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BabySpinach

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  1. Having Death be Sam's projection is much better for both characters. The real Death barely spared Sam a glance and they shared zero significant lines, but we're supposed to buy that he was actually fawning over Sam the whole time he was doing favors, delegating tasks, and having interesting conversations with his brother, for whom he nursed an obvious underlying--if grumpy--fondness throughout? It's so ridiculous it's laughable, and makes Sam look like a Super Sue. Only the most starry-eyed sycophantic fangirls would take that seriously and run with it. The rest of us would scoff and roll our eyes for a multitude of good reasons.
  2. On a related note, I'm struck by how we've pretty much never had a scene of Sam feeling remorse/guilt/shame alone ie. without any potentially performative element to it. We've had plenty for Dean with his drinking and throwing furniture and punching mirrors etc. when he's on his own and therefore absolutely genuine in his feelings. But Sam? The only time we've seen him express guilt is verbally, either with other people or with his own mental projections (and even with the latter he's often arguing and trying to justify himself). And when Dean feels guilty, he's visibly wrecked. When Sam has done something terrible and is supposed to feel guilty, he pretty much carries on as normal and only briefly flashes a puppy-dog look (or a pissy one) when people bring up what he did. Eventually, it all starts to feel a bit phony, at least to me, when it's mostly tell and very little show. It wouldn't have solved everything, but what a difference it would have made if, for instance, we saw Sam after drinking demon blood for the first time gagging into the sink, then staring at his reflection with disgust. Or in the episode after he choked Dean nearly to death, looking at his hands and painfully flashing back to that moment. Or, after he freed Lucifer, suddenly collapsing in a locked bathroom under the sudden weight of everything he's done, then re-emerging as if nothing had happened. Small, raw scenes like that would've been so effective and perhaps even softened him to a tolerable level, but Kripke had his Sam goggles on and probably took for granted that the audience would sympathize with his self-insert without needing to put in any of that extra work. Then the rest of the writers/showrunners followed suit.
  3. Well Crowley wasn't actively feeding Dean's addiction or sleeping with him to control him. Dean never trusted Crowley like Sam trusted Ruby, and openly used him for his own gain and tossed him to the wayside the rest of the time. Again, this is why Dean "did it better" than Sam and why he came off as more sympathetic. Sure, Dean taking the Mark was reckless. But it was sure less braindead that sucking up blood because a demon told you to, and keeping up that habit for months. The act of drinking blood from a human body is monstrous, as the show had clearly established by that point, and it made Sam look like a dumbass with no instincts, despite him being a hunter for over half his life. Again, my argument is that Dean came off better because his choices and the context behind them were more reasonable/sympathetic, not that Dean is as pure as the driven snow. Dean declared that he was the boss one time, then for the rest of season 10 he never claimed or acted that way again. Demon!Dean is on the same level as Soulless!Sam, so I don't count what he said as a demon. On the other hand, Sam's ego issues formed the entire backbone of his demon blood arc. His justifications to himself and to others about his "tainted" blood and how he was saving people were far from his only motivation, or even the majority of it: 4.14 "Dean, you're so weak and whiny, I'm a better and stronger hunter than you are." 4.16 "Dean can't get what he needs from Alistair because he's just not strong enough after Hell." (As if raw strength and power were the be-all-end-all to success.) 4.21 Mary, his "comforting" vision: "Dean is too weak to comprehend what you're doing; you're right and he's wrong. :')" Ruby, fluffing Sam up after having had sex with him: "You're a hero, you're going to save the world, I'm so sorry that Dean just doesn't understand. :(((" Sam, mockingly to Dean: "Right, the angels think it's you." Plenty of proof here that Sam's hubris and desire to be powerful and stronger than his brother fueled much of his actions and decisions, given the brand of praise and encouragement that Sam was clearly receptive to. Besides, the climax of a story is usually when the actual truths come out. And Sam's snotty, self-satisfied expression when he used his mojo was visual evidence of him clearly enjoying power for its own sake. Sam has spent probably 5x more words and energy bemoaning his status as a "freak" than Dean has ever given to his self-esteem issues. And getting annoyed by that is like getting annoyed with someone who compulsively apologizes all the time. That behavior is usually rooted in something harmful in their psyche, possibly in an abusive past, and just telling someone to get over it is not going to work. It's very realistic that Dean wouldn't move past his self worth issues no matter how many external sources told him otherwise; true healing from this would start from within, which he's almost never had the opportunity to do given all the world-threatening messes he's had to clean up and the unwarranted guilt that kept piling on.
