Cain versus Abel and the show's mythology



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So, this begs the question: sure, there are some seriously nasty and evil demons who have escaped from Hell. But if John escaped and he's not completely evil, then there are probably a fair bit of Hell-folk out there who might fall into the same category. So, when Bobby said it was unlikely that they could win the war by sheer force, maybe Kripke is hinting that the end game is not *killing* all of the demons (since the Colt is hardly a weapon of mass destruction and exorcism just sends them back to Hell for another go-round), but redeeming those who are maybe ready for redemption after centuries in Hell. The fact that you can escape from Hell and go someplace better (like John) strongly indicates that in the Supernatural universe, Hell is not necessarily meant to be an eternal punishment. It's just eternal if you refuse to stop acting like a cosmically amoral jerk. And the really interesting part is that Sam, the golden boy among demons, is not the one who is discovering this new possibility (he doesn't like Ruby and neither do we), but Dean.
Further, who's this king rising in the West, really, and how does he intend to prevail in the coming civil war in Hell? It seems to me that if Dean is already going way down south (as he once put it to the CRD), that it might occur to someone down in Hell (or up top) that a really good champion for the new faction's cause would be a really scary and unstable demon-hunter who has just sold his soul to save his brother, who just happens to be the currently disfavored Boy King.
Now Dean would never, ever turn on his brother. Croatoan and BUABS made that obvious. But Sam has turned on Dean in the past (Asylum, BUABS). Sam is the idealist, the younger brother who isn't as hardened, but also gets discouraged more easily and can be turned. Dean is the realist who has a much stronger will and can be compassionate, but also is extremely violent and is very apt to shoot you dead if you show the wrong signals at the wrong time.
I think that Sam loves Dean as much as Dean loves him. But Dean is also literally the only true constant in Sam's life. So Sam can be a real control freak when it comes to Dean. You or I would be, too, in his shoes. He's still young, not really good at problem-solving in relationships (despite all his sensitivity training), *very* bad at respecting other people's emotional boundaries, especially Dean's, and very desperate to keep his only true family and friend alive and safe, even if it means taking away Dean's freedom. The current conflict between them, in which Sam keeps trying to put Dean back into "lockdown" the way he did after their bank job in Nightshifter (like that went so well the last time) and Dean keeps acting out with increasing recklessness and taking off for dangerous little jaunts, is only going to get worse and worse until there's an explosion.
I can easily see outsiders trying to manipulate this to their advantage. I mean demon outsiders. And I think that the way Dean is currently handling it is about as well as he's ever going to handle it. So, he's bound to start getting more and more erratic and unpredictable as the season progresses. Considering Jensen's admiration of Jack Nicholson, I see a little One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest action in Dean's future.

This is why I love Bobby so much.Even when he's scolding them -look after yer brother ya idjit there is so much love there. I'm so glad Kripke didn't kill him off, because he provides that bit of level-headed maturity the brothers (especially Dean)need.


I'd love to see that foster-father/son relationship between Bobby and Dean continue and develop (would love to see Ellen stepping in more as foster mom, too). Notice how in M7, Dean kept suggesting outright suicidal strategies for himself and Bobby just brushed them off? I think that Bobby has twigged to the *right* way to deal with Dean's suicidal tendencies, which is simply to tell him, "No, that's not an option; you're too valuable" and move on. Don't get into an argument with Dean and his damage; just tell him no. Eventually, at least with Bobby, Dean will hopefully start to learn by example some healthier strategies for those little grenades life tosses us besides throwing himself on top of every single one.


Yeah, Bobby is cool. A much better parent than John was, especially to Dean, who desperately needs for someone to keep grabbing him by the back of the neck and yelling, "YES! YOU MATTER, YOU IDJIT!" Dean's biggest strength is that he's stiff-necked. His biggest weakness is that he's...stiff-necked. I also think it's really significant that Bobby has not simply given up on Dean just because he's sold his soul to the Devil. Hopefully, at some point, Dean will start to realize that if two people are desperately trying to save you from your own madness, it just might be because you're worth something to them and should start helping yourself.
Do you believe Kripke always had a substantial plan for Dean?

