Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Look at Lisa

I'm one of those who likes to stay spoiler-free, so this post only involves eps already aired and my own speculation (in other words, I haven't gone looking online to see if and when Cindy Sampson will be in more episodes).

It felt to me like last week's "Live Free or TwiHard" may have been Dean and Lisa's swan song (or, at the very least, the beginning of the end). The episode began with Dean very happy on the phone with her, saying that he and Sam were nearby and that he could come visit. Plans went awry when he got (temporarily) changed into a vampire. There was a funny/tense/sad scene when he showed up in her bedroom (watching her sleep, after he'd been mocking that exact scenario on the cover of a vampire novel) and told her thank you for all she'd done but that he couldn't keep bringing his dangerous life (and the monsters therein) home to her. This was not exactly a new conversation for them--but the fact that he then shoved her son in the hallway (in an attempt not to attack him) may spell doom for Lisa and Dean even if he does reconsider and want to reconnect. (Do you think his fruitless phone messages for her at the end were for another chance or just an apology and to make sure she/Ben are okay? Think we'll be seeing her again?)

Anyway, since I feel like the Lisa/Dean subplot is winding down, I wanted to take a look at their relationship and at Cindy Sampson's work on the show (not to mention get y'all's opinions ). We first met "bendy" Lisa in Season 3's "The Kids Are All Right" and maybe I'm biased toward her because I thought that episode was really well done (even if it does make me afraid of my own kids!). I loved the scenes with Dean and Lisa's son Ben--we saw very clearly how Dean wished Ben was actually his--and I thought Jensen and Cindy had pretty good chemistry (way better, IMO, than his and Cassie's in Season 1's Route 666). But while Dean seemed wistful about leaving Lisa and her son (due in part to the fact that he was headed for hell and realized he'd never have a wife and son), I didn't expect to ever see Lisa and Ben again.

But the writers reference the character again in "Dream a Little Dream of Me," when she appears in a dream sequence where she and Dean are a couple. Then we don't see her again until the impending apocalypse, toward the end of Season 5 (when Dean is contemplating making a deal to be Michael's vessel, he plans to secure some kind of protection for her and Ben.) Of course, it ends up being not Dean but Sam who sacrifices himself in "Swan Song," and Sam makes Dean promise that, rather than spend the next year trying to bust his brother out of hell, he'll settle down, have a life (with Lisa). And the last few seconds of season 5 show Dean doing just that.

The very construction of the show would seem to prevent either brother being in a healthy, happy relationship (they're on the road all the time and something tries to kill them at least once an episode), plus fans in the past have reacted negatively to some recurring female roles/perceived love interests. So putting Dean in a relationship is a somewhat risky move on the part of the writers. On the one hand, I think that it's organic to Dean's character--he's always wanted family, so in that regard, it makes sense. On the other, it was somewhat jarring after not seeing Lisa for all of Season 4 and most of Season 5 to ask us to believe she's the great love of his life. (Although, given Dean's career, how many people has he really had the chance to get close to? Here's a woman who already knows what he does, so he can actually talk to her, gave him some of the best sex of his life, and has a child that he can see being his, fulfilling his life long wish for family.)

So I came in to the sixth season with mixed feelings about this supposed relationship. I've always liked Cindy Sampson's portrayal of Lisa, but I wasn't sure how I felt about having she and Dean thrust on us almost out of the blue. Yet I have to say, she's won me over. I love her obvious care for Dean and acceptance of who he is and what he's done. I like her realistic attitude about his issues (because, let's face it, he would be SO screwed up). Of course, while all those are positives, watching Dean beat himself up about all the possible ways he could get Ben and Lisa killed is slightly less enjoyable (as the last episode demonstrated vividly, he's not just paranoid. It's a valid concern). While I never expected them to last together into their old age, I'm a little sad to think they're hitting goodbye. Especially since Dean's trust in Sam is fractured, taking away the person he was closest to.

What do you guys think? Did you buy her as Dean's true love? Will you miss her when she's gone, or be glad when the writers put this particular storyline to bed? So to speak.