Narrative structure as Dean/Cas possibilities/viewpoints in Dabb Era
I’m sitting here trying to remember the “lesson” of all the cases this past season and really I do think it’s all going to point to what’s coming next for Dean and Cas. Besides some mirrors that portray Mary against Sam and Dean’s histories, there’s been a few cases of one sided love (12x07 and the one with the camping couple where the girl was leaving but the guy loved her more than she loved him) , one of a lover “saving” another by dying with them (12x13), one accidentally getting a best friend killed (12x06), two settling for a reanimated sibling instead of living without them (12x11 and 12x20). I’m sure there’s more (but since I mostly stopped caring deeply where Dean/Cas was going I stopped looking at this show through the meta/predictive lens). It all feels like possible depictions and shades of Dean and Cas’ relationship as it has now found itself. Which situation are they most like? We can’t really tell… for one, because the season isn’t done, and for two because we are given multiple relationship avenues/labels for them while simultaneously committing to none. We see no definitive outcome/depiction for Dean and Cas in a way that can be deemed consistent.
This right here is why it has looked like there’s no narrative structure this season (well, this and the fact that the few Mary mirrors we have been given have just seemingly been shown with no greater purpose than to recap old history, PLUS with no brotherly conflict this year the show hasn’t focused any structural efforts towards the Dean/Sam relationship depiction so when it compares Dean/Cas to siblings it’s a bit jarring). In Carver era, for example, the Dean/Cas relationship was ALWAYS depicted by interspecies/interracial relationships or same sex relationships, or sometimes both. Because of this CONSISTENT defining structure you could always tell the “status” of Dean and Cas’ relationship by looking at these particular “C” plot character mirrors/folds.
In Dabb era this is no longer the case.
My mind compares it to a car now being put in reverse (exclusively romantic being dropped for mixed ones), that has hit the metaphorical gas, but is miraculously being dragged forward by something stronger, a narrative burnout if you will. And that something is the text. The mirrors no longer need to be so precise because Dean is being fairly verbal to Cas this season, and Cas’ problems (the main two being he’s still probably suicidal in his need to clean up his messes while protecting Dean and Sam and he’s feeling eternally “put out” by Heaven by which this season human/Angel interaction “rules” gets an extended highlight and a full episode) are what is driving half the story and have been given a fair bit of text/dialogue themselves.
The whole thing feels like a now blended label of what Cas is specifically to Dean. But since the text is creeping towards being more clear, the subtext and structure can theoretically, therefore, be more loose if the storyline was still a possibility on their radar. Really, I don’t know how I feel about it. As many of you know (or hell, might not know since I mostly converted my blog into an art blog), I was a loud canon supporter and structural meta writer who supported Carver hard (I thought we were headed fast into canon text in S9 before I realized Sam’s “cure” was going to derail the storyline), but became fairly jaded because it became increasingly clear that he was going to leave the subtext as subtext. Like Korrasami, Destiel was canon because of the narrative mirror comparisons (which told the story where the characters would not put said feelings into actual words/text), but easily ignored if it wasn’t your thing. Text is harder to ignore, obviously. So here I am making this post because I’m beginning to see talk of canon again.
While the structured narrative subtext is no longer romantic exclusive for Dean and Cas, the text is, somehow, amazingly, getting closer for Dean to either tell Cas explicitly some feelings in text, or for Dean to give Cas a big romantic gesture (whether this will be healthy is unlikely, but let’s face it… Dean loves in unhealthy ways) of some sort (most possibly in a way that “saves” Cas and/or mourns him in death). I always said I’d be honest with how I felt the show was portraying Dean and Cas and this is currently it. This is what it looks like they are currently doing and setting up. But make no mistake, without a cohesive romantic mirroring structure the whole thing looks narratively weaker and all together more unlikely to lead to canon (regardless of SPN’s history with this storyline’s execution or rather lack there of). But on the plus side, those that want/discuss canon will no look as “delusional” when discussing this possible narrative scenario because it’s definitely no longer being told mostly through wardrobe cues/lighting and other characters. Dean and Cas are using words and actions. We just don’t know yet what *exactly* is going to be said/done between them and we still likely won’t know the true extent for some time.