?

Log in

No account? Create an account
curled around these images
just enough to make us dangerous
Sam Winchester vs The Heart of the Show: Why Sam Winchester is unsympathetic 
25th-Feb-2014 09:26 pm
B&W Sam
I've mostly written this for me. I needed to do this as a way of trying to understand why I feel sympathy for Sam (at the moment and usually) when it seems much of fandom doesn't. It's puzzled me because even though I know we each see the show with certain goggles on I've struggled to understand how a few lines of dialogue seems to have removed all sympathy for Sam in S9. Even from Sam!girls.

I contemplated what's gone before and started to see a pattern.



I became aware of fandom around about the time of Asylum (1.10). One of the first things I read was a post defending Sam against the hate he received (yep! it started way back then) because of the way he turned on Dean ("you're pathetic", "good little soldier" etc.). At the time it puzzled me because I was thinking about how Sam must have felt to be made to say those things to his brother, but the reaction was focused on how Dean was hurt by what Sam had said. Sam attacked Dean and his place in the family and therefore crossed a line. Sam's experience of being attacked by a supernatural being was quickly forgotten as the focus became on what he said to Dean.

Out of all the things that can hurt Dean, it's Sam that seems to hurt him the most. Either from his actions (any time he leaves Dean for any reason - including death) or by his words. Sure, Dean is hurt by words from his father, the consequence of some of his actions, his constant plague of doubt and self worth, but the deepest hurt seems to have Sam at the heart of it (Death being the most notable, but also any time he's left Dean or said something that hits close to home).

That's not to say that on the flip side most of Dean's joy is from Sam. Dean is content with simple pleasures in life - his car, pie, a good hunt, friends and Sam. Sam can make him smile, be bursting with pride and fulfil much of his feelings of being needed. Dean wants to be a good big brother to Sam. Much of Dean's self worth is wrapped up in Sam's well being. Dean would do, and has done, anything to make sure Sam is around.

So it's no wonder that when we see Dean hurt by Sam we tend to feel sympathy for Dean. He's the one trying to be the best big brother. He's the one who sacrificed his life for his little brother. He's the one who wants to protect him and look after him.

And all Dean really wants in return is a little brother who looks up to him (the very thing the siren from Sex and Violence knew was a deep desire of Dean's) - it doesn't seem like a lot to ask.

But we can't look past the fact that Dean is also the one who hurts Sam the most.

For some reason Dean hurting Sam seems to be ok because Dean does it with good intentions. Dean makes Monumental Statements of Love (MSoL) by doing things like selling his soul so his brother can live, calling on Death to return Sam's soul and, most recently, bringing Sam back from the brink of death with a healing angel. Dean does everything we love and want to see from this relationship - major sacrifices for love.

Sam hasn't been given one of those Monumental Statements of Love (yet). Sure, he's had lots (and lots!) of little ones but never that BIG one that this brotherhood seems to be measured on. And this, I think, is at the heart of why Sam is often vilified. He hasn't proved that he loves Dean as much as Dean loves him. He hasn't made that monumental sacrifice to save Dean.

Dean ends up hurting Sam through actions that are the result of a love (and need) so strong that death won't stand in the way. Sam ends up hurting Dean because he reacts or has been affected by Dean's action. Dean does it for love and brotherhood and family and therefore it's deemed to be ok. Sam does it as a result of being physically or emotionally hurt and therefore it's not ok. Dean does it for all the right reasons - family. Sam does it for the wrong reasons - himself. It's therefore seen as selfish and whiny and ungrateful. Standing up for yourself or voicing an opinion is ok, as long as it's not against the person who has made a huge sacrifice for you.

Also, we rarely get to see into Sam's inner thoughts. It's often been observed that the show is seen through Dean's eyes and I think this is true. We see why Dean is hurt, we mostly have to guess why Sam is. It's most definitely a story of two brothers, but it's often about something that's happening to Sam (dead Sam, soulless!Sam, blood addicted Sam, trials!Sam etc) that Dean has to react to (grief - sell his soul, desperation - make a deal with Death, despair - kill Ruby and rescue Sam, angst and grief - heal Sam by possession).

