What would Supernatural be without Sam and Dean Winchester? Pretty much nothing, because these are the only two characters to feature in every episode. What it would’ve been as well, though, would be a show that didn’t have protagonists who could very well be antagonists as well.
The Winchesters have made decisions that make the word “atrocious” sound rather tame; when they’ve wanted to achieve their goals, they’ve foregone the hero tropes altogether. If you take off the heroic goggles Supernatural puts on you to perceive Sam and Dean with, then you’ll agree these 10 points prove the brothers themselves are the real villains of the series.
10 Breaking The Seal
If you’re going to give the excuse that Dean went to Hell for Sammy’s sake, then nope - we reject your argument. Dean made the deal to resurrect Sam solely for his own needs, because he couldn’t imagine life without him.
What it did do was get Dean into Hell, where he didn’t have the stomach for torture the way his daddy had. Cutting a deal with Alastair to become a torturer himself, Dean broke the first seal to the cage containing Lucifer, and thereafter whatever atrocity Lucifer committed was all possible because Dean couldn’t have left Sam stay dead. You look at it this way, and Dean looks like the ultimate bad guy.
9 Killing Innocents
What is the point of the “saving people” part of their motto when the Winchesters aren’t saving people? By the time they acquired Ruby’s knife, the Winchesters threw any concern for the vessels containing demons out of the window.
Now, this apathy extends toward vessels of angels or any other being possessing a human. Even at times where the Winchesters could expel a malevolent being out, they always opt for killing them or letting the vessel remain possessed. It’s the fact that they’re so okay with letting an innocent person lose their life - and even be the one to take it - that makes us question the Winchesters’ psyche.
8 Releasing The Darkness
Sam and Castiel found out that removing the Mark of Cain from Dean’s arm had a huge catch in releasing the Darkness, and yet they still went ahead with it. This places the entire Season 11 arc of the world ending and people dying in horrible ways squarely on the shoulders of Sam, who didn’t give a thought to how the Darkness would kill people. A selfish representation of placing his needs above others.
Dean’s not squeaky clean here either, because he knew very well that taking the Mark of Cain in the first place would let him down a dark road. Rather than deal with the consequences, Dean was shortsighted enough to want to take down Abaddon, not thinking about how things would only get worse.
7 Not Stopping Castiel From Closing Heaven's Gates
Castiel always had a boneheaded plan in trying to close the gates of Heaven in Season 8, with his argument being that angels would be trapped into talking about their problems and bartering a peace. However, what this would’ve also done would have been trapping worthy souls in the veil, since they wouldn’t have had access to Heaven.
Castiel told Dean of these plans, who had no problems with it, despite the obvious implication that millions of people dying every day would’ve been stuck in limbo had the gates of heaven been sealed. But since none of Dean and Sam’s friends were in this situation, they couldn’t care less.
6 Trying To Seal The Gates Of Hell (And Then Not Going Through With It)
Both implications of this were bad, since closing the gates of Hell forever would’ve meant all the bad souls would’ve turned into ghosts who would then have caused havoc on Earth. The Winchesters only had sealing Crowley in mind, so didn’t stop to think of the people who would’ve been in danger.
Even after they went through with it, Dean only stopped Sam from sealing the deal because Sam would’ve died. Since the Winchesters believed closing the gates would’ve saved the world from demons, it meant they chose to save their own lives rather than the lives of others. In the end, they only began their quest because they wanted to win, not because they wanted to save people.
5 Using And Then Abandoning Kevin
Dean kept ranting on about how he saw Kevin as part of his family, but there was something in his eyes that made it clear he didn’t mean it as deeply as we were led to believe. And this is how it turned out too, since Dean and Sam basically abandoned Kevin’s ghost.
After they found out Kevin was still at the Men of Letters HQ, the Winchesters let Kevin go with his mom, and then proceeded to totally cut Kevin out as we saw them see Kevin for the first time in two years in Season 11. All in all, it solidified that the Winchesters had kept Kevin around from Season 7 to Season 9 because he was useful - so much for that family talk, huh?
4 Trying To Kill Castiel
We’re aware that Castiel was corrupted into believing he was god, but that was clearly not the real Castiel talking. Even before that, we’d argue it was the Winchesters’ fault that Castiel spiraled into being an antagonist, since these two never appreciated Castiel for rescuing Sam from Lucifer’s Cage, and the fact that Castiel had been the reason they were alive at all.
When the time came for them to reach out to Castiel, they instead chose to get Death to do their dirty work and kill him, despite Castiel having let them live earlier on due to sentiment. If the Winchesters really wanted to fix the situation, they should’ve talked to Castiel like family, not as someone unworthy of saving.
3 Letting Bad Guys Walk Free
Sam and Dean witnessed firsthand how the Meg Masters Demon had possessed the original Meg and caused her death in excruciating fashion; they were also aware of how Meg caused the deaths of Ellen and Jo - and yet, Meg eventually became an ally.
Even worse, Crowley was the King of Hell, and responsible for killing the Winchsters’ close friends, only for him to outright become a pal of theirs before his death. We’ve seen several bad people become friends along the way, such as Arthur Ketch, Gabriel, and even Metatron, with all the murders they committed having been forgiven simply because the Winchesters saw them as allies. This means the boys see being useful as something that’s more important than justice for innocent lives taken.
2 Trying To Trap Jack
Oh yes, let’s take the boy who lost his soul to save our skins and trap him in a box for all of eternity; that makes us such nice people, right? Well, that must be what Sam and Dean were thinking when they sealed Jack away, with the intention of letting him rot till the end of time.
Jack had saved them time and again, and hadn’t even asked to be resurrected, but these brothers firstly brought him back because they couldn’t deal with his loss, only to completely abandon Jack when he needed their help. All it would’ve taken was a simple conversation, but these two once again showed how “family” was just a relative term.
1 Abandoning Adam
This lad has been burning in Lucifer’s Cage for millennia now, and all because Sam and Dean are either lazy or plainly just don’t care. Poor Adam was firstly eaten alive because of his parentage, and then resurrected because the Winchesters couldn’t get the job done during the Apocalypse. Dean even had a chance to save Adam in Season 6, but chose Sam’s soul instead.
Making it infinitely worse is the fact that it wouldn’t have taken two seconds for them to get Chuck to retrieve Adam in Season 11; but as is the norm, Adam just isn’t useful for them to be worth the Winchesters’ time. It’s hard to buy these guys as the heroes when they’re willingly letting their brother burn forever.