Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Supernatural episode “Red Meat.” If you haven’t watched it yet, hop into the Impala and drive away.
The Winchesters have faced demons, angels, ghosts, and mythical monsters, but none of those beings are their biggest problem. Much more volatile a struggle for the Winchesters is their love for one another. Sam and Dean have put the fate of the world on the line in order to keep each other alive. It’s a problem, and it surfaced again in “Red Meat.”
The deal was the Winchesters were supposed to let each other move on—Sam especially doesn’t want his brother to interfere if anything happens to him. But something did happen to Sam in the episode, and Dean acted as a caring brother would and then turned the volume to 11. Events played out in the present and through jumps back to the past, and it was startling to see Sam taken down by something as commonplace as a gunshot wound.
Hunters don’t have long life spans. Knowing you could bite it with any encounter is part of the job. However, we’ve seen the Winchesters survive all those foes I listed above. They seem invincible. In the past, they were given a helping hand and resurrected more than a few times. But knowing their cat-like number of lives, I expect them to live past retirement. You certainly never expect one of them to face the light at the end of the tunnel because of a bullet/werewolf incident.
The nature of the injury to Sam, coupled with my understanding that it’s not time for a Winchester to die (we still need to finish season 11), took away from the impact. They made up for anything lost with Dean’s reaction though. When the married victims of the werewolves convinced him to walk away from Sam momentarily for the greater good, Dean got extreme. His concern for his brother dwarfed reason, to the point that Dean enraged a cop and then overdosed on pills in order to get the Reaper to appear so he could try to take Sam’s place.
Whew. All this action and it turned out Sam wasn’t completely dead. He was just mostly dead.
Dean, this is the opposite of letting Sam go. This does not bode well for Dean making a tough call if his hand is forced during the battle with the Darkness. I get it; Sam and Dean have a bond. The brotherhood between the Winchesters is one consistent reason to keep watching The CW series. But, the world is at stake. The. World. It has to be bigger than Sam and Dean’s feelings.
While Dean acted with his heart instead of his head, Sam tolerated his injury and acted like a complete badass. Sam doesn’t get enough triumphant moments, so it was refreshing to see him take charge… despite all the profuse bleeding. He was sort of killed by one of the victims he and Dean saved—yes, that is all kinds of screwed up. Sam appeared to be dead because he went into shock. He woke up and proceeded to take out all the remaining werewolves, including the recently turned victim who tried to kill him.
In a clever juxtaposition, Sam ended up saving Dean’s life, and did so by doing the job. Sam didn’t have to make it weird and try to bargain with a Reaper; he merely took out the werewolf.
When your job involves protecting humanity from things that go bump in the night—things most of the population doesn’t believe in—personal attachments have to take a backseat sometimes. It’s easy to look in from outside and judge Dean for his actions, and I don’t know if Sam would have chosen a similar path. I think he would have opted to do the right thing and let Dean rest.
- Compliments to Jared Padalecki for communicating the physical pain of Sam’s injury. I wonder if his voice was wrecked after the episode.
If worst comes to worst with the Darkness and Lucifer, do you think Dean would really be able to let go of Sam? Did he learn from this incident? Share your thoughts in the comments.
IMAGES: The CW