Cain versus Abel and the show's mythology



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When Dean trapped the Crossroads Demon, he was able to get that guy's contract out of her. So, why didn't she have Dean's when Sam went after her? Maybe because Dean's contract is unusually important? And aren't giving Dean only a year and forcing him to swear to hold to the contract on pain of Sam's death just ways of trying to control him, hobble him as much as possible? The Crossroads Demon told Dean straight out that she could get into a lot of trouble for giving him the deal. Why? What's so scary about letting him sell his soul, especially when YED said flat-out that he was *pleased* to see that Dean had resurrected Dean? What infernal plan did Dean disrupt?

At least I hope that's what's in store, that goodness will prevail, Sam will resist the call of evil with Dean's help and all will be well.I couldn't stand a sad ending here.


Oh, I hear ya. I hate storylines where evil triumphs. Anyway, I think what we will probably get is Sam getting darker and more desperate as Dean starts to crack (he's already turning very erratic and fatalistic). But at some point, it will come down to Sam having to choose between Dean or the Pit, and while I think that the dark forces believe that they can use Dean to corrupt Sam, I think that they will ultimately fail. Sam will always choose Dean.


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

by donilou2 (Fri Nov 16 2007 08:07:55)

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We've known for some time on the show that personified evil forces have deliberately chosen and placed Sam from birth for purposes that remain unclear. What if a personified good force also chose and placed Dean? What if Dean is still alive, still protecting his brother in *spite* of the Pit and not because of some arcane, twisted agenda?

Beyond merely being a vessel, what do you think is Mary's involvement in the whole thing? Many people think she's the devils concubine or at best an unwitting dupe, but I've always felt she was aware, at least on some level, of what was unfolding with her boys.

She recognised the YED and tried to fight him in those last moments. She was one of only four, out of many mothers who were incinerated. I want to believe, and hope that she was an active participant in the forstalling of Sam's destiny.I hope her friends and family were killed bacuse they were a part of something good that was trying to protect the world.

What did John know? It seems that he always knew Dean was there to protect Sam and re-enforced that right from the very beginning. He kept saying he knew the truth, but never said it out loud.Damn his secrets anyway- I know why its done, but I like to open my presents quickly!


When Dean trapped the Crossroads Demon, he was able to get that guy's contract out of her. So, why didn't she have Dean's when Sam went after her? Maybe because Dean's contract is unusually important? And aren't giving Dean only a year and forcing him to swear to hold to the contract on pain of Sam's death just ways of trying to control him, hobble him as much as possible? The Crossroads Demon told Dean straight out that she could get into a lot of trouble for giving him the deal. Why? What's so scary about letting him sell his soul, especially when YED said flat-out that he was *pleased* to see that Dean had resurrected Dean? What infernal plan did Dean disrupt?

I'm wondering if there actually is a deal. All we have is the CRD's word that there is one, and Sam's breathing body. Dean made the offer in good faith so it is a contract, but what if the demons know they can't collect and are just holding it over Sam's head in an attempt to change him, or as you say, to hobble Dean's attempts to "save" Sam.


I'm all for internal struggle. I'm all for brotherly conflict but in the end, I want my heroes to be ...well...heroic and make the right choices. These guys darned well better live happily every after or I will be forced to throw pies in Kripke's general direction.
Kripke's gotten himself into the big leagues with this storyline, and I worry that its too weighty for him to bring to a satisfactory conclusion.

I wonder how he's going to wrap it up so we all sit there with our mouths open saying "WOW I didn't see that one coming".

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

by thesnowleopard (Fri Nov 16 2007 22:49:18)

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Beyond merely being a vessel, what do you think is Mary's involvement in the whole thing?


I am hoping that she was something more than a vessel and a victim. She was Dean's mother, too, after all. He sure didn't get his emotional makeup from John. John loved Dean (he sold his soul for him), but I think of the two brothers, Sam was a lot more like John than Dean was. The way Mary's spirit appeared in "Home" was a lot more like Dean. If Dean died and some evil spirit threatened his family, he'd annihilate himself stopping it, too. Without hesitation. It was just sad seeing Dean turn himself inside out trying to turn into Daddy when that was effectively impossible.


I really don't think we've seen the last of Mary. No spoilers, there. I just think that just as Kripke's developing Dean alongside Sam is building up to something, so Mary's backstory is being developed. John has been dealt with. Mary is still an unknown element. Were I writing the show, I sure would be addressing her character this season. Season one was about saving John. Season two was about saving Sam. Season three appears to be about saving Dean. I guess that season four would then have to be about saving Mary.

What did John know? It seems that he always knew Dean was there to protect Sam and re-enforced that right from the very beginning. He kept saying he knew the truth, but never said it out loud.Damn his secrets anyway- I know why its done, but I like to open my presents quickly!


No idea. Though Ghostly John at the Hellmouth seemed to know that Dean would be the one to shoot YED, as if he knew by then that Dean was ultimately fated to do so. I think it's significant that of the three of them, only Dean was willing to walk away from the quest if it would save all of their lives. Only Dean was willing to foreswear vengeance, so it was most fitting for him to shoot YED in self-defense.


And if Dean was fated to shoot YED *only* after he had foresworn the family feud, then the timing makes sense. John, for all his skill, was no more able to kill YED (complete the quest) than Launcelot was able to find the Grail. Only Launcelot's son, Galahad, who was pure of heart, was worthy enough to find the Grail.
Of course, the analogy ain't perfect. Galahad was also pure of body and utterly lacking in a sense of humor or compassion for human weakness. Dean, bless him, is much more fun, especially to the ladies. But Dean does share a critical trait with other successful Grail seekers (one highlighted in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade): he has no interest in the Grail for himself and seeks it only for the salvation of his family. Only someone who is not obsessed with the Grail will find it.
It does also bring up a possibility about John and Mary--Launcelot was the greatest warrior in the land and the most chivalrous. But he couldn't win the Grail because he was also shtupping his boss' wife. For decades. What if Mary didn't "cheat" on John with YED? What if John stole her heart away from the Devil, instead?
An interesting thought--I mentioned before that Dean seems more pagan than Christian. But he's also been directly cast in pagan roles. In "Scarecrow", he's even portrayed as the Summer King, though Kripke cleverly masked it by doing the "sacred couple" variant. The Summer King was a vegetative god whose earthly representatives were feted for an entire year and then sacrificed. In the legend, the god died violently in the fall, sojourned the winter in Hell, and was reborn in the spring, bringing back life to the land along with his own resurrection. Christ, Dionysus, Persephone, Inanna and Attis are all good examples. C.S. Lewis does a fantastic version of it in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" in which he plays up the idea that a willing sacrifice of one's life to save another, even if the sacrifice is made to the Devil, conquers Death. Hell will always lust after the conquest of a holy soul, but ultimately can't hold one. It's a karma thing.
So, this may be the legend that Kripke is playing out this season for Dean. Not the earthly reenactment, but the actual legend--death, dark journey through Hell, and explosive rebirth, the whole Campbellian nine yards.

I'm wondering if there actually is a deal. All we have is the CRD's word that there is one, and Sam's breathing body. Dean made the offer in good faith so it is a contract, but what if the demons know they can't collect and are just holding it over Sam's head in an attempt to change him, or as you say, to hobble Dean's attempts to "save" Sam.


I definitely agree that something reeks about that deal. As Dean himself pointed out, it wasn't the usual way of doing things (John's deal was different, I think, because he made it directly with YED rather than the Crossroads Demon).


But I'm wondering if we should just assume that the person who holds Dean's contract is even a personified evil. Seems to me that there's a fair bit of evidence that Good in the Supernatural universe can be just as tricky as Evil. They do say that God is with you in your darkest despair and Dean was at absolute rock bottom when he decided to make his deal. Who's to say that he was only motivated by evil or despair? When John made his deal (which turned out to be temporary, after all)

I'm all for internal struggle. I'm all for brotherly conflict but in the end, I want my heroes to be ...well...heroic and make the right choices. These guys darned well better live happily every after or I will be forced to throw pies in Kripke's general direction.


Hell, yes. Struggle, by all means. Be the imperfect, fallible human beings we know and love. But I want to see them ultimately make the right decision. There's enough banal evil on the telly already. If I wanted that, I'd watch Gossip Girl.

Kripke's gotten himself into the big leagues with this storyline, and I worry that its too weighty for him to bring to a satisfactory conclusion.

I wonder how he's going to wrap it up so we all sit there with our mouths open saying "WOW I didn't see that one coming".


Oh, I think it's pretty doable, actually. We've already seen Dean in "Hell" emotionally right after Sam's death. Sitting in that rundown shack with his brother's body on a bare mattress was about as close to Hell as Dean could get on Earth, even though he did still have his freedom. If Kripke showed Hell as him locked up someplace weird and mental-hospital/prison-like without Sam (especially with demons taunting him about what might be happening to Sam without him), I think it would work fine. An homage to Evil Dead would probably do it while simultaneously keeping well within the show's "horror movie every episode" format.


Something I would rather not see is having Dean die, disappear for a few episodes, and then come back. The show is about the two brothers, so let's make it about the two brothers, even if they are separated for a ep or two. I don't see Kripke actually killing off Dean or Sam for good. The show absolutely needs those two characters, in the flesh, every episode, to work.

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

by dysfunctional06 (Sat Nov 17 2007 00:22:49)

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thanks for the advice,very encouraging :D

"zeal was not enough, orthodoxy was unconsciousness"


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

by thesnowleopard (Sat Nov 17 2007 00:39:36)

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You're welcome.


Something I'd suggest with a "fun" degree like History, though, is trying to get a certificate (as in teaching) or a professional degree (like an MLS in Library Science or a Masters in Management), too. History isn't a slam-dunk, "get a good job right away" kind of degree, at any level. It can be all kinds of useful, but you have to figure out what you qualify for yourself. It's not laid out for you the way it is for something like Engineering.

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

by thesnowleopard (Sat Nov 17 2007 00:46:01)

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Is Sam Cain and Dean Abel?

Whoops, sorry. Never did answer this one. I was thinking that, yeah. It makes sense. Cain was the settled, civilized one, the way Sam was in the pilot. Abel was the wild, hunter one. Obviously, that's Dean.

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

by dysfunctional06 (Sat Nov 17 2007 00:47:02)

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Yeah, my mum told me I should become a teacher, I am considering that, but I need to research on other careers, I know it is hard to find jobs if you do an Arts subject. I might as well do European History as a minor and International Studies as a major, but thats if i can get into a University.


"zeal was not enough, orthodoxy was unconsciousness"
Re: Cain versus Abel and the show's mythology (spoilers for past episode

by thesnowleopard (Sat Nov 17 2007 01:05:29)

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Yup, getting into university is usually the first step. No need to get too excited about the rest just now.



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

by WinchesterFanForever (Sat Nov 17 2007 01:27:45)

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I can totally see how Can and Abel fits this story arc. I see it all coming down to Sam going darkside and Dean having to save him or worse having to kill him to save the world from him. When it comes down to it Dean will be on the side of good and Sam will be on the side of evil.
Dean: Can I shoot her? Sam: Not in public. [[laugh]]
Re: Cain versus Abel and the show's mythology (spoilers for past episode

by thesnowleopard (Sat Nov 17 2007 01:33:20)

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I can totally see how Can and Abel fits this story arc. I see it all coming down to Sam going darkside and Dean having to save him or worse having to kill him to save the world from him. When it comes down to it Dean will be on the side of good and Sam will be on the side of evil.


Or kill himself to take away Sam's reason for going darkside.


I'm hoping it won't come down to anything that simple. The writers have done too good a job keeping in the grays. I'd hate for it to come down to a simplistic contest between good and evil.

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

by BlueEyedDemonLiz (Sat Nov 17 2007 02:15:32)

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Wow very interesting stuff thesnowleopard, thanks again for such a great indepth thread.


Just wondering, with your background of knowledge, how do you see Season 3 unfolding? Obviously no spoilers just theory...do you think Sam will turn darkside?

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

by donilou2 (Sat Nov 17 2007 07:03:44)

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Yeah, my mum told me I should become a teacher, I am considering that, but I need to research on other careers, I know it is hard to find jobs if you do an Arts subject. I might as well do European History as a minor and International Studies as a major, but thats if i can get into a University.

I'd go with the MLS myself Dysfunctional.The job opportunities are really good right now, and learning how to research properly for you PhD, along with the availability of resources would make it a perfect fit.You can always teach at university level afterward if you want.


C.S. Lewis does a fantastic version of it in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" in which he plays up the idea that a willing sacrifice of one's life to save another, even if the sacrifice is made to the Devil, conquers Death. Hell will always lust after the conquest of a holy soul, but ultimately can't hold one. It's a karma thing.

This is why I think that at the end of it all,the deal will be null and void. If Dean goes willingly at the end, which I'm sure he will,whatever demon holds the marker may find it simply cannot collect, because Dean's soul is already spoken for and apparently, even in the Supernatural world, there are iron-clad rules.I will be so tickled if this happens.


Mary...we know from Kripke's interviews that initially Mary was supposed to recognise the YED but Kripke changed his mind and held back that detail.Your idea that John seduced her away from the Devil is VERY intriquing, because really, all we know about John is that he's an ex-marine and an auto mechanic by trade.Almost puts one in mind of a certain carpenter, doesn't it?

Based on what I know (I'm totally spoiled by the way)this scenario fits, and would keep Mary's sanctity intact, which is extremely important to me.


I have to go, but I'll try to add more later.

Thanks again!


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

by thesnowleopard (Sat Nov 17 2007 21:53:29)

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UPDATED Sat Nov 17 2007 21:54:44


I'd go with the MLS myself Dysfunctional.The job opportunities are really good right now, and learning how to research properly for you PhD, along with the availability of resources would make it a perfect fit.You can always teach at university level afterward if you want.

An MLS is good. I just wanted to point out that there are other options, since information science isn't everyone's cup of tea (some, for example, prefer to teach, or do management). The main problem with finding a job in "fun" professions is the lack of career counseling in the course. You can certainly use the skills that you learn in history. It's just that your professors and guidance counselors either don't know what, or can't be bothered, to tell you.

This is why I think that at the end of it all,the deal will be null and void. If Dean goes willingly at the end, which I'm sure he will,whatever demon holds the marker may find it simply cannot collect, because Dean's soul is already spoken for and apparently, even in the Supernatural world, there are iron-clad rules.I will be so tickled if this happens.

I cannot think of a single myth or legend where an innocent who willingly sacrificed him or herself for another actually ends up in Hell. Where people who make deals end up in Hell is when they start killing innocents to save the life of the one they love instead of truly sacrificing themselves--like the older couple in the ep "Scarecrow", who are willing to sell Dean and their adopted daughter to the Scarecrow and get taken themselves. Selling your own soul is not really a "hanging" offense, per se, though it's supposed to be. It's the fact that the act itself usually corrupts people (especially since they usually ask for banal, self-centered things like money and fame), and they end up doing the terrible things that actually put them in Hell.


So, if Dean's going to Hell, it must be to clean house, and it surely won't be permanent. Personally, I think John needed to go to Hell for a year (not to mention save Dean a second time) to pay for screwing up his son. But he's no longer there, either, is he? His sons redeemed him. They did it in a very messy way, but they did it (I should add that some on another thread are speculating that you could be naked in Hell, medieval-style, in Supernatural, but John was fully clothed when he walked out).
In a mechanistic universe, such a deal would automatically put you in Hell. But post-HOTH, the Supernatural universe is no longer mechanistic and much more like our own, where in most major religions, salvation *always* comes from God (not the Devil, not even the individual). In such a universe, intent, action and purity of heart are what put you in, or keep you out of, Hell.

Mary...we know from Kripke's interviews that initially Mary was supposed to recognise the YED but Kripke changed his mind and held back that detail.Your idea that John seduced her away from the Devil is VERY intriquing, because really, all we know about John is that he's an ex-marine and an auto mechanic by trade.Almost puts one in mind of a certain carpenter, doesn't it?

Based on what I know (I'm totally spoiled by the way)this scenario fits, and would keep Mary's sanctity intact, which is extremely important to me.

Well, Dean's storyline is pretty obviously much like Christ's, though there are certainly other such stories in other religions, and Dean, as I said before, is much more pagan in his approach to life than Christian.


Yeah, I've been reading spoilers, too (trying to keep this thread future-spoiler-free so all can play, but I suppose we could start a future-spoiler sub-thread). Whatever Kripke's got in mind for Dean, he's already started it, it fits in with Dean's previous history of self-sacrifice, and he's definitely pursuing it. I especially liked Dean's attitude toward Christmas.
I'd like to see more of what made Mary tick. Conveniently absent mother figure annoy me. She needs more development.

I have to go, but I'll try to add more later.

Thanks again!

Sounds good to me!

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

by thesnowleopard (Sun Nov 18 2007 00:20:56)

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Wow very interesting stuff thesnowleopard, thanks again for such a great indepth thread.


You're welcome! Hey, the thread wouldn't be anything without you guys chiming in. One hand can't clap.

Just wondering, with your background of knowledge, how do you see Season 3 unfolding? Obviously no spoilers just theory...do you think Sam will turn darkside?

Okay, no spoilers, I'm not connected with the show, I'm just a writer stuck in the middle of a NaNoWriMo marathon and novel revision, usual disclaimers of any expertise in the show, yadda, yadda, just another fan, blah, blah, blah.


Oh, and thank you for focusing on Sam. While I wanted to show that Dean appears to have a destiny arc of his own, I think that Sam's destiny is just as important, and that the brothers balance each other equally. It's just that the writers have made Sam's destiny more overt (so Dean's required some extra explanation), and that the character arc for Supernatural is very different from Buffy or Angel. In those shows, the main focus was always on the title character. No matter what happened to the other characters, it always came back to the main character/storyline. In Supernatural, Sam and Dean share the plot equally and even the walk-on-off characters like Bobby and Ellen seem to have their own lives off screen, rather than acting as sidekicks to the boys.
I don't see Sam going "darkside" in a Buffy or Highlander sort of way. Kripke has always gone for realism, especially psychological realism, even in the wildest situations (like possession). For example, when Sam went after Gordon barehanded, it was because Gordon was biting Dean, not due to bloodlust. As Dean said afterward, it was "reckless", but if you ever needed proof that Dean's brotherly devotion is reciprocated, that scene did the trick. Sam didn't have time to pick anything up, or do anything but distract Gordon before Dean was a goner. I think he got lucky with the wire, but also, if some vamp had been putting the bite on my brother, I'd've been twisting that wire with even more enthusiasm than Sam.

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