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Unabashed Spoiler Hound & Fanfic writer

Reveling in the fickle nature of fangirlishness

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Family Remains - "Yeh, you're right. I wasn't like them. I was worse."
 "No matter how many people I save, I can't change that. I can't fill this hole. Not ever."

Hey everybody!

Happy New Year!  I hope that everyone had a lovely holiday spent with loved ones.

Here's my first blog in my new home at LiveJournal.  I welcome all who come and read and ask forgiveness for the mistakes that are likely to follow as I get used to things here.  Your patience is appreciated.

Ah, first, it feels wonderful to be blogging again and last night's episode was a wonderful one to start back into the rhythm of things after so many weeks away. 

The episode felt familiar, almost like Season One, but not quite.  A twist harking back to The Benders  of Season One, exploring the darker and innermost evil that resides in humanity itself.  It was a great lead-in to the next heartbreaking revelation by Dean at the end of the episode.  Supernatural continues to deliver the most amazing endings and many of them performed with stellar and pitch perfect authenticity by Jensen. This was another example of "How does Jensen do that?"  Throughout the episode we were treated to the facial nuances that Jensen employs with such deft subtlety, hinting to Dean's inner struggle and pain that would soon and once again reveal itself at the conclusion of the episode. Okay, and who didn't laugh when Dean didn't feel like eating his burger? Didn't we all widen our eyes like Sam?  Priceless. A sure sign all is not well with Dean.

Some might have been shocked, maybe even sorely disappointed at the revelation that Dean, our beloved and heroic Dean, could admit to enjoying the torture he inflicted upon those souls in Hell. Some might even wonder if Dean hasn't crossed the line somehow and become someone who can't be redeemed.  As an unrepentant DeanGirl, as most of you who know me already know, I wasn't repulsed or disappointed at learning of Dean's transgressions.  Quite the opposite.  His admission and self-recrimination only made him that much more vulnerable, more importantly, more human to me.  The episode was a perfect allegory about man's inhumanity to man, that sometimes evil can be found deep within each of us, even the best of us, drawn out of us under the right conditions or driven to a breaking point where we can no longer distinguish morality over our own selfish needs.  Even the brother and sister can be perceived as evil because they kill, but can they be blamed for that? Can't it be argued that because of the brutality they suffered from their grandfather that they were inexorably driven to the only existence they knew? Survival, however horrific? Shouldn't they be forgiven because their evil was not of their own creation? Dean said it himself, "Life long torture turns you into something like that".  Even Sam called them "barely human", but does it make them victims or just plain evil period, no grey area?  It was easy to make that distinction in The Benders, but not so much here.

Okay, I have to defend Dean, it's my job as unrepentant DeanGirl so here it goes. My 2 cents is very
elemental, Dean is human, he's flawed. He'd been beaten, tortured both mentally and physically in Hell and he broke, he couldn't take it anymore. It had reached the limits of his very human endurance and even the mighty Dean Winchester couldn't take anymore. My friend Tiffany made an even greater point that Dean's repression of a lifetime of dealing with evil, of seeking maybe revenge for his own losses, could also have finally reached a limit for him and he could shoulder no more. Maybe his need for retribution for all that he had already endured had driven him to inflict and enjoy the torture he exacted. He had been doing so well at keeping everything bottled up inside of him, to not lash out.  But once his self-control was broken, those famous emotional walls breached, he gave into relieving his own pain, even feeling that he deserved to feel good by exacting pain and suffering on others because so much had been exacted upon him. In Dream a little Dream, when his dream self taunted him, he "beat himself up" in pent up anger and frustration at his father for making him live the life he's led, for making him shoulder protecting Sam, for burdening him with the secret of who or what Sam was or was to become and telling him to save Sam or kill him, driving him to make the deal to bring Sam back and to go to Hell. Maybe being in Hell provided the inevitable release of all that pain as well as what Alistair had exacted upon him.  A lifetime of torture...Dean said it himself.  It could be applied to him and Sam both, but  I can understand it from Dean's perspective and I can forgive it.

Eric Kripke alluded to what happened in this episode before Season 4 began, that Dean would emerge from Hell like a POW might have from the worst prison camp ever. Someone who was almost destroyed by the experience and for sure transformed forever by it. A post-traumatic stress disorder unique to Supernatural and as only Dean could experience it.  

It's not to excuse what he did or how he felt when he did it, but more importantly, that he feels deep remorse for all of it, that he suffers daily for his participation in the tortures in Hell, that he understands and acknowledges what he did as wrong and even evil.  It explains his emotional breakdown in Heaven and Hell and why he wishes he didn't have to feel, but the fact that he does, that his guilt is so overwhelming speaks to his moral character.  

