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I just curled up in my bed, turned out the lights, put on my enormous headphones, and watched Devil's Trap.

This post has been bubbling around in my head since I watched Salvation a few days ago. I don't have anything particularly revolutionary to say, but my own opinions on Supernatural have crystallized, so I want to get this down.

Essentially, I got smacked in the face by how profoundly the most basic underlying foundations of the show have been shattered and uprooted. I thought I had simply moved on from Supernatural, as I generally do from shows, but it turns out that the show just moved on from me, and I still retain the same passionate love for the first two seasons.

What I loved about Supernatural was that, despite the vast nature of the concept (magic, demons, and creatures of all ilk are real! There's an entire underground culture that fights them and protects us from the dark!), the story was simple, contained, and unbelievably poignant in this simplicity. It was the story of a family, shaped and hardened by fire, and the story of their love. The fascination came in the ways that love played out - my 100% favorite Winchester dynamic is that Sam and Dean are both motivated by familial love, but Sam's (and John's, of course) manifests as a desire for revenge for those they loved and lost, while Dean fights to keep those who still live. The most interesting thing about season 1 is how Sam starts completely on the polar end of that scale (revenge! revenge! I will die for revenge!), and by the end he has come to realize, largely through Dean's unwavering, blazing passion for saving his family, that there are things more important than revenge, and it is this realization that causes him to not shoot John, a decision that has endless ramifications. (I made a music video about this theme - it's that awesome!) Many people die because of that choice (including John himself!), yet within the framework the show has set up as its beating heart - the Winchesters Love Each Other - it is the right, and the only, decision.

In season one, every moment Sam and Dean had together was screaming with meaning and things said and unsaid. Their motives were centered on one another to an enormous extent. It was simple, it was beautiful, and it didn't matter what the Monster of the Week was - I watched because I loved their love. I know that's true for a lot of us.

(Of course, that's not the only thing I miss. For example, weekly awesome guest stars - do you remember all the amazing girls in season 1? Amy Acker! Julie Benz! Cadman from SGA! Sarah in Provenance! Kat in Asylum! Then of course there was the fact that Sam and Dean themselves were both unbelievably innocent, even after 22-26 years of the hunting life. Think Dean's gutwrenching admission of fear - "For you and dad, the things I'd do or kill... scares me sometimes." Ack.)

Fast forward to season 4. After seeing S1 stuff again, it feels like Sam and Dean are strangers. They have been torn asunder to generate "narrative tension" and to elaborately construct a "good v. evil" showdown with each of the boys ending up on opposite sides.


That is simply not the Winchesters we used to know. Dean shows so little concern for Sam sometimes that I actually believed for a moment that he was going to walk out of that hotel room and leave Sam to face Lilith. The Dean we were introduced to has "Protect Sam" as his numero uno imperative, the goal that explicitly takes precedence over all else. For Sam's part, he admired Dean fiercely, though he also resented him for wanting Sam to stick around in the hunting life. That didn't change that Dean was the sun and stars to Sammy. Now Sam treats him with contempt, sneaking around and actually believing that Dean is too weak and that Sam has to pick up the slack. He couldn't, I don't know, directly support and help Dean by being his brother? He has to go suck on some demon chick's arm and walk a line he KNOWS is exceedingly dangerous, while keeping this all secret from Dean? All of this behavior is just... not Winchesters. It just isn't.

For me, emotionally, Supernatural pretty much ends at the end of season 2, with the demise of the YED. That was the bow on the package we had been handed - the Winchesters' struggle to get revenge in the name of their mother, Jess, and then John, while Dean (and then Sam) struggles to keep them alive in the process. They finished that arc nicely, I thought - the cemetery scene got a little much at times, but the whole thing with the children in the ghost town was gorgeous, and I loved John helping them (sniff). It was emotionally satisfying (and draining - Sam's death and resurrection were so fucking powerful) and provided a beautiful sense of closure. The image of Dean's smile of pure, childish joy at the end is one of my favorites from the show's entire run.

After that, I remember but snippets. I never again got truly emotionally invested. And that makes me incredibly sad. I watched Sam and Dean, I continued to love Sam and Dean, but slowly, gradually, they drifted apart, so I drifted away. I found new loves, new fandoms to squeal about (see: bandom!), but Supernatural was truly the story that stole away with my heart and really shaped my life for about two years. I've been in a weird limbo place with SPN for two years since - still wanting to feel that all-consuming love, but unable to, yet still following along. I never want to leave Sam and Dean while they still exist, but I suppose I'm coming to the realization that though Jensen and Jared are still playing characters named Dean and Sam, they are not the characters that were so fucking important to me that they held my attention far longer than any other narrative ever had or has since.

