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Rewatch S8: 8x17 Goodbye Stranger

Rewatch time!!

I haven't done one of these for over a week and I apologize. But it's time for Castiel to return us to the plot, so let's get started...

We start with Dean getting killed by Castiel, but not all is what it seems... this sequence is brilliant.

Naomi: "No hesitation, quick, brutal. Everything's back in order. Finally, you're ready."
- Part of me wonders if Cas knew it was a simulation. Actually, part of me wonders if this simulation is going on simultaneously with Dean's prayer to Cas from the previous episode. Cas would know then, that he wasn't really killing Dean because Dean's voice would be in his head asking him to watch out for Sammy. That being said, I think Cas would also be really messed up over how fucked up it is to kill Dean over and over again, so he's got some sort of mind-whammy on him. To use a technical term.
- The other important bit here is the fact that Naomi says "everything is back in order" - Naomi, as we will see, views Cas as something that is fundamentally broken. We'll get even more into that mindset and idea in later episodes - but when it comes right down to it, Naomi isn't necessarily wrong, though she's not right either. It'd be like me saying that my sister was broken, because she's an extrovert in a family of introverts. Is my sister broken? Of course not. My sister just has different traits than I do and makes decisions based on a completely different set of priorities/desires/fears/etc than I do. The problem, of course, is that angels aren't human - they're supposed to all be cut from the same cloth, and most importantly, they aren't supposed to exercise free will. They are supposed to follow the word of God, obey only God and Heaven, and Castiel doesn't do that. Castiel tends to follow this (possibly falsely attributed to Buddha) quote more: "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."

Dean going through boxes in the bunker, and he picks up the key that we'll eventually see in 9x04! They do linger on it, so that's neat! I really don't think he should be going through boxes touching everything though, not if he can't read or understand what anything is!!

Dean: "Hey! Are you listening to me?"
Sam: "Yeah, it's ah...fascinating stuff, you should probably write it all down in your journal for the archives, you know."
Dean: "Thanks, you're a lot of help."

- Hehehe, I love how Sam is so unconsciously condescending.

And Sammy's coughing up blood.

And Dean finds the vintage porn! Voluptuous Asian Lovelies. I know that some members of fandom get up in arms because they see this as the fetishization of Asians, but...yeah, I don't care. I love this running gag. I'm of the opinion that Busty Asian Beauties just happens to put together a really good porn magazine that's better then any other porn magazine. Dean doesn't actually have an asian fetish, he just has good taste in porn and if the asian-themed magazine is the only one that does it well, then that's the one he's going to read!

Dean: "This is a first edition dude, do you know how much this would go for on eBay?"
Sam: "No, do you?"
Dean: "No...maybe...shut-up."

- This only supports my headcanon that Dean is a connoisseur of skin mags and actually has an intellectual interest in them as well as, you know, a boner for them. :P

Sam: "I'll grab my gear, we can leave in five... unless, of course, you need more time with Miss October."
Dean: "What? Oh, oh...yeah, make it ten."
*both smile*

- I think a big reason I like this scene is just that Sam and Dean are both just joking around with each other, and you can see how much pure affection they have for each other - even though Sam thinks Dean's interest in porn magazines is gross and Dean thinks Sam's a prude... you can tell how each other's differences just amuse them and they're just another part of what they love about one another.

The widowed husband does a good job, also, I like the fact that he basically tells them that his house is going to be empty starting tomorrow or whatever... gives them a nice base of operations. The house is such a Vancouver house from the outside though to me...that's what a lot of houses look like in my neighbourhood. I wonder where they filmed this. They're very rarely in my neighbourhood, but that being said, they have stealth filmed here before where I don't actually know they were around until I see the episode. My sister used to live right beside the "crew park" they'd use when filming around here, so she'd give me a heads-up, but she has now moved to Victoria, so I'm on my own.

Dean: "So somebody is killing Demons. I feel like we should send flowers or a card. What kind of flowers say 'thanks for killing demons'?"
- I think what this tells us is that Dean is the type to send flowers that actually have meaning... the romantic. But let's consult a flower-meanings website and see if we can answer his question....*drum roll*....pink carnations. Now I would like to see a scene where Dean gives someone pink carnations for killing demons. :D

Lady: "This town was wiped from the earth, by one of the rivers' hundred year floods. But it was rebuilt..."
-I like her phrasing there - it basically just screams 'this is something Heaven is directly involved in.'

DEMON ATTACK!

And Cas saves Sam!

Cas: "The other demon escaped. I've bound the one I caught in a devil's trap. I'm going to interrogate it now."
Sam: "Wait a second, Cas, why don't you answer some questions first - like where the hell you've been."

- It's true, the last time they saw Cas, he killed Samandriel and took him to Heaven... there are so many questions to be answered.

Dean: "You heard me, didn't you."
Sam: "You prayed to him?"
Cas: "Yes, I heard you, but that's not why I'm here. I've been hunting demons."

- To be fair, Dean didn't ask Cas to come down and talk to him. He told him to watch out for Sammy, which is something that Cas can do from a far (I'm guessing?)

Sam: "So this is you. Why?"
*change scene*
Cas to Naomi: "What should I tell them?"
Naomi: "The truth. Most of it, anyway. Maybe they can get us closer."
*change scene*
Cas: I've been searching for the other half of the demon tablet.
Dean: "Without us?!"

- This takes me right back to 1x21, when Sam and Dean are waiting for ol' YED to show up and John is off giving a fake Colt to Meg... and Dean says that he'd feel better if they were with John as back-up. Dean doesn't like his loved ones doing dangerous things without him around, basically. It doesn't matter how capable they are. In Dean's eyes, his dad was indestructible and the perfect hunter, but he still didn't like the thought of not being there as back-up... and it's the same with Cas now. Cas is an angel and far more powerful than Dean, and yet I think Dean's upset that Cas would undertake a dangerous mission without them as back-up.

Cas: It would be more helpful if they knew everything.
Naomi: They cannot be trusted.
Cas: But-
Naomi: Lie, Castiel.

- Technically, Naomi's not wrong. If protecting Heaven is your mission statement, then the Winchesters can't be trusted. Dean did once threaten to kill God, after all. To the Winchesters, angels are just another breed of monster. Yes, they have a friend who is an angel, but the only reason they don't "go after" angels that often is because it's fairly rare that angels kill humans.

Dean: "He puts the ass in Cas, huh?"
Sam: "He's definitely off."
Dean: "Off? He hasn't been right since he got back from Purgatory. We still don't know how he got out of there!"
Sam: "I don't know, Dean. If he's so sketchy then why were you praying to him?"
Cas: "You know, I can hear you both. I am a celestial being."

- Firstly, Cas' line makes this hilarious.
- More importantly though, we come to Sam's line, which I interpreted one way the first time I watched this and a completely different way just now. The first time, I thought Sam was asking "why are you praying to someone we can't trust?" Now, I realize that what he's really saying is, "why do you think we need Cas' help? Do you not trust me?"

Demon: "We have a hostage, one of Crowley's pets... She knows the towns where all the crypts are buried, she saw them all back in the day."
- Meg is old enough to have seen Lucifer bury his treasure?! GEEZ... no wonder she was all on board the YED plan to release the dude!

Demon: "No, I am telling you, we're looking for-"
Naomi: "Kill it!"
*Cas kills it.*
Sam: "Cas! What the hell, you can't just-"

- Yeah, if they didn't think Cas was off before... they totally could have exorcised that demon and saved the lady's life. Now she'll never get her PhD. :(

Meg: "Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper."
- Actually, they're both probably too tall for Stormtroopers. I loved this line though, I'm a big (original three) Star Wars fan.

Dean: "So I gotta ask. What's up with the hair?"
Meg: "Aww, thanks for noticing, Dean, but it wasn't my idea, it was Crowley's and it's just another reason why I want to stab him in the face."

- I love how this season when actors had to change their hair for other parts (or in Rachel's case, just for kicks), they just wrote it into the show as Crowley giving them a new hairstyle for kicks. Crowley is now a secret hairdresser and I love it. :P

Dean: "Why lie?"
Meg: "Buy myself some time, dummy, try to find a way to get free."
Sam: "So wait, a bunch of innocent people died so you could 'buy yourself some time'?"
Meg: "Hi, I'm Meg. I'm a demon."

- What I love about this exchange is that as soon as meg says that she was buying herself time, you can see that Dean understands completely. It makes perfect sense to him - it was about survival and escaping torture. Dean doesn't question it. Sam, however, does question it - specifically, the morality of it. For Sam, the lives of innocent strangers are more important than his own life - this has always been the case for Sam. It's why he died in Swan Song, and it's part of the reason he's making peace with dying for the trials. Personally, I'm with Meg and Dean on this one. Screw innocent strangers; I want to live! I have never claimed to be a good person.

Cas: "She's going to tell them the truth. Do I have to kill her?"
Naomi: "She does know the location of the crypts, but working with a demon is...unclean."
Cas: "But we could use her, as Crowley did."

- When it comes to Megstiel, it's not as simple as people make it out to be. I think, here, when Cas asks Naomi if he has to kill Meg, it's not so much about Meg's knowledge as the fact that Cas feels that he owes her. We don't know what happened in the psych ward, but we do know that Meg was nice to Cas there and earned his trust and affection. Yes, he was acting the part of a lovable crazy person in order to avoid his responsibilities, but I don't think that means that Meg wasn't successful in making sure that Cas felt as though he owed her - which, as you may or may not remember, was her plan, because she wanted to use him as a weapon until she realized he was too crazycakes for her to put up with.

Meg: "...finding that angel tablet."
Sam: "Wait, did you say angel tablet?"
Meg: "You know, I get why Crowley calls you Moose now."

- So, I forget when it was that it occurred to me that Crowley might not have been talking about the animal when he nicknamed Sam 'Moose'... but if it hadn't occured before this point, it should have happened here. I know the fandom has run with the elk thing...(before anyone who thinks they are smart corrects me, moose are technically elk, so I'm not wrong)... but personally, I think Crowley was referencing Moose Mason ('Big Moose') from the Archie comics - the huge lovable idiot.

Dean: "He lied to us."
Sam: "Yeah, maybe, I can kinda understand why. I mean, an angel tablet? If the demon tablet can shut the gates of hell, what can the angel tablet do?"

- Dean reacts like I would in this situation. I'd like to think I'd react like Sam, and be all understanding, and I DO understand... but personally, I hate being lied to. Any understanding I do have about people's actions flies out the window, because in my opinion there is no reason to lie. I mean, white lies, fine. Dean, I'm sure, feels the same way - it's not about WHY Cas lied, it's about the fact that he is lying. Once you know that someone is lying to you, or has lied to you consistently, how do you trust them to tell the truth again? What makes this worse is that Dean and Cas have been over this before and Dean, I'm sure, felt they were past it... just as, I'm sure, he had hoped he was past it with Sam too.

Cas: "These wounds have festered."
Meg: "You really do know how to make a girl's nethers quiver, don't you."
Cas: "I am aware of how to do that. Though it doesn't usually involve cleaning wounds."
Meg: "Why are you so sweet on me, Clarence?"
Cas: "I don't know. And I still don't know who Clarence is."

- I think Cas is sweet on Meg because she reminds him of a better time, a time that wasn't actually better, but FELT better. Cas kissed Meg back when he was high on his own arrogance. He was cunning and unstoppable and he had a plan to take down Raphael and restore heaven and everything was going to work out and Cas would be the one to do it... and he kissed Meg, because he was already stepping over lines, he was already changing what it meant to be an angel - testing what it was like to truly have free will. He kissed Meg to prove that he DID have free will, because he could make out with a demon... Meg represents freedom for Castiel, in my opinion. Freely associating with her, being 'sweet' on her - it's not so much about Meg as the freedom that she represents. Meg is a symbol, a talisman, of Castiel unbound by heaven - rule free and not under anyone's thumb.

Meg: "Would it kill you to watch a movie or read a book."
Cas: "A movie no, but a book with the proper spells, yeah, it could theoretically kill me."

- I love Cas.

Meg: "You know you're much cuter when you're shutting up. So which Cas are you now, original make and model or crazy-town?"
Cas: "I'm just me."

- Cas isn't in the choices that Meg gives him. He hasn't been the original make and model since S4. Since he broke Dean out of Heaven's green room. Naomi is trying to change that, but as we'll see, she hasn't actually been successful.

Meg: "So you're noodle's back in order?"
Cas: "Yeah, my noodle remembers everything. I think it's a pretty good noodle."
Meg: "Huh, you remember everything."
Cas: "If you're referring to the pizzaman, yes, I remember the pizzaman - and it's a good memory.
"
- Again, I think it's a good memory because of what it has come to symbolize for Cas. It's a memory of feeling confident in his actions and completely free in his choices.

Dean: "Good times, and you think we can really trust Megstiel?"
Sam: "No, but what choice do we have."

- I kind of like the fact that Dean used the portmanteau. I know it's a little on the nose, but I don't really care.

Meg: "Do you ever miss the apocalypse?"
Cas: "No, why would I miss the end of times."
Meg: "I miss the simplicity. I was bad, you were good, life was easier. Now it's all so messy. I'm kind of good which sucks and you're kinda bad, which is actually all manner of hot. We survive this, I'm going to order some pizza and we're going to move some furniture around, you understand?"

- I've been rewatching the first few seasons along with Mark Oshiro over at Mark Watches lately, and I have to agree with Meg here - it's amazing how simple they were. After the apocalypse, the plots and characters get a lot messier - the world gets very very grey. I like both scenarios for different reasons... S1-S5 has a great thorough-thread plot, a clear path to a completed puzzle. S6-present is a little all over the place, but at the same time, that's life... things are messy and weird and you're not sure what the hell is going on and where it's going to all end up. And you aren't sure day to day whether you're a hero or a villain.
- But let's talk about Meg here - we discussed what Cas sees in Meg - but what does Meg see in Cas? Meg's been around for eons, as we have found out... we also know that the way she keeps going is to devote herself to a cause. YED, Lucifer...taking down Crowley... she needs something to do, because she gets bored. When Cas kisses her in S6, she responds with "I feel so clean"... I think, for Meg, Cas is something new. Cas is something she's never done before (pun intended). It's not so much about redemption for Meg, because I don't think Meg feels regret for any of the things she's done. She doesn't want to be redeemed, nor does she need to be, but she DOES need something to keep her interested in living - in continuing. Castiel makes life interesting.

Cas: "No, I...wait, actually, yes, I-"
Dean *enters*: "Alright! Let's roll, campers."
*Cas contines to smile at Meg*

- They ARE kind of adorable.

Crowley! I love the poor demon calling him to tell him they lost Meg.

Crowley: "What's the old expression? If you want something done right..." *stabs and kills demon with angel blade* "...blah blah blah."
- I love Crowley.

Back to the fantastic four...

Dean: "Okay, Cas and I will head in and get our Indiana Jones on. Sam, you stay outside with Meg."
Sam: "Wait, what?"
Dean: "We got this."
Sam: "What are you talking about Dean. I'm not letting you go in there alone."
Cas: "He won't be alone."
Sam: "That's not what I mean. Meg can hang here, watch our backs."
Dean: "So what, now you trust Meg?"

- Seriously, Sam's problems aside, I wouldn't leave Meg watching my back without someone keeping an eye on her. I mean, 9 times out of 10 she's been trying to kill them. She DID basically kill Jo and subsequently Ellen... I mean, geez.
- Also, again, we have the fact that in Sam and Dean's mind, if they're not together then they don't have back-up, even if they do. :P No one is back-up but them!