The most WONDERFUL thing about Dean is his own self-recrimination.  He completely takes responsibility for what he did. He doesn't try to rationalize it to let himself off the hook as sometimes Sam does. He's trying to live with it, wishes that saving others will somehow make it better, knowing it never can. He realizes that he could save thousands of lives and it would never make up for what he did. That it won't fill in the hole in his soul he created when he gave into Alistair. He believes he has already traversed that slippery slope he lectured Sam about.  

I can forgive him because he understands what he's done. He's holding himself accountable. If anything, I just want to hold him and turn back time so that he never had to go through it at all. But it begs the question that  by having experienced it,  could he have achieved a greater understanding that as the season evolves, may lead to something more wondrous and uplifting for him?  I believe it will.  I believe that Dean's downfall will be his ultimate redemption at the end of it all.  My friend Tiffany has said that maybe Dean will also better understand Sam's dilemma of feeling an evil inside of him that he can't wash off or cut out of him now that he has a similar feeling about himself. Perhaps Dean had to experience all he has in order to gain a wisdom or a valuable perspective that will help him later. I cling to that notion wholeheartedly.  That which doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.  I think for each sling and arrow that is thrown at Dean, he becomes stronger. Forged in a way that will make him a better man maybe even a better leader in the war ahead.

Does all this tarnish Dean's image as some have already begun to speculate? Sure. To say it doesn't, would be to ignore what he's done, to gloss over it and in my view, portray Dean more as evil and than as flawed.  Flaws are good.  "To err is human" as Shakespeare once said but he also said "to forgive divine".  I think that Dean's rescue from Hell is proof that no matter what he did there, he's been forgiven or at the very least has been given another chance to redeem himself in the war to come.  It's now much clearer why Dean feels he doesn't deserve to be saved, that it's not been his experience that good things happen, at least not to him, as Castiel claimed, but in my view, if God didn't feel that Dean was essentially a good man, a man who could be valuable as a leader in the war ahead, He could have left him back in Hell.  If God really and truly believed that what Dean did there was reprehensible, unforgivable, then why not just leave him there to become as Ruby once told Dean, no longer human,  to allow Hell to punish him and rip his humanity from him and turn him into the very things he hunted?  I think that Dean was saved because in the end he is a good man, not a perfect man, but a man with flaws and that's okay.  In my view, it makes him all the more heroic for having been vulnerable to the same temptations and poor judgment as any human.  Heroes in most literary works were forged by some kind of character flaw or they possessed some kind of weakness. Every hero has an Achilles Heel, even Achilles.  

I also think that Dean's rescue from Hell has a lot to do with his influence over Sam. From a positive point of view, Dean might be the only person who can save Sam from his own darker destiny, a view I lovingly embrace.  From a negative perspective, Dean could push Sam over the edge into darkness just as easily. They are both on a razor's edge that could destroy either or both of them.  Time will tell if both emerge united or divided. 

As an episode, I loved it.  It started out simple and ended up being more complicated. If I may be permitted to effuse about Jensen's performance, it was wonderful.  NEVER overdone, but communicating everything from subtle looks and gestures. The perfect inflections in his voice to communicate Dean's determination at keeping his promise that he will get Danny, gently insisting that Brian let him get Danny as if to also say that he wasn't willing to let Brain die too on his watch like Ted had. 

"I know he is,  but I said that I would get him. I will. Let me"  

Oh, I just about fainted from the raw vulnerability hidden in the bravado.

Earlier when Dean declares, "I'm getting your son back.  If it's the last godforsaken thing I do" and Brian asks, "Why do you care so much?" you can see the pain in Dean's eyes and you understand why without even knowing the whole truth that's revealed at the end.  You just believe that Dean feels he has to save Danny in order to keep atoning for what he's already done in Hell. When he tells everyone that Ted was dead, and he apologizes, "I shouldn't have left him alone.  I'm very sorry", you feel Dean's immense guilt in that moment.

Just a quickie mention, but "What kind of ghost messes with a man's wheels?"  I was smiling from ear to ear and yet feeling the Impala's pain and thinking that if it could talk, it would say "What did I ever do to deserve this?" It was a subtle, but comfortingly familiar humorous touch. Also, Dean's horror movie nod by saying "Please nobody grab my leg. Please nobody grab my leg."  HILARIOUS. And so something anyone would say who has seen any horror movie.

Another quick mention, Helen Slater!  Wow, Super Girl? Anyone remember that? Also, speaking of horror movies, who didn't love the promos of My Bloody Valentine 3D? Not enough clips of Jensen for me, but hey, that's just me.

