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Heavy Meta Poisoning
Supernatural is truth
Dean Meta for Route 666 Before we even get started, I think I… 
1st-Aug-2006 09:46 am
Once Upon A Time - Orphan Hugging
Dean Meta for Route 666

Before we even get started, I think I better lay a few things down. When I say Sam and Dean are soul mates, I’m not talking about the Wincest view of things. I mean that there is no one on the planet who understands Dean more than Sam, and no one who understands Sam more than Dean. They are opposite sides of the same coin. That said, I think it would be tremendously hard to be in love with either of the boys. The girl they chose will always know that they’re number two on the list of allegiances. For Dean, Sam will always come first, and Sam is beginning to become the same way about Dean. That’s my view of it anyway, and I wanted to just clear that up before we even started. So let’s begin. 

Route 666 is all about our discovery that Dean had once badly loved and lost.  For Dean, this was the most significant romantic relationship he has ever had. Cassie was the one woman he trusted enough to talk to about his work, and for his honesty she broke his heart. This really helps develop Dean's whole “distrust of outsiders” belief, and explains why he is always trying to protect Sam from the inevitable hurt that comes with getting close to anyone. Dean never allowed himself to get close to anyone and the one time he let his guard down he got hurt. If he can save Sam that pain, he’ll try.

When Cassie calls, Dean sees this as his one chance to fix what he did wrong the first time. I think Dean has a more romantic idea of what his relationship with Cassie had been. Although Cassie cared for Dean, I don’t believe she was necessarily as in love with him as he was with her. Dean was just a guy she dated for a while, but he was too emotionally closed off for the relationship to go anywhere. So while Dean is thinking “I can fix this. I can make her stay this time.” Cassie is thinking, “I’m asking for his help because I need it. I’ve moved on, I’m going on with my life without him.”  I’ll talk a little about why Dean may have chose Cassie in a minute, but first let’s look at Sam and Dean’s relationship in this episode.

Sam starts off the episode annoying and teasing and so very little brotherish. He wants to understand why this girl was so special that they would drop everything to help her. He pokes and he prods, he jokes and he guesses, and in the end he’s able to break down enough of Dean’s walls to figure out the truth. (And as a complete side note, I absolutely LOVE how much of Sam’s dialogue is him reacting to Dean’s facial expressions. Dean doesn’t confirm anything with words; Sam deducts most of it all by himself, just because he knows Dean that well).

I love how completely open Sam is, and how hard he pushes to get Dean to talk about his feelings. Dean can try to resist but Sam wins in the end because he knows which buttons to push and he knows how to read his brother.  Once Sam finally gets the whole story and can see that Dean had once (in a very vague way) considered a normal life, his teasing lessens. He wants to understand Dean and he wants to think they could share this. But “normal” isn’t what Dean wants - not Sam and Cassie’s normal, not 9 to 5, not ‘honey I’m home‘. In the end of the episode, when Sam asks if it is worth putting their lives on hold to do what they do, Dean’s choice couldn’t be clearer. For Dean, Cassie was the diversion from “normal”. Life on the road with his brother, with evil to hunt and people to save - that is his “normal”. 

I always found it funny that the TV Guide listed the description to this episode as something like, “Sam and Dean travel to Missouri to investigate a mysterious truck and Sam is stunned to see a new side of his brother as Dean struggles to come to grips with his ex-girlfriend.”  I thought it was interesting that Sam was stunned about learning something new about Dean, but is he really? If what Sam was so shocked to find out was that Dean had attempted to sustain a long term relationship, I’d just have him consider the time frame in which Dean and his sudden grasp at normalcy came. 

When Sam left for college he put a Sam-sized hole in Dean’s life. For Dean, he’d lost not only his brother, but also his best friend. And although the time line is pretty vague, but I would wager that Dean met Cassie not long after Sam left for college. Dean was feeling vulnerable, he was lonely, and then he meets this girl. A girl who, coincidentally, is a lot like Sam. On one hand we have Sam – who is driven, studious, and stubborn. On the other hand we have Cassie – who is…driven, studious, and stubborn. 

If we step back to the Pilot for a moment, we’ll see that this has a neat echo of Jess and Dean. On the surface Jessica doesn’t seem like the type of girl Sam would go for. Sam seems like the type of kid that would rather stay home with a good book then go out and party. But in the Pilot we see Jess dress up and drag him out. So why, out of all the girls on campus, did he choose Jessica who on the surface seems like a poor match? I think that although Sam chose to leave the family business and pursue a normal life, he still missed his brother like crazy. So if he couldn’t be with Dean, he did the next best thing, and attached himself to someone who was also loud, outgoing and fun. Sam had a Dean-sized hole in his life, and he also filled it with a female version of his brother. 

What floors me is how they are always drawn to one other, even in their romantic pursuits. That Jess and Dean were identical forces, and that Cassie and Sam were also, shows how deep and all-encompassing Sam and Dean’s bond is.  Dean wants to be with Sam and Sam wants to be with Dean, and that’s just the way it is for them.

But back to Cassie and Dean. 

I think we have to take into account what episodes directly preceded this, Scarecrow and Faith. There was a lot of emotional upheaval in Dean’s life over the past two episodes. First he gets into a gigantic fight with his brother, his brother leaves him, he gets kidnapped by some tree-god worshipping villagers, and his brother comes back and tells him that they should stick together. Then he has an accident and is given a month to live, is cured by questionable means, and then has to wrestle with the theological question of whether or not his life is worth more than another’s. 

Dean’s been on a rollercoaster of emotions lately, and then to top it off, his old girlfriend, his only serious ex-girlfriend, calls him up and wants his help. Dean runs to help her because that’s what Dean does. It doesn’t matter how badly Cassie hurt him; if she’s in trouble, if anyone is in trouble, he’s going to drop what he’s doing and help. I don’t honestly think that Dean went to Missouri believing he would start dating Cassie again. Dean, in this moment, finally has the life he has always wanted – he has Sam, he has his Impala, and he has his work. Cassie represents a different life, the path that was not chosen. 

Dean made his choice when he told Cassie about his work.  Dean couldn’t choose Cassie and her life without telling her about the family business because his work is so much a part of who he is.  I don’t believe Dean could have turned his back on his work and settled down to live the life of normalcy. So instead, he tried to merge his worlds together. He had “normal” with Cassie, but he still needed his work. So he told Cassie the truth. 

Where Sam was afraid he would loose Jess if he told her about the family business, Dean realized that he would never be happy unless he was able to bring both of his worlds together. Dean was being true to himself and doing what was it would take to make him happy. The fact that Cassie rejected him only illustrates that she simply wasn’t the girl for him. And to be honest, I don’t know if such a girl exists. Dean will never settle down – not while there is evil to hunt and people in danger. His one night stands and threesomes are about letting off steam and finding enjoyment. He doesn’t need to find a soul mate or a partner. He already has one. 

Sam is the most important thing in Dean’s life, but I don‘t know if Sam always knows that. You would think the introduction of Cassie as someone Dean has loved and never mentioned could make Sam reconsider his place in Dean‘s life. Cassie should have made Sam jealous, in the normal, “no one is good enough for my brother” way. But he isn’t. And I wonder why that is. 

Maybe Sam gets that Cassie isn’t “the one“, and he is secure enough in his place in Dean’s life to know he’s not going anywhere. Notice Sam doesn’t give Dean the offer of staying when they leave town.  For as much as Sam talks about how Dean could have a normal life, he doesn’t seem too eager to really push him into it. 

This episode did a lot of things in regards to Dean’s character development. It gave us background on why Dean was so wary of letting strangers into their lives, it showed that he had once tried to be the “normal” that Sam left him to pursue, and it confirmed that to Dean, life on the road is where he belongs.  All he needs is his brother, his car, and evil to hunt.  That is Dean’s happiness. 

