What are your thoughts on the pink bra and whip Dean was holding after his night out?
It’s the last ditch attempt at using his tried and tested coping mechanisms to help him feel better, as the culmination of all of these throughout the seasons, now ending with doing it pretty much just cos it’s THERE, I imagine he wouldn’t have bothered if Sam hadn’t pointed it out, it probably just made him think fuck it I’ll give it a go, then waking up feeling WORSE, feeling like Hell in the morning, only eating the bacon (ahem), accepting the beer because Sam offered it as a gesture of kindness BUT NOT DRINKING IT BECAUSE HE NOW KNOWS HE DOESNT WANT THIS AND IT DOESNT WORK TO MAKE HIM FEEL BETTER.
Then later textually saying “IM PRETTY FAR FROM OK” and being literally suicidal, because hello yes IT DIDNT HELP ONE OUNCE.
It doesn’t work, it doesn’t even take the edge off anymore.
You know what DOES help him though?
You know what puts a massive huge grin all over his face and makes him literally BOUNCY?
Stay tuned to find out. It’s a shocker. I know ;)
I said this episode would be the angstiest because WE know Cas is back but Dean doesn’t and oh boy if this episode didn’t set up the performance to tear it down and show Dean as textually suicidal…
Summary: in an AU where the Winchester family owns a multi-million dollar company, Dean’s in a bit of a pinch. Grandpa Samuel is threatening to cut him off if he doesn’t straighten out and stop getting into trouble. Instead of taking some responsibility, Dean comes up with an ingenious plan: find someone to pretend to be his girlfriend. You and Dean have never gotten along, but a fake relationship seems to be beneficial to you both…
Part 5 -
Dean struggles to deal with the rest of the morning, and then gets an unexpected call. The two of you go on a double date with Sam and Jess.
Part 6 -
Jess informs you about Dean’s past, and Sam teases Dean. After dinner, Dean brings you home to find someone unexpected waiting for you, and helps you deal with it.
Part 7 -
Dean meets your mother, and you go dress shopping with Jess.
Part 8 -
You and Dean head out to his hometown, where you finally get to meet Mary and John. The sleeping situation causes some minor problems.
Part 9 -
You and Dean have an interesting morning, but Sam interrupts. Later, you and Mary have a little heart to heart, and Dean says something surprising.
Part 10 - The gala finally arrives, and Dean is absolutely floored by your dress. An interaction with Samuel leaves Dean fuming, but you calm him down. Dean finally admits his feelings.
Part 11 -
Dean reflects on the evening, and the two of you have a talk
Part 12 -
someone delivers some unexpected and unpleasant news, sending you running. Sam and Benny confront Dean, and the three of them go looking for you.
Part 13 -
you head to the only safe place you can think of. A talk with your father gives you the courage to return to work, where Dean finds you immediately. But he’s not expecting your reaction. Charlie and Cas come to the rescue.
Part 14 -
Dean tries to cope with your breakup, and then gets a surprise visit from Crowley. Your friends take you out to try and cheer you up, but eventually you head home alone, only to find someone waiting for you.
Part 15 -
You have an encounter with Mark, and Dean shows up just in time. The next morning, the two of you talk things out. Sam arrives with some news.
Part 16 (conclusion) -
Dean responds to Sam’s news. The two of you pay a visit to Samuel, who lashes out. Secrets are revealed and threats are made, leaving you reeling. You and Dean discuss the future.
Epilogue - A few months after the events of part 16. Sam and Jess’s wedding, a housewarming party, and revealing conversations.
Epiloge Part 2 - The Fourth of July finds you and the Winchester clan at the lake to celebrate the holiday. Jess shares some news and Dean surprises you with an important question.
You and your little sister, Jess, get dragged into the hunting life, whether you like it or not. How will Jess cope with a life on the road? How will Dean cope with two women joining the hunt for his father? How will Sam cope with trying to protect the love of his life from this terrible world? How will you cope when you realise that all you knew about the world was wrong?
