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Heavy Meta Poisoning
Supernatural is truth
What made Sam side with Dean, believing their father wasn't their… 
12th-May-2006 09:38 pm
Twelfth Doctor

What made Sam side with Dean, believing their father wasn't their father? And why didn’t Sam kill his father?

 

 

Since the beginning of “DT” is a direct pick up from “Salvation”, Sam’s still on an emotional high after seeing the demon, nearly killing it, and insisting to Dean that he just needed to get back into the house and he could have killed it. Then Meg has John, and from this point on, Sam’s the calm, logical voice for the episode, while Dean is the barely-held together irrational voice. This is actually a slight twist on their relationship. Dean wants to use the Colt as a trade, but Sam is the one to voice the concern of, "if Meg wanted a trade, why didn't she mention one?" Sam sits and reads the Key of Solomon while Dean is all movement and action. Sam draws the protection symbols on the trunk of the Impala (THE CAR!), and insists that the Colt be left there for protection. Again, invoking logic where Dean is ready to go in guns blazing. When they find their father tied on the bed (mind drifts to the bad place for a moment...), it's Sam who invokes logic that they 'test' their dad to make sure he's not possessed.

 

Now, on this side, we have Dean, who has nearly violently insisted that John is still alive up until they actually find him.

 

Sam hesitated over finishing the exorcism, but Dean's determination pushed him on. What was Sam's reluctance? Did Sam honestly think a living demon was better than a dead, non-possessed girl? At what point are they "saving" an innocent, and at what point is it murder? Was that moral dilemma what made him pause?

 

Sam was partially conscious after getting the crap beat out of him by possessed!boy, but he was aware enough to see that Dean killed a human (possessed human, but nonetheless an innocent), in order to save his life. Even in the face of his brother's shooting of an innocent to protect him, Sam is calm, stating his thanks quietly. Dean appears to be barely holding it together, admitting he'll do "anything" for his family.

 

Now, if you take all these things swirling in Sam's mind when he walks into the room and sees Dean with the Colt on their father, shouldn't he have questioned Dean's sanity? He's watched Dean be pushed and stretched the whole episode, yet with barely-there hesitation, Sam slides behind Dean, siding with his brother over his father. Where did Sam's faith come from? It is because Sam knows that Dean and John were closer than Sam and John ever were? Was it Dean's words in "Salvation" in the hotel room (not worth dying over, and yes, I mean it! I hope we never find it!)? Was it "You're all I have," that broke through Sam’s single-mindedness?

 

That last look at Dean in the rearview mirror, then telling their father, "No sir, not before everything". Family, your living family, should be the most important thing. Faced with the reality of killing his father to destroy the demon that took Jess from him, finally snapped something inside Sam. What was he fighting for? Was it merely revenge? Was it worth their father's life? John thought so; it was all he could think of. Dean, though, his pleading not to shoot their father, even after being tortured by Demon!John (pausing...back), had to have hit something in Sam. But I do think it was seeing his father’s rage to kill him, to end it, that had Sam dropping the Colt. Sam saw himself in John, saw what could happen to him if he let revenge continue to be what fueled him. He couldn't kill himself, so he couldn't kill John, either. Sam looks so broken when he lowers the Colt. Was he thinking that if the demon took possession again, it would kill both Dean and him? It would run rampant, destroying more innocent families? Watching the thing with their father's face twist everything they'd known? It was almost a 'sorry', but Sam had to have known John would accept nothing other than his own death, if it meant killing the thing that destroyed their family.

Comments 
13th-May-2006 03:20 am (UTC)
Ah, I hadn't picked up on the Sam & Dean role reversals. Damn, now I have to rewatch. *g*
13th-May-2006 05:12 am (UTC)
I have a theory that I am still working out, that basically comes down to: even though perhaps for a greater good, Sam should have pulled the trigger to save all the women the demon would continue to kill, the morality of horror stories would have damned him for doing so. He wasn't thinking of the greater good, and neither was John. They were thinking of vengeance. And while vengeance is not always an evil motive, to kill your own father out of revenge for something he didn't do, even if John wanted it...if Orestes was cursed by the Furies for killing a parent to avenge a crime that parent committed, how much more would Sam have been damned by killing a parent to avenge a murder that parent didn't commit?

