Ever since sleepsintheimpala's brilliant meta on demon!Dean's fight with potentially a human mirror of himself in the promo, in which he see him throw the outmatched man onto a car before laying punches into him (read it here!), I haven’t been able to get out of my mind a true!Dean versus demon!Dean scenario much like what happened in Superman III and I need to talk about this some more.
I had speculated that a possible additional interpretation to the brief shot of the scene could be a potential foreshadowing of an internal fight within Dean that has arisen from the tension of corruption of his true self. To quote:
…Here we have demon!Dean attacking someone who as you brilliantly point out is very reminiscent of human Dean (and the hypermasculine hunter persona he would often try to embrace), a literal fight to hint at a more figurative one we’ll get throughout this season. Because right now, just as this man is grossly outmatched by demon!Dean, Dean’s shrapnel of humanity is grossly outmatched by the demonic the mark has created; his own humanity doesn’t stand a chance and its being crushed under the weight of his darkness…
Now, Superman III… is not a great film, but generally the scene that takes place in the junkyard and the theme it embodies is seen as what the movie should have focused more on. Superman, having been corrupted by manufactured kryptonite, has been twisted into someone who exemplifies everything the true Superman is not. At first we see signs that he himself is starting to recognise that something in him is very wrong, but eventually it infects him entirely, and he is without care, ignoring the responsibility of saving people he had once prioritised above all else, and becoming rather libidinous too… Sound familiar in the Supernatural ‘verse?
Anyway, eventually this new corruption takes its toll and we see him being weighed down further and further by his new nature
We see him as full of self-loathing and bitterness at what he has become, at how far he has strayed from who he used to be, until a voice from his ‘former life, Lana’s son Ricky, sparks something in him to fight.
Which leads onto the infamous junkyard scene in which fallen!Superman battles against his true self, Clark Kent, a battle between good and evil, righteousness and depravity, life and death.
Of course in the end it is his true self who wins, that his innate goodness overcomes the darkness that had nearly swallowed him whole, but it’s a clever scene (if you can bear in mind the film’s age…) that brilliantly provides a visual to what is the internal.
Back in Season 3, in Dream A Little Dream of Me, we had an explicit reference to this scene by the dream version of Dean:
Dean: Kind of life the Superman III junkyard scene? A little mano y mano with myself?
That’s not to say that that was foreshadowing anything, different showrunners different agendas, but with everything we’ve seen of Dean’s descent storyline, I can’t help but feel as though this is something that Carver has intended to revisit and explore more fully. We have had many visual hints at duality (and I know this is a theme discussed before not only here but also by dustydreamsanddirtyscars, larinah, crossroadscastiel, sleepsintheimpala and others who I forget, I apologise!), very often through the use of mirrors (and don’t the mirror images above seem very similar to those which we saw in Meta Fiction in which Dean, in between sessions of torturing Gadreel, looks at himself in the mirror as though trying to recognise who he has become, wiping away the grime from the glass surface only to see that that cannot remove the taint he sees clearly within himself).
Dean has always jokingly referred to himself as Batman, and yet in #THINMAN we hear the brothers talk about an incident from their childhood in which Dean, as Superman, jumped off a shed, with Sammy following shortly behind:
Dean: …When you were five and you got dressed up as Batman and you jumped off the shed ‘cause you thought you could fly.
Sam: After you jumped first!
Dean: Hey, I was nine, and I was dressed up like Superman, okay? Everybody knows that Batman can’t fly.
So here, Dean is Superman, who has FALLEN (and isn’t that quite something that Sam fell too immediately after; to me, that’s a pretty big piece of foreshadowing of Sam’s dark path storyline hinted at for Season 10…) and if we consider this linking in the context of the heavy hints at duality, then I think an internal fight between true!Dean and demon!Dean a la the junkyard scene could be a real possibility.
And one final possible link between these two storylines? In the promo, we hear demon!Dean telling Sam rather chillingly “I like the disease.” What is it that Ricky tells his mother Lana when trying to get through to Superman’s true self?
Ricky: Maybe… maybe he’s just sick. Please get better Superman!
Demon!Dean may like the disease now, but when that sickness really starts kicking in, much like with Superman, it may just start killing him and give the true self that’s trapped within a fighting chance to break through, defeat that dark aspect of self, and take control again.