08.17

So, two things.

I know, I know. This happens every time I watch 08.17. I physically and literally cannot help myself. I also watch like 35 minutes of the entire episode while standing in front of the television clutching my warm mug of tea directly over my heart just to make sure the blood runs warm enough to keep me alive throughout the experience.

Thing One: Will we ever meet again?

HOW HORRIBLE is that song. I grew up on my parents’ music, more easy listening than anything else because my parents didn’t have distinct personalities until they finally split up (my father still doesn’t, he is a sitcom-fueled automaton). And that song wasn’t like a rock song like the show normally brings us, it was on the fucking Mix stations, those horrible ones they only listen to at workplaces with the ‘hits from yesterday AND today’ you know. And I hate that song. The episode didn’t change that for me. What the show did was utilize the song perfectly as an outro. I’ve talked about how my spirit fucking glides over the mountains to search for Castiel’s bus as it never appears on the other side of the tunnel, but that fucking line, of all in the song is what got to me, originally. Because I do spoil myself and I did know at that point in Season Gr8 that Cas would be back, but I can never keep it straight in my head exactly which episode it’s supposed to be. So will we ever meet again? Yikes. Go fuck yourself. [EXIT over mountains FADE TO BLACK]

GO. fuck. yourself.

Thing Two: Dogma.

The first time I saw Dogma was in junior year of high school. My English teacher was also my Criminal Law teacher and he didn’t-quite-assign a viewing of Dogma, more strongly recommended it. He was our dogg, he was the dopest person alive, you’ll just have to trust me on this (come senior year we skipped like 90% of our classes to hang out in his room and he loved us so he wrote us passes constantly and only stayed at the school to watch us graduate, he loved us).

What I remembered of Dogma, until I entered the View Askewniverse fandom and started writing in it and finally saw it again, was the bus scene.

Bartleby and Loki are two disgraced angels exiled to Wisconsin. When they decide to throw off the shackles and escape, they take a bus out of town and that goes to shit when Loki up and massacres all the sinners on the bus.

I didn’t even remember why until I saw the movie again. For years, just the fact that Loki opened fire on a couple of cheaters and then danced off the bus to a Run DMC song was all I remembered. But Loki is the reason the whole movie happens. He has to convince Bartleby that they’re restless and that he’s got a good plan to get back into heaven.

Loki is genuinely Angry. Bartleby, it turns out, is even Angrier and we don’t even know it yet.

When Cas gets on that bus at the end of Goodbye, Stranger, he’d just beaten the pulp out of his best friend.

That ending on the bus is so OMINOUS for so many fucking reasons. Not just the glide over the mountains and the fact that they eschew the regular Supernatural ending, following a road, to instead dissolve into mist. Not just because of the song. Not just because what the fuck is an all-powerful, recently-liberated angel doing on a fucking bus?? But, for me, it was also an immediate echo of that scene in Dogma, the only scene about the movie that had really stuck in my head since my youth.

Loki loses it, is done with his treatment, is done with being restrained and put down when he’s so righteous and powerful. AND ALL I WANTED TO KNOW was what would happen on that bus with Cas sitting there, a nuke in his fucking satchel, Dean’s blood pounded into his knuckles, and who knew when we’d see him again.

Will we ever meet again.

FUCK YOU. GOSH.

Supernatural 08.17 Goodbye Stranger

UNF.

Masturbation joke.

Man. Dean does not give a fuck about your dead wife.

People with passion for things are fucking HOT.

Look at them get all bothered over the Winchesters.

Your time with… yellow. eyes. You mean your dad?

Sam’s like “Google? Uh. You mean Search the Web”

Certain movies…

Crowley.

Not really that deep down Meg. Everyone knows that.

How did Lucifer get it in a box warded against angels?

Wait. Maybe they aren’t actually Lucifer’s vaults. Like his. Maybe they call them Lucifer’s Vaults like in honour of him.

Instead of killing them I would push them into the demon trap and play Coloured Eggs and I would always win.

I must not objectify Jensen Ackles. I must not objectify. I must not. dat ass tho.

Lord of the Rings reference. Reference to Lord of the Rings reference.

Final words on 08.17 for the night.

I mean it when I say I only watched this ep once. I didn’t liveblog that night and I just remember the ending of the episode being so surprising, with Cas blending off into the crowd, huddling onto a bus and driving off like he didn’t have his wings. Like he was just as incapable of being where he wanted to be as the rest of us.

I remember that most of the fic I wanted to write was enfolded right in that moment, where the bus drives away, not into the distance, but into a tunnel, and the camera pulls up and not just the road but the bus disappears from view. In that moment, for us, it’s just like for Dean. Cas flew away on us. He took everything with him. He looked so reluctant to go and then the music fades out before the credits even hit and we’re left in the wilderness, we see nothing but the hills and trees and hear nothing but the wind. It wasn’t a classic hitting-the-road pan to the left, to the infinite distances of wild American roads. It was purposely desolate. It moves up and out of sight of people. It was like someone took a cookie-cutter to my chest and removed the tops of my lungs until I could unfold that paper with Castiel’s words on it, like a goodbye letter. Like, don’t worry, I had an errand to run. I’ll be back soon.

And all I could think was that Cas has to give Dean something to know he’s alright. Dean didn’t have to watch Castiel die again but he had to watch him disappear again. They hardly had a breath of time together and in that time shit was insane. They were killing demons and finding the crypt and then all Dean discovers is that Cas wasn’t even Cas when he was talking to him. When he was praying to him. But you have to maintain one truth. You cannot doubt that everything has been devastating for Cas. And if any of Cas was shining through after he got out of Purgatory, Dean has to assume his suicidal thoughts were honest. That the part of him that wanted to be abandoned in monster hell was genuine. While Dean can maybe never give Cas the words he should most hear, he needed Cas to know that he belonged somewhere. That if he ever stopped running, he had a place to be.

After the wind blew out into the credits and the screen went black all I had in my head was this image of Cas gripping two bricks. One in his left hand — the angel tablet — and one in his right hand — a cell phone. One ancient and unknowable, capable of mass destruction, unfathomably trusted to the hands of this fallen angel, guilty of atrocities himself. One brick new and shining, black edges and buttons, capable of connecting him to anyone, anywhere, and completely useless in his hands. Because the reason he got on a bus in the first place was to melt into a crowd. To be unseen and indistinguishable. He would resist the connection of both objects for as long as he was capable. He needed to be on his own. He needed to replace some of his windows, tarp over his roof in a few places, before he could be around anybody else again, or before he could re-enter the fray.

That ending was very distinct. I will have that image — blue and gray striped seats to brown leaves to infinite sky — in my head for a very long time. 

AND YOU CAN FUCKING ARGUE that it was more important for Naomi to get Cas to kill Dean without hesitation, not matter how much of a precious baby Sammy is. Because Dean and Cas love each other so much. But it’s easier to kill people you love. It’s harder to fail the people who would simply be disappointed in you.

It honestly is.

It’s easier to walk away from people you love when you differ on things so absolutely that you’d rather watch them walk off in peace, without you by their side, than to stand there and fight it out until you both explode.

When people love you and have still done things to hurt you AND YOU STILL LOVE THEM and you STILL want to be with them, you can still fucking fantasize about killing them SEVERELY DEAD to MAKE THEM SUPER SUPER DEAD and moreso when they’ve turned their back on you as many times as Dean has done to Cas.

I mean, there’s some DEEEEEP pain there between them.

Sam, though? Sam was an abomination and Cas still took his hand. Cas almost tripped through holy fire at the mere thought of Satan stepping too close to Sam. It was Sam who Cas saved when he burst into that house. It was Sam who called to Cas when Cas was playing god. It was Sam who asked and was answered. It was Sam who called when Lisa and Ben were taken.

