Yeah this anon comes along with a random parenthesis comment that makes me laugh for like 5 minutes but they expect me to talk about something else? *pouts*
(Maybe we’ve been saying it wrong the whole time and if we just started pronouncing it correctly it would work. Deastiel is a tulpa. Names are important. Spells only work if you say them right. SO MUCH THEMATIC IMPORTANCE AND WE’VE BEEN GOING AROUND SAYING DESTIEL WITH NO HERMIONE TO TELL US IT’S WINGARDIUM LEVIO-SA WHY DOES NO ONE LISTEN TO SAM???)
So, prison imagery.
I had someone else ask me about something similar, regarding the meaning of the priest’s death right after it. Hang on…
I floated a few theories to go with the anon’s idea (because who honestly has one interpretation for a thing these days :P) but this one I think would go nicely with the bars meta:
Wondering also maybe that the priest could represent the fear of not being able to tell anyone, or specifically about lying to cover things he doesn’t want people to know. Dean finally lays out a truth for the first time in bloody ages, and considering the conversation starts with him lying to the priest, the priest takes away the wrong interpretation because of the lies (assuming Dean is still talking about “Gina” when it’s really obvious he’s not) but then dies. Could be a symbolic death of the concept - though at the end conversation Dean is still bottling up around Sam - or it could be an omen/warning about what happens if he continues to tell partial truths or let the wrong story take hold.
A lot of the bars meta I remember from season 9 was everyone pointing out his descent and using it to highlight the things that trap Dean. E.g. really obvious bars in 9x11 when he and Crowley are in John Winchester’s storage locker… If you consider what’s kicking off there and why, the symbolism and John connection is painful. (*whispers about rivers and sources*) There were bars all over the place through season 9 anyway… I think I also saw one of those neat comments from one of the behind the scenes responsible guys about a season 10 episode confirming a meta someone wrote pointing out all the prison bar imagery in a scene, confirming the language meta writers had been interpreting from it, which was awesome. I mean it IS a pretty obvious symbol but hey it’s nice to be told we’re reading things correctly in other areas. :P
I think the bars over the scene come down to what sort of angle you take away from the scene right now. Dean is saying he doesn’t want to die (and people have linked that with his season 3 death, though that was never meant to happen, thank you writers’ strike - would the do-over of that season’s themes end the same way or would it offer the way out we never got? That way out was Boy King Sam though, wasn’t it? :P Hm.) so you could wonder if the bars symbolise him being trapped in that fate, showing the same sort of descent as in season 9 where he’s doomed to die, and so though the scene was hopeful for character development you could argue the presence of bars are another omen in terms of how Dean’s recent emotional change for the better plays out (this follows on from him having the hopeful version of the story in 10x15).
The moment is also Dean finally giving in and saying he wants more for himself, but it’s all in a private confessional that the words are never meant to leave (hence the tie in to the priest dying immediately after) so is the bar imagery about trapping the raw moment inside the confessional? A sign that Dean’s emotional unloading will remain private and bottled up?
Or is it all symbolic of the prison Dean has made for himself as we see him presenting his ridiculous Manly Facade which we all know isn’t true as he makes up ‘Gina’ and his string of lovers he cheated on her with: through the season we’ve seen him presenting and presenting that face of who he thinks he’s supposed to be and swinging violently between “I can’t be him” (not least because demon!Dean was as imprisoned in Dean’s feelings as ever with none of the promised freedom but indulged in all the things he thought Dean was supposed to like and it still didn’t work to make him feel good) and rolling with that outward persona. We talked a lot around the two instances of Dean vs Cake (I swear that’s meant to be a meta tag at its heart :P) and in other points of the season (after 10x09 and the heart-warming childhood story) about Sam policing Dean’s behaviour or locking him into a certain role, and how Dean’s moments of trying to branch out and like the things he likes and want the things he wants is always met with conflict, with swiftie!Dean being the clearest victory, and even that met with a judgemental look from Sam. The prison bars could again be a symbol of the things that are locked away.
The only advantage here is that Dean voluntarily walked out of the confessional and he wasn’t trapped in there. The bars specifically in this instance were a privacy barrier - a screen between his words and the man listening to them: a barrier through which words are meant to travel. The imagery might look the same when the shadow falls across Dean’s face but the bars themselves are different. :3