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Brother meta on ELAC

I`ve been following the discussions about the "big" brother scenes and how Dean is not dealing and well, here is my piece on it:



So I`ve seen the claim that Dean doesn`t deal with his father death here, not in the way of not showing it but that he truly doesn`t deal with it emotionally. And well, I don`t think that`s true at all. I thought it was a spot-on portrayal of what happens when an externalizer and internalizer (are these even words ?) come to blows.

For me "not dealing" would look totally different then what both men did here. In RL I wouldn`t make the assumption at all since I can`t see in other people`s heads or hearts. In TV-land I would have bought the "not dealing" had the writers shown Dean continually behave like in any given episode of Season 1 aka not different at all.

We have the first scene at the junjyard where he pretty much analyzes the situation and pretty reasonably explains why he`s doing what he is doing right now. For me that`s a calm phase. And even that was not "typical" Dean. Also grief doesn`t necessarily mean a gradual process, lots of people almost yo-yo wildly between extremes. Doesn`t mean they are supressing things.

Personally, gotta say I`m the same way. I`m unable to cry in front of other people. Honestly I haven`t done so since I was 8 years old. I didn`t do it when my dad died, my grandfather or my grandmother who practically raised me. I didn`t want to talk about it or my feelings and ANY questions whatsoever and comfort attempt made me feel queasy and uncomfortable. I just wanted the people to go far, far away. In fact I hate talking about my feelings period. When I`m hurting I probably want to be around people like Dean or House who wont mention it.I couldn`t deal with that. So I`m guessing my method would have come across exactly like Dean`s, ignoring the hell out of things, focusing on daily stuff.

Sam might have said he didn`t want Dean to share and care but he clearly wanted something. Something else than Dean was doing. And matter of fact is, I don`t think Dean could have done anything else. That was his method of coping and he did the best he could. It just clashed with Sam`s method of coping.
So when that got questioned he lashed out viciously. And for the moment he absolutely didn`t have anything to give in the form of acknowledging how much he had hurt Sam there or comfort his brother or alleviate his guilt. That more than anything showed how messed up he was.

Whaling on the Impala? That was a cathartic moment of letting out his anger, a burst of emotion. But again I don`t see that as a sign of him finally dealing or not doing so up until that point.
In fact I would find it perfectably reasonable and in character if there were other moments where he lashed out in anger. Though he did look hurt himself as having done both the lashing out on Sam and the car because in a way he did hurt himself.

And I gotta say I was very proud of Sam here because while he pushed, projected and prodded as it is simply his way of coping, he took the blows, analyzed what Dean had said to him and acknowledged that there was truth in it. Doesn`t mean that it wasn`t ten kinds of hurtful to have it flung in his face like this but he said his piece at the end and left. And while it was painful that Dean didn`t do his usual shtick of doing something to comfort Sam here, I was very impressed with Sam not looking like he expected it.

He put out there what he had to say and left Dean in peace. And there was no way he wouldn`t have heard Dean taking the crowbar to the car. But since Dean had made it clear that he just. didn`t. want. Sam`s. help. right. now, Sam backed off and gave him space.
Sam will probably always be the baby in the family, but he firmly stepped into the role of partner. And as a partner he just can`t expect Dean to suck up his feelings and be all pseudo-parent to him when the going gets tough just because Dean did this forever. So he didn`t and major kudos to him.

They are both grieving and they are both hurting, each other and in themselves and neither is obligated to put himself on the backburner here. It`s nice that Sam tried to reach out and painful that he hurt Dean with it even more and it`s sad that Dean didn`t have anything left to give but neither is at fault here.
Was Dean a jerk here to Sam? Welcome to the wonderful world of grieving people who are endless fun to be around or in short: yes. Should Dean apologize in a later, quieter moment for laying into Sam? Would be very nice and I think there will be both more fighting scenes and bonding scenes (of the emotional variety :) ahead.

Comments

( 6 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )
lovis
Oct. 8th, 2006 01:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

Sam and Dean are totally like my oldest brother and me. And while we didn't come to blows (yet) it's probably because I've been keeping my distance.

And while he is seen as grieving more by certain members of my extended family it doesn't mean I am not.

I think you can't have a lot of empathy if you expect everbody to behave the same way in any situation - much less such an extreme one as losing a parent.
astri13
Oct. 8th, 2006 02:25 pm (UTC)
I got some looks at my Grandmother`s funeral two years ago because I was the only one not crying but sorry, everybody needs to be given the space, time and opportunity to deal with things on his/her own terms.
I moved back home to help take care of her, I was with her everyday as opposed to those who visited her once a year so back off.

I think you can't have a lot of empathy if you expect everbody to behave the same way in any situation - much less such an extreme one as losing a parent.

Exactly. It`s different for everybody and nobody can help you with your personal pain.
That said, I hope you`re doing okay and I wish you all the best. *hugs*
writingpathways
Oct. 8th, 2006 09:15 pm (UTC)
Grief is such a personal process and no one grieves the same exact way. Even those that cry automatically and put it all out there -- the amount of crying, how long they cry, what the crying means probably different for every person. Last person to die in my life was almost exactly five years ago -- be five years in November -- he was a vital force in my life, he was a catalyst for a lot change in my life both exterior and interior. I'm still grieving him, I went numb for over two years and there are times when I still feel that numbness threatening to take over again.

There is no timeline, there is not right/wrong or perfect way to grieve. You just do what you have to do.

Sam is going about the process in a more 'normal' way, that mainstream way that you see people on TV do it in a lot of forms and that's fine. It's in character for Sam. Sam has his guilt from not always getting along with John, for picking fights and it's playing out very honestly and realistically.


Dean. I would expect Dean to close off, I would expect Dean to feel totally lost -- and try to do what he does on any given day (but find it impossible to really do it, like his trying to hit on Jo and falling short). And also on top of the grieve, we the audience know (though we don't know what) that Dean has this big damn secret and that big damn secret is adding a lot to how he's feeling about John right now. I think maybe for the first time in his life he's seriously pissed off at his Dad. He's always managed to understand in the past why John is the way he is, why John held back, he focused on the fact his father was watching out for them, and would always do that. Now John won't be there to be watching out and now Dean has this damn secret, and he's alone, he's the only one left who can protect Sam. I think it's adding more anger to Dean's grieve than would be there if John had died without telling Dean. Then of course there is what Dean's guessing/knows about why/how John died.

Dean's got grief of a father he idolized on his shoulders plus more crap which is all intermingled. It's no wonder he smashed the Impala. It's no wonder he doesn't want to talk -- I myself can talk about things, but then there are those deep emotions I share with noone because it's too private.


astri13
Oct. 9th, 2006 08:01 pm (UTC)
Dean's got grief of a father he idolized on his shoulders plus more crap which is all intermingled. It's no wonder he smashed the Impala. It's no wonder he doesn't want to talk.

Exactly he behaved like a griefing person, everything he did was in character for him and made sense.
(Deleted comment)
astri13
Oct. 9th, 2006 08:05 pm (UTC)
Me too. I thought it was a realistic depiction of his griefing process, yet I didn`t get the impression he didn`t deal at all while Sam did. He coped in his own way. And after all it was just one week since John`s death, in any case way too early to make a judgement call if somebody is dealing or not.
Even if he did have phases of denial, that`s the classic first step in 5 steps of grief.
( 6 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )