Dean’s authority over Sam?

Now having read many a thread across on IMDb this one the other day sparked my imagination. I kept thinking about this a lot and was mulling it over quite a bit. Dean Throwing Punches was the thread title. As siblings this relationship is a rather difficult call. It’s not very often you come across a sibling being the parent of his younger brother. We know how this story progresses and have our own opinions on it. But what made me think was Dean’s overall responsibility on reprimanding Sam and his general authority over him? Being the eldest does that give him the right to thump his brother?

When the Levee breaks Season 4
Tanked up on demon blood, wasn’t really Sam

Sex and Violence Season 4
The siren was talking – Supernatural influence

Metamorphosis – Season 4
Addicted to demon blood – Sam expressed that he was saving people and this wasn’t enough

You can’t handle the truth – Season 6
Sam was soulless and said he needed help Dean thumped the crap out of him any way.

The girl next door Season 7 
Accidental, he explained he left a note.

Southern Comfort – Season 8
Under the influence of a monster

John Winchester was their father and not for many years sadly. We know Dean took on his role and took care of Sam without hesitation or command it came naturally to him. Naturally when children do something wrong it comes back to the parent in charge to tick the child off when something has occurred which should not have. So the child knows right from wrong. As we begin to examine the boys up bringing and have discussed issues many moons over we know how the relationship pans out, and who is the father figure, and yes whom wheres the trousers. Dean is the elder and as far as siblings go considering the time they spend in each others company what happens when Sam does step out of line. What does Dean do, what does his instincts tell him to do? Being natural hunters these boys know how to handle their fists. They know how to land that punch where it hurts the most. But I often think has Dean been right to lay that blow on Sam. Sometimes I think Sam has asked for it, and others not so much. So does Dean have that full responsibility to thump Sam and hit him for an action he doesn’t always approve of. Sam isn’t a little boy any longer, he’s a grown man with feelings of his own. So does Dean have that right to thump a grown man, his own brother? My own brother has never laid a finger on me, and have found this so hard to watch at times when Dean has walloped Sam in the past.

In this thread we also discussed why Sam rarely hits back. Many couldn’t work this out. I found it to be respect that Sam doesn’t relay that punch. He’s always looked up to Dean, and idolized him. Has anyone raised a hand to their own father? So looking at it from Sam’s point of view, being hit by his brother what does that do to a man? Where does Sam gain strength from Dean hitting him and not fighting back. Is there something stopping him from laying down the law and rebelling just like he did with his own dad. Sam’s anger has always been an issue which is why I am surprised his thoughts and hotheadedness haven’t lashed out and returned the blow.

So how do you feel when the boys fight, and they really get angry with one another. Do you feel Dean has that right to punch Sam if he’s angry with him over something? How do the boys relate to one another when their opinions don’t match and they disagree. Living with each other in close proximity day in day out, must have its down sides as well as up’s. And being grown men and being in unusual circumstances does this affect them more? Would Dean thump Sam in the same way if John was still around? What damage has been done, that can never be undone? Fight scenes are powerful, and they hurt us in many ways physiologically so is Sam a better person for being thumped by his brother has Dean built a better person in his brother by using his fists?  How do fights usually end in this relationship, canon has shown us their journey, and its not always a bed of roses. The scent hasn’t always been so fragrant. How do you feel about Dean thumping his brother? Brother on brother, not Father on son?


5 thoughts on “Dean’s authority over Sam?

  1. It is a bitter reality that Dean and Sam are soldier in constant combat. Dean is the Sergeant in charge to leading the fight, providing for Private Sam between battle. This rank in command cannot change as long as this war last. Captain John raised soldiers. Dean was his sergeant trained in hard lessons of fighting, obedience and respect. Sam was a civilian to be protected and provided for at all cost until Sam was recruited as a private as the war continued. Sam deserted rank when left to go to college. Not only was Sam’s action dishonorable, but also placed John and Dean in dire danger in battle. When Sam returned to ranks the same rules of military order continued because this is the only way an army can function.

    Civilian considerations are secondary to the family life of the brothers until the unending war is won. So Dean paste on a smile and keeps fighting while crying out to his Captain why he was born to this life and Sam was drafted in a life were personal wants and needs are secondary and victory is ranked of first importance.


