Ok so if all four of them are gonna be in a *cowboy themed* motel in 13x6 they're gonna have to split up 2 and 2 right??? So I'm really gonna need Dean and Cas to share a room and then have a convo that's reverse of the "Talk to me" one in S8 where instead they talk about how they both did feel suicidal but how they've both overcome it. ~For reasons unknown~
That would be great mirroring, and it’s always good to compare the fun episodes where things seem back to normal to 8x08… However… Sorry, but this is a bummer reply, I’m just not good with leaving off things like this :P
I sort of feel though that neither Dean or Cas got to completely overcome things in their respective paths through dark other worlds… Cas said he’d just keep fighting and even if the standing up was an important part, he acknowledged he was going back with a sense of hopelessness that he’d get what he truly wants - and that’s just how it was in the Empty, while it sounds like he may have forgotten the experience so it’s for now a metaphorical state he passed through and we got to see it vocalised and it probably means roughly where he’s up to. But the despair of resolution, the fact need/want has been called out for US to know it’s a major theme but Cas of course hasn’t actually talked face to face with any Winchester, let alone Dean, to resolve need/want, which is the core of his depression, thematically… He’s come back with levelled up determination and a will to live, which is great, but there’s so much work to do before he feels happy even if he DOES remember the Empty. I’ve written ridiculously long things tracking his arc so I’ll just say that this was a great step forwards for him but in no way actually resolving anything.
For Dean as well, Billie sent him back but it was with the “work to do” order/motivation that’s made Dean and Sam power through a lot of their worst times, and like how in the Empty nothing new was actually said about Cas, it just brought everything up that was troubling him so we’d get a sample of how he feels, that was just repeating the theme for Dean that he started this season on - that at best he’s going to feel like a guy doing his job, because someone more important than him told him he had to and he can’t stop now.
Billie’s words are the sort of advice he got in season 7 after Cas (and then Bobby) died, from Bobby, Frank and Eliot Ness, all of which was a variation of the same sort of nihilism about doing the job because it’s the job and you’re the one who does it. I’m in most agreement with the meta I’ve seen that Dean didn’t go into that whole mess looking for a reason to die, he just was in that state Bobby described:
I want to talk about your new party line.
Party? What are you talking about? I don’t even vote.
“The world’s a suicide case. We save it, it just steals more pills”?
Bobby, I’m here, okay? I’m on the case. What’s the problem?
I’ve seen a lot of hunters live and die. You’re starting to talk like one of the dead ones, Dean.
No, I’m talking the way a person talks when they’ve had it, when they can’t figure out why they used to think all this mattered.
I’m picking on this conversation because it’s the most detailed but also because it’s the one Dean has WITH Bobby so in no way shape or form can it be about Dean losing Bobby, except that of course this episode gave Dean and Sam both a private conversation with Bobby about where they were at, so we could have a good last moment with him each, and also to gauge how they’d react to his death (Dean with this massive depression caused by losing Cas and his betrayal to pile on top of) and Bobby’s last advice apply after as well. His advice being:
Come on, now. You tried to hang it up and be a person with Lisa and Ben. And now here you are with a mean old coot and a van full of guns. That ain’t person behavior, son. You’re a hunter, meaning you’re whatever the job you’re doing today. Now, you get a case of the Anne Sextons, something’s gonna come up behind you and rip your fool head off. Now, you find your reasons to get back in the game. I don’t care if it’s love or spite or a ten-dollar bet. I’ve been to enough funerals. I mean it. You die before me, and I’ll kill you.
But this is essentially what Billie does for Dean. She reads him, sees he wants to die, and he tells her that he doesn’t matter, so she reassures him that he has a job, that he is important, that he’s in this cosmic position of responsibility. It would almost be encouraging, to know you’re not meant to die that day, that there is a reason for you to be alive. But not for Dean in the state he was in then.
Cas coming back is GREAT and of course it’s going to make Dean wildly happy. But he’s been feeling this way about the job a long, long time in ways that aren’t to do with Cas at all but is just his underlying major trauma that you can see coming from a hundred miles off in season 1:
I’m tired, Sam. I’m tired of this job, this life … this weight on my shoulders, man. I’m tired of it.
