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'Supernatural' stans, sit down. This article isn’t for you. Dean Winchester is the absolute worst protagonist. Here's why.

‘Supernatural’s Dean Winchester: All the reasons he’s the worst

Supernatural stans, sit down. This article isn’t for you.

This is for the people who’ve dared to dive down the hole that is Supernatural on CW, come out on the other side questioning what the hell you just watched, and hating Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) like a normal human being. 

The older of the Winchester brothers, Dean has always been the one more invested in the monster-hunting business than real life. Maybe that’s because he was the first kid John Winchester trained on the family business. Maybe it’s because he’s a sociopath and likes to murder. We’ll never be too sure. 

But one thing is for certain: 90% of the bad things that happen on Supernatural are Dean’s fault. How he has managed to die and come back to life as many times as he has left us beyond confused at this point, because the dumb things he does should’ve killed him permanently. Dean Winchester is the absolute worst protagonist. 

He fights with Sam like a child

Sure, it’s a realistic sibling dynamic. But when we’re watching the same old “Sam and Dean separate because they’re fighting” again and again, it gets old. And 99% of the time? Dean is the one who did something stupid, and Sam had to step up and be the mature one. 

He’s at least partially suicidal

The number of times this man has offered to die would normally have someone locked up in a psychiatric hospital and under close suicide watch. Yet in Supernatural, Dean is allowed to walk the streets until the next time he feels like offering himself up. There’s being selfless, and then there’s masochism. Dean is definitely in group two. 

Dean’s strange grudges against Sam

The Winchester family has a lot of issues. But even if we put aside the monster hunting and the dead mom, the way Dean treats Sam in the name of “getting even” is stupid. Sam tried to get out of the monster-hunting game when he went to college, yet now Dean holds a grudge against Sam for it and has abandoned him on several occasions because of it. 

Clingier than a velcro sneaker

Talk about abandonment issues. Granted, he learned these from John, but Dean cannot be on his own. Sure, maybe he has dark thoughts, and that plays into it. But the way he meets someone and automatically puts them on a pedestal until they fall is actually quite terrifying. 

His relationships are disgusting

No surprise, his love life is just as messy as his other relationships. Supernatural has a history with not properly treating its female characters right, and it starts with Dean. The guy can’t decide if he wants to be in a relationship or not, and then if he gets bored, he’ll drop his girlfriend like they never met. There’s nothing healthy about that. 

A temperament that could kill — and has

Anger issues galore. It’s so easy to upset Dean about literally anything, but he can’t even pretend to contain it. Maybe it’s his history with intense violence, but automatically he has to act. He’s not the kind of guy to let something go, he’ll beat you to death before he’ll admit defeat about anything. 

He’s learned nothing from his past

Maybe the worst mistake of his, but it feels like while Sam has been able to grow, Dean hasn’t. He’s still stuck in the same old mindset he’s been in since season one, minus the alcoholism. He’s still full of self-loathing and self-hatred, he’s too clingy to those around him, and he can’t control his emotions. What kind of hero doesn’t grow over time?

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  • This is probably the worst thing I’ve ever read and so damn inaccurate I could write 2 or 3 essays about it

    May 15, 2020
    • probably a bitter sam fan who wrote this

      May 15, 2020
  • they’re really letting Sam or Cas stans write articles?

    May 15, 2020
  • Bethany Wade (writer of this article), first of all stop being ableist (“hating Dean like a /normal/ person”). All you are showing is the extreme shallowness that your have as a person. I don’t know what type of bland protagonists you like, but the fact that you saw these issues with Dean /but/ not his development just demonstrates that you are a very incompetent judge of character. Miss child-at-heart, this was no hot take.

    May 15, 2020
  • What rubbish

    May 15, 2020
  • The writer of this article need to sit down and watch the whole series. You clearly dont know what you are talking about. If you want recognition for your works, I’m sorry honey but you wont get it. This is pure clickbait and the worst article ever.

    May 15, 2020
  • This is definitely written by someone who has not truly watched the show. Dean is not my favorite character but most of the stuff you have stated have been so completely flipped. You took parts of stuff he’s done and parts of him and made them out to be way worse and like there still bad when he isn’t like that anymore. Also your arrival is so opinionated it almost hurts how this got approved and put here.

    May 16, 2020
  • The point of the protagonist is to draw you in, you follow the journey, watch them overcome obstacles. Protagonists do not start perfect, otherwise what lessons do we learn? It helps to step back and take a more balanced view to see the bigger picture , look through the layers of the story and not get caught up in the superficial stuff and be judgemental.

    May 16, 2020
  • this is a poorly thought-out article written by someone who didn’t even attempt to understand the show or the character…. yikes

    May 16, 2020
  • What makes me the angriest is that you use his “partially suicidal” status as a reason that he’s “bad”. Way to be grossly ableist while dismissing a large group of fans, myself included, that identify with dean because we see our depressed selves in him. But I really believe you wrote this article for attention. Well—you got it.

