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Somebody saaaaaave me- The people in Peril

This heat is killing me. Had to run some errand today and felt so nauseous and dizzy I nearly fell down outside. Took a break from fic-writing and decided to finish up my meta instead which was nearly done anyway.

Somebody saaaaave me - The weekly People in Peril

This is the second part of my outsider`s POV meta.
First part can be found here with an interlude here: Dean and Attitude

It deals with the weekly people in peril, henceforth called PiP, their interaction with our boys and their perception of them.

Now in general the PiP just by their nature of being targeted by some supernatural fiend, not only have more contact with Dean and Sam (lucky bastards *g*) but sooner or later gain some knowledge about the otherworldly. Thereby of course taking a lot of the weirdness factor from the Winchesters.

Little tidbit I noticed in breaking this down, is that quite a few episodes defy the show formula of introducing someone the boys are bound to safe.

For one thing the myth-arc episodes are very sketchy when it comes to PiP.
The Pilot - or do we start calling this Woman in White now, I`ve seen it refered as such? - didn`t really have any. Instead the story concentrates pretty much on Dean and Sam and doesn`t give us some random Joe Schmoe they have to protect.
This is followed through nicely in Shadow and the final arc, especially Dead Man`s Blood and Devil`s Trap which focuses solely on the family again and if anything has them rescuing each other. Well, there was this couple the vampires nabbed but they were more like cannon fodder than true PiP. If so, the boys pretty spotless record up until now would have taken another hit.
Salvation gave us the ProtoWinchester family but again they weren`t much more than plot devices to set up the final showdown with the Celine Demon.

That leaves Home and Nightmare and of these two only Home follows the basic formula of presenting us with someone the boys can save from an otherworldly menace.
Nightmare if the most difficult of the bunch. Technically the Miller family would be considered the PiP here and our guys managed to at least save the stepmother. But it is kind of hard to consider them innocents when a part of you wants to scream: "Yes, Max, knife them. They deserve it." :)

It is also hard to see the PiP-principle at work in Faith or Hellhouse.
Who would it be in the former? Arguably Layla but neither is she in peril from something supernatural nor do the brothers save her, in fact quite the opposite on both accounts. She also never learns the whole truth which makes her bonding with Dean all the more powerful.

In Hell House they don`t save anybody specific so much as rather eliminate a danger for the X amount of stupid fuckers who would have gone into that house in the future. Okay, they save the Hellhounds but that was more done in passing because said stupid fuckers had stumbled onto a mystical hotspot.

The last episode where it is on the fence IMO would be Benders. Kathleen was pretty much dragged into the whole thing by Dean and since the monsters this time were human, she also never did learn about anything Supernatural. And she was as capable as handling herself as the guys. In fact she would be a kick-ass helper/network person for them.

These are up to 9 episodes, arguably, without true PiP. Who said the show was formulaic? :)

Now in the remaining episodes most of the PiP are female. Which is probably not all too surprising considering that our leads are two hot twentysomething guys.

Starting of is Hailey from Wendigo. Yes I know technically her brothers were PiP too but come on, they were like a footnote in the story. Did the younger one even have lines? :)
Hailey seems like the perfect woman for Dean, tough, deeply family-orientated and with a level head on her shoulders. She also took his flirtatious nature for what it was, seeing the lack of any true machismo or superiority behind it, and their playful interaction was quite cute because of that.
From the moment the guys show up at her doorstep in jeans and tennis shoes, pretending to be park rangers with IDs that don`t match their given names, she seemed charmed by Dean. And vice versa. Especially after she complimented the Impala. Also, there seemed to be a distinct "come hither" look on her part here.
This would be a perfect place for Sam to say: "Marry that girl" btw. ;)

Now our guys weren`t very convincing as Park Rangers. And frankly they weren`t trying for shit here. The clothes, the attitude, the lack of experience in trekking. I mean if it hadn`t been for Roy, Dean would have flat-out stepped into the trap.
Yet when they figured out about the Wendigo and explained things to the group they came off professional and trustworthy enough. While a slight skepticism remained, Hailey and her mute little brother were willing to defer to the boys.

Roy on the other hand was not and paid the price for it. However I think this was less a failure of Dean and Sam. Short of taking picturesof the Wendigo there really was no way they could have made it more believable, ultimately there is always a leap of faith involved. It just seemed like Roy was more interested in a macho pissing contest and therefore totally unwilling to give the brothers the benefit of a doubt.

Dead in the water presented us with a young mother and her traumatized little boy. Again Dean is the one who bonds with the kid and subsequently even a little bit with the mother, starting a trend of Dean being good with kids. And why wouldn`t he be? He raised Sam, he has experience with them. :)

Now Andrea, a fresh widow, isn`t into Dean`s flirting as Hailey was. Yet she is not really mean or disdainful when she shoots him down. It`s a witty comeback and he easily accepts defeat there. No hard feelings.

Nevertheless she shows both guys gradual trust in letting them in her house and letting Dean talk to Lucas twice. She seems to recognize that not only does he have the best intentions with the boy but also maybe capable of reaching the child in his emotionally catatonic state.
Even when their cover is blown she seems half-willing to believe their claims about the lake.
And experiencing her ow near-drowning incident, she is open-minded enough to at least contemplate the existence of a vengeful spirit. Paging Dana Scully here.