I just think we should take a break from all this. Why do we gotta get stuck with all the responsibility, you know? Why can’t we live life a little bit?
Or this speech from 2x20 I contractually have to quote at least once a month as a card-carrying Dean!girl:
All of them. Everyone that you saved, everyone Sammy and I saved. They’re all dead. And there’s this woman, that’s haunting me. I don’t know why. I don’t know what the connection is, not yet anyway. It’s like my old life is, is coming after me or something. Like it like it doesn’t want me to be happy. Course I know what you’d say. Well, not the you that played softball but… “So go hunt the Djinn. He put you here, it can put you back. Your happiness for all those people’s lives, no contest. Right?” But why? Why is it my job to save these people? Why do I have to be some kind of hero? What about us, huh? What, Mom’s not supposed to live her life, Sammy’s not supposed to get married? Why do we have to sacrifice everything, Dad? It’s… Yeah…
(And, side note, it really annoys me when people make 2x20 about brotherly wuv, platonically or not, because THAT is why Dean decided to go un-wish this life, not because of anything to do with AU Sam, who he still trusted he could find his Sam in >.> I’ll just keep repeating this until I stop stumbling over the idea… :P)
He’s had similar smaller moments like this but season 2, 7 and now 13 are his grief seasons, so I’m most interested in these parallels. Like, just in general. Specifically in season 2 because he was dealing with John’s order to save Sam or kill him, which of course is a dynamic that Jack could horrifyingly repeat for him if Dean gets attached to a kid with the same horrifying destiny. Specifically in season 7 Dean was dealing with losing Cas and it immediately struck him to the core, that even while Cas was still Godstiel he was having mirrors with his season 2 self after losing John:
Sounds good. You got any leads on where the demon is? Making heads or tails of any of Dad’s research? Because I sure ain’t. But you know, if we do finally find it - oh. No, wait, like you said. The Colt’s gone. But I’m sure you’ve figured out another way to kill it. We’ve got nothing, Sam. Nothing, okay? So you know the only thing I can do? Is I can work on the car.
[… five years elapse]
So, what? Try to talk to him again?
Dean, all we can do is talk to the guy.
He’s not a guy. He’s God. And he’s pissed. And when God gets righteous, you get the hell out of the way; haven’t you read the Bible?
Cas is never coming back. He’s lied to us, he used us, he cracked your gourd like it was nothing. No more talk; we have spent enough on him.
Hand me that socket wrench.
Dean didn’t lose the car this time, just had Miriam deface it with “Bitch” on the window and the car was washed and shiny in a couple of episodes. But it’s metaphorically a similar process and I guess all they had time for when 13x01 was about taking time in a very different way, by giving Dean like 10 minutes at the end of the episode all about how he was grieving Cas.
Anyway, I think there’s a lot of thematic overlap in what it means for Dean right now, with Billie’s reminder of his position on the cosmic ladder, to John’s order about Sam, to Dean’s responsibility to deal with Cas and the Leviathans, which eventually crystallises into his mission to kill Dick - and though Dick kills Bobby, finding out who is the head leviathan in 7x09 really just seals the deal of who Dean needs to personally kill to deal with everything, and the Bobby thing was just an extra motivation to fall into a revenge mindset, but it also about what happened with Cas (and when Cas comes back, he has to help kill Dick for the same reason it all happened to him and he was connected to it and responsible).
We really haven’t seen anything yet, but I think getting Cas back is a temporary fix at least to a bigger issue, which is Dean’s burden of the world, which Chuck lumped on him in 11x23 and made me very, very excited that Dean’s duty to save everyone was hopefully going to get some microscopic treatment and maybe one day some sort of resolution. I don’t think Billie’s comment was a pick me up, and it reminds me of how Cas started picking on Dean on Heaven’s behalf in 4x01 - telling him they had work for him. In 4x02 Dean complains a lot about how he hates being singled out and it’s absolutely horrifying that he was saved for unknown reasons. And those reasons turned out to be being Michael’s vessel and one of the 2 grenade pins needed to be pulled on the planet being destroyed.