13x05: Bullets, Bacon and Booze (a lotta booze) aka Farewell Coping Mechanisms
Did we all take stock of how the coping mechanisms have gone the way of bye-bye? Are we all dancing? I mean, Dean indulges in 13x05 (and has been drinking steadily since 13x01) (though predominantly beer) but let’s take a look at the actual circumstances here.
Firstly, the quote that headlines this post doesn’t mention Babes or Booty and it doesn’t allude to sex in any way - which could’ve been made ambiguously bisexual by using said denominations, but nope - because sex is off the table. Dean is beyond craving meaningless sex. He misses Cas. He wants Cas. Meaningless sex while this deep into his depression is too meaningless to even consider. *dancing*
Secondly, would he even have gotten it in his head to go to The Clam Diver (*omfg this name is too much*) if Sam hadn’t done the research already? I sincerely doubt it.
–> By the by, this is one of my top five favourite Scenes Between the Brothers because it is just fucking hilarious and these men play off each other so well and these characters are such wonderful opposites and, oh, Sam - I do so love you and you wanting, so badly, to bring Dean out of that dark place he’s in.
Thirdly, I adore this scene for what it sets up, and it sets this up diligently and for a reason: Dean telling us about how Sam spent his last lap dance trying to convince the girl she should go to nursing school is a plant. Because who do we associate with nurses? Who? More so than Sam? Yeah, that’s right - Dean Winchester. (who’s fantasy perfect girlfriend was a nurse)
So what can we assume Dean did for the whole of his lap dance? We can earnestly assume that he was nudging Candice the Candy Stripe Stripper to pursue her obvious dream of a career in medicine! Of course he was!
And, hey, it’s not the first time excessive amounts of alcohol makes Dean drop his performance, giving non-performing Dean the reigns. I mean –>
–> 4x06, peeps, and Dean drinking to try and control his fears.
Yeah, there’s a correlation there, with Dean drinking to suppress emotions that are too hard to handle, right? Which, I would argue, is why booze is mentioned twice in 13x05: booze, a lotta booze.
I mean, when you think about it, Dean’s night did not include any Bullets or any Bacon - it just included Booze. So the girls being seen as women, rather than a distraction/momentary emotional bandaid, would mean that Dean - drunk off his ass - possibly probably let down his guard and opened up to Candice the Candy Stripe Stripper about how he lost the most important person in his life and how he knows he’ll never be the same…
(because he never will be the same) (oh God I hope he begins to get seriously freaked out now that Cas is back) (I hope we get a Dean who starts to, slowly but steadily, come across as thinking “What do I do? What do I DO NOW? FUCK I have to make a move. HOW do I make a fucking MOVE?”) (and he’s all awkwardly trying to make a move) (all the Thelma & Louise moments p.l.e.a.s.e) (and he’s SO HAPPY) (*heart eyes*)
There’s also this –>
The symbol of masculinity is LITERALLY TIED AROUND HIS HEAD IN A BOW.
I do so love this show.
Also, and I’m just freely associating the colour pink with Dean’s non-performing side now, based on the pink panties thing, but also because of many other instances that make me feel this colour is significant: there is pink on him.
And however you view this colour, the pink is the symbol of femininity in this shot. And femininity is? The counterweight to the toxic masculinity symbol TIED AROUND HIS HEAD IN A FUCKING BOW. *imma have a meltdown*
Also, that particular type of whip, soft as it is, is standardly used for self-flagellation. SELF-FLAGELLATION PEOPLE. And you can interpret that as you will, I choose to interpret it as this drunken night out having everything to do with the darkest recess of Dean’s grief: self-blame, which has led to an even darker self-hate than he’s probably ever felt before. Textbook need for distraction/emotional bandaid through coping mechanisms that this time clearly did not work the same as they usually do. BECAUSE HE IS CHANGING BEFORE OUR VERY EYES.
*help me help me I’m falling apart at it all*
Because doesn’t he look quite blissful about it? Doesn’t he look quite content (however unconscious) with what is happening to him?
The answer is yes. Yes, he does.
