Welcome to the first Sunday Moment Of Zen. Fans of The Daily Show will be familiar with the term, and yes, in a sense (A very large, plausible, clearly defined sense), this is exactly what they do. But, firstly, I have a little commentary about the Sunday Moment of Zen, and secondly, I’m also called John Stuart so there’s…y’know…that too.
Anyway let’s talk about Supernatural. There are two definitions of the show. This is the first;
Two brothers, both handsome and both tormented, travel the roads of America in their father’s ’67 Chevy Impala, fighting monsters and trying to track down the one that killed their mother and ruined their lives.
The second is this;
Two brothers, both handsome and both tormented, travel the roads of America in their father’s 67 Chevy Impala, fighting monsters and trying to track down the one that killed their mother and ruined their lives. They are accompanied on this journey across the underside of humanity by a rotating case of supporting characters including angels, demons, gods and monsters. As they travel, we learn more about how each of these men is uniquely damaged not just by their past but by their family, how the universe may possibly revolve around them, the true identity of God, the ethics of monster killing, whether fate or free will is what ultimately controls the universe and exactly which ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s hair metal bands have aged well.
It’s great, honestly it may be my favorite thing on television. It’s not perfect by any means, the show has taken 7 full seasons to begin to think about addressing the fact female characters are either evil, victims, evil victims, or doomed, but when it’s on form it’s absolutely phenomenal. This week’s moment, the end of season 3, is one of its finest hours.
Some context; Dean, the older brother, has sold his soul to save Sam, the younger brother’s life. He’s been given a year before the contract comes due and that year has played out across the entire season as the two brothers try and find a way to break the deal without sending Dean straight to Hell and Sam straight back to the grave. Now, on the last night of Dean’s year, they’re trying a last, frantic Hail Mary pass.
That is one of the single most brilliant, multi-layered pieces of acting I’ve seen in years. Look at everything that’s going on there;
-Dean doing the one thing he has left, giving the Devil the finger and belting out a couple of minutes of life affirming, crappy Jersey hair rock to give himself a boost and tell Hell what’s coming.
-Dean, realizing that his little brother is about to lose the last family member he has left, trying to give him a couple of minutes of fun and grace before it all ends.
-Dean, realizing that his little brother needs to be 100% if they have any hope of getting out of this, using humor to get Sam back on point.
-Dean, wearing his father’s jacket, driving his father’s car, being his father and steering Sam away from the emotional sharing that’s his default.
-Dean, wearing his father’s jacket, driving his father’s car, being a better father than his own ever was, putting his own terror aside to cheer his little brother up.
-Dean, clinging onto the beautiful image of ‘On a steel horse I ride’ as his identity, barreling his vintage car straight towards the end of his life.
-Dean, utterly utterly terrified and only letting himself feel that once he can see his little brother’s okay.
Almost everything you need to know about Dean Winchester, including how badly he sings, in under three minutes. That’s this Sunday’s moment of Zen.