Supernatural meta, reviews & fic recs

Driver Picks the Music

There are two songs in particular that I associate with Sam and Dean. Whenever I hear Rush’s Fly By Night, I think of Sam because it’s playing at the end of Wendigo. If there’s one thing we know, it’s that driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cakehole, and at the end of Wendigo, Sam insists on driving, so we can assume that Sam picked this song.

fly by night1Sam was really struggling at the beginning of Wendigo (1.2). That’s when Dean gave the “saving people, hunting things” speech, and at the end of the episode, we see a change in Sam’s attitude. He was not only back on board with Dean, but he tried to exert some control. He wasn’t not just along for the ride. Driver picks the music, and Sam chose Rush’s Fly by Night, which begins:

Why try? I know why
This feeling inside me says it’s time I was gone
Clear head, new life ahead
It’s time I was king, now not just one more pawn

These lyrics weren’t heard in the episode, but from seven seasons down the road there’s a heartbreaking foreshadowing in them because what we’ve learned is that Sam has been a pawn his entire life – before even, from the moment Mary the deal with YED, Sam was never in control of his life.

Fly by night, away from here
Change my life again
Fly by night, goodbye my dear
My ship isn’t coming and I just can’t pretend

This song has always represented Sam for me. He may have been an idealistic kid –how many aren’t at that age? – but Sam is at his center very pragmatic. We see it again and again throughout the series.

The lyrics were cut in the ep as:

Why try? I know why …
My ship isn’t coming and I just can’t pretend
My ship isn’t coming and I just can’t pretend

While the entire song may not be representative of Sam, certainly these lyrics were meant to show us where Sam was at and the kind of person he is as much as Back in Black is associated with Dean’s attitude toward hunting.

beautiful loser

In a similar way, Bob Seger’s Beautiful Loser was used to represent Dean in Exile on Main Street (6.1).

He wants to dream like a young man
With the wisdom of an old man
He wants his home and security
He wants to live like a sailor at sea

Beautiful loser
Where you gonna fall?
When you realize
You just can’t have it all

Dean loved Lisa and Ben and chose to stay with them after he learned that Sam was alive. Some argue that he did it just because he was hurt that Sam didn’t look for him. I don’t buy it. That’s not Dean – not the Dean who loves hunting above all else. Dean doesn’t quit because he’s hurt or angry at Sam. We learned from his dream back in Dream a Little Dream that Dean wanted a normal life too. Dean was dragged back into hunting in much the same way Sam was this season.

Going back to Sam being pragmatic, he saw what happened with Dean and Lisa, so he knows that a normal life really isn’t possible for them, and I think that giving Sam this year of normal is no more than giving it to Dean was. And yet, we keep being presented with a Sam who believes that he can as Dean did before Sam’s return.

The difference is, Sam has had two years of character growth since he made Dean promise not to try to get him out of Hell. The Sam who thought it was okay for Dean to walk away from hunting isn’t the Sam who vanquished a ghost and saved a girl while he was dying in a mental hospital. He also isn’t the guy who wouldn’t leave his brother out there alone. At the beginning of the season, we were presented with a Sam who was willing to just let people die because people die all the time. Who the hell is that guy?

He isn’t the Sam Winchester who has suffered and sacrificed and grown into a hero. He’s the guy who Dean cajoled to go look for Dad in the pilot, and that does a disservice to the character. Sam may be pragmatic, but he isn’t selfish or delusional. I think he needs to listen to Rush again – or maybe Carver does. Think Kripke could send him the CD?

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