Phantom Traveller asks for a lot of suspension of disbelief on the audience parts.
Dean walking among the rows in the airplane waving his little EMF-meter around would have seemed weird enough. People are a lot more paranoid about security on airplanes than they have been before 9/11.
And I know Amanda the well adjusted flight attendant had noticed the weird black eyes on the first flight but people rationalize such stuff away all the time. So it was quite a leap of faith for her there to help a guy who ends of his conversations with "Christo." Help him beat up the pilot nonetheless. Ahem.

The girl in Bloody Mary seemed to be suspicious of our guys at first. And who can blame her, seeing as they showed up with some lame ass cover story at the funeral and then she caught them snooping around the house.
I got the impression they only got away with their second "we`re investigators" story because she already felt something weird was at work there. Later on of course the brothers were able to produce convincing enough evidence. Not to mention her own run-in with Bloody Mary. Dean and Sam also managed to come across as trustworthy enough so she felt comfortable to stay alone in their motel room with them.

Skin was a bit of a unique situation in that the person in peril, Becky, already had an established relationship with Sam and felt like she could trust him. Of course he had to blow it with his outrageous lie about Detective Dean. And what the hell did he tell his friends about his family anyway. Jess apparently knew he DID have a brother named Dean. But was that the extent of it? He couldn`t have lied about Dean`s profession or else he couldn`t do so here.

While also skeptic she seemed ready to at least consider the possibility of a shapeshifter. Of course she was primed in wanting to help her brother here.
I was a bit astonished how she did not freak out when the real Dean found her in the sewers, seeing as his lookalike had not only fooled her but tortured her some hours before. Another well-adjusted person, I`d say. *g*

Hookman featured the worst chippie of the week IMO in Lori.
There was not much to here incidently, other than "OMG, I`m a curse on the world" over which she bonded with Sam and her terrible B movie from the 50s screaming.
She was obviously searching for a protector as in a big strong guy and Sam in his current situation responded to that.

Home again presented us with a young mother, tormented by a Poltergeist. And this episode pretty much disproves the theory that Dean has to flirt with anything female. Since he didn`t here. Not even the teeniest bit. He never even made a comment about Jenny`s hotness so I don`t know where this notion of "he just can`t help himself no matter what`s going on" comes from.

Now Jenny had already made a few observations about the weirdness going on in the house. She also seemed quite desperate, two kids, no job, broke? So I guess it`s not too much of a stretch to understand why she leaped at the possibility that the guys could help her and didn`t just slam the door in their faces.

I`m not sure how much Emily in Scarecrow fits the profile here since the couple again wasn`t much more than minor plot devices and we could all see what kind of impression Dean made on them in the diner. *g* Yes, she was about to be eaten by a fugly Scarecrow and because of that, she learned about the existence of living Scarecrows and other monsters. But again she wasn`t more than a mere plot device to point out the evilness of the villagers some more. Although I gotta hand it to the actress being the smartest guest star ever in bagging Jensen. That woman is my hero. :)

In the interest of accuracy I should at least mention Cassie. But that actress is so NOT my hero. No chemistry with Jensen Ackles? Making a sex scene with him look like seizures? *headdesk*

Cassie was also the girl who slammed the door in Dean`s face when he came clean (and I`m guessing Sam didn`t tell Jess because he feared that exact same reaction), yet was willing enough to believe when she needed his help. Nice one, sweetie.
She was also supposed to be tough and "sassy", I guess. Which she proved by screeching Dean`s name in the phone when the big bad killer truck attacked her. Oh and she closed the blinds. Musn`t forget that. She also bitched him out about making her stay inside the house.
Okay moron, then stay out and DIE.
Yeah, no love lost for Cassie.

Now Provenance gave us a new love interest for Sam, Sarah. And I gotta say, she handled the whole weirdness thing quite well. A bit of disbelief, a bit of freaking out but ultimately accepting what she saw and trying to help. It was nice that she acknowledge responsibility for selling the painting of death, showed off her good character.
Of course it didn`t hurt the brother`s cause that she obviously felt attracted to Sam and was therefore more willing to believe him.

The other PiP consisted of a teenage boy and his family in Bugs, a teenage couple in Asylum and a kid in Something Wicked.
They were also the snarkiest group in a way.

Matt asked them at one point if they were serial killers. :) Well, you DID follow the poor boy into the woods. What was he supposed to think?
Again Matt was already convinced something weird was going on so it didn`t take much convincing to get him to believe in the haunted ground story. The father on the other hand needed to get a few hundred bees stings before he could accept the truth. Not all that surprising, seeing as the older one gets, the more dead-set in your beliefs or non-beliefs one becomes.

The Asylum-couple with the kick-ass girl and the wimpy guy pretty much had to believe the brothers, seeing as they were literally surrounded by ghosts. Which is pretty condemning evidence. The girl at least found her coolness back relatively quick and proved herself capable enough under duress.

