May 17 2013 10:00am

Supernatural’s Dean Winchester Dismantled His Own Machismo—and That’s Why We Love Him

Supernatural, Dean Winchester

Whenever a television show makes it beyond four of five seasons, viewers have cause to be impressed, but commonly worried as well; often a series has played out their greatest themes by then, most of the arcs have come full circle, and whatever the narrative was trying to say has been shouted at you, or possibly sung as a libretto. It’s done its thing, and now wants the three act play to become six or possibly twelve acts.

Supernatural is on its way to a ninth season. And besides finding new, improbable ways to keep their universe fresh and untested, the show also seems to have realized the key to infusing the story with new life—by allowing its main characters, who started the show at ages 22 and 26, to grow up. And what that has meant for the eldest Winchester brother, Dean, is a glorious transformation from posturing, macho alpha dog to… well, something that is no longer capable of being pared down into a caricature. It’s been an awesome ride.

At the start of Supernatural, Dean Winchester is markedly a “type.” Doesn’t matter if you love the guy, it’s unavoidably true. Dean is the bad boy, the kind that pop culture tells us “women want and men want to be.” He’s an incorrigible flirt and prefers his ladies fast, he barks and scowls when he’s not in charge, and when you’re in his car, it’s his rules, and you listen to his music the whole way. He likes guns and beer and bad fast food, and you’d never catch him in a pair of hipster jeans. He makes fun of his little brother for being a nerd (i.e. “reading books”) and his bravado is right up there with Han Solo and Mal Reynolds. Sure, he’s a little goofy and mired in crippling feelings of worthlessness and doubt, but that’s not what he shows upfront. At first glance, Dean Winchester is a throwback of the decidedly cowboy variety.

Supernatural, Dean Winchester, Sam, John

But as the series continued, more subtleties were brought to the surface. We found that most of his machismo was a front, a lot of it learned from his father, a marine who raised his boys to be supernatural hunters. With a distant dad he was desperate to impress, Dean took on a lot of his father’s tastes, likely in hopes that he would be praised and noticed. John Winchester did love his sons, but he was never very good at being present emotionally for his kids, as we see bluntly when they reunite with him in the show’s first season. In an effort to feel closer Dean learned to love his dad’s music, treated his vintage car like a person (to be fair, the Impala is their home), wore his leather jacket, and followed John’s rules to the punctuation.

But Dean Winchester is not very much like his father, and as the show went on, we were carefully shown the dichotomy between them. In fact, once John passed, the show diverted a lot of effort into deconstructing the Great Myth of Papa Winchester. It is an act that Supernatural is still busy with, as more of Sam and Dean’s family heritage comes to the forefront and we find out how little John knew about the world he threw his sons into. We learn that Dean is far more like his mother, who came from a family of hunters, and that John’s own missing father was a Man of Letters, a group that busied themselves with the study of all things that go bump in the night. Dean mimicked his dad because he was present, but had he been raised with his mother around, he likely would have felt no need (not to mention that John would have undoubtedly been a better parent if Mary had lived). John’s death is the start of Dean’s road to adulthood, to becoming a person who has to make his own decisions without guidance and pave his way in the world.

Supernatural, Dean Winchester, Sam

But part of being an adult is wrapped up in still fulfilling the single most important order his father ever gave him: Taking care of Sammy. With John away on hunts, driven by revenge and grief, Dean was always the primary caretaker of his little brother Sam, essentially filling both parental roles all throughout his childhood. What is fascinating about having this responsibility thrust on him so early in life, though, is that it carves out the core of Dean’s character—the compulsive need to take care of the people who matter in his life, no one more than Sammy. He expands that impulse to include more people every year, to the point of ignoring his own health and happiness.

It isn’t hard to figure out why he keeps at it, either—his familial instinct seems to be one of the main things keeping him and his brother alive. Dean’s true strength isn’t to drink-and-drink-and-lead-and-fight but to love the people in his life so fiercely that they cannot let him down. The show has a history of characters overthrowing mind-control and demonic possession (something that is practically impossible to do in nearly every other instance, and Sam had it doubly hard because he was possessed by Lucifer) because Dean loves them so much that they can’t bear to hurt him. It happens to his father, to his brother, to Bobby, and most recently to Castiel. We see the angel brainwashed to kill thousands of simulacra, all of them very real, but when it comes time to murder Dean, one honest plea of “I need you—we’re family” stays Cas’ hand.