He freely engages with what is known amongst us all as Bisexual Bacon, and he engages freely for a reason, right? I mean, bacon seriously is symbolic of bisexuality on this show and Dean procures a shitload of the stuff - a mountain of bacon sits on his plate - and proceeds to nibble it, unabashedly, in front of Sam.
Because Sam couldn’t give less of a fuck. Because Sam knows - and has always known - that Dean is bi. (or so I see it)
One of the reasons for Dean suppressing his true identity, and having a need of engaging in coping mechanisms to begin with, I would say is shown here –>
Now, this could be Jensen improvising because it’s funny and Dean’s self-conscious about being hungover and a sloppy eater, BUT when looking at the very, very intentional use of bacon in this scene, I sincerely doubt it.
Either way, it’s still a visual manifestation of what has screwed Dean up as much as anything else when it comes to being free and open and honest with himself: societal judgment.
Part of the good old nature vs nurture theme: our surroundings shape our view of the world, and our worry of how we’re perceived to fit into our surroundings shape our way of presenting ourselves. Unless we’re BAMF who say Fuck Off Society. But Dean is just breeching that part of his BAMF self. (he’s getting there though) (oh yes)
Okay, so this ^^^ is all well and good, but why did Dean develop coping mechanisms in the first place? Because he needed to find an outlet for all the stuff he suppresses within himself, right?
But where does his individual, his personal, need for suppressing his own identity actually stem from? This is a complex, complex question and I want to dig into it further in a separate post, because Dean is one of the most human fucking multi-layered characters ever written and it’s not an easily straightforward answer, but let’s say this:
His mother’s death shaped him into needing to suppress his feelings because her death took away every ounce of joy he’d known as a child (good things inevitably lead to bad things)
His father’s choices shaped him into further believing that his feelings were weaknesses that he truly needed to control, by suppressing them and not engaging in them (emotions are doorways to doubt and doubt gets you the fuck killed)
His surroundings have taught Dean that his performance is easily acceptable, while his non-performance will be judged, ridiculed, possibly even ostracised, which has influenced his superficial aversion to stuff he will inevitably end up finding enjoyable and delightful
But the root of performing!Dean and his need for coping mechanisms was, up until 12x22, to this meta writer, Dean’s lingering and very real fear/mistrust of happiness
Because the root of performing!Dean was always his mother’s death and how it planted in him an inability to have faith
This while John ended up encouraging and inspiring the control freak in Dean until it had taken over completely and the fear of failing, of letting his father down, of getting Sam killed, was overriding Dean’s individual wants: this fear shaped the necessity for the control freak that is performing!Dean
And a childhood riddled with almost-good moments that he was yanked out of have also served to underline how good things only lead to bad things, to disappointment
Now, the question of what makes you happy has been one of the threads that’s run through the show, at least since S4, if not sooner, and here’s the fallen angel Abner in the glorious 9x10 (thanks for the watch prompt @fuckedupasusual) giving his two scents:
And after this exchange, and Abner talking about the key to happiness and finding what you want most and never letting it go, Andrew Dabb (the writer of this episode) and Bob Singer (the director of this episode) cut to this shot:
(honestly, the human!Cas arc and its ending breaks me) (but that’s for another post) My point with this reference is that Bob Singer and Andrew Dabb are lovely mushy romantics with big hearts for these characters and they’re our show runners and they’re giving us everything and…. okay. *deep breath*
The unraveling of the coping mechanisms, and Dean finally being honest with himself regarding what he wants the most, oh-so-befittingly began in 12x22 with him confronting the root of his internal obstacles: Mary.
In 12x18, when he went off with that young Mary-clone waitress - the last casual sex that he engaged in - Dean still hadn’t fired that grenade launcher (a visual declaration of This is Who I Am FUCK YES) and he hadn’t forgiven Mary.
The reason this forgiveness is so important to Dean’s character progression (and letting down his guard) is because Mary is the narrative representation of his longing for home, stability and safety, but her death, as said, represents the end of all these good things, the end of childhood happiness, leaving him without hope for or faith in the future. (until a certain someone stepped onto the scene) (someone with wings) (*glances to the ceiling*)
This said, let’s also consider that the memory of Mary is more than the cause of his lack of faith - it’s also the root for Dean’s wish to have faith, his longing to believe.