What happens to Sam after Dean's MSoL usually happens over a long period of time. By the time Sam has suffered and then reacted we are no longer focussed on what Sam has been through, but rather that he's said something that shows that he doesn't appreciate what Dean has done.

If we look at what's happened to Sam as a result of Dean returning him from the dead in S2 we can see what Sam has had to endure. He lived a year knowing is brother was going to die, followed by 4 months of grief after the loss of Dean, he then lived another year addicted to demon blood (and subsequent withdrawals when he was recovering), he lived another year trying to redeem himself after releasing Lucifer (and losing Dean's trust), he lived 6 months without soul, then had to make peace with what he did when soulless. He then suffered with memories of his time in the cage and hallucinations of Lucifer.

But none of this really matters because it doesn't measure up to the MSoL. We acknowledge what Dean did to save Sam, not what Sam suffered as a result of it. We acknowledge it because we love it. It demonstrates the lengths Dean will go to for Sam. We reveal in the awesome brotherhood bond. We see this as the heart of the show. We love that Dean needs to have Sam around - it's heartwarming and much of what the show has been based on for a long time. The problem is because this very thing is the "heart of the show" anything Sam does outside of that pales to insignificance. His suffering doesn't matter because he's alive. His angst doesn't matter because by being alive the brotherhood continues and because it's the reason we watch there's nothing Sam can say or do that can be more important than that. You were used? Too bad - you're alive, be thankful. You want to make your own choices? Stop whining, you're alive, the brotherhood lives so shut up.

Season 9 is no exception. Sam has suffered this season and the only thing that seems to be remembered is that Dean saved Sam from dying. Dean mentions family and we are reminded that this is what this show is all about. Our hearts melt and nothing Sam does matches up to that. In fact, when Sam says something against what's at the heart of the show he loses all sympathy and everything he has been through is forgotten.

Forget that he was prepared to die to close the gates of hell, forget that he made peace with death so others wouldn't be hurt if he lived, forget that his brother didn't trust him with the truth for fear he'd make the "wrong" decision, forget that his mind and body were violated (something he has suffered before), forget that his body was used to kill Kevin, forget that he'd be despairing from learning this knowledge.

Sam questioned their brotherhood. He questioned Dean. He questioned the heart of the show. He questioned everything we hold dear about the show. He's therefore easy to blame when looking for someone to take our frustrations out on. The brotherhood is broken. Sam says it's broken. Therefore it's his fault. What's that about not shooting the messenger?

Even those who agree that Sam has a right to be mad at Dean's deception, can't accept that Sam questioned their brotherhood. That's crossing the line. Dean can cross a line by allowing a non con possession, but Sam can't cross a line by being mad about it OR by acknowledging that there's something broken in their relationship. It's too much for Dean to bear and it would seem that fandom has trouble coping with it also.

And I'm not arguing about this because I would want anything less than a show that's about a strong brotherhood bond. I watch the show for this. I love the show for this. I watch for the bromance and desperate love between these messed up brothers. But the show is coming into its 10th year (amazing!! \o/). How much longer can we watch Sam suffer for Dean's MSoL? I know many will say FOREVER! BRING IT!! And that would have been me once, but now that the show is highlighting this cycle of hurt through sacrifice I want to see how it will ultimately be addressed. I want to see it acknowledged that both brothers have played a part in why their brotherhood is broken and I want to see them both play a part in fixing it (and as much as I know this won't happen, I'd love fandom to be able to see both sides of this current conflict).

Of course, I'm not saying everyone feels this. I know many can see Sam's journey and sympathise with it - even when he lashes out at Dean. I know Show makes it a lot harder to sympathise with Sam, especially when giving him such damaging dialogue (Sharp Teeth, The Purge), or showing how much he hurt Dean when growing up (DSotM), to telling Dean he doesn't want things the way they used to be (Shadow) and having him leaving Dean when he's upset (Hunted, The Girl Next Door), or acting cold and uncaring (soulless!Sam).

