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08 May 2007 @ 10:52 am
SPN 2.20, "What is and what should never be"  

What a fascinating episode this was-- I'm still thinking about it, into this week.

I liked the whole djinn backmyth on this one, the way people are put into a dream-world stasis where something they want is granted inside their head, spinning out like reality in what seems like a lifetime over a matter of days or weeks. This is very much like a real dream, which apparently takes only seconds-minutes to start and end even though it seems much longer. maygra posited the idea that the djinn feeds in some way off those happy ideas and not just the blood itself, otherwise why not just tie them up and bleed them all the same? Or it could be something simpler, i.e., that fear-adrenaline-infused blood doesn't taste good.

Dean's fantasy world-- his childlike wonder at it-- was so bittersweet. Funny, sad, sweet all at once.

It's sad that his version of himself was the kind of guy who still steals credit cards and bangs Sam's prom date. Though, given that Dean doesn't appear (deep down, that is-- not his mouthy surface) to think much of himself, that doesn't surprise me. Sam, on the other hand, was a raging success in Dean's mind.

Dean's apple-pie dream is heartbreaking because, as destina said, he really wants all of that too, in his own way. It's just that in his real state, he knows it's not an option-- he doesn't get to choose that life, except at the cost to other people. But if he could... it's the life he was promised as a child, back before his mother was killed.

I also liked Carmen, as his more "realistic" view of his kind of woman. She's funny, she gets him, she's easygoing. Not a knockout-- attractive and real instead.

And Mary... she looked realistically older in Dean's "at home" scenes (odd, because you'd think she'd be frozen in his memory as she looked in photographs and such), though in the white-nightgown-of-doom reappearances, she was younger again. Her touching his face-- loving him explicitly, the way no-one seems to have done in forever-- was worth this episode by itself.

One of the things I found interesting is that in gaining this "alternate" life, Dean loses the things he had in his real life. John is still gone from that point forward, so he can't be reclaimed. And Sam... is not Dean's friend/support/partner-in-crime anymore.

Making the choice to return at the end was, I think, more for Sam than anything. Dean would avoid all of the potential unhappiness that awaits him back in the real world, and enjoy the life he never got had he stayed. But he would have left Sam alone to take up the hunt he'd tried so hard to escape (which hardly seems fair), and moreover, there's no longer anyone to watch Sam's back. *sigh*

Does anyone else think that if John HAD been there in Dean's alternate world, back with Mary and happy again, Dean might have had a harder time choosing to look behind that curtain at what was really going on?

Closing with some shallow notes:
1) Though I hated Sam's tracksuit, and I've missed his forehead-covering bangs, he's been awfully cute these last couple of episodes. He's smiling and he's charming, and he's getting to be more like Jared than Sam.
2) The more I see of Jess, the less pretty she gets. I think she's maybe a little heavier than she was in the Pilot, and though still pretty... I dunno. Big, rough features. She looks less like Mary, if that makes sense. F-list, don't hurt me!
3) Editors: I noticed the gnome the first time, thank you. Put the sledgehammer down!
4) John is SO much better looking with stubble. Mary got gipped...
5) Jensen's RL photos and photo-shopped-in pics were kind of eerie. I think I've seen them too many times in their original context.

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Diner Deanhalfshellvenus on May 9th, 2007 12:38 am (UTC)
I mean, I love Dean. But he's NOT very likable.
Yes-- I almost feel like I'm not allowed to admit that. He really isn't. He's assy, he makes it hard for Sam to love him (I'm torn between whether Sam doesn't even care to give Dean enough affection, or whether Dean simply doesn't let him. Which is also a chicken-and-egg question, but I'll bet things might have been different way back when). He does what he does (the hunting) because it saves people and he's supposed to, but he doesn't actually like people much at all. He loves his family, he gets an occasional kick out of a fellow geek apparently, and he makes moves on the women, but that's about it. And the assy part-- that goes on all the freakin' time. His overall behavior (when he's not aching, which undoes me) makes me want to smack him upside the head. :0

I find myself laughing pretty hard when I read all these arguments about how self centered, selfish and ungrateful Sam is.
I have thought of Sam as self-centered and ungrateful, especially in Season 1. That's mostly because he turned his back on Dean (remember the "no phone calls" thing?), and because you could see how badly Dean missed him and ached for him, and Sam just didn't give two fucks. And that's really typical, too, for the baby of the family-- the rest of the family spoils them, makes them self-centered, and then surprise... it sticks. And we also get into that parent/child dynamic, where Dean was partly also Sam's parent (as I see it), and the child just can't ever love the parent back in quite the same way. Children do take their parents for granted, for a very long time if not forever.

But! Sam's not wanting to hunt and follow the family lifestyle? I don't think that's selfish. I think that IS normal. The darkness, the ugliness, the emotional trauma of it all... that definitely hits Sam differently from John or Dean. It destroys part of him to be a Hunter, and he knows it. Wanting to get away is kind of self-preservation. It isn't wrong.

That makes him seem sort of horrible, which I don't think he is.
No, I don't either, but I completely agree with your assessment of him.

He was hit hard by losing his mother and losing that beautiful life he would have had. The life that took its place-- dark and scary, where he was more soldier than son, I think-- you either stop letting yourself "want" things like light and unconditional love, or the lack of them will kill you. He hides his emotions because he needs too much from Sam and his Dad, and he's so terribly afraid that they don't really care (because in his mind, he isn't worth much after all, and damn if he isn't fully aware of how unlikeable he is). As an obnoxious consequence of that, he also breeds the thing he's afraid of.

Which is fucked-up and tragic and fascinating, because the ache is real.

I've come along way since season one, huh?
Yeah, baby! I'd hardly recognize you, but the thinkiness behind all these ideas is all well-born-out and very much you. :)

And there's also S1 vs. S2. Season 1 has Dean pining over Sam and Sam mostly seeming not to care. S2 begins with Sam emotionally crumbling and Dean blowing him off, and continues with Sam reaching out to Dean and Dean being more of an ass, and... the characters have expanded during that time, so I think a lot of our opinions have changed.