I know I'm leaving oodles out, but for my first blog, I think I've babbled long enough and happily.  Always room to get more wordy in future blogs.

Thanks for reading as always.  

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Beautiful blog Sophie! I'm so glad we've found other ways to keep out community going, because I would really miss reading your thoughts on each episode!

I agree with you wholeheartly about Dean. While it was a little shocking to hear him admit that he enjoyed the torture, I have to forgive him. He endured 30 years of torture himself before cracking, not to mention the 30 years of torture during his time on earth. And I just love Dean too much to hold it against him.

"Okay, and who didn't laugh when Dean didn't feel like eating his burger?"

Yup, I knew immediately something was wrong. I've never seen Dean turn down food, even when Sam's talking about maggots and other nasty things.

And I too loved Dean's "Please nobody grab my leg. Please nobody grab my leg." That was classic.

This was such a good episode. Similar to season 1 in so many ways, yet full of the weighty issues that have developed since then.

SO happy to hear from you!!

Thanks for your great comment and for reading my blog! You're my first comment! YAY! Thanks for the compliment too. It was nice to get back to writing again.

Yes, like you, I could never hold anything against Dean because he is such an exemplary person and that just makes him all the more forgivable. He is still stalwart and true in my book! Always will be.

LOVED hearing from you!

I'm still sad that TV guide got rid of the blogs, but I'm glad that I get to comment publicly now, lol, rather than just in email. :D

This, as always, was a fabulous blog!!!

And thank you so much for the mentions! *blushes deeply*

"Okay, and who didn't laugh when Dean didn't feel like eating his burger? Didn't we all widen our eyes like Sam? Priceless. A sure sign all is not well with Dean."

Lol, I forgot to mention that last night, but I loved that part too. You know when Dean is refusing food that something is really wrong.

"A post-traumatic stress disorder unique to Supernatural and as only Dean could experience it."

So well put!!! Very true!!!

"I think that Dean was saved because in the end he is a good man, not a perfect man, but a man with flaws and that's okay. In my view, it makes him all the more heroic for having been vulnerable to the same temptations and poor judgment as any human. Heroes in most literary works were forged by some kind of character flaw or they possessed some kind of weakness. Every hero has an Achilles Heel, even Achilles."

You have such a way with words. I love the point you made. I completely agree. And I don't think Dean would be Dean if he was perfect. Our flaws our part of what shape us, and Dean's flaws have shaped him more than most I think, because he focuses on them so much, holds himself to such impossible standards.

"Just a quickie mention, but "What kind of ghost messes with a man's wheels?" "


Totally! The poor Impala! The rims could have been bent! *grumbles*

Again, an absolutely fabulous blog, and welcome to LJ! :)

I've been a lurker for a long time, but this is my first comment.
First, I love your comments. And your fanfic, too. It's always a pleasure reading you.
About this episode, I don´t understand the people who doesn't understand, y valga la redundancia (sorry, I don't know the english expession).
I have an opinion about this. I don't think that Dean really enjoyed it. Why? Because if he really leked it he wouldn't be suffering like he is now. It's not only that he feels remorse, it is that he doesn't even want to sleep for fear of relieving it again.
And why does he think that he enjoyed what he did? I have two possible reasons.
The first reason could be that when he was in hell he needed to delude himself into believing he enjoyed what he was forced to do, in order to maintain a part of his sanity. It's a crazy idea, but perhaps that helped him to not lost himself to hell and become a demon. He could bury himself inside his mind, leaving a shell who adapted to where he was. And the poor man was in hell, so the adaptation had to be bad. I'm not a psychologist, but I'm human, and I know a bit about history.
And the second reason could be that he could think that feeling good for not being the one tortured was enyoiement for hurting others. He was ashamed of himself for breaking, and we have to remember that hell turns everything into torment, and that mental anguish and shelfhate would be a very good way of hurt Dean and break him even more.
Frankly, I don't understand that people who could be repulsed or disappointed, like you say. Because I don't think there is many people in real life who would have resisted 30 hours of torture, less alone 30 years, before break. And he resisted for that many time, more that he was alive in earth, even when he thought that it was forever and he had no hope of being free of hell. How can anyone think that poor Dean could be minimally sane after that?
And now he is out, and he is himself again, and he can't stand it, because his standards for himself are incredibly high. I think he is a good man, even a very good man, with human flaws sure, but incredibly brave and caring, too . I don't find him lees of a hero for being human. (Yeah, I remember he is a fictional character).
Well, this silly and confusing rant ends here. I don't know if I have explained well and someone has understand. I apologize for may language mistakes, but I'm spanish and english is not my mother tongue.
Anyway, Thank you for your beautiful work, and please go on with it.

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