Many Sam fans skip over this, and I bet if I brought it up to one of them, they’d jump in to defend Sam. And they wouldn’t be wrong. Sam didn’t mean to say it, he wouldn’t have said it. It’s not his fault if the thoughts in his head are less than charitable. Dean has behaved badly in the relationship, too.
And this is what bothers me about a certain type of fannish behavior. It's not exactly "whitewashing" because Sam didn't exactly do anything "wrong". I would call it "blandifying": Ignoring or erasing anything about a character that isn't pretty, sympathetic, or cute.
Looking at the gif set, Jensen Ackles is fantastic. Dean meets Sam’s eyes with the perfect mixture of pain and toughness. The way Dean handles his pain in Let It Bleed - PPMM makes me want to poke his eye out with a needle - “skeevy” does not do it justice - but the pain is real.
But, oh god, Sam. I keep looking at his eyes in one panel, little pinpricks of light in each one like stars. And there’s this whole thing in S5 about how Sam is “angry” and can’t “control” himself, but looking at the expression on his face as he spits out whatever he is saying (it’s often hard to tell with gifs what line a character is on)…contempt? Hatred? He knows the impact of what he is saying, you can see it. But it’s calculated, there’s no fire behind his eyes. In a way it’s like there’s nobody at home. He’s almost like soulless - but almost worse. Soulless would not have used a word like “whining” or mocked Dean by saying “boo hoo.” It would not have occurred to soulless.
And the expression on his face - the siren didn’t create that. That level of intensity? That wasn’t the siren’s choice.
You don’t know me. You never did. And maybe you don’t want to.
And thinking of this, of the attitude about Sam’s anger, there’s an odd little moment in Swan Song. Because Sam is Lucifer’s chosen vessel and Lucifer is supposed to be his shadow self.
And Lucifer tells Sam and Dean, “Sorry if it's a bit chilly. Most people think I burn hot. It's actually quite the opposite.”
Back to the gif set. The expression on Sam's face. I am reminded once again how much I under-appreciate Jared Padalecki as an actor. The man is, in fact, amazing. It’s just amazing. So much intensity, and yet the feeling that behind those eyes like stars there is no one at home. Sam is angry - but it’s cold, not hot.
Sam was right about one thing: There is something in him that is absolutely terrifying.
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