Reviewer: mizpah (Signed)
20/11/12 05:09 AM · On:
Chapter 5 - Expectations
It's interesting that the only times we've seen Dean defy his dad was in defence of Sam. Never in defence of himself.
When John and Sam went head-to-head and it looked like they were going to come to blows, Dean stepped in - FACING JOHN - and physically pulled them apart, shoving Sam into a place of safety at his back. Tacitly taking Sam's side.
Almost staking his claim - 'my kid, not yours - back off'.
And again in the motel room when John found out Sam was having visions, Dean stepped in front of Sam and read his dad the riot act about not being accessible. But oh, Dean's little moment of shock when John admitted he was right...really smacked of a young man who had little or no self-worth - that he couldn't believe he was right in disagreeing with his all-knowing, always-right infallible, superhero father.
You're right, though - child Dean died the night of the fire, along with Mary. And along with John Winchester the father, as well. There were a lot of deaths that night.
I think Dean had it so much harder, despite his bluster and scoffing at normal people and their normal lives, because he remembered being one of those normal people. He remembered his dad being normal - John went to work, came home, played ball with him, read to him, bathed him, cuddled him and tucked him into bed.
Then John became their drill sergeant - teaching him to shoot, to hunt, drumming it into him to always protect his brother from the things in the dark. I will always feel hearbreak seeing that nine-year-old hefting the shotgun, then hesitating, and finally being ripped to shreds by his dad's anger and disapproval because he left his brother alone to be attacked by the shtriga. Those scars ran so, so deep.
And the disbelief in those big green eyes when John finally told Dean he was proud of him - to the point where Dean wondered if it really was his dad......how heartbreaking for a son to grow up never expecting a fatherly pat on the back or a verbal expression of pride and love.
That hurt child is now over thirty years old, but he hurts still, I feel.
Oi - stop making me read these drabble things!
I think that is such a telling statement, one we all see but is ignored by the Winchesters themselves. Dean stands up to Dad for Sam. Never for himself. Willing to back away to avoid that confrontation, willing to take it without complaint because that's what good little soldiers do. It's what's expected.
I love how John backs down from Dean, showing him his respect. It shatters me that Dean is so surprised when Dad tells him he's right. That undercurrent of doubt when it comes to his dad making him seem hesitant and wary. Afraid of a misstep. Afraid of losing what love he has grasped hold of.
Sam fans will argue how hard Sam had it, but I agree, I've always related to Dean and how hard he had it. He lost it all that night, his mom, that loving, warm father, all sense of normal and safety. No wonder Dean scoffed at normal, normal hurts! Being a hunter and being strong, killing evil and conquering all those doubts is a much safer alternative!
Jensen portrays that hurt child in Dean so well. Any other actor would have gotten lost trying to convey that. It doesn't make Dean weak or less heroic to bear the burden of that hurt. It makes him human and oh, so brave to overcome and still maintain that forward momentum.
These drabbles are addictive for me as a writer. I don't have the time to craft a longer story and these just seem to flow organically out of the strife the Winchesters live in. And they bring such marvelous discussion!
Reviewer: mizpah (Signed)
20/11/12 04:58 AM · On:
Chapter 4 - Defending the Indefensible
We finally saw Dean's pent-up resentment in that episode, when he lashed out and admitted that he had always been there for Sam, not John. We heard the anger and hurt in his voice, saw it on his face.
For so long he'd been the good soldier, idolising his dad, but the more deeply they got involved in the chaos of their destiny, the more hidden facts came to light and chipped away at John's superhero status, leaving him a tarnished, all-too-human figure. And I think it took Dean a long time to cope with that. If he has at all. John was his dad, his protector, his idol, his own personal superman - and John lied to him, kept things from him, told him he might have to kill his beloved baby brother, laid burdens on Dean that almost crippled him.
Dean couldn't understand why.
I think perhaps until he understands, he may not be able to forgive and move on.
Dean so desperately needs to understand and forgive. And see that John wasn't perfect or a total mess. Dean needs to see that he is as good or better than his dad.
It is all twisted in his mind, misshapened and confused. John put terrible pressure on Dean, impossible demands and yet for the most part Dean handled it...until he couldn't any longer. Losing his dad and being told he might have to end his brother his final undoing.
Dean needs to believe he's good and capable and needs to feel his dad's love and approval.
