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He Finally Shut Up: Dead Daddy Winchester


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#1711

steve91199

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Posted Jan 31, 2013 @ 9:45 AM

Last night's episode felt like various powers that be saying, "We need to talk about John again, we need some angst," and possibly looking back at much of what the show has written about John and going, "Holy shit."

I actually was interested in John in the first season, seeing if he might be able to improve as a father and seeing his relationships with his sons change. Instead, he died, and the show went on to say he was a deadbeat, and one who very possibly beat the tar out of Dean, over and over.

Maybe in the long run they should not have written him that way, or even implied that writing, but they did. Ignoring that to shame Dean and remind him of his place in life is a great big hand wave to the decades of abuse John heaped on both of his sons.

No thanks. Actually my reaction is much stronger than that, but I will leave it there.

Edited by steve91199, Jan 31, 2013 @ 9:46 AM.

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#1712

Austinthecat

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Posted Nov 19, 2013 @ 10:34 PM

I mentioned in the episode thread that John left the door open to ditching Dean forever. (by telling Sam that Dean was lost on a hunt).  He could have just shrugged off his eldest and pretended he was dead. No one in the hunting community would have questioned it, possibly except for Bobby.

 

If that is the wording that was used, I think it's significant because it shows that maybe John considered Dean too much of a screw up to have around. If  he was just thinking about having Dean learn his lesson (I wonder if he was gleefully anticipating Sonny being a jerk to Dean) he could have told Sam that Dean was simply off on a hunt instead of lost.

 

My assumption is that John realized he couldn't hunt and take care of Sam alone, so he returned to pick up what right now I can only feel he regarded as his servant.

 

I just can't see, from what we've been shown throughout the seasons, that John had much love for Dean at all. The only time it was expressed was in "My Time of Dying", and I've long suspected that John only made the deal for Dean's life so that he wouldn't have to deal with Sam or potentially killing him.

 

Does anyone else recall any onscreen mentions or demonstrations that would make it seem that John cared at all about Dean post-fire?


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#1713

PeteMartell

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Posted Nov 19, 2013 @ 11:26 PM

I think John had a tough time dealing with Dean because Dean reminded him too much of Mary. 

 

I don't think he would have left Dean there, because he needed him to help Sam, but also because of family. 

 

I've seen comments that this episode trashed John, but frankly, this was mild by John standards. 


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#1714

Austinthecat

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Posted Nov 19, 2013 @ 11:50 PM

 

I don't think he would have left Dean there, because he needed him to help Sam, but also because of family.

 

I think it came down more to the fact of him realizing perhaps just how much more work he had to do when Dean wasn't around. The family thing was probably secondary.

 

Like I said, he told Sam that Dean was "lost", not just off on a hunt. And it took him two months to decide that ok, the family screw up could come back. That just stinks of him wanting to leave the option of ditching him open and available. That's harsh by any standards.


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#1715

amazinglybored

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Posted Nov 19, 2013 @ 11:54 PM

Does anyone else recall any onscreen mentions or demonstrations that would make it seem that John cared at all about Dean post-fire?

 

Only Dean's messed up take on things.

.... he kept Dean's first sawed off shotgun in that storage unit...yeah... and Sam's normal stuff...

So no, I don't.

 

My assumption is that John realized he couldn't hunt and take care of Sam alone, so he returned to pick up what right now I can only feel he regarded as his servant.

 

Me too, or someone finally asked about where his other kid was. He was also probably missing his punching bag, what with having to deal with Sam alone sometimes. The horror of it. /sarcasm


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#1716

AwesomO4000

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Posted Nov 20, 2013 @ 3:19 AM

...what with having to deal with Sam alone sometimes. The horror of it. /sarcasm

Exactly. Despite that weird mention in the plane episode that John was supposedly proud of Sam - even then to me that seemed odd - John from what I saw didn't have much love for Sam either. Sam was the reason Mary was killed: John's burden that he foisted off on Dean, yet still didn't want to let go to be happy on his own supposedly because he couldn't protect him while Sam was away at school - really? And how often did John leave Sam alone with Dean to go hunting for weeks at a time?  Sam would be in less danger then (not knowing how many hunters or monsters John pissed off who might come looking for him and find Sam and Dean instead) than in a college community?

 

After learning about John's "save him or kill him" directive, I more thought that real reason John didn't want Sam to leave was because he was afraid of what Sam would do, not what would happen to Sam. Because John obviously thought Sam couldn't be trusted with the truth or to potentially try to save himself. Looking at it that way, the "checking up on Sam" times could take on a creepier "gotta make sure my son isn't becoming evil" vibe rather than "let's see how my son is doing".

 

The only time it was expressed was in "My Time of Dying", and I've long suspected that John only made the deal for Dean's life so that he wouldn't have to deal with Sam or potentially killing him.

 

I can see that. If Dean died, John would have to deal with Sam by himself. And as Dean said John "definitely knew something" concerning Sam. I suspect he knew a whole lot and had already written Sam off as a potential loss but just couldn't bring himself to take care of it himself.

 

That's all pretty harsh, but sadly based on the narrative and what we learned about John, it's pretty much there. There was lip service from others (ironically often demons) about how much John supposedly cared about Sam, but except for maybe that "bonding" scene about the ammo and how they'd both lost someone, I didn't really see it. The arguing could be interpreted as caring, but it could also be interpreted as just frustration and disliking disagreement. As soon as John learned that Sam wasn't thinking like him revenge-wise - when Sam didn't shoot him to kill the Yellow Eyed Demon - John was back to yelling and then put the blame for his idiotic plan not working on Sam.

 

John didn't come to console Sam when Jessica died and he didn't come to check on Dean when he was dying. And Dean thought that John would be angry for "wasting a bullet" to save Sam... that pretty much says it all to me.


Edited by AwesomO4000, Nov 20, 2013 @ 3:28 AM.

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#1717

PeteMartell

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Posted Nov 20, 2013 @ 3:56 AM

I do think when John made the deal, he was frenzied and ashamed of his past actions toward Dean. I think this may also be one of the reasons he never came to see Dean when Dean was dying in Faith - he couldn't bring himself to face the consequences of the life he'd forced Dean into. I think he would have killed Sam and in his control freak manner he might have preferred doing it himself, not entrusting the job to Dean.

 

I've seen people say tonight's episode was out of character for the John of season 1, but everything reminded me of the John from that season. I saw a comment saying he wouldn't leave Dean in there because he wouldn't separate the family, or because if he left him in there the feds would start to pick apart at John's own history. I could see these reasons for being out of character, but for the most part I think this is what John would do. I think he'd feel that Dean screwed up in getting caught, it's better for Dean to take his medicine, especially if he had someone who would take care of Sam. 

 

I hate to say it, but I also wonder if this was a chance for him to spend more time with Adam's mother and with Adam. 

 

Since we haven't actually seen the John Dean and Sam knew since season 2, and have seen nothing of John since mid-season 5, I think sometimes the character can become the bogeyman, since Sam and Dean are our leads. I'd like to believe John wasn't a complete monster (I've seen speculation that he'd beaten Dean and those were the marks on Dean when he got to the home - I don't think that's true, I think it was the werewolf, although I do question if he beat Dean on other occasions), but it's difficult, because we know less and less of who he was, from his POV, and even the "real" John of the JDM era was by and large a lousy father.


Edited by PeteMartell, Nov 20, 2013 @ 4:10 AM.

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#1718

mertensia

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Posted Nov 20, 2013 @ 5:54 AM

I have long thought Michael was in John's mind nudging him subtly to make the Deal. Michael needed Dean alive, not in Heaven.
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#1719

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Posted Nov 20, 2013 @ 10:03 AM

After learning about John's "save him or kill him" directive, I more thought that real reason John didn't want Sam to leave was because he was afraid of what Sam would do, not what would happen to Sam. Because John obviously thought Sam couldn't be trusted with the truth or to potentially try to save himself. Looking at it that way, the "checking up on Sam" times could take on a creepier "gotta make sure my son isn't becoming evil" vibe rather than "let's see how my son is doing".

 

This is always how I saw the John/Sam relationship. I never thought his trips to Stanford were to make sure Sam was safe, but were instead to make sure that he hadn't went down the dark destiny track. And of course Dean thought that John was checking in on him out of love and concern for his welfare--Dean would see It no other way. The fact that John didn't come to "check" on him after Jessica died spoke volumes to me. If he was really concerned for Sam's welfare, I think he would have at least picked up the phone.

