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Last week, I happened to be in Rome.
Well…it so “happened” to be JIBCon time, and as my friend Martina and I were lucky enough to catch some tickets last minute (which, if you know JibCon procedures, comes close to a miracle), we made the pilgrimage to Holy Supernatural Land, rosaries and holy water ready in our suitcases (amongst 23 fan shirts, 10 pounds of camera equipment, the very beautiful, big, and HEAVY “The Essential Supernatural” book for autographs, and comfy shoes for standing in line).
JIBcon was awesome. We enjoyed every single minute of it, the actors obviously did so, too (and for those of you who plan on going there: bring extra panties. You might need to change them more often than you think).
And then, we waved our “Thank You”- signs at the fantastic spn cast and Jib staff ….and it was over (well, we still had tickets for the Jason Manns concert, where a few spn cast members showed up and had a good time on stage together, but you know…).
Time to say good bye… *sniff*
On stage at Jailbreak Club: : Rob, Richard, Tamoh..and the wonderful Daniela, goddess of Jibcon.
Jason, Rob, Mandy (Matt Cohen´s wife), Richard, Tamoh, Laura, Daniela, Matt)…they – and we – had fun!
And then….Post Con Blues hit us.
But we still had two days in Rome, which, as they say, is an eternal city, and offers some places worth exploring. Our minds immediately went to the pics Osric Chau tweeted during the JIB days (before he became Master Chau), and we packed our bags and went to find all the relevant places. On our own feet. Pilgrimages are all about walking and suffering, right? It was hot, and we did both.
But…first things first. We had to get our “It´s our first JIB”-souvenirs, and went in search of a tattoo shop. We googled “tattoo shops, Rome”. And were immediately sure there IS an SPN god(dess) somewhere, because…these were the shops that showed up on our map: “Il Segno di Caino” – The Mark of Cain. “Angels and Demons”. “Lucky Signs”. We took that as a heavenly confirmation for being on the right path.
So…we walked the streets of Rome.
And once more, we were reminded of the fact that Supernatural might change your life more than you´d have expected. At least…it changes your perception. Follow us on a short Supernatural references trip through a city the Winchesters have never set foot into, but where their world is present eternally nevertheless!
Angels. They are everywhere.
In Rome, an angel is sitting on top of practically everything (and a pigeon AKA “winged rat” -quote Dean – is sitting on top of the angel).
Michael is swinging his sword fiercefully, “I´m the heavenly warrior number one” – style and all. Show off!
Some of them seem more relaxed. Well, there are angels like Gabe and Balty, right?
In case you haven´t found enough proof our winged friends from Heaven are practically invading the city, follow the numerous signs..
Yes. They even hide in ice cream shops.
Well, and of course there are also those members of the family everyone tries to avoid…
Speaking of Bad Angels…we found Luci´s pet, too.
You know, the tongue-thing never worked for me, but hey… whatever floats your boat!
Additionally, we now know where Raffael has his pics taken.
On our way, we then stumbled over the Roman Hunter Community´s most frequented supply store…
Guess they´ll not run out of rosaries and holy water any time soon…
There is proof of hunters fighting vampires in Rome for about 2000 years everywhere; let me just show you one example for the many, many, many we saw.
And, of course, even the best hunter might some day need a new blade….choose your favorite design!
If some research/recreational time is due…go to one of the bunkers. I bet they have secret wine cellars and their own pizza oven in there, too.
On our way, we happened to pass the place where the Romans enjoyed their 1PS – Nascar Racing. They seem to have been environmentalists, though. Very green, don´t you think?
…until we discovered that, alas, the Croatoan Virus has already reached Rome. Well, it´s 2014, innit?
The city looks pretty crumbled…
We even found a surviving hunter´s car…
Unfortunately, Metatron seems to have come by Rome, too. Who else would leave signs like this one? OVERDOING it again, douchebag!
And, btw, it says “thanks to heaven”, not “thanks to a manipulative slimy copycat named M.”
Slightly disturbed by this fact, we were glad to have a hunter´s eyes follow us….everywhere…GREEN eyes. In a very FRECKLED face.