But Sam's motivations aren't simply to hurt Dean for the sake of it. He doesn't do it to be spiteful or deliberately "mean", or because he has attitude, or is whiney or selfish. He always has reasons (they're just a bit harder to see sometimes).

For me, Sam doesn't need to prove his love for Dean. It's constantly on the screen. Much of what he does and says is all part of the drama and forms part of the overall picture that is the Winchester relationship. Which, to me, is (and always will be) the heart of this show (even when they are in conflict).
Comments 
25th-Feb-2014 01:51 pm (UTC)
*round of applause*
I've been surprised by some of my friend's reactions to Sam - as you say, even Sam!girls who've been disturbed by his recent dialogues with Dean (and seemingly the trailer for tonight hasn't helped at all though I haven't seen it...). But I think you are right, the show isn't giving us enough of Sam's POV for people to empathise with him in the way that we perhaps should be.

After all, in any of Dean's MSoLs, did Sam want or ask for the sacrifice? No. And we know how Dean felt, how torn apart he was when their Dad MSoL'd for his sake way back in Season 1/2. The aftermath of John's sacrifice was devastating for Dean. Why shouldn't Sam be equally devastated? And of course, he was - but the show skated over that part to move the main narrative forward and like you say, people forget.

To be at the receiving end of a love like that is very scary.

I love Dean enormously, but it doesn't mean I can't see that sometimes he IS selfish, he acts out of the fear of being left alone and bereft of the only thing that gives his life meaning - but the pressure of that on Sam is enormous. So I can also understand that, given the choice, Sam might actually feel relief at letting go - and that is not taking into account the pressures of having to save the world over and over on top of the personal stuff.

And both boys are hugely damaged in different ways - 40 years in Hell, or 200 years inside a cage with the Devil and his brother - its' got to take its toll. Dean has managed to hold onto his integrity better than Sam because Sam is the one whose agency has been removed more often.

So yeah, Dean is the heart of the show, but let's not forget before we slam into Sam - Sam is the heart of Dean.
25th-Feb-2014 02:04 pm (UTC)
So yeah, Dean is the heart of the show, but let's not forget before we slam into Sam - Sam is the heart of Dean.

I think this is a major problem. Sam's not the heart of Dean. Sam isn't a part of Dean. Sam is Sam. The fact that both the show and Dean have sometimes treated Sam as though he were an element in Dean's emotional economy rather than a fully human entity is part of the horror story to me. (Of course, the siege on Sam's selfhood has come from a lot of other directions -- it's hardly something that's all Dean's fault, and Dean's share in it has in turn been shaped by Dean's issues and damage.) I find that story both moving and terrifying, but I have to say I find some of the reactions of fandom to that story, especially this season, simply terrifying. I've been seriously questioning whether this is a community I want to be a part of, and in fact I've semi-withdrawn.

So I think that "Sam is the heart of Dean" does represent a certain psychological reality. It's something that Sam is fighting for his life against, and I know I'm not the only person who is finding that cathartic and inspiring, despite some very loud contrary voices. But that's not the reason to love or empathize with Sam, or to treat the issues he narratively represents seriously or with respect. When we start treating Sam as though his value lies in whatever value Dean, with his own issues and needs, places on him, we're echoing a mistake that has almost destroyed Sam and the relationship, a mistake we've seen frighteningly illustrated this season. Let Sam be the heart of Sam. Dean needs to figure out how to stop using his brother as a supplementary organ before it kills both of them.

/overwrought allegory
25th-Feb-2014 01:53 pm (UTC)
He lived a year knowing is brother was going to die, followed by 4 months of grief after the loss of Dean, he then lived another year addicted to demon blood (and subsequent withdrawals when he was recovering), he lived another year trying to redeem himself after releasing Lucifer (and losing Dean's trust), he lived 6 months without soul, then had to make peace with what he did when soulless. He then suffered with memories of his time in the cage and hallucinations of Lucifer.

