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"Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cakehole."

I’m sure we all can agree that this line is one of the most popular lines of the whole series. A line everybody knows by heart. You know what it also is?

Dean’s and Sam’s relationship in a nutshell.

Jensen said it himself, that when he read that line in the script, it was the point when he really understoof of what kind the brother’s relationship is. I admit though, that back then it was most probably alluding much more to their ~playful/carefree relationship that consisted of a lot of teasing. In hindsight though, looking at that short exchange, it also kind of already captures what has grown to become an ever more complicated and toxic relationship that came to a head in S9 with Dean (once more) taking away Sam’s agency. Though this time in a bigger and more messed up way than ever before and with that decision leading to a complete fallout in their relationship (which is needed though, so they can form a better relationship).

So, the once kind of sweet funny line from the first season has turned sour by now, because Dean doesn’t just pick the music (and expects Sam to tag along), he also picks everything else as well (made decisions that weren’t his to make), plus: He also drives the car.

And you know - I actually might want to start a multiple part meta on the Impala alone and all the things it stands for and what it says about certain relationships or state of mind, etc. because WHOA, there is so much to talk about, but I am getting off track - that is the perfect metaphor for their relationship as well. Hell, Carver himself even said it head on this season: Dean drives the myth arc.

He not only drives the myth arc though, he has always been driving the story, he has always been the one behind the wheel. And you know who has most of the time always been in the passenger seat, maybe giving driving directions at best, but ultimately most of the time completely unable to steer and influence to make a left or a right turn with the car? Sam.

Sam has most of his life not been the one to drive his own destiny, write his own story (Stanford being the exception and the times he ran away, as well as brief periods in S4 and S6). He’s been stuck in the passenger seat. Kind of like Jesse Pinkman in “Breaking Bad”, who finally was sitting behind the steering wheel in the series finale. Sam’s life has always been limited, influenced, controlled and he - symbolically speaking - was never able to learn how to drive properly by himself, because he was never given the possibility, the tools. And maybe that is exactly the reason why when he had the car and sat in the driver’s seat in S4 or in S8 that he was completely overburdened to know where to go. In S4 it lead him to trust Ruby, in S8 he was drifting until he found Amelia.

It’s time for Sam to drive, to turn on ignition (maybe even in his own car since the Impala has become so heavily burdened by everything that went wrong in the Winchester’s lives) and with that relegating his brother on the passenger seat. He might be better seated there anyway if an empty bottle of Jack in the morning is any indication…

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