Michael, the kid in SW, of course will forever be in our hearts for giving us the two queens line. He also, quite understandably, slammed the door in our guys faces when they asked him to help with the shtriga. Yet they must have made enough of an earnest impression he didn`t immediately call his Mom or the cops. And speaking of the Mom, notice how again Dean doesn`t hit on her. Just checking.

In conclusion I think the brothers were lucky to have dealt with a string of people who were either already desperate or suspicious, very open-minded or attracted to them.
They could have just as well met all the people who`d scream: "This is not real" at the top of their lungs while they`re being torn apart by a werewolf. Yet the most obvious in denial-behavior I`ve seen on the show came from Sam, Dean and John themselves.


( 7 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )
Jul. 20th, 2006 02:17 am (UTC)
Good job, Astri. I've enjoyed all these metas you've been doing.
Jul. 20th, 2006 09:25 am (UTC)
Thanks. I love obsessing about these things. Work, what is work? :)
Jul. 20th, 2006 04:06 pm (UTC)
Nightmare if the most difficult of the bunch. Technically the Miller family would be considered the PiP here and our guys managed to at least save the stepmother. But it is kind of hard to consider them innocents when a part of you wants to scream: "Yes, Max, knife them. They deserve it." :)

That's judging the family a tad harshly, isn't it?

There are two ways to interpret Nightmare: either Max is the "monster" which would make his family the persons in peril, or alternatively, it's Max who needs saving. Either way, I'd call the episode a big failure for Sam and Dean in the saving-people stakes.

Child abuse is never pretty and there's no question that Max suffered. But a lot of kids are abused; they don't all become serial killers. And that's exactly what Max is. Once he moved from punishing the one who actually hurt him to revenge against those who allowed it to happen, he was never going to stop.

But while it's hard to know for sure about the uncle, the stepmother was not guilty. A man who will abuse a child the way Max was abused is extremely likely to have a controlling relationship with any woman in his life; chances are Max's stepmother was too afraid of her husband to stop it, even if she wasn't physically abused herself. She does react that way: she "defends herself" with tears when Max accuses her and she relies on Dean for actual protection, when truthfully she could have defended herself more effectively. Her response tells me she's used to the men in her life threatening her with violence.
Jul. 20th, 2006 04:36 pm (UTC)
I meant it more to say how it is really hard to identify a true "innocent" in this episode. Definitely not as clean-cut as in others. And there was definitely a part of me, like Sam, that understood Max`s desire for revenge.

Otoh it became clearer and clearer how far gone he already was. It was a typical gradual process with him: strike out against the true abusers, then he moved on to people who were indirectly involved and then he was even ready to kill an innocent in Dean. The time would have come when he might have killed someone because he had the power now and he could do so.

Either way, I'd call the episode a big failure for Sam and Dean in the saving-people stakes.

I kinda think Dean was right. It was literally too late, especially for Max. The guy was obviously broken. He was beyond being saved by talking.
As far as the father and uncle went, it was kinda curious how Sam`s vision was definitely too late to save the former and didn`t give much chance for the latter. That`s not how it worked in Home or Salvation.
Was it then "meant to be"? If you think there is some higher purpose behind these visions.
And they did save the stepmother.

Actually it wasn`t the first time they lost someone. The sheriff in DitW, again someone who was shared responsibility for the evil there, got killed.

But while it's hard to know for sure about the uncle

I thought it was established that the uncle joined in on the beatings? I didn`t doubt the former neighbor who told them. I can`t recall if Max did.

Btw, I agree with your assessment of the Stepmom. She seemed timid enough, I would think she looked the other way out of fear. But of course she still shares some of the blame for what went on in that house for years. She was still an adult, still in a better position than a small, defenseless child. So that doesn`t grant her true innocent-status.
Jul. 26th, 2006 04:53 pm (UTC)
Oooooooooooooh nice meta! Gotta love those :-)

He never even made a comment about Jenny`s hotness so I don`t know where this notion of "he just can`t help himself no matter what`s going on" comes from.

And speaking of the Mom, notice how again Dean doesn`t hit on her. Just checking.

Yeah but notice a pattern? Both times he was "emotionally busy" otherwise as in, he was reminded of his past and possibly not even noticing the women were hot :-) Which is interesting as it shows how little it takes to, you know, shake Dean.
Jul. 26th, 2006 06:09 pm (UTC)
Yes exactly, he was emotionally distracted. So I really don`t get these "Dean the sex addict" comments. He really isn`t that shallow.

I`d even venture his sex drive is pretty normal for his age, stressful life and status as single. But maybe this is like in SV where Lex sleeping with 13!!! different women was a sign for his terrible evilness. Good grief.

Looking like him, he`ll get offers left and right, if he`s flirting or not. :)
Jul. 26th, 2006 06:20 pm (UTC)
I`d even venture his sex drive is pretty normal for his age, stressful life and status as single. But maybe this is like in SV where Lex sleeping with 13!!! different women was a sign for his terrible evilness. Good grief.

Jesus. He's...what 27 by now? Life might be literally short for him, he is painfully ware of that, so it's carpe diem. Grant the bloke a little fun in his life, he's got too little of that anyway.
( 7 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )