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3.10- Dream a Little Dream of Me

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  • 3.10- Dream a Little Dream of Me

    Errr? hey there. Well, I am not good at the well thought out responses as most of you are brilliantly capable of sharing. So I figured I'll just open the floor and see what happens.

    First and foremost- how intriguing it was to see Bobby in a different light and with no hat no less! I loved seeing how far the boys went to help Bobby, especially when they often times turn to him for information and what not. It was so strange to see Bobby so scared and helpless in his dream. I never thought much about Bobby's personal life. So it was a nice change of pace to see how he got into hunting. You could see the guilt in his eyes for killing his possessed wife as he later learned he might have had a chance to save her through exorcism or other supernatural avenues.

    And the boys drinking the dreamroot with Bobby's hair. Gross! I cringed when they did that.

    Dean really tore me up when he told Bobby that he was like a father to him. Sniff.

    As for Dean- facing his inner look-alike-demon was pretty intense. Jensen's performance was really just superb because I totally saw two different characters in spite of the fact, they shared the same face. The mannerisms, the voices, and their personalities- they were amazingly different. And the dialogue between the two- ouch, especially when evil Dean said-

    I mean your car, that's dad's. Your favorite leather jacket? Dad's. Your music? Dad's. Do you even have an original thought? No.

    Yikes. I really felt this interaction really got to the core as to how Dean's been feeling- the moment he was given the burden to look out for his little brother and how he was pushed to fight in a dark supernatural world. However, it didn't occur to me that Dean blamed John for not saving Mary. I dunno. I had always just assumed, Dean knew his father did everything he could to save his mother. Perhaps I am alone in this.

    And as for Lisa? What's up with her cameo? Me personally? I think she just represents what Dean is scared of wanting- a family of his own, a life outside of hunting.

    Now, when did Sam ever drool for Bela? Seriously, that just came out of left field for me. Sure it was so funny to see Sam act like a goof around her but was that just for humor or does he ?really' like her? Ugh. I hope not. While I prefer the boys to be single, I assumed the paring would be Sam/Ruby and Dean/Bela.

    And now to add more drama- Bela stole the Colt. I was surprised by this move. I didn't think she'd go that far. I am assuming she'll sell it- as she always does with anything she steals. Though who will she sell it to? That's the bigger question I think- who will end up with the Colt- a hunter or a demon? And will the boys have a lot to lose without it?

    The guy couldn't dream thanks to his abusive dad- well he just annoyed me. His obsession with dreaming and wanting to be God didn't really impact me. I watched that part with a shrug.

    One thing that peek my interest though- was when Bobby asked Sam if conjuring the guy's father had anything to do with psychic abilities. I felt this was foreshadowing- does that mean it will come back into play?

    Well, there is my two cents. Look forward to hearing what you guys have to say.
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  • #2
    It's midseason and promptly Supernatural delivers the final turn of events in the character arcs! I love the parallel seasonal structures of SN to death, I think I might have mentioned that already last year after episode 10. Asylum/Scarecrow, Croatoan/Hunted, Malleus Maleficarum/ Dream A Little Dream Of Me, in each of these midseason episode pairs, the brothers hit rock bottom after a phase of drifting apart, only to pick up the pieces again, reaffirm their brotherhood and focus on their mutual goal together.

    Sam: "Really, the thing is no one can save you. No one can save you, because you don't want to be saved!"

    I loved the opening sequence between the boys in the bar! Sam brooding and getting drunk in the middle of the day was so very Sam, once he decides on something, he throws himself fully into it, no matter if it is giving up or fighting. Sam questioning his brother's lack of self-preservation, trying to get Dean to talk to him, was heartbreaking to watch and given how much Sam wishes to understand his brother better, it's no wonder that Dean felt uncomfortable with letting Sam into his dreams later, didn't want him to see the mess that he is behind his defences unfiltered. He spent a lifetime of keeping his self-confidence up in front of his brother and even if he shows a lot more openness about his own feelings lately, there's some thoughts and feelings that should be privy to oneself.