(Which we have some handy visuals for and reminders of in the AU world right now :P)
I’d hope in the long run Chuck’s orders end up being destroyed as much as John’s were, because the parallel is 1 to 1 except bigger scale, and Chuck telling Dean the world has him to protect it literally in God’s own place is an absolutely horrifying unfair burden than broke him in season 5 and can be directly equated to how season 2 broke him when Sam, who was basically his whole world at the time, was lumped on him with the same burden. In the mean time, Billie’s adding to the weight on Dean, although long run she’s neutral, commenting on it rather than ordering, and seems to have some confidence that he has a purpose and will fulfil it, I can see Dean struggling with it in just the same way he took Cas’s comments in 4x01.
So even if he seems happy to get Cas back, the root problem of his depression, his sense of being worthless, is still truly about how he defines himself as a hunter and the guy who is supposed to save everyone - who will trade himself for a house of random ghosts he feels he LET DOWN by not investigating well enough sooner. Because he has sole responsibility to fix the planet.
The job is killing Dean literally and metaphorically, and the grief of losing all his loved ones as they do it is just an additional awful, awful part of it. Not getting Cas back immediately thanks to Chuck in 13x01 just confirmed how alone Dean is in the world to him, and he directly mentioned the line from 11x23 when reaching out to Chuck… Getting Cas back and Cas returning seemingly on his own steam is going to be a nice turning point, and good for uplifting Dean, but the core problem remains and since 11x23 I’ve been pretty certain that Dean’s endgame is NOT to be a hunter… Billie also now makes me think he has some purpose to fulfil, and ideally, fulfilling it would let him finally get off the cosmic ladder and be who he wants to be without obligation.
About all I can really speculate about that hopeful endgame would be that Sam seems to be lumped in with Dean on this, but Cas is literally outside the system based on how he got himself back from the Empty without Chuck’s interference, OR except for in thematic “rewards” or dramatic irony from just missing him really hard, Dean didn’t actually bring him back by DOING anything, and Jack, who is also outside the system in some ways, did instead. But that’s all a huge mess right now :P Need more data.
So anyway, to go back to Dean and Cas next episode? I think they will have a lot to talk about but it has to be immediate character stuff about their actions and desires. They are both really good for each other and going through very similar emotional territory so I hope they get honest and tell each other how they’re doing, but I don’t think they’ll be talking about overcoming anything. I think if it does mirror 8x08 it MAY be a reversal that Dean admits how bad he was doing without Cas, and Cas is still too uncertain about what happened to him or with a link to make it directly about Dean to reciprocate the sentiment… For all the good communication lately I’m not entirely sure if Dean and Cas can absolutely knock down all the walls.
And I seriously fear dramatic interruptions to their reconciliation just because of the extremely vague episode descriptions we have after 13x06, which seem to be concealing exactly what happens in that episode… I’m really expecting silly cowboys for like the middle half of the episode, with the first quarter for reconciliation and getting onto the job, and the last quarter or five minutes for shit to completely hit the fan in some way, probably about Jack, and probably involving Cas since he’s specifically not mentioned in the episode descriptions *even though they just got him back*.
I’m not worried or wanky about this, I’m just bracing myself for the next round of drama and what its subject will be. If Cas is fine and hanging out with the Winchesters still for 2 episodes and it was redacted spoilers for the sake of 13x05′s last 5 minutes that’s awesome :P But it sounds like time to brace yourself not to expect everything to be fluffy or resolved, either with plot stuff, or emotional arcs. We’re only 5 episodes in so the drama needs to keep on happening, and there’s no way Dean and Cas can or should overcome their arcs about their depression when it’s been set up so interestingly, just because they’re hanging out again.
But it WILL make them feel a lot better in the short term. :D I’m really excited for what they WILL say to each other, I just feel like in some ways we’re really starting to put the cart before the horse on identifying what stories are being told and what moments are being offered to tell them, and assuming the stories are over just because something really dramatic happened. I’m seeing it a lot with all sorts of thematic threads, that just because they’re becoming obvious or surface level or have had a really dramatic moment all about them, they’re being wrapped up as we speak. Instead I think it’s got to all be set up for the rest of the season, where this is all important stuff to know, but the real work hasn’t even begun yet :P