Supernatural, Dean Winchester, Castiel

Doesn’t quite sound like your typical hyper-masculine-fueled Fast and Furious rodeo anymore, does it?

With Dean’s heart in the right place and John’s shadow no longer looming, Supernatural also made moves to tackle the surface attributes that painted Dean as a cliché and drown them. When season three antagonist Bela sizes Dean up in a tux, he huffily tells her not to objectify him, which at least lets us know that he’s clear on the act of objectification and the ways in which he also participates in the practice. His self-loathing eventually becomes more prevalent, leading to a personal awareness that keeps him evolving. When Dean finds himself the prey of a fear sickness in the episode “Yellow Fever,” he blurts out all sorts of uncomfortable truths to his brother, including the admission that he knows he annoys Sam, that his taste in music is limited, that he drives too fast. He doesn’t rid himself of those habits, but they are no longer the hallmarks of his person, and we watch that transition germinate over the years.

As it turns out, Dean is the better keeper of nerdy pop culture references—last season he memorably explained to Sam that no, the angel Metatron was not Megatron the Transformer—so calling his brother the geek in the family is an argument of semantics at this point. He happens to think Dirty Dancing is a fine film because, you know, Patrick Swayze is in it. (Do Ghost and To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything get a pass too, then?) We learn that he’s a damn good cook where Sam had been sure he’d never stepped foot in a kitchen. We see him make a home for himself and start what he refers to as “nesting” once they move into the newly discovered Men of Letters bunker. While Dean in earlier seasons reacted to being hit on by gay men with an awkward “Yeah, I don’t bat for your team,” the last man to try moves on Dean Winchester… kind of flattered him. In fact, he seemed put out that the guy had been lying to him to get information. Spending his nights in bars trying to pick up ladies holds less appeal than it did before. He’s still not a fan of salads, but he knows it’s good to eat one once in a while. In short, his priorities have clearly shifted; he’s an adult. He’s still gruff, still capable, still tougher than titanium, but no longer feels the need to project socially-typified masculine cues to prove himself. He’s more comfortable in his own skin.

Supernatural, Dean Winchester, Sam

In short, he’s a great role model for anyone concerned about what it means to “behave like a man.” Because Dean Winchester proves that there are no boundaries to that definition, and does it by carefully deconstructing every damaging stereotype that Hollywood still loves to lay on thick. He’s got that Steve McQueen swagger, that Paul Newman charm, that John Wayne no-nonsense… but he’s also a loving, nerdy, dedicated, annoying mass of insecurities and hopes. Because he’s a human being, and that’s how we roll.

So season nine can bring it on this fall. Supernatural has kept their family together by keeping fans rooting for their wayward brothers. And with development like the kind Dean Winchester has seen, it’s hardly surprising that we do.

Emily Asher-Perrin also has Steve McQueen swagger. You can bug her on Twitter and read more of her work here and elsewhere.

1. kelios
Great look at Dean's history and growth, but you got a couple of things wrong. It wasn't Dean that broke Naomi's hold on Casstiel, it was the angel tablet. That's confirmed by Naomi in a later episode.

Dean was, and was intended to be, made uncomfortable by golem guy (I can't remember his show name, only his real name doh). Jensen confirmed at the recent Jus in Belo con in Italy that the entire scene was created by Ben Edlund for exactly that purpose.

I do love that Dean is growing and dealing with some of his issues. I especially love that he made it abundantly clear that Sam is FAR AND AWAY the most important person in his life and that he won't put anyone or anything (especially an angel or vampire) before Sam. Ever. That was one of the most beautiful and touching scenes we've had between Sam and Dean, and I can't wait to see more of the same next season :)
2. dogstar
Terrific article. Thanks for writing it... and for taking Supernatural seriously.
3. Tawrens
You're wrong Kelios because Cas stopped trying to kill Dean & turned to pick up the tablet meaning her hold was broke before he even touched the tablet. Dean putting Sam ahead of all others is sad not good cause once Sam has a family or dies for good what does Dean do? Also Cas name is Castiel but the closed captioners show it as Cass when using nickname when it should be Cas because someone is in error.