    What Sam fails to see though (and what's also overlooked in Dean's confrontation with himself later) when he asks Dean why he cares so little about himself is, that it's not simply Dean's lack of concern for himself that is the reason for his reluctance to be an active part in his own salvation, but mainly his concern for risking Sam's life again in doing so. That's a factor of great importance in the whole deal. Dean already stated that he has no death wish in The Magnificent Seven and while he might not have cared much about his own fate before Ruby's little revelation, I never had the impression that he actually wanted to die. Talking about Ruby, it's interesting that Dean obviously told Sam about Ruby's revelation about humans turning into demons, while he didn't have the heart to tell him that Ruby lied to him about being able to save Dean from the deal. Ruby is Sam's last hope and taking that away from Sam would throw his brother even more into despair, so it is not surprising that Dean held back that information.

    Anyway, last episode I wanted a deeper look into why Sam seemed to have given up so suddenly and completely on his brother's rescue, despite his fierceness earlier in the season and I loved that they retroactively delivered here. I already suspected, that after their reconciliation in Fresh Blood, with Sam's first silent concession that he might not be able to save Dean, he might have lost hope altogether in the months that followed, fuelled by his brother's acceptance of his impending death. The knowledge that Dean was absolutely unwilling to support his efforts, even announced to sabotage whatever actions he tried, only added to his descend into despair, because he needed Dean's strength and reassurance for this emotionally immensely straining burden.

    With Dean's admission that he wants to live and doesn't want to go to hell, the last barrier has finally broken down and Sam latches on to it, giving his brother the hope that he needs and thus building up his own again. The situation is just as hopeless as it was before, but the fact that they are both on the same page now, supporting each other, makes all the difference for Sam's attitude. Dean's visible relief at Sam's unhesitatingly offered cooperation and the silent look they shared afterwards was just beautiful to see. They both turned a corner here. Oh boys!

    Bobby: "Everybody got into hunting somehow!"

    Finally we got some of the backstory on Bobby and it was utterly satisfying how appropriate his history fits into the Bobby we got to know over 2 seasons. The personal tragedy that hit Bobby, killing his possessed wife, the guilt he carried over it when he realised his mistake, realised how his own lack of knowledge was ultimately responsible for her death, hence dedicating his life to research on demons and possession, was very moving. It perfectly explains his expertise in the field and his caution towards demons, bordering on paranoia. It also gives a new tragic layer to one of Bobby's earliest statements he ever made in the show, namely that he mentions in Devil's Trap that there's only 3-4 demonic possessions a year and now we learn that he was one of the few that had first hand experience of it. It also explains his extreme compassion with Meg, to observe that exorcism must've hit a nerve within him, seeing how easily his wife might have been rescued, if he'd only known how to act back then.

    Bobby's backstory also highlightens how very different Bobby and John handled the loss of their wives. While Bobby clearly suffers from guilt over not being able to prevent his wife's death, he didn't let it drive him into despair and revenge, instead he dedicated his life to acquiring as much knowledge as he can, to prevent other people from going through the same and come to think of it, that's a striking parallel to Dean's own approach to hunting. Unlike John, Bobby was able to keep a regular source of income and a permanent home, build up a social network and still become a formidable hunter, even though he didn't have kids to keep him grounded.

    I think it's mainly their different temperament that explains John and Bobby's different reactions, but maybe also the factor, that while John may have felt guilt over not being able to save Mary from the fire, Bobby actually had an active part in killing his wife, which probably lead more to self-loathing about his own involvement instead of focussing on the hate towards the demon that possessed her in the first place. So I can easily see Bobby's feelings turning inwards, while John's feelings turned outwards. That's another point in which Bobby might relate to Dean, especially if we look back on their conversation about Dean making the deal for Sam's life in AHBL II.

    It was always visible how much Bobby doted on Sam and Dean and given the fact that their bond reaches back into their early childhood, probably shortly after he lost his own family and with it the prospect of children of his own, he very likely harboured fatherly feelings for the boys of his friend, ever since John walked into his life. So it really teared me up to learn that Bobby even has Dean as his emergency contact listed, it makes sense and reveals how much Bobby considers the Winchesters as his own family.

    I loved that this episode showed how much the boys return that sentiment, especially Dean, who tries so hard to not become attached to people if he can avoid it. Dean's desperate statement that Bobby is like a father to him and that he won't let him die was heartbreaking. He couldn't save John, but he won't loose another one of his little family. Dean's intense expression when he holds wake at Bobby's hospital bed speaks volumes of his emotional investment in the man. Dean loved John, no doubts about that, but Bobby's reliability, his easy approach and open affection towards the boys are something that Dean latches onto and that he probably missed in John.

    Their short but earnest and heartfelt conversation after Bobby wakes up again, shows their mutual closeness as well. I loved that Dean felt comfortable enough to ask Bobby about his traumatic personal experience and Bobby's sincere gratitude for Dean saving him out of his nightmare was lovely. The scene was acted out wonderfully subtle and subdued, Jim Beaver and Jensen Ackles really play well off each other. It's always visible, when the actors got the chance to bond over a longer period of time working together, a chance that the boys don't get very often in the show.

    Dean: "My father was an obsessed bastard. All that crap he told me about protecting Sam, that was his crap. He's the one who couldn't protect his family. He's the one who let Mom die, who wasn't there for Sam, I always was. He wasn't fair, I ain't deserve what he put on me and I don't deserve to go to hell!"

    Dean's dream sequence broke my heart all over again for the boy. While the content of his dream was barely surprising to the viewer after 2.5 seasons of watching the internal struggle of that character, it is the fierceness of his meltdown that is shocking here. The confrontation with Ruby from last episode visibly had a tremendous impact on him, effectively shutting off any hope for himself that he might still have harboured and turning the prospect of going to hell into his worst nightmare. Combined with his innate insecurities and fears his emotions erupted so heavily, that it was very reminiscent of his outburst of anger at the end of Everybody Loves A Clown.

    This episode was co-written by Cathryn Humphris who already in Dead Man's Blood shed a more detailed light on the troubled relationship between John and his sons, so it was no surprise to see Dream A Little Dream hit a similar spot. The thing about John's character is, that given the nature of the show, we are very rarely witness to John's real feelings and motivations and we only see him through the eyes of the boys, Bobby or Ellen and that is kind of the point: The show never excuses John's actions, it simply shows us the fallout of his decisions, no matter how they came to pass or how well-meaning his intensions originally might have been and especially in Dean's case that's very painful.

    In Dean's confrontation with himself we see two extremes of Dean: dream!Dean is Dean at his lowest point, questioning himself, contemplating his own worthlessness and failures, his dependency on Sam and John, thoughts that Dean closes off deep inside him. Conscious!Dean is the Dean with his defences and self-confidence in place, who knows that what dream!Dean claims is not all that he is, but after being teased into a fury, he turns into angry!Dean, the other extreme. This Dean doubts his father and rightfully calls him on causing most of his insecurities in the first place. It's the Dean that came to question his father over the last season and finally allows himself to reject the burdens that John put on him. It's a burst of anger against the unfairness that life threw at him and John is a part of that. That doesn't mean that Dean doesn't love his father or can't see beyond that anger, but both these extreme parts coexist in conscious!Dean and usually it depends on the circumstances which one has the upper hand.

    We see dream!Dean's arguments surface in the Dean from In My Time Of Dying, who honestly believed John would just watch him die, without trying to save him, in the Dean from What Is and What Should Never Be, who was convinced that his father would tell him that his own happiness means nothing in the grander scheme of things, in the Dean from Devil's Trap who instinctively knew that John would never praise him for saving Sam's life with a precious bullet from the Colt. I flashed back to Devil's Trap especially in this episode. First time around, I interpreted the YEDs words to Dean about Sam being John's favourite son as a twisting of truth that he read from John's feelings, but over the course of S2 I changed my take on that scene and came to the conclusion the YED read Dean's insecurity over his father's feelings for him from Dean himself and DALDOM kind of affirmed that impression.

    This is the first time though where we see Dean voicing his anger and resentment towards his father so clearly. We saw glimpses of his anger towards John at the end of Everybody Loves A Clown or in his conversation with drunken Sam in Playthings, but here it reaches a new level of clarity and intensity. While most of Dean's conversation with himself wasn't exactly new to the viewer there were at least two statements that were unexpected for me: Firstly, Dean's admission that there are moments where he holds John responsible for not being able to prevent Mary's death broke my heart. Secondly, Dean's feeling that it was John's inability to save his own family that ultimately lead him to put that responsibility onto Dean, relying on Dean to do what he couldn't achieve himself, was interesting, since it's the first time he alludes to his father as weak.

    The main reason why this internal conversation isn't completely redundant though, is the fact that we see Dean actively fighting back the nagging voice of self-doubt, fear and insecurity within himself and ultimately win the upper hand, leading to a change of heart and deciding that he does want to fight for his life. In expressing his anger it seems he takes the first step in actually overcoming his own issues. While in the past we've seen this internal struggle play out in his facial expressions and he always seemed defeated by it, this time he didn't let his self-worth issues bring him down and that's a step in the right direction!

