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Unabashed Spoiler Hound & Fanfic writer

Reveling in the fickle nature of fangirlishness

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The Tender Mercies of Dean Wincester

An old TV Guide blog:

Ah, my fellow enablers and fangirls, 3 more days until the last episode before we are subjected to reruns and pre-emptions until after the new year. Here's hoping for a great episode that will get us through and spark TONS of fun speculation.{C}{C}

As I was thinking about the upcoming episode and reading the various blogs, I have LOVED the recent discussion about Dean's descent into darkness and what it all could mean for him and Sam. It has been a blast. All the discussions also made me long for the old Dean of Season 1, of the man who showed an amazing amount of compassion to the people he's helped and in order to recapture those moments, I went through the DVDs to find them and wanted to share those times with you.{C}{C}

The progression of Dean throughout Season 1 from the Pilot to Devil's Trap has been seamless.

We started Season 1 with a basically happy-go-lucky guy who had a zeal for hunting demons and a tremendous love and devotion for his family. We ended with a man who still loved his family, would do anything for them, but a man who's worried about his darker side and what his devotion to his family might make him do. There is a telling line in Salvation about how connected he is to his family and he openly admits that he's barely holding himself together and that if it weren't for John and Sam, he wasn't sure what would happen to him.

Now, in Season 2 we see his greatest doubt and fear coming true. Having lost his father, a man to whom he idolized and emulated, and who had made an offer to a demon of his own life to save his son's, Dean carries the loss and responsibility with a palpable weight that we all feel and carry with him plus, it's still unclear what the secret has done to add to that weight, to the "darkening" of his psyche and soul. Sam now remains, but the darkness that had started seeping in at the end of Season 1, has continued to invade Dean's mind and Sam has been helpless to stopt its progression thusfar. He's managed to derail it occasionally, but Dean continues to fall deeper regardless of his efforts. Now we wait to see what, if anything, can bring Dean back from a dark fate.

As I was going through the Season 1 DVDs, I reveled in the wonderful early days of Dean's compassion. There were so many examples of it and I wanted share my favorites even though we all know them by heart. A way to get through another day towards Croatoan.{C}{C}

Dean's love and devotion to Sam is unquestionable and numerous throughout and though this Season, that devotion and caring for Sam's welfare is basically still there, there have been moments when cracks in that connection are beginning to show. Most notably when Dean hits Sam and chooses Gordon over him in many respects in Bloodlust, yet in the end when Sam's life is threatened by Gordon, Dean's protective instincts immediately jump in and you can see how much he cares and needs Sam. {C}{C}

Season 1 showed the small tender mercies that Dean offered to everyone without hesitation, most of the time without needing to, but he was always sincere about his words.{C} {C}

In Wendigo, he takes the time to tell Haley that her brother Tommy might still be alive and essentially telling her not to lose hope even though, at the time, there was no evidence to support that her brother could have survived the attack to his camp. Earlier, when Sam wants to just tell her and her brother not to go to Blackwater Ridge because it's dangerous and be done with it, Dean points out to him that there was nothing that was going to stop her from looking for her brother, a feeling he can relate to and he so much as tells her that. He tells Sam that the best thing they could do was go with her and protect her. It's all about protection for Dean.

I've talked ad naseum about Dean's devotion and caring for kids in Season 1 and it's the best example of how much he is willing to do and share with a child to help them. Whether it's relating to Lucas's loss of a parent in Dead in the Water and revealing to him that he understood how he felt and that he had lost his mom, but that she would want him to be brave so he lives everyday thinking about that, and that it keeps him being brave. To Michael in Something Wicked, he relates to being a big brother and doing anything to help his little brother, helping Michael to face his fear and blame. Dean also shows a fatherly side when he tells Michael that he doesn't have to be bait and most tenderly, tells him that he won't be mad if he doesn't want to. Something that his own father didn't afford him, a blameless, let-off-the-hook moment for a young, inexperienced child.

Smaller mercies can be found in other episodes, like in Asylum when they find Kat and Dean tells her that it's okay. He says it softly to calm and reassure her then introduces themselves to her. It's a sweet moment in a tense situation.

Sometimes compassion can come from heroism like in Scarecrow when despite being hauled out of town when he tries to warn a couple about the townspeople and the town in general, he goes back to the orchard and saves them.

In Dead Man's Blood, when they go to the vampire's lair to get the remaining vampires, Dean goes back to the cage where the other innocents are to release them and tells him that he told them he would be back. A declaration that when Dean makes a promise, he keeps it no matter what.

In Devil's Trap, even though Sam shoots the demon in the nursery, it's only after Dean rushes in to hurry Sam and the mom out that they leave and like he had done 22 years earlier, he's the one who saves the baby and runs out with her (don't know if anyone noticed, but that baby was a girl, a first indication that there are girl babies being targeted as well). Then there's the greatly discussed scene where Dean orders Sam to continue the exorcism to release the demon in Meg even though it meant certain death for her. Despite questioning glares from Bobby and Sam, Dean insists with conviction that they were not going to leave the young woman there, trapped by the demon and they had to take her out of her misery. Even though it wasn't said, it was implicit in his choice that releasing the demon in Meg was in Dean's eyes, saving her and maybe more elementally, saving her soul. In Season 2 we see how important a role the soul plays, especially through Dean's eyes.

As I mentioned earlier, in Salvation, Dean reveals that the 3 of them were all they had, most tellingly, all he had. It's clear from his line:{C} 


"Sometimes I feel like I'm barely holding it together, man. Without you or dad..."


So much of Dean is tied to his family. With one member already gone and another one in question, Dean is hurtling helplessly into an abyss, at best it's an abyss of uncertainty both of his future and Sam's and at worst, it's an abyss of dark and evil that has the potential for a transformation that could change the Winchester boys forever.

With that, we descend into the countdown towards Croatoan and whatever indications are there to see where the direction goes.

Enablers unite!