Dean: "Sam! I saw your bloody rag in the trashcan, okay!"
- Sam is menstruating? Dean, we don't talk about that in public, it's unbecoming of a lady.

Sam: "I'm fine."
Dean: "No, you're not fine. You haven't been fine since the first trial. That's why I called Cas."
Sam: "Dean, I'm telling you. I'm okay!"
Cas: "No, you're not. Sam, you're damaged in ways even I can't heal. Dean's right. You should stay here and protect Meg."
Meg: "Since when do I need protecting?"
Cas: "Since you were held captive and tortured for over a year!"
Meg: "Touche"

- It's like the overprotective-Olympics, and we've got team human against team-non-human. :P

Dean: "What did you mean about Sam back there?"
Cas: "It's hard to say, it's something on the subatomic level - and his electromagnetic field-"
Dean: "Okay, bottom-line it for me there, Bill Nye. Is it lethal?"
Cas: "I don't know. Wait, there's a draft, there's something behind there..."

- It is interesting that Cas can't heal Sam... is it because it's a process? Probably. Probably if Cas did heal Sam, Sam would just start de...uh, degrading again? Degenerating? He'd just get worse again, is what I'm saying. I forget how to English.
- Also, interesting that there might be something up with Sam's electromagnetic field! Does this mean they won't be able to get good EMF readings from here on out?

Meg: "So I took how many bullets for you guys and you didn't even look for me? Like once? My hero."
- Uh, you also once killed their friends with hell hounds...tried to kill them, tried to kill their father... the list continues. I think even if Dean hadn't "died", they wouldn't have bothered to look for Meg. I mean, why?

Sam: "Look, no disrespect, but you haven't been the most trustworthy person in our lives, Meg."
- Understatement.

Meg: "You're not going to tell me? Seriously? How am I not Team Sam? Fine. Whatever it is are you okay dying over it? You don't want to say, fine, but remember I spent time in that walking corpse of yours. I know your sad little thoughts and feelings."
- I love the way she says feelings here. It's just...so hilarious.

Sam: "That's creepy."
Meg: "Here's what I remember, deep down in parts you never let see the light of day, you want to live a long normal life away from creepy old things like me."
Sam: "Yeah, I do. You know, I spent last year with someone, and now I know that's actually possible."
Meg: "Wait, that's how you spent your last year, with a chick? Lame."

- Meg continues to comment on the quality of the writing on Supernatural. Hahaha... sorry sorry, couldn't resist the opening. You all know how I feel about the Amelia storyline.
- On a serious note: I do like the fact that Sam still wants a normal life deep down. Also, we see here that Sam perhaps hasn't made complete peace with dying yet, because he does still believe that it's possible for him to have a normal life.

Meg: "So, some chick actually got you off hunting, huh. That's one rare creature. Tell me, how'd you meet this unicorn?"
- By having a psychotic break, it's the only thing that makes sense.

*Cas enters Naomi's office, interrupting her reading the paper*
Cas: "I found it."

-You know, this makes me think that Naomi isn't watching all the time. The other times Cas has talked to her midscene, he's just turned his head and she's been there, or not even moved and she's been there, but this time we see him entering her office and getting her attention. So, yeah, Naomi isn't there 24/7... which means that Cas can still have private conversations and he probably knows when he's having them.

Cas: "Good, hand it to me and I'll take it to Heaven."
Dean: "No, we will take it Kevin, so he can translate it."
Cas: "Right, of course, I'll take it to him right away. No time to waste."

- Yeah, Cas, you are not convincing.

Cas: "I can reason with Dean, he's a good man."
Naomi: "Kill him."

- And the fun begins! Firstly though - D'aww, Cas thinks Dean is a good man. How sweet!

Cas: "I can't let you take that, Dean."
Dean: "Can't or won't?"
Cas: "Both."
Dean: "How did you get out of Purgatory, Cas?"

