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Heavy Meta Poisoning
Supernatural is truth
Barely holding it together: Dean in Salvation 
3rd-Oct-2006 07:38 pm
To round up the first Season and before we dive into our next new episode, a bit of SPN-nostalgia. :)

"Barely holding it together" - Dean in Salvation

In the last episode Dean basically got his wish fulfilled: Team Winchester as a (happy) united hunting family. Unfortunately being the family glue has never been harder as the Demon ups the ante and both John and Sam come dangerously to being consumed by their obsession for vengeance.

Two things stand out in their little briefing session at the beginning.
First John finally shares some of his knowledge about the Demon`s MO with his sons. And it makes a pretty solid case for Sam being the target and reason for initial attack. Predictably and understandably that leads Sam to freak out with guilt.
Equally predictably Dean reacts to this much the same as he did in Nightmare, with flat-out denial. I think Dean intellectually acknowledges all signs are pointing to Sam as the Demon`s target but he would never ever lay any kind of blame on his younger brother.

Blame like Sam places on himself as he looks at the events in a way of: "I am whatever I am, therefore the Demon came and destroyed our family." Dean looks at the scenario the other way around: the Demon picked the Winchester family and Sam because they were just unlucky. So whatever was/is so special about Sam, it wouldn`t make a difference for Dean since it was something Sam had no say over and it was still wholly the Demon`s choice. So he tries again and again through his denial to absolve Sam of his guilt and get him to see things his way.

Also "it`s our problem" is practically Dean`s credo. Whatever initiated this doesn`t matter. The Demon attacks one member of the family, it`s tantamount to an attack on all to Dean. He views it as his fight no matter what.

Secondly Dean calls his father on his being MIA for most of the Season. Interestingly enough while he took the reprimand over his beloved car here John criticizes Dean`s ability to look after Sam and that`s one step over the line for Dean.

It`s also telling that John immediately adresses Dean with his outburst since Sam could have called him just as easily. Or left a message as it was. Dean doesn`t respond violently to this, he doesn`t point that out. These two are still very much in a general and his second in command argue while Sam is being seen as the somewhat to be protected party by both.

Yet for the first time since Shapeshifter!Dean in Skin voiced some resentment for John, real Dean lets it show here. He is angry at the accusation and rightfully so. Call Dad? For what like the millionth time and get no response?
You can also hear how deeply he was hurt by John`s non-reaction about Sam`s phone-call in Faith. (Testament to the honesty between the brothers that Sam didn`t keep that under wraps or maybe Dean did ask?)
His voice breaks a bit when he mentions it and it`s plain to see he longs for an explanation. Yet it`s also true to character that he doesn`t push for it when he gets none. The issue is dismissed and Dean lets it be.

Later on when things fall apart and John plans to go off to trade the fake gun Dean tries his damnedest to make John concede that this is not and should not be a suicide mission. And I think he is successful here and Dad did intend to walk away from this encounter in one piece.

Interesting tidbit about the Sam-Dean conversation in the car, once again Sam tries to say something nice to Dean and thank him and once again Dean defuses the situation. Of course he didn`t want to add to Sam`s "maybe we die" mood but it`s totally consistent with him being unable to deal with true, heartfelt gratitude.
Also Sam`s exclamation about Dean being someone he could always count on strenghtens my belief that Dean didn`t actively pick sides in the John-Sam fights (and the Stanford one) but tried to mediate this way and that which can come across to both parties at taking the side of the other one.

While Dean tried words with John to keep him from getting himself killed, he has to be more physical to get the same result with Sam later in front of the burning house (not like that, sorry Wincesters. :) Dean literally has to block Sam`s kamikaze attempt here. And I didn`t find a contradiction to his near fatalism in Faith at all. For one thing he makes a big difference between the importance of his life and the life of Sam or John. For another in Faith the damage was already done on a job, he was just being pragmatic about it. Here Sam would have nothing to gain. Nobody to save, nobody to kill. Just die out of spite.

