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dean is a physical comfort kind of person. he snuggles his pillow at night, shows his affections and his support with light touches on shoulder or arm
or face, he comforts not with words but with an arm around your shoulders, always touching. touching touching touching.
dean being much more of a hugger this season is just like him being more fashion-conscious and openly geeky and more himself.
the “no chick flick moments” and “no hugs” dean never really existed imo, just like macho dean. it’s a mask, it’s self-perseverance, it’s him actively suppressing the things he is in favour of seeming like the kind of person john has raised him to be. but that person, that was never dean.
crushing the people that mean the most to his chest, bringing them as close to him as he can, feeling the proof of their life against him. speaking about what he feels, if only sparsely because he feels so much and so fiercly and it’s making him vulnerable. having fun playing a knight, leading an army full of larpers into “battle”, planning strategy. telling a group of bereft and revenge hungry kids that hunting is more than killing and revenge, despite having seen things very differently in the past, because he believes it and he finds his calling in saving people, not in bloodshed.
this is dean. the person we are seeing now, more clearly than ever before.
and i’m so happy to see him. season 8, in this respect, is a milestone.
I don't think Castiel has ever refused orders before
After last night’s episode there is a lot of speculation about Cas’s missing memories and his role in past events. The one thing that keeps popping up on my dash is that Cas has rebelled before. And that just isn’t true. Remember that full out rebelling against the Angels was a death sentence, sure the writers could be ret-conning. However, I believe once you’re a traitor, you’re a traitor and there is no way that they will allow you to lead a garrison after that, reprogramming or not.
Also, Naomi never said he rebelled before she said “You have never done what you were told, not completely”. We’ve seen this before with Cas. Way way back in “The Monster at the End of the Book” Dean begs Cas to help him but Cas can’t because of his orders. But, then Cas finds a loophole and helps out Dean and Sam by telling Dean what would happen if a prophet of the lord were put in danger. This is what Cas has always done because too much heart was always his problem.
Cas looks upon human suffering, knowing that he can stop it and it kills him a little that God forbids it. So he does little things. I have a head cannon that during during that massacre in Egypt Cas came across a dilapidated hut, the people inside were too poor and didn’t have a lamb to slaughter and smear it’s blood across the doorway. They cowered over their first born and prayed that he would be spared. Castiel heard their prayers, found them to be true believers and placed lamb’s blood upon their doorway to protect them from his siblings.
The important thing about this time is not just that Cas can’t be put back to factory settings like before but, that THIS time he rebelled. This time he turned to his siblings and said “Hey Assbutt” and saved the world, rewrote the script instead of just amending a page and doing what he could with in the restraints to save one or two humans.
He did it because he placed his faith in a man called Dean Winchester, a man so grounded in what he believed was right and what was wrong that he glowed with righteousness. Cas saw a human stand up against impossible odds time and time again because it was the right thing to do. Dean gave Cas hope and courage and made him believe again that the world wasn’t just pain and suffering.
Q&A With John Winchester, Courtesy of a Rewatch of Season 1’s Something Wicked.
Say you’re John Winchester. Say you are a father, with two kids, age 9 and 5.
A nine year old and a five year old.
Say you know that there is a monster on the loose in the same town as you that is specifically targeting children, with a special preference to children with siblings.
A. Warn your children of the specific dangers of the monster, and arm them with the appropriate weaponry?
B. Leave them in the safe hands of the family friends a few hours away?
C. Leave them in a motel room on their own, without any weapons that will work on said monster or any way to contact you and inadequate food supplies, FOR THREE FRAKKING DAYS. With the 9 year old child armed with a gun and expected to shoot and kill someone if necessary. And forced to stay in the same room the entire time.
Say you come home to find your 9 year old son holding a gun and trying to defend his little brother from being attacked by said monster.
Say your son says he went out for just a second, and came back to find the monster attacking his brother.
A. Comfort both of your sons, reassure them that they are safe and nothing further will happen to them, and reserve any discussions of responsibility or mistakes made until such time that both of them have recovered from any trauma ensued from the experience and you are able to think clearly and rationally about the events involved?
B. Comfort one of your sons, then yell at the other one about how irresponsible he was, blame a 9 year old child for the danger that you put your 5 year old son in? Then dump him on a friend and refuse to discuss it further? Leaving him with with no valuable learning from the situation but a lingering sense of guilt and belief that he had failed you and his brother because he dared to attempt an hour or so’s distraction from constant caretaker responsibility and a further emphasis of his inability to enjoy even basic aspects of childhood such as playing a game for fear of his brother dying as a result?
Say the monster resurfaces. Do you:
A. Learn from your mistake the first time around, and decide to do the right thing and finish off the monster once and for all?
B. Make your son clean up your mess by forcing him to revisit one of the more traumatic events in his childhood, while maintaining radio silence and refusing to assist or even give him accurate information, not even so much a ‘by the way, it’s a shtriga’?
If anyone ever asks me why I don’t like John Winchester?
Oh yeah. That’s why.
Supernatural and the Love Narrative: Special "Sacrifice" Edition
“The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.” - Mark Twain
There’s a lot said between Dean and Castiel in this episode. There’s honesty, and there’s trust. There’s help offered, and help given.
But nothing is more important than what they don’t say.
The bar scene has caught a lot of attention for a number of reasons: the arrow, targeted at Cas and shot right at him and Dean; a slightly different model of bow and arrow then angled at the bartender after Cupid has worked her own arrow magic (emphasizing the potential link); the explicit, surprise pairing of the two male hunters right in front of a watching Cas and Dean (romance number seventeen. our last and final); the romantic crooning in the background, the singer aching for a love that will soon be leaving and her resigned acceptance that there is nothing she can do about it.
This could all very well be relevant; the arrow matching is the most interesting, playing up the potential for foreshadowing in the hunter couple. The scene plays as a joke (not because they’re gay, but because all expectations are subverted, as we see by way of Dean), but the joke need not have been there at all. After all, this is the end of act one, in what we now know is a true three act structure. We’ve established the goal, and now we’re supposed to be seeing the true propulsive moments that will take us to act two—will take us someplace from which we can never go back. Also, it is the finale—we only have so much time.
Personally, though? What brings my attention back to this scene again and again is the way Carver teaches us all a lesson in the rightly timed pause: in listening not to the words, but to the silence, in a move oddly fitting in a finale with no resolutions but many reminders of those things that have gone unresolved.
Castiel isn't a child, ya idjits.
Listen up, y’all, because it’s really starting to piss me off: Castiel is not an innocent. He is not weak. He is not stupid. He is not a child.
I’ll address each of those separately:
-Castiel isn’t innocent. He’s killed people. And angels. His frigging brothers. He’s lied and manipulated and bullied and grabbed at power. Frankly he isn’t a very good leader either, he doesn’t seem to care what his subordinates have to say, he just has a mindset of because-i-said-so-thats-why. Case in point? Rachel. She’s angry at him for abandoning his duties to go to the Winchesters, which really is kind of selfish, and she tries so hard to tell him not to swallow the souls. He refuses to listen to her, and she can see the danger, so she tries to take him out. He kills her, of course, but he paints himself as the victim in his head. “She doesn’t understand,” he reasons. That’s actually a recurring thing from mid season 5. “Why won’t you listen?” “You don’t understand.” Thankfully it seems that by the crazy time in Season 7 he’s realized the full import of his actions and feels properly guilty for all those deaths.
In a similar vein, Godstiel. He wasn’t out of control. He was drunk on power and corrupted but the intention was all his. And he’s still painting himself as the victim. JUST BECAUSE CASTIEL THINKS HE’S THE VICTIM DOESN’T MEAN HE IS.
I actually like him way better in Season 8, where he’s remorseful and depressed and refuses to kill Samandriel until he’s forced to, which goes against his nature enough to make him cry tears of blood. Purgatory was good for Cas.
—Castiel is not weak. He is a fucking badass. Even without his angelic powers he’s got awesome badass ninja swording skills, and he Molotoved an archangel with holy fire. And don’t even get me started on the whole smiting thing. He kills his siblings, who have the same training he does, easily, and he freaking scared the pants off of both Dean Winchester and Crowley, who are not easy to scare. Also, remember that one time when he had only a very basic understanding of guns and still managed to headshot a Croatoan zombie to save Sam? I yelled ANGEL WITH A SHOTGUN at the screen but that’s a bit beside the point. He is a warrior. One of the best. He is not a nerdy little angel. He is not a baby in a trenchcoat. I hate it when Dean calls him things like that because it’s condescending and so utterly not true. He’s a frigging knight of heaven.
