Saturday, February 22, 2014

"Supernatural" Review - Will Sam and Dean Finally Purge Their Inner Demons?

A lot of people have been asking me what my take was on the conversation at the end of “The Purge”. There’s a reason I didn’t write up this episode and it wasn’t because I didn’t like it, or was angry or any of those things. It was because a while ago I stepped away from a place where the commentary on the show was getting me down and starting to affect my enjoyment of it. For a while, I considered giving up writing about the show altogether, because Supernatural is too important to me and I love it too much to have that experienced marred by my inability to separate myself from other’s opinions. That inability to not be affected by other peoples’ anger or despondency or disillusionment is all on me. It’s no one’s fault but my own. But I know I’m not alone in not being able to do this.

So I decided “The Purge” could wait until things calmed down.

Then my elderly dog – he’s 15 – got diagnosed with diabetes (actually on the day “The Purge” went to air!) and dealing with that and what that means and trying to figure out what’s right and what’s wrong has taken up all of my time and emotional energy.

But Harry is doing well and we’re taking it one day at a time as we see how much further our journey together will go. So I guess it’s finally time for me to weigh in on the whole “The Purge” shebang. To be honest, stepping away and allowing myself time to absorb and react without the first bloom of over emotive emotions was probably the best thing I could have done.

I’m an eternal optimist and that hasn’t changed. So let’s get that out there right now. I believe in this show. I believe in the people producing it. I do not believe for one moment they are wilfully or consciously trying to destroy any characters – because, really? I’m not even going to bother with that. I believe in and always will believe in Sam and Dean.

I’m also a realist. I don’t think two men in their 30’s who have been through the kinds of trauma these men have been through would react the same way to each other as two men in their 20’s who hadn’t been to Hell and back quite literally. They just wouldn’t and I’m glad of that. These characters have grown into profoundly deep and thoughtful human beings and I love every aspect of both of them.

I’m also realistic enough to know and appreciate that families fight, sometimes bitterly and violently but that doesn’t mean they don’t love each other and that doesn’t mean they don’t find a way to forgive and move past the anger and end up having a better more honest relationship because of the honesty that at the time seemed hurtful and harsh. Yes, I am speaking from experience.

So do I believe this is the end of the magnificence that is Sam and Dean. No I do not. Do I believe that they can find a way back to each other that has truth and realism and value? Yes, I do.

Had this situation played out any other way. Had Sam essentially forgiven Dean or buried his anger and hurt. Had they simply got on with the family business without any of this being dealt with I would have felt gypped and I know the fandom would have feel gypped too. Sam deserves to be allowed his anger, even if we don’t like it.

I’m reminded of John Winchester when Dean first stood up to him: “…I'm not too crazy about this new tone of yours, but you’re right.” That’s kind of how I feel about what’s happening now with Sam.

Of course his words hurt. They hurt like crazy. I was as gobsmacked as everyone else. But he was angry and was being honest in saying that for him, how their relationship currently is, it’s not working and then there’s Dean saying, well I’d do it again. Red rag to a bull – which is probably why Dean said it. Hurt and angry words usually get hurt and angry words in return…tragically, that’s just people.

But yeah, initially there was a part of me that was pissed. 1. Because Dean’s face and heart was so broken and 2. Because Sam’s words seemed to lack the understanding needed to allow his brother to hear them. Sam said I just want to be respected and have my choices for my own life respected and I would always respect what you want, even if it’s not what I want. Dean heard Sam doesn’t love me enough. I’m not enough.

But hasn’t that been the conversation these two have been battling internally now for 8.5 seasons? More to the point, aren’t these the issues we’ve been dealing with since season 1?

Sam originally left the family business to pursue a dream because his choice for his own life was not being respected.

The Yellow Eyed Demon nailed Dean when he said, “You know, you fight and you fight for this family, but the truth is they don’t need you. Not like you need them.” Right there, that sums up Dean’s greatest fear… still does.

When I stepped back from the emotional upheaval of what transpired after “Road Trip”, I started to see a picture forming – maybe just in my eyes, but…

How I’m seeing all this is that Sam and Dean’s core insecurity/issues/hopes/dreams/needs of their brother have been front and centre from the beginning of season 8. Playing out through Dean’s feelings around Sam choosing a different path when Dean vanished without a trace and now Sam’s feelings around Dean making a choice for Sam that he knew Sam wouldn’t want.

So what if what we’re seeing here is the show finally bringing out these things that have haunted their relationship with each other and their feelings about themselves and letting them actually talk about and deal with them? I mean that would be something right?

The conversations started in season 8 with Dean’s speech about just being a grunt and death is all that awaits him and with Sam’s speech about how he wants to live and he sees a different life, but so should Dean and he’ll take Dean with him to the light he sees at the end of the tunnel.

It was continued in “Sacrifice” with Sam confessing that he’s always felt like he’s let Dean down and that Dean doesn’t trust him and Dean saying there’s nothing past or present that he would put in front Sam.

That conversation was just the very beginning of what needs to be said between these brothers. It was a wonderful moment, a shining light in the series, but it was just a beginning and it was tragically cut short.

And now we find ourselves here…in season 9 with everything coming to a head. It may feel like a backward step, but maybe it’s the only way to revisit and further the conversation that was started in that church.

How can these two move forward in a place of love and trust if they continue to sweep their feelings of doubt, hurt, anger and bitterness under the rug? They can’t and they haven’t since Kripke broke their trust in season 4.

So, I’m not going to sweat this. I’m going to look at this as maybe, just maybe the beginning of them actually dealing with their problems once and for all.

Because I don’t want Dean to live in a state of fear and desperation that at any minute his brother is going to leave him and he’s going to be alone.

Because I don’t want Sam to not trust his brother’s love because he feels like his brother doesn’t believe in or respect him or his wishes.

I want them to know and feel the love that we know is there, always.

The angry words, yeah they hurt and yeah, maybe I’m not crazy about this new tone, but I understand it and I’m hoping that this is the beginning of a better place for Sam and Dean Winchester.

Because, once again, they’re fighting for each other and fighting to stay together.

Sam could have easily not have got in that car or he could have easily just got in and never been honest with Dean about how he is feeling and what he wants. But he didn’t. This is Sam fighting for his relationship with Dean.

Dean could have stayed in the car and let his brother walk away instead of getting out of the car and laying his need and heart out in the open. He could have walked out of the Men of Letters bunker and never looked back after Sam’s words cut him to the quick, but we know he didn’t. This is Dean fighting for his relationship with Sam.

I want what everyone wants. I want the brothers to be all twisted up in each other’s lives but I also want them to be happy about it. I want them to want to be together because they love each other as profoundly as we love them. I want them to be happy driving down crazy street with their brother by their side. I want them to enjoy being brothers again. Enjoy being together. They’ve been ploughing through so much blood and crap since season 4, they haven’t had time to really look at each other. I’m hoping, right now, this is their time.

And when we get there, the result will have so much more value, because it would have be fought for. The best things come to those who never give up…just like Sam and Dean.

You can call me an optimist you can call me an idiot…I don’t really care either way. I believe in Sam and Dean. I believe in their love and I believe in Supernatural. This show is yet to let me down and I know it won’t this time.

So I’m sticking with the Winchester brothers, because if they can fight to stay together, I can fight for them too.

How do I feel about that last scene in “The Purge”? I feel like it could be the first steps towards purging the brothers’ inner demons and the beginning of better times for the Winchesters – well, in their relationship at least - and I can’t wait to see where we go next.

Supernatural might be painful sometimes, but it’s always compelling and thought provoking.