Also I wish people would stop continuing Sam's prejudice about John. John left Mary in bed so finding her killed in the nursery leaves 1 conclusion. She died cause she interupted someone in the nursery & they weren't above killing her for it. John hunted to protect Sam and Dean. Revenge for Mary an after thought.
4. Riotnrrd
Right, because choosing his brother over CLOSING THE GATES OF HELL FOREVER shows a lot of maturity and growth, and not insane amounts of selfishness. I'm a fan of the show, but that was nothing but "well, we can't do that, because then the show can't keep going."
5. hlnkid
Great read! And thanks for the positive outlook on Dean. So many fan sites just bash the writers for the lack of a Dean story...but Dean's story is and always has been two things...Pure bred hunter and love of family. Nothing defines Dean more than his absolute need to look after the people he loves and cares about, being Sam, Bobby, Cas, Lisa, etc. It is what Dean is and you can't take it away from him. The end scene with Sam and Dean to the S8 finale was most evident of that if any scene ever was. He's a complex, but simple character when you break him down and Jensen has played every aspect of him to perfection.
6. Fangasm
Interesting take on the most fascinating television character I've ever encountered. My own review of the season finale also focused on the characters' humanity, and how much of their development plays out around the importance of relationship (and why the finale made me run out of tissues...)

Here's to a few more seasons of character development - who knows where it will take the boys!
Noneo Yourbusiness
7. Longtimefan
It is a very entertaining show because of the character development.

The writers have done a remarkable job at building a world in which an adventure is possible and can evolve into a bigger event (or series of events) but have also chosen to evolve the characters as well.

The actors however have made what was merely possible trancend to mezmerizing..

I will admit that sometimes the show's story is not as engaging to me as the actors performing their craft. The connections they create between characters on the show are more nuanced than I have seen on many other shows.

In a way I am glad the show had such a long run and in a way I am looking forward to the closing arc.

Seriously, there are only so many apocolypi one pair of brothers can avert. :)

Plus part of the growth cycle should be that the characters are able to move on from being hunters to being regular folks and enjoy the world which they have saved so many times.

This is a great article on how charater development in a show is a very good thing. Thank you.
8. Peter J4
Misha Collins confirmed at Jus in Belo that it was Dean who broke the control, not the tablet.

Jensen said the bar scene was a "manly heterosexual guy," "thrown off his game," so the description matches what the review says, at least to me, as it never says he was bi or flirted back, etc.

I'm actually happy that Dean decided to stop the cycle of people killing themselves for the sake of the world. It usually just makes things worse. I wish they'd realized this before it got so far, but I still would rather see Dean, Sam, and the people in their lives stop having to kill themselves for a grand plan which usually backfires.

Thank you for this article. Usually when people talk about Dean's story they talk about how they miss when he was some type of parody of a macho man, which he hasn't been in a very long time, if he ever was. I don't want to see a man who is around 35 or 36 doing what he did when he was in his mid-20s. Dean has really tried to mature this season, and while he does backslide, that's very true to life. It's a delicate, believable balance.
9. Melynda
I only started watching Supernatural this past December on a whim to watch the first episode on Netflix just to say I gave it a shot and be done with it. I was hooked almost immediately and caught up on the series completely two weeks later. The Evolution of Dean is quite probably one of the best things about the show and one of the things that keeps me watching. Dean is my favorite because he has so much to offer as a character and his layers never seem to end and his love for his family - blood and otherwise - is one of the most heartwarming things on the show, co-dependency notwithstanding. Dean wouldn't be the lovable hunter he is without Jensen Ackles who knows the character so well by now, he plays him to dorky perfection.

I was originally just going to comment that Dean is awesome, which is accurate but too simplistic for Dean Winchester.
Dean Winchester's veil of machismo was penetrated (and I use that word deliberately) during the third episode of the first season. In _Dead In The Water_ he behaved with great empathy towards a traumatized little boy. It was clear that Dean wasn't just trying to solve the mystery by getting clues from him. His sensitivity and ability to nuture were clearly demonstrated. Season 1 showed that Dean had been Sam's rescuer and protector from earliest childhood. In short...Dean Winchester was never one-dimensional.
Matt Hamilton
11. MattHamilton
What is truly tragic about Dean this season that just ended was, when they met their grandfather and learned of the men of letters and that they were meant to be just that, it showed that, because he time jumped and disappeared on John, everything changed. All of the unhappiness and machismo and torturing himself for the common good, or what he perceives to be the common good, could have all been different. The fact that they have actually done better for the world whilst having this unhappiness and torture only makes it doubly tragic. What could have been will never be, though it should have been. But what cannot be makes for a better future for everyone else.
12. Dean's #1 Fan
The tragedy of Dean Winchester is that he loves with his whole heart, but it goes completely unappreciated by those he loves, unless it's a life and death situation. Sam deeply resents his brother on a good day and blames him for his own flaws more often than not. In this latest finale, he lays all that resentment bare and then goes on to guilt Dean into daring to feel betrayed and abandoned time and time again and declares that he won't care about anyone else, once again rewarding Sam's selfish solipsm. When will we ever get an honest expression of the same kind of love from Sam to Dean, that doesn't come with the caveat of what Sam thinks is more important, namely himself.