    May 16, 2020
  • 👏👏👏 Finally someone who is sane and sees through him and his “heroic” acts.

    May 16, 2020
  • Jen is so right, the arguments laid out are poorly constructed and ill supported.
    An example of that is the blame statement of the character being a sociopath. Sociopaths do not generally love, empathise or feel remorseful ( yes this is not exhaustive, it’s mearly to show the level of assumptions made) Dean Winchester embraces all if those qualities, at the age of 26 he still mourns his dead mother, his father goes missing so he seeks the only remaining family he has . Why would a Sociopath do that?
    The grudge against Sam for going to college, first and most important, that was left behind in season 2, if you carry on watching, you’ll see that. Second to have a grudge against a sibling getting opportunities you didn’t have isn’t unnatural, however unfair it is to the other sibling, that’s just family life. No evidence was presented to demonstrate Dean Winchester left his brother over going to college, they simply haven’t seen each other when the series starts, but the phone is there and it works both ways, Sam could have initiated contact.
    Dean clings to his family. Yes, perhaps a little too much but it’s born of circumstances, he saw his mother die, his home burned down, his father dragged them across the USA with no place to put down roots or make lasting friendships and Dean is incapable of lying to his friends or potential love interests ( Cassie Route 666, he told her the family secret) so depends on his brother, but isn’t that a compliment to his brother and yet further evidence that he’s not a sociopath?
    The statement that Dean has disgusting relationship’s is untrue, his main love interests, Cassie and Lisa left him, see Route 666 and You Can’t Handle the Truth, Lydia, the Amazon had a one night stand to use his genes to procreate then left him.
    90 % of the bad is on Dean? That statement is blatantly erroneous, whist Dean did sell his soul to save his brother, he couldn’t have known at that point he was the first seal or that he was destined to be a vessel , at worst he was the one who lined up the dominoes , but he wasn’t wholly responsible, having knowledge of what he would enable crushed him( again not sociopathic, he takes his actions seriously). Dean did not break the last seal, neither did he let the leviathan free, or Lucifer the second time around,or cause the Angels to fall or set the Darkness free. Equal culpability applies to the people around Dean .
    The fights with Sam, whilst some have been childhood left over disputes , many occur because fundamentally the Brothers see things from different view points, each thinking their view point is correct and that they should be the lead. It comes out of poor or miscommunication, the ability to listen works both ways and has improved over 15 seasons.
    Lessons learned. It’s a complete fallacy to expect humans to always grow and thrive in a healthy way, when living in an unhealthy lifestyle, i.e. Hunting where every waking ( and sometimes sleeping) moment you expect to die. We know they will come back, but they don’t, so yes, sometimes it’s one step forward two back. Everyone has different coping mechanisms, who’s to say which are right? The mistakes are human, because despite numerous resurrections, they remain human.
    Dean has had a longer journey to make to finding himself, his childhood trauma was swept under the carpet, he had to care for Sam, he still cares for Sam, when Sam has doubts and fears, in all but name Dean is his parent as well as brother, this is not a normal family dynamic, yet he supports him as best he can and had done from the time their Dad ceased being a Dad and became a full time hunter. Does he always have the right answers ? No, but does Sam? No .
    There a lot in the back history we don’t know, we are still finding out unravelling layers, we don’t exactly know when it starts, but John goes away for long periods, but we know for certain in “Something Wicked ” they are alone and at risk, Dean’s primary directive is “look after your little brother” at the age of around ten or eleven, not himself and his brother. By Christmas 1991 they are alone and their Dad failed to show, Dean stepped up as best he could . In between keeping his brother safe and full time hunting age 16 Dean had little opportunity to develop who he was, he stood as the buffer between Sam and John, breaking up the fights, pulled into the hunter life with no choice it did damage to Dean’s better qualities, he can be obnoxious and defensive and angry, but he’s entitled to feel how he feels, allowing himself to feel things instead of tamping down is healthy, even if it can be hurtful to others, but never let it be said he doesn’t acknowledge that ” sublimation ” is his thing , or that he gets angry (season 15) that in and of itself is growing. Dean listens and discusses more now, even if he disagrees, for example he followed Sam to the British Men of Letters, against his better judgement because he believed in Sam( turned out badly but who was to know?) Dean also does apologize ( scarecrow) Dean admits the deals he made were wrong, but he still has work to do on esteem issues no doubt. Whilst stuck in the Hunter world the Winchesters have collectively made a boatload of mistakes, it’s bound to affect self esteem and both Sam and Dean need each other to stay grounded. Ying and Yang.

    May 17, 2020
    • thank you so much

      August 23, 2020
  • Never mind that this chick is obviously a sam Stan who has an irrational hate of a fictional character. Bethany Wade needs to educate herself about mental health issues. Having poor mental health doesn’t equate to being a bad person.

