Literally the only thing I wish had happened from the episode is at the end, when Claire is saying goodbye, she would have told Dean "say hi to Cas for me" or something similar. I don't necessarily think Cas always needs to be in Claire episodes because she deserves her own narrative. But Cas is a major character, and one that has a special connection to Claire. I just wish they'd acknowledge that rather than ignoring it completely.
Yeah, I mean I think pretty much everyone and their uncle assumes Dean went out to get some fresh air and tried to call/pray to Cas there…
And they may not have mentioned him once, but there was so much stuff in the episode that was about Cas that it’s ridiculous.
Mick and his best “Cas Impression” outfit with the tan coat. The fact that Mick’s storyline throughout the episode served as a major dark mirror for things we associate with Cas (he was faced with a very similar “rebellion against the organization” opportunity that Cas was in s4, and… he chose wrong. I mean there were other parallels to be made as well, but that was the primary one).
(not to mention the random guy in the hotel lobby– the only other person we saw inside the hotel other than staff and Dean– was wearing a beige trenchcoat)
Claire standing under the Gas N Sip sign and it being prominently featured throughout that whole first scene. The fact it wasn’t a traditional blue sign, but one in the Winchester Family Color of maroon– and also reflected beautifully off her maroon colored car– was a nice nod to both Claire’s status as someone the Winchesters consider family, as well as CAS’S status as an Official Winchester.
The fact that Claire was communicating with her family on the phone (texting Jody), when the last time we saw Cas he was on the phone with Dean. The fact that each of them neglected to tell their family member what they were actually up to mirrors them as well.
While they’re in the hotel lobby, Sam asks Claire the last time she had a hot meal that didn’t come from a Gas N Sip microwave… and Dean gets tetchy and defensive and says “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
It’s like Dean was doubling down on Dad Mode because he was having to fill in for Cas.
And honestly, yeah it might’ve been nice for her to at least say, “Tell Cas I said hi,” or “You better still be looking out for him,” or even “are you gonna tell Cas what happened?” But I get it. I get why she didn’t.
How hard must it have been two years ago to finally find her mother only to lose her forever? And then for Sam, Dean, and Cas to send her off to live with Jody and Alex? We saw where she was about a year ago, finally starting to feel like she was building a new family with them. We know she’d had a lot of ups and downs with it, and she’s fought like hell to figure out who she is and what she wants to be.
So, yeah. This episode may have had a TON of visual and narrative Cas references, but it was about Claire. And the fact that she IS finally feeling like she’s in a place where she can make her own way in life, with not only Jody and Alex there for her emotional support as the family she’s grown to love (she called Jody MOM! <3), and the Winchesters there to have her back if she needs them, but really the times that Cas has popped up in her life haven’t exactly involved wonderful memories, you know?
And she even said in this episode that she’s still barely holding herself together most of the time. I mean, she’s been through some stuff in her life… I’m still not sure she feels ready to try and form any sort of relationship with Cas, you know? She forgave him, she’s grateful to him for helping her back in s10… she doesn’t wish him ill (she told Dean to look out for him, but I think that was more about DEAN than Cas, just like Dean asking Cas to look out for Sam in 11.23 was more about CAS… essentially telling Cas to stay, to let Sam be there for him too…). But maybe someday she’ll be ready to look at this guy who stole her father’s face and then got him killed, and be able to deal with that.
I know this still doesn’t cover all the Cas references in the episode. There were A LOT. But I get why she didn’t mention him.
(still never letting go of that headcanon that Dean was pretty much praying to him nonstop during that whole scene at the cabin tho)