Not that I'm saying this is what Sam was thinking. I think he very clearly chose not to destroy Dean in that moment, chose Dean over his vengeance, but it's something I'm kicking around.
13th-May-2006 06:59 am (UTC)
I think Sam picks Dean's side because a) Dean knows John a lot better, b) I think Sam's already coming down from his rage for revenge, partly because of Dean's near-breakdown, and partly because he almost DID die, and Dean saved him, and I think that was a big wake-up call, c) because almost the same thing happened in Skin, so Sam knows it's entirely possible to tell whether somebody's 'real' or not, d) because he was suspicious about the entire scenario from the get-go, e) because he himself realises that John has been acting fishy and f) because he loves Dean more than John.
13th-May-2006 09:55 am (UTC)
Just to add...why Sam sides with Dean?
He had his suspicions before (using holy water on John), and the show made a point of Bobby telling/asking them that Meg was an innocent girl possessed by a demon...plus, Dean's intuition on bringing the Colt has saved Sam's life, so, what if Dean's intuition is right again?
And even if Sam is not in the room to hear Dean saying that he knows his father 'better than anyone else', I have no doubts that Sam thinks that too.
If anyone would know, it would be Dean.

Besides, whenever has Sam really sided with John before? *G*
14th-May-2006 02:40 am (UTC)
Did Sam honestly think a living demon was better than a dead, non-possessed girl?
I think there's a bit of a gap between knowing someone is possessed and doing something lethal about it. If the writers are taking that into consideration instead of the characters existing only within the borders of morality in that scene, I like them lots.
14th-May-2006 08:08 pm (UTC)
I thought what Sam was really doing was choosing not to be come like his father. It's very Star Wars-y, Luke not killing Vader because then he would have become like him, even though the logical thing to do would be to kill Vader.

I don't think it was Dean except in that Dean is one of the things he's not willing to give up for revenge. I think Dean would have survived(unless the injuries killed him) and I think he even would have eventually "forgiven" Sam for killing John so I don't think it was some sort of thing where Sam didn't do it because it would have hurt Dean. I truly believe what they showed us was Sam not doing it because he realized what it would have meant for himself. Dean's own professed feelings on the subject are what gave Sam enough of a pause to figure it out for himself. It gave him the time to realize beforehand what he almost certainly would have realized afterwards, only by that time it would be too late, his father would already have been dead.
22nd-May-2006 11:24 pm (UTC)
figure this is old enough that no one will notice. ^^;;

I think Sam simply may have taken to heart the idea that Mom and Jess are gone, and what he's got left (Dean & John) are precious things to protect. Destroying/killing John to kill the demon would be pointless. Or something.

Also, leaving them with a demon to kill and only one bullet left to use on it gave us the perfect opening for a second season. XD
25th-May-2006 05:52 am (UTC)
Okay, I was meta-ing on a longer meta that someone else wrote, and came up with better answers than what I was able to cobble together here. Maybe it's a bit more coherent. Maybe my mind is still reeling from Lost. So, I shall now inflict upon you my further meta about Devil's Trap:

John is All About the Demon. Through this first season, Sam has been All About The Demon. Dean even comments they're alike in that regard. But as Sam looks down at his dad begging Sam to kill him, ordering him to do it, all Sam sees is his (future) self. To kill his father would be to become his father (as someone so nicely pointed out, a la Vader and Luke), and that, to me, is what stays Sam's hand.

To have that vengeance be your driving factor for months, then come to a head with the ability to END IT, but at the cost of your own flesh and blood...I think the vengeance/anger burned away at that moment. You can see the anguish on Sam's face as he lowers the weapon, almost an apology, and John reacts accordingly - with disgust at his son for not fulfilling John's 22-year quest. Sam's expression is a mix of that anguish, sorrow, pity even, as he finally really sees what vengeance has done to their father.

If, you mean that Sam is about Dean in the sense that Sam takes Dean's "we're all we have" speech to heart, then I'd agree with you. But it was only a small portion of what stopped Sam from killing John/the Demon. It may have broken through Sam's vengeance, his willingness to die as long as the Demon was stopped, because he had a visual of what that sacrifice would entail. Sam never looks away from his dad's eyes; once Dean tells him to check on Dad, Sam is focused completely on John. As John continued to yell and order Sam to kill him, you can see Sam's weakening stance. That doesn't follow with Dean's gasping comments, but rather with John's increasing desperation. The absolutes "At all costs" and "Before everything" don't hold true for Sam as he holds the gun on John. The look Sam gives Dean in the rearview mirror as Sam contradicts "Not everything," is more to me an acknowledgement of Dean's remarks in Salvation and Devil's Trap regarding their family. Sam's singlemindedness to go after the Demon in Monica's house, Dean having to hold him back, Dean asking if he'd sacrifice his life for this Demon and Sam's immediate affirmative, Dean even throwing Sam's own words from the pilot back at him - Jess and mom are gone, and nothing will bring them back, all these things Dean has thrown at Sam, but don't sink in until Sam is faced with his future--John holding onto the Demon and begging to be killed.

And that was far more meta than I expected to say...wow!
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