    On a side note: That Dean still dreams of Lisa and Ben and his deep seated wish for a family of his own still got me, even if it was repetitive. I love how embarrassed Dean was that Sam witnessed that scene and how hesitant and restrained Sam's reaction to it was. Trying not to pry and giving his brother some space. Lovely!

    Bela: "So, when do we go on this little magical, mystery tour?"

    Okay, serious rant ahead, please feel free to skip this passage. I was complaining already in Red Sky At Morning how the boys were taken slightly out of character to accommodate Bela's appearance in the episode, but I think Dream A Little Dream was even worse and that was the only part about this episode that seriously annoyed me. It's not a problem of Bela's character per se, but more how they try to fit episodes around Bela, even if her appearance doesn't make any sense at all. When she shows up in a plotline it is usually contrived and forced and doesn't work well, which is really frustrating, because I think she had good potential. I was really positive about Bela's addition in the beginning, but unfortunately her appearances in the show so far turned me off the character fast, even more so than with Jo last year, who after initial rejection grew on me.

    Firstly, there is no reason or plausible motivation in the world that makes me believe that the boys would actually contact her for help, ever! She shot Sam, showed no concern for their lives on several occasions, put a killer on their trail without even blinking, showed them nothing but contempt and showered them with insults. Heck, last episode they met Dean even seriously considered killing Bela and now he's going to call her for a favour? No way, sorry! She put one over them again and again, they know for a fact that she is not trustworthy and never feels indebted to people, but pays them off instead and generally only acts on her own behalf. Dean calling Bela for help is one of the occasions where forced plotlines clearly mess with character integrity and that's so very rare in SN that it really hits me hard that they actually went there. The boys have other contacts and it would have been easy to just acquire the dream root via Doctor Gregg's lab, there's no reason for Bela's involvement whatsoever, especially given their history.

    Secondly, even if played only for humorous effect, it's completely unbelievable for me that Sam would entertain erotic dreams about Bela. That's so far off character that I don't even know where to begin. All women so far we have seen Sam attracted to were beautiful, strong, warm-hearted and kind women and he showed nothing but contempt for Bela's actions so far, so where should the psychological motivation for that dream sequence come from? Even with referring to ?dream logic' that sex scene was unnecessary and implausible and hence felt like it was only added for a little ?action'. I really adored Jared's comedic delivery in that whole sequence again, his awkwardness and embarrassment, the brotherly ribbing about wet dreams was great, but we could've had that scene without the dream sequence before.

    Thirdly, when have we ever seen the boys putting something in the safe of a random motel room? All their weapons are usually hidden in the Impala's weapon trunk and ever since the restoration of the Colt they had it on themselves at all times, after all, they never knew when they would run into yet another demon ploy. Again, it's annoying that they force Sam and Dean into untypical behaviour only to provide a situation for Bela to acquire the Colt. There are so many other possibilities to achieve that turn of events, that are more plausible, that I have to wonder why the writers went about it in this fashion. I am at a point where I'd rather see Bela written off the show than causing any more of these allowances for her character.

    The only silver lining that came out of that whole Bela debacle this episode, that with the Colt gone, the boys are forced to again rely on themselves more, on their skills and improvisation. If the situation with the demonic forces was difficult before, now it became outright hopeless, but the Colt was too convenient and I complained about its restoration in Sin City already, so I look forward to them exploring new ways to defeat the demons, as long as it doesn't mean they become completely reliant on Ruby's strength instead now. With every other character than Bela I would also assume that stealing the Colt would finally place her as a clear cut villain who won't get another reprieve from Sam and Dean, but I already thought that was the case after Fresh Blood and was disappointed here, so I wouldn't bet on it. So far, the handling of Bela's character is probably one of the biggest annoyances in S3!

    Other noteworthy stuff:
    The MotW was kind of sidelined by the intense emotional exploration of the main characters in this episode, but it was still interesting as it picked up the theme of how families can destroy its members and damage them beyond repair. Not unlike Tiny's story in Folsom Prison Blues, it offers a good contrast and comparison to the Winchesters. It's always satisfying to see that however screwed up the Winchester family is, their love and loyalty for each other in the end sets them apart from most other dysfunctional families in SN.

