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First: YAY to renewal. This rocks.

I thought the hiatus would give me some time to cool off from the show but so far SO not happening.

And even though I`m normally all about Dean, I`m really trying my hand at a Sam-Meta this time.


A lot has been said already about Sam as the reluctant hero (And god, is he ever the most likeable of that bunch. Clark Kent and the Halliwell Morons, I`m looking at you. Shut up! At least Sam has actual reasons for being Emo. While you have lifes, families, friends, a nice place to live, so quit whining!)

More has been said about the question of Sam being selfish or just independent and I`m not gonna beat that horse, even though I`ve hardly ever met someone who said, Sam is actually WRONG for wanting his own life and needs to be hung, drawn and quartered for it.

(I just can`t get into WantingNormalLife!Sammy too much, because he wants to go to Law School and as a lawyer myself, I will say here and now that he is better off hunting monsters and living in cheap motel rooms. Choose something else, Sammy, anything. Be a doctor. A writer. An egineer. A philosopher. A fry-cook, for god`s sake. And we`re five by five. I`ll be cheering you on. B ut please, please drop the law idea. You`ll thank me later, okay. *g*)

So today I`m gonna tackle Protective!Sammy. Because he kinda gets overlooked with the abundance of Protective!Dean on the show and also because he ROCKS.


Out of all the people Dean has a relationship with - and sadly that makes a grand total of 3, 4 if you count Burnt!Mary - Sam is the only one who ever truly makes an effort to get Dean, to get inside him. Yeah, yeah I know I was setting myself up for a fall here, so get all the dirty snickering out of your system *g* - I meant his psyche of course.

John? He may love his son but he can`t be bothered to show it most of the time. He needs a soldier first and expects Dean to function in this capactiy. Frankly, he takes Dean utterly loyalty and self-sacrificing nature, which he had a big hand in creating, for granted. Nice going, Papa.

Cassie? If you can supress the intense desire to deny her existence, and god I am desperate enough to embrace the ridiculous notion of Virgin!Dean if it meant erasing her from canon, she pretty much unceremoniously dumped him. Twice. And she didn`t seem that invested in the relationship anyhow. It was more like: "Okay he is hot - but too freaky. Well, too bad."
Granted, I don`t think it was true love on Dean`s side either, he seemed more in love with the idea of being in love and courtesy of his limited experience with lasting romantic relationships, he seemed to put in all the effort he felt was required of him in a "romance."

Now Sam.
In the first couple of episodes, Sam doesn`t seem to understand or even know his brother all that well. He seemed surprised by Dean`s confession to Lucas about being brave for their Mom.
He seemed surprised by the Shapeshifter telling him about Dean`s abandonment issues. He didn`t know Dean carried him out the house or that Dean swore to himself never to get back to Lawrence.

BUT, last time these two truly interacted, it wasn`t as adults and equals and it wasn`t without their Dad present. Growing up, with Dean being a parental figure to Sam nonetheless, he would have probably regarded him with equal sense of hero-worship and resentment for (s)mothering him. Not to mention him struggling with his own issues in the family, so I can actually understand him not knowing or noticing these things about Dean growing up. A teenager won`t spent that much time trying to figure out his older brother`s twisted psyche, epsecially when said brother goes out of his way to project the image of cocky self-assuredness. I`m guessing, Sam largely bought that image.

Also, Sam had just suffered a huge personal loss (even if I found Jessica to be dull as hell but maybe her cookies rocked, what do I know?), but that tends to make people be a little self-involved and not so much paying attention to others.

Ironically a big point of contention between the brothers at first aka their childhood and how their Dad raised them, I always had the feeling that Sam was outraged of that on both his and his brothers behalf. Sure, he might have perceived Dean to be the Golden Boy of the family because he was probably never getting yelled at, while Dean in all likelyhood would have perceived Sam as the favoured one because of all the attention he got due to being rebellious.
He clearly (and rightly IMO) saw that Dad was kind of fucked up as a Dad and I guess when he was little he`d look at Dean with a great deal of hero-worship. (You can see it even now sometimes.) Then as he grew older, what would he see? His hero, someone he loves deeply being treated badly (in a way of being denied normal childhood joys, molded into a soldier instead) and taking it. That would be frustrating and would eventually lead to some resentment of that person.


But whenever Sam learned something about Dean, he took note. He tried to reach out even though more often than not he got a flip remark for it. Sure, he faltered sometimes and became utterly clueless again (Shadow, anyone?) but he made an honest effort to get Dean and help him if he could. He didn`t just try to push his pain aside. Which is way more than I can say for anyone else in Dean`s life.

