Dean didn’t have as much story as Sam or Castiel, so this will probably be shorter.
On the one hand, I’m glad the show runners didn’t go with the obvious route of killing Lisa (and possibly Ben) off. Unfortunately by season’s end one is almost wishing for a ceiling BBQ.
It’s not like Dean had nothing to work with. Living with a family had lots of story potential:
- What if Dean set up a routine with Lisa where he could silently send texts if he didn’t, she was alerted they had been knocked unconscious? We could have had a scene where she shows up and rescues the boys from their usual “tied up by a monster.”
- What if Ben rode around and learned the hunting ways with the brothers? What if he liked it? What if we saw scenes where he was hunched over a table, learning about lore from uncle Sam?
- We know hunters operate a little extra-legally, what if we had a clip show where Dean and Lisa had to explain “things” to their tax accountant? It could have saved on budget and been hilarious.
- What if the boys operated from a home base instead of on the road? (Nah that would probably never happen in the show.) The house itself could have had a story arc. We could have watched an ordinary, suburban home transform into a copy of Bobby’s base over the season.
Those were just off the top of my head thinking about utilizing this set up. Instead the show goes on a very strange “segregation of the hunting life” motif as if hunting is what brings monsters into your world.
Dean: Lisa, I can’t bring this crap home to you.
What makes this motif so frustrating is that it goes completely against nearly every episode in the whole series, INCLUDING the one that introduced Lisa! Did Dean bring Changlings to her house the first time? Besides, Dean didn’t have to bring anything. It’s not like she’s completely ignorant about what goes on. Is it really that hard to say on the phone, “Honey, I’m a vampire now.”
It’s also out of character for Dean. Yes, I know some people will point out that Dean has always been a bit “reserved” and sometimes not very talkative. However in those instances it was always with an additional reason complicating the situation. He didn’t tell Sam about John’s final words because how do you tell someone you were ordered to [possibly] kill them? He told nobody about his time in Hell because who wants to share the worst moments of their afterlife? Or talk about how you tortured folks? Regardless of those instances, he’s never been one to try and separate his lovers from his work but rather the previous 5 years had shown that when Dean’s serious about a girl, when he wants them to join the family, they are aware of what is the family business. In Route 666 it’s revealed that he was serious enough about Cassie Robinson to tell her about his life. Jo Harvelle always knew about the life and was almost a serious romance. Lisa didn’t become serious with him UNTIL her exposure to the realities of the hunting life. Anna knew his whole secret and still accepted him. SAM was the brother who was always trying to separate hunting from love (unless it was a monster girl). He never told Jess and later on in the series he will avoid telling Amelia. It all culminates with Dean having their memories wiped in an insult to the audience. Lisa’s ultimate fate doesn’t just go against Dean’s character, but the very character of the show itself because the entire fundamental message of the show is “knowledge is power” (or “knowing is half the battle”).
This is why on the whole, I consider S6 such a fundamental failure for the show. When writing a long-form story, the creators should experiment and innovate, BUT you must maintain a solid, consistent core that connects it all together. Otherwise if you change everything, why then bother keeping the name? Why not just call it something else? S6 tried to innovate too much at one time without leaving the audience a solid anchor. If the brothers are going to change, then the show structure needs to be traditional. If the show structure is going to change, then the brothers need to be in character.
Next time, the remaining storylines of S6, why they failed as stories, then we’ll move on to S7.
Fun thought for today: What if Ben turns back up and starts dating Claire Novak?