    Although it was nearly completely glossed over in the end, this is the first episode where Sam actually kills a human being who abused supernatural powers for his own gain. While it can be argued that Sam had no other choice but to kill Jeremy in order to save himself and Dean from being trapped in the dream world, it is still noteworthy. It is especially chilling, that he killed Jeremy in the exact same fashion that his abusive father turned against his son, with a baseball bat to the head. I wished we had seen at least some fallout to that event afterwards.

    It's also interesting that this was the first time that Sam actually didn't deny that he might still have his psychic powers or that he at least isn't sure about it. While it is understandable that he didn't confide with Kubrick or Ruby about his doubts concerning his powers, his admission to Bobby still surprised me. I loved this little exchange between Bobby and Sam and while they are obviously not as close as Dean and Bobby, it shows that Sam turns to Bobby with the same trust like Dean.

    On a more funny note, overtired, caffeinated and highly irritable Dean was totally adorable. He really should've let Sam drive though, it was irresponsible to drive in that condition.

    And that end scene, damn that was chilling! Demonic!Dean snipping his fingers, indicating that this is actually his "little siesta", the stark black and white contrast, the echo and Dean's malicious smile made me shudder. Great way to end the episode! Kudos!

    In conclusion: If the rest of the episode hadn't been so excellent, Bela's plotline in Dream A Little Dream Of Me would have seriously put me off the episode, not unlike in Red Sky, but luckily the exploration of Bobby and the brothers made up for a lot and altogether placed this as another wonderful instalment in this season for me. I probably shouldn't put rants at the end of reviews, ?cause it may leave the impression that I didn't love this episode, but I really did, despite Bela and I can't wait for the next episode to come along!
    Last edited by galathea; 09-02-08, 01:03 PM.

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    • #3
      Galathea, were there ever days where you posted with that depth and insight about Buffy and Angel? Don't suppose you saved any, because I'd love to read those

      I thought it was a great episode, especially for newer viewers, because it does give fine character insights. Nothing I wasn't already sort of guessing about Dean, but nice to see it out there. Especially that he has this very human and very valid dream about his ex (that's the one with the kid he thought was his, right?), and was embarrassed of it.

      I also like that it's Sam, and not Dean, who's sort of taken with Bela. Dean was a bit too obvious. Plus, very, very sexy with the dream

      And it's very cool that she stole the Colt. Well, more that they left it up in the air in the episode. On a lot of shows, that's just neatly resolved by the end of the hour.
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      • #4
        I liked the episode until Dean's hissyfit. It pissed me off, tbh.

        Sure he doesn't want to go to hell, but the point is he chose to sell his soul for Sam's life. Blaming John, won't change that.
        John loved both Dean and Sam the same. Dean KNOWS this So why this is still even an issue is beyond me.
        I found his blaming his mom's death on John very distasteful. Mary's death wasn't John's fault. He knew nothing of the paranormal, and watched disbelievingly, and helplessly, as she was engulfed in flames, pinned to the ceiling. There was nothing he could do to save her.

        One thing I wanted to address was the belief that John was just hell bent on revenge.
        Yes, he wanted revenge, but he also wanted to keep his kids safe and to save people.

        He couldn't save Mary, so he did try to save as many people as he could. And did. Also, lets not forget that there were many nasty things that harm children too.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by chelsie View Post
          I liked the episode until Dean's hissyfit. It pissed me off, tbh.

          Sure he doesn't want to go to hell, but the point is he chose to sell his soul for Sam's life. Blaming John, won't change that.
          John loved both Dean and Sam the same. Dean KNOWS this So why this is still even an issue is beyond me.
          I found his blaming his mom's death on John very distasteful. Mary's death wasn't John's fault. He knew nothing of the paranormal, and watched disbelievingly, and helplessly, as she was engulfed in flames, pinned to the ceiling. There was nothing he could do to save her.

          One thing I wanted to address was the belief that John was just hell bent on revenge.
          Yes, he wanted revenge, but he also wanted to keep his kids safe and to save people.

          He couldn't save Mary, so he did try to save as many people as he could. And did. Also, lets not forget that there were many nasty things that harm children too.
          Yes, John saved a lot of people, but he did, as Dean said, dump a hell of a lot of his issues onto his oldest son, and after internalising that for over 20 years, Dean was due a meltdown. John isn't to blame for everything that's wrong with Dean's life, of course not, but the fact is that the lifestyle and parenting choices he made were frequently very damaging for both his sons, but Dean in particular - the show has spent the last two and a half seasons showing us that. Rationally, Dean knows that his father loved him, but that rational knowledge is frequently subsumed by the gut insecurity created by John's regular absences during his childhood, when John went off and risked his life leaving Sam with Dean to look after him, but Dean with no one to look after him. That's neglect, and psychologically it is enormously damaging for a child of any age.

