Supernatural, S9 Ep07 – Bad Boys

Supernatural, s9 ep07--Dean, Sam, and Sonny

I always love getting more back story about the Winchesters, and Dean especially doesn’t get as much fleshing out as I’d like, but I was a little disappointed with this episode. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good episode and it had an older feel to it, like something from back in season one or two, but there were a few inconsistencies that bothered me, as well as the fact that it did not live up to my expectations. I had high hopes for this one, and though I loved it, there were some problems that have had me tearing it apart since watching.

Supernatural, s9 ep07--Sonny helping Young Dean out of handcuffs

Dean’s always ending up in handcuffs…

In this episode we met a sixteen-year-old Dean, a couple of years younger than the Dean we saw in fourth season’s “After School Special,” and ten years younger than the Dean we first met back in episode one of the series. After nine years of a show, and plenty of writer turnover, it can be hard to keep things consistent, so I can forgive minor slip ups like a sixteen-year-old Dean knowing what a ruguru was despite him not hearing the word until the fourth season of the series. But there is a huge disconnect between the young Dean we saw in this episode and the Dean we were introduced to in the pilot—or even the eighteen-year-old Dean of “After School Special.”

In the pilot, Dean was a happy-go-lucky guy who embraced the hunting life, flirted with anything in a skirt, and idolized his father. The Dean we saw here wanted to give up hunting, had never kissed a girl at sixteen, and did not look at his father in a good light. Now John was never going to win father of the year, but ever since his death it’s felt like open season on his characterization. He just gets worse and worse with the retelling of their childhood. Maybe that’s a natural progression, maybe that’s exaggeration on the part of new writers not as familiar with the source, I can’t say. He did some horrible things—putting that sort of responsibility on Dean from such a young age, for one—but in the first season he still seemed to love and care about his boys, even if his world revolved around revenge and little else. But his caring about his sons becomes less and less apparent as the seasons go by, and John is slowly becoming another monster on the show.

Supernatural, s9 ep07--Timmy's ghost mother

They’re making John look scary than this.

I don’t think the John of season one would have abandoned Dean there like that, especially if Dean explained that he had stolen food for Sammy. I mean, come on, John taught them how to commit credit card fraud in order to get by; this is not a guy who cares about following the law. If this was what John was like, I’m not seeing any reason why Dean would have ever looked up to his father, and even though Dean’s now come to a place where he can admit his daddy issues, he was nowhere near there when he was twenty-six, so why should I believe he was at sixteen?

As for Dean’s take on the hunting life, he loved it back in season one, and then everything started to take its toll, beginning with John’s death and John’s last screw of his head by telling him that he might have to kill Sammy. But here he’s already hoping for a way out, hoping for some semblance of normalcy. That’s not what Dean was like when he was first introduced—that was Sam. I suppose Dean could have been hiding that the whole time, putting an a brave face for John and Sam (which we know he’s quite adept at doing), and then let it loose once his dad died, but that wasn’t what it felt like in season one. If Dean had hated the job so much—and if he had hated his dad so much—then why would he have ever dragged Sam away from his normal life to find John in the first place?

The writers had promised us an episode that would show how Dean had become the guy we met at the beginning of the series, but the distance between the characterization of Dean at sixteen and Dean at twenty-six are worlds apart. This disappointed me, because I was actually hoping to see how Dean had learned to embrace the life, but this did not deliver. Especially since back in season two’s “Bloodlust,” he told Gordon about killing a werewolf at sixteen and how that was when he had learned to love hunting. Dean mentioned a werewolf hunt in this episode too, but it did not lead to him embracing anything. Sure, he could have been lying to Gordon, but the season two explanation made more sense than the non-explanation given here. Even if Dean had started out reluctant, I had hoped to see some explanation as to why he eventually came around and embraced the family business.

1 2