He came back in Scarecrow, showing Dean his priorities and love through actions where Dean showed them earlier through his words.

He showed his love in "Faith" and even though I think he would have taken the same course of action he did there with forehand knowledge, he WAS sorry to involutarily lay more guilt on Dean. And he tried to remedy this at bit by gently trying to reassure him and arranging the talk with Layla. (And I guess he would have been quite outraged with Layla`s mother ripping into Dean if he had heard this.)

In Nightmare it was the vision of Dean dead specifically that triggered his TK (or what I believe to be him tapping into Max`TK).

In Something Wicked he acknowledged there being a reason for Dean following Dad`s orders and tried to offer Dean forgiveness and absolution of blame. (Something that would have been John`s job like 17 years ago.)

In Salvation he thanked Dean for always being there for him. He came out of his crazy mindset when Dean admitted to being close to losing it himself.

And in "Devil`s Trap", did you notice how he didn`t really wanna leave Dean`s side to check on their Dad and just choked out his brothers name? Awww.


Sure, sometimes he is the annyoing, needling little brother enjoying his big bro`s discomfort, but that`s his JOB.
As much as I hated Misery and her treatment of Dean, I can see why Sam would find it funny. In such moments I guess he reverts back to bratty kid brother and again, Dean himself seemed more annoyed than hurt.
In retaliation, Dean gets to embarass Sammy by pimping him out constantly, pushing him against a desk while armed only with an ID that says "Bikini Inspector" (hee), stuffing his face full of appetizers for maximum embarassment of Sam by proxy, making him paint on frat boys and sticking plastic spoons in his mouth while he sleeps. *g* It`s kind of a cosmic balance.

But then again, he holds absolute belief in Dean`s ability to rescue him in the Benders. He, quite frankly totally ignored Hailey hanging there in Wendigo and went straight to Dean. He seemed about ready to carry Dean from the car in Faith (and god, why didn`t this happen, why?). He paces restlessly when Dean gets sent off to cemeteries to fetch some blood. Or looks shocked and outraged when he learns that Cassie, who frankly wasn`t that hot to have landed someone like Dean, had the nerve to DUMP his brother. He trusts Dean`s plan and judgement in SW to trap the Shtriga despite his worries.
In a word, he CARES about Dean and more importantly SHOWS it.


The only times I`ve really rolled my eyes at Sam, Scarecrow and Shadow, I could still totally see where he was coming from. Even if his way with words was nine kinds of terrible there.

Like the much talked about TALK in Shadow because he came across as utterly clueless about Dean`s feelings. No Sam, I don`t believe for one minute you wanna just ditch your brother for good, but the words you actually chose offered like, no assurance whatsoever.

And I can even see that being the case because Sam wouldn`t even think him cutting Dean out again would be an issue now, but see the huge pink elephant, with the words "insecure and in fear of abandonement" spraypainted on him, standing right next to Dean? No Sam? And of course despite being emotionally open like never before Dean doesn`t even think of asking Sam about it, so Sam could actually calm his fears. *headdesk* Forget the vision and the TK, these boys are in dire need of telepathy.

What`s more I can see Sam coming from a place of meaning well. Him questioning Dean what he wanted to do after this was all over might have led me to shake my head, because in all honesty what answer did he expect from Dean here? Dean made it clear time and time again, hunting is a calling for him. He is in it for the long haul.
Yes, Sam`s utter incomprehence of Dean`s declaration that hunting is what he wants to do and he just doesn`t lets himself think about his own wants, stems from Sam just not believing ANYONE would ever want this.

But even there I see the underlying love in that. Sam just doesn`t see happiness and gratification in this life, only misery and pain. So even while he sees how Dean for all intents and purposes revels in it, he has this gut-feeling that his brother is somehow stuck in this terrible life. Of course that`s not gonna make him happy and he will try to talk Dean out of it or get him to admit he wants something else, anything else. (I know it is more complicated in Dean`s case but just for the sake of argument here.)
Of course he needs to realize that his dreams are not everybodys dreams and as abhorrent as he may find this life, there wil be those who choose it freely.
Which of course goes vice-versa for Dean with the realizing, Sam really, really doesn`t wanna do this and really, really wants the applepie life.
Happy medium, guys, look it up. You can have it.

Not to mention hunting being a high hazard occupation which is never easy to accept if your loved ones are putting themselves in constant danger.