If you want another (fantastic) take on the Sam and Dean dynamic in Route 666, I would highly recommend sargraf's Brotherly Manlove PicSpam.  She has some really great pictures along with a very interesting meta on what Sam may be thinking in the episode.
Comments 
1st-Aug-2006 06:20 pm (UTC)
This really helps develop Dean's whole “distrust of outsiders” belief, and explains why he is always trying to protect Sam from the inevitable hurt that comes with getting close to anyone. Dean never allowed himself to get close to anyone and the one time he let his guard down he got hurt. If he can save Sam that pain, he’ll try.

See, for me, this goes two ways and sort of confuses me a bit. I hadn't thought about it until you brought it up (which is why I love reading your metas. You make me think!). What exactly does Dean try and accomplish each time he offers up the 'we can stay a few more days' option to Sam? From Hookman, from Provenance... maybe even a few times inbetween (I feel like I'm missing something here). For Dean maybe it's simple enough to sleep around and be a generally naughty boy in one spot for a few days, have his kicks, and then move on quickly (since now we know why he doesn't want to try the relationship thing again). But we know he understands that Sam is more into stability and 'normal' behavior so why does he put that offer on the table so easily? If they did stay longer that would make it that much harder for Sam to part ways with whoever he connected with while he was there. It is, however, incredibly important to point out that the girls that Sam gets acquainted with know by the end of the episode just what exactly he and his brother do for a living ('the guy I might want to have a future with tells me he professionally pops ghosts!' 'those weren't the words I used!'). Dean got a pretty raw deal. He hooked up with a girl who was in no way connected to his line of work, and it turned into more than just a passing fling. Talk about not being fair.

So does Dean really try and protect Sam in that respect by suggesting to stay a little longer? Or is he just trying to get Sam to 'not be so cranky all the time'. Then again he may just be busting his chops.

I like it a lot that Dean brings up how Cassie never would've called him if she hadn't needed his help (which makes me actually wonder how she got his number?). It's a very Dean thing to do, to prove that he was in the right and that it wasn't originally his fault and that he's only here now because she needed him. If it was the other way around? If Dean had left Cassie? I doubt he would've come around again. Not out of spite, but because Cassie probably wouldn't have had that self realization of there being something more between them. And then again I have to wonder just what exactly makes Cassie think that this is his sort of thing that she's dealing with. She was skeptical before, why the sudden change? One weird thing happening (a bump in the fender?) doesn't really make you reach for the phone to call a guy who said he professional popped ghosts.

Anyway. Uh. That got kind of long, sorry. I probably have more to say but I'm going to stop now before I go completely overboard *cough*.

&heart; Loved this.
1st-Aug-2006 07:22 pm (UTC)
..."But we know he understands that Sam is more into stability and 'normal' behavior so why does he put that offer on the table so easily?"

You're 100% right, it seems really weird that Dean is always offering to let them stay. I think for Dean it's more of a symbolic gesture - his offer of staying is his way of letting Sam know that he understands. Dean may not want to stay in one place, but he gets Sam's need to. He validates whatever Sam is feeling. I think he also knows that Sam would never say, "Okay, let's stay for a few more days." I think it's just Dean verbally patting Sam on the back and saying, "I understand that this is what you want. But we really can't stop now. Would you want to?"

"So does Dean really try and protect Sam in that respect by suggesting to stay a little longer?"

It just occurred to me I deleted the whole paragraph I had in there about Skin and the parallels between the episodes. *face palm* Okay, so what I was referring to was Dean's speech in Skin about how they can't let anyone close to them, because they end up lying to them in the end. That was the instance when Dean was trying to protect Sam - he knew from experience with Cassie (if in fact the writers were thinking that far ahead. And if they were, props to them) that when he let people in they hurt him. He doesn't want Sam's friends to hurt him, so he tries to talk him out of forming relationships.

"Which makes me actually wonder how she got his number?

Oh, God, don't START. Because in Phantom Traveler he says he changed it six months ago. So unless he's been leaving periodic voicemails on her answering machine..."Hi, Cassie, it's Dean. Listen, I know we broke up and everything, but I just wanted to let you know that I changed numbers again. The new number is 1-800-ILUVSAM. Thnxs, bye."