  2. I think as Women we cannot fathom the more physical aspect of the boys relationship. Not that we females don’t get physical when the need arises, but we do tend to be more talkative about our issues. Guys seem to work out their frustrations and beefs physically. I have three younger brothers and one sister. Me and my sister had many verbal fights, more than physical fighting. While my brothers tended to be more physical with each other. I noticed that while my sister and I had a real row about one thing or another we tended to stew and carry it over into a couple days of hurt feelings and pent up frustrated anger. While my brothers had a scuffle and would call a truce, and be back to playing in a hour, like nothing was ever the matter.
    I agree. I think the whole process of growing up is hard on kids any way. Particularly in big families where you have many siblings. I only have one brother in some ways I am thankful. We are like chalk and cheese. But we have similar interests and do get on. But we didn’t as kids always fighting. He was up to no good and I always used to dob him in, like using the phone and drinking the booze when my dad continually told him not too. He even once put a lock on the phone years ago so he couldn’t use it. Then he found a way just like Dean to unlock it with a paper clip. Oh those days!! He used to get up to some mischief. Not bad stuff, silly things really. But yes we always make up pretty quickly. 🙂

    Thanks for leaving a comment, appreciated.
    Love Aunty B xxx


  3. The physical altercations between the boys started in the premiere episode of season 1 when Dean slammed Sam against a wall when dared to state their mother was dead and never coming back. After that episode, I think Dean has been reluctant to fight with Sam except when either he
    or Sam was under the influence of something supernatural. In “You Can’t Handle the Truth” Dean
    thought that Soulless Sam was something other than human and knew that this being that looked like Sam had been lying to him since his arrival at Lisa’s house. Dean was clearly provoked during that fight. Sam was physically stronger than Dean when he was Soulless and when he was hopped up on demon blood. Sam always fought back physically, but Dean usually attacks with psychological warfare that hurt Sam the most. I agree that Sam and Dean have a very complicated relationship that straddles the fence between parental, sibling and hunter partners and they have come a long way since season 1. However, Dean holds a lot of power over Sam. I know a lot of people believe that it is Sam that holds the power, but Dean is clearly the person in control. As such, Dean’s authority over Sam is clearly obsessive. Dean wants to protect Sam and with everything Sam gas gone thru, I can understand why. But Sam is 32 or 33 years old now and Dean still treats him as if he is some fragile child. Sam tries to assert some independence but it is hard to maintain when Dean is always reminding him how far from normal Sam is. Sam usually backs down and that must be hard on his ego. The Sam from season 1 as compared to Sam in season 9 is sooooooooo different. His spirit is nearly broken and he seems so sad now. I know the evolution of the character based on his history demands that change but it is still so hard to watch sometimes. Dean, in comparison, is a bit more rough around the edges, but he is basically the same. We discussed before how the writers have refused to change Dean so I will not go down that path again.


    1. I could not watch the YouTube clips on my iPad so my comments are based on my recollections of fights between the brothers.


    2. I agree about how complicated their relationship is but I sort of disagree about how Dean has changed. Hes a little more empathetic than in the first few seasons. Hes a little more capable and willing to state his feelings about things or to at least show those feelings. I say this because when the series began, I mostly disliked him. I just thought he was a heel, a cad and a charmless jerk. As the character became more complex, I really started to love him. He has changed but the changes are very subtle and complex.

      Based on what you’ve said about Sam I think hes right to want to leave the hunting life. I too can sort of see how the life is slowly wearing him down. Compared to first season Sam, this one seems much more relaxed but there’s also so much seriousness in him and his soul seems more than a little tired. I wonder and worry about his mental state and he doesn’t bounce back emotionally the way he did when he was younger.Or is this just a consequence of age? I hope that’s all it is and not something more. His resignation to Death in the first episode this season says something about his mental state that saddens me. I very much got the impression from him that hes ready to go home.

      As for Dean hitting him., the situation is a lot more complicated than a father /son or brotherly relationship. In some peoples definition its very much an abusive relationship as Dean has hit him from time to time without supernatural influence. Sam has only ever hit back while under supernatural influence and that makes me wonder.

      They were both raised to respect John and Sam transferred whatever respect he held for their father to Dean. I think this is why Sam goes along with him. Its just the way its always been. That is their dynamic and the two don’t fight it. Every now and then Sam takes charge (Mystery Spot, Plucky Pennywhistle) and those episodes are jarringly noticeable. They’re also two of my favorites.


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