OK I just got back from family mandated fun weekend in lake town USA (I caught a fish, good times were had) and I had to put this to metaphorical paper immediately. We went to a cowboy themed restaurant that had all these signs everywhere. I took pictures of my favorites and did what I had to do.
Well, when I was new, I wrote a whole post about this, about how early episodes but especially 12x11 foreshadowed that Performing!Dean was going to be deconstructed by the end of the season… Fans self.
The death of Performing!Dean in this episode was BEAUTIFUL. It was EXQUISITE. I couldn’t have asked for MORE!
I literally grabbed and punched @amwritingmeta in the leg I don't know how many times as I paused it to point and shout.
1. The Grenade Launcher
So, the grenade launcher = performing!Dean metaphor. We had hoped and boy did they deliver! Did anyone else notice, while Dean was *ahem* knocking down the seemingly unpenetrable physical walls, that, maybe it was my weird link, but it seemed to me that the flashing ‘red’ lights in the MoL bunker were decidedly pinky-purpley in colour rather than standard alarm bells red and the flashlights glowed on the blue side of white… (the MoL HQ lights are also brightly pinky-purple to keep the theme going, I mean honestly what self respecting 1950s MoL guy chose this for the bunker instead of the usual red? Please!) Just saying.
“It wasn’t long ago I thought we had it made. We had Cas back, we had mom back. I mean it wasn’t perfect but still…”. This is it. Dean’s facade has been coming down all season, but at this point now, he just doesn’t see the point in holding it up anymore.
And what does Sam do? HE OPENS UP TO DEAN. He tells Dean how he feels, the reasons why he followed the MoL - that it was “easier than leading”, that he made a mistake. This enables Dean to be truthful himself, in the end, now. Again, they have had many times to reflect on their own deaths but this is another time similar to 11x23 where he can really reflect on what he has lost, and now what is that? Cas and Mary.
Dean uses the grenade launcher, that he’s been dying to do since forever, blows down the impenetrable seeming wall, saves the day. How meta do we need to go? It’s BLATANT. The choice in the colour of the lights, the dialogue, his feelings… the walls are Dean’s facade and the grenade launcher is his way of breaking it down. YES. This has been building all season and much prior to this other meta writers have said that he grenade launcher is associated with Dean’s hidden side, his bisexuality, Destiel etc… this is meta gold, THIS is a meta aspect Dabb was talking about. Toni even then parallels the tearing down of Mary’s mental wall with Dean’s physical use of the grenade launcher, just moments after. It is so well put together :D
Also, I have long believed that the bunker had to go. It represents too much the MoL side of things and the whole ‘living below ground’ thing is way too underground / metaphorically bad. For me they need a real, healthy home which is in between Bobby’s hunter house and the MoL bunker. Hopefully they will find a nice modern MoL home with kit but that isn’t so hidden above ground somewhere next season to take over and make their own :D
2. Sam the MoL leader
“Real hunting isn’t just about killing, it’s about doing whats right… I want you to follow me”. We have wanted this for Sam all season, the MoL story fits his personal arc so well (so did Eileen, still bitter), this is Sam’s endgame. Sam said just moments earlier that he didn’t want to lead, but now he is, because it is necessary and because he is good at it. I believe he will now see that this is what he wants and will work towards this for his endgame.
This then leads to…
3. Dean and Sam - ending the brodependency and Dean as Sam’s parent
Dean lets Sam go, the dialogue is amazing. “You’re ready for this… you got this” paralleled with an actual mom/daughter conversation between Jody and Alex.
Dean literally talks to Sam like a parent letting their child go off to college and I had to pause this for a long long moment to process and scream “they’re actually going there!” not even knowing what was coming next… man…
Then comes the Mary / Dean scene.
4. Dean and Mary
This was always going to be what Mary led to for Dean’s arc. After Amara had started this addressing of Dean’s facade in season 11 and Mary is basically an extension of Amara this season re: Dean (in the same way that she still has to influence Sam’s arc re: Lucifer, that is for next season). I LOVED how BLATANT and textual they made this, the actual lack of subtext because it was all in the ACTUAL TEXT!
