I don’t need a symbol to remind me how I feel about my brother.
While this is very true, Dean does definitely need a symbol to remind himself how his brother feels about him. I’m not saying that had Dean had the Samulet last season, he would have avoided his whole downfall, but his own lack of belief in Sam’s love for him contributed hugely to his downward spiral. So, I am very happy this token is now hanging from Baby’s rear view mirror.
What really struck me, though, was something I only noticed during giffing. In the left gif, the moment that Marie passes the Samulet to Dean, a white crucifix passes in the background, moving towards Dean. This raises a couple of points for me.
Musical!Sam’s lyrics include the line
a man without sin
when describing Dean. Given that in Christian tradition Jesus died on the cross for the sins of humanity, I wonder at the implications of this.
Firstly, Dean is at the start of his own redemption arc, which literally requires him to refind his own humanity, to atone for the sins he committed while a demon. In season 5’s The End -flagged in Cas’s song - Dean asserts that the reason the Winchesters should stick together despite the fact that they are each others weakness is that it keeps them human.
So, the Samulet having returned as a symbol for the brotherly bond and therefore humanity makes sense. But as androbeaurepaire pointed out in this awesome meta, the new Samulet is not worn, but hung dead-smack in the middle -as seen in gif 2- between Sam and Dean as a sign of a healthier relationship. No longer is Dean desperately clinging to Sam, the symbol of their bond is positioned in a spot signifying equality. Whatever humanity Dean is going to find, it will be a different one than he had before.
But what then about the crucifix? Does it foreshadow Dean sacrificing himself for his own sins, for Sam’s? Whatever the answer, what is clear is that Dean, for the first time this season, has made a true choice. By accepting the Samulet, however new and changed, he has chosen his brother and humanity again. Not because it is the only normal he knows, but because he wanted to. But the consequences of that…..