So they didn't address any prayers from Dean and Sam to Cas at all? Really? What are your thoughts on this? It wasn't a warded prison? When Dean's calling him and he doesn't answer he could just pray like hey buddy answer your phone!
This has been a thing all season long, frankly. Since 12.01, when Cas had no idea that Dean was alive until he returned to the bunker and found him there.
Prayer had been a major thing for Dean in the past (I prayed to you, Cas! Every night!), and we know that Cas is able to pick up on a longing, since that’s how he found Claire that one time… BUT THERE WAS ONE KEY DIFFERENCE HERE!
DEAN HAD NO IDEA WHERE HE WAS EVEN BEING HELD!
So, prayer apparently doesn’t work as an automatic angel GPS locator beacon. Yes, Cas used Claire’s “longing” to find her in the past, BUT CLAIRE KNEW WHERE SHE WAS. She could see things like road signs and landmarks and the like. All Dean knew (or Sam, for that matter) was that they’d been taken somewhere and locked in a concrete box. All the prayer and longing (or even dreamwalking) in the world couldn’t have given Cas any more information than he objectively and textually admitted to having.
I think the fanon idea of what prayer and dreamwalking are capable of has been muddled up with what is actually canon about these abilities.
Basically, prayer doesn’t solve all their problems, has NEVER solved all their problems, and cannot solve them all.
(I agree that it would’ve been nice to know that Dean actually WAS praying to Cas, even if it was just a hopeless “I’m still here but I’m going crazy, man” kind of prayer, but UGH WITH THE POOR ABANDONED CAS FEELS, of him sitting alone in the dark in the bunker feeling ultimately useless in the face of his loss of the Winchesters, and the blame for their absence weighing on him like never before… THE HORROR OF BEING ABLE TO HEAR DEAN’S HELPLESS PRAYERS YET DO NOTHING TO HELP HIM?! Would’ve been so much more painful…
*sits here for 10 minutes staring at the wall like a gelatinized lump of sads*
*I’m watching 5.17 right now, so all of this feels about 10 times worse than it should*
*oh god Cas’s voice mail message has evolved over the years hasn’t it?*
*where was I? what was this about? RIGHT. PRAYER.*
S12 was promising a return to early seasons Badass Castiel Angel of the Lord on a mission, and we’ve seen that… but in a very different way… because CAS HIMSELF IS HAVING A CRISIS OF IDENTITY. Physically and mentally and emotionally, Cas is hovering over a precipice. He’s got a foot in heaven and a foot on earth. He’s still got some of his angel nature and powers, but he’s also grown decidedly more human. He’s lost his wings, yet he’s still an angel… sort of. He’s experiencing emotions very much like a human would, but without the lifetime of experience that a human has dealing with emotions. And he’s not always coping well with them.
Rather than shrugging this off, we’ve watched him struggle mightily under the combined weight of his depression and guilt, and the fundamental disconnect he’s experiencing because he still has his grace and should still technically be an angel who isn’t subject to the burden of these human emotions.
Cas fans have been wondering when Cas is going to get his Big Emotional Importance in the story, and THIS IS IT. THIS IS WHAT WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR. This is how they’re having Cas’s Big Story unfold.
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to imagine that Dean has prayed to Cas this season, but he hasn’t actually had any information to pray AT Cas that could’ve helped his situation, you know? And even once they’d escaped, just praying the information they had once they’d sort of figured out where they were being held at Cas wouldn’t have been enough to serve their needs.
They needed to know that Cas was coming for them. Dean NEEDED confirmation that Cas had heard, and understood, and was on the way. Because they were “on the clock.” They only had until midnight, and he needed to see Cas one last time. THAT WAS THE ENTIRE POINT OF GETTING THAT VERBAL CONFIRMATION THAT CAS UNDERSTOOD AND WAS ON THE WAY, rather than just praying and hoping Cas heard it.
I’m also wondering if prayer is even functioning the same way it has in the past. We know that Angel Radio is still operational after the Nephilim Announcement of Screaming and Smashed Coffee Cups, but aside from that, we haven’t seen any confirmation that Cas’s ability to receive prayers is functioning with the intensity that it always had in the past. Which also adds to the “between two worlds” sort of limbo that Cas is occupying, feeling like he has no idea where he belongs, or even who he is anymore.
Which it ends up being remains to be seen, but I trust Dabb not to have fucked up canon so badly that whoopsie he just forgot that prayer existed…
Because the last time we really saw Dean pray to Cas? 9.01, when Cas was entirely incapable of answering, because he was effectively human and cut off from all his angelic powers. Before that? Was at the end of 8.16, when Dean’s prayers were again going unanswered, because Cas was being mind-controlled by Naomi. And what broke the connection?
Cas claimed he didn’t know… ouch…
Another part of this is the fact that we’ve been shown over and over again that Dean doesn’t entirely think of Cas as an angel anymore.
“He’s not an it. He’s Cas!”
He’s family. He’s Dean’s best friend. He’s not a hammer or a tool. Dean thinks of him as a person first, and now cue Dean’s self-loathing and feelings of inadequacy. Who is he to pray to angels? I mean, I don’t think this is the major reasoning at work here, but it’s certainly at least a small part of it.
But it’s not the fucking plot hole that I keep seeing people screaming about. It’s sort of beside the point when we look at the bigger themes at work here.