Yeah, Dean used that line regarding Lily, and their plan to ask her nicely not to kill any more angels. The way he phrased it also reminds me a little bit of that scene in 5.03, the way Cas wanted to just walk into that police station and matter-of-factly tell the officers that they witnessed an archangel, and politely ask where the archangel is now.
I already discussed that scene relative to Ishim’s comment about humans lying, because that’s just what they do, so this second reference back to that scene makes the parallel even stronger here. From 5.03:
CASTIEL: A deputy sheriff laid eyes on the archangel. DEAN: And he still has eyes? All right, what’s the plan? CASTIEL: We’ll…tell the officer that he witnessed an angel of the Lord, and the officer will tell us where the angel is. DEAN: Seriously? You’re going to walk in there and tell him the truth? CASTIEL: Why not? DEAN: Because we’re humans.And when humans want something really, really bad, we lie. CASTIEL: Why? DEAN: Because that’s how you become President.
(sue me, I couldn’t resist copying the bit about the lying either, because that’s relevant here too)
And in 12.10:
SAM: So what’s the plan? DEAN: We knock on her door, ask her nicely not to kill any more angels. SAM: And if she says no? DEAN: Then we burn that bridge when we come to it.
This is essentially the first half of Dean and Cas’s conversation there from 5.03. The second half comes from Ishim after we learn the truth from Lily (the human), and learn that Ishim (not a human) has been the one lying all along.
So how does this tie back into burned bridges? Because I’ve been trying to work my head around Ishim’s line about “cutting out his humanity.”
ISHIM: I used to envy you, Castiel. Did you know that? You survived Hell, you were chosen by God. Now look at you. You’re sad, and pathetically weak. So now I’m gonna help you. I’m gonna cure you of your human weakness, the same way I cured my own. By cutting it out. [Ishim walks over to Dean with his angel blade ready, intent on killing Dean]
This was wonderful, because it pinned the label of “Castiel’s Human Weakness” to Dean Winchester’s forehead, but… if the parallel is supposed to tie Dean to Lily… it sort of breaks down there a bit because Ishim DIDN’T kill Lily, he killed HER INNOCENT HUMAN DAUGHTER.
So, why THIS particular parallel then?
Ishim loved Lily with everything he had. Obsessively, completely, and irreparably. BUT LILY DID NOT LOVE HIM IN RETURN.
Nothing he did could force Lily to love him back. She initially admired him, was in awe of him, but she never loved him in a particularly human way that he wanted her to. She’d originally been the one to summon HIM, but when he wanted more from her, she summoned another angel to protect her from Ishim. Akobel respected Lily and cared for her and defended her, and in the end gave his life to protect her from Ishim, all the while Ishim was lying to the rest of his flight about the reality of Lily’s situation.
Ishim abused the power of Heaven and his position of authority over other angels (Cas included) to carry out his own revenge mission against a woman who refused to love him.
If he couldn’t have her the way he wanted to, he was determined to burn that bridge to the ground. He destroyed everything SHE loved in turn. First he killed her defender Akobel, and then he killed the one being Lily truly loved, her daughter.
Ishim had thought her powerless, and his only recourse was to punish her as much as he believed she was trying to punish him. He was taking away her last bit of power (or so he thought).
And that’s why he attacked Dean. Not because he was powerless, BUT BECAUSE DEAN WAS TO CAS EVERYTHING HE WANTED LILY TO BE TO HIM.
For all his venom and anit-human rhetoric, Ishim was only bitter that the one human he wanted to love him completely had rejected him. He thought he could use force, or his position, or his magic to make Lily love him, but rejection stung him hard.
Yet here’s Dean Winchester, sauntering in to that diner with less than zero patience, sliding in next to Cas, defending Cas, standing at his side, standing up for him, clearly CARING about Cas, clearly VERY CLOSE to Cas emotionally in a way that Ishim would’ve been over the moon if Lily had been toward him.
So Ishim drives the nail in every chance he gets, bringing up Castiel’s most painful memories (Balthazar, Uriel, the angels who died at his hands…).
*sorry I lost my train of thought here for a second because my CAT IS SNORING and it’s freaking adorable okay…*
So Ishim is deliberately provoking Dean and Cas both here, and it doesn’t take him very long to see the dynamic between the two of them (even as it differs from the dynamic between Sam and Cas), and singling out Dean as his prime target for “curing Cas of his humanity.”
Because Ishim isn’t trying to destroy Dean for not loving Cas, the way he tried to destroy Lily for not loving him. Ishim’s trying to destroy CAS. Because, in Dean, Ishim believes that Cas got something he was denied. Because unlike Lily, Dean loves Cas back.
Ishim was all about burning bridges.
It also reminds me just a shade of Dean’s line to Kevin in 7.21. He was a little bit wrong here, but he was a heck of a lot right:
“'Cause the angels – they don’t care. I think maybe they just don’t have the equipment to care. Seems like when they try, it just… breaks them apart.”
“My wants do not matter,” said the kindly man. “It may be that the Many-Faced God has led you here to be His instrument, but when I look at you I see a child… and worse, a girl child. Many have served Him of Many Faces through the centuries, but only a few of His servants have been women. Women bring life into the world. We bring the gift of death. N o o n e c a n d o b o t h.”