My sister has been visiting this week. She’s never watched Supernatural and I have been determined to get her hooked on it while she is here. We have been skipping around a lot, watching episodes from all of the seasons. I keep wondering if she is waiting for a big romantic story line or if she will be satisfied with the entire premise being all about the love between two brothers. I would hope that she would be. Her and I have always been very close. We have always had our differences as well. Neither one of us is happier than on the road, traveling to a new place. Together.
The Winchester brothers have always had issues, too. Starting even before season one. This week’s episode did a great job of pulling almost everything the brothers have ever fought about into one place. And we are all sitting around holding the pieces. Some of us are trying to keep score while others are doing their best to keep from falling apart.
There is something that people who are only children and people who are not close to their siblings need to know: we will say anything, ANYTHING to hurt the ones we love most, when we ourselves are hurting. Not because it’s true. Only because WE CAN. We do it to each other all the time. When we are in pain, the only thing that feels better sometimes is inflicting that same pain on the person we love, that person who gets us more than anyone else does. It’s wrong and it’s unfair but it is the way it is.
Sam and Dean are masters at it. Especially this week. They are finding every excuse to bicker and be snarky toward one another. They make faces and snide remarks in place of actual conversation. Of course, this has been going on since the beginning of season 8. And, if we want to look further, in many ways it has been going on forever. Newsflash: Sam and Dean are fundamentally different.
We know for a fact that Dean has always seen family differently. For him it is tied into his own circulatory system. He remembers losing his mother. He remembers rushing Sam from the burning fire of his nursery. He lived every day of his life trying to protect and take care of Sam. This is all that he knows. He was also raised under the tutelage of the John Winchester school of everything that isn’t human is bad. In most cases, that is true. And even though the Dean we know sees only black and white, he has seen the gray on occasion (Lenore) and the Dean of now sees gray better than ever before. John Winchester was cruel to tell Dean that he may have to kill Sam at some point. No one should have to carry that burden. But, in “Croatoan,” we learn, not for the fist time, that Dean would never live without his brother.
Family is a different feeling for Dean. It’s the only thing that he has always clung to. The only thing that has kept him going at times. It was incredibly hard for him to accept Cas into his family and once he did, he was terribly burned by that. But he found a way to forgive. He always does. Dean holds his family to a higher standard than he does anyone else. Nothing in the world is more important to him. And even while playing golf and buying beers for buddies in season 6, he asked for Cas and tried to get Sam back. He would have traded anything to have his brother walking the earth again. He would have traded his own life. We know that, because he did it once before.
Dean has every right to be angry about Ruby. Sam got high and chose a demon over his own brother. Nothing could have devastated Dean more. Never before is Dean’s sense of family more apparent than in “Dark Side of the Moon.” Dean has been to hell, he has seen some GOD AWFUL SHIT. And still, one of his worst memories is Sam leaving him to go to college. The first thing he wants to know after getting into heaven: Where is Sam? So why is it any surprise that Dean would be upset when he learns that Sam didn’t look for him after he was zapped into Purgatory? Why is it a surprise that Dean would find family there? Not just any guy, but a guy that helped him AND Cas. A guy that saved both of their lives. Dean has never taken family lightly. Why would he with Benny?
Sam has always been different, too. and I don’t just mean in the demon blood kind of way. Sam does not remember his mother. Sam only remembers a father that was difficult at best, a tyrant at worst. Sam only remembers wanting a normal life. The exact opposite of the life he was born into. He is allowed to want that. Who wouldn’t? Sam has been dealt every wrong card in the deck and he has done the best he could with every single one. Being told at the ripe old age of 23 that something is wrong with you, cannot set well with any soul. And yet, he always did his best. To fight not just with his brother, but for his brother.
Sam made a terrible mistake with Ruby. He knows that. And he more than covered his recompense. He sacrificed himself into the pits of hell in order to save the world. And mostly, to save Dean. We all know that Sam cannot be held accountable for what happened while he was sans soul. It hurt Dean while it was happening but the real Sam never meant to do harm. He only wanted to save people and to make the world a better place. His intentions were always good.He dealt with Lucifer hallucinations time and again because he would never leave his brother out there alone.
I can only imagine what Sam went through after Dean disappeared. He must have been destroyed. Disparaged. Reduced. I am beginning to understand why he didn’t look for him. Life has always held a different meaning for Sam. Dean has always lead the way. And when he didn’t have Dean, he had Cas or Bobby. When all of those options are gone, where do you go? Sam fled. To distances unknown. He met a girl, he found a life, he tried to live outside of everything he was born into. Just as he had always hoped to do. I don’t think that it means that he doesn’t love his brother. I don’t think that it means that he was able to live easily without him. I think that he was lost. And broken. And devastated. He did what he has always done. He tried to build a life outside of his family. Outside of the life he was destined for.
Dean has always had a problem with keeping secrets. He knows that it’s bad and he he does it anyways. Sam will always try to rebel against Dean. It’s in is very makeup to do so. We must also remember that we’re not allowed to tell someone that they cannot FEEL the way that they feel, no matter how wrong we think their feelings are. If Dean FEELS betrayed by Sam, we have to deal with that. If Sam FEELS misunderstood by Dean, we need to deal with that, too.
These favorite brothers of ours must be able to communicate. To empathize. To understand each other. Sam cannot possibly understand the horror that was Purgatory. Dean cannot possibly understand what it must have been like to be left all alone. We have to understand that they never set out with the intention of hurting each other. But, if they do not meet eye to eye, there is little hope that they will be able to do what needs to be done. They are always stronger when they work together with understanding. Can we hope that they will find the common ground in time to save the world, yet again?