I love Dean Winchester's character development, but that is not the same as having a storyline of his own. This character has been completely neglected by the writers since the end of season 5 and most of those beautiful character moments are just as likely to come from Jensen Ackles as they are from the writers.
13. Sara48
I've never loved a fictional character the way I love Dean Winchester. And I give most of the credit for that to Jensen Ackles who, more than the writing, has attempted to keep his character consistent and constant, sometimes even having to act against the writing to a degree and, IMO. That said, I don't mind seeing Dean cooking and caretaking at all, but that's not all he is or should be doing. I have to agree with Dean's #1 Fan-the character and the actor(even moreso) deserves a sl that emphasizes his importance in the supernatural world as more than just a hunter who is everyone else's "caretaker", too. And it would also be such a refreshing change to have a sl for Dean that focuses in part on how other characters appreciate Dean and the many attributes that he brings to the table; and more importantly, what the loss of Dean in their lives would mean and do to them, instead of it always being the other way around. After 8 seasons, it is past time for this, again IMO.
14. BrokenImages
I disagree with the last two comments, there have been many important storylines for Dean, including ones that explore his relations with other characters: with Lisa, with Benny, Bobby, and his exclusive relationship with Castiel. Plus I actually felt Sam had become almost secondary in this last season.
He went to Purgatory, he had a life without Sam... Dean was also the first to go to Hell and it was played so much more poignantly when he was brought back than when Sam came back all emo-like what with the soullessness and all that jazz. It was very much about being emotionally damaged after the "physical" tortures of the demons, and you can make sense of the rawness of his nerves and emotions for the last few seasons as being a result of that, a permanent damage that he'll never be emotionally secure enough to heal. In this sense, his character development is a result of the character's experience and storylines (which is as it should be).
Besides, he sacrificed himself for Sam back in season 2 already, so he may have seemed a one dimensional type if you weren't looking very closely (by which I mean if you were watching the show on your neighbour's TV from the building across the street), but he certainly always had the potential to become a much deeper character, which wasn't so clear with Sam at the beginning (still isn't). It does help that Jensen Ackles plays him so beautifully.
It might be more interesting to explore how Sam's become almost unlikeable... Maybe because while Dean's been doing all this growing up, Sam's still, or has gone back to, behaving like the teenage prat he was in episode 1.01? It's like outgrowing an old friend from school. All his experiences haven't changed him much. The only reason I still root for Sam at all is because season 8 was pretty much told in Dean's POV and you can't not empathize with the guy. Maybe this finale's final scenes will mean Sam's finally going to trust that his brother's looking out for him isn't patronizing distrust, and they can move on to a more balanced relationship... And let Sam get some character development of his own at last!
15. Kady
Dean did break the hold on Cas, Misha confirmed it at the Rome Con. Cas hadn't even touched the tablet when he stopped, it was Dean telling him he was family and that he needed him that broke through. Also Dean put Cas above everything – including Sam – in Purgatory. There is room in Dean's heart for all the people he loves.
16. Kate 2
This is a really good and thoughtful read: thank you.

Just re the first comment: it was crystal clear that it was Dean who broke through to Cas – Cas stopped before he touched the tablet, as several people here have pointed out. And yes, Misha has confirmed it was Dean who broke through Naomi's conditioning. Since Misha was there filming the scene and party to the writers' intent as well as the director's, I think he's the authority.
17. Eileen Salva
Dean broke the connection, Im sorry, Misha confirmed it buddy! :) I like this article!
Great article! Dean's brilliant character development was one of the best things about the great season 8. Why all the Sam hate in the comments, though? If anything, Sam's speech and ultimate choice to let go in the season finale only made me love him more...
20. Mikaylah
Great article! I have loved seeing the development that Dean has gone through the past 8 seasons. The relationships Dean creates are always important, to him and to the show. He loves fiercely and is incredibly loyal. I love that he is complex and more than the stereotypical macho man. I wish Jensen didn't seem so uncomfortable discussing Dean's emotional vulnerabilities, but alas. I think the writing and acting speaks for itself.
21. lewishblove
This was one of the most well written articles on the Supernatural Series, and Dean's character development I've ever read. Bravo!
22. Zaphura
oh for God's sake. to all the people saying that Dean didn't break Naomi's control, I would like you to consider the cast's statements about that issue. they have CONFIRMED that Dean broke the connection. if that wasn't the case then as soon as Cas lost the tablet he would have been back in Naomi's control.
23. AndieR
Great read. For me, Dean Winchester has been a fascinating study in the deconstruction of conventiontional masculinity since Season 1, but that's really come into its own in the last few seasons. It has nothing to do with his sexual orienation (volumes could and have been written about Dean's sexuality in every direction, but I'm content to watch how the show plays out in that regard) and everything to do with watching the story of a man learning to dig out his authentic self beneath the years of Stockholm Syndrome and trauma that growing up with an abusive alcoholic ex-Marine father heaped upon him.

The reality is, as the show and Dean himself have made explicit at various times during its run, that John Winchester forced Dean to be a surrogate mother/spouse/ feminized (in his view) caretaker role while simultaneously forcing him into as many hypermasculine tropes as he could think of and rewarding him only for being as much like him as possible. This would do a serious number on anyone's head and I think the writers and the actor who plays Dean all realize this. Watching Dean face and resolve that harmful, abusive dichotomy over the years has been a unique experience for me as a viewer. The show has really benefited from having Jensen Ackles in the role, who has give him a level of nuance - and allowed the writers to plumb depths - that probably wouldn't otherwise be there.

I honestly think Dean Winchester is an iconic character, destined to be analyzed and talked about in college classrooms like Buffy, Superman and other similar figures for years to come.
Jan Grilanc
24. DrRoxo
"...rooting for their wayward brothers."
I see what you did there! Now I've got the song stuck in my head. Thanks? :)
25. Sophia
Sam has been so gouged and stripped by evil that he's more demon than human and will never be the same again. Dean is the only thing keeping him human, keeping alive that part of him that's still good. As others have said, Dean loves with his whole heart, soul, body, mind, so he can do nothing less than his all when it comes to Sammy. He is becoming more pure, while little Sammy, who was pure, is becoming more tainted. Sam will kill Dean, and in a Christ-like move, it will save the world. Dean is the man. I will miss the show when it takes a bow and makes its exit.
Kerly Luige
26. Celebrinnen
This is the part where I wanted to write something deep and and thoughtful and contributional to the whole discussion. But, as usual when anyone mentions this show, I can utter only one thing:


*Breaths. Pulls herself together. Sort of*

I actually really, really like Sammy as well. Just ... not quite as much as Dean. All the facets Jensen has shown of him ... Aaah, gotta love the guy (L).
27. Yim
Emily Asher-Perrin nailed it. Dean is a remarkable character for this generation, which is letting go of the belief in old school hypermasculinity. Even if our fathers didn't live up to it, they probably felt bad about not being "real men".
Dean is such a perfect metaphor of how our generation is sorting out that old bill of goods, that men can only be tough, that they can't be nuturers at heart, that you have to choose between being nuturing and protecting. But it's dawning that it's an impossible standard to live up to.

No wonder fans over-identify with Dean.
I've wondered why SPN fans are so devoted. Besides over-identificaion, I think Dean becomes a fan's new male authority figure. Would it be a surprise if SPN fans had "father issues", and find a TV character who fills that place in their heart a little? But Dean is modeling male authority too, and so is Sam, Cas, and Bobby. Authority issues even explains fans segments like the military, because enlistment probably means attraction to an extremely authoritative/heirachial environment. I've seen more women with authority issues than men. It's not just the hotness of the male cast.
---ends pop psychology
28. LAF
DEAN! Great article about the greatest TV character I've seen yet.