  4. Ok, I have to hard disagree here. Dean and Sam in their respective falls to darkness did not do the "same things." Sam willingly engaged in repeated acts of cannibalism for many months. Dean did not, and if he'd done some other objectively monstrous act as part of the Mark of Cain arc, I guarantee he would have come across much stupider and less sympathetic. Sam made a series of sketchy decisions while Dean just made the one and was stuck dealing with the consequences. Sam could have cleaned himself up at any time if he really wanted to, while Dean was saddled with the Mark no matter what. A big part of Sam's motivation was in proving himself as a better and stronger hero than Dean, but Dean had no such hang-ups about his brother or any of his loved ones, nor did the question of his strength/worthiness ever come up as a source of insecurity. Furthermore, Dean never complained about being held back by Sam nor ever labored under the delusion that he was some great, misunderstood hero. He also never once thought of the Mark as an indicator of his innate superiority. (These are all canon claims that Sam made in season 4 re: his demon blood). He didn't pursue some lofty agenda behind his brother's back, either. So yeah, I actually agree that Dean "did it better". Not because the narrative awarded him just for the hell of it, but because his written actions/behavior/motivation actually warranted milder consequences. It's the same concept as a drunk driver hitting someone deserving more fallout than a driver whose tire blew out on a nail and swerved into someone by accident. (On a shallower level, I was so done with Sam's endless self-absorption and navel-gazing over being a freak. Dean never disappeared up his own ass like that and only focused on dealing with his present situation. Plus, Sam's snotty, self-satisfied expression while using his powers just grated the hell out of me.) Dean took a magical mark from a benign demon who'd been keeping to himself for centuries, had chosen to retire of his own free will, and had shown the capacity for humanity. Why would that merit world-ending consequences of the same level as Sam powering up via cannibalism, using the abilities that were given to him by his mortal enemy and apocalypse-zealot Azazel, and also trying his damndest to prove himself as the big savior of the world when literally everyone but Ruby was telling him to stop? Sam isn't some separate entity from the story getting "sullied" by the writers if his character throughout most of the show has consistently been written to do terrible things for inadequate/unsympathetic reasons. Even Kripke's Sam in season 4 was by and large a wretched, petty, arrogant person who called his own brother weak and whiny for being traumatized by Hell (in 4.16 and 4.21, not just 4.14 under the siren's influence). I can absolutely understand hating the direction that the writers constantly took with Sam, and perhaps not giving him enough POV to better rationalize it all, but his actions and behavior as written were fully deserving of that framing, and certainly not equivalent to Dean's. So yeah, if we tallied up the brothers' respective bad choices/actions and the motivations and circumstances behind them, Dean would absolutely come out on top. We can argue the injustice and unfairness of this apparent imbalance all we want, but I'll never be convinced that Dean and Sam's respective screw-ups were ever on the same moral standing within the written story, or that Dean's comparatively milder consequences were undeserved or proof of a double standard.
  5. Well, it's spelled out pretty clearly in the pilot that Sam (and John) was the one who chose to cut off contact with his family, not Dean (Dean: If I'd called, would you have picked up?). At least, there's less evidence for the other way around. And no, I don't believe that anyone here is arguing that Sam going to college is related to any interpretations of him being abusive. I do believe there are other natures of abuser besides "scary and violent," but I'm not an expert, so I won't wade into those waters any further. Still a dick move to cut off the brother who raised you, shielded you, and sacrificed his own dreams for you, though. Dean, who's devoted his life and soul to his family out of duty rather than desire, would reasonably be pissed at that. And, as the finale apparently told us, he was caustic and jerkish during their reunion as a defense mechanism against Sam's likely rejection. I'm not sure the relevance of this point. People were arguing that Dean didn't need Sam, which IMO is valid. Him needing Sam alive is entirely different. Dean was happy to sell his soul for Sam's life while only getting a year with him, because Sam being topside, even if not with Dean, was good enough. He let Sam freely choose between Amelia or hunting, which was a much greater courtesy than Sam's ultimatum regarding Benny. He made that terribly depressing speech in 8.14 about dying a dumb grunt and Sam living a long apple-pie life without him. He basically sees Sam as a parent would; he wants him to be happy and healthy, regardless of what that would look like. In other words, it's not a selfish or possessive attachment, which is what they're referring to when they say that Dean doesn't need Sam.
