful thoughts come out. Consider the wife who was married 30 years and killed her husband. She once, many years ago, felt some jealously that her then boyfriend took another girl to the prom after they had a fight. Over the years she managed those feelings and was able to see how irrational they were. She knew that if she let them surface, they would eat at her and ruin the life she has now. We are allowed to have these irrational jealousies but what makes us human is our ability to deal with them.

It's the same for Dean. He feels ALL these emotions but has managed to put them into some sort of perspective. Day to day we don't see this level of bitterness. Tramping them down is not necessarily a bad thing. I'm sure we all have unwanted feelings (except Garth it would seem) it's what we do with them that makes us who we are.

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Dean:Mistakes? Well, let's go through some of Sammy's greatest hits. Drinking demon blood? Check. Being in cahoots with Ruby? Not telling me that you lost your soul? Or how about running around with Samuel for a whole year, letting me think that you were dead while you were doing all kinds of crazy. Those aren't mistakes, Sam. Those are choices!

Sam: Alright, you said, we've both played a little fast and loose.

Dean: Yeah, I might have lied. But I never once betrayed you. I never once left you to die. And for what? A girl? You left me to die for a girl?

Dean listing all Sam's mistakes is tough - for both of them. I am sure Dean is well aware that Sam turned to Ruby and blood drinking because Dean died. Dean died because he sold his soul. He sold his soul because he couldn't deal with Sam dead. Also, Sam lost his soul because he freed Lucifer. That was an error of judgement on Sam's part but he paid a mighty price and Dean KNOWS that. He witnessed it.

Calling Sam out on all of those things is not something rational Dean would do. He knows why all those things happened. I imagine this is similar to the same guilt Dean feels about bringing Sam back into the life. Rational Dean never plays the blame game. He knows what they have to do to survive.

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Dean's interpretation of "betrayal" is a perspective also. Dean's inner feelings reveal that he felt betrayed by Sam not looking for him when he disappeared. There's no doubt that such a confession from Sam cuts deep. And yet if you asked Dean what should Sam have done he would probably say "get on with your life". We know how important Sam's well being is to Dean. If, given a choice between Sam making a deal or killing himself in the pursuit of trying to find him, Dean would say "haven't you learned your lesson!". He would probably say he did the right thing.

But the spectre is a "monster" and has brought out the thoughts that Dean has worked so hard to deal with. Dean has truly been injured in this hunt. And what's worse? He doesn't even remember it. He can't defend what he said because he doesn't know what he said.

Notice how quick he was to agree to Sam at the end? Rational Dean is back. The thing that Sam didn't realise is that Dean has, in some ways, dealt with all that hurt - that sense of betrayal. He has been managing it. Sam tells Dean to "move on". To be honest I think Dean has been trying to move on. He knows all those deep feelings are brought about by his messed up love for Sam. Whether he will ever be over the guilt is another question all together.

He also says that he has never "betrayed" Sam. That might depend on which way you look at. From Sam's perspective Dean killing Amy may well be an act of betrayal. Dean not coming clean about Benny may also be seen as betrayal. I am not defending Sam here (at all) I am merely suggesting that we can't take what Dean is saying at face value. Just because he says he's never betrayed Sam doesn't make it so.


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Garth: Come on Dean. You do not want to kill your brother. You've been protecting him all your whole life. Don't stop now.

*guh* We know this is true. It's so interesting that Garth is able to cut to what really REALLY matters to Dean. Garth knows this basic truth (somehow) and it's evidence of just how powerful this monster is that Dean's base, true feelings for Sam can't override those painful ones. We know that Dean has been indoctrinated with "look out for Sam" since Sam was born. He sold his soul for Sam - we KNOW what's really in Dean's heart. He bears some bitterness, but it doesn't mean it overrides his love and protectiveness for Sam.

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Dean: He left me to rot in Purgatory.

Garth: Alright. Alright. I wasn't there. I'm sure he has his reasons.

Sam: Just like you had your reasons for Benny.


I love the way Garth gets this so right - "I'm sure he has his reasons".

That works for both of them. They both have REASONS for their actions and so far neither of them have really listened to the other. Or allowed the other to even have "reasons". Their level of jealously here is astounding. So is their level of what they need from each other. (I friggin' LOVE IT!)

Dean: Benny's been more of a brother to me in the past year than you've ever been. That's right.
Cas let me down. You let me down. The only person who hasn't let me down is Benny.


Wow. This is probably the hardest thing to hear (not only for us but for Sam also). It raises the question...what does Dean want from a brother? From what we have seen (and unfortunately I have to site Swap Meat), Dean wants someone who looks up to him, drinks with him and has unquestionable loyalty. A brother who will follow him no matter what. Someone who doesn't question his motives or actions.

But we know Sam isn't that kind of brother. He is SO much more than that. He's a partner, someone who will watch his back and stick by him NO MATTER WHAT. He's someone who will call Dean on his shit. He's someone who will help keep him human. Rational Dean knows that. Possessed Dean only feels the betrayal. This is only a small part of everything else he feels for Sam.

This episode is reminicent of Asylum (when Sam is forced to speak his mind) and Sex and Violence (where they are both forced to). Sam said things that he felt deep down but in reality he was coming to terms with them. Rational Sam knew why Dean followed orders the way he did. In Sex and Violence we find out that what they necessarily want from each other is not what they need. Both of them need the other beyond just being a drink buddy and a yes-man.

That's my rationalising of that amazing scene. There is of course so much more to discuss in terms what was behind everything that was said. But it's not easy. This is not a scene about who's right or wrong. It's not a scene of laying blame or making sense. It's a scene where a monster forced a person who has bravely rationalised and fought dark feelings to vocalise them. It's about giving the brothers something to be divided about so we can watch their journey through to reconciliation. My separation and reunion meta posts (here and here) were all about just that. They do want and THEY WILL find their way back to each other. It may take time but when they do they will have an even stronger understanding for each other. I think there will be growth on both sides. (hee...and if their bond could be any stronger than it already is then it will be...)

I suppose the question now is how are they going to deal with the fallout from all that.

*rubs hands* I can't wait to find out.

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(I also have to say that I love that they are making Sam not looking for Dean a major plot point. It's not some throw away line - it's a major source of the angst this season and I think it's going to be used to really explored what these boys need - not only for themselves but for each other.).
Comments 
13th-Nov-2012 10:15 am (UTC)
I don't think Sam had any ammunition to look for Dean. He had no bargaining chips left for searching in Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory. If Dean had been misplaced on Earth, Dean would have called Sam. If Dean was in the afterlife (which it turned out he was) the logical assumption to make would be that Dean was dead. Each of them has sacrificed so much for the other, and many key characters including Death, Gabriel and Bobby, have warned them that they need to stop thwarting the natural order (that eventually, as mortals, they will die).

I think it must have been horrible for Sam to lose Dean like that. In his owns words, he imploded. He couldn't rationally think it through -- he was caught in a panic that wouldn't go away, with no tools for dealing with it. He had literally nothing to trace Dean with.

I'm sure Sam feels like dirt for not looking for Dean, and he has never once defended himself against the accusation of not looking. But I think if he'd had a single clue, he would have looked. And if the answer is, "Dean was obviously in Purgatory" try to think about how next to impossible it would be for Sam to pull Dean out -- though that impossibility still doesn't mean that Sam doesn't feel guilty as hell -- survivor's guilt -- and that he is now still terrified that he will lose Dean YET AGAIN.
13th-Nov-2012 10:40 am (UTC)
I think you have a point with the guilt thing.

I hadn't thought of it like that so far. When Sam's in a corner, his default reaction is rage. So his lashing out at Dean at the end of this episode is more likely to be interpreted as a sign of his "feeling like dirt for not looking for Dean" rather than being incredibly mean and insensitive. And Dean called him out on it - even if Dean himself isn't be aware of it, not remembering (first hand anyway, we don't know if Garth or Sam told him).

Hmm, I think things are getting clearer for me now.

*loves this discussion*
14th-Nov-2012 03:01 pm (UTC)
If Dean was in the afterlife (which it turned out he was) the logical assumption to make would be that Dean was dead.

Exactly. Even if Sam had the resources to search for him—which he didn't, because Bobby is dead, his library is apparently scattered hither and yon, and most of the other hunters who might still be out there still think Sam is sketchy, at best and probably want to kill him at worst—there's really no reason for Sam to think Dean was in Purgatory, as it appears that humans aren't supposed to be able to go there. (All the talk about how Purgatory tried it's best to spit Dean out because he was human, and that's how he was actually able to escape.)

So if Dean was dead, presumably he was in Heaven and at peace. And also, after he managed to get through the shock of it, they HAD had plenty of painful lessons that trying to bring people back from the dead is a bad idea, not to mention that Dean went out hunting, clean and quick, which is how Dean would have wanted to die. Neither of them really expected to grow old together (Dean's saying that it ends bloody or it ends sad), so I can imagine Sam thinking that it was a fitting end for Dean. Of course that doesn't mean he didn't have plenty of angst and grief and guilt (if he hadn't been delayed by Kevin in the lab, he might have been there with Dean when it happened, etc.) and lonelinesss over it, hence the whole "implosion" thing.
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