How Supernatural’s Sam & Dean Compare To John & Mary

You’ll never look at Sam and Dean’s family dynamic the same way after The Winchesters. Sam and Dean Winchester each inherited traits from both their mother and father but, if you absolutely had to pick, Dean is probably closer to John, while Sam shares more in common with Mary throughout Supernatural. The older brother not only worships his dad, he shares John’s relentless dedication to hunting and adopts the same embittered attitude, affording little mercy toward his opponents. Sam, meanwhile, is more emotionally mature, has a larger empathy tank, and hunts with reluctance, all of which sits closer to Supernatural‘s depiction of Mary.

The Winchesters flips that script by highlighting how similar Dean Winchester is to a young Mary Campbell, and how Sam Winchester has echoes of his father as an aspiring hunter. In The Winchesters episode 2, Mary proves far too headstrong for her own good as she stubbornly railroads John, Lata and Carlos into following her lead. Mary’s determination to kill the monster and find her father casts a red mist over her judgment – something Dean was guilty of numerous times during Supernatural. By the time The Winchesters episode 2 is done, it’s clear the Scooby Gang were led to Topeka by a villain associated with the Akrida, not Samuel Campbell as Mary believed. Just like Dean, she plows headfirst into danger despite the red flags – especially where family is involved.

How Young John Winchester Is Similar To Sam

The parental parallels go both ways, as Drake Rodger’s young John Winchester strikes the same chord as his future youngest son, Sam. The Winchesters‘ John is unsure of his place in the world, desperate to prove himself, filled with self-doubt, and leaving the one parent who’s still alive under a cloud of angst. This is essentially how Supernatural introduces Jared Padalecki’s Sam Winchester in season 1 – feuding with his father, still devastated over his mother, pursuing a path his dad disapproves of, and wracked with inner conflict.

Young John also shares Sam’s softer touch. When Lata was feeling anxious about her first hunt in The Winchesters‘ pilot episode, “Soldier Boy” took time to reassure her, promising, “Maybe we could be nervous together.” It’s a line that could’ve come straight from Sam Winchester, who’d always make an effort to calm those who felt scared in Supernatural (except when he didn’t have a soul, but that’s a pretty good excuse to be unfriendly).

The Winchesters Shows How John & Mary Change

How is it that John shares more in common with Sam and Mary shares more in common with Dean in The Winchesters, but the reverse is true in Supernatural? The change-around speaks to how John and Mary both evolve between their fresh-faced prequel years and their turbulent parenthood era. John’s portrayal in The Winchesters is largely consistent with Supernatural‘s time travel episodes, and that continuity all but confirms it was Mary’s death that changed him from the kindhearted aspiring hunter in The Winchesters to the father who left his kids alone in motel rooms while he chased monsters.

Conversely, Mary’s evolution seems triggered by a blend of maturity and motherhood. Despite her obvious Dean-isms during The Winchesters, Mary at least apologizes to Carlos and Lata further into the episode – something their reaction confirms is new territory for young Ms. Campbell. Dean took considerably longer than two episodes before undergoing that kind of personal growth, so it’s no surprise that by the time she’s an adult woman with children of her own, Mary’s similarity to her hot-headed eldest son has diminished.

The Winchesters continues Tuesday on The CW.

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