Monday, January 26, 2009

John Winchester: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly


When I told my husband I was writing a post about John Winchester, he asked, “Can’t you just write that in your sleep?” Yes, I love Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and may be more forgiving on John Winchester because of it. But as I wrote on, I found little to love about John.


Now we know John was a normal guy who loved his wife Mary above all, and whose life was turned upside down by forces he didn’t understand when she died. We get most of our clues from the boys’ relationship with him-Dean’s immediate obedience and Sam’s rebellion.

We presume he drank to dull the pain. Sam talks about it on more than one occasion. At first, in the pilot when he tells Jessica that his dad is hanging out with Jack, Jim and Jose, I thought he might be covering up, but he’s mentioned it again. (Of course, I can’t think of any off hand, and no time to go through the DVDs, drat it.)

We know he searched everywhere for answers of why his wife died PINNED TO THE CEILING. We know he took his sons and left Lawrence in search of those answers. I’m not sure why he kept the boys with him. At first, I argued that he did it to keep them safe, but then he left them defenseless in motel rooms time and again. Why didn’t he leave them with family? So I started to wonder how long he knew about Sam. He told the Yellow-Eyed Demon in In My Time of Dying that he knew about it for awhile. How long is awhile? Did he keep Sam with him to protect him or to keep an eye on him?


Another question…did he keep the boys with him because Mary’s family and friends were being killed? Again, if this was the case, why did he leave the boys alone again and again?

He did teach the boys how to fight when they were old enough. I wonder how he felt about that. He believed it was necessary, but he had to know what he was doing would scar them forever. He had to know that asking Sam to shoot him when he was possessed by the YED would tear up his son. In trying to protect his sons, he lost the chance to love them the way he wanted.


What did John think would happen once the YED was dead? Surely he didn’t think his sons would return to a normal life, knowing what they knew. He might have hoped it, but he couldn’t have believed it.

Even his last act, giving up his revenge on the demon, had heartbreaking consequences. Dean, who already had the self-esteem of a beaten dog, blamed himself for his father’s sacrifice (which made his bartering his soul for Sam’s life less believable for me.)


Wow, as I wrote this, I came up with more questions than answers. What are your feelings about John?