Sam always had Dean, even when they were separated, he always knew Dean would have his back. As much as Sam loves, respects and adores his brother, he hasn't managed to give him that same level of commitment and care. It always comes down to Dean being strong, Dean holding it together.
And yet Dean can't see his own strength and believe in himself. He does the job, as he must, but care for himself is beyond him.
He needs Dad back to set things straight, to figure it all out once and for all. Closure of the worst kind. A father's acceptance and the true knowledge that he is loved and treasured beyond his abilities as a hunter or protector.
Reviewer: mizpah (Signed)
20/11/12 04:52 AM · On:
Chapter 3 - Belief and Anger
Not driven by vengeance, I think Bobby was able to take that step back that John couldn't - and we saw for ourselves how he tried to give Dean snippets of time just being a boy instead of a hunter-in-training. Dean was robbed of his childhood in more ways than one. John put a lot on his tiny shoulders. I wonder whether John realised that for Dean, approval became a sign of love, and failure meant to lose his father's love. Dean put family first, needed them in a way they didn't need him, as the YED so cruelly stated.
Not that Sam and John didn't need Dean or love him, but their drives were different. Dean defines himself by family. He needs to be needed. Sam needs Dean, but in a different way - Sam's not good on his own, and I think is a wee bit naive at times, but as long as he has Dean at his back, he can forge along quite fine. Especially if he's got a mission, like finding Jess' killer, or saving Dean from his deal.
I think Bobby saw that weight on Dean's shoulders and wanted to just treat him like the little boy he really was. I'm wondering whether that argument between him and John was over Dean, or Sam. Had to be one of the boys...or both. I also think Bobby made a wonderful surrogate dad for the boys when John died - not taking John's place, but watching over them the best he could, and giving them a safe place where they could come and regroup, have a little slice of home and family amidst the chaos.
Bobby knew what they had to face, but he also knew there had to be down-time to keep them sane.
Sorry it took me awhile to get back to answering. I always love discussing the Winchesters with you. So much insight and agreement.
I think Bobby was able to see more clearly, both as an outsider not as emotionally wrapped up in Mary's death and also as a survivor who grew up craving love and acceptance.
Even tho Bobby knew his own dad was a dick, he was still his dad and boys need a father. He saw how much Dean loved his dad and needed his approval. It had to break his heart because he knew Dean deserved so much more.
I wish they'd tell us what the fight was about. I'm sure it involved Dean. Either instigated by Sam leaving and the aftermath, or simply Bobby bristling at the demands made on Dean and how damn unfair it all was. It might have even been Dean getting hurt on a hunt and Bobby blaming John.
Sadly we all know Dean would side with John. Forgive him any wrongs and try to stay on his good side. He must have missed Bobby, but as long as he had his dad he coped. How sad that he hesitated to go to Bobby when he feared he was losing his dad. Dean was still trying to be the man, be the leader and it shows his strength in that he admitted they needed help and went to Bobby.
Bobby was always Dean's protector, the keeper of the child and the good friend and nonjudgmental ally Dean so desperately needed.
Reviewer: mizpah (Signed)
20/11/12 04:43 AM · On:
Chapter 2 - Liar
I loved that episode, and I loved the fact that the boys drifted to the parent they needed most to be with and talk to - Dean to his mum, and Sam to his dad.
Remember back to the end of season one, when Sam told his dad they weren't different - a 22-year-old Sam was only comparing their grief and loss of Mary and Jessica at the time. But Sam is like John in so many ways - driven, obsessive, stubborn...the list goes on.
And with the devastating mistake Sam made in trusting Ruby and causing Lucifer to rise, he not only suffered a near-mortal blow, but he finally came to realise not just how similar he and John are, but finally understood why John became the man Sam knew.
I'm glad Sam had a chance to reveal all that to young John, and I smiled tearfully when Sam actually defended his father against his dad's younger self, absolving John of all the blame Sam had lain at his feet for their screwed-up lives. It was a sweet moment when he admitted that his dad had just been doing the best he could after such a loss and upheaval. The older and wiser Sam could view John with an adult's eyes, but not just that, with the eyes of an adult who had been through similar circumstances, losses and choices, and could now, finally, relate.
