Vivisecting Supernatural- Their Souls Are Broken, Doc

What does it mean to be broken?

I’ve heard the word used to describe the Winchesters more times than I can count- the popularity no doubt due to the trauma both characters have endured. The word’s probably thrown around a little too much, but I’m hardly one to talk- I use it too.

Interestingly, so does the show. The first use I can think of was pertaining to Dean- in On The Head Of A Pin, when Alastair’s taunting him. ‘Daddy’s little girl, he broke- he broke in thirty.’ For Dean, to ‘break’ was to give in to torture and start torturing other souls- to turn dark, in other words. Once Dean has lost his morality, lost the idea of himself ‘saving people, hunting things’, he considers himself broken.


For Sam, it’s a little different. Despite Death saying that ‘the soul can be bludgeoned, tortured, but never broken’, Sam’s subconscious is inclined to disagree- Hallucifer, of course. ‘His soul is broken, doc. Can you give him a pill?’


As Sam’s condition in The Born-Again Identity, from which that quote is from, was induced by his acceptance of Hallucifer in order to save Dean, it’s possible to infer that brokenness for Sam is surrender to his own inner darkness, even if it’s to save his brother.

But for both Sam and Dean, there are other examples. At the end of My Bloody Valentine, Dean is ready to say ‘yes’ to Michael; what broke him in that case was what he considered to be Sam’s indifference toward him in Dark Side Of The Moon, when he found out that in their shared Heaven Sam leaving for Stanford was a good memory. Dean couldn’t function thinking that he wasn’t important to Sam in the same way as Sam was to him.


And a pretty decent parallel to this can be found in Sacrifice, where Sam has abandoned his dreams of seeing light at the end of the tunnel and is willing to give up and die if it will prove to Dean that he can do this one thing right- shutting the gates of Hell.


Then there is, correspondingly, All Hell Breaks Loose Part Two, in which Dean cannot live knowing that he couldn’t save Sam, and I Know What You Did Last Summer, in which Sam cannot live knowing that he couldn’t save Dean. Both try to bargain away their souls to save the other. Both seem absolutely and utterly broken. And both do not care if they damn themselves as long as they can save the other brother.



In SPN, the idea of being past saving is almost synonymous with the idea of being broken. And yet, in episodes such as The Born-Again Identity and Point Of No Return, the Winchesters always recover their hope and are repaired- so the question is, at what point is somebody past saving?

By Season Ten’s Girls, Girls, Girls, shortly after he’s cured of demonhood, Dean’s pretty sure of his own condition.


He’s convinced that all the evil he did as a demon- or maybe going further back, as he did say that he’d burn for Kevin’s death- is what finally damned him.

Sam must believe that there is no point beyond which salvation is impossible, because if there was, he’d’ve passed it. He must believe that he and Dean can be saved.


But maybe Dean wants to believe, too, that they are fixable. If not, would he have summoned Sam in Brother’s Keeper? He certainly wouldn’t have killed Death if he didn’t, even if just for a split second, see some kind of hope for himself, even just in the form of Sam. Whose salvation comes from overturning the world order? Yet destiny, which ruled that the Winchesters must be seperated, must indeed be overturned if the Winchesters are to be together. According to destiny, Sam and Dean would be like Cain and Abel- both past saving. So it makes sense that to save themselves they’d have to totally destroy destiny by killing Death, its agent.

Yet by destroying destiny they’ve also, in a way, confirmed it, by starting another apocalypse. ‘You’re willing to let the Darkness into the world- how is that not evil, Sam?’ Have the Winchesters indeed confirmed that they’ve given in to their own darkness, since both of them were complicit in the Darkness’s release? Have they ‘turned dark’ by action, if not by will?

The way I can see it, the only way they can now be saved is if they manage to lock the Darkness back up. They will be saved only through saving others, but it’s a fine line- since so many times saving others is what’s also sent them to Hell.




72 thoughts on “Vivisecting Supernatural- Their Souls Are Broken, Doc

  1. One little correction, you wrote Season Seven’s Girls, Girls, Girls. It was Season 10 Episode 7.
    In all honesty, the Winchesters are so bound by love that at times they forget to pull that out of the way & look at things objectively. It’s a strength & a weakness because it makes them vulnerable & exploitable but they come out stronger in the end. They’ve been through so much together and in What Is and What Should Never Be, when Dean got captured by the Djinn, he had a choice. To stay in the dream world & live with his family complete or come back to reality where his brother is his only blood left. Their love is fraught by darkness & brokenness which is in its way unique & beautiful & life affirming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh God, what a stupid mistake. Thanks for pointing it out 🙂
      And yeah, I think that’s probably what happened in Brother’s Keeper. And I love What Is And What Should Never Be.
      What are your favourite episodes, by the way? I’d like to know- you have some interesting opinions.
      And yeah, agreed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh no problem! It happens to all of us when the words come faster than we can type.
        I love most of the funny episodes, then there’s the Man Who Would Be King which is Castiel’s POV, Weekend at Bobby’s, Dog Dean Afternoon, Dark Side of the Moon, Sacrifice, the Finale of Season 6 & Premiere of Season 7. These are all off the top of my head. Thanks so much! I love reading your blogs & reading what you have to say because I don’t know a lot of people irl who watch & associate with the show as deeply as I do.

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        • 🙂
          And oh my god, we have so many of the same favourites. I absolutely LOVE The Man Who Would Be King- s6 Cas is my favourite Cas because he’s betraying them and yet you just ACHE for him.
          And Weekend At Bobby’s is hysterical. And the s6 finale is like my #1 favourite. And the s8 finale! And Meet The New Boss!
          I particularly love Mystery Spot, I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Born-Again Identity, The Werther Project, Heart, Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie, Clap Your Hands If You Believe…
          And thanks 🙂 yeah, all my friends think I’m crazy. Hence, this blog.

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          • So many favorites of mine as well.
            I know!! It’s like he’s trying to do the right thing but you know that it’s wrong and just thinking about the consequences that Cas would have to face when everything unravels is just- gah!

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            • Oh my God, finally someone else who loves that arc!
              That scene where he’s in the fire ring and Sam and Dean are trying to talk him down and interrogate him at the same time and then the demons get there and he tells them to go and leave him trapped. And Dean just looks back at him. Ugh. My poor heart. And I don’t even ship them.
              And then he breaks Sam’s frackin’ wall and just HOLY SHIT I LOVE THE SEASON SIX FINALE.
              I love how Sam and Cas’s relationship has been developed over the past couple of seasons.

              Liked by 1 person

              • OMG THAT SCENE!! I ship Destiel so, it was especially painful.
                And it reveals so much about Cas that season amidst the civil war. The lengths he will go to protect his people.
                Sam & Cas’s relationship had been fraught with problems until season 8 when Sam nearly sacrifices himself trying to retrieve Gadreel’s remaining grace.

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                • You ship Destiel? I know it’s obnoxious to link to myself but in this case I can’t resist
                  I used to ship it, but then I started seeing subtext between literally every single character so now I’m ship-neutral, with the aforesaid Sastiel fondness.
                  And yeah. That was a great Cas season.
                  That scene with the grace extraction (it was s9 actually I think) was so painful. Uuuuugh. And so weirdly sweet.
                  Do you have a preferred character?

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                  • I ship Destiel for both bromance and romance. Bromance in canon and romance in AU fics. I probably would not be able to see Destiel come to life on-screen because it would make me uncomfortable to see the actors I look up to and respect to be in that position. I know Jensen is not comfortable with that idea and I’m more than okay enjoying the subtext. I enjoy the chase more than the end 😉
                    Yeah I get your point of subtext with nearly every character because there is to some extent. That’s how chemistry works right?
                    Preferred character… I love Dean the most because I can personally identify with him on too many levels and experiences. That relatability actually stopped me from trying to commit suicide again. So, I owe a lot to him as far as fictional characters go.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Yeah, I feel pretty much the same… I also know too many avid shippers who have gone nuts defending their OTP to the death, lol…
                      It sounds like you’ve had some hard times. I’m sorry you went through that, whatever it was. I know how much it can help to have someone to relate to, even if they’re fictional- sometimes especially if they’re fictional.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I know, I probably know a few from wattpad or instagram or tumblr. But yeah, I love their interaction but I would never want it to become canon, that’s closing a huge door on a lot of things.
                      It’s easier to relate to fictional characters because you can see their journeys you know, see how they coped. I’ve had depression and mental illness for years so, I just try to cope most days

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I’m on Wattpad, but not Tumblr- I only go there for gifs, it’s pretty crazy over there from what I’ve seen.
                      And yeah. We don’t NEED things to be canon. Things are so much more interesting when they’re up for debate.
                      And I can’t even imagine what that’s like- but you have my admiration for coping so long. It’s great that you’re finding support or whatever in the show. I know it can be very triggery, but sometimes it can help to see familiar issues handled with characters you know and love.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Tumblr is nuts but fun. I love wattpad, I’ve written 2 fics and some one shots there. I like Archive Of Our Own for a lot of extended fics. Crazy long ones but with great arcs.
                      Well, baby steps. That’s why I love Jared’s campaign & Random Acts. Little acts of kindness matter a lot.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • See, I only published original works on Wattpad (I was very unpopular). And AO3 can be utterly filthy but can be very good too (I just steer clear of the ‘tentacle sex’ tag). I’ve written a few fics, but published nothing as yet. One Destiel prompt, a slightly longer post-Soul Survivor fix-it, etc.
                      And yeah, Random Acts is great. When I turn 16 I’m planning on doing Gishwes (it’s hard to drum up the support you need when you’re underage, I’ve found). Did you hear about the AKF candles at the San Diego con? So inspiring.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I’ve been thinking about doing an original post. Oh yeah, that tag I’ve stayed away from.
                      I’m doing gishwhes this year actually 🙂 hey, how about I sponsor you next year? I’m planning on donating definitely next year so that more peeps can get gisholarships & participate.
                      Yes! I did a whole post on AKF at Hall H.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • What’s your Wattpad account called? *is nosy*
                      Haha, that sounds awesome. And that’d be great 🙂 in person, I’m the sort of irritating teenager who can occupy themselves for twenty minutes repeatedly blowing up a balloon and letting it go, so sitting in a hot tub wearing ice cream as a hat sounds right up my street.
                      And I’ll go check that out! I live in England, so I can’t get to the cons, but one day… one day…

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Hehe! It’s susannah_deanw.
                      I may not be a teenager anymore but I used to do that as well. Still am capable of it.
                      There’s Asylum that happens in England so, not as bad as completely cut off like me :p perks of living in India, no cons.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I know that feeling. I’m pretty embarrassed by a lot that I’ve written in the past but after Destiel, everything’s great.
                      Uh, yeah. I don’t normally tell people where I’m from because I don’t know if it’ll change their perception for the worse or not. I don’t like living her & I keep feeling the urge to leave & make America my home

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Yeah, I started my Wattpad at the age of twelve… you can imagine…
                      Hey, I live in Sheffield. You know what it’s famous for? Forks. Maybe India’s not the kind of place you’d want to settle, but it sounds interesting.
                      I think we all have that fact we don’t like broadcasting… I used to be iffy about telling people my age- I’m fifteen, and people tend to write kids off as thick when it comes to blogging and stuff. Not without reason- there’s some total shit hanging around, and half the ship wars seem to be perpetrated by my generation.
                      Have you ever been to America?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Yup, I’ve been where you’ve been with respect to writing.
                      It’s just that I can’t relate to the people here. It’s difficult for me to be myself when there’s such a different thought process surrounding you.
                      I’ve met kids who’re 10 years younger than me and they’ve got this amazing ability to analyze things and it’s brilliant. So when I read that you were teenager, I was very impressed. I like meeting people who’ve got an advanced psyche, makes everything more interesting. That I have to agree with. There’s a lot of dumb out there as well that is annoying to say the least.
                      Yeah I have. I’ve been to the UK too but that was in 1999. I’ve been to the U.S. twice, more recently in 2012. My entire family on my mother’s side live scattered across the States and my dad’s side are in the UK.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Oh, I see. What language is actually spoken in India, generally? I know very little about it.
                      And thank you! I’m seriously not that impressive in person.
                      And God, the dumb stuff is the reason my generation has a bad name. There’s so much of it, too.
                      I’ve never actually been to the US, though I’d like too- and wow, I was born the same year you came here lol. I have a massive list of places to travel to.
                      You moved to India, then?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • There’s too many languages spoken which is really annoying. But English and Hindi are fairly common throughout.
                      I’ve seen it & it’s a relief when I meet the intelligent ones like you.
                      That is surprising and kinda cool. I didn’t move, I live here. Most of my family immigrated to the States.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Where I live, which is Delhi, it’s okay. There’s a lot of rich people and a lot trying to make ends meet. Some people are okay but some I want to smack into a wall. There’s a lot of people who like to show off their money. One way of doing that is with iPhones and Macs and expensive clothes which they do and I feel is disgusting. I mean yeah you’ve got money but value what you have already. The traffic’s terrible because of migrant population from poorer states. It’s chaos actually and fairly unsafe after dark for girls. It is exhausting living here.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • That’s the worst kind of inequality- when some people are showing off and others are starving. Sounds pretty crazy. I have this weird image in my head of, idk, jungles and the Taj Mahal, but I know it’s mainly dusty roads. It’s on my list, but I don’t think I’d want to live there.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • It’s not a place to live in and there aren’t many jungles left. It’s more like BMWs trying to bully other cars at traffic lights and being stuck in jams for 2 hours when your home is 7 minutes away from the traffic light

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Haha, some of it. A lot of Sheffield was messed up by WW2 so we’ve got this weird combination of hideous concrete and beautiful Victorian architecture. But we do have more trees than any other city in England, apparently.

                      Liked by 1 person

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