          In fact, both of John's sons grew up believing that their father favoured the other. He was a good man, but parenting really wasn't his strong suit. Even he admitted that he stopped being a father and became a drill sergeant.

          And I tend to feel that the part of Dean that holds John partly responsible for not saving his mother is the part of him that was frozen at the age of four when his whole life exploded in blood and fire. The security and stability he'd known up till then was destroyed, completely, and whatever security and stability he might still have enjoyed was lost when John uprooted his sons and took them on the road with him, relying heavily on Dean as babysitter and co-parent from a very young age. Dean spent his whole life watching his father save everyone except his own family, and a child is incapable of rationalising that.

          John might have wanted to protect his sons, but he went about it in a funny way - he might have rationalised it to himself as protecting them from evil when he trained them and went out hunting, but I fail to see how leaving young children alone in seedy motels for days at a time qualifies as protection. They would have been prey to all kinds of danger, and not just supernatural, in situations like that - time and time again.

          Dean is very messed up, and everyone knows it, including him. He made that decision to sell his soul for Sam for a lot of reasons, but a large part of that reasoning was the fact that he'd been brainwashed his entire life to put Sam's needs and Sam's safety and Sam's life ahead of his own, and as a result was completely incapable of living with the enormous sense of failure caused by Sam's death, even though there was nothing he could have done to prevent it.

          And now he's facing the imminent prospect of death and eternity in hell as a result, has to live with that fear and dread and horror every second of every day.

          In short, he has every reason to be angry with his father, as well as with life in general, and letting it all come flooding out like that was probably extremely cathartic. He needed to let it all go, everything he's been bottling up inside all those years.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by chelsie View Post
            Sure he doesn't want to go to hell, but the point is he chose to sell his soul for Sam's life. Blaming John, won't change that.
            John loved both Dean and Sam the same. Dean KNOWS this So why this is still even an issue is beyond me.
            I found his blaming his mom's death on John very distasteful. Mary's death wasn't John's fault. He knew nothing of the paranormal, and watched disbelievingly, and helplessly, as she was engulfed in flames, pinned to the ceiling. There was nothing he could do to save her.
            The human nature is very complex and it's not always as easy as that. Dean loves his father and knows on many levels that his father always tried to his best abilitities to protect them, that he loved and appreciated them. But John wasn't an easy man and many of his decisions concerning his sons were detrimental to them. He put too much responsibility on his oldest son, he was harsh and reprimanding, unable to show his affections openly and repressed in his own guilt and grief. He admitted as much in 'Dead Man's Blood' and 'In My Time Of Dying' himself.

            To love someone as fiercely as Dean loved his father doesn't exclude feelings of anger and resentment at what his father put him through. Love and Anger can and do coexist in each and every one of us and Supernatural just shows the complexity of those emotions in us. To openly acknowledge John's flaws where he himself was concerned helped Dean to overcome his issues, releasing his anger against John was therapeutic for him and hence very important to finally making his peace with John and their past.

            Nobody said that it was rational of Dean to blame John for Mary's death, but dreams are not rational, Dean was lashing out and for him having moments to redirect blame and guilt to his father is not surprising. He was 4 when Mary died, he saw John go back for Mary that night, it's easily understandable that a child might ask himself why Dad wasn't able to save her and the thought subconsciously manifested over the years. That doesn't mean he actually believes that John could've done anything to save her, it's just redirecting of grief over his mother's death.

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            • #7
              Yes, John saved a lot of people, but he did, as Dean said, dump a hell of a lot of his issues onto his oldest son, and after internalising that for over 20 years, Dean was due a meltdown.
              He may have lumped more responsibility on Dean than was needed, but John hasn't dumped his own issues onto him.

              And I doubt that John left truly them ALONE in hotels with just Dean to look after Sam. When John left for a job, he had someone to keep an close eye on the place. Also, I very much doubt John anticipated being out for as long as he was. I can't see him saying, 'Dean, I'm off for a couple of days, see you later!' and then dipping.