Over the course of the Season Sam discovered his brother and really paid attention to him, to what makes him tick. And Dean goes to great length to hide the layers he has, so kudos to Sam for steadfastly trying to peel them back.
He took the time and effort to look beyond the facade. And we saw the brother`s closeness for it in the Finale. `


And all that isn`t an equivalent to coddling Dean or some such, that would unnecessary victimize the character and one of the great things about Dean (and Sam) is the fact that they don`t whine 24/7 about their horrible, horrible lifes and the unfairness of it all. In fact Dean to my best knowledge hasn`t done so ever.

That doesn`t mean however that his feelings and issues need to be pushed aside out of convenience or he needs to be "smacked down" for it. Just because you know he`ll take that ON TOP of his pain. You wanna distract him from his feelings, engage him in a distraction aka work or something. Or even leave him alone.
Insults or smackdowns are not distractions, they are insults and smackdowns. And Dean is not a masochist and has never shown to enjoy such treatment.

So, Misery and John (mainly I wan`t Cassie to just stay gone), either get a clue or stay off my TV-screen. And I hope Sam drop-kicks you on principle, Misery. *g*

So in essence, Sam IS a good brother to Dean. And because Dean and his happiness are actually of interest to Sam (not so much that he would sacrifice himself for it, and as he shouldn`t because that ultimately would make nobody happy), I see him as the only one who can help Dean overcome his childhood trauma and dependency on his family to come out stronger at the other side. Not necessarily embracing the "normal" life, mind you. Just being able to function better in whatever life he might choose.

Comments

( 12 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )
maygra
May. 21st, 2006 05:23 am (UTC)
This is an excellent examinsation of Sam and his relationship to Dean and yes, very much yes, that while Sam may not be all that keen on saving the universe, he is very much invested in making sure that Dean at least has the opportunity to be happy, even if he doesn't take it or Sam doens't really like whatever Dena chooses, but he wants to be sure.

So, yay. Excellent post.
astri13
May. 21st, 2006 10:37 am (UTC)
Thank you. Dean may speak to me more as a character but I`ve never NOT understood Sam or where he was coming from. I`ve never not been sympathetic to him. And that makes him a good character for me.

And in their "fight" scenes in Scarecrow and Shadow I was more frustrated than angry, not because what was said (because sometimes when you fight, you DO say really jerky stuff, still makes you a jerk, but it happens), but what was NOT said.
IMO Their biggest problems never stemed from a lack of love or caring, just from a lack of communication and their current lack of ability to imagine a working compromise. They are just so...men. *g*

I`m really, really weary about the "Who is better" discussion, because it often ends in these elevate one by putting down the other arguments. I get the need to defend your guy when you feel he is being criticised unfairly, but when did preferring one become the equivalent of hating the other?

There are reasons to love Sam which are/should be entirely about Sam (and not the fact that "at least he isn`t a pathetic loser like Dean". WTF?). And vice versa for Dean. I don`t need to love Dean on account of thinking he is "so much better than selfish Sam". *headdesk* (By that logic I would have to like Clark Kent on account of him being at least not as annoying as Lana. Strangely, I don`t. *g*)

I for one expected that in a show with two leads, their characters would be polar opposites. And I guess the writers intented for BOTH to be likeable and sympathetic.

So yay for Team Dean/Sam.
lovis
May. 21st, 2006 10:28 am (UTC)
Yay, you.

It's so very conveniend to have you friended. Now I don't have to write something up (nevermind I could never do it so well) I'll just point people here and say read that, she says it perfectly. :-)
astri13
May. 21st, 2006 10:40 am (UTC)
Hee. Thank you. I don`t mind typing up these insanely long metas. I can`t seem to get the pretty boys out of my head. *g*
sargraf
May. 21st, 2006 11:46 am (UTC)
I have so many thoughts on this, but one of the things I love that you brought up is Sam's reaction to Cassie. I loved how JP played that, both taken aback and upset for Dean's sake. It was a little touch in a pretty awful episode, but it was one of the rare times JP got a chance to play this side of Sam, and he did it gangbusters, I always thought. (I hated how they sidelined him overall, though, in Route 666. It didn't feel like Dean got treated like that in Provenance, but perhaps that's JA's presence compensating for it?)

