It seems ridiculous for someone my age to be so involved with a TV show that I’m letting it have such a huge impact on me. The night after the finale aired, I woke up at 3 AM, my mind spinning and my heart still racing. How is that possible? It’s possible because I have so much invested in Dean Winchester. I can understand how playing Dean has taken its mental toll on Jensen, because I don’t even have to live in Dean’s skin and its taken its toll on ME. Over the years, I’ve written many a paragraph describing my love for Dean and what he means to me. I’ve created fan videos, fan art and written fanfiction (the general, PG variety). There’s not another character, literary or otherwise, that has ever moved me like Dean Winchester. I fell in love with him during the Pilot, September 13th, 2005. I was completely obsessed and entered into fandom for the first time by the second half of the that first season. He has captured my heart and my attention like no other character. I’ve stuck with this show even when there were times it upset me more than it made me happy.
Because of “Devil’s Trap,” I began writing again—something that has taken a place of great importance in my identity and how I see my life. Its become a channel for all the creative stuff that’s going on in my head (because, there’s—no lie—a constant stream of storytelling going on in my head all the time). Because of Dean, I’ve made friends, lost friends (who stopped watching SPN or just disappeared), made enemies, and lost enemies who became friends. I’ve lost a lot of sleep, shirked duties (mostly laundry :p) because of this character and this show. I’ve been through some major life changes over the last ten years and there have been times that focusing on this character and Jensen Ackles has been the light at the end of the tunnel, the thing that got my mind off the hard life situations that I had no power or control over. Its given me escape when life was too hard. I’ve lived with Dean Winchester being the center of my creative world and my dream world for nearly ten years now. So, yes, I’m deeply, irrevocably involved in this character and his well being.
I guess it shouldn’t be such a surprise that I’d have such mixed feelings about “Do You Believe in Miracles.” I’m not even sure how to put my thoughts and feelings into any kind of ordered sense even as I write this. I’m moved, I’m depressed, I’m upset, I’m scared, I’m heartbroken, I’m excited, I’m confused and I keep cycling through all these emotions to the point that I’m not really sure what I feel. Over a character on a TV show (thank you Jensen Ackles for keeping me addicted to Dean).
When season 9 began, I really didn’t know what to expect. Though I was still in love with Dean as much as ever, I was holding the show at a distance because there were things going on with that I didn’t like. It bothered me too much to invest too much in something that was making me unhappy. I won’t go into all the reasons for my unrest, but I will say that a large looming part of it was how the brothers were being portrayed. Even though I am a 100 %, through and through Dean girl, I’ve always also been invested in the brother relationship as well and I’ve always hated their fighting (or even fighting with Cas). The one thing I disagree with Jensen about is that the brothers would have nothing to do but drink beers if there was no conflict between them—no, Jensen, no.
There can be conflict of all kinds from many directions w/o Sam and Dean raging at each other. And these last two years Sam and Dean have felt more like strangers than brothers, like enemies who decided to call a truce for a common goal than the family that was once irrationally, psychotically codependent. I know brothers bicker, but this was all out war. The things they’ve said to each other, hard to imagine you could ever find a place of forgiveness—there was nothing “mature” about the things that were said in anger and in spite (even if it did come from a place of hurt). This stopped feeling like a show about family.
The bond between Dean and Sam has been more or less broken to some degree for me since season four—but it reached an all-time high during season 8. I finally got to the point that I just had to stop caring about them as brothers and focus on Dean only—it was that, or begin to hate Sam for the pain I felt he was heaping on the one person in his life who had loyally sacrificed everything for him repeatedly. I felt angry at Sam, really angry. When the second half of season 9 began, I was furious at Sam, livid, because I felt he was being purposely cruel—but because I was able to put him in the ‘don’t care about this’ box in my brain, I think I was successful in avoiding hating him. Obviously, I was successful because, otherwise, I wouldn’t have been so moved by this scene from the finale: http://novembersguest.tumblr.com/post/86373812785/clairvoyantsam-im-proud-of-us#.U34P-vldXhc
That scene, folks. That scene went a long way toward making this episode a positive for me. That scene is the first time in a very long time I felt like Sam was Sam and that he cared about Dean. Do you see how Sam cradles Dean’s head there in the 7th and 9th pic? That’s how you touch someone you love. And Sam cried, really cried as he clung to Dean’s dead body. The loving way Sam lays Dean’s body on Dean’s bed (“…it remembers me…” echoes in my head) and we see that he’s cleaned the blood off Dean’s face and removed his jacket. All these little touches speak of real love, something that has been sorely lacking from Sam’s character for ages. It also helped that he admitted he lied to Dean when he said he wouldn’t do the same. Obviously, Sam has proven that he would’ve done the exact same thing to save Dean that Dean did for him (and has no reason to be angry about it)—so its time Sam let it go and accept it’s who they are to each other.
