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Heavy Meta Poisoning
Supernatural is truth
Sam in Skin 
17th-Sep-2006 03:28 pm
Dean


"You are not my brother." : Sam in Skin

Skin highlights the brothers` bond in both positive and negative aspects.

On the one hand Sam right from the bat seems to have suspicions about Dean being in fact Not!Dean after they had split up on the shifter hunt. And Impostor!Dean doesn`t show any weird behaviour at all. So this makes Sam`s ability to almost immediately call him on it even more amazing. As a regular viewer of Charmed trust me on this. That show played the cliché to ludicrous proportions.

Yet otoh he also gets an earful of Dean`s innermost feelings and most notably resentment towards him and their father, very probably taken out of context since for the shapeshifter it would make sense to only latch on the negative feelings and discard any positive thoughts that would balance them out.
Sam is clearly affected in hearing this yet he refuses to be baited by the shifter. He keeps asking about Dean`s whereabouts and doesn`t let himself get derailed.

Of course his insistence that: "You are not my brother. can also work as a shield against this newfound insight. After all Dean expresses pretty negative and hurtful emotions: "...left me with your sorry ass." Ouch. So it is only natural to take comfort in the notion that this isn`t in fact Dean and therefore Dean doesn`t think like that.
Even though I`m not convinced that denial was 100 % effective for Sam here.

Part of the shifter`s confession is also new information to Sam, especially Dean`s fear and feelings of abandonement, which feeds in the ongoing theme of Season 1 of the brothers (re)-discovering each other. Sam is slowly letting go of the views of a child/teen in regards to his family. As such it isn`t uncommon to be totally stupified by the sudden notion that parental figures, which I think Dean was for Sam, are capable of such vulnerability and fear. Or simply put, children aren`t intentionally hurtful to their parents/elders but because they don`t think anything they can do, would or could hurt them.

On top of that Dean always tries to exude an air of being unfazable so it`s slowly revealed to Sam how that is not really the case, like the peeling of an onion. :)


Interesting in terms of Sam`s character is the view into his little world we`re provided with here. Granted, they are nowhere near Stanford but Becky (and Zack) apparently were close friends with both Sam and Jess in college. It`s a world that is totally Sam`s apart from John and Dean.

It also reiterates the theme of Sam not wanting his two worlds to collide. (Which in an ironic twist of fate they would have as this shapeshifter incident is completely unrelated to Sam or the Demon, yet would have brought a Supernatural element back in Sam`s life any which way.)

He never told Jess about his past, not the full truth at least, which is understandable, or the existence of anything Supernatural and he never planned to as his adamance in the Pilot shows.
Of course this had by logic to extend to any friends he made. And he still plans to keep it this way. He has suspicions about something Supernatural right from the start but he obviously doesn`t wanna clue Becky in and is unhappy when his cover story blows.

Sam introduces his brother as a detective from Arizona. Now we know from the Pilot that Jess at least knew he had a brother named Dean. And one can assume that Sam made up stories about both John and Dean to deflect further questions. Non-flattering stories if you go by his drinking remark about John in the Pilot. So what did he tell about Dean?
I mean even the thickest friends would probably find a: "My family is perfectly fine and dandy, we get along great" yet they never call or visit and Sam doesn`t either, odd. ;) So there must have been something.

The way it plays here it`s not even clear Becky knew he had a brother in the first place. And even so Sam must have obviously kept the details vague or else his little revelation here would have been weird.
Honestly if Becky wasn`t a bit preoccupied with her brother`s murder case she should have grilled Sam like mad. Figuratively speaking. ;) This is a huge aspect of his life and one she, as a good friend, apparently had no knowledge of.


I gotta say I found his reaction at the end of the episode puzzling. He is amused by his brother being pegged for the serial killer and now for all intents and purposes being legally dead. I don`t think he would have found it quite as funny if Sam Winchester, promising law student, would have been legally dead now. In fact he`d have blown a fuse since that puts a pretty big wringer into returning to a normal life.

I don`t think Sam wouldn`t want his brother to have a happy "normal" life if Dean so desired. Even this early in the game when the brothers were still overcoming years of estrangement, Dean obviously means something to him. And I`ve always held the belief that Sam would have been overjoyed if Dean got out of hunting and followed Sam`s footsteps into normalty. And I don`t think he has ever accepted Dean`s declarations how he wanted this life.
Of course Dean would be up to the task to forge himself a new identity and Sam knows it but it would still be living a lie. Which yes, sad.

And even in the lifestyle the legally dead thing poses a problem if they ever run into the authorities at an inopportune time. As much outside of the law as they live right now, both brothers should have been far less okay with this as they seemed to be. It shows a very carefree and yes, stupid kind of thinking on their parts. Or lets say the writers parts. *cough*


Last but not least is this the second time Sam gets to demonstrate his fighting abilities. And for a guy who was banged in the hed twice, trussed up like a turkey for quite some time, he is holding himself pretty good. Either John trained them so hard that most of the moves went into muscle memory or Sam has been keeping up with at least light training while he was away.
Comments 
17th-Sep-2006 05:42 pm (UTC)
Lots and lots of interesting things in this. Great meta :)

Part of the shifter`s confession is also new information to Sam, especially Dean`s fear and feelings of abandonement, which feeds in the ongoing theme of Season 1 of the brothers (re)-discovering each other.

That's interesting. Sometimes, it feels like the brothers never really bothered learning more about the other, even during the time they were hunting in family and together pretty much 24/7. There's a LOT of discovery of each other in the first season. It's a bit like both of them had spent their previous life thinking about what they wanted for themselves and never considered what the other wanted in this (which is pretty regular family behavior).

