If I could have one wish for season 8, it would be for these concerns to be addressed. Dean doesn't have to have some supernatural plot focusing in on only him (as it has for Sam, Cas and Bobby), but it would be nice if, for a change, the members of Team Freewill actually provided some much needed care and support to Dean whether he accepts it or not. It would be great if, for once, the Team would "gaze" on Dean and actually, verbally discuss and show concern for his well-being in a way that isn't overridden by some other plot concern or some other character taking it over--something sustained and meaningful over a period of time. Sure, as the author pointed out, we all know they all love Dean--but wouldn't it be nice to get actual verbal cues?
I feel like if these concerns were truly and adequately addressed, it would go a long way to making me feel more prepared to accept the show's inevitable end. It's the one thing that I feel I, as a Dean fan, never ever get even though I long for it with all my heart. It's what leaves me with that empty feeling more times than not where this show is concerned.
And it's not a matter of more screen time (It is possible Jensen is the one who already carries the bulk of the show without a break) or diminishing other characters place in the story--it just means taking the time to let us experience some team dialogue that actually pertains directly to Dean and only Dean--to give some balance to the dynamics between the characters. It means someone on Team Freewill actually stops long enough to "see" Dean and give something back to him besides their problems, presence and needs. It means addressing him as an individual with problems that are as important as anyone else's supernatural "ailments." It means making his human problems an actual plot (or sub-plot)--imagine that?!
Dean is the most human character on the whole show, the only one who's biggest problems are real human problems (that never get fully addressed--which drives me nuts). People say they like the human aspect of Supernatural, so why not capitalize on what Dean offers--a sub story arc about real human issues and how people cope and where it takes Dean. Dean's been crashing for years now, issues piling on without end with no relief. Why not finally tackle it head-on over time and make it important enough to actually talk about for more than an episode or two? Maybe even bring some much needed relief by patching Dean up a little through repeated re-enforcement and a more balanced approach to the character interaction? Of course I don't want Dean to completely lose his load--but it would be nice to see him reach a place where it seems bearable...without the heavy use of alcohol and reckless risk of life.
Don't get me wrong, I've really enjoyed the show this year, despite the lameness that is the Levi story arc, and have been more settled than last year. I've been a lot happier lately with SPN than I have in a long time (since half way through season four)--but I still feel so unsatisfied on Dean's behalf and, now that every season could be the last, it would be really nice if it could finally be addressed. It would be so great to finally have some completion to Dean's part of the story. It's so weird how Dean can be the center of Team Freewill and yet so overlooked at the same time. That was the one thing that jumped out at me as I read those posts--and I totally agree that this is the case.
If you would like to read these posts, they can be found on LJ at sargraf's journal. I don't know sargraf, but after I read these via Tumblr, I was compelled to share them with you all.
Dean and Caregiver Burn Out
Team Freewill and it's "Gaze" (not on Dean)
Apologies for any errors in my post...I was hurrying so I could get to dinner on time.