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Unabashed Spoiler Hound & Fanfic writer

Reveling in the fickle nature of fangirlishness

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Dean Winchester: A Profile in Courage and Responsibility

An old TV Guide blog:

Courage- noun the ability to do something that frightens one • strength in the face of pain or grief


Responsibility - noun ( plural -ties) the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone


Promise-noun a declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or that guarantees that a particular thing will happen


As we await the next few dwindling hours towards NIGHT SHIFTER, something in one of the Director's Cuts made me think about how despite everything he is going through, everything he carries, Dean manages to always find that extra something from within him that surfaces when the need arises. {C}{C}

We have talked about how PLAYTHINGS's background story about the haunted inn, onto itself, really didn't advance the arc of the brothers Winchester. It just provided a backdrop for Sam's desperate plea to Dean to make that dreaded promise. He finds the strength to comfort Sam even though it's something he can't stand the thought of doing. In one of the NIGHT SHIFTER's DC's, Dean tells the gunman in the bank to look at him and assures him that he believes him. He then offers himself as a hostage. The conviction and determination in Dean's voice and words don't come off harsh or insincere. He seems to find them easily and honestly to give the gunman a sense of not being considered crazy. Unlike the earlier episodes, you also don't get the impression he's being suicidal in the offer as a hostage. He truly wants to help the man and save everyone in the bank. It's written all over his face. I was thrilled to see this side of him back, just like it was wonderful to see him talking with Sherwin in PLAYTHINGS with respect, compassion and almost a sense of wistfulness ("I don't know, I never really knew one") not the angry, uncaring way he was doing it in the past. There's not a whiff of strain or insincerity in that scene. I TOTALLY LOVED seeing that back. It's those caring qualities that had me falling for Dean from day one in Season 1.

As an English major, I wanted to put the definition of the words, courage, responsibility and promise in because when I read them, all I could think about was Dean. The old cliche that if a picture could be placed beside these words, it would be Dean came to mind. The words in these definitions define Dean too.

When Dean is courageous, you see that he has the ability to do something even if it frightens him. He may not scare easy, but facing having to kill Sam has to be the most frightening thing he'll have to face and yet you can see that he would do it, if for no other reason than he promised Sam he would.{C}{C}

As for promises, Dean is the epitome of promise keeper extraordinaire, to the point of nearly destroying his own sanity to keep it and even revealing it hasn't released him from the responsibility to see it through. As I've talked about ad nauseum (hee, hee), is it any wonder that John and Sam made him make those promises? He will guarantee that it gets done. They know it and Dean knows it, though I can totally see that in his mind, he is doing everything he can, given not knowing what danger lies in wait to prepare for, to make sure he doesn't have to fulfill that promise. He wants to save Sam first and foremost and that, he will sacrifice all that he is and has to make happen without a single thought of fear or regret. You know it, you feel it. He won't sacrifice himself for vengeance, but he will for love.{C} {C}

Dean embodies responsibility, especially where his family is concerned. What's to say that hasn't already been said about how responsible Dean is. He has been from the moment their mother died. As John said in IMTOD, he took care of Sam and him for all those years and never complained, not once. Sam may be more mature and together than he has ever been this season even with the slide backwards in PLAYTHINGS, but Dean will always view Sam as his responsibility. That will never change no matter how old they get. I think that Sam considers that a comfort, otherwise why ask Dean to do the unthinkable? It's an unwavering belief in Dean for Sam. I know that it's a give and take with the brothers and that they equally support and feel responsible for each other, but in my eyes, Dean has raised Sam from an infant, that's akin to a parental state of responsibility that takes on a life of its own, completely different from the brotherly one. To Dean, losing Sam in any way would be "worse than dying" like was said in Dead in the Water and would be like failing as a parent. CROATOAN showed that life without Sam is no life at all for Dean. It makes total sense.

I see that heroism in NIGHT SHIFTER and can't wait to see it bloom again. Here's hoping that Dean doesn't back slide, that Sam's pressure to make the promise doesn't plunge Dean back into darkness. I don't think it will. The secret is out and the weight of keeping silent about it is over. I see Dean emerging from the dark, stronger, more determined to make sure that he saves Sam, not to kill him.


Enjoy the episode everyone!