              Also, John by this point, was an accomplished hunter. He always had his ear to the ground, so he would know if there was danger lurking in the vicinity. (Barring of course, that gaff where that thing tries to get Sam)

              I still think don't think that Dean was truly 'neglected'. I think that his dad was there to care for him BUT probably took for granted that Dean was eager to take on responsibility. And I don't think it was all traumatic times with terrifying monsters, I do think that as a family they had a lot of good times.

              Where was John's carer? I'm not saying John was perfect. He wasn't. But he was nowhere as bad as people say.

              And Dean was still wrong to blame John. Or for that thought to even be in his head in the first place.

              he was harsh and reprimanding, unable to show his affections openly
              I don't recall seeing this. And John has shown his affections openly.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by chelsie View Post
                He may have lumped more responsibility on Dean than was needed, but John hasn't dumped his own issues onto him.

                And I doubt that John left truly them ALONE in hotels with just Dean to look after Sam. When John left for a job, he had someone to keep an close eye on the place. Also, I very much doubt John anticipated being out for as long as he was. I can't see him saying, 'Dean, I'm off for a couple of days, see you later!' and then dipping.
                In Something Wicked it was made very clear that the nearest sanctioned aid in case of emergency was Pastor Jim - three whole hours away. That's hardly leaving someone to keep a close eye on the boys. They were constantly moving from town to town - anyone John left to keep an eye on the boys would have been a very new acquaintance, so he could hardly know that a) he could trust them with his sons' safety, or b) that they wouldn't report him for child abandonment.

                Also, John by this point, was an accomplished hunter. He always had his ear to the ground, so he would know if there was danger lurking in the vicinity. (Barring of course, that gaff where that thing tries to get Sam)
                I repeat: two young children left alone in a succession of seedy motels for days at a time. Not all danger is supernatural.

                I still think don't think that Dean was truly 'neglected'. I think that his dad was there to care for him BUT probably took for granted that Dean was eager to take on responsibility. And I don't think it was all traumatic times with terrifying monsters, I do think that as a family they had a lot of good times.
                Dictionary definition of neglect: to be remiss in the care or treatment of [one's family, appearance, job, etc]; carelessness, failure, or some important omission in the performance of one's duty, a task, etc.

                As the lone parent, dragging his sons from town to town, John's duty was to care for them. Every time he left them alone while he went on a hunt, he neglected that duty.

                I have no doubt that they had good times as a family. Dean has fond memories of his childhood, we've seen that. But that doesn't change the fact that leaving children alone for days at a time is damaging. Leaving one child with parental responsibility for the other is damaging.

                Where was John's carer? I'm not saying John was perfect. He wasn't. But he was nowhere as bad as people say.
                John was an adult! Dean in Something Wicked is ten years old. Please tell me that you understand the difference. And we are told in the SW flashbacks that John talked through with Dean some details of the thing he was hunting at the time and how to kill it, so he's only too well aware of where John is going and what he will be doing, of just how much unseen danger there is out there - only too aware of the danger that his father will not come back this time. And, knowing all about the things that go bump in the night, although still a child himself, he's left home alone, not just for an afternoon or evening but for days at a time, in charge of a locked door, a shotgun, and his little brother.

                This means that he doesn't just have the responsibility of protecting Sam if anyone or anything tries to get in, not to mention making sure no one finds them home alone, he's also got to look after a young child in every other way. He has to feed him, bathe him, dress him, get him in and out of bed at a decent time, entertain him, comfort him if he's upset or frightened, look after him if he falls ill, make huge decisions about what to do if an emergency does arise, and every other kind of parental responsibility that goes with caring for a child. And he's still a child in need of all those things himself. In single parent families it's typical for the older children to help carry more of the strain than would normally be the case, but not to this enormous extent. It's unhealthy, for both children, but far more so for Dean than for Sam. It puts Dean squarely in the role of child carer, co-parent rather than babysitter, with little or no access to support of any kind. And he's only four years older than Sam.

                I like John. He's an intriguing man, and I don't like to paint such a negative picture of him, but I also can see very clearly how badly his decisions and actions impacted on his sons in many ways. Theirs is an incredibly dysfunctional family, as well as a tight knit one.

                And Dean was still wrong to blame John. Or for that thought to even be in his head in the first place.
                No, John isn't responsible for everything. But Dean has every right to be angry with him. He's having an emotional meltdown in that scene, and not all his words and thoughts will be entirely fair or rational in that situation. But he has every right to be angry with his father.