Firstly, Dean considers letting Toni go, which I had expected, to show the difference between our boys (morality) and the MoL as monsters.
Then… “Dad was just a shell…I had to be a father and a mother to keep him safe, and that wasnt fair, and I couldnt do it, and you wanna know what that was like? They killed the girl that he loved, he got possessed by Lucifer, they tortured him in hell and he lost his soul…But I forgive you, for everything.” MY HEART!
Ok, yeah, they did the thing, they brought Jess up 30 mins before killing the guy that Dean loves after not mentioning her for…. A DECADE? And paralleling one of the few scenes we ever saw her in with Dean/Cas too? After we already had the parallel with Dean seeing Cas when driving along, same as Sam did? So, only the scene of Sam and Jess in the bar and the scene where Dean actually meets her haven’t been paralleled now with Dean/Cas? I’M LIVING!
But seriously. The rest is exactly what we, the audience needed to understand Dean and to show casual viewers Dean’s inner angst in order to understand the facade coming down, this is exactly what Dean needed. He has come full circle, this is the start of the culmination of the end of Performing!Dean (which Jensen has no said at Jibcon will be furthered in season 13!).
Dean actually TELLS Mary in his mind that he hates her, but that he loves her. That he had to be Sam’s mother and father, and that it wasn’t FAIR. This is so important, that he didnt just say that it happend and that it sucked, but that it wasn’t FAIR and that he did not DESERVE IT.
This is Dean addressing not just his mother but how HE feels about it, how he feels about HIMSELF, that he is saying that he DESERVES MORE and has SELF WORTH.
These are all the words I have been using since 12x01 re: Dean . I’m so happy!
5. Ketch kills Toni, Mary kills Ketch after Dean beats him to a pulp, PERFECT, Jody kills Hess, again perfect.
This had to happen to keep our boys on the ‘don’t kill humans unless they HAVE to’ side, especially after Dean considered letting Toni go. Thank you.
6. Winchester family reunion
Sam’s forgiveness of Mary, Dean’s reaction to the happy family hug (it’s great but someone is missing…). “Who we are… we kick ass. We save the world”
SAM AND DEAN ARE ACCEPTING THEMSELVES THIS SEASON. In 12x09 Sam said it, now Dean says it. After all the angst this episode and for Dean all season…
This whole episode was for me the culmination of the deconstruction of Performing!Dean this season, which has been the main theme carried through on the character - driven side of things, it was beautiful.
In many ways I view this as the character - led season finale and 12x23 as the plot - led season finale (which I will post my thoughts on right up next).
I cannot WAIT to see the result of this episode come across next season.
We have not only now Performing!Dean pretty much dead or on his way out, the Dean Winchester is going to die metaphor was fully used and was fantastic, but coupled with Cas being brutally taken away from Dean, the parallels with 2 key canon romantic couples (Sam/Jess and Cain/Colette) in this within SECONDS of each other, plus the Jibcon revelations that we will see more of Dean’s reaction to this in season 13, apparently crying (and Jared not even hiding Destiel jokes now) make me pretty much 100% convinced Destiel is really endgame now.
Aside from this we now have Dean accepting himself, his internal self acceptance arc coming to a close, Sam’s MoL arc coming up and I will touch on the other aspects of the story for Sam in the next post as they are relevant to Lucifer / Jack, and Cas’s arc too…
Season 13 is already set up for exactly the endgame I am wishing for!
Tink’s Endgame Wishlist :
- Mol! Sam (and Eileen, Chuck I’m still bitter about that though, I really hoped her death would turn out to be a misdirection). Pretty much CHECK.
- Hunter / Mol collaboration with Sam and Dean as leaders. Pretty much CHECK.
- End of the brodependency, Dean acknowledging he was Sam’s parent and letting him go. CHECK.
- End of Performing!Dean. Pretty much CHECK.
- Human!Cas and self worth and belonging for his arc. TBA probably next season, what happened this season makes no sense if not to lead to this.
- Destiel. Pretty much CHECK. (And now after seeing Jibcon and the boys just joking about it all the time? Yeah, I don’t think they have an issue with this!).