Sneaking in just under the deadline with the meta for Dean in Bloodlust. Yikes!
This episode begins an indeterminate amount of time after the scene in “Everybody Loves a Clown” where Dean takes some serious anger out on the Impala with a crowbar. We know that there must have been several weeks between the two episodes at the very least because the car is completely repaired and road-worthy.
Dean has progressed from anger!Dean to denial!Dean. He’s happy. No really. Happy, happy! As he says, he’s got his car and a case, so he’s happy. He’s really trying desperately to restore some “normalcy” to his life after the battle with the Demon and Dad’s death. Despite his “happy” show for Sam, he still seems a bit off his game in the sheriff’s office. We see how really off he is during their trip to the morgue. The way he forces Sam to check out the head’s mouth, even when Sam says he is going to throw up, is almost cruel. Brothers always pick on each other, especially Sam and Dean, but that seems a little dark even for Dean.
Cut to Dean meeting Gordon outside the bar. Dean is almost desperate to get in on the hunt for the vampires. He was counting on that hunt to make things “normal” and “right” in his world. If he can’t hunt something and can’t kill something, then he doesn’t know what to do with himself. He might actually have to face what he and Sam are going through, and as we saw in the last episode, that’s the last thing that he wants to do and the last thing that he’s capable of doing.
So, Dean inserts himself into the hunt anyway, and he vents some serious anger during the course of the hunt. He beats the vampire, stakes him, beats him some more, and then there’s the saw for the decapitation. When he looks up at Sam with the blood on his face, he looks almost numb. There’s no emotion at all. It’s honestly really frightening. Meanwhile, Sam is seriously creeped out and appropriately worried about Dean.
So, they head back to the bar where Dean continues his spiral downward. He’s drinking and celebrating the kill with Gordon. I think on the inside Dean’s a bit shaken by his own darkness and is looking to Sam and Gordon for validation. When he can’t get the validation from Sam, Dean sends Sam away with the overly harsh words about beating the buzz kill out of him. Dean keeps drinking and trying to make everything right because Gordon seems to think everything is all right.
As Gordon and Dean sit in the bar, we get to the heart of the matter. Gordon is talking to Dean about how he likes hunting because it is black and white. They find the “bad” thing and kill it. They don’t have to worry about shades of grey. You can see some of the conflict go across Dean’s face because he spent the entire last year learning the hard way about shades of grey from Sam. In fact, I wrote a whole meta on Dean’s dark side in Devil’s Trap
from last season. Yep, you’re right, I spent this entire episode pointing and shaking my finger at the screen this episode going, “See, see, see!!”
When Sam returns to the hotel after being taken by the vampires, Dean still isn’t in the mood to deal with Sam. He’s uncharacteristically cold about Sam having been taken by the vampires. Overprotective!Dean is nowhere to be found. Dean just wants to go kill vampires in order to kill more vampires. Dean: If it’s supernatural, we kill it. End of story. That’s our job.
Sam: No, Dean. That is not our job. Our job is hunting evil and if these things aren’t killing people, then they’re not evil.
Dean: Of course, they’re killing people. That’s what they do. They’re all the same, Sam. They’re not human, okay. We have to exterminate every last one of them.
As they continue to fight, Dean brings up Gordon, which is more than Sam can take after the earlier events in the evening. Despite what Sam says, I don’t think Dean is trying to make Gordon into a substitute for Dad. I think Dean just sees Gordon as someone similar to Dad. If Gordon thinks the hunt and kill is a good one, then Dean thinks that John probably would to, because in Dean’s mind, they are similar. To Dean, both John and Gordon are experienced hunters who started hunting because they lost a loved one; they’re the good guys in Dean’s eyes. While I admit that Sam was pushing Dean too much and probably asking to bit hit, I think that the way Dean punched him shows just how out of control Dean is. Normally, he would never, EVER hurt Sam. He might get pissed, yell, stomp, let off some steam, but that was a serious punch that he threw here. It’s a sign of just how close to the edge Dean is.
When they get to the showdown in the farmhouse, Dean finally realizes that Gordon isn’t one of the good guys once he threatens Sam. Once Dean learns that Gordon killed his own sister because she was turned into a vampire, you can see Dean come back to himself. No matter how dark some of his psyche may be, Dean would never kill
Sam…ever. At this point, I think Dean takes out on Gordon some of his anger at himself for hurting Sam earlier.
Then, in an attempt to make it right with Sam, he offers to let Sam hit him. I think Dean is a little worried that Sam hasn’t forgiven him because Sam doesn’t take him up on his offer. Still trying to make it right, Dean reaches out with deep conversation, an extremely rare event for Dean.Dean: Think about all the hunts we went on, Sammy. Our whole lives.
Dean: What if we killed things that didn’t deserve killing. You know, the way Dad raised us…
Sam: Dean, after what happened to Mom, Dad did the best he could.
Dean: I know he did, but maybe he wasn’t perfect. The way he raised us to hate those things and man, I hate ‘em. I do. When I killed that vampire at the mill, I didn’t even think about it. Hell, I even enjoyed it.
Sam: You didn’t kill Lenore.
Dean: But every instinct told me to. I was going to kill them, kill them all.
Sam: Yeah, Dean, but you didn’t, and that’s what matters.
So, bottom line, in Bloodlust, Dean learned a painful lesson about shades of grey. Sometimes evil is where you don’t expect it and sometimes the thing you think is evil, isn’t. I think Dean is finally learning and internalizing this, but now I think he’s scared. He’s scared of his own dark nature, and he’s afraid that he might not recognize when he’s stepping over the line. Finally, I think he’s most afraid that someday he’ll seriously hurt or even kill Sam as result. Great, great character development! Dean needs a hug…