This wish is at his very core, because it’s the key in the lock of his hidden internal need: stability, love, home - and this wish for faith sits like a shining jewel at the centre of his endgame, the (to him) unseen goal of his character progression, and once he can grasp it he’ll finally get the reward at the end of his long, long journey. (The reward is a long and happy life with the man he loves…) Because Dean allowing himself to have complete faith in others means completely letting go of his need for control.
Now, throughout S12, Dean was clinging to the subconscious, but ever present, blame that he’s put on Mary as his mother for the choices she made before he was born.
The narrative of S12 allowed him to see her as an individual, a human being, rather than merely as a mother failing to look out for her child. He got to get to know her and see her as a person, someone who’s a lot like him and who only did what she thought she had to in a situation she felt left her no other choice - something he can understand, relate to and ultimately forgive.
More than this, 12x22 put an end to the necessity of casual sex as a coping mechanism - a fact which has now been enforced through 13x05 and the complete lack of sex - because right then and there Dean began to confront his fear of happiness, and his inability to deal with his feelings and be open with them, through vocalising his want to be seen and accepted for who he is.
Asking Mary to see him is a pretty defining moment.
(it has all the implications of Dean coming out to his mother) (after firing the grenade launcher) (and letting go of Sam) (which allows both brothers to step into adulthood) *big round amazed eyes at it all*
In S13, Dean has been pushed to face his fear of happiness through the loss of Cas, because Dean had what he wanted most, but he let what he wanted most slip away. This fear of happiness has always informed his fear of rejection if he actually were to be seen for who he truly is, both of these fears working to hone his inability to be open and honest in his communication.
Facing the truth of this longing for happiness has begun the process of fundamental change in Dean Winchester, starting with the bye-bye to casual sex. Dean knows he’s in love, he’s been in mourning, and he’s come to the very real understanding of how there’s no more normal, no more happy, no more future. This realisation has been completely new, so the attempt at coping with it should be, and has been, completely new as well.
In the coming episodes he could regress due to the stress of Cas coming back and Dean thinking Cas doesn’t and will never love him back (they keep teasing Daphne flirtation in 13x16 for example) but I hope not, and I think not, because the beginning of this season has focused entirely on deconstructing Dean as we know him, of ridding him of his facade by forcing him to see it for the smokescreen that it is, and there’s no point in undoing all that amazing character progression. Him knowing what he wants now, beyond the shadow of any second thinking, makes me believe that it’s beyond any of his old fears as well.
He’ll wait for Cas to come around and/or/finally he’ll try his damnedest to see if there is any way he can make Cas come around (like trying to make him jealous by flirting with Daphne…) (though I’d rather he bonded with Velma) and fuck, if 13x06 didn’t underline how far Dean has actually come in his deconstruction. But I’ll discuss that in my next post.
(which is halfway done already because I’ve been working on it all week!) :)
I’m… seeing some people who are criticizing Sam for mentioning that he felt sad about the fact that Mary’s connection was primarily with Dean, saying that expressing those feelings was somehow blaming Dean, and that Sam is a source (the source?) of Dean’s self-loathing because he … apparently “blames Dean for things that aren’t his fault.” Sam even mentioning that he thought Mary interacted with Dean more (calling him more, talking with him more, etc.) is not about Sam’s grief… nooo, it’s about Dean.
Like. Sam expresses his grief for the first time in a very long time and it is somehow an affront to Dean. Let me be clear: it has been literal seasons (plural; many of them) since Sam has actually gotten defensive on his own behalf. He has shut himself down so effectively that he almost never gives vent to any emotions that could be perceived as negative (for his own sake, at least). And he finally does it. He finally talks. And somehow, that’s wrong.
But Dean expressing the pain of his loss by tearing Jack down and tearing Sam down and telling Sam that he has forgotten about their losses and that he’s not doing his job and that (implicitly, accidentally, without malice, but it’s still there), that people born with the capacity for evil are, in fact, evil. And you know what? Dean doesn’t have healthy coping strategies for dealing with loss and I get that. It’s established fact.
