"Hands off my brother, bitch": Sam in Bloodlust
Okay, Sam didn`t exactly say that to Gordon but you can tell he really, really wanted to. :)
Bloodlust continues the role reversal of the brothers.
An ongoing theme of Season 1 has been Dean trying to help Sam cope with his grief and guilt over Jess. The second Season started with another painful loss for Sam: the death of John. Yet this time Dean can`t offer support because the same loss has struck him like a sledgehammer himself.
But this isn`t the same Sam we met a year ago. He`s grown up quite a bit and in the previous episode we`ve seen him step up to the plate of trying to be the rock in their brotherly relationship and help counsel Dean with his grief while trying to deal with his own jumbled feelings.
In fact the first three episodes form a unity and show Sam fighting in one form or another for Dean: in Imtod quite literally for his life, in ELAC for his sanity? perhaps and now in Bloodlust I think Sam feels like fighting for his brother`s soul (and affection too).
The episode starts on light brotherly banter and for a moment there in the car everything seems okay.
Dean is genuinely happy to be "back in black", enjoying the thought of driving a couple hundred miles more and Sam is genuinely happy to see his brother so cheery.
Yet at the same time their issues haven`t disappeared and both are aware of it.
Sam: "You`re in a good mood." = "I still know you`re not okay and I think that`s just an act."
Dean: "Why shouldn`t I be?" = "Let.it.go."
And Sam does here so they are both able to keep it light and enjoy this slice of normalcy for the time being.
This continues with their bickering in the morgue which is so typical of the brothers we`ve come Sam and Dean to know and love, especially in "Hell House." It`s also a nice call-back to ELAC where in between pretty harsh words they still found time to take glee in the other putting a foot in his mouth or having to sit in a nightmarish monstrosity. :) It`s so deeply in their core, so them, it comes out no matter what and while the grand gestures between them are a joy to behold, these seemingly small touches speak volumes of their bond.
Once Gordon steps into the picture the harmony is disturbed though. He is the outsider, the home-wrecker trying to break up their little unit. And Sam is not a happy camper about that, especially since Dean seems to bond so easily with the guy.
Look at it from Sam`s perspective, Gordon and Dean appear to be very much alike: both enjoy hunting and partying it up afterwards, Dean and Dean 2.0. So where does that leave Sam?
Of course Dean would never trade in his little "pain in the ass" brother for anybody and their differences are what makes them such a good team but when you suddenly feel downgraded to fifth wheel and left out, you dont necessarily view things so clearly.
Think two teenage girls and best friends forever when bam, one has a spanking new boyfriend and starts to spend all her time with him.
"He is the only one who gets to call me (Sammy)." Apart from making fangirls wibble with squee, that`s Sam marking his territory and a not so subtle warning to Gordon to back off (see the title).
Then when he leaves the bar he looks crestfallen that Dean doesn`t go after him, seemingly picking Gordon over him.
But it`s not only Gordon being the "new boyfriend" here, it`s that he is being the very "bad news boyfriend", leading Dean down a path to no good at a time when Dean is vulnerable and off-center.
Sam was horrified to see how Dean killed that vamp though I would say that Dean`s eyes were more dead than gleeful there. And he was equally disturbed to see the toasting, boasting and general fangirling over it at the bar. He neither likes nor trusts Gordon and it shows.
So what`s the first thing he does? Trying to dig up something on this guy by phoning Ellen. Who confirms his suspicion. And if that isn`t enough the enemy confirms his suspicions.
In the vampire`s lair Sam doesn`t exactly jump to believe Lenore`s claim. And why would he, I bet so far the Winchesters haven`t really met many benevolent supernatural forces. It`s only by letting him go that he begins to believe her case.
And I agree it was rather simplistic in writing that he trusted them so easily. I mean it could all have been a clever ploy. Eli the bartender watched them, picked out Sam as the one showing discomfort about the vamp`s killing, snatch him, feed him some story and let him go to garner sympathy.
But I guess with the cattle mutilations and no apparent human deaths they have some argument on their side.
So he confronts Dean with it, we have the teenage girl dynamic again.
"Gordon is a bully, he is so beating up the Thompson kids and steals their lunch money."
"The Thompson kids are lying liars. Everybody knows that."
"Aunt Ellen says he is bad news."
"What? Who the hell is aunt Ellen? He is awesome and I`ll keep seeing him."
And okay they revert back to boys here because it ends in fisticuffs. I think Sam knew that it would lead to violence, at least after his remark about Dad because basically telling Dean he is disrespecting Dad (and I think he did some projecting here, maybe seeing Dad and thus Gordon as a more desired hunting partner than himself because Gordon-Dean were more peer than parental to me and otherwise he was right on the money with Dean feeling a hole in himself)? Now? That must be the sore point of all points and Sam knew it.
And I think he wanted to hit it because he desperately wanted a reaction from Dean, any reaction. He is still trying to get through to his brother so once he did, of course he didn`t fight back because Sam knew that`s what Dean wanted. That`s what would have brought them back to zero, barriers firmly up.
He knows that wouldn`t solve the problem: Hit me all you want, that won`t change anything."
He is not talking about Gordon or the vampires here, they are mere set pieces. This is about Dean`s mental state and grief about Dad again and Sam`s attempts to help him. Is he pushy? Damn right. Is it too much? Hard to say. But it comes from the best of intentions and that much is also clear.
Also it must hurt that Dean so easily believes Gordon and so quickly disregards Sam`s guts here.
At least Sam can demonstrate that he has hunting skills too with the counting and meassuring, a technique I guess Dad taught them? Strikes me as Marine-like at least.
It`s also interesting to note *cough writing cough* that the boys seem to have changed their views on their own black and white. So far Dean judged by the action: "if it kills, it`s evil" and Sam by the perpetrator "we can`t kill him, he`s human" while here Sam goes by the "they don`t kill, we don`t kill them" mantra.
I think vampires were chosen deliberately here since they`re in appearance close enough to humans so it`s easy to "put a human face on them" like with Lenore here for Sam. If a Wendigo had pleaded the same case, I don`t know if it had the same effect. *g*
Otoh Dean probably doesn`t feel very much like giving someone or something a break here and his instincts and previous knowledge as a hunter tell him that vampires are bad by their nature.
Alas, Gordon can`t help but out himself with the torture of Lenore and being so utterly stupid to take a blade to Sam in his brother`s presence. Ts ts.
It should be noted how much gleeful little brother Sam looks later on when he sees Gordon beaten and tied up and Dean clocks him one more time. Payback bitch and he is mine. The team is together again and nobody stands between them.
It`s also cute how Sam doesn`t take his freebie shot but calls a raincheck on it. Yup, in a nice little circle they`re back to bantering. And at least this time when Dean questions life as he knew it, Sam can offer some assurances.
I don`t see them as truly flip-flopping on Dad here. Only right now, Dean has some beef with the man, this hunt has shaken him and he starts to question more while I guess Sam finds more solace in trying to accept. After all as he said, he spent big parts of his life angry at the man and he regrets that now. Doesn`t mean he necessarily thinks all of John`s decisions and their childhood were peachy.
Sam also offers Dean something very valuable here: the promise of his time and continuus effort to be there for him. Considering Dean`s abandonment issues and their talk in "Shadow", that`s a huge thing for both. And while in ELAC Dean seemed wary of this, at least on this small front Sam managed a breakthrough.
Yup people, we`ll be getting this hug someday. :)