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Moral Decisions: Killing Humans in Supernatural

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  • Moral Decisions: Killing Humans in Supernatural


    So after watching Supernatural Season 1 and a few episodes of Season 2, I thought that it was time for me to start a new thread in this forum. After reading Vampmogs version of this thread for the Buffyverse. I thought it would be interesting to hear what my fellow fans of Supernatural thought of this issue within their own show and so I bring to you this thread.

    For those of you who may not have read the Buffyverse version of this thread recently mentioned. This thread is basically about the killing of humans in the Supernatural Verse and the moral decisions that our characters go through when this happens. I have an opinion formed, but I think that I am going to let others state theirs first before jumping in. It'll allow me to read others views as well as to allow me not to put too much in one post

    Basically we have seen the brothers kill humans on several occasions though they have usually been possessed when this happens. Key example of this is the killing of Meg in Devil's Trap or the killing of the demon that was attacking Sam in Devil's Trap. However these are not the only killings we have seen in Supernatural. The Season 1 episode The Bender also featured the killing of one of the humans who was attacking them if I remember correctly.

    So what do you as a fan think? Do you think the brother attitude is correct? Do they have the right to kill in self-defence as they did in the Benders? And in the case of possessions do they have the right to kill the human inside as well as the demon? Or should they try to ensure that they exorcise the demon without actually killing the human?

    I'll share my opinions later?. Feel free to post away


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  • #2
    Actually, in The Benders it is the police officer, Kathleen, who kills Pa Bender, when he taunts her over the murder of her brother.

    The deaths in Devil's Trap were the first time we see the Winchester brothers take human life. Meg's death could not be avoided, as her body had suffered mortal injury, which she succumbed to when the demon inside her was exorcised. For her, death was a release, and she thanked them for freeing her from the demon that had used her body to murder innocent people for a whole year. It was a passive killing. Dean shooting the demon-possessed man was the first active killing, and we know it weighed heavily upon him, despite the very obvious threat to Sam's life.

    Will come back with more thoughts later.


    • #3
      The Winchesters didn't kill Meg Masters. She was already dying and nearly dead and the demon was merely animating her body. Maybe you could blame them for the six story fall in Shadow, but I'm sure Meg had other lethal encounters. Besides we also saw the possessed man shoot her with the fake Colt. Do we call the doctor who takes a person off life support a murderer? That is if we are looking for a real life analogy.

      Regarding The Benders, I am surprised that Sam had the sense to walk away when he realized the police officer's intention to shoot Pa Bender. While we see in 2.05 Simon Said, Sam wasn't nearly as bright and nearly got them all killed wrestling with Andy when Anson was an unrestrained threat.

      Well, hell, most of my argument is from S2 episodes so I guess I won't spoil you and will restrict my answer to S1 and general statements.

      The brothers are of opposing minds on this killing people matter. To link them together as having a single opinion would be missing a serious part of the show.

      Sam is the dreamer that believes there is always a possible way to save someone AND the time to do it.

      Dean takes a more realistic approach that sometimes in life you're faced with impossible choices but you have to make a instantaneous choice or deal with consequences that endanger your self (family being an extension of self).

      I believe we have a right to self preservation if someone intends harm and do not find fault with Dean's actions. Particularly when the possessed man in Devil's Trap was killing Sam. Dean had no other way to stop the creature except to use the Colt. For all Dean knew, that man's body was already as unrepairably broken as Meg's. Sam was an innocent victim and did not deserve to die just because the man was unfairly possessed.

      On another related topic, I have always appreciated the progression of the show in the handling of supernatural human killers.

      Season 2 discussions of serious plot points through finale. Read at own risk.

      I have always appreciated the progression of the show in the handling of supernatural human killers. Nightmare had Max take his own life. While Simon Said, had another person (Andy) get his hands dirty. AHBL1 has Sam literally die rather than do kill someone. Then, surprisingly, AHBL2 has Sam take distinct satisfaction in doing it.

      I love how SN took us in baby steps handling the deranged psychic children with each time a little different. It's impressive they kept Sam's conscience clean for so long and to actually let him die for his beliefs. I'm also surprising with the juxtapositioning of AHBL 1 and 2 with the two sides Sam giving of himself and then taking pleasure for himself in the moment. Whether it's all thought out or just by chance fate put together, I love how SN often lays out so neatly and ironically in meaning.

      Lydia made the punch!


      • #4
        As Ehlwyen and Llywela already stated, if Sam and Dean are forced to take human life they are usually doing it in self-defence and there's not a single instance in which those humans weren't possessed, infected or otherwise supernaturally influenced and the human victim is a casualty of that demonic influence like Meg, Meg's brother, Beverly Tanner & her husband, Pam. I think that killing in self-defence in these instances is tragic (especially against people who have no free will in that very moment, but are abused by evil forces) but acceptable in ethical terms.

        There is no reason to believe that Sam and Dean wouldn't go out of their way to protect the innocent life possessed by supernatural evil as long as it is within their means to do so (see the way Dean is appalled by Gordon's cold statement that he sacrificed the life of a possessed girl just to get some information out of the demon). There was no way for them to save Meg, her body already irreparably broken and her death came as a mercy in the end. They desperately tried to save Madison (Heart), although she was irrevocably turned into a monster and even tried to help people who deliberately forfeit their own lives by making deals with demons.

        There are cases though where the humans are acting evil out of their own volition, even if their intention initially sometimes wasn't evil in itself, but was caused by despair (Sue Ann, Faith), grief (Neil, CSPWDT), anger (Walter, Hollywood Babylon), misdirected conviction (Gordon) or fear (Max, Nightmare) and then went out of control. Dean does suggest to kill human perpetrators in a few instances, if he sees them as irredeemably evil and he thinks that if they don't put a stop to their actions, it will cost more innocent lives as they usually can't exactly hand those people over to law enforcement. In those cases the show usually takes the ?easy' way out, as those people are usually brought to justice as a consequence of their own actions, rather than Sam and Dean being jury, judge and execution in one (or two) person. The evil-doers either take their lives themselves or it is taken by the supernatural creatures they have been toying with, sparing Sam and Dean to actually take any action.

        While Sam and Dean often argue about the course of action that they have to take, with Sam being an idealist and Dean more of a hardened pragmatist, their combined efforts always lead to comprehensible results, results that enable them and the viewer to live with the outcome, even if it often weighs on their conscience nonetheless, perceiving it as a personal failure to not being able to save the person (Dean, in Devil's Trap, Sam in Nightmare, Heart).
        Last edited by galathea; 24-09-07, 02:16 PM.