—Castiel is not stupid. He knows how things work. Hell, he’s got a higher grasp of physics than anyone on the planet. Yeah, he has problems with technology, but he spent 2000 years just watching humans, probably without actually paying attention to the exact things they say, and he’s only now putting the things he’s learned to use. So maybe it takes him a while to get metaphors and similes and expressions. I’m frankly amazed he’s picking them up this fast. His sense of humor has developed well too. He gets sarcasm. And he doesn’t understand references because he doesn’t exactly have time to sit around and watch television. Not because he’s stupid.
—Castiel is not a child. He is millions upon millions of years old, he canonically was around long before the evolution of mammals, let alone humans. He’s seen it all. He is ancient and powerful and so far above the mortal frame of reference that Dean should be cowering. He is not submissive and docile and lost-puppy either. Dad’s gone? Let’s search the entire fucking globe for him. No archangels in heaven? I’ll step up to the plate. Rescue a soul from hell? Piece of cake. And when he figures out his dad isn’t who he thought he was he goes and gets drunk, mopes for a day or two, and then moves on with his life. He is the size of the Chrysler building, and he’s not the angels’ baby brother, cute as those fics are.
All in all, Castiel is a, what’s the phrase? Multifaceted wavelength of celestial intent, and he listens to Dean because he thinks Dean is intelligent and he genuinely likes him, not just because Dean is perfect. Reminder? Cas knows Dean isn’t perfect. He saw his soul. He saw Dean’s soul torturing other souls in Hell, knew he’d broken, and saw something in that soul to make him pull it out anyway.
Castiel hates himself, yes, it’s a byproduct of being a Winchester, but I personally cannot wait until he’s with the Winchesters every day without the benefit of Angel powers, so they can see that Castiel’ s not badass because he’s an angel, he’s badass because he’s Castiel.
Are Dean and Cas in love? a.k.a. The Great Season 7 Rewatch (Part 3)
I’ve often said that Season 7 convinced me of the canonicity of Dean/Cas, and to this day it boggles my mind that so many fans blame Sera Gamble for “ruining” the characters’ relationship. So I thought I’d step through my favorite season, episode by episode, and point out exactly why I’m so convinced their love is not only of the romantic sort, but also very, very canon.
The next trio of episodes mostly focus on Bobby and the boys, so the emphasis here isn’t as much on Dean’s grief explicitly as it is on the nature of father-child relationships. Still, there are a few moments worth digging into, and I’ll even go so far as to argue that the A plot (Bobby’s death) is meant to be a mirror for the C plot (Dean’s grief).
But be forewarned: We’re getting into some Serious Sads territory here. Keep a tissue handy, and remember, as Rufus says, the only way out is through.
Sexual Violence In Supernatural: A Study Regarding Sam and Dean
As we all know, Supernatural is famous for the sheer volume, and variety, of pain through which it puts its leads. Pretty much no form of physical and psychological torture is off the table for this show, especially when it comes to Sam and Dean, and sexually themed comments, implications, threats, and outright attacks aren’t excluded in that (though you might have to be willing to dig a little below the surface to see it in some cases). Recently however, I’ve started to notice there’s a very particular, and interesting, pattern in that particular arena. I posit that in nearly every case of sexual violence and/or threat against the brothers, Dean’s attacker is a man while Sam’s is a woman. There are exceptions, of course (Lucifer being a significant one which I’ll discuss later), but for the most part the trend is hard to ignore. I can’t believe this is unintentional, and I’ll do my best to explore a few possible reasons the writers and directors may have chosen to make it a reoccurring theme.
Soul train: Rogue reapers and purgatory
So let’s talk about how reapers work in Supernatural, and why the idea of rogue reapers is so important.
How I'd End It - Rebloggable Version
INT. MASTER BEDROOM, SAM’S HOUSE - NIGHT
SUPER TITLE: LEBANON, KANSAS, 3 YEARS LATER
Lights flicker on the baby monitor sitting next to a photo of SAM and his WIFE. There are strange noises. The light on the cell phone charger plugged into the wall flickers. SAM wakes up, instantly alert, rolls over and wakes his wife, covering her mouth. She looks startled at first, then seems to understand and nods, terrified but calm. She gets out of bed and moves silently to what looks like an ordinary closet, opening it to reveal a secret passage guarded by all manner of symbols and a salt line. Sam watches to make sure she’s disappeared into it, then opens the nightstand to reveal Ruby’s knife and a sawed-off shotgun with a Devil’s trap carved in the stock.
INT. HALLWAY - NIGHT - MOMENTS LATER
SAM creeps down the hall on high alert. We can hear a baby fussing, a man’s voice murmuring. Sam cocks the gun, bursts through the door into —
INT NURSERY - NIGHT - CONT.
