lizzieladie: (Default)
lizzieladie ([personal profile] lizzieladie) wrote2009-04-24 10:11 pm
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SPN Jumping the Shark

One thing that very few people seem to have picked up on that I think is key to understanding John's relationship with Adam in this episode is that Sam had already left for Standford by the time that John found out that Adam was his son. This means that John was not indulging one kid while leaving his other two alone in a motel room with a shot gun. Instead, his treatment of Adam may have been in part a response to Sam's decision to leave and try to have a normal life. The other part was probably that he wanted to be in Adam's life, and quite frankly without a demonstration to Adam's mom that there was a serious threat to her son, I cannot imagine her signing off on that kind of training. Did she even know that John was a hunter?

It's been suggested that the fact that Adam died proves that John did the right thing in training Sam and Dean the way he did. IMHO the situation is a little bit more complicated than that. For one thing, both Sam and Dean are only alive right now because of the deals. The skills that John gave them didn't save their lives; the only reason that they're alive now is the intervention of people after their deaths. (It's just so infuriatingly Winchester that Sam's reaction to Adam's death was to suggest that the angels bring him back.) Even taken out of the context of the mytharc, the hunting skills that John gave Sam and Dean enabled them to protect themselves, but the hunter's lifestyle also put them into dangerous situations that they wouldn't have encountered otherwise. Once you take the mytharc into account the fallacy of using the life or death of Sam and Dean as the sole measures of John's parenting abilities becomes crystal clear - the very fact that Dean was not willing to let Sam die the apocalypse was what put him in a position to start the apocalypse. I love the boys, but let's be honest, Sam and Dean still being alive may not be the best thing for them, let alone the whole world. That fact is one of my favorite complexities in their story.

I think that what may be true is that John brought all of his kids into harm's way by going to extremes. Adam died because when the ghouls came for him he didn't know how to protect himself. And Sam and Dean are incredibly damaged by the circumstances of their childhood. I think that all of them might have been better off if John had been able to strike a balance between the things that make kids well adjusted and happy and the things that keep them alive. Sam in particular seems to feel that all of his ties to the rest of the world have been cut, and I think that this a problematic attitude for someone who is so gungho about trying to save it. This is total speculation, but I wonder if perhaps if he had had a more stable childhood and more ties going back to his early life (fondly remembered best friends, and baby sitters, and teachers, and nice little old ladies who live next door) that he wouldn't have been so lost when Jessica and then Dean died. I wonder if having more of a community background in his early life would have given him the emotional tools that he needed to hunt because he cared about the victims rather than because he wanted revenge.

Of course if John been a better father then the show wouldn't be as much fun as it is. But I expect that the overall arc of Supernatural is going to turn out to be a tragedy, and that John's failings as a father have played a major part in setting the exact course of tragedy.

One of things that is increasingly worrying me about the hunting community as a whole is that everyone but Dean seems to be in it because one of their loved ones died and they want revenge. The more I think about things this way, the more it seems to me that this leads the community to make bad decisions, or decisions that aren't ultimately based in justice. I think that the vast majority of the things that hunters kill do deserve to die, but hunters also seem to be too willing to kill things that aren't actually harming humans (which can, as in the case of the ghoul, lead to those things taking an equally prejudiced and dangerous attitude towards humans). There's a certain lack of objectivity in this situation that bugs me. Hunters also don't seem to do well with helping victims cope with their loss and new knowledge about the world. What happens to all of the possessed people who have killed while under the influence of a ghost or demon and now have to face the law as if they were acting of their own volition? Killing the ghost and demon is a start, but I think that often the victims' lives are still profoundly changed afterward. I think it would be cool if hunters put victims who knew the truth in contact with each other for support or something, or tried to find some way to get the victims out of the country or exonerate them. I suspect that the girl who drowned her classmate in the toilet is going to be in a mental institution for a long time. Trying to kill the monsters cannot possibly be the only way to acknowledge that the monsters exist and are a problem.

In a totally different vein, the emphasis on Sam bleeding out in this episode was very interesting. At the time, I thought that perhaps Sam might actually be able to raise a demon out of his blood or something like that since he kept struggling after the ghoul pointed out that it would only make him bleed out faster. Now I think that other people are right in suggesting that it may seriously weaken his powers. I hope that it will have an affect on his attitude as well (though from that last scene I'm not too hopeful). I really miss Sam caring about the people he was saving. It will be interesting to find out if having more human blood in his system has a direct effect on his compassion, or if being that close to all that demon blood for so long has had a lasting impact on his heart and mind.