I do think so, yeah. Kripke and the other writers, as well as Jensen, have repeatedly made references to Joseph Campbell, who laid out a specific hero's journey (and several types of heroes) in classical literature. The Hero hears a call to go on the Quest, resists, then goes rather reluctantly. At some point, the Hero has to go through Hell (literally or figuratively) and comes out the other side changed and wiser. The Hero then is offered Paradise, but returns to the world (or not) to bring back a message or some kind of boon to people. However, a Hero can never return to the starting point of his or her journey because he or she is far too changed. Since Dean is the brother who is currently bound for Hell, this makes him the definite Hero (in Campbellian terms) of, at the very least, this season. And probably the next, too. Which is one reason why I'm not getting too excited about his relative passivity right now.


As far as what Kripke originally had in mind, I think that Jensen's references to Kripke telling him that Dean was like "Han Solo" indicate pretty clearly that he was going for a Luke Skywalker/Han Solo dynamic at first. But then Jensen got in there and started spinning it (because the really good actors always like to play and experiment or they get seriously bored) and Kripke liked what Jensen was doing and started spinning into that.

I've read the original script and Dean was pretty unlikeable.I've wondered if Dean did in fact start out as a rather oafish boor who was there merely to do the grunt work, but Kripke discovered a real gem in Ackles and realised Dean could be so much more with Ackles playing the part, so he wrote to those strengths.I often watch Dean and think that he would be unlikable in certain scenes if Ackles didn't play him with a twinkle in his eye instead of a leer. Ackles was originally supposed to play Sam,but found Dean more interesting and jumped at the part when he was offered it instead.

On paper, Dean could very easily be unlikeable. Some characters are mostly the writer (Shakespeare's Hamlet, for example). Others are mostly the actor. Some are in between. Actors still love to play writer's characters, but they don't usually end up owning those roles. This is just a guess on my part, but I'd say that Dean is currently 50-70% generated by Jensen Ackles. If you read the sides, they can be fun, but the Dean parts on screen are always far deeper and more interesting than the script. A whole lot of Dean's progress is coming from the actor not the script. Fortunately, Kripke appreciates that rather than resents it and is then motivated to give his actor more to do. So, I don't think that Dean will be disappearing into the woodwork any time soon. You may see times when Kripke is setting something up and may leave Jensen hanging a little more than usual (because he's skilled enough that he doesn't need for the script to carry him every step of the way), but I don't think that we will ever see Sam take over the story completely from Dean.

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Re: Cain versus Abel and the show's mythology (spoilers for past episodes)

by sesmarue (Sat Dec 1 2007 11:35:40)

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UPDATED Sat Dec 1 2007 11:41:15

wow...this whole thread was a great read! [[yes]] *brain hurts from downloading*
my 2 cents:
1. i was at the chicago con, and remember jensen saying he just picked dean's jewelry

out at random after rummaging through a box of props....

(after which he shrugged and made that "whatever" face that jensen makes)

...maybe knowing that dean was a rocker, he subconsciously picked out the amulet

cuz it was shaped like the "rocker horns" hands that people wave at concerts and stuff? [[giveup]]
2. i think the YED, in not immediately killing dean, might have just been breaking #6 and #16 of "152 Rules for Being an Evil Overlord":

6. I will not gloat over my enemies' predicament before killing them.

16. I will never utter the sentence "But before I kill you, there's just one thing I want to know."

(found here:>>>>>http://quoll.uwaterloo.ca/mine/overlord.html)

i.e. the YED was just engaging in unnecessarily-prolongued monologuing LOL) [[biggrin]]
3. in the darkness there is...drakkar noir! [[laugh]]

(heehee, j/k about this last one...what? why does no one on this board seem to have a sense of humor anymore??)


The hero always gets the grill.
Re: Cain versus Abel and the show's mythology (spoilers for past episodes)

by gunznammo2 (Sat Dec 1 2007 14:43:14)

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To the SnowLeopard: This thread is wonderful.

I can scarce take it all in.

I never realized how deeply 'Supernatural'

had ingrained itself into my psyche but more than that-

into the deepest foundations of my own beliefs. ‘Supernatural’

had kindled within me a fire of love for those characters,

Sam & Dean (- most especially Dean because of his fierce devotion

to his brother and his dedication to fighting those evil sob's.)

but for the life of me I could not explain why. There were times

I thought I was going crazy. But you, in this thread, have pretty

much answered that mystifying question. You have put into words

what my heart and soul has known about this series but could never

voice outright. I am in awe.


PS: Wouldn't want to create a monster, but Jensen has given

our Dean such amazing depth that there should be an award created

specifically for that character alone.
Sam: 'What'd you call me a bitch for?'

Devoted SaltGunner 4 Life

Supernatural Disciple

Re: Cain versus Abel and the show's mythology (spoilers for past episode

by thesnowleopard (Mon Dec 3 2007 03:51:43)

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UPDATED Mon Dec 3 2007 04:02:26
wow...this whole thread was a great read! [ [[yes]] ] *brain hurts from downloading*

LOL! You're welcome.

1. i was at the chicago con, and remember jensen saying he just picked dean's jewelry

out at random after rummaging through a box of props....

(after which he shrugged and made that "whatever" face that jensen makes)

...maybe knowing that dean was a rocker, he subconsciously picked out the amulet

cuz it was shaped like the "rocker horns" hands that people wave at concerts and stuff?

I think it may have had more to do with the fact that he must have just come off of doing "Devour" and he still had that kind of imagery rattling around in his head. You know, if you hunt monsters, you start to become one, etc. But I doubt that he had really anything in mind...well, no, actually, I sort of take that back. He probably didn't originally have anything in mind when he made the suggestion to Kripke, but once Kripke agreed and said he'd write a story about whatever Jensen chose sometime in the future, then yes, Jensen probably chose at least the amulet with some idea of "What would make a good story for Dean in the future?" in his head. Either way, once Kripke said that it would get its own story, it became significant to Dean's backstory.


As for why Jensen was vague about it, it's funny how you *don't* remember a lot of what inspired you to create a story idea. After all, the poor guy's done over fifty episodes since he made that particular choice by now. It's a wonder he can even remember how he found it in the first place.
Jensen and Jared are probably both having quite a few banana moments by this point in the season. That's what I call the dazed state you get into when you're so completely fried from work that you find yourself wandering through the supermarket and you get to thinking, "Man, you know, I haven't had any bananas in a while." And suddenly, you get this horrific epiphany that the reason why you have not had bananas in a while is because you haven't yet touched the ones you bought three weeks ago--the ones that are even now moldering on top of your fridge.
Stephen King has a very good discussion about "theme" in his book "On Writing". Theme isn't something you're thinking about when you're cooking up a story. You're thinking, "How the hey-nonny do I get my protag from Point A to Point B and why did I get into this business again?" Theme--successful theme, anyway--usually starts out in the subconscious.

2. i think the YED, in not immediately killing dean, might have just been breaking #6 and #16 of "152 Rules for Being an Evil Overlord":

6. I will not gloat over my enemies' predicament before killing them.

16. I will never utter the sentence "But before I kill you, there's just one thing I want to know."

(found here:>>>>>http://quoll.uwaterloo.ca/mine/overlord.html)

i.e. the YED was just engaging in unnecessarily-prolongued monologuing LOL)


While YED was most definitely an Evil Overlord, I don't think that's quite why he chose that exact moment to gloat over Dean. After all, he had no reasonable expectation that John would somehow claw his way out of Hell and grab him from behind, especially since YED was pretty contemptuous of John--Dean, I'm not so sure. Bobby and Ellen were otherwise occupied and Sam was pinned to a tree. He had plenty of time to gloat over Dean. It's just interesting that he chose to draw out Dean's death instead of making sure of it. I guess it was just the perfect time to make Dean really suffer premortem, but the main reason, I think, was because YED wanted Sam to come rushing in and get a front row seat at his brother's torture-murder. That would be the final thing that would break Sam to YED's will.


But also, Dean had killed YED's demon son and sent his demon daughter (Meg) back to Hell twice. When YED possesses John, he tortures Dean horribly. Later, when Meg comes back and possesses Sam in BUABS, she initially tries to convince Dean that Sam has turned "bad" and to shoot him. When Dean doesn't take the bait (after extreme provocation), she goes with Plan B--which is to torture Dean horribly. YED also tells John in IMTOD that he wants Dean dead *almost* more than he wants the Colt, and we now know that he wanted the Colt pretty bad. It was the lynchpin of his plan to open up the Hellmouth. Only once John agrees to trade his own life and soul, with no extra time, does YED agree. I guess, in AHBL2, YED just wants to "stop and smell the roses", like CRD when Dean visits her earlier in the episode.
Dean, for whatever reason, actually appears to be more hated and feared "way down south" than any other hunter that we know of, including John. Why isn't entirely clear yet (as recent events have shown, not everyone in Hell agreed with, or even liked, YED), but we'll probably find out more as this season progresses. Assuming, of course, the strike doesn't cut it dead.

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Re: Cain versus Abel and the show's mythology (spoilers for past episode

by thesnowleopard (Mon Dec 3 2007 04:22:40)

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PS: Wouldn't want to create a monster, but Jensen has given

our Dean such amazing depth that there should be an award created

specifically for that character alone.


Glad to hear I saved your sanity!


I agree that Dean is a very original character. He's been set up as just the kind of person that our society would expect to be a complete white-trash, survivalist psychopath--and yet, he's the most human of the characters in the show. He could so easily have become just a sidekick redneck straight out of Dukes of Hazzard and he so isn't.
It could be that the reason why some viewers are restless with the portrayal of Dean so far this season is because we haven't seen him so much from the outside since early in season one. Every successful story has a character with whom the audience can identify. This is often a character who is abruptly introduced to the world of the story at the same time as the audience (Harry Potter, for example). The audience finds out about the world along with the character.
Sam appears to have been originally chosen for this role. But as the story progressed, probably because we needed to have some mystery about Sam's motives, we started seeing things increasingly from Dean's point of view. In Asylum, for example, the POV shifts at a critical moment to Dean because Dean is the one who ends up having to battle both a possessed Sam and the possessing ghost. Similarly, we see Dean's spirit fighting for his life in IMOTD and mostly Dean's POV in BUABS. But we don't see Sam's spirit while Sam is dead in AHBL2. It would interfere with the main story, which has gradually become Dean's breakdown over his father's deal and struggle to save his brother against impossible odds.
But of course, the writers have to spend some time on Sam this season because Sam's storyline has sort of ended for the most part. Sam only joined Dean originally because he wanted to find Jess' murderer. Dean (not his brother or father) is the one who had the hair-brained idea that they should save people just for the sake of saving them. And it's Dean who has made the deal that is shaping this season. But with YED dead, Sam's revenge storyline is over. There's no more revenge to be got. So, the writers have needed to spend some time filling out Sam's post-YED storyline before turning back to Dean's deal.

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Re: Cain versus Abel and the show's mythology (spoilers for past episode

by sesmarue (Mon Dec 3 2007 04:26:58)

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Touche, mon ami(e?), touche... [[wink]]

LOL, yeah Jensen would often shake his head a bit and grin after some of the questions

(i.e. his thought bubble was like "why do you fans ask me about this crazy-ass obscure *beep*

or "have any of you ever even been kissed by the opposite sex??") [[laugh]]
After all, he had no reasonable expectation that John would somehow claw his way out of Hell and grab him from behind,

especially since YED was pretty contemptuous of John--Dean, I'm not so sure.

that was a pretty good scene, wasn't it?

YED:*going on and on and on gloating over his eminent victory*

spirit!John:*sneak attack from behind*

YED:"and furthermore...GAHHH!!!" *is spiritually de-pantsed*


you know i also got a chance to chat briefly with Fred the YED,

and he does have a sort of "quiet menace" about him that made him perfect for this part

(but on the other hand, he also signs his autograph with a "smiley face" [[smile]] heehee, go figure)
Dean, for whatever reason, actually appears to be more hated and feared "way down south"

than any other hunter that we know of, including John.

yup, those minions of darkness do seem to take extra glee in torturing dean

(i don't complain too much since dean bleeds real purty LOL *shifty eyes*) [[hide]]

and they do seem to fear him more...perhaps justifiably?

since he has "come back from the dead" at least twice that we know of,

and so far seems "spiritually untouchable" i.e. has not been possessed yet,

like maybe he has some kind of special spiritual status that prevents his soul from being corrupted by evil?

(the shapeshifter does NOT count)
and yeah, it'd be a SHAME if kripke didn't get to finish telling dean's story

(i mean, sam's story LOL) due to the writers' strike... [[sad]]


The deadline for all complaints was yesterday.
Re: Cain versus Abel and the show's mythology (spoilers for past episode

by thesnowleopard (Mon Dec 3 2007 06:01:31)

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Touche, mon ami(e?), touche... [ [[wink]] ]

LOL, yeah Jensen would often shake his head a bit and grin after some of the questions

(i.e. his thought bubble was like "why do you fans ask me about this crazy-ass obscure *beep*

or "have any of you ever even been kissed by the opposite sex??")

LOL! You know, before I sold anything, I was sure that doing interviews and conferences and stuff would be so much fun. And then I got my first interview (online, granted) and there were these questions that I'd always thought would be fun to answer, had even thought about the answers. And when somebody asked me them, I drew a complete blank. Even funnier were reviews (or rejection notes from editors) where I'd get these deep speculations about a story that I had written on a lark, or a challenge, in two days and revised in a single evening a month later before I sent it out.


Jared and Jensen were saying in the commentary for Phantom Traveler that they get the scripts about a week ahead of filming. So, while I'm sure they have fun with a lot of it, they really don't have time to think deep, dark thoughts about the material that they get. Does that mean the final product is never deep and dark? Far from it. But deeper meaning and subtext tend to spring out of your subconscious, and they're frequently unpredictable. Like, for example, the relationship between the brothers. Obviously, if Jared and Jensen hated each other's guts, that antipathy would show, and not in a good way.
There's also the reality that the person who creates the art sees it *very* differently from the intended audience. There's all that time and effort you put into it. In a good piece of art, those two things are invisible to the audience. Good art looks effortless, natural. Jared and Jensen also mentioned in their commentary that when they watch the episodes, they remember the experiences (both good and bad) when filming them. This can really affect how they see, say, a dramatic scene if somebody kept cracking up in the middle of it during filming, or got hurt.
The fun of analysis always comes after the fact. Wayyy after the fact.

that was a pretty good scene, wasn't it?

YED:*going on and on and on gloating over his eminent victory*

spirit!John:*sneak attack from behind*

YED:"and furthermore...GAHHH!!!" *is spiritually de-pantsed*

LOL! That was a pretty satisfying moment in a Bill-and-Ted-wedgie-Death sort of way, wasn't it? Almost as satisfying as the next moment when YED turned around just in time to see the Devil's favorite whipping boy pull the trigger on the Colt.

you know i also got a chance to chat briefly with Fred the YED,

and he does have a sort of "quiet menace" about him that made him perfect for this part

(but on the other hand, he also signs his autograph with a "smiley face" [ [[smile]] ] heehee, go figure)

Loved the creepy, Old-West way he told Dean, "Sit a spell." Made me wonder just how old that host body was.


The actor is very good. I was especially impressed, after finding out that those yellow contact lenses completely blind you while you're wearing them, when I noticed that he deliberately used his inability to actually see Jensen to emphasize the horribly offhand way in which YED is tormenting Dean. YED never quite looks at Dean straight. He always looks a bit sideways past him, like a Velociraptor or some bird of prey.

(i don't complain too much since dean bleeds real purty LOL *shifty eyes*)



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