There is a figure standing over the baby’s crib. The baby begins screaming as the figure turns…wings flaring suddenly as he lights vividly from within, angel blade in hand, and we recognize CASTIEL even as the barrel of a gun is pressed into SAM’S neck from behind…but then we see that the one with the gun is DEAN, and all three slowly back down a bit as they recognize each other, but remain suspicious.
SAM: What the hell are you two —
DEAN: You didn’t answer your phone!
SAM: It’s my anniversary, Dean! I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to my phone!
DEAN: It’s also Bobby’s six month birthday.
Sam gets his infant son BOBBY out of the crib, and we see that it’s practically fortified with anti-everything everything. He puts the baby against his shoulder, bouncing it softly as he glares at his brother.
SAM: Yeah, you might have noticed the place was kinda locked down.
DEAN: We still got in.
CASTIEL: Dean, you had to —
DEAN: That’s not the point!
SAM: What are you even doing here? I thought you were running down a coven in California or something?
DEAN: Finished early, decided we might as well come home, relax some before the next case. Check in on the little guy.
He reaches past the still-fussing baby, ruffling Sam’s hair.
CASTIEL: I’m sorry we frightened you, Sam, but we had to be sure. I’d still feel better if we all stayed until morning. Just in case. If something is going to try again, I’d rather we face it together.
SAM: Yeah, definitely. (Tosses the knife to Castiel) If you and Dean figured out a way in, close it for me, will you? I’ll go tell my wife she can come out of the panic room and stand down the rest of the network, and we’ll make some pancakes or something, wait it out.
Castiel exchanges a glance with Dean, then vanishes with a whoosh of wings. Sam hestitates at the doorway, glancing first at the shotgun in one hand, then the baby in the other, but Dean is there, his own gun tucked into his waistband as he holds his hands out.
DEAN: I’ve got him. You go get Beth.
Sam passes over the infant without a moment’s hesitation, completely trusting.
SAM: See you downstairs.
Sam exits, leaving Dean and the baby alone in the room. The baby is still fussy, and Dean paces, hushing it as he checks the salt lines, the hex bags, the sigils, then sits down in the rocking chair, looking truly content as he strokes the baby’s head.
DEAN: Carry on, my wayward son…
(as he sings, we pan past him to a little Matchbox car version of a 67 Impala next to the teddy-bear lamp on the dresser, and a faint music box-style accompaniment begins to play under his voice)
DEAN: There’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest…
The toy car CROSSFADES into —
EXT. KANSAS HIGHWAY, SUNRISE —
— The real thing, as the music box swells to full-throated guitar chords and drums, and Dean’s voice fades into the original KANSAS version
…don’t you cry no more.
HARD CUT TO BLACK
It’s not that Cas doesn’t know enough about human customs to realise that he’s supposed to close the refrigerator door. It’s not that he doesn’t know the range of his vessel well enough to realise how close to the stand he is. It’s not that he doesn’t know how much (or little) pressure an egg can take without cracking.
It’s just that he is too distraught by the fact that Dean is too upset to talk to him to focus on anything else.
Carnivalesque: Or How LARPing Might Have a Lot To Say About Oppression, Rebellion, and Dean Winchester
“Now you do what they told ya
Now you’re under control”
Killing in the Name – Rage Against the Machine
Throughout much of season 8, we see Dean struggling to come to terms with himself as an individual, outside of the way he was brought up and indoctrinated by John. I think that “LARP and the Real Girl” is fascinating because it’s the first time we see Dean blatantly rebelling against the norms of the repressive community into which he was raised and the ideals his father instilled in him. I’d like to examine some of the reasons it’s such a logical rebellion through the lens of Bahktin’s theory of carnivalesque, of which Dean’s participation in the LARPing event is a perfect example.
End Of Act One: The Curious Case of Supernatural Season Eight
(For a primer on three act structure, see sorrowsfall’s post here.)
There are certain expectations going into a finale, especially a Supernatural one. Parallels will find their explanations. Questions will find their answers. Perhaps the biggest expectation is that the year’s quest will end, but it will open a door to next year’s quest. Each season evolves naturally into the next, but also acts as a season onto itself, with its own story to tell.
For a long time, we’ve been aware that Jeremy Carver came back to the show with a three year plan. For those of us more familiar with screenwriting, this naturally suggested a three act story, the conventional and traditional formula for film. That said, I never thought he meant it literally. Season eight would set up the board, but I still assumed there were three rounds to the game, that even with the set up, a full round would be played.
In the final minutes of “Sacrifice”, thousands of angels fall from the sky, in perhaps the most beautifully rendered sequence in Supernatural history. It’s a breathtaking, haunting sight intercut with images of the Winchesters cowering like children in front of their first home and a newly human Castiel crying for the first time. It also resolves nothing. It’s a “spanner in the works”, to quote Naomi in “The Great Escapist”, thrown expertly by Metatron (who reveals himself as full trickster: deceitful, on the fringes, and ready to teach a lesson). It does not close out any storylines—and in fact, setting up and executing this dazzling ending meant very little got closed out at all. Sam is still in the midst of the trials; Hell is still open; and Dean and Cas are still dancing around each other, still waiting for someone to stop the music (platonically, romantically, however you want to read it). In many respects, “Sacrifice” is not a finale—it is not final. It is not an end to very much of anything, and the effect can be disarming and dissatisfying.
It is, however, a point where the characters make a choice, and can no longer go back.
It is an end of an act.
When we started the trials, Dean was sure that one of them would come out dead, and that it should be him. He was sure that a big sacrifice was unavoidable in order to get the job done (and the job had to get done).
Sam took on the trials because he wanted to survive and Dean didn’t. He could see the light at the end of the tunnel and he wanted to show it to Dean.
We start the trials. At first Dean doesn’t believe in Sam, and keeps suggesting tagging him in instead.
Sam keeps proving Dean wrong. Even in his weakened condition, he’s a competent hunter and he keeps getting closer to closing the gates.
They trip at the finish line. Crowley kills Sarah Blake. Sam loses hope.
There is no doubt in Dean’s mind that Sam will cross that finish line. Dean sees the light at the end of the tunnel.
Sam loses sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. He’s ready to die if it means closing hell and not failing Dean.
And then it’s Dean’s turn to show him the light.
And because Dean’s spent the whole season learning to actually communicate his feelings, he can.
And Sam lets go. Because their lives and their futures are worth something and they’re not going to blindly throw themselves under the bus anymore.
There is light at the end of the tunnel and they can both see it.
Dean Winchester and Love
There’s a trend in SPN fanfiction, meta, and general fandom that is fast becoming one of my biggest pet peeves, and I think I’ve finally put my finger on why. That trend? Feelings!denial!Dean. It’s an underlying assumption of much of the Dean/Cas-related meta I have read, as well as a major obstacle in a majority of Destiel fanfiction. Even in fanfiction where Dean is not in denial, a great deal of exposition almost always goes into subverting what is generally supposed to be the canonicity of Dean Winchester: in denial of his feelings. I take issue with this exponentially more every time I see it. I just don’t think it’s an accurate representation of Dean’s character.
There are things Dean shies away from. There are things he doesn’t do well and doesn’t fully understand, both concerning love and himself. He has—courtesy of his upbringing—a very black-and-white worldview, as well as a lot of warped, imbalanced, unhealthy views on love, devotion, duty, and even family. He is effemiphobic, hyper-masculine, and heteronormative in the extreme—though the hyper-masculinity seems to abate a bit as the show progresses.
A Look At SPN TV Ratings: Would Dean/Cas Be Good For Television Ratings? (Part 3)
It started with an anon:
I didn’t know if the anon was trolling me or not (probably though), but it got me thinking. While I’ve argued that Supernatural should take the next step and include a canonical homosexual couple, I argued that from a societal/cultural point of view. But does it make sense economically? My hunch was yes, but as Sherlock Holmes would say, “Never theorize before you have data. Invariably, you end up twisting facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
So I told Anon I’d get back to them (which became this meta), and they sent me another ask:
Which, completely ignoring all the terrible things they just said, it only spurred me on. So I decided to answer the question, “Would a homosexual couple on television make business sense?”
The answer, kiddos and anon, is yes.
First however, you have to read about the CW’s rating problems in Part 1.
After you read that, let me then show you why LGBTQ-friendly television shows are the “new mainstream” in Part 2.
And now let’s answer Anon’s first point, “Would Supernatural lose its followers if it featured a homosexual couple?”
Let’s find out.
5 ways I would've changed Season 8
Well, glad you asked, redfacesmiley. It’s an interesting question, and I think with a few simple (though maybe not easy) changes, this season could’ve been the best one yet.
Here you go, five ways in which I would’ve changed Season 8:
(Needless to say, you shouldn’t read this if you love Season 8, because it’ll probably just piss you off)