Loved this

*hugs you* Thanks!! :)
2nd-Aug-2006 06:21 am (UTC)
Doesn't John's cell give Dean's number? If John's is the same, maybe Dean gave her both numbers if she ever needed to reach him.
2nd-Aug-2006 01:50 pm (UTC)
Hmm. That's at least plausible. It just bugs me they didn't take the time to put one line in there about how she found him.
2nd-Aug-2006 03:39 pm (UTC)
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<<But we know he understands that Sam is more into stability and 'normal' behavior so why does he put that offer on the table so easily?>>

I don't think it's weird. Dean loves Sam and one of the truest parts of loving someone is wanting them to be happy, even if it might mean some pain for yourself. Dean's shown himself time and again more than capable of that kind of decision.
2nd-Aug-2006 11:02 pm (UTC)
No, I didn't say it was weird. I wasn't disputing the fact that Dean would do what it takes to make Sam happy, but they both know that sticking around a couple of extra days for Sam to get better acquainted with different girls isn't really an option. If Dean let Sam stay and he went on without him maybe, but I'm pretty sure Sam wouldn't want that either. They are, in the end, devoted so much to each other that I think they try and push what the other might want into the picture even though the other knows it'll damage what they already have. If...that makes sense.

Dean's more than capable to sacrifice what he has to give Sam whatever chance he can to be happy. The only thing I can think of as a reason that Dean suggests that they can stay a little longer is because he knows deep down that Sam won't agree to it. In any other sense it seems almost hurtful since he knows that Sam wants a normal life, not flitting around from town to town to town - and offering it up as a suggestion could be construed as teasing.
2nd-Aug-2006 11:21 pm (UTC)
"They are, in the end, devoted so much to each other that I think they try and push what the other might want into the picture even though the other knows it'll damage what they already have. If...that makes sense."

Yes, that makes sense. You said it quite nicely. And it's very true. :)

"The only thing I can think of as a reason that Dean suggests that they can stay a little longer is because he knows deep down that Sam won't agree to it."

I think that's it exactly. It's the act of Dean making the offer that's the important part. He's sort of confirming that he understands what Sam wants even if it isn't something he can realistically have.
3rd-Aug-2006 12:27 am (UTC)
Dean's more than capable to sacrifice what he has to give Sam whatever
chance he can to be happy. The only thing I can think of as a reason that
Dean suggests that they can stay a little longer is because he knows deep
down that Sam won't agree to it. In any other sense it seems almost
hurtful since he knows that Sam wants a normal life, not flitting around
from town to town to town - and offering it up as a suggestion could be
construed as teasing.


I am not understanding you. You say Dean's more than capable of making the sacrifice and then say 'the only reason I can think...is because he knows he'll refuse'. They are contradictory statements. What I'm saying is Dean is capable of making that sacrifice and SO he suggests it because he wants Sam to take that choice IF he it's what he wants. Of course it's an option to stick around for a couple more days--if that is what Sam wants. Its to give him the opportunity of he wants it even though it may lead to losing what they have now. Dean's perfectly capable of making the suggestion even though he knows it may lead to losing what they have now but he's willing to do it if it makes Sam happy. It doesn't mean Dean wants Sam to 'leave' but it means he wants Sam to have the chance to take that opportunity despite that. It's not hurtful or teasing or anything like that. It's saying "if this is what you want, I'm going to be supportive and encouraging".
3rd-Aug-2006 01:36 am (UTC) - correction to previous post
What I meant was they appear, as I am understanding them now, to be contradictory statements. Once they are clarified to me, they most likely will not appear contradictory. :D
3rd-Aug-2006 02:19 am (UTC) - Re: correction to previous post
It's the same way that at the end of Scarecrow he asks Sam "can I drop you anywhere?"

