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Unabashed Spoiler Hound & Fanfic writer

Reveling in the fickle nature of fangirlishness

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Swap Meat: "You ever feel like your whole future is being decided for you?"
sophie_deangirl
A family is a place where minds come in contact with one another. If these minds love one another the home will be as beautiful as a flower garden. But if these minds get out of harmony with one another it is like a storm that plays havoc with the garden. -Buddha

Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family. -Anthony Brandt

Until divinity decides to reveal the future to human kind, the sum of all human wisdom is contained in these two words: Wait and Hope. -Alexandre Dumas



Sorry this is so late. Life has been crazy. What more can I say? I wanted to get this out before this week's,The Song Remains the Same because it sounds like it's going to be a tear jerker. Stock up on your kleenex. I know I will be.

All in all, Swap Meat was a sweet episode. Pretty standard stuff and I have to admit there were moments that I wanted to slap Gary and his friends, but I felt that there was a deeper meaning behind this episode and it showcased how different Sam and Dean are now. The comparisons were stark.

It starts almost immediately with Dean wistfully asking Sam about family, kids. He's asked that question before in Wishful Thinking with Sam giving a similar answer, that it's not his thing any more. He even lies to Gary about how he wished he had his life and his family. Lying seems to come naturally for Sam these days. It's not that the lie wasn't considerate and that it wasn't aimed at having Gary see how lucky he was to be normal with parents who loved him, but by telling Dean later that he had lied, you can't help, but feel the confusion in Dean's eyes because you wonder if Dean was hoping Sam meant what he had said.

"Ever think that you'd want something like that? Wife, rugrats, the whole nine?"

You can tell that after Sam says, pretty definitively, that he doesn't want those things anymore that suddenly Dean does. He steps back after Sam's response, maybe telling himself inwardly that he was being foolish for even thinking it, after all, Dean was the one in Bugs who said that suburbia was not his thing, that he'd rather be dead than live it, but now, with the burdens of saving the world on his shoulders, he wants that family life. This seems perfectly timed for the next episode because he and Sam get to meet their young parents, see what life was for them before Azazel paid his visit to Sam's nursery that horrific night. Dean carries the joy and burden of remembering what it was like before, however fleeting it was, but he, at least, got to taste that life, watching their mom and dad as just that, his parents, two people who loved each other, who set up a home together, had kids, it was all happily ever after so it's not a surprise that Dean longs for that now. He's always been about family from day one, of course, it was centered around John and Sam and you can't help, but know that the disintegration of that family life after Mary is killed eats at Dean, much as he tries to gloss over it. In the beginning, it was about holding on to his family, keeping his stubborn father and brother together, but in the end, he couldn't save it. Probably the only thing that he couldn't save that haunts him to this day.

Don't get me wrong, I think that Dean is over the guilt and has come to acceptance that his family will never be the same, maybe finally coming to the realization that they never had a chance in the first place, but in watching Dean's reaction about having a wife and kids of his own, you know that he wants the normal that used to consume Sam's life. He wants to believe that he can still have that. He still has a glimmer of hope. I'll submit that he thinks he's kidding himself, but it's what's deep down that counts the most and I think that he wants his happily ever after. At the very least, he wants to save the world to see if it's even possible. For sure you know that he wants it for others, It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester showed that.

This was an episode of comparisons and it showcased how different Sam and Dean are today. I mean we already knew that Sam doesn't like Dean's music, is a health food freak, but this episode showed how much maybe Dean longs for someone who could share in his interests, enjoying the same things like a burger, listening to his music, loud and happily. As much as they can't be the same, can't share the exact same things, the contrast and longing by Dean is right there when Gary is in Sam's body. When Gary says, talking about a COMPLETELY different kind of future than Dean's, that he's tired of having his whole future planned out for him and that it was just nice to kick some ass, it resonates both with us and with Dean. Though Dean is suspicious about where all this is coming from since, to him, it was coming from Sam's mouth, he can relate to it and in a way, he hopes that he is hearing it from Sam, only to learn later it wasn't him at all.

Sidenote: When Sam discovers the Busty Asian Beauties mag in Gary's room, I just had to LAUGH and I thought, maybe Gary is a match made in heaven for Dean!

Okay, I know all of you were with me on this point. There is NO FREAKIN' WAY that Dean could have gone so long without suspecting that something was wrong. There were WAY TOO MANY clues out there. In the real world, Dean would have figured this out LONG AGO. However, I'm giving the episode its due poetic license, after all, if Dean had figured everything out right away, we would have had a very short episode. There was no simple way to show how different the two brothers were without a body swap, without showcasing that Dean and Sam aren't the same men they were years ago unless Dean was allowed to wonder, but not completely figure out that something was very, very wrong with Sam.. I'm okay with that. Though I admit I was excited when Dean finally said, "Okay, who are you and what have done with Sam?" only to find out it was just a sarcastic/kidding reference, though Dean played it seriously enough that I wondered for a millisecond.