- I love how Dean just starts trying to put it together - that Cas' strange behaviour and his return from Purgatory have to be connected. I mean, things are really tense in this scene and Dean has a VERY powerful angel coming at him with malicious intent, and Dean still is thinking logically and realizes that his best chance of getting out of here is to figure out the source of the problem and work from there.
- I also love how Cas answers "both" to Dean's question - because that actually DOES tell Dean what he's dealing with. In that Cas is being controlled (can't) and that he believes this lines up with his own will (won't).

Dean: "Just tell me how you got out of Purgatory. Be honest, for the first time since you got back, and this is yours."
*Cas takes out his sword*

- It might not work, but I think this tactic of Dean's is really good. Again, we have the hurt over being lied to for months, but recognizing that Cas' attention has zeroed in on getting the tablet, Dean tries to use it as a bargaining chip for information... again, smart, even if it doesn't work.

Meg: "Wait, hang on, there's one part I don't understand. You hit a dog and stopped, why?"
Sam: "That whole story and that's your take away?"
Meg: "No, I heard the rest, you fell in love with a unicorn, it was beautiful then sad, then sadder, I laughed, I cried, I puked in my mouth a little. And honestly I kinda get it."

- Meg actually gave me a little hope here that there was more to the Amelia storyline that would mean that it would make f*ckin' sense for Sam's character... like, maybe Sam was being manipulated too? I don't know... it's not the case, however, and I believe this is the last time it's ever brought up. Which is good, because it can go die a death now, but still, it annoys me how OOC and poorly written that storyline was. It'd be nice if they could have found a way to retcon it so that it made sense.
- I do like how Meg says that the story got 'sad and then sadder' - because that's the only thing that DOES make sense, the idea that Sam was actually too broken to have that life and that it was all an elaborate fantasy that started crumbling down around him at the first gust of wind.

Dean: "Cas, I don't know what the hell is wrong with you, but if you're in there and you can hear me - you don't have to do this!"
*switch*
Cas: "This isn't right."
Naomi: "Do you realize what that tablet can do to Heaven!"
Cas: "I won't hurt Dean."
Naomi: "Yes, you will. You ARE."
*switch*

- I like the fact that even before Cas starts beating the shit out of Dean, Naomi tells him that he's already hurting him - because he is. He's hurting his FEELINGS.
- But, we also have proof that the simulations really didn't have any effect on Cas - when it comes to hurting the real Dean, Cas is not quick and brutal without any hesitation. He's horrified and resistant.

Dean: "Cas, this is not you. Fight it!"
*switch*
Cas: "What have you done to me!"
Naomi: "Just relax, Castiel. Let your vessel do what you know deep down is the right thing."

- Naomi's word choice is interesting... let your VESSEL do...the right thing. I wonder if Naomi's control is more vessel based? Or if it's the same as us saying. "just let your body do what comes naturally" - probably it's the latter. For Naomi, protecting Heaven at all costs would feel natural, killing Dean for the angel tablet would feel natural... they would be the right things, but for Cas that's just not the case... again, Naomi sees this as evidence that Cas is 'broken', but really, it's just that Cas and her have different definitions of what's right - and, for Cas, killing Dean is never right.

Cas: "What have you done to me, Naomi?"
Dean: "Who's Naomi?"
*switch*
Naomi: "What have I DONE to you?! Do you have any idea what it's like out there? There's blood everywhere! And it's on your hands - after everything you did - to us, to heaven. I fixed you, Castiel. *I* fixed you!"

- Dean gets his first clue! But it's only a name and it's too little too late.
- But, we also get Naomi losing her temper and therefore giving us more information, being more honest, then she ever has before. We learn that Heaven possibly isn't as ordered as she has it appear - there's blood everywhere. We find out later, of course, that there's still a power vacuum, that there's still basically civil wars/anarchy in heaven. I think Naomi needed Cas because Cas has become such a FIGURE in Heaven... I'm sure any angel who kills Castiel would probably be seen as being very strong, and any angel that CONTROLS Castiel... well, perhaps even stronger? Naomi is heaven's reprogrammer. (Maybe the same one who reprogrammed Cas in 4x20? Though, then she would have been working on Zachariah's orders) - so, in the current climate, she had to use the skills she possessed to come out on top. Castiel would be her crowning achievement.