Does that scene erase all the things Sam said to Dean in The Purge? No, absolutely not. Sam still has a way to go in winning me back, but this was a step in the right direction (I sincerely hope Jared continues to push for a better version of Sam). I’m sorry, I know not everyone will agree with my feelings on this, but I want to enjoy that scene and what it means to me and these characters for just a moment. For the first time, in a long time, I felt a small stirring of love for the brothers again and was reminded of how much I used to enjoy their bond back when I still believed in it. I’m still upset with Sam, make no mistake about that. His words to Dean this season were designed to hurt Dean in the worst possible way and pushed Dean over the edge, bringing him to where we are now. I don’t take that lightly.
Sam should take responsibility for his part in this, because if he had shown Dean some compassion and forgiveness when Dean stood on the bridge confessing his sins and fears, we wouldn’t be here now. I know Sam was mad and he was hurt—but his words weren’t words thrown out in the heat of a passionate fight. These were calculated words designed to cut deep and were followed up by months of the cold shoulder at a time when Dean needed him the most. He left Dean to suffer alone (because Cas was absent). He left Dean to fall into despair and self-loathing the likes of which we’ve never seen before…and that’s saying something. He let Dean down in a big way after Dean has repeatedly been there for him. So, no, I don’t think that moment in the finale erases all that came before, but it does give me hope that we can get there. To me, that is a good thing. A really, really good thing.
Besides, the truth is, there is nothing Sam can say to make those things okay. There’s no apology that can erase how much he hurt Dean. The only way Sam can fix this is through his actions. Actions are the only believable way for Sam to make this good between them again. You have to start somewhere, right? Well, this was it, the beginning (at least, I hope it continues). Either way, we know how this show works and they’re never going to give us an in-depth resolution between Sam and Dean like we want—and its never going to go back to the way it was the first few seasons. So, for now, I’m choosing to take what I can get and make the most of it.
Something else about the finale that I deeply appreciate, Dean stayed Dean up until his dying breath. Dean’s foremost concern remained on Sam, as always, for better or for worse. That’s Dean. It will be easier on you if you can accept that about him. He could’ve held a grudge against Sam, he could’ve died in Sam’s arms with spiteful words on his tongue—but he didn’t. His last act was to place a loving hand on Sam’s cheek. His last words to Sam were that he was proud of them. That’s Dean. He forgives. He loves. He has a heart so big, he loves enough for the both of them and several others. No matter how much some fellow fans might sometimes wish he’d tell Sam to get lost, I am glad he didn’t—not in this circumstance. That’s not who he is and that’s an admirable quality in my eyes. If anyone sees him as being weak for that, so be it. I love him for it. He always rises above his own needs and his own hurts to love those he holds in his heart. That is real strength. Its easy to be vengeful and angry, its hard to be selfless and forgiving.
Despite the Mark’s influence, when the going got tough, Dean was still strong enough to see what the Mark was doing to him. In the end, he recognized its destructive influence and made it blatantly clear that he would choose death over becoming something else. He didn’t want that. Despite the “high” he got from the power of the Mark, Dean fought back, knew he would rather die than let it make him a monster. He chose and he chose rightly. Which is what makes what happened at the end so very hard for me to accept (but also gives me great comfort knowing what happened wasn’t his fault). The Mark took the choice out of his hands and turned him anyway, against his will.
I admit, I wasn’t ready for Dean to be rid of the Mark completely. It’s been years and years and years since Dean had a storyline. It’s been since season four since Dean seemed important to the Supernatural story for being Dean and not Sam’s brother or anyone’s support system. So, yeah, I’ve been excited. It’s great to see Dean have something important going on in his personal story that is all his. The best part? Jensen Ackles. Give the man something meaty to do and he will take that and nuance, tease and act the last drop out of it. He will give his all to that role. He will make you FEEL it in your bones—you will believe Dean is a real person, you will feel what he feels. Dean has broken my heart, scared me and made me believe in heroes of the human variety.
In her review of the finale, gaelicspirit
pointed out when Jensen is at the top of his game, Jared reciprocates. Jared seems to feed off of Jensen’s energy and bring his best too. I agree with that assessment. Both Jensen and Jared’s acting improves when Dean has a challenging role and, in turn, the overall quality of the show increases substantially. I love it. I love seeing actors in their element giving themselves over to their craft so completely. Its inspiring. Jensen Ackles will never know how much I appreciate his efforts for this character, how much he personally has made Dean meaningful to me, but I feel it nonetheless. Those of you who will get that chance to see him in person, please make sure he knows that he rocks our world in all the best and most painful ways and how much we love and appreciate him for it. Jensen is directly responsible for making Dean so important to us and he deserves credit for that.
So, yeah, I’ve been enjoying the Mark of Cain storyline for these reasons, but at the same time, I feel like I’ve gone into mourning over the possibility that Dean has lost his humanity. I hurt for Dean’s lost humanity, the most important thing to him—his identity. The thought that Dean has become the thing he hates most upsets me beyond words. I hate that when we come back in the fall, Dean might not be Dean anymore. That the human Dean— the righteous man who fought against monsters, Hell, demons and angels, to always do what is right—might be truly gone and the very thing he’s died fighting against is his new reality. Around Tumbr, people have been blogging fan art that contains the words, “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” It worries me that perhaps Dean has done both. He died a hero, but has he also been reborn a villain? I hope not. I just don’t think I could stand watching that happen.
