Sam & Dean: Soulmates
I know I’m not the first to discuss this, but despite what anyone may think, if you take sex out of the equation, Sam and Dean are OTP. It is canon, and it cancels out any other pairings within the confines of the show. Kripke says, it’s the “epic love story of Sam and Dean,” and he is Kripke/God after all. In Dark Side of the Moon, we learn they are soulmates, destined to be together for eternity in ‘Heaven.
Their bond is so strong, so consuming, that they are unable to have any kind of long-term, intimate relationship with another person. Lisa acknowledges this when she tells Dean that she knew the minute that Sam walked in that it was over between her and Dean. She knows that this “tangled” thing Dean has with his brother would come between him and anyone else. She knows he loves her, but not enough to put her (and Ben) before Sam.
When Zacchariah says they are irrationally, erotically co-dependent, he is trying to undermine Adam’s trust in them, but he is being somewhat honest. They are co-dependent. They can’t function without the other in their world. Dean sells his soul for Sam, and when Dean goes to Hell, Sam takes a nose dive. In a normal relationship, their co-dependence would be unhealthy, but for them, it is their strength. They use it to save themselves, each other, and the world.
I can’t prove this, but it can be argued that when Sam jumps in the pit with Lucifer, he does it to save Dean, not to save the world. Sam is trapped inside his own body. Lucifer is in control and beating Dean. Sam doesn’t have the strength or the will to overcome Lucifer. Then he sees the army man in the Impala’s ashtray, and he remembers all the good, the love between him and Dean. Those memories and feelings cancel out all the hurt and betrayal between them. At that moment, Sam’s goal is to save Dean from Lucifer. I don’t think he is even thinking about humanity at that moment. (Or Dean represents humanity in all its glory and degradation.)
Ships are fun, and I don’t begrudge anyone their ship. But none of them are canon, and they never will be (if they involve Sam or Dean). First, the major ships are homoerotic and the producers aren’t going to go there. Second, and most important, the show is about love and loyalty. It’s about family, not about sex.
I think it’s easy to see that their willingness to sacrifice themselves for one another would be unhealthy in any normal relationship, but they don’t live normal lives.
Let’s look at the first example of it: Dean selling his soul to bring Sam back. It’s important to remember that John had done the same thing for Dean, and I never hear anyone say that was ‘unhealthy.’ Why? Probably because it is acceptable, even laudable, when a parent sacrifice’s themself for a child. Seen in that light, Dean’s behavior isn’t surprising. He’s been a kind of surrogate parent to Sam his whole life. While it may be unusual for a sibling to do so, (based on personal experience) I would argue it isn’t unbelievable.
And let’s look at what would have happened if Dean hadn’t. What would Dean have been like if he hadn’t been willing to sell his soul and go to Hell in exchange for Sam’s life? At one point in the series, Dean says to Sam that they keep each other human, and that is all too true. If Sam had stayed dead and Dean had gone on alone, he would have become another Gordon Walker. He would have become a heartless revenge machine just like Gordon. Sam taught Dean to see gray areas remember. Without him, Dean would be a very different person.
Their willingness to sacrifice everything for one another is what keeps them alive and keeps them human. If not for Dean, Sam would never have found the strength to take control of his body from Lucifer, jump into the pit, and save the world. They are stronger and better people because of their selfless devotion to one another.
Lisa calls their relationship unhealthy and tangled because she doesn’t see the big picture as we should. She doesn’t understand that they give each other the strength to continue to fight despite the odds against them. They are, as Dean said, each other’s Achilles heel, but they are each other strength as well.
Despite their closeness and love, there’s not denying that there’s also a certain level of violence. [GRAPHIC]
Dean does hit Sam pretty frequently and over not particularly large things. He hits him when he’s angry and he hits him when he’s worried about him. I can only think of one time that Sam threw the first punch and that was in All Hell Breaks Loose. I’ve talked about this before — Dean hitting Sam and where he learned that kind of behavior — probably from John. I know the John lovers don’t like to think that he hit his kids, but I find it unlikely that Dean just developed this behavior out of the blue. Violence as a means of control or settling a dispute, I would argue, is generally a learned behavior.
One has to wonder how far back this behavior goes with Dean and Sam. There’s no doubt that Dean loves Sam. We know that Sam is the center of Dean’s universe. Dean was a little kid though when he became responsible for Sam. I can only imagine how difficult that was — all that responsibility and fear and doubt — and every time he messed up, his dad made him feel worthless and small and maybe hit him. So when Sam messed up, Dean hit him too because that’s how you handle things like that.
So maybe when Sam ran away in Flagstaff, when he went off to Stanford, maybe he was trying to get away from Dean too because much as he loves his big brother, he hates how much it hurts inside when Dean gets angry, when he hits him, how small and worthless he feels.
I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe these instances above are anomalies. But theirs is a violent world, and we shouldn’t be surprised if that violence creeps into their personal lives. There’s a lot of reasons why these guys are so messed up.