So this is my acceptance of the facts. I accept that Supernatural, the show I love and will always cherish, ended at the end of season 2. And I accept that it will never be the same again. I'll keep watching, I'll probably capslock from time to time, but SamandDean is locked away safe in my heart. I won't let whatever happens next in the story taint my original feelings for those Winchesters. While I'm sad, I know there's nothing to be done about it, so this is my zen face.
Mood:: 'thoughtful' thoughtful
Music:: The Chambers Brothers - Time Has Come Today | Powered by Last.fm
There are 7 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
posted by [identity profile] mybabyangel.livejournal.com at 07:12am on 10/04/2009
& amen. i mean, i still watch spn, and i still enjoy it. but back in s2 i was so attached it was... well, probably unhealthy, actually. it was so much more powerful. these days they seem to have bent the characters past any resemblance to themselves, and i can't feel that same love for the winchesters because i don't recognise them anymore.
posted by [identity profile] killabeez.livejournal.com at 09:15am on 10/04/2009
Yeah. Yes. I watched In My Time of Dying a couple of weeks ago and had the exact same reaction.

Sigh. It's hard to let go, though.
gigglingkat: sing for the laughter, sing for the tears (Fandom Metallicar)
posted by [personal profile] gigglingkat at 12:07pm on 10/04/2009
I have a slightly different problem than you. I adored Season 2 right up until All Hell Breaks Loose. Which I hated. Absolutely hated. So Season 3 actually served to heal that and now I'm loving Season 4.

I don't know if this will help you or not - From interviews and the companion books - Season 3 was supposed to play out much differently. Sam was supposed to go through the power build and demon blood thing and justify it as a way to save Dean from his deal.

Which would have tracked better in my opinion because then Dean would be not wanting to confront him because 1) he'd only have a year and 2) the nagging doubt about that "100% Sam" line from the YED's.

The fact that Mary made a deal was also supposed to be S3 and a couple of other things that are spoilers for S4.

So I *think* that the finale from S3 was *supposed* to be Sam on the brink of going darkside to "save" Dean but really just being addicted to the power. He would have killed Lilith and broken the deal - but he'd be launching all kinds of other things and totally under Ruby's thumb. My bet is that Dean would have jumped into hell rather than let that happen.

Which makes more sense for the first seal story "a righteous man doing evil" because Dean would have been different from John. He would have gone into hell on his own - not as a fulfillment of a deal.
posted by [identity profile] geminigrl11.livejournal.com at 03:51pm on 10/04/2009
I so agree. The show I fell in love with is over, and has been for a while. The characters are all but unrecognizable now, and as the season's progressed, it's become challenging to really care about either one of them anymore. Everything has changed in such a fundamental way--but it was the fundamentals that drew me in, that kept me invested. And now? I'm just heartbroken. I don't have the best imagination in the world, but based on what I've seen to date, I don't see how they can ever bring it back to what it was. And what with all the glee over the shiny new toys (angels! and look, more angels, and prophets and even a demon or two!!), I don't get the feeling that that WANT to.

I never thought I wouldn't stick it out until the very end, but now...I just don't know if I can do it.
posted by [identity profile] pencil-tricks.livejournal.com at 09:43pm on 10/04/2009

I completely agree with just about everything you said, and aside from a few funny "classic" Sam&Dean moments in S3, I completely agree the show ended, for me, at the end of S2. I can only guess that the YED was taken on so early in the show's life because no one knew if it would be coming back or not, and seeing what it has become (I've tried watching newer episodes with a friend of mine who recently got into SPN)...it is not the show you introduced me to and made me flail and clutch my heart and cry and laugh and LOVE.

*Hug in solidarity*
ext_12155: ({TV} - Supernatural.)
posted by [identity profile] schneestern.livejournal.com at 02:05pm on 12/04/2009
Honey, you summed it up beautifully. While I don't think I've been as involved in SPN in the early days as you were it still mattered to me. I wouldn't shut up about the brilliance of the show while watching until my friends got fed up with me.

I should have stopped watching after the S2 finale, because what came after was an endless disappointment. I liked some episodes in S3 sure, but the show slowly disintegrated from there.

It wasn't even the whole misogynist crap (although I'm pretty sure I will never forget how fucking viciously Dean stabbed that one demon chick multiple times in the side. I forgot which ep that was but it made me sick to watch.). I guess the show just lost its heart somewhere at the beginning of S3. I also got tired of the story arc getting more and more ridiculous. I think the show bungled itself by getting bigger with OMG MOAR DRAMA that didn't work for me at all.

In the end I guess the fandom going to shit helped me get out of the show before my love for SamandDean was completely shattered. Nowadays I only watch because I can't NOT know what is going on with the show. Maybe a lot of why it's gotten progressively worse is that the writers seem to simultaneously have run out of ideas and have started paying too much attention to fan opinions, but I'm not so sure how accurate that is.

Uhm tl;dr, I don't even know what I'm saying with this, but I understand how you feel about SPN being awesome and how weird it is to be out of it now.
posted by [identity profile] pau494.livejournal.com at 03:23pm on 14/04/2009
You already know how I feel about this, but basically? YES. The fundamental premise of the show changed so much I can't even recognize the same people anymore. And something you said here resonated a lot with me: their innocence is gone. These jaded versions of who they used to be is in no way emotionally satisfying. I share your zen and look forward to the eventual conclusion of this story that brought me so much joy.


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