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Supernatural is truth
"Don't look back!": Dean in "Bloody Mary" 
18th-Sep-2006 12:26 am

So, when I started thinking about this meta, my original question was going to be the same one I've had since I first saw the episode: What is Dean's deep dark secret that Bloody Mary draws on?

Except that, watching it again a couple of times this weekend, I suddenly realized I'd been asking the wrong question entirely. The question should really be: Why doesn't Dean think he has a deep dark secret?

Because it's obvious he doesn't. Hell, we've seen him stand in front of the figurative loaded gun for Sam before, so if he thought he had a secret that would appeal to Mary, he'd certainly have been out in front, calling her name as loudly as he could. So why doesn't he? It's obvious he has some kind of secret that she can draw on, or he'd have been as unaffected by her as the "innocents" in the rest of the episode. Even subscribing to the idea that, once freed from her mirror, Mary could inflict damage on anyone, you have to wonder that Dean hasn't committed some kind of hellish act that he can be rightfully guilty of, you know?

I think the fact that he doesn't feel guilty enough about anything to feel he's a suitable target speaks to the way we've already seen Dean live his life. When he comes to Sam at Stanford, he's understandably worried about their missing father, but it takes a very brief time for him to immerse himself in the hunt for the woman in white and save the day. Once it's obvious that Dad meant them to have the journal and meant for Dean do get the job done in Colorado, Dean settles down into doing what he's always done. Unlike Sam, Dean seems to have a true gift for living in the present moment. He doesn't dwell too much on the past, though previous wounds still hurt him deeply, and he doesn't worry too much about a future he can't predict. It's as if he took his father's admonishment on the night of the fire completely seriously. "Don't look back!" is, in many ways, his watchcry.

Now I'm not saying that Dean is heartless or lacks a conscience or anything of the sort. On the contrary, I think he's a good bit more responsible and moral than either John or Sam in many ways. No, what I'm saying is that Dean has lived his life trying not to be the one dragged down into the obsession. He says in the pilot that he thought the way they were raised wasn't "all that bad," and he's more than happy to hunt down any old evil thing, not just the thing that killed their mother.

I also feel that Dean's focus on the present moment is a prime reason why, here in the beginning of the first season, his character is actually written as incapable of taking the starring role. The story is about Sam not just because he's the one with the most recent hurt, but because the hurt is something he picks at daily. It's a wound he opens as often as he can. Dean just isn't built like that. And as of "Bloody Mary," we've yet to see him change that present-minded face for us.

See how I cleverly didn't mention the radical shift in the character later in the season? *snerk*

18th-Sep-2006 08:49 am (UTC)
Damn I love metas. I hadn't thought of it before, but you are so right that the real question is - why doesn't Dean have a deep dark secret? And I like your answer about Dean living in the moment. While obviously the past shapes him, he doesn't strike me as someone who dwells on what he can't change. Even in Something Wicked (I can't help jumping ahead!), it is only when he gets a chance to right things that this past incident comes up.

I think your point that John's charge to "not look back" has shaped him alot, is an excellent one.
18th-Sep-2006 12:15 pm (UTC)
Ohhh. Love that idea. Great way to turn conventional fandom thinking on it's head. And yeah, I totally agree that Dean isn't burdened by a hige weight of guilt over much of anything. Hell, that's half the appeal.
18th-Sep-2006 02:55 pm (UTC)
My view on that episode was that Dean understands Sam's need to face his own guilt, and possibly be punished for it. I thought Dean thought if Sam could do that, he'd be better. Plus, I don't think Dean would have wanted to put himself in a position where he has to explain his own deep dark secrets to the younger brother unit; that's completely against his MO.

Though I really like your take on Dean living in the present, and sort of burying things so that he doesn't feel them as much. At least until 'Home', heh. Explains how he goes from finding his dad to hunting Constance, at least.
21st-Sep-2006 01:29 pm (UTC)
That's a fascinating new take on this. Definitely makes sense that if Dean thought Bloody Mary would come after him, he would insist on summoning her instead of Sam. Instead it's presented as if Sam summoning her is the only option.

So maybe the shtriga thing weighs on his mind in ways he's not aware of. Dean's a realist, but we've seen his denial abilities with regards to John. He's slow to admit weakness. So the shtriga incident is niggling in the back of his mind only he's not aware of it?
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