When Dean is caught by the djinn (ep 2x20 What Is And What Should Never Be), his djinn dream is this perfect little world where he's living a normal life and his Mom is alive but in that world, John is dead. I wanted to hear your thoughts on this :)
It’s been ages since I watched this one. argh, I have focused more on the later seasons so far and I really need to go back and rewatch and analyse 1-5 but here goes…
The main gist of the episode for me was what was offered to him and the fact that he rejected it:
The thing was, it wasn’t a perfect world.
It goes again for me deep into the 2 levels of Dean, the top layer which is selfless and about putting others before him, portraying himself as someone who others would want to spend time with and be proud of and the underneath layer which is all about what he wants and desires himself, his selfish side.
I use selfish here NOT in a derogatory way but just to emphasise that it is about himself and not others, desires that are just for him.
In the Djinn world he has somehow managed to forego his second layer, his own desires and wants and it is pretty much mostly about the top layers, the others.
Re: John. Sam is happy with Jess, Mary is happy without John around, which for me just goes to show what he thinks of John’s influence on his own life and how toxic he thinks it would potentially make Mary’s life in the Djinn world and how he wants the John he has known growing up nowhere near the idealistic view of Mary that he has…
Dean HIMSELF in the Djinn dream is a mess. He has a lovely girlfriend and a job as a mechanic, sure, but look below the surface and the things that are most important to him are gone. He doesn’t have a relationship with Sam (when you think about how Sam is his child this is even more heartbreaking) and he still sees himself as poison to his family. This is reinforced again and again throughout the show, e.g. 5x04 where Dean is the poison that means Cas falls and he kills all his friends, 7x05 where he tells Sam that he carries the guilt of the world on his shoulders, the deaths of Kevin, Charlie and Benny of course and then the near death of Cas in 12x12 which is one of the last I believe examples of this that we will see, where he believes that it is his fault that they died or that Cas is lying there, broken and dying, that he led to this because he changed Cas, he caused Cas to rebel and end up here, dying.
What he WANTS, the second layer, we only really see in the moment giffed above, where Djinn Mary offers him no more pain or fear, just love and comfort. And he REJECTS this, just as he does in real life - to get on with the job, look after Sam and essentially put the top layer of his personality firmly back in control.
The Djinn dream for me basically tells us WHY Dean sublimates his second layer, the selfish part of himself:
Well, the answer seems to be because he still sees other people as more important than him, that is the crux of this episode, that he sees his selfish side as it as toxic and not of benefit to others and therefore ‘bad’ or ‘dark’ and sublimates it for Sam and Mary. This is the journey he goes through in the Djinn dream, he lies to Sam and pretends that he is a thief, a good for nothing, in order to save them. He puts his own wants and desires, to salvage his relationships with his family to one side, he sublimates them in order to save his family and save people.
It’s a metaphor for Dean in the whole show in one episode.
It’s why it is so important that since 10x16 he has textually started his journey towards accepting that this selfish side isn’t necessarily bad or toxic / poison to others, where Mary’s behaviour in season 12 causes him to say that he deserves better, he deserves more…
Leading to 12x12 of course, a reconciliation which is so important as it is SO much stronger than a rejection re: his 2 sides and then Crowley’s death as metaphorically symbolising his letting go of perceiving this selfish side and his desires as dark and toxic.
John and Crowley have a large impact on his ‘dark’ side story and it is crucial that he is shrugging off the ghost of his father and that Crowley reconciled himself and then died.
Watching these key episodes now after season 12 is amazing, to see the development and to truly understand the levels and purpose behind performing!Dean that we saw in the past… Dabb giving us all the mirrors and circular narrative :D