Vivisecting Supernatural- Samelia vs. DeanLisa

There are clear parallels between Dean’s relationship with Lisa and Sam’s with Amelia. Both women were sources of solace after the death of the other sibling, and both were left after the return of the previously dead sibling. But these parallels also make the contrasts very clear.

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Lisa is a well-adjusted character. She’s a yoga teacher with a nice house, a good kid, and an unending well of patience with Dean’s alcoholism and PTSD. Amelia, on the other hand, is a self-confessed mess- grieving for her husband, hiding from the world in dingy motels, a seeming loner.

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In fact, the home that Dean has with Lisa is remniscient of the home he invented in his mind for his mother in What Is And What Should Never Be- white picket fence and all. And Lisa is a very motherly figure- she has a son, who Dean can’t seem to help comparing to the then-dead Sam. In a way Dean’s life with Lisa is a version of the Wishverse- he finally has a home life and a mother figure, but no relationship with Sam. And, just like the Wishverse, when Dean realises Sam needs him he leaves the dreamlike life to go back on the road with his brother. It’s telling that when Sam comes back from the dead, all the colours darken in Exile On Main St.

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In fact, the parallel is supported by the fact that the djinn actually show up in Exile On Main St, making their one of only two appearances (the other being, obviously, WIAWSNB). But djinn have also come into many fan theories concerning the Samelia arc- theories that may well still turn out to be valid. Many fans were wondering, partly due to the sickly golden haze covering Sam’s memories of Amelia, whether that was simply some kind of delusion induced by djinn poison, or alternatively a way of dealing with Hell. The fact that in We Need To Talk About Kevin a shadowy figure is seen watching Sam leave Amelia’s house seems to support the djinn theory- after all, when Dean was under the effects of djinn poison, he kept seeing the girl who was the other victim of the djinn.

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Either way, it’s clear, from the aforesaid sickly haze over the Amelia flashbacks, that this was Sam’s dream, his ideal. Yet it’s not the kind of ideal that the average person would have- dingy motel rooms and a job as a handyman. It’s not like Dean’s fairytale wish of having his mother back and having a perfect home. Sam’s dreamworld is as damaged as he is, whereas Dean’s is his idea of perfect, in contrast to his own flaws.

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But hey, maybe the contrast stems from the differences in their early lives. Dean had four years of normalcy with Mary and John, as we saw in Dark Side Of The Moon; the memory of Mary in Heaven, making Dean sandwiches, was one of his best ones. Dean remembers what it’s like to be normal, to not have to hunt. Perhaps on some level, even while relishing the clarity of hunting, he still wanted back the four years he wasn’t hunting- and his time with Lisa was the closest he was going to get.

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Sam, on the other hand, was practically born to hunting. He’d never known any other way of living than theirs, but he could see that other people did not live this way. Many people who convert to cults are the most avid members, and the people who are born and raised into certain beliefs are sometimes the ones who feel forced to question them. This could certainly apply to the Winchesters.

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But Sam doesn’t question how messed-up his and Amelia’s life is, because he’s used to so much worse. Amelia is definitely not a mother figure, unlike Mary or Jody or even Dean. She’s more of a reflection of Sam’s own damage, in a far lesser capacity, showing us that Sam didn’t at this stage want a perfect life- he wanted someone he could identify with.

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And Dean- he seemed to want someone who was able to look after him, and in a way that’s what Sam learned to be over Season Ten.

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I see hope for the Winchesters yet, the codependent little bastards.

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43 thoughts on “Vivisecting Supernatural- Samelia vs. DeanLisa

  1. Do you think Sam’s whole relationship with Amelia was just the djinn or just what he can remember?

    I think Sam’s idea of what is normal is different because of how he grew up. He can relate to Amelia. Though I think it is also that to him that is normal. Also, I think Amelia was more of a replacement for Dean, where Lisa was more of a replacement for his mother.

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    • No, I don’t think so, but I don’t think it’s an implausible theory either. And I’m pretty sure we’re meant to make the link.
      And yeah, I agree about the replacements. I actually kinda like Lisa. Not keen on Amelia.

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        • That part… really makes me angry at Dean. I cried and it was sad, but what a shitty thing to do to someone, trauma or no trauma. And it wouldn’t even help her be protected- it wasn’t as if the monsters would have forgotten her.

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          • The same could be said of when Hermione “blanked” her parents in HP7. Stealing memories from someone is selfish more often than not. Dean was the danger to Lisa, not her memories of him. It was merely him shutting a door and bolting it.

            Mind you, I raise a similar situation in the books I’m writing. But the memory-erasing is as a means of keeping someone from looking for danger. Slightly different scenario. Lisa wasn’t hunting down Dean and his bag of trouble.

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            • Yeah, great comparison. I’m glad that they actually showed that bit in Deathly Hallows.
              I don’t think that SPN shouldn’t show their leads doing morally ambiguous or compromising things, though- far from it. I mean, Sam’s entire Season Four arc, for example (though I always feel bad for him anyway lol). And in S8 when Dean faked that text from Amelia to get Sam out of the way- I think that may actually be one of the worst things he ever did.

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          • So my Daddy brought up a good point about Sam’s idea of normal when we were discussing this topic this weekend. He said that Sam had a normal life in college and that it wasn’t a broken one. I told him that we don’t get to really see what his college life was like because they don’t show much of it. What do you think?

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            • I think both Sam and Dean used to want normalcy- they’re probably both too damaged by now- but for different reasons. Dean had once known normal, for the first four years of his life, and Sam felt tainted and wanted to escape that.
              It’s a really interesting time gap though.

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  2. I’m not keen on Amelia either, and this is why I think she was kind of a substitute for Dean. She’s like Dean in many ways and I hated Dean the first time I saw him, too. He was snarky and abrasive, just like Amelia.

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    • Oh God yeah, obnoxious Pilot Dean! But at least there I was feeling the chemistry, unlike with Samelia (with the possible exception of the I’m-fixing-your-sink scene). Plus I hate hate hate the way the flashbacks are filmed. That awful bright fuzziness. Yuck.
      And yeah, definitely a Deanstitute.

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  3. Awesome post yet again 🙂 hope you had a nice birthday!
    I hated seeing DeanLisa break up and the aftermath of it. Dean had what he wanted and he was happy, yes, he was grieving for Sam, i personally think his grief was something that spurred him on, gave him the guts to continue making a life it’s Lisa. At the same time he was grieving for Sam, he was also castiel-less too, he’d kind of lost everyone who means something to him and he still managed to pick himself up. I loved it. Then when Sam came back soulless I got angry. Sam had changed and dead was oblivious to it for a while, I hated soulless Sam and his attitude. I disliked how Dean gave up on everything too. It kind of worked out in the end but it was annoying as hell watching it at the time

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    • Haha, thanks- I did! 🙂
      Yeah, I think Dean kind of went to Lisa because he wanted to and kind of because it was basically Sam’s dying wish.
      I love the Soulless Sam arc. Because yeah, I hated Soulless Sam, and I felt so bad for Dean, but when real Sam came back it was just so cathartic.
      I bet it was annoying watching it on a weekly basis, but I bingewatched that arc in one night and it remains my favourite. I do think a lot of it depends on how quickly you watch it, though. But the Soulless arc is the reason Season Six is my favourite.

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      • Lol! I binge watched it over a week! I think I watched the first 9 or 10 episodes over two days and the rest over the week! Urgh, I just couldn’t stand the ‘new Sam! It wasn’t until the soulless thing was introduced that I calmed down, I really thought he was going to stay that way!

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        • Lol, I guessed he came back sans soul because of all the soul-related puns on the DVD cover (stupid CW), but still, it fucking HURT. I watched the first twelve episodes in the same night and fell asleep in History the next day.
          I think the Soulless arc was probably a PTSD metaphor…

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yeah, I think you’re right there. It was tough not having the ‘real sam’ come back straight away and then going through everything he went through after death put his soul back in he still wasn’t right. It’s like he hasn’t been right since lol!

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            • Yeah, Sam and Dean were both changed by Hell. Dean’s really… grim… and Sam’s all quiet and serious. It’s pretty sad if you think about it.
              The Man Who Knew Too Much is my #1 favourite episode though.

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              • What happens in that one?
                Yeah they’ve both changed because of hell and Dean also has his purgatory stint behind him, affecting him too. With that said though, I still think Dean is happier now (I’m in season 9) than Sam is. In general, I mean. Dean seems to be more ready, it’s like Sam has lost his spark over the years. It’s kind of like Sam hasn’t had a break, and even though Dean hasn’t either, it’s like he’s bounced back more than Sam has. I’ve never heard the theory about Sam imagining his relationship with (I forget her name) and/or it being a djinn hallucination. I’m not sure what to make of it because if it were true, i feel like we would’ve seen it on screen, instead of being left to guess/assume it was something like that

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                • It’s the one after Cas breaks Sam’s Hell wall and he has to confront his soulless self and his Hell self. S6 finale. With bonus Godstiel.
                  And yeah, I kinda agree about that, but Sam changes with S10- you’ll see this side of him re-emerge. It’s scary and awesome.
                  And as per the djinn theory: I’m a firm believer in interpretation. I have headcanons (for example, I refuse to be dissuaded from my theory that Bloodlines took place in a parallel universe). Ships are mostly interpretation; I don’t personally believe in the djinn theory, but I’m sure some people do, and they aren’t necessarily wrong. But I think we are meant to make the link between Samelia and the djinn.

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                  • Possibly, I still find it a bit far fetched myself. We knew Dean was in purgatory and that had a strange hue to its scenes too. I think sams flashbacks had a golden-ish hue to it, where deans were almost back and white. I think it just contrasted their experiences. They both happened but one was better than the other. I think that’s why sam’s flashbacks had a brighter coloured hue to them, they were a better experience than that of deans in purgatory. That’s what I got from it myself!

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Not just the colours, though that’s part of it. Sam has this whole arc, culminating in Hunteri Heroici, about living in a dreamworld.
                      I hate the golden hue so, so much by the way. Uuuuuuuugh. So sickly and so not SPNlike. I get that they were meant to contrast but there are better ways to contrast than… that.
                      I did love the Purgatory flashbacks though.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Oh my god! I can’t wait! Eeeek!
                      Yeah I guess you’re right, I thought he had a coup,e of trust issues with Sam before going to purgatory but thinking about it, there wasn’t really, they’d recovered from the ruby and Demon blood stuff and did well together with the leviathans, I guess that kind of added to the cas thing because he was missing most of the leviathan story line so getting him back was important to Dean. I know I need to watch it all again lol

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                    • I think the S7 trust issues were resolved after the whole Amy thing. And yeah, it must have been horrible to get Cas back only to lose him in Purgatory.
                      I’m not a fan of the leviathan. Like, at all.

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                  • Yeah, I agree, I had to stop commenting on the last comment to see what you had written here lol. Yeah, I think Dean was almost in his element while in purgatory, he was ruthless, in a way that he couldn’t be in the real world. He probably killed hundreds of ‘monsters’ and even made a friend he could trust after not being able to trust Sam for so long. Also, he had Castiel with him (mostly) and I think he thinks of Castiel in the same way as Sam. For someone who has t really ever had friends, he managed to make an unlikely friend and also Castiel was there. While Castiel was missing in purgatory, it was what motivated him, he wanted to find cas before he tried to get home to Sam, I think it showed that he was less dependent on Sam at that time than at any other time. I felt their relationship was broken for a long time and then we had the ‘speech” and i realised that although their relationship was broken, he still needed Sam and loved Sam like he always has. It reinforced that he still very much needs his brother but we also knew that there was a lot of making up to be done.

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                    • He described Purgatory as ‘pure’, because he could kill without remorse… yeah, I totally agree.
                      I don’t think it wasn’t that he couldn’t trust Sam- that only really seemed to start after Dean got back and found out he didn’t look for him.
                      Plus I think Cas and Dean (and Cas and Sam, for that matter) have a unique relationship- not like Sam and Dean’s. I do think Dean would choose Sam over Cas if he really, really had to. I don’t think it goes as deep, but he has said that they’re both like brothers to him. And I do like how set on finding Cas he was. It was such a touching small arc.
                      And yes to the lack of dependency- maybe that’s another reason Dean misses Purgatory.
                      The Speech! The Speech! *loves*
                      I think there still is a lot of making up to be done at the end of Season Ten. Ahem.
                      Sam: Dean, I think I broke the world again.
                      Dean: Well, I broke your face, so we’re even, right?
                      Sam: Totally.
                      *they hug*

                      Like

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