Dabb vs cars
Surprisingly, not the next round in my ongoing, bitter feud about his continuity problems. A “I come in peace” study on parking.
I watched 10x09 today and I did the usual OTP “aw they’re so far apart” sad heart feeling at the shot of them all outside Sharkey’s.
No, not Dean n Cas.
The Impala and Pimpmobile.
Anyway it got me thinking about in that moment it represented pretty well how Dean and Cas were doing with each other. Of course there isn’t room to park beside Cas’s car, so Dean goes and parks on the other side of the door, leaving this big gap between them, bigger because there’s a parking mark thingy Cas is about to trip over before the shot abruptly ends. (I hope Misha was okay.) The cars have a clear line of sight to each other, but there’s just something so unutterably sad about there being no way for them to park side by side, per Cas’s parking, and Dean putting that extra space between them. (Also so they can go in the door… I’d say unobstructed but the longer I watch the gif the more I become convinced there’s footage out there of Misha ruining the impression of Cas’s reserved dignity…)
In the context of season 10, where Destiel was at right then was the first time they’d seen each other since 10x03, when Dean cleared his bed for Cas like, thanks for saving me from myself pls make yourself comfy, and Cas freaked out and gabbled some stuff about work and Hannah and such and told Dean to rest up, then fled the scene. Dean is pissed off Cas called for help over trying to deal with Claire (and it kind of looks like making excuses of busywork to not come home, when you flee with an apparently important mission and it turns out you’re wandering around trying to earn back brownie points with your vessel’s daughter, having randomly and abruptly swapped onto a personal mission without telling Dean a word of it) and in general the car placement amused me by seeming to echo how they were doing.
Being me, obviously thinking about that made me start thinking about Dabb, cars, and his old Carver era patterns. He got the one per season (two if we were lucky) Deep Emotional DeanCas Talk, to give us a real, solid moment to show how they were truly doing. 8x08, 9x10, 9x22, 10x09, and 11x10 spring to mind though obviously in other episodes he wrote with them they also still shared some pretty epic emotional moments or there were other strong Destiel things. However he is the one who gave us Cas’s original car, and two of these instances are directly before the Big Talk to tide things over and give us the emotional background for later. I figured some thoughts about some notable Dabb car stuff would be a nice thing to do. After my amused nostalgia run through Carver era moments, I’ve included Dabb era in general and picked out some other moments.
9x10 is the start of all this, once Cas finally gets some wheels of his own. The most interesting set piece barely involves any driving, but is the first time the Impala and Continental are parked beside each other. Like, RIGHT beside. Like, Dean n Cas should be this close to each other all the time. Cas’s car is a step ahead (I mean, I assume so he could get out the door). All episode Dean n Cas are a beautiful emotionally supportive unit, but Dean can’t cope with this, and so he gets in his car and leaves, pulling away from the closeness he’s offered from his family, the thing with the cars being exactly what he did when he walked away from them on the bridge too. I mean, that’s fairly obvious, I’m just amused after I went back to look, HOW closely the two cars were parked, like they wanted Cas’s car in that shot, next to Dean’s, and they’d force the most unrealistic parking job ever when there’s all that unused space around them, to get all the random details into the shot they needed. As a bonus, Dean had to have been the one to park the Impala so close blocking Cas’s car in. Unconscious desire to be so close to him and to keep him? He’s still recovering from asking him to leave.
(I know the Impala and Continental shared space in several end of season 9 episodes but not 9x22 as far as I recall in the earlier parts, and the Worst Dabb Vs Cars Fuckery Of Them All occurs in the final driving moment of that episode, just putting Cas IN the Impala for the drive home despite the fact his car ends up the Bunker at the start of 9x23… That’s a symbolic gesture of what he was trying to convey in the moment of Cas sitting in the back of the car but for the sake of talking about how they park together, useless. I feel like in 9x18 it’s just a reminder Cas HAS the car, and the show doesn’t do anything useful with it to represent Cas…)
Onto 11x10, and honestly my favourite of Dabb’s Dean n Cas chatting scenes because it’s technically pretty superfluous except for the fact he really really wanted a final DeanCas chat before Cas got Casifered, and so he made one heck of a driving continuity snarl to wrangle it. Obviously Cas followed Dean’s longing to his spot because how else… Anyway, he parks a long long way off. In season 11 he’s feeling very distanced from Dean by his anxiety and trauma. This is the epitome of the “I came as soon as you called” behaviour, with Cas dropping everything to come help Dean, and romantic blurring into focus walk aside, the long shot shows us beautifully that Cas is hesitant to approach, and maintaining the distance with Dean. After all the season 10 and early 11 drama between them, including several rounds of mind controlled punch ups, they’re fragile and miserable, and Cas’s last interaction with Dean on screen was an angry and frustrating one. Cas himself bridges the distance betwen them but his car waiting off in the background suggests his reservations, and the rest of the episode spells out everything, before he chooses to do something he thinks will help move their cars closer, as it were.