Even the Pope trusts the Mighty Hunter´s watchful eyes!
Some things just reminded us of SPN too much to be ignored…
Oh, Canada..where the GOOD shows are coming to life…
Cosplayers. They are EVERYWHERE. Priest Sam and Dean seem to have a huge fan base in Rome.
One of the guys living in Sunrise, Wyoming, on march 4th, 1861. He obviously got sucked back into modern times together with Sam and Dean. Poor sod has to live a beggar´s life now..
Something that reminded us of certain scenes in the Impala…or soulless hunters doing their work out, upper body shiny with sweat:
Naked, muscular backs everywhere. The Romans´answer to tumblr: Carve them in stone. They really go for this eternity thing, don´t they?
Whenever we felt lost, or out of energy, Supernatural helped us find our footing again. We turned our faithful eyes where the signs leaded us…to Supernatural Heaven.
..and, sure enough, we found comfort and refreshment.
like…a Tom COLLINS…
and like…PIE! For pre-demonic (*sigh*) DEAN!
After two event- and insightful days, our pilgrimage (and the amount of suffering our feet were able to take) came to an end.
I haven´t told you about the most important of our discoveries yet, though.
Because, cruising the many streets, alleys and places of post-JIBCon Rome, we found the one thing every SPN fan is most eager to lay their eyes on since “Bad Day at Black Rock”:
We found Sam´s shoe.
Gadreel becomes more likeable by the episode…he´s very much like Cas in season 4!
Tyrus:”I hear you´re losing…And I hate your face!”
Don´t we all…
I hear ya, Tyrus…
The importance of iconic clothing. Metatron, you´re trying too hard…
Oh, you´re sooo right, Dean…no one like you out there.. *Deangirl heart doing sommersaults*
Dean: We´ve got history.
Tessa: Yeah..I remember our meet, Cute.You were dying.
Dean: Good old times…
Well, M…”ASSTIEL”? Seriously…what grade would that be? And again..Trying too hard, man!
No Nobel Prize out there for you, Metatron…unless there is one for Douchebaggery?
hmm..maybe only PARTS of humanity 😉
Somebody please wipe that smirk off M´s face..or I might accidentally hurt some innocent actor..
Cas: No…I can´t. *no words*
so..some tender moments of humanity…
before it all goes down. I can´t even…
Someone scratch me off the floor, PLEASE!
Again, I skipped an episode, not randomly though…after watching 9×20 “Bloodlines” for the first few times, I was very ready to give my opinion on the episode, the way CW squeezed the promotion for a coming spin off into the SPN story line (or rather – not, as it didn´t fit into it at all), or how trying to understand your own products and what fandom loves in them might actually be helpful when you´re promoting new shows. But, well, our days on earth are counted, and I seriously didn´t want to waste more time on things I DON`T like to talk about, risking an upset stomach and a headache. It´s far more satisfying to babble on about the things we love and adore, right? Which, finally, brings me to this week´s episode…”King of the Damned”. Supernatural back to …well, “normal” wouldn´t cut it, so…supernatural.
Many story lines are wide open, and we´re three episodes to the Finale – so, what does the Supernatural universe do? It opens a new one. But let´s start at the beginning…
Angel War – as in : angels against angels. The battle between Metatronists and Castiel´s Guerilla Army goes into the next round…and reaches a new level reminding of the Cold War back in the good old 60s. Spies, interrogation rooms, impressive blinking lights on huge walls showing a map of the world: very much James Bond/John Le Carré. And of course, SPN has a sexy leader/agent to provide…
“Him”, is Castiel, whose entry was a nice reference to classic movies (the sound of the nearing steps! cut! Ezra´s frightened face! cut! A dark outline of “HIM” in the doorframe! cut!). Castiel without his wings might not be as impressive as he was in his very first appearance, but still..he IS a warrior, and he can look like it (even if Dean will call him a “weird, dorky little man” in the next episode…).
Castiel, or his very determined followers, have created a well organized system it seems…and the leader against his will runs with it, a little reluctantly, but with a purpose. We know from earlier seasons that didn´t go too well with Castiel before. (*dread*).
For his purpose, he needs interrogation experts…and well, he happens to know one. Dean might have begged him before not to send him on this road – but times have changed, blades have appeared, and Dean seems pretty ready to do whatever it takes to get information out of Ezra, the captured Metatronist.
But there is still Sam, the Voice Of Reason. And a skilled interrogator himself, using a slightly different approach though. The following scene of the brothers taking Ezra apart by making fun of him was, for me at least, crueler than many of the bloody slicing/slaying/killing activities the Winchesters have been in so far. And, at the same time, it was hilarious to watch Sam and Dean work , a well oiled war machine even if the weapon they used was only words – and facial expressions.
It sucks to be you, Ezra: yes, it does. Sam hasn´t said anything that cruel to anyone but Dean so far. Interesting. Well, and there´s the part about Ezra, the fan. The FAN.
Which was, again, hilarious and a little disturbing. As fans, we were sitting on Ezra´s chair here, I guess…fandom, back to the cliché of the crazy obsessive screaming stalker girl (man/angel, whatever)? Honestly, I thought we had left that behind after the fantastic “Fangasm” book. Well, it´s sadly true there actually ARE fans like the ones Dean and Sam (or was it Jensen and Jared?) refer to exist, and probably not few of them. But as the crazy, obsessive, NON-screaming and pretty realistic fangirl I am, I felt a little slapped in my face…or, let´s say, on my hand. Well, J2 ´s perfect acting compensated me for the tiny itch somewhere inside my heart. Seriously, their faces? Sam´s airquotes? Can it get any better?
So…back to our story lines. Crowley is back. Wait, no…THE KING. Battered and still humanized, but very royal indeed.
I say: “YO!”
Enter scene: Abaddon – the Queen to be (well, we´ll see about that). Sexy, smart as hell (literally), well organized, the gorgeous queen of redheads and black leather outfits.
Of course, she plays a game of her own, and wants Crowley to be on board rather than have him throw a Winchester on steroids at her any time. And that´s how we come to meet Gavin, Crowley´s son, who seems a little slow and dumb witted at first, but a match to his father in ambition and twisted thinking later on…not as smart, and not refined by almost three hundred years of demon life of course.
It might have been a questionable choice, but in the end, Crowley´s deal gave us the sexy quick-witted King of Hell we all need (right?)…and an endless source of remarkable quotes
Crowley sends the Winchesters on their way to fetch the Blade – and yes, where else would he hide it but in a corpse!
Sam heroically retreats the slimy Blade, not trusting Dean any more (and what does that remind us of…wait…knife…demon blood…trust issues..). And comes to realize it was guarded by more than a dead man´s intestines…meet Juliette, one of Crowley´s darlings.
Her master´s voice reins her in, and the Winchesters are headed to Cleveland, the Humboldt Hotel (“Penthouse, of course” – oh, Crowley…), to “off” Abaddon. Which gives me a reason to insert a little Baby Appreciation once more…Enjoy the Impala in interesting angles…
And now, the drama, as Crowley will call it later, starts. Cause Dean blatantly lies to Sam about some demons roaming the hotel..to get him out of the way. And as fast as Sam might be in realizing he has (once again) been played, he almost misses the good part of the show…
That´s how Abaddon, the smart, ambitious, determined, skilled queen-to-be, stumbles over her own arrogance. Many have already made the mistake of underestimating the Winchesters (ask Crowley!), and have paid dearly for it. Well, pride comes before the fall as they say…R.I.P., Abaddon! May your awesome T-shirt be with you forever…
Back to Crowley and the boys…Abaddon has left Crowley deprived of his powers by shooting him Henry Winchester style; and as soon as he´s got rid of the bullet with the devils´trap engraved in it, he´s back to playing the Winchesters again (well, he´s Crowley, feelings or not).
Quote Crowley: “I´ll cheer the day when the last trace of humanity leaves me…feelings!”
And of course, he choses to change history by saving his son from drowning on the boat he was meant to sail to The New World with…and there we have our new story line! Season 10, here we go!
While we poor tormented spn-addicts are still stuck in the huge mess called Winchester family life. Another domestic scene between the brothers (in the Impala, where else would it take place?), and another example of mis-communication the Winchesters seem so brilliantly capable of (and don´t we all relate to them in that…).
Dean, explaining his new self.
Sam, talking about his fears, and choosing the path of reason.
“Sam: Why don´t we store the Blade somewhere distant, lock it up somewhere safe…OK?
Dean, retreating into his shell.
We´ve seen it all. And it still hurts, each time they do it…again.
The one big clamp holding the brothers together, humanity, seems on the line again…
“We keep each other human”… It will be up to Sam this time, I guess, to prove that motto right. Because Dean, the so far almost untarnished fountain of humanity, is on a fast way to ..something else. And Crowley´s face when watching him slay Abaddon was no good sign where and what “something else” might be.
Sam, I trust you with all of what´s left of my tortured Deangirl heart to save my hero!
So, we have reached episode 19 of season 9, which means we are nearing the Finale with giant steps (be prepared – SOMMER HIATUS is nigh! start airing your hare shirts…). and…yes, there was an episode last week too, I know…but it started with THIS…
…which were, after three weeks of shower hellatus, the maybe most re-watched seconds of SPN history…
The first seconds kind of evaporated (no pun intended) my desire to make further screenshots (and I had already made approximately 1000 in those few seconds…speak of seconds that count!), so I just skipped it (sorry…).
Now, time to come out of the shower, and let´s look at the first episode dominated by FEMALE characters. Yes, female. A nice contrast to the manly men Winchester universe – although, honestly, what I saw were human beings equally haunted by their pasts, by guilt, fears, and a helpless love for those around them despite the scars of a shared history. In the end, we want to see deep, interesting, nuanced characters, right? And if in a show that stars two male lead characters, in an action centered road movie – ish kind of story, only few female characters live up to that – well, what did you expect? But now, let´s get started…
Yes, Jody, I totally agree…and is it only me or do the Boys become better looking with every episode?
So, Baby got a cousin in the police force. Very respectable…
Words and their connotations…and their spn connotations…
The Boys teaching and proudly seeing their students prevail…nice!
Jodie didn´t only learn how to gank monsters from Dean…
Dean, serious. And ATTENTION…ATTENTION…ATTENTION…subtle reminder of the brothers´story line in season 9…
Weird? Hells yes. They are practically the Benders on a Vampiric trip.
Short insert: Thank you, thank you, thank you for this reference…and for all of you who didn´t understand it (CAS DID!): GO! WATCH!!! NOW!!!!
AAAAAAAND here we go. The One-liner of the episode (they make fun of it at the end, yes they do…gotta love this show). It has, in my opinion, the potential to succeed against classics like…say…”Here´s looking at you, kid.”
And no, nobody put Baby in a corner. On the contrary..she got staged perfectly! Thank you director and camera…I suspect you of loving this car as much as I do…
Dean is definitely NOT putting on his hare shirt for enjoying beheading creepy vamps who killed who-knows-how-many humans over the years. Might or might not be the mark.
Sam is frowning. A lot. And accusing Dean of enjoying…oh, right. You know what I mean. He still looks good doing so, which kind of soothes the annoying touch.
Jodie is offering deep insights and telling important truths (LISTEN, BOYS! – but, alas, when have they ever…)
Annie learns to re-organize, re-orientate-, re-humanize, and re-consider. Many re-s for so young a girl. But she, as well as Jodie, gave an unusually hopeful end to a storyline within the dark, twisted, and painful season. Gives us hope for the Boys. And…yes. Yes, Cas, I heard you. Why, you didn´t even show in this episode! What? ….No! ….No, you didn´t!…Exactly. I totally agree.
So, the angel …what?..Ah, Ok. The Angel-Without-Wings Castiel asks us to publish his request to the management/producers/director/writers/Alfred-the-bagel-man to let him be on the show more often. He dearly misses his Winchester(s) and suffers from severe withdrawal symptoms. What? …Ok…and he wants me to tell you he understood the reference concerning another TV-show but is not sure how “zombies” – no, I can´t do air quotes, Cas, I can only put real quote signs here – play into the story, as everyone knows they are only fictions of the human mind.
I´ll finish here for now. For further requests please use the below comment field. Yes, this includes you, Cas!
Before torturing us with another hiatus, the Supernatural cast and crew managed once more to keep us glued to the screen on Tuesday evening (well, very early Wednesday morning here, but sleep´s overrated anyway).A thrilling, absolutely satisfying episode, threading the “monster of the week”- into the oh so much bigger general War in Hell theme. And again, the Winchester family´s connection to the ongoing events obviously goes way back in the family line. It was a blast to see grandpa Henry again (not hard to guess where the boys got their looks from…), all eager and happy to do good in the world (there WAS a hunter inside him after all!).The brotherly conflict, heartbreaking as ever, seems to slowly change – mostly because of Dean´s affliction after having realized the effects of The Marc of Cain on him (and angsty, dealing-by-drinking Dean always gets our hearts), and Sam´s growing concern for his brother (and worried Sam´s allways cute, isn´t he).
Well, and then there´s Crowley. Playing his own games – and the brothers. I have to say I´m thrilled to see where the King of Hell (currently off duty due to unresolved leadership issues) will push events.So far, he´s always managed to make me adore him right before I have to be mad at him again for shamelessly using the Winchesters time and again.
And, as always, the cast aside from the lead roles, was flawless. Should mention that more often I guess. Production design: equally perfect, as ever.
Have I mentioned that Misha Collins directed the episode? Loved his camera angles…the close ups on all those tortured faces, twisted by the horrors around and inside them…yeah, you can do that with a cast like this one. Misha, it was worth all that cake on your face!
to be continued…
It took me a full day to recover from last episode´s bitter ending – seeing Sam and Dean divided by an abyss that goes right down to the core of who they are, and how they see themselves, and the world around them, was painful enough; seeing the realization of that fact creep over Dean´s face in the very last seconds was almost too much for a Deangirl´s tormented heart. Even knowing that there will be some sort of reconciliation some time (rather later than sooner, I suppose), I can´t see how “honesties” like the ones the brothers shared (you notice I try to keep neutral here, do you? It costs me EVERY ounce of self control I have, I can assure you…) can NOT leave scars that mar both of them for life. They will have to find a new balance in their relationship (when there actually IS a relationship again, because this? This is worse than being enemies), and most of all, get an understanding for the way they look at the world, and why…
It is NO FUN seeing your favorite character being ripped of his entire world (because, honestly, how we SEE the world/us, IS our world), like a carpet pulled out from under his feet, and even thinking where that could/will lead him…no, I´ll not go there again… (*virtually banging her head painfully against the desk*)
Well, thinking of The Purge, and the brothers´ talks (and it kept me thinking A LOT) for me was the depressing affirmation that in the end, we are alone, and no one can ever fully understand their fellow human beings…we believe to perceive things similarly, but we can never, never be sure of that; we are groping around in the dark, and sometimes are grabbing at something, and connect, or stumble over things randomly, and take it for signs of a bigger plan, and a meaning behind it…
UUUPS. Pretty depressing..I know. So, I´ll stop here, and just say as much:
The only answer to it can be to connect…to try, and fail (because we will, as much as our beloved Winchesters), and try again…it´s in our hands to grope, and to grab, and to stumble, and for moments, we will find a meaning, and a path, and a world to share.
Jeez, this episode really got to me.
Will do a Funny Moments Collage next, I guess. you know …Supernatural, the illness and the cure, all in one…
Supernatural is dearly loved for it´s wonderful cast and crew, the thrilling story lines and the sea of emotions each episode throws us into. But I think it´s equally appreciated for it´s ironic, funny, in times also sarcastic quotes and comments.
Therefore we tried to sum up last episode, First Born, with a little picture/quote story. You may notice it´s very much Crowley/Dean centered; probably because we are confessing Dean girls (and vote for Crowley), but also because Sam and Cas had some pretty serious stuff to discuss this time – not really a match to the concept.
So – make yourself comfortable, and enjoy First Born through the eyes of a quotation-obsessed fangirl!
“We keep each other human”
“It doesn’t matter — whatever we do. I mean, it turns out that you and me, we’re the, uh – the fire and the oil of the Armageddon. You know, on that basis alone, we should just pick a hemisphere. Stay away from each other for good. Because whatever we have between us — love, family, whatever it is — They are always gonna use it against us. The point is, maybe we are each others’ Achille’s heel. Maybe they’ll find a way to use us against each other, I don’t know.
I just know we’re all we got.
More than that, we keep each other human.
So, what do we do now? We make our own future.”
Being Human In The Supernatural World
It may sound strange to call HUMANITY the core theme of a TV show named „Supernatural“. And yes, you´re right, the show IS about two brothers fighting monsters, ghosts, demons, angels, and every other non-human being you could possibly think of (well, the Devil comes to mind, and the Voice Of God, but they are only the big players in the before mentioned pool of entities). But aside from the hunters´ actual hand-to-hand combat against physical materializations of Evil, there is a deeper layer to their struggle to keep the world running for the rest of us.
Humanity fighting against the representations of its worst fears: the most disturbing being that of loosing what makes us human. Of being bitten, kissed, touched, gripped, turned, or eaten and erased alltogether, nothing left of us but soulless robots, or infectious „monsters“ dangerous to others who still have a beating heart.
It´s this beating, kicking, bleeding, hurting heart that stands in the way of our favorite hunters so many times…
There he is…
Dean. The heart of the show, so to speak, with his overwhelming emotions, his tears, and silly jokes, and heart wringing struggle to save the ones he loves. Falling, and getting up again. Failing, and trying anew. Losing everyone, and everything, and still clinging to a straw of hope. Raised and trained to be a good soldier, and so not being one at heart. (Just look at his difficulty to accept authority outside the small circle of people he trusts).
If you don´t agree…look at this version of Dean…
In „The End“ we are confronted with a Dean almost totally deprived of emotions. Finally, he´s the soldier Sam accused him of being (in a different sense, I know…). Focused, and cold, and shooting a friend directly in the face without a second thought. He´s not second guessed by his troops, and he´s not second guessing himself any more. The perfect hunter…like Gordon. But human?
When Dean meets his own future self in 2014, I don´t know what scares him more – what the world has become, or what he himself has turned into. In my understanding, it was Zacharia´s plan to show Dean the outfall of his decisions, it´s effect on the world Dean is doomed to save time and again. I don´t think Zacharia was aware he gave Dean even more reason to say NO to his „offer“ to become Michael´s sword: Because future Dean IS a sword. The perfect weapon, not slowed down by doubt and emotions.
Of course, even 2014 future Dean still has something tying him to his „old“ self…and of course, this something – or someone – is Sam. He is perfectly ready to sacrifice his future friends – and his own life, I´m sure – to beat Lucifer and save the world. But at the same time, he has still his one purpose in mind, the task that makes him crawl up, pull together his shattered pieces, and carry on so many times…
His one job.
„Watch out for Sammy!“
Even if Sammy has turned into this….and doesn´t hesitate to kill Dean´s future self.
In Dean´s understanding, it is his JOB to prevent Sam from turning into Lucifer.
„Old“ Dean, the one with the intact heart, is correspondingly devastated to see his failure right in front of his eyes – and with a hell of a collateral damage around them.
And here we go…
Zacharia wanted to show Dean the inevitability of a final Lucifer/Michael showdown – to make him say YES to being Michael´s vessel AKA sword. (He´s not above playing Dean´s weak spot, Sammy, the manipulating b….. . Let´s just hate him a little more for that.)
But Dean is human. So much so that he is absolutely capable of wiping out logical consideration (heck, they made him LIVE the effect of his decision!) by his emotional needs, setting his priorities straight again.
And choosing the one other solution for the problem that Zachariah would never even have thought of.
He chooses his humanity: he reconnects.
Dean has hope, and he has purpose.
And he has love.
I guess that´s what makes us human, after all.
Aside from this very touching – and much longed for by an angsty fandom – reconciliation of the brothers (and a cute pair of vintage cars), there´s even more „humanity factors“ hidden in the outcome of this episode.
When Dean meets Zachariah ( a friend of mine baptized him „Jerkeriah“, which fits just perfectly, right?), he makes his decision – alone.
But he has backup when it comes to kissing Zach good bye. Because there is Cas, having his back.
What Dean realizes with alarming clarity is the fact that we can´t be human without relationships. Family and friends are the anchors of our tossed souls, and by cutting them loose, for what noble or understandable purposes ever, we cut ourselves from a lifeline. I like the quotation that makes our title so much, because it shows this fact in striking simplicity: It´s not „I keep you human“, or „You keep me human“. It´s „We keep each other human“, and that´s just about the core of human relationships I guess.
This means Dean has to learn – or re-learn – to trust again. Without trust, our relationships won´t work, period. Trust means an effort for both parts though. And I think that´s what our favorite brothers have to learn the hard way here.
So Dean has hope, and purpose, and love. And he has family and friends, who are the reason he has all three. The reason he NEEDS all three. And the reason he fails, and falls, and looses one of them sometimes…
Even Dean, the untiring Carry-On-My–Wayward-Son, has his dark places. He admits to being tired of his life, of his job, of the unbearable responsibility loaded on his shoulders more than once. But he comes to his feet again, and tries, and fails, and tries better…
Keeping his beloved ones safe is his purpose. It gives him the hope he needs to not give up. Even when his family and friends fail him : Sam, and Cas, with their habit of putting Dean into a roller coaster of ups and downs.
There are a few rocks in his life, and the most outstanding one sure is Bobby, the surrogate-father/criticizing friend/wise Yedi master figure of his life. Ellen, the mother figure, tough but with a big heart, and Jo, the fearless huntress, whose sacrifice adds to Dean´s guilt but equally to his motivation to carry on as well.
He even seems keep connected to people long dead and gone…like his mother…
There is Cas, of course, and then Benny, his non-human friends (Benny gets the humanity thing better I guess), whom Dean tends to treat like fully blown humans, giving especially Castiel some trouble…
They represent the strange places Dean gets to know throughout the seasons – Heaven, and Hell, and Purgatory. Dean lives through them all, and he does so as a human being. What´s more, he manages to let his humanity rub off on those who he´s dealing with, or at least makes them want to understand humanity.
Both of his non-human friends mirror essential parts of Dean´s character. Cas in his struggle to do the right thing, in his attempt to righten his failures, in his trying again and again. Benny in the vehemence he shows in fighting for the humanity buried inside the monster he doesn´t want to be any more, and in his understanding of family.
For Dean, every real friend gets incorporated into his idea of Family sooner or later anyway. It´s a chosen family for the Winchesters, in lack of a real one, and even that one keeps loosing members constantly.
Until there is only Dean left in 9×9, when he is on the floor, Kevin´s lifeless body in front of his eyes, Sam taken away and gone, everyone else dead. And this is where you´d say: OK, that´s it. Now he´s broken for real.
And still…he´s scrambling to his feet. Looking for a way to repair the damage. Sure, it´s guilt mostly that guides him. But guilt alone would probably only end in suicide. Guilt smashes you, it paralyses. So I dare say there is still some hope left in Dean, even in this darkest in a long line of pitch dark hours. You can let it weigh you down. Or you can use it as a motor, something to drive you.
Dean chooses the latter. Which contradicts Famine´s observation, to my mind. Dean´s not dead inside. He may be hurt, and broken, and torn, and frayed, and heck, damaged in many ways.
But he feels. His heart is still bleeding. He has it all in him: loss, and guilt, and fear, and rage, and ache, and pain, and hate, and bond.
And hope. And love.
He´s a hero. And he´s human.
If you don´t already know it, watch the fantastic vid by Loki (and all her other ones if you´re already at it):
„Four letter words“