I think he was shocked to hear John admit (before they took on the YED) that he had wanted Sam to go to school and for Dean to have a home, and he was rattled to hear the grief in John's eyes when he said he wanted Mary alive again. The very things he'd denied to the boys, deep down he craved to provide for them. But he couldn't. He had to keep them safe - couldn't lose them the way he lost Mary. The soldier took over from the father, in order to better handle the threat to his reduced and vulnerable family.
I hope Dean gets to reconcile as well.
Sam truly does seem like he's come full circle, come to accept and forgive his dad. I loved hearing young John rail against any parent who would bring up their child in hunting. It showed how far he'd fallen, how circumstance truly let it get away from him. I'd love to see young John confront worn-down older John, that confrontation of what was and what should have been.
Dean still hasn't reconciled the dream to the man. Dean is still that lost child, still hurting and scared. The fierce hunter unable to dispell the fears that linger, that he isn't good enough, that everyone he loves will die on him, that he'll always feel less than what is expected. It is heartbreaking because Dean is so strong, so fierce and is everything that John or anyone else could possibly expect...and yet, John never found a way to reassure him that Dean could believe.
I think John definitely knew that Dean was a better man than himself. He knew how strong Dean was, how Dean never lost sight of what was truly important, family and humanity.
That's why it is so critical that Dean get some resolution. It would be beyond awesome for JDM to guest and allow them to address some of their issues.
Reviewer: mizpah (Signed)
20/11/12 04:33 AM · On:
Chapter 1 - Heroes
It's hard when idols fall from the pedestal we've put them on. And I think the final blow for Dean might have been finding out about Adam. But I also think Dean needed to take off his rose-coloured glasses where his father was concerned, and not just see John as a man, for to move out from under John's shadow and become a man in his own right.
Dean's always defined himself, I feel, by what he is to others - John's son and good soldier, Sam's brother and protector. And I think Dean is driven by the need to be needed. If only he could see himself as we see him, eh? But it was a very, very hard lesson for Dean to learn - that his father was a flawed human being, after all.
John Winchester was a man I started out loathing for what he did to his sons, but whom I've come to be a wee bit fascinated by over the years, not just from being around two of my closest friends who also happen to be dyed-in-the-wool John fans, but also from viewing certain parts of his behaviour repeatedly to try to get inside his head. For instance, his sacrificing himself to save Dean's life - and ultimately Sam's as well. Greater love hath no man, and all that - and he did love his sons. It was just a pity he couldn't show them or tell them that more often.
And no, not a deadbeat dad - just one trying to cope with the grief of losing his wife, trying to raise two young boys, and fight things that sane people couldn't even imagine, must less face down in the darkness. Flawed, grief-stricken and struggling. Falling back on the only thing he could be certain of - his Marine training - in a world gone suddenly dark and terrifying, and utterly confusing.
It's just so sad that his boys both have self-esteem issues up the wazoo because of it.
Hey, BJ - hope you're doing well and enjoying season 8. I'm looking forward to the all the reveals. So many questions, and we're only six episodes in so far down under.
Hey, Jules! Terrific to hear from you and have this awesome discussion on those most fascinating of men, the Winchesters! I'm super busy at work, the dreaded Black Friday looming, but yes, I am really enjoying S8, most especially the insight into Dean and his Purgatory flashbacks. I'm loving Benny and desperately want for him to remain loyal to Dean and not betray him. What a heartbreaking truth that was, that a vampire is the ONLY one who hasn't disappointed and betrayed Dean!
I've always seen the love John had for his sons, and the heartbreak and despair from Mary's death. I think (like Jensen's portrayal of Dean) it all comes from JDM's way of drawing us in. I simply can't hate John, because of Dean's love and loyalty and also because ultimately he did the best he could and the bottom line is he loved his boys and would have done anything for them, including dying. Sadly, he never seemed able to step beyond the tragedy and love them unconditionally as all boys want their fathers to do.
Dean does take all self-worth from hunting and protecting his family. That has been a constant, him feeling that he is responsible for others. Love how Cas handled that when he revealed to Dean the truth of why he was left behind in Purgatory. Loved Dean's response there, that he doesn't need to feel like crap over failing yet again. No, he certainly does not and yet, being Dean, he can't help himself. His heart always tells him it is his fault.
Thanks for all the insightful comments. Later, B.J.
Reviewer: Shannondoah (Signed)
27/05/12 08:56 AM · On:
Chapter 1 - Heroes
I love this drabble and the idea behind it!! I can't wait for more.