Entering Dabb era proper, in 12x02 we see Cas’s new truck (still with hay) and Dean pulling up to it. Obviously they’ve got their mission to save Sam, the jokes about Mary being brought along to chaperone their date, etc. But since the car conversation in 11x23 the ball has been in Dean’s court to approach Cas, and I would assume the mythical instance of mixtape giving is somewhere between 12x01 and 12x19; the point is, here, as the first 2 episodes of season 12 in general showed (and Dean in 12x22 confirmed talking about how happy he was to have Cas and Mary back in the same breath), Dean approaches Cas, parking right behind his truck, as a symbol of the confidence and comfort they have now. They work great as a team in this part of the season, although Cas has been standing around by his lonely parked truck waiting for most of the episode up to that point, and is forced to continue standing by the truck for most of the rest of the episode.
12x12 Cas is still in the “I’ll just wait here then” mode, hanging out at their designated meeting place as Sam, Dean, Mary and Wally arrive in a convoy and park on the other side of this parking lot, so he has to come to join them (Dean rotating on the spot as he does so… heh, I love that moment.) By the middle of season 12 Cas has run away to find Lucifer, echoing 10x03’s parting, and also killed for them and invited cosmic consequences, and in 12x10 given a firm well-communicated emotional talk to help him feel included and loved, and yet he also leaves to search for Kelly some more, echoing other times he’s gone off to do a side project and been very much on the outside. Once again he’s waiting for them to catch up, and Dean seems to breeze by him - and there’s so many other people with them (and part of why he left in 12x03 was to give Sam and Dean space with Mary, exclusing himself from the family). In the diner scene Cas has the whole waitress thing to deal with, with Dean acting up around so many people with conflicting needs to perform. Cas has been waiting for an incredibly long time, but if you ever needed a more firm “the ball is in your court” it’s the “I love you” at the end of the episode.
12x19 also has a important “where the cars are placed” sequence, which you could really do with a whole gifset of, but of course the Impala is there because Kelly stole it, and it’s been left off to the side by them; likewise Sam and Dean are left to the side by them as they drive off. Sam and Dean placed the truck before they did that and took it back (and all the stuff about Cas and Dean and fixing the truck in the episode is a whole ‘nother thing)… From this angle it looks ominously like the park in which Dean found Mary, with the lights behind the trees going on - of course night has just fallen rather than the sun coming up, and Cas is driving away from the light. As Dean walked Mary into their lives, newly resurrected, Cas drives out of their lives >.> Between all the stealing cars and rushing into save Cas, the gap between them as they’re parked is obvious and as a result of the circumstances. They’re apart because there’s too much going on, Kelly made off with Cas in the car, and Sam and Dean were helpless chasing after them. The distance and swapping around of cars and using them as part of the chaos is very effective. Cas calmly takes possesion of his truck again, freshly fixed by Dean, but drives off with Kelly. In 12x23 they steal some stock Destiel phrases to exchange, and it’s touching the truck which opens the rift. I had a nose around the outdoors scenes and couldn’t spot Cas’s truck and the Impala even on the same side of the building, and honestly am kind of confused about where the truck went. Not, as I said, that I’m trying to continue the feud with this post. But I mean.
I’m just saying he ruined the continuity in 12x01 for 12x02 by doing the exact same thing as 9x22 by just not using Cas’s truck when it would make sense to take as many vehicles as they can get their hands on so they could split up… Obviously all the many set pieces to do with cars worked best/could only work if there was just the Impala but it’s all style over function again… So in 12x02 to let Cas split up to help they add an extra day to let him get the truck so he can follow leads and do the legwork, and Mary and Dean end up back at the Bunker, immediately falling back into old static patterns when it would have made so much sense to just have them in a motel NEARBY instead of abandoning their hot trail on finding Sam so Mary could shower… He handed them that excuse on a platter and killed the urgency and Dean n Cas were split up all episode when they could have been at least local-ish to each other and maybe had that phonecall in person and and and… shh Lizzy