I feel like this needs saying: Season 6 wasn’t stupid. Dean going to live with Lisa and Ben, trying to have a family – that wasn’t stupid either, or meaningless, or unnecessary. It was about adulthood, and what that means, what it really means.
I mean, I have to wonder if the negative reaction stems from the fandom’s fairly young demographic. Like – and let me be clear, I hate it when people say this – but maybe those fans were just too young to get it?
But they will.
Because, one day, your parents will die. Or worse: they won’t, and you’ll wish that they had. But they live, and you live, and you all must live with the knowledge that you’re not a kid anymore, that something has broken between you, something precious that was never meant to be saved, and nothing will ever be whole between you again.
They call it growing up, but maybe they should call it growing apart, for it’s the ties that bind that always unravel at the seams. And so we fall away from one another, no longer bound by the roles we play, the ones we were handed at the moment of birth, but as individuals, discrete and free.
Sam and Dean start Season 1 as boys and end Season 5 as men. But Sam at least has the luxury of martyrdom: He may become an adult, but he doesn’t have to live as one. Not like Dean.
And he struggles with what that means –as do we all. But one thing is true for everyone: One day, in between your parents dying or not dying, you realize it doesn’t really matter, because you’re an orphan anyway; and suddenly you realize you ache for a family of your own, something to fill the gaping mother and father-sized holes shredded into your heart.
And when that day happens, then and only then you will understand why Dean Winchester shows up on Lisa’s doorstep.
Maybe you’ll also understand why it was never going to work.
Partly because the families we make can’t fill the holes left by the families that left us behind: All they can do is to smooth over the edges and by the comfort of numbers make the loss more bearable.
But partly also because Lisa and Ben weren’t the family that Dean made. They were the one he forced himself into. And the reality is you don’t so much choose your new family as fall into it, the weight of inevitability bringing friends and lovers together, like planets tugged into line by the gravity of stars. Dean already had a new family, and the Braedens weren’t it.
But that doesn’t make his actions stupid, or meaningless, or unnecessary. And it doesn’t mean the story shouldn’t be told. Because even though some loves were never meant to last forever, you tell their stories anyway, because it’s their very impermanence that matters so much to the ones left behind. You tell these stories anyway, even though you know the ending, even though you see it coming from a mile away, because you know how it feels; because in the end, we are all orphans, straining toward the holes in our own hearts, filling them however we can.
After all, that’s what adulthood is all about.