Wow, I have such a kink for 8.2! I'm cutting work to watch this again LOL!
Oh dear! Confession time, I was up until like 4 am (no that’s a lie, it was almost 5 am), and woke up to find Mr. Mittens watching it. It was the bit I’m currently watching right now, at the riverbank in Purgatory.
“Let me bottom line it for you. I’m not leaving here without you. Understand?”
In my groggy state, I blurted out, “Oh gosh, we’ve come so far since then.” And then I ran to the living room and turned on the other tv, rewound it to the beginning and watched the whole thing again.
I still get skeeved by this entire auction. Like they deliberately invited Crowley and a representative of Heaven to drive up the price of the tablet. I mean, who else would have any interest at all in the Demon tablet? It’s like Plutus just… stole stuff and held it for ransom under the guise of this freaky auction. I mean, god of greed, so it seems logical, but >.>
Another bit that’s always bugged me is not the line itself, but the fandom misinterpretation of it as a Canon Fact:
Linda Tran offers her own soul in trade for the tablet and Kevin, which Plutus accepts with this reasoning:
CROWLEY: If it’s souls that you’re after, I can give you a million souls.
DEAN: Hey, flyboy, are you gonna get in on this?
SAMANDIRIEL: We guard the souls in Heaven. We don’t horse-trade them.
CROWLEY: So we have a deal.
PLUTUS: It’s not about the quantity, chief. It’s about the sacrifice. This little lady’s soul is the most valuable thing she has. It’s everything. Are you willing to offer everything, Mr. Crowley?
CROWLEY: Fine. You win. I bid… my own soul!
PLUTUS: [laughs] Mr. Crowley, you don’t have a soul. [to MRS TRAN] Congrats, sweetheart.
The key here is that Linda’s soul was valuable because it was the largest SACRIFICE she was capable of making. Like Plutus said, “It’s everything.” So Crowley’s offer of a million souls, which after s6 we know would’ve been a major power trade (he loaned Cas 50k souls to smack down Raphael, but it still wasn’t enough to defeat Raphael– hence the grab for Purgatory souls. So a MILLION souls was a significant and substantial quantity of power to give up). But in Hell, new souls are showing up every day. They’re a renewable resource. Short-term it would’ve been a high price to pay, but long-term? In the bigger picture? Meh.
But in that same vein, when Plutus points this out, he asks if Crowley is willing to offer EVERYTHING he owns, and Crowley takes that to mean his own soul… but that’s hardly everything Crowley owns that is of value, you know?
First off, he really doesn’t HAVE a soul. Demons ARE souls. The smoky thing we see is what Hell does to that bright and shiny human soul we’ve seen before numerous times. I don’t think Plutus was saying that Crowley really had no soul, but that he didn’t have one to TRADE, because it was his entire BEING, you know? And it’s certainly not the extent of the things Crowley COULD sacrifice– like the entire realm of Hell.
Plus, that matter of the fact that the “Mr Crowley, you don’t have a soul” line was a direct quote of something someone once said to the real-life Aleister Crowley. (a fact that is now impossible to google because of the millions of results it returns about this scene…).
SAM: Dean, were you really going to, uh…
DEAN: What? Slit soccer mom’s throat? Yeah, I was. I wish I had.
SAM: Dean –
DEAN: It was Crowley, Sam. No matter what meat suit he’s in, I should have knifed him. I mean, yeah, it would have sucked, and I would have hated myself, but what’s one more nightmare, right?
And Dean’s takeaway after Kevin runs for it? That people he doesn’t “need” anymore tend to die.
Which gives a HELL of a lot of weight to the statement in Purgatory to Cas:
DEAN: We’ll figure it out. Cas, buddy, I need you.
But Cas still ended up stuck in Purgatory anyway. As if Dean’s “need” for him wasn’t even enough to save Cas from that fate. And then months later in 8.17:
Dean: This isn’t you. Cas, I know you’re in there. I know you can hear me. Cas, it’s me. We’re family. We need you; I need you.
And… it WAS enough to “save” Cas that time, but still not enough to get him to stick around. Heck, so much of s8 was about need…
I mean, while I was typing this up, I let 8.03 run in the background.
We already know from the jump in s8 that Dean’s pissed off that Sam walked away for an entire year, leaving Kevin running and fighting for his life alone. It came up again in 8.02, with Kevin still not really trusting Sam and Dean, and running off on his own again (with Linda this time).