Demon fight outside with Sam and Meg...

Dean: "Do you want it? Take it! But you're going to have to kill me first. Come on you coward, do it! Do it!"
*switch*
Cas: "Please!"
Naomi: "End this, Castiel."
*switch*
Dean: "Cas, this isn't you, this isn't you!"

- Now Dean is getting information. I think the reason he goads Cas, at first, is to see what Cas intends to do... by telling Cas that he'll have to kill Dean, Dean is finding out if Cas INTENDS to kill him. Since Cas doesn't bat an eyelash, the answer is yes... so Dean quickly realizes that he has to put every single effort into reaching the Cas that he knows would never kill him.

Naomi: "Bring me the tablet!"
*switch*
Dean: "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."
*switch*
Naomi: You have to choose, Castiel. Us or them?"
*switch*
*Cas drops angel blade and let's Dean go.*

- Success! Was it because of Dean's words or was it because Naomi, in her desperation, accidentally gave Castiel a choice? She GAVE HIM A CHOICE - us or them. Again, it comes down to Naomi not understanding that Cas is fundamentally different than her. Castiel chose the Winchesters over Heaven before, again, after being newly "reprogrammed" by heaven. Castiel's base personality is one that, when given a choice, will chose to protect and/or help Dean, regardless of Heaven's commands.
- Of course, for those destiel fans among you, it was totally Dean's words... and also, we get what has basically become the Winchester equivalent of "I love you" in the absense of "bitch/jerk", which is "I need you."

Cas picks up tablet...and something freaky happens.
*switch*
Naomi: "Castiel! Castiel!"
*Cas is gone*

- I love the fact that the tablet undid Naomi's control. It makes sense. The tablet would speak to Castiel's basic hard-wiring, and not only that it makes sense that it would have a defense mechanism that would undo any third party control over an angel or a prophet that finds it.

*Castiel reaches, palm open, for Dean's face*
Dean: "Cas, no, Cas! Cas!"
*Cas heals him*

- Someone on tumblr pointed out something really cool about this, and why Dean starts freaking the fuck out even though Castiel has dropped the angel blade. Castiel reaches for Dean with his PALM OPEN. Every other time Cas has healed Dean, or anyone, it's been with two fingers to the forehead. Every time Cas has touched something with his palm open, it's been to burn them up from the inside out and kill them.

Crowley: "...did you really think that would keep me out forever?"
Sam: "Just long enough for Dean and Cas to get the tablet and get out."
Crowley: "Castiel, so that's who's been poking my boys and not in the sexy way. I've a bone to pick with you, Moose, after what you did to my poor dog."

- I do like the fact that the killing of Crowley's hell hound didn't go unnoticed.

Meg to Sam: "Go. Save your brother...and my unicorn."
- Meg's last words to Sam.
- And again, I don't think that calling Castiel her 'unicorn' is necessarily a declaration of love. She called Amelia Sam's unicorn, most likely, because who on earth would not only put up with Sam, but be attention grabbing enough to get Sam to stop hunting and settle down? Only a rare unicorn. Likewise, how many angels like Castiel are there? Would Meg ever get the opportunity to be with (in any sense of the word) another angel? No. Castiel, as we have seen, is a special case.

Crowley: "Timon and Pumba. Did they tell you their big plan...[...]...they mean to kill me, and all the demons, you included."
Meg: "Ha, you have me at kill you, Crowley."

- Again, killing Crowley was Meg's reason for waking up in the morning for the past two seasons - so, yeah, throwing herself in with the team of people who mean to do that? Not that surprising - and another reason why this isn't so much a redemptive arc for Meg, as just an arc for Meg... the end of her arc, because this is one cause that actually kills her.

Dean: "So this Naomi, has been controlling you since you got out of Purgatory?"
Cas: "Yeah"
Dean: "What broke the connection?"
Cas: "I don't know. I just know that I have to protect this tablet now."
Dean: "From Naomi?"
Cas: "Yes. And from you."
Dean: "From me? What are you talking about Cas-" *Cas flies off* "CAS! Damn it."