Wow. That's some list. Seriously, my eyebrows raised as I read it. This really does highlight Sam's suffering. Huh. I also like your acronym MSoL. The *angst* formula for the show seems to be Dean's MSoL (to prevent/offset Dean's suffering) + Sam's suffering (Ss) = ANGST.

It's a tough one. Although I must say after I rewatched 9x13 with hubby last night my reaction has mellowed quite significantly. I may be outgrowing that formula myself.

25th-Feb-2014 02:41 pm (UTC)
That's some list. Seriously, my eyebrows raised as I read it. This really does highlight Sam's suffering.

I think of this quite often when I watch the show actually. Right back to Mary's sacrifice to save John in fact. Sam's whole life seems to have been effected by other people's choices. What we see are these amazing sacrifices for love - we have to look a little closer to see the result of them.

ha! Angst formula! I like!

25th-Feb-2014 02:12 pm (UTC)
You write the most clear-headed analyses of our show! Thank you!
25th-Feb-2014 02:42 pm (UTC)
Wow, thank you. I always get nervous when I write stuff - it doesn't come easily.

<3
25th-Feb-2014 02:28 pm (UTC)
Just wanted to say that I am a Sam!girl and certainly still have enormous sympathy for him and everything the poor boy has endured over the last 8 & 1/2 seasons. If anything what was done to him, totally against his will and without his knowledge or consent, has only made me even more sympathetic towards him.

I loved what he said to Dean in Road Trip and Sharp Teeth and The Purge about how angry and he hurt he is over what Dean did and how things between them MUST change for them to continue to be brothers again but I fear they have fallen on deaf ears and that Dean won't change and Sam and others will be forced to suffer all over again for the poorly thought out choices Dean will make for him or because Dean doesn't want to be alone. Dean's line in The Purge (paraphrasing) "what I did was right and I'd do it again" has me terrified and so heartbroken for Sam.
25th-Feb-2014 03:04 pm (UTC)
Hi,

I'm pretty much the same. I'm sad for both the boys at the moment, but it's fandom (and reactions to Sam) that has left me the most heartbroken. Hence me trying to work it through. There's so much going on for both of them - it confuses me why it sometimes seems only one side of the story seems to be understood (by some!! As I said above, I know not all feel that way…:D)
xx
25th-Feb-2014 02:52 pm (UTC)
Dean mentions family and we are reminded that this is what this show is all about. Our hearts melt and nothing Sam does matches up to that.
It's funny, I had the exact opposite reaction to Dean's 'we're family' spiel this time. In fact, Dean's lack of repentance, the statement that he would do it again and the implication that the expects Sam to be grateful hardened my heart against Dean in a way it never has before. I wanted Sam to pack his things and walk away and never look back and for the first time in the run of the show I felt that Sam was no longer save with Dean. Quite frankly, it has turned me off the show for good. :(
25th-Feb-2014 03:15 pm (UTC)
Yeah, and isn't it weird that that reaction is in the minority (I think. I mean, I haven't seen much in the way of people being pissed at Dean - but maybe it's out there).

I'm sad to hear it's turned you off the show for good. I think Dean has been done an injustice as much as Sam has lately (in the writing of the show). Neither brother is coming off as particularly nice - or people we want to cheer on. I'm not sure if this is an attempt to make the show even darker than it already is, or simply just to create the conflict. Or something else...

My sympathy for Dean lies mostly in how screwed up he is. I certainly didn't feel it at the end of 9.13. Him saying he'd do it again made my blood run cold (and why I made this gif set).

It'll take a lot to work this one out and I know many are done with it.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
25th-Feb-2014 03:05 pm (UTC)
I think there is this weird struggle between one's rational brain saying that the best course of action for these guys would just be to break up already and be done with it and one's fannish heart wanting the show to keep going because we've invested nearly ten years of our lives into them. Because of that, I think people can sometimes rationalize away bad behavior because we don't want to believe the heroes (or relationships) we admire are flawed. It's almost a case of people saying to themselves "well, if Sam is dead, the show is over, and I don't want the show to be over, so I'm glad Dean did what he did."

