First up is the amazing Missouri Mosely, seen in only one(?) tv episode of Supernatural and played by the actress Loretta Devine. I always wished we would see more of Missouri and have never quite gotten over my disappointment that she was never brought back. She was wonderful!
I’d also argue that when Missouri appeared, Kripke was still in the mode of Sam = hero and Dean = Sam’s accessory. It wasn’t until later episodes when Kripke, under Singer’s advice, started to want to develop Dean as a character. But then, as the seasons wore on, Kripke also showed his racist ass and no one challenged him on that and, unfortunately, Missouri became part of a larger pattern.
IDK, Dean was hardly bereft of nuanced, sympathetic characterisation in early s1. As early as the pilot and 1.03 we got our first inklings of how badly traumatised he was by Mary’s death. In 1.04 we catch on that Dean is something of an engineering genius. 1.06 was the first glance at how badly mangled his psyche is thanks to John. 1.08 gave the first hints of an abusive, conflict-ridden upbringing, and then Missouri shows up in 1.09, just when all this should be fresh in the audience’s minds. All through these episodes we see a Dean who puts on airs as an uneducated, Male Platonic Ideal, bad-boy ladykiller but is actually highly-intelligent, empathetic, deeply troubled young man who puts his family first, even above himself, and cares more about saving lives than getting the girl. By the time 1.09 rolls around the show – under Kripke’s direct supervision – has already demonstrated that Dean is a good, if damaged, person and an interesting character.
I will allow, though, that he had been firmly established as being the living (and frayed and desperate) tether holding Sam to the family business, which could on its own be read as “Dean is Sam’s sidekick”, but all the same the first 9-10 episodes treated the brothers pretty evenly in terms of narrative weight.
Where Missouri fits into this is that while she’s decently complex (as much as one can expect of a supporting character who only appears in a single episode) at the core she’s the Magical Negro trope with a thick overlay of Scary Black Momma. The latter, idk, it’s pretty well-rooted in reality – Southern matron types of any race are lionesses – but on the other hand it creates the twin problems of presenting a WOC as irrationally abusive & pointlessly cruel and undermining a POC character’s sympatheticness (good lord how is that a word? English is weird) by having her act with unwarranted hostility towards one of the main characters. I think what Kripke probably intended there was to show that she was a tough, gruff, no-nonsense sort to try to balance out the Magical Negro thing but playing to one stereotype to try to subvert another isn’t always the best idea.
Completely topic, it’s fascinating how the protagonist and POV character are often different characters in SPN.
So Missouri confirms that Sam has powerful abilities, and John questions whether Mary really saved them. Why? He trusts no one here – not Mary because he isn’t sure of the part she played in what happened, not Sam because he doesn’t know if his son is evil, not Dean because he knows how devoted to Dean is to Sam. He can’t see the boys until he knows the truth because he isn’t sure that Sam can’t read his thoughts? Because he already suspects he may have to kill his youngest son?