I saw a reblog of one long post that argued it was OOC for Dean to defend John because, essentially, so I gathered, of his outburst in S03’s Dream a Little Dream, where he admitted to himself that John put too much on him growing up and wasn’t fair to him and wasn’t a great dad (which is all true!).
I was going to respond, but ultimately didn’t see the point. I disagree, but I felt the argument was valid, so I didn’t see a discussion over it going anywhere.
Basically - his confession to himself in Dream a Little Dream was, to me, a private, secret confession. It was Dean confessing, in the privacy of his own head, something he was ashamed of thinking, something he would never admit to in public.
And since then I do not recall Dean EVER criticising John out loud in any significant way (when did he acknowledge anything about John to Cas?). I do not see Dean defending John as a regression, Dean has never outwardly STOPPED arguing ‘Dad did the best he could,’ so I really don’t understand what it’s supposed to be contradicting by him continuing to say it in As Time Goes By. Why do I think it’s in character? My question when I saw posts going around that were angry about it was ‘why do you think it’s NOT in character?’ :p
Fair enough if people think there’s discontinuity in characterisation there though (is that a thing? characterisation continuity?), but I just don’t I’m afraid *shrug* The way I understand Dean, his hero worship of John is so deep rooted it’s NEVER going to go away completely, he may understand better now that John had flaws (a secret son in Adam, leaving Mary when Dean was really young, unfairly neglecting his kids in pursuit of revenge etc), but understanding that doesn’t stop him loving John and it doesn’t stop his gut feeling, his default setting, from being ‘Dad did the best he could,’ it doesn’t stop him thinking the best of John regardless.
Plus, I thought it was pretty natural for Dean to want to deflect John’s flaws onto Henry as well, blaming John’s poor parenting on the fact Henry left him. Just to try and lessen the weight of some of the criticism Dean’s come to acknowledge of John over the last few years, maybe an attempt to get back some of his youthful ideas of John as a hero by painting him as a tragic victim of a cruel father, a way of justifying the hero worship Dean still holds for John. Of course, this failed when Henry proved to be so wonderful and that he’d not left John out of choice, removing that excuse for John and making this episode another in a long, slow journey of Dean being forced to face up to the fact John was not a saint. This is something Dean is ALWAYS going to struggle with imo, and I’m okay with that, that feels right to me.