I don't know, it's messy and terrible, and sometimes I wish I was a normal viewer like my boyfriend that could shrug the show off at 10:01pm and be done with it lol.
25th-Feb-2014 03:20 pm (UTC)
Oh my lordy…word!

It's like…dammit, these two really would be better off apart (I've NEVER felt that before this season) and saying…noooooooooooooo the brotherhood must live on!

And man how I wish I was a casual viewer. (I was watching Teen Wolf earlier and laughing at how little sense it was making - but loving it anyway because I could just shrug it off and not CARE. I wanna do that with my show!)

And dammit there's another episode soon. It's like craving a fix of something that you know is bad for you. ;/
25th-Feb-2014 03:36 pm (UTC)
Well said!
I always feel for Sam because his suffering may not be as obvious as Dean, but is daily, long-term and accumulative, which is pretty terrifying when you think of it. For me, S3 is the most painful to watch. Sam actually got to ask Dean something like, do you remember how you felt after Dad died? I know because I was there. And you are doing the same thing to me. And in every day of that year Sam was always aware of the approaching of his brother's death and, I believe, every lost second was despair. Also in S4, many only see his demon blood addiction and going against Dean, but not his fighting for the rightness of his very existence(and let's not forget, he never thought he could survive killing Lilith, as was pointed out twice in the show, and that's as monumental as Dean's self-sacrifice to me). Strictly speaking, Sam wasn't the only one to blame for the Apocalypse, but he carried most of the blame from S5 to now. These shame and burden can easily crush a person, but Sam carried them every day, till today. So I totally agree with you. Much of the ever shrinking Sam's part of the show is all drama.
27th-Feb-2014 01:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

Season 3 - 5 were so painful to watch. It's interesting that we tend to look back on those early seasons and cry that we want it to be like that again (though mostly like the first 2 seasons), when really they were so dark. I actually see much of S8/9 to be like those seasons - maybe even darker, but more on the relationship level rather than what outside forces were affecting them.

but not his fighting for the rightness of his very existence(and let's not forget, he never thought he could survive killing Lilith, as was pointed out twice in the show, and that's as monumental as Dean's self-sacrifice to me)

Yes, I see this as starting out as wanting to revenge Dean and it was going to be the sacrifice he'd make for him. Each time he has the chance to try and "save" Dean it's foiled. S3 was the most painful - not being able to stop Dean from going to Hell and then in S4 - not being the one to save him from Hell.

Strictly speaking, Sam wasn't the only one to blame for the Apocalypse, but he carried most of the blame from S5 to now

Indeed. Dean's part is hardly ever mentioned - I think because the idea of Dean breaking is somehow unheroic and therefore not contemplated much. But him breaking (under torture) is equal to Sam breaking (and turning to demon blood) - they are both human after all.

These shame and burden can easily crush a person, but Sam carried them every day, till today

Yes. He's a survivor that's for sure. And they keep piling it on him...

25th-Feb-2014 04:55 pm (UTC)
Very good article . I must admit alot of the fandom's reaction as disturbed me esp in how far they think Dean has a right to go. The trouble is Dean has such a strong pov on the show since day 1 and even this season sympathetic storytelling to coincide with his decision where Sam was concerned.

Those sympathetic to Sam feel he should of had a centric episode after the truth came out and I agree . I am not sure anything now will change either alot of the fandom's mindset or the lack of compassionate writing he needs .

Edited at 2014-02-25 04:56 pm (UTC)
27th-Feb-2014 02:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you. And I agree. A Sam pov ep after the reveal would have helped the situation so much. I think they tried to do it with the scenes with Cas, but it fell short unfortunately. Then his mindset was completely forgotten and he was used to create the current drama with Dean - and even now we don't get the benefit of seeing what's going on in his mind.
25th-Feb-2014 05:26 pm (UTC)
This is a well thought out analysis. Well beyond my early morning rambling response, but in my opinion, it's very true.