Dean just has too much experience in trucking on when he’s been hurt.

When you hurt Sam? Sam is going to doubt himself to his very core. He’s gonna be in pain about it for the rest of his life. It’s going to impact what he thinks of himself every day. Sam doesn’t drown it out. Sam doesn’t smother it with booze. It’s probably all at the top of his lungs, mentally.

It’s likely that Dean built walls to protect himself from Cas after one too many nights of encountering the fucker in his dreams. Sam wouldn’t have built those walls. Sam wants nothing more than to be saved. And to be good enough of a man to deserve saving.

Y’see, part of what Naomi did wrong was to make Castiel focus on killing Dean over and over again. While a lot of us can agree that what Dean and Cas have together is stronger (and/or more alluring and/or deeper), it ain’t the top or bottom of Castiel’s emotional well.

As soon as he popped into the episode, he saved Sam. Crack.
He admits to hearing Dean’s prayers for Sam (and not himself). Crack.
Meg was in need of help. Crack.
Meg admitted to wanting him. Crack.
Sam and Meg have to be protected. Crack.
What did you mean about not being able to fix Sam? Crack.

Naomi lost hold of her cannon because she only had Cas kill a thousand Deans.

When he managed to get Naomi to agree to not offing Meg right then and there, she lost the angel tablet. Right at that moment. If she wanted Cas to remain her ruthless, faithful, one-function machine, she shouldn’t have allowed him to spare anyone at any point.

She didn’t train him hard enough. Didn’t beat him hard enough. She didn’t have him kill 600 Megs and at least 900 Sams. She only let Cas loose once he could kill Dean in under 20 seconds. She didn’t wait until he had a roiling hatred of Dean. She didn’t even bother to cultivate a slight distaste of him. She didn’t sit there on psych duty and point out all the ways the Winchesters had failed to back him up. She wanted to rely on his vessel somehow taking over, having an automatic reaction to having been commanded to kill.

Let your vessel take over and do what it knows how to do, she said.

But Castiel’s vessel isn’t angel. Castiel’s vessel was Jimmy once. And he possessed it during the later stages of the apocalypse. That vessel she trained so hard has had to put up with a lot of invading forces and they’ve been many-faced with all different kinds of motivations. But none of them have been soulless robots.

Naomi had him kill a brother, Samandriel. She thought the fact that he slaughtered so many angels made him half-ruthless, anyway. Instead she kind of just exposed the nerve (crack crack crack) and allowed for the tablet (or Dean) to sever it at the root.

Just to clarify, because I saw some discussion today:

02.12, “Nightshifter,” is my favorite episode. 08.17, “Goodbye, Stranger” ranks, not high, but it certainly ranks as a good ep.

I simply tag things “i hate everything” because there exist, upon this earth, episodes of television shows that make my insides hurt and my head ache and my heart throb and want to quit working. Any episode that I write more than one post of meta about, I can assure you, I fucking love.

Though I do Dean/Cas like woah, the fact that the show pushed Meg/Cas doesn’t make me mad. I’m not like rabidly against the concept (though I do not actively ‘ship it) and I maintain like I do ad nauseam that the showmakers have to push a het pairing because the network requires it. I’m not saying there’s a universe in which it wouldn’t work. They set it up nice and straight (lol) and killed Meg off and so now we’ve got this hanging thing that could-have-been.

But let’s get real. They’re probably, what? Gonna stuff another demon into Meg’s vessel to tempt Cas or something? Just a guess. One of a hundred things that could happen, up to and including Meg’s inexplicable resurrection because IT’S SUPERNATURAL WHY THE FUCK NOT?! NOBODY HAS TO DIE EXCEPT WHEN THEY DIE AND THEN THEY CAN DAMN WELL UN-DIE!