The crux of the teens (Trevor and Norah, specially Trevor. Would it be mean of me to say that I was glad to see him get his comeuppance?) seeking to kill Dean because of a bounty on his head (gotta love the "Hell's Most Wanted" line), presumably by demons (demons do lie, kids) and thus collect a reward from the demon world because of some ancient book on witchcraft, was predictable at best. Other than Gary, who was the sympathetic character, I didn't care about the kids and like Sam, I thought Trevor was basically a moron who deserved what he got for playing with things that he didn't have any understanding about and all for prepubescent greed. To me, it was just a vehicle to move the story along.

There were some hilarious moments with Jared that really showcased his talent for comedy. The mirror moments when Gary is flexing Sam's muscles or when Sam sees himself as Gary, checking himself out. They are priceless. Sam forgetting he's in Gary's body, reaching for toast then finding out that Gary has a gluten allergy and suffering the consequences. It was all funny and I enjoyed it all. I thought it was also telling that here Sam was in a family, surrounded by all the trappings he used to long for and yet when Gary's mother calls for Gary for breakfast, you can see the genuine irritation on Sam's face and why he says at the end of the episode that Gary's life sucks. Here, I felt a twinge of how Sam hasn't really grown up in many ways. He's rebellious to Gary's parents and though that would have been normal for a normal adolescent Sam if he had had a chance with a real mom and dad, you can't help, but wonder if Sam was ever suited for the normal that he had longed for earlier in life. Though some might see Sam's behavior as just about Sam doing his job as a hunter, wanting to find the solution to what's happened to him, I saw his behavior as being so immersed in it, that maybe now, the roles have reversed. Sam's embrace of the hunting life complete and Dean's entertainment, however brief, of having a normal life growing hopeful.

The actor who played Gary, Colton James, was great and so sweet. Oh, and Gary trying to drive the Impala which was in reverse, HILARIOUS! Dean was rightfully upset and you think, why didn't he suspect something afoul then? Sadly, there were too many moments like that which threw the episode off for me. Still, I liked that Gary saw Dean and his efforts to destroy a poltergeist, a complete throwaway in the episode, as seeing Dean as a good guy, someone he didn't want to kill to get a bounty anymore. This change of opinion was lovely and you know this DeanGirl just lapped up the praise. I LOVED that Gary filled in the historical gaps about the poltergeist, Mary Briggs, and knew where she was buried. As a local, he had information about the legend that Sam and Dean could never have figured out. I hate to overuse the word cute, but it was. It was nice to see Gary connect with Dean in ways that you wish he could with his real brother. What's not to like? Dean is someone anyone would like and who wouldn't want to be like him? He's cool and heroic in one nice package. Okay, prejudiced DeanGirl moment. Most of all, I LOVED that Gary saved Dean by burning the witch's bones. There was something bonding about that moment. I also liked that, again, it harked back to episodes past, back to the days when they were just digging graves and burning bones.

It's a true testament to Kripke and his crew at how they have managed to take a deceptively simple concept of ghost hunters and evolve it as they have where we long for the simpler days of yore, that the characters have undergone such drastic and dramatic character-changing events that they are not the same men who started out as just hunters. They shouldn't be and this episode is one of the many hints to that. They grew up, sometimes for the better, sometimes not, but always driven by free will and choice. How they ended up where they are today was as a result of those choices. All were lessons learned and growth (for better or worse) earned even if it meant going through some painful experiences like Hell and raising Lucifer to get where they are.

I loved the scene with Gary and Dean where Gary unknowingly applied his life's plan to Dean's and Dean relates even though he doesn't know it's not the same plan, but the shared frustration is all too similar:

"I don't know. You ever feel like your whole future is being decided for you?"

"Uh, yeh, Sam, I feel like that alot."

"No matter how much you fight it, you can't stop the plan. The stupid, stupid plan. So I don't know. Guess it's just nice to do a little ass kicking for a change, that's all."


Dean listens and understands even if they aren't talking about the same thing, but thinking he's talking to Sam, he believes that they are.

"No, no that's all right. I'll drink to that."

I love that Dean is enjoying drinking with someone he thinks is his brother and Gary picks up on it:

"Is it just me or are we actually drinking together?"

"We don't do it that often, huh?"

"Yeh, you could say that."

"Well, we should. You're a good guy, Dean."

"You are drunk."

"Nah, but I mean it. You really are a good guy."


It's actually a really lovely moment and we ache because we know that Dean needs to hear that from his brother, that he's a good guy in his brother's eyes because it's been a LONG while since Sam has said anything like that to him. Sadly, in the end, it's not his brother who's saying it. I love that Gary's attachment to Dean makes him rethink his original mission of killing Dean for the bounty.

My favorite Sam moment was when he was telling the teens that they were crossing a line that they would never come back from. You felt Sam's understanding and compassion towards them on what they think is just something really cool.

"Listen to me. You are making a terrible mistake. We're talking about a demon deal. Killing somebody. This isn't a game. You're crossing a line, you won't come back from, believe me."

And we do believe Sam because no one knows better than he does about crossing a line that you can never come back from. It's a poignant moment that I LOVED and you feel the turmoil inside of Sam of still feeling the guilt for his actions versus his pursuit of hunting, maybe as a way to deal with his actions. It's an understandable war of conflicting goals, a dichotomy that has you wondering which way Sam will be swayed.