Now that Bobby is dead maybe they'll have more need to bring John back (maybe only in young John flashbacks) but I think now would be a perfect time, especially since Dean has experienced fatherhood himself, although very briefly. I think this would give him a more sympathetic perspective.
I think John was a man ruled by lose/lose situations. Take his sons on a very dangerous hunt or keep them locked up in a motel room far away and hope nothing evil found them. And although he had Bobby and Pastor Jim to rely on I don't think that was his style (for lots of reasons).
He felt responsible for raising his boys, not pawn them off on someone else to raise. I think he believed deep down that no one could protect them as well as he could. Or perhaps he was afraid to find out that someone else could raise them better than he could.
He wasn't exactly a team player. He constantly pissed off his friends. In season 2 Sam and Dean weren't sure what Bobby's reception would be when they showed up on his porch. Maybe John had simply run out of safe havens.
I like to believe that although he was tough on Dean it was partially because he could see in his son a strong dependable leader. In many ways John treated Dean like a colleague although not on equal footing as himself.
Dean went from blindly idolizing his father to seeing every flaw and wrongdoing. John went from hero to villain with nothing in between. Dean needs see his father as a person, acknowledge his faults but recognize and celebrate his virtues. He's cast John in the deadbeat dad category because that's easier for him. Dean closes off anything that evokes deep emotions. Sifting through the memories of his father would be much too painful so he bricks it up and considers it a waste of time.
Sometimes I think that Dean simply doesn't want to delve into his relationship with his father because he's afraid to see himself reflected there.
Dean adores his mother more than he idolizes his father. In some strange way I think he'd feel disloyal to Mary if he accepted John - faults and all. He can relate more to Mary because they've both been hurt by John. It's just so easy to blame John for everything instead of dealing with a lifetime of confusion, hurt and love.
First off, I adore your comments! So much insight and exploration of a very complicated man! Actually, all the Winchesters are complicated and their lives were so damn difficult. Whatever mistakes John made, his boys grew up strong and independent, able to fight and stay alive doing it!
I do think John saw Dean as dependable and a leader. I think he was not only impressed with his skill as a warrior, but in his humanity as well. I get the feeling that John sometimes toed over the line, lost track of 'why' he was fighting whereas Dean always had that center, the belief and reason to fight in saving people.
I think John was entirely sincere when he told Dean how much he loved him and how proud he was of him. Dean was an amazing kid who grew into an impressive man. So much to respect there.
Very good point about Dean closing off anything that evokes emotion. Dean is very much an all or nothing kind of guy, a black and white, right and wrong view of the world. It is hard to reconcile how John treated his sons, how he pushed them to fight at such a young age and how he 'abandoned' them in motel rooms when they were still children. Any real examination is bound to hurt, so for Dean it is easier to simply shove it into the deadbeat dad mindset and just ignore all else.
I agree, John wanted to raise his kids, wouldn't trust anyone else to do it and I think he also knew, they grounded him and kept him from totally going off the deep end and becoming a relentless, less-than-human killing machine. His sons gave him a reason to fight and survive.
Mary's culpability in all this is another can of worms that I'd love for the show to explore. Yes, Dean worships her, so how difficult will that be, accepting that her foolish quest for normal and her denial led them down this road? I'd like to explore John's anger over that too! He loved her and grieved her loss, but then to find out she kept this enormous secret from him. Dean and John would both have trouble accepting that!
Maybe that's why Sam has finally shown more acceptance for both his parents. He's made the wrong choice for what he though were good reasons. He can relate.
Dean's entire existence has been sacrifice, so it hurts doubly to know that maybe they weren't as worthy as he once thought.
Yes, there is still so many family issues to delve into. We need John and Mary back, preferably both older and younger versions. They could spend quite an enjoyable season just discussing their issues and addressing them!
Thanks again, loved, loved, loved all your insight! Til next time, B.J.
Reviewer: supernatfem76 (Signed)
26/05/12 05:09 PM · On:
Chapter 1 - Heroes
I really liked this drabble. I agree with your view of Papa Winchester and I also would like to see Jeffrey Dean Morgan back on SPN so we can see all the layers of John Winchester.
Author's Response: Thanks! There is so much potential there, for Dean to finally come to terms. I think Dean needs to see John realistically before he can see himself. And JDM is such an appealing man, we need more hotness on Supernatural! Later, B.J.