  6. There's no question that even with the bones of the finale still intact there could have been many, many improvements made to it. We'd probably be here all day listing them out. I'm just glad that Dean wasn't saddled with Sam's ending and vice versa. On a more detached, meta level, Dean's character fared better out of the two, IMO. That's the only bit of comfort I can take from the finale, so I'll take it! 😬
  7. I do think that what comes across on the screen is at least somewhat different to what was intended. For one thing, Dean dying in the series finale pretty much ensured that both the episode and the show's ending would mostly revolve around him. After his death, the entire next half of Sam's life, which looked to be around forty years, was sped through in a minutes-long montage. The show that we cared about died along with Dean; Sam's remaining years were pretty much irrelevant to it. I can guarantee that a good portion of the viewing audience were just waiting for Sam to finally croak and rejoin his brother while the montage ran, which doesn't come across as a particularly favorable framing of the top-billed and supposed "main character". Dean was the one who got the speech about Heaven's reformation and how it'd mostly been done on his behalf (the Heaven he "deserved"). He was ultimately more connected to the cosmic side of things than Sam, who puttered through a Regular Joe life and apparently accomplished nothing significant again. Now that I've gotten some distance from the finale, I realize that Dean going out memorably and impactfully is at least preferable to lingering on as the normie husband of Blurry Wife and father of Sam Jr. who is never as happy as he deserves to be because he misses his brother too much. Imagine poor Dean, who's only ever wanted his family together, suffering decades of grief and pain that he doesn't remotely deserve, becoming stagnant and irrelevant until he gradually fades away. That may have actually been more depressing and insulting to his character, if his and Sam's places had been switched. Not to mention all the eye-rolly Saint Sammy nonsense that would have inevitably accompanied the switch. And this is just me working with what we've got. Obviously, a finale I actually liked would have turned out way different for both Sam and Dean (and I will never get over how Dean was cruelly cheated out of a long life of freedom and being loved and finally loving himself). But at this point, I'm glad to examine alternate perspectives to the garbage we were served.
  8. Looks like it's good stuff, mostly about that newly-revealed script line "Still beautiful, still Dean Winchester," which I FULLY SUPPORT! This fucking show, lmao. It's been over for three weeks and there's STILL stuff coming out about it and people freaking out on social media.
  9. Yet another thing of Jensen's he gave to Dean that, as a result, made the character so much more enjoyable and distinctive. Jensen's got endless proficiencies flowing out of his pores, and what little he doesn't happen to know, he'll learn faster than anyone else. He, not the writers, is Dean's true creator.
  10. Welp, someone on Tumblr pointed out that Dean died younger than John did and now I want to rip out my organs.
  11. If it actually was a signed contract for a job then that kind of makes it worse, no? That would mean that Dean's eventual death via hunting wasn't even a sure thing, and that he could have conceivably lived a much longer life if he'd actually gotten to hang up his gun. I don't know, I'd much prefer to believe that Dean would have chosen to continue hunting and saving people (while also enjoying life and being loved and finally loving himself) rather than have the writers turn out to be even more pointlessly sadistic than I gave them credit for. Can't say I'm fond of the ol' "two days from retirement" shtick, especially when it concerns a main character; I find it cheap and emotionally manipulative. ETA: I feel that if it actually were a job contract, they would have added a close-up shot of the document just to confirm that for sure. I can't imagine TPTB passing up such a golden opportunity to wring even more "feelz" out of us.
  12. Thank you for your perspective! I found it refreshing. I really like the bolded point you made. Ever since the finale aired, I'd say that a good 80% of the discourse has been about Dean/Jensen. Sam's generic apple-pie life got very little attention by comparison (except for the wig lmao), but so many opinions and emotions have been expressed about Dean's final fate that they've dominated the conversation. And Dabb's precious pet Vanilla Wafer God was almost completely forgotten, as he should have been. Well, anything that potentially pisses off Dabb makes me happy! You're also right in that Sam was the first to drop the ball in the vamp fight. He got one last knock on the noggin for old times' sake and left Dean to fend for himself, resulting in him losing his machete but still matching the largest and burliest one with just his fists. And if the rebar hadn't happened to be there, Dean would have come out of the fight with barely a scratch. I still can't get over how gratuitously cruel and narratively empty it was to kill Dean so soon after their defeat of Chuck, though. There was literally nothing stopping them from letting Dean live a bit after he'd finally gained self-worth and happiness for the first time in his life. That would have sent a much better message about healing and moving on from trauma. It all just seemed so petty to me, not to mention pointlessly tragic. By the way, anyone realize that the alternate yuppie versions of Sam and Dean could still be kicking around in Brazil as old men? Wonder what they're up to...
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