One thing John and Sam don`t realize is that vengeance isn`t Dean`s driving motivation for the hunt. Losing Mary was different for him than it was for both John and Sam. And Sam suffered the same loss before he got on the revenge train.
Dean doesn`t have that so naturally the brothers come to blows at the end of the episode. The atmosphere is still highly charged and Sam`s feelings after coming so close and missing his chance are amped up to the extreme.
So of course Dean expressing his wish to never see this Demon again if it means Kamikaze!Sam would be a red flag. As would the repetition of Sam`s own words from the Pilot as Sam is now firmly on the other side of the fence. Yet it makes perfect sense for Dean saying them here.

And it makes sense for him to crack at the end and lets out his inner Woobie again. At the beginning of the episode they were together, they were armed with their first real chance to get the Demon and lots of new information. But over the course of this hour (not in 24-time of course ;), everything fell apart.
Lifelong friends got slaughtered (Pastor Jim seemed to have been a parental figure for the boys growing up), Dad went off into presumably a death trap, they actually met the Demon and Sam revealed a willingness to throw his life away for vengeance.
Also they kind of met themselves. Rosie`s family in Salvation? Were the Winchesters if someone had stepped in an saved them. So no wonder Dean is about to crack. He draws his strength from family and if he can`t keep the family together, he is a failure to his mind.
Luckily the brotherly bond has grown strong enough for them to be able to pull each other together if need be.

Flirty Dean also makes an appearance with the receptionist at the hospital. Yet it is noteworthy how quickly he bounces back into his role as a cop on duty. I don`t think he gave himself away here through being unprofessional. The receptionist was very beautiful, lots of guys - on duty or not - would have made a flirty remark about it. And that was pretty much all he did, he blurted it out like a little boy on Christmas who can`t contain his excitement and a second later he was - nicely- back to business.
Also, she didn`t seem to mind.
I didn`t find it sexist or unprofessional at all. Hell, I`d be flattered if a guy like Dean flirted a bit with me. :)
4th-Oct-2006 08:32 am (UTC)
The receptionist totally started it. She sees him across the lobby, breaks out a huge smile and asks if she can do anything for him. Girls usually are more sublte than guys in showing interest so she didn't start out with a cute remark but she definitely lit up when she saw the hot guy walk into the lobby. :D
4th-Oct-2006 09:46 am (UTC)
And who can blame her? :P
4th-Oct-2006 02:43 pm (UTC)
Not me. Some of the "he's such a sexist" obviously didn't get that though. :D That girl looked like she wished she could invite him into the backroom right then and there. LOL She was definitely hot for him and it was adorable.
4th-Oct-2006 02:52 pm (UTC)
I wouldn`t be bothered by some flirty remark anyway. If the guy is sleazy and ugly, I can give him the "Yeah, what do you dream about at night?"-look, if he`s hot and cute, I can flirt right back. Either way, no skin off my back and I would certainly never be a cry-baby about it.

But yeah, she looked as interested as he was and why the heck not. I mean they were both young and attractive. It`s not like women don`t notice guys or initiate things, we`re not in the middle ages.
4th-Oct-2006 09:07 am (UTC)
Great meta from a wonderful Dean!centric episode. Couple of things you pointed out that I hadn't picked up before:

It`s also telling that John immediately adresses Dean with his outburst since Sam could have called him just as easily Yes, a sign of how long, and closely, Dean and John worked togtehr. And how Sam is sorta off John's radar in this.

Sam`s exclamation about Dean being someone he could always count on strenghtens my belief that Dean didn`t actively pick sides in the John-Sam fights it does, doesn't it? makes me more sad for the time they spent apart. *glares at Sam*
4th-Oct-2006 09:49 am (UTC)
And how Sam is sorta off John's radar in this.

I guess he was lucky they only had this one hotel room, otherwise they might have sent him to his room so the grown-ups could talk. And interesting that here, he took it and kept quiet.

makes me more sad for the time they spent apart. *glares at Sam*

I think they were really close growing up or else the "We`re just starting to be brothers again" line and even some of Sam`s behaviour in the Pilot makes no sense. All that lost time. *sniff*
4th-Oct-2006 12:01 pm (UTC)
We`re just starting to be brothers again
oh don't make me cry - again!

sent him to his room so the grown-ups could talk Oh someone so needs to right that story!
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