And Dean goes to great length to hide the layers he has, so kudos to Sam for steadfastly trying to peel them back. He took the time and effort to look beyond the facade. ... And all that isn`t an equivalent to coddling Dean or some such, that would unnecessary victimize the character

YES, and YES, and YES. This is such a great aspect of Sam, and so much something I appreciate in Dean. That Dean does not allow himself to be a victim, and that Sam does try to hear and understand his pain without victimizing him. I love that so very much, I can't even tell you. Actually, that might be one thing that Sam does better than Dean. Questionable. He does take Sam's feelings maturely, as in Provenance (once they got to the serious issue), and doesn't baby him overall. But perhaps this is pure fanwanking: it seems like part of Sam learning who his brother is, is learning who this man Dean is as a fellow adult. Whereas Dean is having a harder time shedding the "little brother" view of Sam. Maybe...? Am I being unfair to Dean? (I just woke up! :P)

More thoughts later. I just really appreciate this post. You've given us stuff to ponder! :)
astri13
May. 21st, 2006 12:03 pm (UTC)
it seems like part of Sam learning who his brother is, is learning who this man Dean is as a fellow adult. Whereas Dean is having a harder time shedding the "little brother" view of Sam. Maybe...? Am I being unfair to Dean? (I just woke up! :P)

I think Dean sometimes still regards Sam as a child, more importantly his child. Especially when there is danger afoot. For Dean Sam seems kinda instantly revert back to Sammy then. And of course that would be aggravating for Sam.
But I guess it`s something most parents can`t help. (My mom calls me by my childhood nickname every now and then. Argh!) And Dean is downright parental sometimes: "That`s my boy." "Answer my when I`m talking to you."
Just imagine if there is someone you saw or even have potty-trained. They will NEVER be truly grown-up in your eyes. *g*


sargraf
May. 22nd, 2006 02:59 am (UTC)
That's a good point. I always wondered how much of "Dean = parental figure of Sam" was fanwanking, and how much the show meant to convey in that regard. Something Wicked seemed to settle a good portion of that, and then in DMB, we had the full family dynamic in play, with Dean as the peacekeeping "Mom" (so to speak).
astri13
May. 22nd, 2006 10:52 am (UTC)
Even though I didn`t like the direction of the Flashback scenes too much (little Sammy looked indeed like a very special kid, just not in the good way), I`d love to see their background explored more. How was the family dynamic when they got older, say 12-16 or when Sam hit the teenage rebellion phase.
And I damn well wanna see the big blow-out fight before Sam left for Stanford. Especially Dean`s reaction to it, was he kinda supportive, quiet, neutral, once again the peace-maker?

But I`m guessing on the whole, Dean did a lot of day-to-day stuff in raising Sam, cooking for him, teaching him to tie his shoes, soothing away his nightmares. Probably all the stuff he remembered his mom and dad doing for him before the fire. Stuff John wouldn`t think of doing anymore, neither for Dean nor Sam.

I believe Sam would be quite different if it would have been just him and John alone. They either would have killed each other (or Sam would have run away as a child) or John would have crushed the kid`s spirit.
andromakhe001
May. 24th, 2006 06:10 pm (UTC)
I think Dean didn't get very involved in the "big fight" because I think if Dean had been in any way against him, Sam would have held it against him more when they first teamed up again and he certainly wouldn't have been able to him in Salvation he always knew he could count on him etc. Dean may have tried to break it up(like he did in DMB--where he wasn't trying to appear on either side) but I'm sure in that case they completely ignored him. I think he was mostly a bystander suffering the collateral damage.
astri13
May. 24th, 2006 07:16 pm (UTC)
I have the same feeling. He was probably trying to play peace-maker at first and then when he realized that this time it wouldn`t work, he got quiet.

I`m imagining Dean suffered the fate of all middle-man (or in this case mother figure of the family). John bitched to him about Sam when they were alone and Sam bitched to him about their father in John`s absence and Dean defended either one to the other. I did that for a couple of years between my grandmother and my mother. Oh the fun.
And it`s totally of no use when you got to people, who are polar opposites in personality or their general viewpoints. And John HAS an agrravating personality (hence all the falling outs he has with people.)
porntestpilot
May. 21st, 2006 01:37 pm (UTC)
Fantastic! I loved all of this! And can you see them with telepathy.

Sam: *huge puppy eyes* Dean, I didn't know you..

Dean: Shut up

Sam: But you!

Dean: SHUT UP.

Sam: *hugs*

Dean: OH MY GOD GET OFF ME!

Sam: I love you Dean.

Dean: I AM SO PUT UPON! *thinking* YAYYYYYYYY!

Sam: I can hear that, you know.

Dean: Whatever bitch. *hugs back then pretends they never had this talk*
astri13
May. 21st, 2006 02:22 pm (UTC)
Bwahaha. *g*
Exactly, Dean would act all annoyed and stuff but secretly love it.

Oh, and I love your icon. It`s just so Awwwww.

( 12 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )