itsnotmymind (itsnotmymind) wrote,

Is Do You Believe in Miracles? similar to The End?

Not long after Do You Believe in Miracles? first aired, a fan compared the episode to The End. Specifically, this fan compared the plan to have Dean fight Metatron while Castiel and Gadreel found the angel table to 2014!Dean's plan in The End to trick his people into going to their deaths as a distraction for him going around the back to kill Lucifer. This was, to be clear, intended as a criticism of Sam, Cas, and Gadreel. That they were using a loved one much the same way future Dean in The End had used his loved ones. This fan at one point explicitly stated that this was a sign that Sam and Cas were becoming darker.

This comparison between the two episodes doesn't work for me, and I'm going to talk about why.

(I'm not digging up the link to the post I'm responding to, because hello, Tumblr. Tracking down posts on that social platform is an always-frustrating and more often than not fruitless endeavor that I do not wish to engage in at this time. I am drawing from notes I made when I first read the post, though, so this response should accurately reflect what the fan in question actually wrote.)

There are three key differences between what 2014!Dean does in The End and what Sam, Cas, and Gadreel do in Do You Believe in Miracles?:

1. Dean went into the battle with full knowledge of the danger he was putting himself in. 2014!Dean lied to his friends--which implies that he thought they might not go along if they knew the truth.

Even more so: The part of the plan that put Dean in danger was 100% Dean's idea. Sam, Cas, and Gadreel's additions, that Sam would join forces with Dean and Cas and Gadreel would look for the tablet, just put Dean in less danger.

Also, Dean already intended to put himself in danger, and made it clear that he was going to do so whether he had Cas and Sam's support or not. Cas and Sam could have tried to stop him, sure. The question of why they both chose to let him go is worth discussing. Though I would like to note, where Sam is concerned, that Sam didn't have much chance of stopping Dean if he couldn't get Cas and/or Gadreel's support. I also will acknowledge that I don't think this was the entirety of Sam's motivations, but it is something to keep in mind.

Still, tricking someone into dying to save the world is completely different from giving up on preventing someone from taking a risk to save the world.

2. (yes, the previous four paragraphs were all just my first point) As I hinted at in the previous paragraph, Sam, Cas, and Gadreel intended for Dean to live. Indeed, given how close Castiel was to breaking the tablet when Dean was killed, I think it's pretty safe to saw that Dean would have lived had he not made the decision to knock his brother unconscious.

And really. The isn't the first time the Winchester brothers have, together, jumped into a situation where they had a low chance of survival. Earlier in S9 (in Devil May Care), Sam was quite prepared to walk into a trap with Dean that they had no reasonable chance of surviving. Dean knew they had angelic backup in the form of Gadreel. Sam didn't. It's hard for me to see Sam being prepared to walk with Dean into a hugely dangerous situation as Sam "using" (yes, that's the verb this poster seems to prefer) Dean--especially since, you know, Sam's the one without the fancy tattoo and cool blade.

3. Okay, I basically already gave the third significant difference in my last paragraph, but nonetheless: Sam intended to be by Dean's side the whole time and face whatever fate Dean would fate. Which 2014!Dean did not intend to do.

So, what are the similarities? Someone makes a plan to save the world that involves their friend(s) being in danger, and their friend(s) ends up dead. I gotta say, that's completely different from every Winchester plan ever.

Even weirder is the idea that this plan is a sign that Cas and Sam are heading down a dark path. I can only assume that back in S1 there was lots of meta about how Sam and Dean using a little boy as bait was a sign that they were becoming darker, but I don't recall seeing any.

And then there's Henry Winchester in S8...

I'm not saying Cas and Sam can't, necessarily, be criticized. They did make a choice to prioritize taking out Metatron over dealing with the Mark.

But that is completely different from what happened in The End.

And I can't shake the feeling about the reason it is not just open to question, but actually appalling that Metatron be prioritized over the Mark. Judging by the arguments I've seen some fans make, these fans think that Dean's emotional state must be prioritized over all but the most pressing concerns. And of course, there are certainly fans of Sam and other characters who feel the same away about their favorite, etc. etc. But I'm not talking about those fans right now.

The fact that DYBiM is a sign to these fans that Sam and Cas are going dark, while ATGB and Something Wicked say nothing about the characters who are "using" other characters, heavily implies that this fan thinks that Dean is more important and more valuable than young Michael and Henry Winchester. That his emotional life should be prioritized while theirs is more-or-less irrelevant.

It also feeds into the idea I've seen from many fans that because Dean was forced to take on adult responsibilities as a child, he is incapable of making real choices as an adult. Thus, if Dean makes a choice that in his heart of hearts he didn't want to make, it isn't really a choice. And if any of the people around him were discouraging of the choice he really wanted to make, then his free will was taken away from him by those other characters. Dean, by this logic, becomes an oversized toddler, who has to have his hand held at all times by the adults around him.

Thus, Dean can go through with a plan he made, and then knock Sam unconscious after he and Sam agree that Sam can accompany him, but Sam is the one using him.
Tags: spn

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