Surviving--taking that next step, getting out of bed in the morning, remembering to eat--is never as glamourous as sacrificing your soul, but it is in many ways harder.

The decision to make a MSoL is one moment. One big moment, usually in the heat of battle when riding an adrenaline high. Make it. It's done. Go on with life. Simple, and often stupid.

Making the decision to get up every day, to continue doing stuffevery day, is a lot harder and a lot less exciting.

We saw Dean barely surviving after he got out of Hell. He was given a year, two years, actually, to not be enthusiastic about anything. Not hunting, not living, not the future. Not even Sam.

I don't think Sam's been given the same courtesy. Maybe because he was souless!Sam for half a season before he was PTSD!Sam? Or maybe we (writers and fandom) confused his post-Hell trauma with his earlier "I don't want to be a hunter" attitude. Either way, Sam hasn't been given a chance to come to grips with everything that happened to him. Dean's back in the hunting game, so Sam should be as well and we're upset that he's not.

Sam is allowed to have agency over his body, his thoughts, and his soul, just like any other human being.

When it comes down to it, Dean's decision to trick Sam into agreeing to be possessed was wrong. It's no different from thinking a drunken "whatever" is the same as a sober "I'd love to" when asking for sex.

One of the comments here describes Dean's attitute to Sam as that of an "ancillary organ". Yup.

And now that the writers have started us down that path, (of facing their unhealthy co-dependent relationship head on) I want to see them take it to a logical conclusion--that Dean and Sam develop lives outside of each other's and hunting.

Otherwise the only way this show's going to end is with a nasty murder-suicide and a note reading "If I can't have him, no one can!"
25th-Feb-2014 05:35 pm (UTC)
Even if they have lives outside each other, they (and especially Dean, who is the one whose growth is lagging at this point) need to deal with their individual issues. It's easy to see this as all about Sam's unique place in Dean's psyche, but it's not. Sam is not Dean's first or his only victim -- he violated Lisa and Ben with a similar, though lesser, interference with their autonomy, and he did it for similar reasons, because he was unable to see them as their own people, rather than as functions of his own guilt. Sam isn't safe from Dean now -- Sam's like someone living with an addict who has every intention going on using, and all his attempts at boundary drawing are likely to be useless, given that none of it is coming from Dean -- but Dean's issues are unsafe for others, as well, as Sam's were in season four.

(On a side note, I mentioned above that there was a lot of anger at Dean's disaffection in s6 and s7. I think you are spot on that people are angry with Sam for not being gung ho about his life, but it's actually not an issue where the audience was particularly kinder to Dean when it applied to him.)
25th-Feb-2014 05:51 pm (UTC)
I've never understood the Sam hate -- you can't have Dean's manpain without Sam's foil. And for me, the way the show has demonstrated the high price of toxic hyper-masculinity is one of the most interesting things, so Dean's manpain is one of the few depictions that I have any modicum of patience for. But like you, I'm ready for them to resolve it now. I want the hopefulness of two adult men managing to work past the damage of their childhood and finding some happiness and peace that's not predicated on an unrealistic ideal, but on knowing and understanding themselves and each other, and respecting themselves and each other.
27th-Feb-2014 02:32 pm (UTC)
Hi,

Yes, them resolving the never ending conflict would be nice. The current conflict is probably the most damaging yet and I'm very curious to see how they plan to tackle it. TPTB either understand the depth of what they've created, or will brush it off as just part of the drama. If they do the latter then it will be extremely disappointing. They have a chance to develop a healing storyline, rather than this destructive one.
25th-Feb-2014 07:00 pm (UTC)
I'm very happy you wrote this; it was beautifully stated. I just want to add that I think a lot of the time the problem some have with seeing Sam's perspective is that he's much more circumspect. If Dean's hurting, you're going to know it, whereas if Sam's hurting, he'll suffer silently for a long time before saying anything--USUALLY TO TRY TO SPARE DEAN'S FEELINGS, which is one of the kind and noble qualities I so adore in Sam ... but somehow, there seem to be a lot of people who can't look beneath the surface and see what's really going on. If one brother is the squeakier wheel, he's the one they'll side with, even if the other were hurting much more.

