Daaaaaaaaaaad - Sam in Dead Man`s Blood
Dead Man`s Blood is probably the most cleverly disguised flashback episode ever made. Instead of sepia toned snippets of the past, our characters act out the past. And it`s quite frankly the family picknick from hell.
DBM marks the first episode of the Season that the boys have full time interaction with their father. And within minutes Dean`s prophetic words in Bugs about John and Sam being at each other`s throats turn out to be right.
Honestly, John would infuriate a saint here, apart from Dean that is *g*, waltzing in and acting like the the General in the Grand Army of John Winchester. And in response to this you can actually watch Sam regress into a teenager again.
That`s not to say he doesn`t have valid points. Far from it. There is no reason to keep the brothers in the dark like this. After all, even soldiers get briefed before missions.
All in all it might have taken two measly minutes to share the scoop with his sons.
As it is it shows a decidely lack of respect, at best the brothers are still seen as kids by John.
Now while Sam during the course of the Season did come to a better understanding of his father, acknowledging in Nightmare John might have been not so bad after all and even reaching tentative peace in Shadow, that would grate on him. He never let go of his core issues with his Dad and individuality is always a biggie for him. So it`s no surprise he reacts so violently towards John`s behaviour.
Sam also experienced a different kind of hunting in the last months in working with Dean. Those two act like a team, there is equally giving and taking. This took time.
At the beginning of the Season Sam was - understandably - a very reluctant part of their little ghost-hunting unit. The brother fight culminated into a near tragedy in Asylum and Scarecrow. Yet since then the guys have grown into quite the team. Complete with cute little talking and walking in unison. *g*
So it`s not just him bristling about been given an order sometimes, it`s the overall manner in which this is done.
I had the feeling he was also angry on Dean`s behalf here. In his past rants about the screwed-up childhood they had, Sam has always included Dean, unless he specifically made a point about him being a failure compared to Dean being the perfect son. But still, it always made me believe that Sam was angry at John for treating Dean badly and later at Dean for taking it. Just lately he began to understand the reasons that drive both men in this.
His questions to Dean here if he was just okay with this was as much indignation for him being demoted back to foot soldier as it was for to be demoted to Junior Partner with no rights.
Though his face when Dean challenges John is quite cute in his shocked disbelief.
Yet while after the brief reconcilliation of Shadow the John-Sam-relationship seems to be on rocky ground once more, this episode also marks a breakthrough for them. They have, what one could call, THE TALK. No, not THAT kind of talk. I`m sure Dean already took care of that way back when. ;)
But I think for the first time in their adult lifes, they really talk as adults.
John allows Sam a little sneak-peak into his head and a few more puzzle pieces fall into place for Sam. I`m guessing he still won`t agree with a lot of things John has pulled over the years but you don`t need to agree to understand.
Their combined sniggering over the College money spend on ammo is probably the most genuine moment of understanding and equality these two have ever shared.
I didn`t take it as Sam being o-kay with this but rather acceptance of the man John is or has become. Just like he accepts Dean`s catty ways with women for example.
A "what can you do?"
And fear for the safety of those you love, being turned to near-paranoia at that, is something Sam can definitely get behind. Especially with all that`s happened over the past year.
Ironically neither Sam nor John seem to have figured out the true root of their problem: their too similar personalities. Sam attributes their closeness here to the shared fate of having the women they loved been burned at the ceiling.
Yet that is only circumstancial, the outside. Their problem was never being too different in character but being too alike. It was only their goals that drove them in opposite directions.
Right now their goals have aligned and Sam after passionately arguing against the path John had chosen for his family, reacted in pretty much the same fashion. His words from the Pilot about this not bringing anybody back and it not being the life those who have died, would have wanted for them, stil hold true. And rationally Sam knows that. But once he had a personal stake in the Demon hunt, passion triumphed over reason.
So that would go a long way in giving him more empathy for his father. It would also instill fear in him that he might be on the way to becoming just like John.
Interestingly enough both Sam and John respect Dean`s authority as peacemaker and back down from their fights before things, by the looks of it, could get physical.
Dean holds the position of Mom here and the other men respond accordingly.
While Sam and Dean`s closeness is a recent development (his worry about Dean going to get the blood here alone is heartwarming), I feel that in this special case it has always been this way.
At the end of the episode the whole family seems to be on the same page. From the moment John starts to open up and giving them the inside scoop on things, Sam becomes more relaxed in their interaction. His "Yes Sir" doesn`t sound sarcastic at all but true soldier like. Further proof that his issues where with how John presented himself.