But people blaming Sam for speaking out just baffles me. And he wasn’t even blaming Dean. He stated his feelings about Mary when Dean started mocking him in front of the therapist.
Sorry for the bitterness, it’s just that I can’t see anything clearly beyond all these glaring double standards.
Ok, so I was going to do 12.10 because it had the most requests, but it wasn’t available on the CW site anymore, so I’m doing 12.18. It actually turned out really interesting. Thanks to everyone who put in your suggestions. hopefully I’ll be able to look at the others soon. 12.18 was requested by @a-little-nerdy-dude-with-wings.
As you can probably imagine, watching for all the editing takes a while and would take forever to write out all the scenes entirely(at least until there’s a transcript out), but I did it for the first 2 major scenes of the episode. Later, when I have more time, I’ll post what I think the editing in the full ep means, but have some examples of what I’ve been looking at, and looking for until then. Feel free to use the information however you wish.
Quick info on editing for tv shows:
Dramas have multiple types of cameras oftentimes, but only one is used during each setup, so they’re called “single camera shows”. A multi-camera show is like a lot of sitcoms, where things are filmed in order and more or less live like a play.
Shows like SPN are not filmed in order in the slightest and have lots of footage with different angles. They’ll often run the whole scene from each setup several times so there’s footage from different angles.
Split into roughly 7 days, each episode for most dramas generally undergoes the following editing passes. Some at the same time:
3 Days- Editor’s cut. This is the initial cut from the primary editor. They have to have a knowledge of the current arcs and where the arcs are going. They really have to know the show extremely well and be familiar with the character and story arcs. They have to understand how the show is edited because it can have a multitude of directors.
2 Days- Director’s cut. Directors may only direct for one episode and they tend to try and leave something of themselves in the work for their own needs so they can continue their careers. This is a difference between film and tv in that the director can try and keep scenes that specifically make them look good. The footage doesn’t always stay though, depending on whether it gels with the producer’s vision.
2 Days- Producer’s cut. This is where the showrunner comes in and makes sure that whatever is presented works with the entire arc, their vision, what’s planned for the future, etc. This is the last pair of story eyes essentially. This is where any arc long interference would be corrected, theoretically. This is where minor tweaking would occur to sell the showrunner’s vision.
2 Days- Network and S&P cut. This is like.. Censor stuff/legal stuff/timing stuff.. Let’s say there’s a song in there that can’t be used so they ask for a different one… stuff like that.
SPN has never really liked fancy cuts. Most cuts in the show are just straight cuts. The fanciest they usually go are J and L cuts. (audio from the previous shot carries over to the next, audio from the next shot starts in the previous). They’ll use other cuts in special circumstances like smash cuts (tense to calm, or calm to tense) or crossfades(montages use these a lot), but J, L, intercut(back and forth between scenes) and straight cuts are generally how the show goes. In general, if SPN can achieve whatever it wants to achieve without cutting, it won’t. Shot density plays into that a lot. But if it wants to achieve something that can’t be shown with only one shot, it will cut wherever is necessary to get what it wants. Usually in the form of reaction shots.
Cas is dead, Dean falls back into old habits. But they don't feel right, they aren't doing enough. Dean stops making out with the girl of the night and apologizes. He's just not into it. He finds Max is hunting nearby and tries to put the moves on him, in an eerily similar way to the girl. But Max, being similar to Dean, realizes what's going on and rejects his advances. They drink beer and talk the whole night.
Summary: Dean tries to cope with your breakup, and then gets a surprise visit from Crowley. Your friends take you out to try and cheer you up, but eventually you head home alone, only to find someone waiting for you.
Pairing: AU!Dean x Reader
Word Count: 2,500
Warnings: Language, alcohol consumption (like a lot) (this is not how to cope with feelings, friends), heartbreak, sadness, loneliness, desperation, suspense, cliff-hanger
A/N: Reminder… I love you guys a lot. Like so much. Don’t hate me, it’ll be okay!