It's not hurtful or teasing or anything like that. It's saying "if this is what you want, I'm going to be supportive and encouraging".
No no no that's not what I mean. Crap this is hard to explain. In any other form it would be hurtful but the way Dean does it it's not. Dean will support him, that's not up for dispute at all. Sam leaving him, however, will obviously screw with Dean's inner psyche more than he'd ever admit. BUT he will do it as a sacrifice if that's what Sam wants. But he knows already that it's not what Sam wants and therefore it's kind of a moot point to begin with. Sam wants normal. Normal would be staying put and finding a girl, going to school, making a family. Dean knows Sam wants normal. But at the same time Dean knows that Sam can't allow himself to have 'normal' until this whole Demon thing is over. So he offers, each time he meets someone that could bring him into the normal life once again, to stick around for a little while. To let Sam have the thing he won't let himself have for obvious reasons.

It's like reverse-reverse-psychology. Why suggest something he already knows the other doesn't want because the other knows that he can't have it? Because Dean knows that Sammy knows and therefore it can be bypassed and be made into 'not a big thing'. This is really difficult to put down into words but I'm not trying to be argumentative here. We're on the same page actually, just I'm off in left field and I got there by taking the longest most twisted route.

If it hadn't already occurred to Sam that he couldn't have a normal life then the 'we could stay for a little while longer's would really really suck outloud to hear.
3rd-Aug-2006 11:50 am (UTC) - Re: correction to previous post
I think they`re currently in a no-win situation. As you said Sam can`t have his normal life right now unless he fancies a potential next girlfriend as another flambé on the ceiling. He knows it, Dean knows it but would never say so because it is horrible for Sam and we know it.

But Dean has tried his best to help Sam along in his grief, help him relax and have fun once in a while. So I see these offers as being made in the same token. He wants to give Sam every opportunity to be happy and make a connection, even if both must be clear that it can`t last. And yes, in a way that will be unsatisfying for Sam but it still beats lying on a motel bed, moping and beating himself up with guilt.
It`s an earnest gesture of comfort. And pretty much everything he can do here.

What Sam did here at the end, his question to Dean if thi was worth it, was his way of reaching out IMO. Trying to get a hang on Dean`s feelings and even offering support if necessary. The brothers have different ways to do this and are differently succesful at this.
3rd-Aug-2006 03:36 pm (UTC) - Re: correction to previous post
Basically everything you've said here is what I've been trying to relate though I've done it in kind of a screwball sort of way. I do think that Dean tries to do what's best for Sam though it doesn't always come across that way since he's conflicted over different things himself while he's doing it. And not just conflicted over all things 'Sam' either.

It`s an earnest gesture of comfort. And pretty much everything he can do here.
I'm with you here, though sometimes I have to question whether or not Dean says it just so he can say something and not just stand there looking sympathetic instead. Because Dean doesn't just stand around looking sympathetic. He's a do-er, a mover, a shaker *starts dancing* and he can't help but say a few words even if it could be taken wrong. We know that Dean would leave Sam if that's what Sam wanted. We've seen it. And we know Sam would leave Dean...even if Dean didn't want it (though this changes quite a bit as we go along in the season), and Dean knows this in a way as well.

Sam doesn't reach out to Dean a lot, but he does here at the end of Route 666. He probably could've said it in the same way Dean did but I think that because he hears Dean say it already and he knows what it feels like to hear he gives it a different kind of twist, to make it his own. Reaching out, as you put it, in his own Sammy way.
3rd-Aug-2006 04:13 pm (UTC) - Re: correction to previous post
Because Dean doesn't just stand around looking sympathetic. He's a do-er, a mover, a shaker *starts dancing* and he can't help but say a few words even if it could be taken wrong.

Yup. Dean is certainly a pro-active guy that way. Sam is more the lets think this over. And over. And over. :)

Sam doesn't reach out to Dean a lot, but he does here at the end of Route 666.

I think it took him a long time to shake this reverse quasi-paternal look at the relationship. Dean is somtimes downright fatherly to Sam and I can see Sam as looking at him as a bit of parent, both in annoyance and admiration. It takes a while for a child to realize: hey, parents are people too who sometimes need a shoulder to lean on.

But I loved how Sam looked shocked and outraged here to find out his big brother had been dumped. By the likes of Cassie no less. *g*
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