 

I've seen people say tonight's episode was out of character for the John of season 1, but everything reminded me of the John from that season.

 

Yeah, this is the John I remember from season one. Whatever they were trying to peddle last season was not. John leaving Dean to stew seemed very in-character to me. I'm sure he was pissed (angry, not necessarily drunk) on a hunt himself and thought "well, he's safe for now, I have a job to finish and the kid needs to learn a lesson". I don't think that John was ever going to abandon him there or anything, just had other priorities.


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#1720

orionlion

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Posted Nov 20, 2013 @ 11:40 AM

I actually thought this was out of character for John- but not in the 'oh but John was such a great dad' way. To me, it seemed off that John would leave Dean on his own with strangers- esp. kids his own age- where the likelihood of Dean's (and therefore the family's) f*'ed up lifestyle could come to light. I mean, we already had Dean carving 'occult' symbols into the furniture and laying down salt everywhere- which Dean of course would be trained to do. As secretive and paranoid as John was all the time- it doesn't seem in character for him to want Dean living amongst civilians without strict instuctions on how he was to behave whilst there.

 

Also sending Dean away as 'punishment' for screwing up, losing their money and getting caught didn't seem like a John Winchester type punishment. Not one that would raise the Dean we saw in Season One who was instantly 'Yes Sir' to John's every word and fell in line without question. Sending Dean away would pose the danger of exposing him to another lifestyle outside of hunting and following John's every order- and he might get a notion to leave the family business which John could not allow.

 

It all just felt wrong, character wise. Now. If Dean had been sentenced to a boy's home and it was out of John's control, I could believe it more readily. The Winchester kids always seemed to be one CPS call away from being snatched out of John's clutches and I could see him bowing to the authorities just to get them off his case as to why his 16-year-old son was left alone to care for his 11-12 year old brother and was desperate enough to be stealing food. But I couldn't see John wanting anyone else getting a chance to mold Dean's mind to any other way of life. The way Young!Sam talked in 'After School Special' life outside of hunting was a completely foreign concept.

 

Also, lying to Sam about the whole affair- why? If it was such a shame that Dean got put in a Boys' Home, why did John allow him to be put there? And if Dean was 'lost on a hunt' wouldn't that pretty much scare lil' Sammy off of hunting forever? The explainations for how John handled this whole thing just don't gel with his character for me.

 

Although if it was as Pete said that he was using this time to go hang with Adam- I could almost buy it. I'd still think it more likely that he's ship Dean off to Bobby's as well, but I could see his priorities going awry whenever Adam and his nurse!nookie were involved. John was so messed up!


Edited by orionlion, Nov 20, 2013 @ 11:42 AM.

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#1721

Austinthecat

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Posted Nov 20, 2013 @ 12:16 PM

To me, it seemed off that John would leave Dean on his own with strangers- esp. kids his own age- where the likelihood of Dean's (and therefore the family's) f*'ed up lifestyle could come to light.

 

That's a point I didn't think about, but it's a good one. It very nearly caused Dean to agree with staying at the home as well. Given John's lie to Sam about the "lost on a hunt" thing, maybe he was initially planning on leaving Dean there even longer but realized that the longer Dean was out of his influence, the longer other people had to break Dean out of his obedient soldier mindset.

 

If John was in a rage when he made the decision to leave Dean behind (and we know he could get into severe rages) then he probably didn't think about that until his temper had cooled somewhat. Sad that it took two months though.

 

And if Dean was 'lost on a hunt' wouldn't that pretty much scare lil' Sammy off of hunting forever?

 

Apparently not, given that Sam seemed to have interpreted "lost on a hunt" as being an acceptable state of affairs and nothing to concern himself with.

 

I think on some level both John and Sam had the same mindset in regards to Dean, especially with the out of sight, out of mind stuff. 

 

I would imagine that John encouraged this line of thinking to keep him from asking questions or possibly even being influenced by even just the spectre of Dean.

 


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#1722

PeteMartell

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Posted Nov 20, 2013 @ 12:23 PM

To me, it seemed off that John would leave Dean on his own with strangers- esp. kids his own age- where the likelihood of Dean's (and therefore the family's) f*'ed up lifestyle could come to light.

 

 

Since Dean would've already been in the system at that point, I could see John deciding to ride it out for a while instead of causing a scene, and assuming Dean would always stay in line because of Sam.


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#1723

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Posted Nov 20, 2013 @ 6:25 PM

Apparently not, given that Sam seemed to have interpreted "lost on a hunt" as being an acceptable state of affairs and nothing to concern himself with.

 

Or John made sure Sam knew Dean would be all right. It can be seen either way since Sam didn't explicitly say anything other than a statement of fact : Dad said you were lost on a hunt. John could have told him he was off finding Dean, that he found Dean and they were hunting together...who really knows? I just think it's disingenuous to Sam to say that he didn't care what happened to Dean at that time. Plus add in the age Sam was supposed to be at the time--10--and he would have believed what his father told him, stayed at Bobby's, and deal. 

 

John Winchester never gave two farts about his boys other than what they could do for him--become hunters and help him track down monsters and the demon that killed Mary. He sucked, and every warped issue Dean and Sam have can be traced to him (other than the demon blood). I think his ego deluded him into thinking Dean wouldn't reveal the truth about their lives and that he would never betray John. Leaving him to rot in jail was calculated--he knew Dean looked up to him and respected him. He also instilled responsibility to Sam. What better way to make Dean feel like a failure and to "learn a lesson" than to separate him from the only family he has? I think all that trumps any potential risks that could have occurred by letting Dean out of his sight for two months. 

 

Egad, I can't believe I'm actually buying what the writers are selling here, but there it is. I still think its storytelling serendipity and not planned out, though. 

 

Except the age thing. That can't be wanked, only called what it is--a really stupid decision. 


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#1724

Austinthecat

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Posted Nov 20, 2013 @ 6:42 PM

Dad said you were lost on a hunt. John could have told him he was off finding Dean, that he found Dean and they were hunting together...who really knows?

 

But "lost" is the key word. If John had just said Dean was off on a hunt, that would have been totally different. I'm assuming he dumped Sam off at Bobby's for two reasons. First, he wouldn't have to deal with his remaining burden, and second, he wouldn't have to explain why he wasn't looking for Dean.

 

I think the show did Sam a great disservice by not indicating how he felt about it one way or the other. It just seemed that young Sam probably regarded it quite casually, especially with the stupid airplane "vroom, vroom" game he was clearly playing after two months of being told that Dean had vanished without a trace.

 

John is just a lost cause at this point, I guess. But he dragged Sam down with him when they chose to have him say Dean was lost on a hunt. To simplify manners, John should have told a different lie.

 

Plus add in the age Sam was supposed to be at the time--10--and he would have believed what his father told him, stayed at Bobby's, and deal.

 

Episode thread, I think. :)


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#1725

Aeryn13

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Posted Nov 20, 2013 @ 7:47 PM

The problem with introducing something like that at such a late point in the show is that apparently it was an incident so "small", it never needed to come up before. They made more waves about Sam being "abandoned" at those Clown-places than this. 

 

So if it had been a big deal to Sam, it should have come up during one of their five million wangsty talks previously. I know it didn`t because this story wasn`t even a glimmer in the writer`s eyes back then but as it stands, it looks like not only did undefined-age-Sam completely took it in stride but by the way adult-Sam was retelling his version of events, it didn`t sound like he recalled a bothersome and/or traumatic experience at all. "Yeah, you were gone. And then kinda showed up again. Weird."   Maybe Bobby had two dogs.

 

I agree it could have been fixed (at least a little bit) with a better cover story than "lost on a hunt". To most people "lost during something dangerous" would be cause for immediate alarm.  

 

We know John didn`t bother to be with either one of his kids during that time so nurse nookie is a good explanation. In which case, who the fuck ever let him out of hell? Seriously.

 

 

 I think his ego deluded him into thinking Dean wouldn't reveal the truth about their lives and that he would never betray John.

 

I know he has been established as prideful but I think his paranoia and secretiveness trumped that. Not to mention, while Dean did mention that he didn`t get "bad-touched" or beat with a wire hanger, how was John to know this wasn`t a place like this? Did he scope it out? Or just not care? It could have been rape central for teenage boys for all he knew and he would have left his son there to "rot" to teach him a lesson. 

 

It kinda seems like noone in Dean`s life cared enough to come looking. 

 

Apparently Glass tweeted stuff like "John did the best he could" and maybe there was more to the story". Dude, you WROTE the story. If there was more to it, it should have been in the story. This "did the best he could" stuff is the same excuse that has been used on John for ages. Hey, maybe that guy who regularly beat his kid, the telekinetic special kid in Season 1, because he couldn`t get over the traumatic death of his wife did the "best he could", too. Because hey, maybe that was actually the epitome of kindness he was still capable of. Come on.

 

I think the John-bashing got to ludicrous degrees with the Bobby-worship as the real father (that seems like damning with faint praise to me, considering both men at the end) but what he pulled off here was both stupid and asshattish. 


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#1726

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Posted Nov 20, 2013 @ 8:04 PM

Apparently Glass tweeted stuff like "John did the best he could" and maybe there was more to the story". Dude, you WROTE the story.

 

Wow, that's silly--why feel the need to defend the character? He was a dick, plain and simple. And he didn't do the best he could. The best he could would have kept his boys away from hunting. Like what Dean wanted for Krissy--and she's not even related to him. 


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#1727

Austinthecat

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Posted Nov 20, 2013 @ 8:34 PM

 

Apparently Glass tweeted stuff like "John did the best he could" and maybe there was more to the story". Dude, you WROTE the story.

 

Maybe?? Oy vey!

 

To get this straight. He wrote Dean sympathetically, John like a douchewaffle and now is trying to generate sympathy for John? That explains a lot about the confusing details and characterizations in this episode and in the show as a whole. Also kind of says we probably shouldn't listen to the tweets too much, as they often just muddy the waters.


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#1728

supposebly

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Posted Nov 20, 2013 @ 10:37 PM

At this point, I don't expect the show to characterize John in any other way than as a complete and utter asshat. While he is that, it reduces him, as someone upthread said, to a one-dimensional boogey man that can be blamed for anything and everything.

 

I would love an episode that shows the early aftermath of the fire, the man running scared with two little children. The transition from the guy we met in the flashback episodes to the one we meet in season 1.


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#1729

PeteMartell

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Posted Nov 20, 2013 @ 10:55 PM

To get this straight. He wrote Dean sympathetically, John like a douchewaffle and now is trying to generate sympathy for John? That explains a lot about the confusing details and characterizations in this episode and in the show as a whole. Also kind of says we probably shouldn't listen to the tweets too much, as they often just muddy the waters.

 

 

I think the tweets are often about trying to placate fans, and about certain people on the show thinking their comments are profound, when they're not. He got into this before with some very disheartening tweets about what Dean did to Sam in the premiere. 

 

One of the reasons he's probably defending John is because some fans feel the episode was saying that John physically abused Dean and that's what the bruises were from. If he didn't intend that, he should just say it and then drop it. Not the whole "he did the best he could." 


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#1730

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Posted Nov 21, 2013 @ 1:07 AM

One of the reasons he's probably defending John is because some fans feel the episode was saying that John physically abused Dean and that's what the bruises were from. If he didn't intend that, he should just say it and then drop it. Not the whole "he did the best he could."

 

Well, I kinda believe that John did do the best he could. I'm not giving the jackass any father-of-the-year awards or anything, I just think he no coping skills and his only way to cope with the death of his wife was to become some myopic, revenge-driven asshole.  Not particularily healthy and did no favors for either Sam or Dean, but it is what it is.  I've personally never ascribed to the idea he beat either of the boys--Sam says at the end of Nightmare that they were lucky to have had John because after Mary died it could have been a lot worse for them in light of what had happened to Max.  I think if there had been regular beatings, Sam would not have been so forgiving--just my opinion.  I know later they tried to dump more on John, but I continue to see him as a broken man that could not figure how to put himself back together. 

 

That being said, Adam Glass should stop arguing with fans on twitter--it's ridiculous and pointless.
 

 

I would love an episode that shows the early aftermath of the fire, the man running scared with two little children. The transition from the guy we met in the flashback episodes to the one we meet in season 1.

 

I think I would really like this. 


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#1731

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Posted Nov 21, 2013 @ 7:19 AM

That being said, Adam Glass should stop arguing with fans on twitter--it's ridiculous and pointless.

 

You beat me to it. I'm surprised he keeps doing this--no one is ever going to be 100% satisfied. Stand by your story and your vision, don't rationalize to people who perceive it differently. And twitter is the worst place to have any kind of meaningful dialogue. 

 

Maybe?? Oy vey!

 

All this talk about changing ages and retconning John in certain ways plus justifying the writing makes me wonder how much Adam actually wrote. All the episodes are basically done by committee for the most part, and one writer writes the script per week and the showrunner tweaks it. That's typically how it works on TV shows. But the different tone of this particular episode combined with the strange behind the scenes stuff...IDK. It's all very odd to me. 

 

But to get back to John--I don't have a problem with him being dragged through the mud. I also can see why, even though he was a terrible father, he still has the love and respect from his boys. I can't stand him but as a hunter he did do a lot of good and was an example to his sons that way. They have that deep rooted need and desire to protect innocent people because of him. Even though over the years Sam has tried to escape that legacy, he always ends up coming back. 

 

But John could--and should--have done better. 


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#1732

SueB

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Posted Nov 22, 2013 @ 7:48 PM

I see S1 JDM as canon John and try to reconcile to that. With that in mind
Leaving Dean to rot - S1 John stated that sometimes he treated the boys less like his kids and more like soldiers. Punishment as being isolated from the family 'unit', presuming it was described as working on a farm.... I can see it. One of the shows idiosyncrasies is that it seems like the kids were raised in the 70's vice the 90's. Look at the pornstache as an example. At 14, This farm bit happened in 1992. This longer-ago-than-it-really-was bias brings a different vibe and set of cultural norms to it IMO. In the late 70's/early 80's, John's action track more IMO. Perhaps it's because this is the era of Kripke's adolescence and the vibe keeps going. But a Vietnam vet suffering from a little PTSD, combined with 'demons are REAL' probably warped John a bit. So, some sort of non-violent corporal punishment (time out on a farm where Dean could shovel pigshit and rethink his responsibilities) makes a heck of a lot of sense in this time-warped context. The whole 'bad-touching' thing sure happened back hen but it wasn't nightly news.
Get in the car now - matches JDM's John IMO.
Lying to Sam - vintage John
Stupid lie about being lost on a hunt - has to be fanwanked to make sense. S1 John would have made an excuse why Dean was okay. I have to fanwanked that this is what happened because Adam Glass didn't make that clear. It's fanwankable IMO but not obvious.

I don't think John beat the boys. I think he didn't know how to handle them. S5 had John in off for a couple of days. To me that is not unreasonable and emphasizes that Mary was the real parent and John was less so. Even in the pilot with John downstairs slumped on the chair, I wondered if he had been drinking - in other words, he was a bit of a mess WITH Mary. S2 John seemed to have a moment of clarity with respect to Dean when Dean was dying. IMO it was only then that he saw what he had put on Dean and in that clarity! He made a sincere apology. I also think in John's worldview, sacrificing himself for Dean was the best choice for BOTH boys.

In sm, Bad Boys was a little harsh on John but not completely OOC IMO.
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#1733

MichaelaBelle

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Posted Nov 22, 2013 @ 10:06 PM

I don't think John was a dick for not immediately bailing Dean out, although I think waiting two months was a bit excessive. Although Dean was not sitting in a jail cell and we don't know where John was during that time. But the last scene, when he came to pick Dean up and didn't even get out of the car was pretty cold. Most any parent would have come into the house and talked to their child and walked them out to the car.


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#1734

Austinthecat

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Posted Nov 22, 2013 @ 10:16 PM

 

Most any parent would have come into the house and talked to their child and walked them out to the car.

 

I bet Sonny wanted him to do that as well, not only to make Dean feel loved but also to perhaps have a word - though Dean would have paid for that "word" later on, so probably best that John stayed in the car, as cold as that was.

 

Maybe John just didn't want to deal with someone who in two months had been a better father figure to Dean than he ever was - as it turns out, likely for Dean's entire life. His confession to Dean in "My Time of Dying" shows that John knew he was a lousy father.

 

Yeah, he did that deal to save Dean's life, but I'm not convinced that was entirely for Dean's benefit. I think he knew that once Dean died, Sam would leave John behind and he wouldn't be able to monitor his potentially evil-to-be son.


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