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Mulling over SPN

As problematic as many people are finding this season (including myself), and as problematic as some people are finding other people's reactions to this season, and as much controversy as has been thrown up on LJ and Tumblr and Twitter and elsewhere...I don't think fandom has been this engaged with Show for a long time. I'm even making a post that's not a direct reaction to an episode! But reading over reaction posts and comments has inspired some thoughts.

I've said this before, but the first few seasons were shaped by three times Sam had to make a difficult choice, each time chose what looked like the right thing to do from an ethical perspective, and each time lived to bitterly regret it. 1) He didn't shoot YED!John even though John was begging him to--in no small part because he knew it would destroy Dean. If he had, there never would have been the truck-Impala crash, John would never have died, Cold Oak never would have happened, etc., etc. 2) He didn't kill unarmed!Jake at Cold Oak. If he had, he never would have died, Dean never would have sold his soul, etc., etc. 3) In JIB, he was seriously considering sacrificing Nancy to eliminate Lilith, but Dean persuaded him not to. If he had, Henriksen and the rest would have survived, Lilith would have been eliminated, the seals never would have been broken, etc., etc. The net effect of all of these choices, I've always thought, was that the next time Sam was faced with a hard choice--drink demon blood to develop his powers and go after Lilith, or not--he looked back on all of the times he'd done the "right thing" and realized it had always come back to bite him in the ass. So he made the ethically wrong choice and started drinking demon blood because he felt the end result would be worth it (only to later regret that choice, too).

So now we have Dean, twice facing a hard choice, and each time making the choice that's ethically wrong. First, he decided to end the Trials rather than lose Sam. As Dean himself has pointed out, this means there are all sorts of demons running around doing demonly things, and it's on him, no matter how good his intentions were. Second, he tricked Sam into saying yes to Ezekiel, doing something to Sam's body that he knew Sam wouldn't want him to do.

But. Sam and Dean are often the mirrors of each other. So, what if these two ethically wrong choices turn out to be right in the end? What if Dean's choices mean that Sam!Sam will be around to fulfill some necessary, greater purpose later on, whereas if he'd done the "right thing" and let Sam die, some greater catastrophe would have occurred? (Other than Dean falling apart.) I will be pleased if that turns out to be the case, for symmetry's sake if nothing else.



( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 18th, 2013 10:55 am (UTC)
What if Dean's choices mean that Sam!Sam will be around to fulfill some necessary, greater purpose later on, whereas if he'd done the "right thing" and let Sam die, some greater catastrophe would have occurred?

I love everything about this post, but your last paragraph? That, lady, is pure brilliance, and I hope against hope that you're right about this. Mind you, I have much less faith in the writers these days (are most of them even AWARE of the episodes and incidents you mention above?), but I'm hoping that this symmetry is what S9 is all about.

*wishes you wrote for SPN*
Oct. 18th, 2013 01:25 pm (UTC)
*blush* Thank you! I don't have that much faith in the writers, either, but it's a nice thought. :)
Oct. 18th, 2013 11:01 am (UTC)
My thoughts exactly. ^Bless you for putting this into words (:
Oct. 18th, 2013 01:25 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you!
Oct. 18th, 2013 12:04 pm (UTC)
My main problem with that line of thought is that we have consistently seen Dean presented as right and Sam presented as wrong. Your thoughts, though consistent with that, annoy the Samgirl in me. When's it Sam's turn to be right and Dean wrong?
Oct. 18th, 2013 12:51 pm (UTC)
You know, what you just said is one of the reasons I am liking this season (above and beyond that I'm in this show for all the unhealthy codependency they can throw at me, and they're throwing a lot). Even if dean turns out to have saved Sam for some better reason, he's still, possibly for the first time, entirely responsible for the inevitable shitstorm that has to come first. So often, the fractures in their relationship have been painted as springing from Sam's choices. Not this time. Dean might end up having done a good thing, but doing the right thing for the wrong reasons is no better than doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. And there again, dean's actions in S9 could mirror Sam's actions in S4. But either way, Dean's choice is problematic, and it's going to be a new dynamic for Sam to be the person who has to decide if he can forgive, and for dean to be the one who needs to earn that. (There was Amy, but there never really were consequences for that, and it didn't touch their relationship the way this does.)

I alsothink it's interesting that this follows 823 and Sam's confession, and, more pertinently, dean listing all the times Sam's fucked up. I know a lot of people have issues with carver, but I think he's still got potential, and I wouldn't rule out that he's got all this history in mind.
Oct. 18th, 2013 01:35 pm (UTC)
When's it Sam's turn to be right and Dean wrong?

What laurificus said.

Also, I would say Sam was right in S5 to say yes to Lucifer and to keep Dean from saying yes to Michael. He was right to reunite the three parts of his soul and carry on at the end of S6. I'm still not sure about his choice not to look for Dean, but that didn't have any bigger cosmic implications like his previous choices did.

Other than that, the poor guy keeps having choices made for him. He got pulled out of Hell without his soul and did a whole bunch of questionable things when he wasn't really himself; he got his soul put back into him when he didn't want it; he got the wall in his head torn down against his will; he kind of accidentally fell into the Trials (although he did make the choice to go through with it); he let Dean talk him out of the Trials; and now he's alive when he was ready to go. So I would love for Sam to get to make some positive choices sometime soon. The biggest choice as far as I can see is, what's he going to do with Dean once he finds out about Ezekiel?

Edited at 2013-10-18 05:36 pm (UTC)
Oct. 18th, 2013 12:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting this, it gives me hope :)
Oct. 18th, 2013 01:26 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! Not that I want it to justify what Dean's done, because I don't think anything can, but it would at least provide some symmetry.
Oct. 18th, 2013 02:39 pm (UTC)
*sighs happily* Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this. While I agree that nothing will justify the decision made, after eight years of watching these boys make good/bad/questionable/awful/amazing decisions, we usually "get", at least in general, where they are coming from. In the opener for season 8 - we didn't "get" where Sam was coming from in "not looking" for Dean (my personal head canon still argues with that). Many were outraged (engaged) with Sam for that reason. It caused questions. It feels right for season 9 to begin with the same, but this time the questions are for Dean.
Oct. 18th, 2013 06:44 pm (UTC)
I totally agree about not understanding where Sam was coming from last year. I've seen better explanations in fic than I ever saw on the show. Maybe that's part of why I'm so nervous now: we never got a completely satisfactory answer last year, so who's to say we'll get a satisfactory resolution to this mess?
Oct. 18th, 2013 06:10 pm (UTC)
Oct. 18th, 2013 06:45 pm (UTC)
Oct. 19th, 2013 01:15 am (UTC)
I'm thinking in the end it's all going to come down to balance. One brother will need to close hell and one will need to get the angels back in heaven and they'll need each other to get it done. I just hope we're not going to have to go through the Lucifer and Michael bit where they are supposed to fight each other. I don't trust Ezekiel at all.

I think that these last couple of choices that Dean's made are going to be his version of killing Lilith. It will take a while to realize what the consequences are.
Oct. 19th, 2013 05:07 am (UTC)
I like the thought. From your keyboard to the writers brains. :-)
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )