Here’s bullet point no.2 on season 1 Destiel and how Cas comes at it from two completely different but vital angles and basically was fated utterly to be a character to change Dean forever and to be so firmly embedded in his life and character that losing him is like cutting off a limb within a couple of years of knowing each other…
Covered the religious angle kicking off here, shortly before Faith ever goes into it and starts probing Dean’s character arc…
This time it’s 1x11, Scarecrow, and Sam and Dean’s big blow up fight:
DEAN: Dad doesn’t want our help.
SAM: I don’t care.
DEAN: He’s given us an order.
SAM: (firmly) I don’t care. We don’t always have to do what he says.
DEAN: Sam, Dad is asking us to work jobs, to save lives, it’s important.
DEAN: Dad said it wasn’t safe. For any of us. I mean, he obviously knows something that we don’t, so if he says to stay away, we stay away.
SAM: I don’t understand the blind faith you have in the man. I mean, it’s like you don’t even question him.
DEAN: Yeah, it’s called being a good son!
And later in the episode, when they’re sort of making a peace with the way things are, and that these are way too firmly embedded character traits to pry them out of Dean in one argument and lesson learned about not trusting people who won’t let Dean have any of their magic apple pie…
DEAN: Sam. You were right. You gotta do your own thing. You gotta live your own life.
SAM: Are you serious?
DEAN: You’ve always known what you want. And you go after it. You stand up to Dad. And you always have. Hell, I wish I—
Anyway, John goes and dies not even without giving Dean any real closure (the bastard) but despite Dean standing up a little to his treatment in 1x21, he ends up just getting another massive burden put on him, which spirals him out all the way to season 3 and -
My father was an obsessed bastard!
All that crap he dumped on me, about protecting Sam! That was his crap. He’s the one who couldn’t protect his family. He-
He’s the one who let Mom die.
– who wasn’t there for Sam. I always was! He wasn’t fair! I didn’t deserve what he put on me.
And I don’t deserve to go to Hell!
But it’s too late, he can’t confront John properly. Now on one front this episode also has the first time Bobby is addressed as being a literal father figure to them and Dean especially (Sam getting separated out while Dean has a more intense bonding moment with Bobby when they go into his head, never mind the parallels between them this episode.) Having a positive father figure eases the pain a great deal, I think, and Bobby works as the fatherly counterpoint to Cas.
So in season 4, Cas shows up and for a couple of episodes he seems like an absolute authority figures, giving orders and in this way seems like he might be a potential John mirror, speaking for Heaven, where God is paralleled even more directly to John. But as soon as Cas starts getting a chance to be a fleshed out character, he swaps instead to being a direct Dean mirror, and it’s on exactly the same order questioning thing that Dean got a free pass out of confronting because John died before he could make any real progress. Instead of confronting an authority figure and rejecting John in a mirror character, Dean ends up with a character going through his exact footsteps where, like Sam feels in 1x10 that Dean is acting like his boss, it turns out he’s only following orders too, and this all comes about in one episode, with this last line serving as a great way to link it all as well -
Of course you have a choice. I mean, come on, what? You’ve never questioned a crap order, huh? What are you both, just a couple of hammers?
Look, even if you can’t understand it, have faith. The plan is just.
How can you even say that?
Because it comes from heaven, that makes it just.
Oh, it must be nice, to be so sure of yourselves.
Tell me something, Dean, when your father gave you an order, didn’t you obey?
Quietly revealing that Cas has this reliance on Heaven being just, but then at the end of the episode, and I really don’t think Cas was allowed to do this but he did it anyway…
Our orders –
Yeah, you know, I’ve had about enough of these orders of yours –
Our orders were not to stop the summoning of Samhain, they were to do whatever you told us to do.
And like that Cas is close to an equal when it comes to just being the guy who follows orders and if he can’t think for himself, at least would like to and has opinions and feelings about it (all his arguing with Uriel specifically to contrast a harsher angel who doesn’t care)…
And that leaves Cas to question, and Dean to nurse him that final step of the way to rebelling in 4x22 - that conversation where Dean urges Cas to rebel acting as his way of working through some of the left over unaddressed issues.
I love that by season 5 he can joke about absent fathers with Cas and know that they’ve been through, by then, the exact same process and at that point have sort of reached a point where their feelings on it overlap perfectly. And I think Dean got something out of it as much as Cas got a hell of a lot out of Dean over season 4.
The point being, once again some lines in season 1 which seem perfectly innocuous on their own in shippy ways but when you hold them up to the whole story, Sam’s side of this arc goes off one way, and Dean’s a different, which ends up having Cas’s thread braided all around it almost immediately.
Like, again, when Cas says he and Dean have a more profound bond in season 6, it’s not just because they casually spent more time together - they emotionally mind meld over their first 2 years of knowing each other, and it’s this exact thing Dean dealt with and had left over as an open wound for 3 years until Cas.
(And thinking of open wounds - in 1x09, Missouri describing how evil could cause wounds which festered and attracted poltergeist - I think it’s a good metaphor for things like this too - open character arcs which don’t get resolution, build up and fester. It’s not like Dean *totally* gets over John because it takes years and years and again, to go back to 12x22 as I seriously can’t stop doing, I think Dean really sees HIM for the first time with clear eyes while telling Mary about it, and getting to deal with his parents (or at least one of them) face to face for *real*, no mirrors or any emotional catharsis trickery involved. But then it’s not like Cas actually feels any better about God, he just reached a place of being bitter and accepting than chasing after his approval - and I think 5x16 is Cas’s point similar to 3x10 where he can angrily reject seeking that approval.)
(This series of “Destiel began 7 episodes into the show and you can’t do anything about it” posts is dedicated to an awful hate blog that asks what show we’re watching when we say things like this. My answer is, “this show” *gestures my box set and carries on watching* :P)