                Again, it is possible to love someone deeply and be angry with them at the same time. We humans are complex creatures.

                I don't recall seeing this. And John has shown his affections openly.
                What show are you watching? John has been consistently shown to be emotionally very shut down, finding it difficult to express his affection for his sons.



                How did this episode discussion turn into a debate about John's parenting skills?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by chelsie View Post
                  And I doubt that John left truly them ALONE in hotels with just Dean to look after Sam. When John left for a job, he had someone to keep an close eye on the place. Also, I very much doubt John anticipated being out for as long as he was. I can't see him saying, 'Dean, I'm off for a couple of days, see you later!' and then dipping.
                  That John had someone looking after the kids while he was gone is an assumption that's not supported anywhere in the show, on the contrary, the opposite is stated several times. In both 'Something Wicked' and 'A Very Supernatural Christmas' they are completely alone and in AHBL II Dean was even stating the same, that their father left them alone for days at a time. They had emergency contacts in case John didn't come back in the time he anticipated. In 'Something Wicked' John explicitely states that he is gone for a couple of days and that Dean isn't allowed to let anyone in or even pick up the phone if it isn't John via code.

                  Originally posted by chelsie View Post
                  Also, John by this point, was an accomplished hunter. He always had his ear to the ground, so he would know if there was danger lurking in the vicinity. (Barring of course, that gaff where that thing tries to get Sam)
                  Why would 'Something Wicked' be an exception? Except of course if he did use his kids as bait in that situation, what makes his reaction to Dean's mistake even worse. If he was away for days at a time he had no control over what was lurking in the vicinity while he was gone, not to mention the possibility that either Sam or Dean could come down with sickness while he is gone or that there are lots of non-supernatural threats around.

                  Originally posted by chelsie View Post
                  I still think don't think that Dean was truly 'neglected'. I think that his dad was there to care for him BUT probably took for granted that Dean was eager to take on responsibility. And I don't think it was all traumatic times with terrifying monsters, I do think that as a family they had a lot of good times.
                  With our modern definition of child protection, leaving kids at the age of 4/8+ alone for days at a time without adult care counts as neglect. John was in fear of Child Protection Services for valuable reasons. While I don't think that John took either of his sons to a hunt early, the loss of his mother at the hand of a monster and nearly the loss of his brother are traumatic experiences for Dean nonetheless. Not to mention the constant fear that his father wouldn't return from a hunt. Hero worship is even at best times only a defense mechanism, there had to be times where Dean was afraid to loose John as well, as is clearly seen in AVSC.

                  Did Dean always suffer as a child? Certainly not, but we didn't exactly witness the fun times in the show so far. Dean was robbed from what we would call 'a childhood' at the age of 4 and John had a big part in that process.

                  Originally posted by chelsie View Post
                  Where was John's carer? I'm not saying John was perfect. He wasn't. But he was nowhere as bad as people say.
                  John was an adult and shouldn't be in need of a caretaker. We don't say that John is a bad person, but his parenting choices were questionable and detrimental to both Sam and Dean and the show showed that on more than one occasion.

                  Originally posted by chelsie View Post
                  And Dean was still wrong to blame John. Or for that thought to even be in his head in the first place.
                  How can Dean be wrong to blame John? Even John himself did admit to the fact that Dean shouldn't have had to carry the burdens that he put on him. How can Dean not blame John for driving Sam out of the house, putting burdens beyond his years on his shoulders, leaving Dean with the burden to save Sam or kill him? Like it or not, John was responsible for Dean's lack of self-worth, for his dependency on John and Sam, for learning that Sam's life comes before his own.

                  Originally posted by chelsie View Post
                  I don't recall seeing this. And John has shown his affections openly.
                  You don't recall John being harsh and reprimanding? How about putting a major guilt trip on his 11 year old son for not looking out for Sam and leaving it there, never speaking of it again, giving him a life-long feeling to have failed his family. How about throwing his youngest son out of the house and tell him never to come back? How about admonishing Dean for no other reason than John being unable to handle Sam's rebelliousness? How about not even a word to his boys when his oldest son was dying? How about leaving his oldest son without as much as a word of warning, knowing he would worry like crazy.

                  John showed his affections occasionally, he did. Nonetheless he wasn't able to communicate his feelings when his sons needed him most. He admitted himself that he was a drill sergeant rather than a father to his boys.
                  Last edited by galathea; 11-02-08, 07:13 PM.

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