Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Winchesters and Women

I am writing this after a hellacious day, so forgive my lack of insight. I started this weekend with a different format, and then duh, came up with this more cohesive one.

The Winchester men have complex relationships with the women they encounter as they do their job. I find it interesting that Sam seems to have more relationships than Dean, despite having lost Jessica and Dean so clearly longs for a family. Why, I wonder?

First we have John and Mary. John clearly adored his wife, still wearing his wedding ring 22 years after her death, was so driven to find her killer that he took his boys on the world’s longest road trip, stripping them of their home. Did he look at his children and see his wife, knowing he had to protect them as he hadn’t protected her?

No doubt he had encounters with other women later, as apparently the episode “Jump the Shark” will reveal. But Mary was his be-all and end-all love. I wonder if he ever discovered she didn’t trust him enough to tell him the truth about who she was.

Sam had a normal life for a few years, something he always longed for. He had a beautiful girlfriend who supported him in a way his family never did, who encouraged his strengths. Losing Jessica in the way he’d lost his mother crushed him. He knew he couldn’t have a normal life until the Yellow-Eyed Demon was destroyed, and so he went on the hunt.

He had an almost kiss with Lori in “Hookman,” and shared things with Meg as he hadn’t with anyone since Jessica’s death in “Scarecrow.” In “Provenance,” he met beautiful, smart, charming Sarah. When he tried to give her the whole, “People around me get hurt,” she essentially told him to snap out of it.

One of my favorite exchanges in the whole series is between Sam and Sarah.

Sarah Blake: [watching Sam and Dean dig up a grave] You guys seem to be uncomfortably comfortable with this.
Sam Winchester: Well, this isn't exactly the first grave we've dug. Still think I'm a catch?

(Funny, I just realized that every one of those episodes is on my iPod.)

Sarah is the first girl he kisses after Jessica dies, months later, remaining faithful to his dead love all that time. I loved Sarah, and would love to see her return, though I know things would be way different between her and this grown-up Sam.

We don’t see Sam in relationships in season 2, until Madison. Ya know, the werewolf chick. He babysits her and resists her efforts at flirtation, not knowing if she’s a monster or not. And when they are successful (they think), he’s more than willing to celebrate by pinning her to the wall, and….guh. The arms make their first appearance.


And then he realizes she isn’t cured. She’s still a monster and he hunts monsters. When she asks him to end her suffering, he mans up. And it knocks him back into himself, more unwilling to risk himself than ever.

I think that’s why he chooses to continue his sexual relationship with Ruby. She knows what the stakes are. She knows what she risks. She can protect herself. In Sam’s eyes, she’s safe. Still, I don’t think he lets himself care for her. That she’s a demon has a lot to do with that, of course, but I think he’s just already given too much of himself. He knows there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, that there will be no happily-ever-after. He’s resigned he can’t go back to a normal life, and so he settles with a relationship with Ruby.

For all that Dean wants a family, he doesn’t let himself get involved with women the way Sam does. Yes, he charms them, but his more meaningful relationships were in the past-Gumby Girl (okay, that was mostly sex, but he did think he had a kid) and Cassie. With Cassie, Dean broke the Golden Rule of the Winchesters, don’t tell ANYBODY the truth. Dean, who never went against what his father said, told Cassie the truth and she freaked. Showed him. You see he doesn’t have any real relationships with women now. Heck, how can he?

She believed him easily enough when she needed him, though, right?

I’ve heard some people call her whiny, but I liked her enough. And that love scene was Smokin’. I ended up buying the Bad Company CD for that song.

I don’t even want to talk about Jo, because that was just such an unnatural pairing, so forced. I liked Alona Tal in Veronica Mars, but loathed the Roadhouse women. Yeah, don’t want to talk about that.


I’m not sure if Carmen, from “What Is and What Should Never Be,” counts. After all, she was a product of Dean’s imagination. She was a down-to-earth girl, though. Wouldn’t it be lovely if Dean did get a girl like that, who understood him and kept him on an even keel?

