Illustration for Issue 7 of Critic magazine (Dunedin, NZ). ‘Where The Wild Things Aren’t’ : Josie Adams explores what it’s like to spend a full day “working hard” in the Central Library. http://bit.ly/1enymSv
Was there any meta on Josie offering herself to Abaddon to spare Henry and Cas attacking/saying yes to Lucifer to save Dean (and Sam) and the "as a sister" v the "you're our brother" lines?
Hey, thanks for the question!
I have to admit - I mostly try not to think too much about season 9, so I had to look the whole thing up. I also scanned my favourite meta writers’ tumblrs to see if anyone had written about this before, but didn’t find anything, so, here’s my take on it.
I think Henry was sincere when he said he saw Josie like a sister, and Dean was not when he said the same thing to Cas. We know Josie was in love with Henry, and while he cared about her, he was very much in love with his wife and wanted to stay with her and his little boy. I also think the whole problem they had with writing Josie was that they wanted Henry not to be possessed by Abbadon, so someone had to step in, but while a man might offer to save a woman as a matter of course, women need to be in love in order to be heroic - or, at least, that’s the way women have been written for a while, stretching all the way back to Alcestis. Having Josie in love with Henry, therefore, solved three problems - it provided her with a solid, safe, woman-appropriate motivation for saving him, it gave a lot of emotional depth to a character we saw very little, and it also helped defining Henry’s character better (look at him - nobody would begrudge him a quickie with his stunning companion, and instead all he wants is to go back to his wife - aaaaaw). So, well - in Mother’s Little Helper what we’ve got is the classic Last of the Mohicans scenario - a third wheel who decides to make himself (or, in this case, herself) useful by sacrificing his life so his beloved can be happy with someone else.
(Always a safe bet, by the way, because God, ALL the tragedy and ALL the tears.)
If we’re talking about Cas, Lucifer and Dean, on the other hand, I believe the situation to be a bit different.
Mostly, the main (or only) impediment to Dean and Cas becoming a couple at this stage is, of course, a lack of clear communication - it’s so obvious, sometimes I feel like we talk about little else. And in this context, the problem is that Cas believes he’s operating in a third wheel scenario - in fact, he even called himself a third wheel once, and that was both hilarious and sad af - and not because he thinks Dean has some other romantic attachment, but because he knows that’s what Dean wants (a family) and sees himself unworthy of becoming part of that. Like Josie with Henry, Cas feels Dean has more reasons to live than he himself does, and that’s half the reason why he keeps sacrificing himself to keep Dean from harm (the second half is, of course, that he luuuurves him). That’s why he worked with Crowley back in season 6, and that’s also why he said yes to Lucifer in season 11: to keep Dean safe and to make sure Dean can have the life he deserves, even if that life is not destined to be with him (a.k.a. the Bill Compton Condundrum). The tragedy here is that Cas doesn’t realize Dean won’t have much of a life without him, but, eh - we love tragedy, don’t we, because we’re useless fools.
Meanwhile, Dean’s starring in a completely different romantic comedy scenario - a coming-of-age thing, because that’s his gig: Dean is, at this stage, where Mike was before coming clean to Eleven in Stranger Things. Like Mike, he offers Cas to live in his basement (well: their whole house is a basement, but that’s beside the point), he finds stupid reasons to be near him and include him in everything, and gets broody and annoyed when someone points out that that’s not what friendship looks like.
So, well - of course he’d tell Cas they’re brothers - that’s both a safe thing to say and a huge thing to say, especially for Dean, and it also conveniently sends the message that Dean’s now totally cool with Cas not wanting to bone him - because, well, my conviction at this point is that Dean sort of put himself out there, got rejected, and now he’s trying like nothing else to act casual about it. And I’m not talking about some secret offscreen discussion - it’s just how I interpret Dean’s behaviour and what we’ve seen so far.
(The only way out of the brother-zone, unfortunately, is Mike’s, and I don’t see that happening any time soon. Sigh.
Also, there are a lot of similarities between Destiel and the Mike/Eleven dynamic - I keep meaning to write about it, and then real life gets in the way and aaaargh.)