I don`t think Sam wouldn`t want his brother to have a happy "normal" life if Dean so desired.

I think Sam would LOVE Dean to desire a normal life. In fact, I am pretty sure he doesn't find it normal Dean doesn't. He is probably certain it is *impossible* to wish to live this hunting life, to really enjoy it. Possibly, Sam might feel like Dean has been kind of brainwashed by John or is such a good little soldier that he had never considered doing what *he* wanted (and for Sam, doing what you want is having a normal life. I don't think he conceives at all that Dean can enjoy this hunting life and that it's right for him). So yeah, Sam was amused by the 'legally dead' thing at first but I am sure he didn't stay so after some thinking, considering all the disadvantages.

Either John trained them so hard that most of the moves went into muscle memory or Sam has been keeping up with at least light training while he was away.

I haven't seen this debated before, very interesting! I think it was hinted right from the Pilot that Sam didn't lose his skills in hand fighting (the little 'you are out of practice... or not' from Dean), which bring the thought that Sam had been training while in Stanford or that he at least made sure he didn't become soft or slow in handfighting. He must have been doing it in secret because a friend seeing him master hand fighting would bring a lot of questions. I think that during Stanford, Sam never really left hunting. It's too much ingrained in him. He can try to run away from it but it's really in him and yeah, he has talent for it, even tough he'd rather deny that. In short, Sam is not only a big ball of angst but also a big ball of denial. :P
17th-Sep-2006 07:57 pm (UTC)
Sometimes, it feels like the brothers never really bothered learning more about the other, even during the time they were hunting in family and together pretty much 24/7. There's a LOT of discovery of each other in the first season.

I think a lot of this is that they haven`t interacted since Sam was 18. Before Sam left for College Dean (and John) still probably looked at him like the baby. And Sam looked at them not as an adult to fellow adults. Also as a teen with your own problems you don`t take much time thinking about your older brother`s feelingsor thinking he even has deeper feelings. That`s normal.

So when they joined forces again, at first they totally fall back into their old roles. Dean is a stupid jerk and doesn`t listen to Sam, doesn`t take him seriously which translates to Sam can`t hurt him either.
And Sam is still little Sammy. It takes some time for them learning to relate to each other as adults.
Sam learns what makes his brother tick, his vulnerabilites etc while Dean also begins to see Sam in a new light.

and for Sam, doing what you want is having a normal life. I don't think he conceives at all that Dean can enjoy this hunting life

Exactly how I see it. He has the best intentions: "There is gotta be something you want for yourself"
as in something like Sam wants something but for Dean it`s the hunt. Period. And the one thing he does want is some little family fantasy he half knows isn`t coming true.
But other than that I don`t think Dean could quit and ignore the dangers out there. They are coming at each other from cross-purposes here.

He can try to run away from it but it's really in him and yeah, he has talent for it, even tough he'd rather deny that. In short, Sam is not only a big ball of angst but also a big ball of denial. :P

While I can understand him trying to get away from it, I mean he didn`t sign on to be the Dark Avenger of people and lots of folks would think "Hey, why should I be the one to do it, thanks but no thanks" and have a valid point, I gotta say he does seem to have a knack for it. He slipped back into the life surprisingly easy which may have something to do with teaming up with Dean and not John "We had a fall-out" Winchester. :)

I wonder how he would have reacted if the Demon hadn`t burned Jess, he`d gotten into law school etc and the thing with Zack had come up. Surely he would have come over to help anyway, very probably deduced it was something Supernatural and then what? Not hunted the thing and let his friend take the fall? Called Dad and Dean to take care of it for him?
17th-Sep-2006 08:28 pm (UTC)
I think a lot of this is that they haven`t interacted since Sam was 18. Before Sam left for College Dean (and John) still probably looked at him like the baby. And Sam looked at them not as an adult to fellow adults. Also as a teen with your own problems you don`t take much time thinking about your older brother`s feelingsor thinking he even has deeper feelings. That`s normal.

Yes, but the thing is that Sam left when he was 18, and not 15. It's normal for teenagers to be extra angsty and really not into learning about your family or even try to understand them, but by 18 (and 22 for Dean), if you still ignore everything about them, it shows a definite will not to.

I wonder how he would have reacted if the Demon hadn`t burned Jess, he`d gotten into law school etc and the thing with Zack had come up. Surely he would have come over to help anyway, very probably deduced it was something Supernatural and then what? Not hunted the thing and let his friend take the fall? Called Dad and Dean to take care of it for him?

Oh, good thinking. My opinion is that he would have hunted it. In the pilot, Sam doesn't need much coaxing to get back in the hunting habit. He probably would have hunted it then tried to go back this normal life like nothing had happenned. I don't think he would have left the dirty job to someone else. Yes Sam doesn't feel as much as a pull as Dean to hunt evil things and save lives but when he sees someone in need, he answers pretty quickly.
17th-Sep-2006 09:07 pm (UTC)
Yes, but the thing is that Sam left when he was 18, and not 15. It's normal for teenagers to be extra angsty and really not into learning about your family or even try to understand them, but by 18 (and 22 for Dean), if you still ignore everything about them, it shows a definite will not to.

In intense family situations like this one they can be. I`m thinking the older Sam got, closer to the age of 18, the more he rebelled against John and the lifestyle. Pushing him into a mindstate of him vs. them. Which doesn`t lend itself to empathy and understanding.

And he is a bit of the bratty baby, it`s consistent with his character. :)
Not that it didn`t raise my eye-brows at times but I can see where he is coming from too.
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