some disconnected thoughts on season 8
November 15, 2012
You know when Cas says to Dean, “Hey, everything isn’t your responsibility” and Sam says to him, “You did everything you could … Survivors guilt… You gotta walk past it”, they are essentially saying the same thing to him. He can’t save everyone, and he shouldn’t feel bad for saving himself.
But, of course, Dean doesn’t value himself except for how well he does his job. So saving himself didn’t mean much, if he couldn’t save Cas as well. If he fails at his job — saving others — then he takes all the guilt for that. He doesn’t believe his best is good enough.
Dean has unrealistic expectations of himself. I still think that at least half of his anger and disappointment over the choices Sam has made come from his own self-loathing because Dean does believe he is responsible for everything. And who raised Sam? Dean did. If Sam screws up, if he hooks up with a demon or drinks demon blood, or lets a monster go, who’s fault is it ultimately? We’d say it’s Sam’s, but in his heart, Dean believes it must be him. He failed. He didn’t raise Sam right. So, all of Sam’s failures are Dean’s failures. Sam doesn’t see this because it’s irrational. It isn’t true. But Dean’s feelings about and expectations of himself aren’t rational.
I’m gonna stop now before I start talking about how John Winchester’s unrealistic expectations of Dean when he was a just a kid completely screwed him up.
everything but the kitchen sink
Oh wait, there was a kitchen sink in Sam’s flashback to Dr. Angry Lady’s motel room. So, yeah, they’re putting everything in this season.
It occurred to me while reading this post on 8.07 by cleanexx that one of the problems with the show this season is they are just trying to do too much. There’s no focus. In seasons 1-5, Sam and Dean were the focus of the series. Then, they kept making Castiel’s story more of a focus. Now, they’ve thrown Benny into the mix while trying to tell Sam and Dean’s separate past stories along with their current story. There’s no focus. Each episode skips around between flashbacks and the present — Dean and Sam, Dean and Benny, Dean and Cas (huh, kind of a theme there isn’t there?) Sam and Amelia, the Trans, Crowley’s quest.
I think they are just trying to do too much. They need to tighten up the writing and quit trying to tell so many stories at once. They need to go back to Kripke’s model as cleanexx states: “Kripke clearly laid out the formula for the show and has stated what this formula is in the past. Each episode was always constructed in the same way. They would figure out what the story was they wanted to tell in regards to the brother’s relationship in the episode and then they would shape and connect the overall supernatural story in the episode around that. The brothers and their relationship was always the center.”
I’m not saying here that they need to get rid of Benny or Castiel or any other character, but they need to focus on the Winchesters, on their lives and specifically on their relationship because that is where the heart of the show lies. I know not everyone will agree with that, although most will agree that S1-5 were the most tightly written and most successful. Ships aside, the reason why is that the show had focus, and that focus was Sam and Dean.
Dean and Benny
It hasn’t occurred to Dean that Benny might not be such an awesome friend. Yeah, he called Dean ‘brother,’ but Dean was Benny’s ticket out of Purgatory. It was in his best interest to keep Dean alive. Since they’ve been back, Benny has called him for help and then was perfectly okay with Dean taking off. Dean went to Prentiss Island on his own initiative, not because Benny wanted his company. Furthermore, Benny seems somewhat baffled by Dean’s friendship, which may indicate that he doesn’t reciprocate Dean’s feelings.
I’m not saying that Benny is evil, but he may not be the “brother” that Dean thinks he is. I’m afraid that Benny will let him down just like everyone else has — not necessarily because he’s a monster, but because part of him is still human.
I know we didn’t get much Sam and Dean in this ep, but I think what we got was pretty awesome. Remember the end of Southern Comfort? Remember how we left them angry and hurt and resentful?
And this ep? Dean walks in with his beer acting kind of strange and Sam asks him if he’s okay as if that blow up didn’t even happen. He does it because love is greater than all that other shit. Because that’s how people who are really close behave. You still have to go on with the day to day shit. You still care more than anything.
Sam asks Dean again later if he’s okay and tells Dean that he isn’t responsible for everything. He pats his shoulder. That may not seem like much, but it is. That physical contact means a lot. This is not angry, resentful Sam. He told Dean to move on in Southern Comfort, and he’s willing to let it go too. He’s there to support Dean and reassure him.
Now, I’m sure that there will be more tension and confrontation between the boys this season, but I think their exchanges in this ep show that the love that beat Heaven and Hell is still there. It better be because it looks like Carver intends to dredge up that old storyline again. *sigh*