My favorite Dean moment was when he and Gary both spoke Latin to exorcise the demon in Norah. NEVER get tired of hearing Dean spout the Latin. It's downright sexy. Okay, DeanGirl moment yet again.

I LOVED Dean's little tough love moment with Gary about the fact that if he were voting age, they would have had to kill him so he should stop doing the witchcraft or they would kill him. Nice little scare tactic.

At the very end when Sam gives Gary the "consider yourself lucky" pep talk and tempers it with permission to rebel a little bit in a "healthy, non-Satanic way, of course" caveat, you can't help, but feel some sincerity behind the words, after all, Sam knows what rebellion is like and even though his situation was the same in many ways to Gary's, it was also different, because in another way, Sam couldn't outrun his need to escape his father's plan or the demonic one set in motion when he was just 6 months old. He fooled himself into believing that he could, but he seems resigned now to the fact that his fate is sealed. Even though he tells Dean he lied to Gary you can't help, but wonder if a little part of him does wish he had Gary's life, again, like Dean, deep down inside where he wants to believe it can be possible, but unlike Dean, doesn't think he deserves it after all he's done. I hope that's what he's thinking because if you believe that he thought Gary's life, a normal life by most standards, was crappy, then that means Sam has truly changed his tune, that he has very little hope at all for a normal life and actually doesn't want one. Quite a contrast to his speech to Dean in Salvation about leaving the life, about it not being his life.

"All that apple pie family crap, it's stressful. Trust me, we didn't miss a damn thing."

Yet Dean retorts with a bittersweet truth:

"Or we don't know what we're missing."

And that says it all for me. Sam thinks the apple pie life isn't all it's cracked up to be, but Dean, he understands that since they didn't know anything else, they didn't know what they were missing. I get that and I LOVE that Dean is seeing that for what it really is.

I enjoyed the episode for those moments of disparity between the brothers. The tables have been turned and it's an interesting switch. As a DeanGirl, I love that Dean is still positive about the future, if not certain about it, that he wants the support of his brother, to be able to trust him completely again (and I think he's getting there little by little) but doesn't need it to be his own man anymore, if push comes to shove. It doesn't mean he wants that, but he understands that he may have to come to some terms with the possibility. It's bittersweet like this whole episode was when you saw past the irritating teens. I enjoyed the deeper meaning beyond that.

Now onto The Song Remains the Same. I think I made need a truckload of Kleenex. Jensen does his best work with the emotional episodes so likely it will blow us all away. I may even need smelling salts when I pass out from being emotionally spent. Enjoy the episode!!

Thanks for reading!

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Lying seems to come naturally for Sam these days....you can't help, but feel the confusion in Dean's eyes because you wonder if Dean was hoping Sam meant what he had said.

So perfectly said! That really did show the role reversal so clearly, and I completely agree, I think Dean was hoping that Sam meant it.

He steps back after Sam's response, maybe telling himself inwardly that he was being foolish for even thinking it, after all, Dean was the one in Bugs who said that suburbia was not his thing, that he'd rather be dead than live it, but now, with the burdens of saving the world on his shoulders, he wants that family life.

I love the connection here you made to "Bugs." So true! You really can see that longing in Dean now.

I'll submit that he thinks he's kidding himself, but it's what's deep down that counts the most and I think that he wants his happily ever after. At the very least, he wants to save the world to see if it's even possible.

Again, I totally agree. Even if he does think that he's fooling himself, he wants a chance to try.

...this episode showed how much maybe Dean longs for someone who could share in his interests, enjoying the same things like a burger, listening to his music, loud and happily. As much as they can't be the same, can't share the exact same things, the contrast and longing by Dean is right there when Gary is in Sam's body.

I think he does too. I read a fantastic fic by MistWraith that touched on a very similar point. In it, she had Dean realizing that it wasn't Sam when "Sam" said something nice about him...just like he'd realized their dad wasn't their dad in that cabin in DT when he he told Dean he was proud of him.

There were WAY TOO MANY clues out there. In the real world, Dean would have figured this out LONG AGO.

I've seen a few other people comment about that, and I agree in some ways,but I can't help thinking... Dean and Sam have been so out of tune lately, and even in the Winchester world, body swapping doesn't happen every day, lol. I could believe that it would take him longer to realize it wasn't Sam than it would have in previous seasons. I also wonder if Dean figured it out earlier than he actually let on. He seemed suspicious in the bar. But maybe he wanted to be sure before he made a move. He waited until "Sam" came after him, and he had the element of surprise on his side.

Dean was rightfully upset and you think, why didn't he suspect something afoul then? Sadly, there were too many moments like that which threw the episode off for me.

LOL, well, it wouldn't be the first time Sam has crashed the Impala. He drove her through a house in the Pilot! Not to mention DT... *raises eyebrow at Sam pointedly* ;)

"All that apple pie family crap, it's stressful. Trust me, we didn't miss a damn thing."

Yet Dean retorts with a bittersweet truth:

"Or we don't know what we're missing."


I loved that line too. :)

Incredible, incredible blog as always!

Ani-maniac494

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