Thank you for this beautiful meta.
27th-Feb-2014 02:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much.

And very much yes to what you said. Sam suffers very quietly - and often to avoid making Dean worry (when the hallucinations started for example). It surprises me how little opportunity they've given Dean to acknowledge that Sam has suffered during this. The Dean we knew in the past would know how Sam would be feeling after finding out his body was used AND that Dean tricked him.
25th-Feb-2014 07:03 pm (UTC)
Beautiful!

I agree 100% with every word of this post, especially the observation that we rarely get to see Sam's POV, are rarely privy to his thoughts. How can we ever truly sympathize with him when we never get to walk in his shoes (so to speak)? And while on the subject of Sam's POV, thank you for the gifset you posted a while back, of Sam's observations of the hell he's been put through this season, followed by Dean's "I'd do it again." That was perfection. (I only wish you'd plugged it on LJ for those who don't hang out in tumblr.) :)

I want to see it acknowledged that both brothers have played a part in why their brotherhood is broken and I want to see them both play a part in fixing it (and as much as I know this won't happen, I'd love fandom to be able to see both sides of this current conflict).

OMG, this. THIS. They're BOTH damaged and damaging. The brotherly blame does lie on both sides, and until it is canonically addressed, we'll keep seeing the same stuff from fandom-at-large, from the strictly binary thinkers who, depending on their "affiliation," automatically lay all blame at Sam's feet -- or Dean's. I'll always come back to your page for your thoughtful, balanced commentary, but of certain parts of fandom, I've washed my hands.

Was fandom always this polarized? :(
27th-Feb-2014 03:06 pm (UTC)
thank you for the gifset you posted a while back, of Sam's observations of the hell he's been put through this season, followed by Dean's "I'd do it again." That was perfection. (I only wish you'd plugged it on LJ for those who don't hang out in tumblr.) :)

Thanks hun. I tend to forget to plug my tumblr stuff here -especially that one as I thought people might be sick of me going on about that ep…;)

Was fandom always this polarized? :(

Ahh, it's a good question. I think tumblr and twitter have made it much worse. On LJ you can at least hold discussions, on the other sites you can make sound bites without worrying about the repercussions (much). Sam hate has been around for a long time (certainly since S1), I rarely see Dean hate - more dissatisfaction with the way he's written. Even now, when there's talk about Dean doing a very bad thing, I don't see comments like "he should kill himself" (as ones for Sam). That's not to say they're not out there - I've narrowed down the places I check after an episode, so I don't see everything.

xxx
25th-Feb-2014 07:30 pm (UTC)
I'm posting this as a general reply, since I don't want to ad hominem any one person.

I'm wary of "the blame lies on both sides." Well, yes, neither of them is ever perfect. But the blame certainly not always equally on both sides in all situations. After s4, there were things Dean needed to change, but Sam was the one primarily at fault and primarily in need of changing. Now, it's the other way around, except that Dean hasn't made the first start of realizing that he's wrong or acknowledging that he needs to change, and has instead taken a frightening step backward into insisting on his rightness and saying that he would do it again.

I'm not going to lay ALL blame at Dean's feet, but I think it's absurd not to lay most of the blame, as of s9, at Dean's feet, and I confess I am absolutely without respect for arguments that Sam being harsh to the person who violated his mind, his body, his memory and his consent for months is in some way comparable to Dean's crime and makes them both at fault. Especially since much of Sam's perceived harshness comes from the fact that Dean at the moment is contributing nothing to the repair of the relationship that, in this instance, he broke.