I've read so many meta reflections on him over the years. He is one of the most complex and fascinating characters, with endless fan insights into him. And even now I'm not sure how much was written in, and how much Jensen Ackles brings into the performance.
29. Billie Doux
Wonderful article. Absolutely wonderful. I love Dean and I've loved him for years. He's a complex, compelling character, and you wrote so well about *why*.
30. Jennifer K. Oliver
Thanks for this terrific article! You've articulated why Dean still works so well, if not better, for the show.

Even if I didn't enjoy the SPN storylines anymore (which I do) I would still watch for Dean, and maybe a couple of the other characters. I also think his development has been a steady progression and quite subtle at times, rather than a sudden about-face. While they still manage to give glimmers of the old, macho Dean, nowadays it's more of a nostalgic nod or used for humour.
31. kaz1
Thank you so much Emily for a great review on Dean's emotional growth over the seasons. I for one was worried that he had devolved to a thermometer holding tray wielding nursemaid whose only role was to be Sam's keeper. But looking at this review has shown me that he has in fact evolved.

PS your age is showing ;) Steve McQueen & Paul Newman (do the younguns even know who these men are! love it)
John Massey
32. subwoofer
Yay! Finally this show is getting some props... it's only been nine seasons after all. All the ghosts and ghouls and vampires etc. and it isn't an annoying tween show like all those other vampire series.

Deano- where to begin... Well, the guy had no choice but to grow up, he's been to hell an purgatory, and has had to wear the same clothes for several years straight, that is bound to change a man. Bobby has also put his stamp on Dean.

As serious as Dean wants to be, lets face it, he is the comic relief of this show, why else would the script writers give him so many one liners? And yes, Dean has grown up, but he still gets nostalgic when they are given a case that involves strippers.

The real secret behind this show being so good and lasting nine seasons? Dean is Batman.

Emily Asher-Perrin
33. EmilyAP
Hey, everyone! Thanks for all your thoughts! Love the insights that continue to come in here; Dean understandably strikes a chord with so many people.

@AndieR - I think you're right about Dean being a great character for classroom discussion, much in the same manner as Buffy, etc. He has such a distinct arc as a character, and so many different aspects that can lead to deeper discussions on masculinity, class structure, families, mythological heroism and much more.

@Celebrinnen - I think the first couple drafts of this article were basically just "DEEEAAAAAANNNN" as you said. It took a couple tries to be more coherent. ;-)

I do love Sam too, but in matters of personal indentification I think it's easier for most audience members--me included--to relate to Dean. Though I do think Sam sort of deserves his own examination in regard to his struggle to "be good." Hmm...

@kaz1 - Haha! I actually watch a lot of classic films, but I'm always so tickled when I come off older--My day is made! :-) I do wish more young folks watched films that came out before their birthdates; not knowing who McQueen and Newman are is such a depressing thought...

@subwoofer - I mean, they kind of have a Batcave now, so the comparison is totally apt!
34. monkeyfunky1
Even since the beginning of this show I have seen a lot of myself in Dean Winchester's character. I was only a teenager when I started watching it but before reading this case study, I didn't have any idea that alcohol or chaotic home situations could so drastically affect someone's life. ( I love this character who has been molded and broken and scalded by the world, because it's so real to what some people go through everyday. So often people care so much about others and have to grow up nurturing everyone else, have a harsh exterior and act like everything is okay, but they're not. I just want to give Dean Winchester a hug. I enjoy seeing his character progression, it helps me take a good look at who I am becoming myself. Dean Winchester is a righteous man.
Dhaibat Mukherjee
35. Dhaibat
Great article.Thanks for such a refreshing look at Dean that shows the character's growth curve.
36. The Effect
That's... one way of looking at at it, I suppose... A little reachy and over-thought, but it's an interesting analysis, anyway.

Personally, I always found Dean's "transformation" to be really annoying. To be fair, part of that is in the entire show, not just him; after a while, and too short a while, it felt like they were pushing the whole idea behind the show way too much. In terms of character development for Dean, that meant stripping him away of everything that made him charming to watch. And then it started to happen with Sam, and the whole dynamic became half a headache to behold.

Which isn't to say I don't like Supernatural. It's just one of those things that always seems to hang frustratingly in between worth it and not. Made even more frustrating by the knowledge that if any show can fix its issues effectively, it's Supernatural. I don't believe I will regret betting into it by the time the series ends; even if the writers have done a considerable amount of stuff I don't like, I feel confident they won't mess up the ending. But I wish the ride to that point... and the one we're at now... had been more enjoyable.

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