The only way I can be okay with what has happened to Dean is if, somewhere inside, Dean is still there. Our Dean. I’m hoping that there will be enough humanity left in Dean to fight against his new nature. We know he’s not a typical demon. He didn’t go to Hell where his soul was burned away—he didn’t sell his soul or make a deal (like Cain). He isn’t possessed (which is why his anti-possession tattoo doesn’t work). But, Dean the man is dead…so what exactly is he now? Is he like Cain? If so, Cain had the ability to do the right thing. He married and he put violence behind him for his wife. Will Dean have that same control?
Crowley said to Dean, “Listen to me Dean Winchester. What you’re feeling right now, its not death. It’s life. A new kind of life.” Was he talking about a new kind of life as a demon or did he mean something that has never been before? A new creature? Is Dean something entirely other than human or demon. Does he mean life as in something living or…what, exactly? We don’t know, but I’m hoping there is humanity left in Dean and that our Dean will rise above whatever the Mark has done to him to conquer any control it has over him. I hope Dean will be able to resist. The last thing I want out of this is to see Dean truly become evil or to see Sam and Cas having to hunt him. There’s a better story to be told through seeing Sam and Castiel support and stand by their brother and friend and in seeing Dean use his internal strength to hang on to who he really is inside, where it matters. I want to see him prove to himself that he is not a killer or poison to everything he touches.
But I’m scared. I’m scared that’s not how it will play out. I’m afraid that Dean’s legacy will be full circle tragedy in which he is the monster. I’m worried that we won’t recognize him or see the man we love there anymore. I’m afraid that we will suffer through another season of the brothers fighting against each other instead of side by side.
And where do we go from here? How do you fix this? Dean’s not a normal demon (if one at all), so I don’t see how the cure would work on him. Besides, no way do I want to watch Sam going through the trials again. Cain made it pretty clear that he wants Dean to kill him, so he’s not likely to be willing to take the Mark back. Even if Cain can and will take the Mark back, Dean died. The man, the human, died. What does that leave behind if the Mark is removed? A dead body? A regular demon? What? Cain killed himself at some point, but was still alive after he passed the Mark to Dean and, evidently, still had demon powers. Cain also sold his soul and spent time in Hell—which makes him different from Dean.
Just about the time I convince myself maybe Dean’s not a true demon, Crowley’s words come back to me. “Open your eyes, Dean. See what I see. Feel what I feel. Let’s go take a howl at that moon.” Ominous. Creepy. Chilling. That’s what I feel when he speaks those words. How can any good come from Dean seeing what Crowley sees, feeling what Crowley feels? Who, but a beast, howls at the moon?
And what about how Dean obeys Crowley? Will he be aligned with Crowley now? Cain obviously was more powerful than Crowley and not under anyone’s control—but does this apply to Dean? And why was this done in this manner? Could anyone have told Dean to open his eyes and he would? Did he need the blade in order for it to happen? Was those words Crowley spoke chosen for a specific reason? Was it like a spell? I don’t know. I want to know why Crowley started to believe in the myth of Cain simply because Dean chose not to eat a cheeseburger. I don’t have these answers and its really hard knowing I have to wait four months to find out.
So here I am, confused about how I feel, but feeling so very passionate about whatever it is I do feel. I hope for better things for next season. I hope we get to see Dean and Cas’s friendship rekindled, as its been sorely lacking this year. I hope that along with the hurt Dean feels, we finally get some comfort and even some appreciation. Hurt without the comfort becomes too overwhelming and depressing after a while. I need to have some good things going on for Dean. Some happiness. I need for the veil of darkness to lift, even if only a little. I need for there to be support for Dean, from Sam and Cas. He deserves it. Above all, I hope that whatever happens, its something Dean can live with. Something I can live with, too. Dean is my hero. He has been my hero for a decade—I really don’t want to lose that now. And, please, please don’t let there be anymore secrets or lies between Dean/Sam/Cas.
*Note: Please excuse any mistakes within, I was pretty distracted when I began typing this, so I hope it makes sense. Also, apologies for the length. I needed to get some of it out.
It’s been 2 days since the Supernatural season finale aired and I find myself unable to get it off my mind. I can’t stop thinking about it. More importantly, I find myself unable to stop FEELING so much about it. As I told someone else, I have to give Carver and the writers credit on giving me something to think about, on giving me something I want to talk about endlessly. I haven’t felt this passionate, this obsessed about this show since probably around season three or four. No Rest for the Wicked was the last finale that affected me like this, but even that wasn’t quite the same because I wasn’t so afraid for Dean then as I am now. The fact that I’m so moved and feeling so much, that I have so many questions, makes me happy because its nice to have that spark back—but on the other hand, as the adrenaline wears off, I’m starting to also feel depressed as well. Depressed for Dean.