The Dark Corners of Dean’s Psyche in Devil’s Trap
Like everyone else, I can’t wait to see the season 2 premiere. Not just to see how they all withstand the car crash, but because I want to see how Dean recovers from all the mental and emotional trauma of this episode. Remember, as much as I love Dean, he’s really screwed up in the mental health department, IMHO. This episode points this out in spades.
At the beginning of the episode, we see Dean begin to unravel by insisting that they do nothing else besides find dad. Remember, the series started with Dean needing Sam’s help to find Dad. While he was definitely focused on finding Dad at that point, he is desperate
to find him this time since this time he knows
who’s behind John’s disappearance. It takes Sam to get Dean focused enough to come up with a viable plan – get to Bobby.
Once they get to Bobby’s, we begin to see exactly what Dean is capable of doing to protect his family. Dean unleashes on Meg all of his pent-up anger and frustration at the Demon for everything it has done to the Winchesters. It’s scary to watch, even for Sam and Bobby. They seem genuinely bothered by what Dean can do, when pushed to the brink. Dean has to push Sam along through the exorcism. Dean is completely focused on getting John back, and he doesn’t care who gets in his way. Then even once Meg tells them what she knows, Dean pushes Sam to finish the exorcism even though it means that Meg will die. He tells both Sam and Bobby that they need to put her out of her misery. While I do think that Dean believes that, I think that deep down, in that dark place that he doesn’t want to acknowledge, he wants vengeance on Meg for everything she has done.
Once the demon has been exorcised and Dean hears the “real” Meg, then you can see the pain in his face as he realizes that he has killed this girl. Yes, the demon tortured her and caused the damage to her body, but it was ultimately Dean who caused her death by forcing the exorcism. You can see it in his face as he internalizes one more pain and tragedy in his life.
Then, we have the fabulous scene at the car with Dean and Sam. Still angry, Dean lashes out at Sam first about drawing the protective symbols and then about not taking the gun with them. Dean confesses that he doesn’t care what Dad would want; he only cares about getting Dad back alive and in one piece. Then we get the most telling piece of dialogue about Dean. I personally think this is the deepest insight that we have into Dean’s character for the whole season.Dean: “Well, you and Dad are a lot more alike than I thought, you know that? You both can’t wait to sacrifice yourself for this thing. You know what, I’m going to be the one to bury you!”
That one outburst sums up how Dean views his role in the family. He’s the survivor, the caretaker. He’s the one who’s going to left all alone at the end, once Sam and John have worked out their own vengeance issues with the Demon. Dean knows that’s his role, but he’s certainly not happy about it.
Now they finally go to get John, and we get the very lighthearted insight into Dean that he always wanted to be a fireman when he grew up. Somehow, I think I can believe that. I’m guessing that’s what he wanted to be when he was four years old, before Mary died. It’s a very normal career aspiration for a four year old. I think Dean just latched onto that after Mary died. If his life had been different, then he would have been a fireman.
Moving on, they find Dad, and Dean continues to let his emotions get the best of him. Sam makes the very good point that John could be possessed, and Dean acts like he’s nuts. In Dean’s very fragile mind at this point, John is Daddy, and Dean just finally found his Daddy. How on earth could anything be wrong with him? He finally sees reason and lets Sam check him with the holy water. Then Dean gets back to work rescuing John.
As they make their great escape, then we get an even clearer look at the dark place in Dean. He shoots demon dude (i.e. Meg’s brother) in the head without a second thought in order to protect Sam. He could have shot to wound him or tried to get him of Sam some other way. Dean never considered another option; he wanted demon dude dead
Then comes the great final scene in the cabin. Dean confesses to Sam that even he is afraid of his dark side.Dean: “ Sam, you know that guy I shot. There was a person in there.”
Sam: “You didn’t have a choice, Dean.”
Dean: “I know. That’s not what bothers me.”
Sam: “ Then what does?”
Dean: “Killing that guy. Killing Meg. I didn’t hesitate; I didn’t even flinch. For you or Dad, the things I’m willing to do or kill. It’s just ... It scares me sometimes.”
Then comes the touchy-feely conversation with Dad that freaks the hell out of Dean. Clearly, praise from Dad is an unusual thing. Dean doesn’t feel as though he’s praise-worthy at this point. He knows
that John would never praise him at this point. Dean’s hunter side overcomes his inner child who wants his Daddy. I think Dean is very gratified that Sam believes him and takes his side over Demon-John.
Once Demon-John finally shows his true colors and begins to torture Dean, then we get to see a clear view of Dean’s inner four-year-old. He begs John not to let the Demon kill him. He begs Sam not to kill John, not to kill his Daddy. Dean’s adult hunter side knows that Sam should
kill the Demon, but his inner four-year-old just can’t do it.
As they make their get away in the Impala, Dean lays quietly in the backseat, not contributing to Sam and John’s conversation. I think Dean is trying to hold it all in and not lose it in front of either John or Sam. Then the crash happens.
So, bottom line, Dean has some really dark corners in his psyche that he’s now had out on display for Sam to see, and I think he really, really wishes that Sam had never seen that part of him. I’m hoping that we get to see some resolution of the Dean emotional angst/damage in the Season 2 opener. I’m hoping that Kripke won’t just leave us to fill in the blanks with fanfic and meta discussions!