This season, it was Dean's turn to fuck up big time in the relationship. It's Dean's turn to turn something around. He hasn't hit rock bottom yet, he's not at the point where he starts to climb out, but to me, at least, there was a level of self-awareness to his actions at the outset, even if it's temporarily compromised by defensiveness and hurt, to be hopeful. Let's offer him the initial respect of leaving him responsible for his actions, rather than assuming that no one can ever be more in the wrong than anyone else. Dean's not a coward, an idiot, or a bad person. He doesn't need to be defended from being in the wrong. Let's assume he's capable of growth, even if it hurts. He's fucking Dean Winchester.
25th-Feb-2014 07:35 pm (UTC)
("Fucking" is an adjective there. Though 2014!Dean/Dean is always full of teh hot.)
25th-Feb-2014 07:43 pm (UTC)
This essay is beautiful. Yes,yes. I've been trying to articulate something about how Dean's MSoL's are not really, foundationally, sacrificial. They're massively selfish with a gaudy overlay of see-what-I-did-for-you.
*He sold his soul because he couldn't live without Sam.
*He came back from Hell and ingratiated his Big Judgmental Self back into Sam's life because he couldn't live without Sam the way he wanted him to be (even though, yeah, I agree, Sam was in a Bad State with Ruby, and Sam's good intentions with Ruby didn't hold any water with Dean).
*Sam throws himself into HELL, and all we are left with--as is life's wont--is Dean's grief and despair because he can't live without Sam.
*Sam comes back from Hell, soulless, and Dean wants to ensoul Sam because he can't live without his little brother, so he makes an appointment in Samarra and re-ensouls Sam against his will. Sam goes crazy and requires an angelic miracle to survive.
*Dean gets splashed into Purgatory, and Sam has no idea where to go or what to do. When Dean returns, it's all "why didn't you look for me?" until Sam (along with the viewing audience) is about to explode.
*Sam is ready to die, feeling that he has been purified and cleansed by doing the trials, and Dean jerks him back into the land of the living, removing all of Sam's bodily and spiritual autonomy, effectively imprisoning him inside his own body, and somehow? When all this goes pear-shaped--and every single incident went pear-shaped--I'm supposed to be mad at Sam? NO.

And now, Dean has done something exceedingly foolish and reactionary to Sam's perfectly valid feelings of not being able to trust Dean. I get that the lack of trust is something that's probably killing Dean, but now he has gone and gotten the Mark of Cain without asking about it, without researching it, without doing any of the things that *I* as a viewer have come to expect from the best hunters on earth. And even this Mark of Cain comes from a place of selfishness. When Dean got it, I got this "see what I had to do--and all because of you!" vibe. Utterly reactionary.

Bottom line--as I type more about this than I have in months LOL-- is that I don't know who these people are anymore, is that I've always been sympathetic to Sam who has had such a Sisyphean life, and I'm tired of making excuses for Dean. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? Are they even heroic anymore?

Again, GREAT essay, ash.

ETA: I *love* Dean. I *love* Sam. I don't think I'm a Dean girl or a Sam girl per se. I've always tried to see both sides of the equation between them, and at this point, I'm more pissed off at Dean's defensiveness than even his *knowledgeable choice* that he was essentially allowing another entity to mind/soul/spirit rape his brother just to keep him alive. I'm about as furious as Sam is, I guess, and my heart is kind of broken about the entire thing because I don't trust Carver et al to fix it.

Edited at 2014-02-25 07:48 pm (UTC)
25th-Feb-2014 08:29 pm (UTC)
Dean's grief and despair because he can't live without Sam.
Dean wants to ensoul Sam because he can't live without his little brother

That is a super cynical POV on these two considering that Dean knew that Sam's soul was being tortured for eternity. It's not comparable to Sam, say, dying and going to Heaven and rest happily in peace, and Dean being left to deal with his grief.
25th-Feb-2014 08:10 pm (UTC)
Have I told you lately how much I love you. No? well, I do.
*hearts this whole post and gives Sam a much needed hug on top of it*
28th-Feb-2014 12:46 am (UTC)
Ha! Thank you! :)
Page 1 of 3
<<[1] [2] [3] >>
This page was loaded Dec 16th 2017, 9:13 am GMT.