    May 17, 2020
  • Jen, you are correct. For any folks out there reading, beware, this article is factually incorrect, for example, the main women in Dean Winchesters life, Cassie , Lisa and the Amazon Lydia, all leave him. Neither is he responsible for 90% of what goes wrong, his family and friends are equally culpable if you wish to lay blame or hold anyone to account. However to do that is missing the point, these characters are on a journey to personal growth and on the archtype Hero’s Journey learng faith and trust in each other along the way. Clearly the writer has not understood what being a protagonists means and has failed to watch sufficient of the show to do her research properly and fails to offer evidence of her statements.

    May 17, 2020
  • If you watched the show properly you would know that dean is clingy because everyone in his life either leaves him or does and he wants to keep people he loves close and protect them so he knows that they are ok

    June 14, 2020
  • Who ever wrote this is clearly a Sam fan,Dean is clearly everyones favorite.
    Don’t get me wrong I like sam, but Dean is the best character in the show. He is caring, loyal, brave, and funny. He loves his brother, family and his friends.
    I always thought that Sam was annoying.

    June 17, 2020
  • I rewatched supernatural from the beginning recently (covid) Before Dean was my favorite, but now I don’t hate him but I do see a lot of things I dislike. I just hate how they always make him the hero and chosen one and how much he beats down his brother he supposedly loves. Sam stopped the apocalypse despite Dean constantly telling him to his face he couldn’t and didn’t believe in him. Dean gave him hell about his abilities even before the blood came in to play and said he was a monster. The second Dean got power in the slightest (mark of Cain) he went off the deep end. I know ppl will argue the mark did it to him but he chose to take on power without hearing the possible ramifications. Even the colt when they got it, It’s like Dean claimed it for himself. He gave Sam crap about being born one way and yet any power he got his hands (also demon knife) he took for himself and it went straight to his head. He broke the first seal, yes I know he was tortured but Sam broke the last thinking he was actually stopping Lilith and the apocalypse. Regardless of the blood drinking, if he could have killed her sober he still would have made the same mistake. No one mentions that dean had a hand in the apocalypse though, it was always blamed on Sam. When Sam had power he didn’t become a dick about it. He genuinely believed he was helping ppl and only when it was too late he saw the errors he made. Dean never let that go for a while. When Sam did the trials (after dean failed to kill the hell hound) Dean was against it unless it was him who could complete them. He finally got on board (think for the first time somewhat believed in his brother). Then he stopped him from finishing when we all know if the situation was switched he would have done it. Then tricking Sam, taking away his choice to die that resulted in Kevin’s death. Dean is really cruel to Sam and maybe it’s a big brother thing but he constantly demands to know everything about him, tells him what to do and then never drops things when Sam makes even the slightest mistake. Their deal about if one dies the other lives a normal life. Well Sam “died” and Dean lived a normal life, but when dean disappeared and Sam moved on Dean never dropped it. Again, I can see both sides of this cause dean still looked for him, but the first time Dean went to hell and came back he went off on Sam for bringing him back when he thought Sam did it. But when Sam didn’t do it he still got tormented about it. He demands everything of Sam but never gives him the same respect it’s always I don’t care what you think, some rant, or straight telling Sam he will do as he pleases and he calls the shots. The cruel trick when he made Sam believe Amelia was in danger knowing about Jess and how Dean would feel if that was Lisa all because he lied about Benny and then was afraid Sam would kill him. Well what about the time sam begged Dean not to kill his friend (kitsune) because she never killed until her child almost died and Dean did it anyway and lied about it because he thinks he’s always right. He didn’t even flinch when he saw the child saw everything just threatened the kid too. Or when Dean was whining again about Sam to Bobby and then called Bobby selfish. I mean really? Bobby the one guy who does everything for everyone and doesn’t have time to listen to You complain once and you go off on him. Sam took out some pretty impressive big bads in the beginning (Not Dean) and Dean always said he didn’t believe in Sam, only after Death told him he knew Sam could stop Lucifer did he get on board. I think ppl have issues with dean going back and watching again because he does kind of treat women like they’re nothing but play toys (minus a few), he is so cruel to his own brother and he does seem to love violence and always thinking he is stronger and better than his brother and the way he talks to ppl is just straight rude sometimes. Like You almost feel embarrassed for him. (Garths w wolf fam, first met Castiel, Gadreel, Chuck, Cain and so many more) Sam always trusts Dean or should say believes in him but it’s never reciprocated. I honestly don’t think if I was Sam that I could stay hunting with him. Everything is his way or no way, but when asked the littlest similar thing that he just demanded, he goes off and refuses. Again, I like Dean And think the actor is great, I just think that his character does have a lot of un-likable traits and can see why ppl have issues with him.

    August 18, 2020
  • Also, when he had the mark and was craving the blade, Sam was understanding. Then not even a second later, Dean knocks him out claiming it’s his fight not Sam’s. Meanwhile Sam was ahead of him in finding Metatron. But once he got Sam’s info he no longer needs him.

    August 18, 2020

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