9x14 “Captives” // 13x03 “Patience” A Study in Headphones and Beer Bottles
Dean drowning out the rest of the world with the music in his ears and the alcohol in his system, would have to have been one of the most painful scenes of the episode - though admittedly there were a few in this episode. I really liked the visual and narrative callback that was inserted here to S9 when we saw Dean using a similar coping mechanism after the fallout between him and Sam over the whole Gadreel-thing. And similarly this episode as well, we see the brothers not on the same page, hell not even in the same book.
In both episodes’ cases the silent storytelling perfectly captures how Dean’s life is in total imbalance, the way he sits on one side of the bed, off-center, an empty space next to him showcasing the losses he/they faced.
It’s painful to see Dean’s “stony” expression, his blankness, because you know how it looks inside of him. He’s got his walls up in order to not break down completely. I think there is a lot that connects both of these episodes. Especially of course the aspect of grief. As in S9 it was also the episode that dealt directly with the aftermath of Kevin’s death which Dean felt responsible for and now 3 seasons later again the Winchesters lost the people closest to them. And without a doubt, because that is so very Dean, he may feel responsible and guilt for their mom’s and Cas’ deaths as well.
And similarly to S9, where Dean then focused on finding Gadreel to seek “revenge”, Jack fills a similar spot right now. Both characters are - as Dean says himself - a visual reminder for everything they lost.
I have been working on a text about Dean’s grief, and I realised something that I’d like to remind everyone of - something that we may have forgotten because we have been living in the feeling of loss and emotional craziness since May, and it ok. Nevertheless we need to remember that in-universe it has only been a few days since the events of the finale.
“Lost and Found” literally covered one day (sunrise to sunset).
Then, after they burnt Cas and Kelly at sunset, they most probably took off and started going back to Kansas (from Washington). North Cove to Lebanon is 25 hour drive. In episode 2 they are in Wyoming, which is more than halfway home (18 hr drive from North Cove)(no wonder Sam thought it’s high time for Dean to get some sleep).
On the third day they went to Jasper, Jack opened the gate of Hell, let the Shadim out, then closed it again. Another day has passed.
Of course Jack did the math for us in the hotel (he’s been alive for 3 days, 17 hours and 42 minutes), so let’s go with Bucklemming here and assume they arrived in Wyoming the fourth day after the finale.
Then they got back to Kansas, and we know that Dean closed himself in his room, drinking, and Jack stayed in his, examining walls.
I really don’t think Sam waited several days to go check on Jack, so I think it was just a few hours/a day, tops.
Then Missouri called, Dean went to meet her, took Jody and drove to Omaha, met James and Patience, Patience got kidnapped, everything went down in Omaha, they left Patience to be normal, probably came back to pick up Jody’s car (and attend Missouri’s funeral?), and drove back home.
Even with all the adjustments it couldn’t have been more than two weeks. Probably less than that.
Normally when you lose a loved one, you have more time to adjust. Usually the funeral arrangements take several days at least, and then you have stuff to think about, and your brain has some time to process what just happened. Cas and Kelly’s funeral happened in less than 24 hours after their deaths, and the boys had stuff to do ever since. Dean had literally only enough time to drink a couple of six-packs and listening to some Rolling Stones before he was on the road again. At least he got away from the kid who literally looked like Cas’ Mini Me.
They cope differently. Dean had to get out, Sam had to start the task at hand, but what they both need is time which they really didn’t have before now. I really don’t get people who criticize either of them. Considering everything, they are doing amazingly well with the grief - especially since with their Mom, neither of them had a chance for closure. Dean is grieving, Sam is bargaining, but they both are hurting. Give them a break.
I also wonder how long Cas has been between life and death before Jack woke him up, and how long he will still stay in the Empty, since we know time is going very differently there.
Actually, most probably Dean will be without Cas just a few weeks before Cas comes back - unless we’re having some huge time jump ahead of us (doubtful). At the same time, Cas may spend years or millenia in the Empty. No wonder he comes back changed. I am very curious about how this plays out.