Completely ASIDE from the obvious Dean/Cas goldmine, the episode itself is a good episode. It’s well-written. It’s fine. Again, I’m nuts about Nightshifter. I have a certain set of priorities. Now, out of all Dean/Cas episodes? Goodbye, Stranger is probably my favorite. It’s short on pairing-specific material, but what there is is MAJORLY fucking important.

Anyway, what I mean to convey is that I’m one of those people who doesn’t care that the episode is hella Meg/Cas. You’re watching the show. I’ve got my goggles glued to my face. We just see things differently. And what I see is all fine and good.

I also think it’s entirely conceivable that Cas — EVEN IF he were, actually, For REAL for REALS interested in a relationship with Dean — would nurture an attraction and a possible connection to Meg. He’s basically been kicked out of his entire species. He’s shunned. He’s been manipulated to the point where Naomi’s goal was to turn him into nothing but a hand, a tool, a machine. Basically, the price for him returning to his species — his family — was that he had to stop having love (or at least betraying that he felt love) or concern for anyone outside of God and his Angels.

FRIENDLY REMINDER that Dean and Cas (at that point) are not of the same species. That makes Meg and Cas no more outlandish.

What makes Meg and Cas unbelievable specifically to *me* are the things that Meg has done to the Winchesters, her ripped-apart, likely horrifying true form/appearance, and her own devotion to Lucifer.

God didn’t work out for Cas, just like Lucifer didn’t work out for Meg. That’s a valid connection between them. They were both failed by their fathers. Cas thinks God isn’t looking out for him and Meg now knows that Lucifer would have obliterated demons after humans like Crowley predicted. But, again, her father walked the earth. She at least stood by his side. She KNOWS it’s possible for him to be around. She KNOWS Lucifer is real. And I don’t know that Meg has ever renounced her father in plain language. She knows she has to look out for herself now (well, knew, past tense, whatever) but, unless I’m not recalling correctly, she’s never had a “fuck you to the sky” moment like Cas had when Joshua admitted that God wasn’t interested in helping at all.

Meg has had it rough since Lucifer got locked back up, but she was also on her own before.

Cas got flat-out abandoned. For as much as he never heard from God before (according to Anna, only 4 angels - 3 plus Joshua - have ever spoken to God and I think we can safely assume Cas was never one of them) he at least had this great huge group mind. His entire species, his whole family, together in this belief in God and their mission. Meg didn’t get dropped like that. She’s a lot more used to the abuse than Cas is.

And, again, I maintain that her true demonic form, the one she’s stuffed into various vessels, including Sam, has got to be fucking horrifying. Remember Dean’s reaction to seeing underneath Ruby’s skin? I’m guessing all demons are that kind of bile-inducing horror show. That’s what they get turned into. That’s their species. And I can’t imagine, even if angels, in their true forms, are complicated or really jacked looking, that they look as grotesque as demons. There’s probably an ingrained repulsion. And while I’m sure Cas can choose to see Meg’s more attractive face, he’s got to know what’s underneath and how twisted it is.

I could go on if I weren’t in pain. I just wanted to say that when, if ever, I say that I hate Goodbye, Stranger, I don’t hate it for what it is. I hate myself for needing it so much.

notworththetrouble12 replied to your postFinal words on 08.17 for the night. I mean it…

I knew I was going to miss the re air of Goodbye Stranger tonight due to work, so I watched it earlier today, and I read Hands right after, as I do. Even knowing what happens, it still gets me. These words tonight do too.

"As I do" makes it sound like my fic is Goodbye Stranger Part II which is super flattering so I’m just going to say thank you and think of it that way and flutter around on my ego for a while before bed. I’m glad you think it’s worth another visit.

Personally I like it when people are just sitting around thinkin’ about 08.17. It makes it feel like an if-you-believe-clap-your-hands-for-Tink kinda thing like if we all sit around and think about how much Dean and Cas love each other for long enough ~~it’ll be real~~ (◡‿◡✿) and maybe one day the angst will come to an end. Or at least pause for like half an episode full of good-natured buddy moments and maybe an implied off-screen makeout sesh.