And in 8.03, Dean finds yet another thing to harp on Sam about his own year off:
DEAN: All right, man, look, I get it. You took a year off to do yoga and play the lute, whatever, but I’m back. Okay, we’re back, which means that we walk and kill monsters at the same time. We’ll find Kevin. But in the meantime, do we ignore stuff like this? Or are innocent people supposed to die so that you can shop for produce?
Because while researching, Dean discovers the pattern of deaths repeats every six months, and Sam had’t even noticed it, let alone investigated to try and save these people, meaning the three people who’d died that week were on Sam for not having ganked the thing that killed them the first time it went on a killing spree… Yeah, Dean was angry, but meanwhile Sam had been in that “I don’t fight anymore, I watch the bees” sort of state of mind during that whole year.
Nothing says family like the whole family being dead (or as near as… )
But then Dean discovers Sam was considering going back to college. He tells Sam that this is where they’re best– hunting down monsters together:
DEAN: I know where I’m at my best, and that is right here, driving down crazy street next to you.
SAM: Makes sense.
DEAN: Yes, it does.
SAM: Or… maybe you don’t need me. I mean, maybe you’re at your best hacking and slicing your way through all the world’s crap alone, not having to explain yourself to anybody.
DEAN: Yeah, that makes sense, seeing as I have so many other brothers I can talk to about this stuff.
SAM: Look, I’m not saying I’m bailing on you. I’m just saying make room for the possibility that we want different things. I mean, I want my time to count for something.
DEAN: So, what we do doesn’t count?
And this is so important, the first suggestion that Sam and Dean want different things in life, and that eventually that might even be okay. But hooboy does it ever cause a lot of conflict between now and that impossibly distant potential future:
DEAN: Wow. Back in business. Got the win. Admit it – feels good, huh? You know, I was thinking about what Randa said about, uh, you know, what it feels like to be a warrior. I get it, man, I do.
SAM: I know. I know you do. I don’t. Not anymore. Hell, maybe I never did.
DEAN: Come on, Sam, don’t ruin my buzz, would you?
SAM: Dean, listen, when this is over – when we close up shop on Kevin and the tablet – I’m done. I mean that.
DEAN: No, you don’t.
SAM: Dean, the year that I took off, I had something I’ve never had. A normal life. I mean, I got to see what that felt like. I want that. I had that.
DEAN: I think that’s just how you feel right now.
And that’s setting up everything that’s come after in the brothers’ relationship with each other, the first chip knocked out of the giant mountain of codependency. It comes roaring back with a vengeance by the end of the season (granted, via the end of their close brush with hubris in their attempt to close the gates of hell), but at least all of this brings those issues glaringly to the surface where they can’t really just keep on keeping on the way they always have anymore.
Need vs want
I think this is also foundational to Dean NEEDING people rather than being able to admit that he WANTS them in his life. That he wants people to stay in his life because he loves them, not because he needs them for a specific purpose.
Because when Dean doesn’t need people anymore, they tend to end up dead… And just loving people, needing them just because he loves them, he sees it as selfish. And his personal needs aren’t enough to keep people he loves from dying.
Boy howdy did he ever internalize that to a toxic extent.
Dean has clearly not shed the “I’m Poison” thing from s7, and in some ways it only gets worse over the next few seasons, like he’s got to get to the very root of that feeling, plumb the depths of his own self-loathing and become the absolute worst possible version of himself (hello, Demon Dean), and come through the other side with a healthier sense of self, a healthier sense of his relationship with Sam, and an acceptance of his personal need for Cas.
Now he just has to find the right words to express all that. Saying his piece to Mary in 12.22 was a good start.
And oh gosh, 8.04– Michael gave up his personal time with Kate to go along with Brian, because apparently Brian had no one else to hang out with. At the time, it sounds like Sam agreeing to go along with Dean on these hunts, leaving Amelia behind because Dean had no one else to hang out with… And the whole situation turned into a toxic mess. But the parallel isn’t perfect. Dean wasn’t motivated for the same reasons Brian was. Brian wanted what Michael had. Dean didn’t want what Sam had.
Dean just wanted everything to stay the same. But again, his needs are poison.
Heck, this got away from me again didn’t it?