↳ 1x14: Nightmare
YES. Yeah, he was pretty straightforward about the need to kill Azazel/Lilith/that season’s Big Bad using whatever means necessary. If anything, it’s his ability to stick with a mission all the way through regardless of what it costs him that’s kinda scary. Has nothing on how dangerous Dean is, yes.
I think it’s true that Sam is more revenge-prone than Dean: he will focus on a goal like revenge and achieve it, and at times he will be blinkered about the cost. Dean has impulses of revenge (against Samuel, against Walt and Roy, against Dick, against Gadreel), but they don’t tend to be sustained, driving forces for him. Even the quest to get Azazel, which was intertwined with Dean’s deep familial and emotional structures, was subject to Dean’s openness to detours. So if you put yourself in a position where a Winchester is out for revenge on you, you may well be more scared of Dean because Dean’s immediate reaction is likely to be more directly emotional, but it’s true that Sam is probably the one you should really be worried about.
I think on both the Watson and Doyle level it can be puzzling that Sam is the more revenge-driven but also the one more prone to forgiveness, but I think the two are actually rather similar processes in Sam. He deals with things by abstracting them; revenge gives him an external structure to cope with hurt and loss, and he can be callous about collateral damage. And forgiveness, the way Sam does it, also gives him an external structure to cope with hurt and loss. You’ll notice that there’s always a process of analogy in Sam’s forgiveness: in the Mentalists, he acknowledges that he knows what it’s like to lie to Dean, and so he moves past Dean lying to him. In 7.1 he’s very clear that his own experience of setting out with an important goal and accidentally achieving catastrophe is what makes him able to understand Cas’s similar experience. He uses his own experiences, but he does it by going out of them and thinking of them in abstract terms, not by staying in his own subjectivity. Sam does empathy by analogy.
But I think it’s easy to expect empathy and forgiveness to come from a kind of emotional softness, whereas actually it’s another facet of the same kind of hardness that makes Sam capable of revenge. And his forgiveness also has an aspect of callousness, in that he disregards his own hurt as collateral damage. It’s the way Sam’s brain works, for good and ill and healthy and unhealthy, but I think there’s a certain tendency to think mushy emotion = good and cold thought = bad, so when people see Sam showing empathy or forgiveness they assume that that must be a good, mushy, emotional Sam and hard to reconcile with a Sam who can be hard or go too far with means-and-ends.
(As a sidenote on Dean’s impulses to vengeance and his distractibility therefrom, I was thinking yesterday about the path to the Mark of Cain. Dean first avoids confronting the damage he’s done to Sam and deflects his own share of the responsibility for the possession by setting off after Gadreel, his collaborator in the possession. Then Crowley, very easily, diverts him to Abaddon. I’d always assumed that the point of Dean’s fixation on the Abaddon goal was precisely that it was arbitrary; Abaddon was a Bad Thing, and had none of the awkward tangle of complicity Gadreel did. But I wonder if there is another factor. It’s always struck me that in general and in s9 in particular Dean is either the speaker or the audience for a lot of the most sexualized language regarding possession. And 9.2 had that chilling diptych of Sam’s possession ~because love~, including Gadreel’s noncon access to Sam’s memories and emotions and use of them in conversation with Dean, and of Abaddon’s dark and sexualized threats of possession against Dean. So maybe substituting Abaddon for Gadreel as the object of his attention also lets Dean separate out bad/violent/demonic/sexualized possessing beings from Gadreel’s noncon possession, and go after the being who threatened him with obviously evil noncon rather than the being whose noncon he facilitated? I don’t know, it’s just a chain of association, but it’s interesting that Crowley, who is manipulating Dean, is a source of sexualized reminders of Sam’s possession (sloppy seconds, I was inside your brother.) /that was a huge tangent.)
sam appreciation week - five things I love about sam
» the darkness inside him & his anger
#god i fucking love rage!sam so much jfc #yesss #and can i just say i love how well rounded the characters in this fucking show are? #most shows would put him in the straight-man/nice cop category and call it a day #or just make him outright dark and walking the line between good and evil #but spn lets its mains be multifaceted #be heros and villains #lets sam be gentle and empathetic and angry and vicious #and basically i just love this character ohgod (via)
There are 2 maybe 3 pictures of this 8 picture set where Sam was truly angry or even arguably morally compromised. The other pictures are of Sam afraid, soulless, or mentally compromised. My god, do I have a problem with using Sam’s issues with hell or examples of Sam under some type of violation (soullessness and the wraith) as a reason why he’s either “angry” or “dark.” He is panicking in at least 3 maybe 4 of these. WTF?
#come on guys #let’s think before we post #seriously i don’t know where the last gif is from #but it looks like he’s in a dangerous situation for which he would not like to be unarmed #not really anger or darkness #just sense #not surprised mental illness would be used as a sign of darkness #or ~anger #but REALLY? (via sillierthanasillylaugh)
That was when he first met Benny.
Yeah I’m with you. I acutally asked in my tags how many of these were Sam being under the influence of something.
I get that the pics are of Sam being kind of badass and maybe that’s what the tags are referring to?? Appreciating how powerful and lethal Sam can be when he needs to be??? The potential in him to be scary, something we don’t see often….??? idk but overall the photoset makes it seem, out of context, like Sam has a rage problem. And none of these moments… not one, is Sam overreacting about anything.
And I get that there’s usually a social dichotomy between the people we usually think of as “kind” and the people we usually think of as “willing to engage in physical altercations” and having a person who typifies both is super intriguing but the part of my brain who likes precision is saying that words mean things (and more importantly have social consequences), and if you’re going to bring depictions of mental health into the story, then words like “dark” and “angry” need to be used far more carefully than this.
Moreover, this isn’t really about Sam being badass. There are plenty of pictures of Sam being perfectly competent as a fighter. This is about Sam not following social mores about behavior (which includes violence or anger in socially “bad” ways, which can also be intriguing to people) and using depictions of mental health issues in this context should have been thought about much much more.
#i’m not saying don’t have fun #or don’t like sam’s ability to fight #but post responsibly #this isn’t really even about Sam as a character #this is about the way mental issues are depicted and talked about #about the way violation is talked about
Yeah. On the one hand, these are scenes I like too, but I’ve become cynical enough about fandom that even classifying his anger when he’s not compromised in one way or another as “darkness” has gotten dicey to me? Like, this isn’t the only time I’ve seen Sam’s ability to stand up to his abusive father rolled in with him being ~questionable in one way or another. But he was totally on the nose in what he’s saying to John in that top left image and he’s got every right to say it. Anger which allows a person to do that is not axiomatically dark.
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I’m not scared of angels.
“I’m calling Dean.”