My thoughts around Mary, what she has seen and her coping with her boys and their angel buddy.
She’s gone from being a mother of 2 babies in a (happily? generally?) cupid-induced loving marriage, still fighting the supernatural on occasion to happily dead in heaven (which she remembers), to now being a (unneeded) mother to 2 grown men - who live with a supernatural being, in an underground bunker owned by her family’s ‘mythical opposition’ the men of letters and living the hunting life she was desperate to keep them away from. Yeah, tough.
- Resurrection : Dean convinces her of who he is by an emotional retelling of her life and how she met John. Reminding us that when Mary and John first met they didn’t actually immediately like each other, she 'knocked him flat on his ass’. They did fall intensely in love although their relationship and family was marred by the supernatural and they sometimes fought passionately (she doesn’t know it was a Cupid of course)…. Aside - *ahem “couple who were 'forced to be’ v couple who embody free will” parallels*
- Witnessing Dean and Cas being reunited when Cas believes he has died. Cas throwing himself at Dean, shouting then quietly murmuring his name into his neck. She, understandably, has a questioning look in her eyes. Then, um, ANGEL?!
- Seeing Cas work tirelessly to find Sam. Seeing Dean completely trusting Cas to do this and also relying on him emotionally (overhearing their #married phone conversation about Dean not wanting to overwhelm her).
- Knowing that Cas lives in the bunker with them, but noting that he doesn’t sleep, emphasising his 'inhuman’ side.
- Seeing how completely Cas falls apart when Sam and Dean are imprisoned as he tries to find them and attempts to hunt alone (v how effective he was at finding just Sam, working with Dean, when she first met him). She blames him for their loss at first. Then upon seeing how completely he is broken, even counting the hours, she tries to support and help him in as much as she can, in her way. Upon realising how he is NOT coping she goes from her first instinct of blaming him for their loss in her role as their mother to actually consoling him.
Mary is NOT a monster, she’s really struggling, she misses the people she loves and so buries herself in hunting to bury her emotions. Plus her automatic reaction to strong feelings of love, pain and guilt is to get angry… LIKE DEAN (very relevant for Cas’s death scene).
- Cas putting himself in danger to save her from Billie, he then gives an impassioned, muddled speech about how important you/you all is/are to him/everything… but predominantly throughout this is looking at Dean. Sure he doesn’t want Mary to die, but this speech - this declaration is not really about them all being so important to everything, it can’t be, she’s not been around long enough and she hasn’t done anything to show Cas that she’s of any real importance.
She wonders if he even really understands it himself, he looks so muddled and broken. Is it because he’s an angel? Do angels feel like humans? She’s confused and worried, she is already not sure of the new world she’s come back to, and now there’s a supernatural being in her and her boy’s life, it’s intense. And now this?! She turns to Dean and sees the look of pain in his eyes as he realises how broken Cas is and how he has put himself in harms way for them.
His jaw is clenched, his body language is closed off, guarded. She understands this is far more complex than she first imagined.
- After such an emotive night she heads out to clear her head, she can’t cope with being around them all, it’s too much. The next time she sees them all it is most definitely jarring. Sam and Dean are all business with her, there’s no sign of anything cosmic or anything in their actions to recall that emotional night. Dean partakes in some over the top posturing with the waitress on Cas’s behalf while calling Cas 'devastatingly handsome’ while Cas seems oblivious, or is that actually a scowl on his face? She’s now even more confused. Does Dean not realise or is this something else entirely? Has she misread Cas? She doesn’t know any other angels so it could be that she’s misunderstood. He is a little awkward and supernatural after all…. but the boys want him around and he obviously cares for them so she should just get them all to get on with the hunt.
- Cas is dying and it’s her fault. He wants the Winchesters to leave him as to save themselves. He tells Sam and Dean that his best moments have been with them which makes her wonder just how old he is and what he has seen. He says the things they’ve shared and done have changed him. She knows this is important but not exactly how, it’s deeply emotional though and it reminds her of how little she actually knows of their time together and her boys that this angel, this supernatural being could have been affected so much by them. She turns and sees Sam, then Dean’s faces and how they both are pained by Cas’s dying words. Somehow though she can see not just sadness in Dean’s eyes but also regret and self loathing. He blames himself. She knows because it’s what she sees in the mirror. She is reminded again how Dean is so like her.
- Cas looking up at them all, calling them all his family, nodding at her to include her which just makes her feel awful for her part in having led to this, his death and all their pain. She doesn’t really deserve this, to be a part of their family.
- Cas then immediately looking down, not catching anyone’s eye as he says 'I love you’.
Cas looking up at Sam as he tells him that he loves them all, meaning him, specifically TOO, then finally the long lingering, revealing look at Dean as he can’t avoid him any longer. She knows now, she understands.
She looks at Dean and sees so much of herself in him. She wonders if he understands too or if his self-loathing prevents his comprehension that he can be loved like this. She’s not known him very long as an adult but she knows this much about him and that saddens her deeply, it also contributes to her own self-loathing in an ironic twist. And if he does understand Cas’s words, does he reciprocate? Her and Dean, they work with actions, not words and she sees his actions now, how he’s holding back. She understands. But it doesn’t matter now anyway,
Cas is dying and it’s her fault. She could be the cause of the breaking of her little boy’s heart and he doesn’t even know it. But still in the back of her mind, is this not maybe for the best? How can you love something not…human?
- Sam and Dean fighting for Cas, refusing to leave him, emphasising that he is family, seeing the understanding and love in Cas’s eyes as they do so. Dean had even been arguing with and insulting both the KING OF HELL and RAMIEL as he was so worried for Cas. Mary is terrified of Ramiel, another yellow eyed demon and she has seen this.
Now, as he is dying, Sam’s consoling words while Dean can’t watch, he looks down like he might even be praying. Or perhaps he just can’t watch Cas’s last moments.
- But he lives, no thanks to Mary.
- “Let’s go home”….
No wonder she can’t stay around them, with the confusion over their supernatural 'friend’ plus now the guilt (she’s still in the old hunter mindset of kill anything inhuman, she doesn’t have 12 years worth of Winchester Gospel storyline to teach her the grey areas like our boys have and they’ve only recently learned it fully re: Benny, Amy).
And yes she’s made it a hell of a lot worse by now also betraying Sam with the BMOL, when he was the one who really still trusted her.
So yeah, in her struggle to find herself she’s ‘abandoned’ BOTH Sam and Dean and now she’s narratively:
1. betrayed Sam through her work with the BMOL.
2. betrayed Dean…. by endangering Cas.
So I think that speaks volumes.
Now for her redemption arc as she’s already admitted to working with the BMoL and is clearly conflicted about nearly losing Cas, let’s get some more wake up calls :)
It breaks my heart how unsurprised Dean looked both when Mary announced she was leaving and when she told them she’d been working with the British Men of Letters. Dean knows her too well. (Possibly better than she knows herself.)
Can we talk about Dennis in 12x08. When Dee gets out the anthrax and demands a valentine, it’s after a very stressful day, and his new favorite customer just left. Everything is going to hell, Frank, Dee, and Charlie are causing a scene and doing the opposite of what he wants and he’s so calm. He says “I’m so frustrated right now.” Like he’s acknowledging his feelings and anger and is trying to manage it. And not in a calm before the storm way, but he actually handles it really well and I’m so proud of him.