The world of Supernatural is full of gray areas. Sometimes it’s obvious. There are monsters and demons that are evil and they need to die. But other times the choices aren’t so easy, and such a dilemma was posed last week in “The Girl Next Door.”
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Amy was a monster who killed people and ate their brains. That sounds bad at first, but she’d learned to control it, getting a job as a mortician so she could dine on the brains of the dead (though, to be fair, she was still desecrating corpses). In the episode, we saw that her son was sick and needed fresh brains, so Amy went out to kill, though she targeted low-life criminals who the cops weren’t too sad to see go.
Making the matter even murkier were flashbacks to Amy’s youth when she and Sam shared a sweet romance. We even saw Amy kill her own mother to protect Sam. The fact that the adult Amy was played by Firefly‘s Jewel Staite (an impossibly endearing actress) only made her even more likeable.
Yet even with the mountain of sympathy she engendered, Dean still killed her, rationalizing that she’s a monster and monsters will always kill.
Is it that simple? In a poll of BuddyTV users, 60 percent of Supernatural fans thought Dean did the right thing, but 40 percent believed he was in the wrong. For a character that is so beloved, that’s a pretty close vote.
And after much thought, I have to side with the 60 percent. Yes, I too loved Amy and was angry that Dean killed her, but his reasons were sound. The reason she killed was to save her son, and if there’s one thing Dean knows, it’s how far someone is willing to go to save someone they love. Amy might promise not to kill again, but Dean knows that, if her son’s life is in danger again, she’d do absolutely anything to protect him the same way Dean would do anything to protect his brother.
Love is the greatest motivator on Supernatural. Sam and Dean have both sacrificed themselves to save each other. Dean’s justification for killing Amy wasn’t just about her potential to kill, it was about the inevitability of a bad outcome.
When Dean confronted Amy, his metaphor of the other shoe dropping was the same one he used to describe Sam’s current condition with the broken wall in his head. Dean has embraced a pessimistic view of life: the worst-case scenario will always happen. With Amy, Dean had the opportunity to prevent that, and so he did.
Supernatural did a fantastic job of making Amy as sympathetic as possible, but at the end of the day, Dean was right. She’s a monster and she kills people, and no matter how hard she promised, Dean knew that she could and would kill again if necessary.
(Image courtesy of the CW)