And then there’s Anna, the Angel. Again, I felt this relationship was a bit forced, though I liked the conversation they had on the hood of the Impala, when she talks to Dean about following the orders of a father she didn’t know and couldn’t understand. What kind of relationship do you think the two of them might have when she returns?

I know I didn’t do justice to Dean’s relationships, and I’m sorry. Maybe you could help me flesh that out?

Which relationship do you think met each boys’ needs best? What kind of woman do you think each boy needs? Why do you suppose Sam gets more love than Dean?


Trish Milburn said...

While I had trouble with Sam and Madison initially (seemed kind of forced), by the end of the episode it was breaking my heart. I literally cried right along with Sam.

And that exchange between Sarah and Sam in the graveyard is one of my favorites too.

I think Dean is so used to holding himself apart that it's second nature to him. He believes life is just less painful if he doesn't get invested in anyone -- because they always leave.

phouse1964 said...

While I don't think either of our boys have "normal" relationships with women (Sam lied to Jessica about his family - she had no idea so for me, that wasn't the most healthy)I think Dean really loves women. I think he is as respectful as he can be but he has learned that he can't really get close to anyone.

I think Sam, too, has learned that the best was to go is the Dean way. With non demon women, it's love'em and leave'em. I agree with you that Sam probably feels OK about the whole Ruby thing because she knows what the deal is. She knows how it might end and she can protect herself.

As for John and Mary, I hope that John figured it all out before he died and just didn't pass it all on to the boys. I would love if at some point, Sam and Dean find one of their mom's journals (maybe in one of her friend's stuff or John's storage facilities). I like to think that by the end John knew just how much Mary loved him and how much she (thought) she was protecting him and the boys.

Sorry so rambally.

Would I love to se the boys in relationships? Maybe. But i really don't think it's possible. Sam might come the closest with Ruby but I am not sure how long that is going to last. I think her days are numbered.

Maureen Child said...

I"m with Phouse on the Jessica thing. As much as Sam likes to fool himself that she was the great love of his life--I don't think so. Otherwise he would have trusted her with the truth.

I think Sam is with Ruby exactly because she's a demon. There's no chance of a happily ever after so when it ends, there won't be pain.

As for darling Dean...big grin, It tore me up when he saw Gumby Girl again and the boy who might have been his son--(I'm still not convinced he isn't! LOL)...Because at the end, we saw on Dean's face what it could have meant to him.

Dean and Jo...oh no. Dean and Anna Angel?..could be interesting...

MJFredrick said...

Another hellacious day and I'm just getting back here.

Interesting-I didn't think about Sam lying to Jess being that he didn't love her, just that he wanted so badly to be normal that he couldn't reveal that to her and still be normal, you know?

Plus, they were really young. Who knows what decisions are right at that age? I do find it interesting that he's so much like his mom.

And I agree, Dean is very respectful of women.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Sorry you had another hellacious day, Mary. :(

I agree with you that Jessica could have been the love of Sam's life. They just never had the opportunity to test it.

I think Sam has deeper relationships--even when they're quick--because he's always been more open. Partly personality, partly upbringing, but he's able and willing to feel deeply. And he doesn't do casual, so there's no outlet for him until he meets a woman he can care about, somehow.

I didn't hate Jo. I liked her, actually, though I really question the whole "love interest" element. If I'd never "heard" that was what she was supposed to be, I'd have assumed she was a little sister type. I'm not convinced she was actually supposed to be more.

I liked Cassie, too, and felt that actress had the most chemistry with Jensen, which is kind of weird. How can someone not have chemistry with Jensen? But no one else really has. When they find someone who does...it will melt celluloid. :)

MJFredrick said...

You're right! I thought Bella had chemistry with Jensen, but that love scene with Cassie was terrific.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

You're right! He did have chemistry with Bella, especially in that first episode with her. It was a relationship I'm not sure I would have wanted to see leading to anything, but the banter and clashes were fun.

MJFredrick said...

Yep, loved the banter. But you're right, not sure how putting them together would have worked. It might have been fun. Hmmm.....story idea....