- Again, the initial connection was either broken by Dean (with his special superpower of saving his loved ones from possession/mind-control) or it wasn't broken but Naomi made the mistake of giving Cas a choice - which lead to him picking up the tablet instead of killing Dean.
- The tablet would speak to Castiel's hard-wiring, so to speak - as we saw with Samandriel. "I'm an angel. I serve God. I protect the word of God." Castiel, for all his free will, would basically have his instincts activated... like... spiders. Spiders activate my instinctual fear response, without my rational brain deciding. Castiel sees the tablet and knows he has to protect it from everyone...heaven, humans, everyone... and his rational brain, the one that trusts Dean, doesn't really factor in.

Meg: "No Cas in the backseat. Your stone is long gone."
*Meg stabs Crowley in the arm*
*Crowley kills Meg.*

- And thus endeth Meg - the longest running character aside from the Winchesters.

Crowley: "Naomi. Fancy meeting you here. I haven't seen you in a dark age. Love the haircut."
Naomi: "How's the shoulder?"
Crowley: "Just a flesh wound. Now, I don't have the tablet, and, if you're here, neither do you. Which means that your Castiel is in the wind with our prize. If I didn't know you better, I'd say you were losing your touch."
Naomi: "Castiel isn't in the wind, he's doing exactly what he's supposed to do: Protect the tablet."
Crowley: "Even from you. Easy love. If you remember our time in mesopotamia the way I do, you'll remember I'm a lover not a fighter."

- So, some pointed out that this goes against what we know about Crowley's backstory. Crowley, supposedly, is actually Fergus MacLeod from 1700s Scotland who sold his soul for a bigger dick. So, why is he referencing "a dark age" and "our time in Mesopotamia"? Well, I have a couple of explanations for that and you can pick what you will:
A)The Fergus MacLeod story was fed to us in S6, when a lot of lies were fed to us... hell, we saw Cas burn Crowley's bones and Crowley die in S6. It could have very well been that the whole story was bogus from the beginning. A false information trail laid out by Crowley far in advance should anyone start hunting him effectively. In which case, Crowley could very well be much much older.
B)Mesopotamia hasn't gone anywhere. I mean, yes, we don't call it that anymore - but things are so unstable there at the moment that who knows what we should be calling it. :P It's currently in Iraq, of course, but that still doesn't change the fact that it's Mesopotamia. Crowley and Naomi could have been there at any point since the 1700s. Why? Who knows. It's hardly the most peaceful place - I'm sure there'd be plenty of reasons why an angel and a demon might be hanging around, perhaps it was another case of looking for an artifact. This explanation does not explain the "dark age" quip.

Naomi: "What do you want, you cockroach?"
Crowley: "Maybe we can make a deal... I mean I must have something that you want"
*Naomi disappears*
Crowley: "Tots stoll my move."

- How Crowley thought he could DEAL for the angel tablet, we will never know. It was very odd the fact that they set up that Crowley and Naomi knew each other and then never did anything with it... very odd indeed.

Sam: "So, what happened? I mean, Cas touched the tablet and it reset him to his factor settings or something?"
Dean: "I don't know, and I don't care. All I know is that he is off the reservation with a heavenly WMD. Listen man, I can't take any more lies, from anyone."

- My 5 years working in aboriginal affairs has me cringing at Dean using the term "off the reservation." Just, fyi. I know it's a highly used term though and people don't really consider its origins. Anyway... Castiel IS "off the reservation" - he's out of Naomi's control AND he's out of Dean's control. He is unrestricted. So, Dean's not wrong.

Sam: "Yeah, I know. I'm sorry. I should have told you. I just wanted to believe that I was okay. I don't know."
Dean: "You heard what Cas said, that that first trial hurt you in ways that he can't even heal! Sammy, I need you to be honest with me from here on out, man."
Sam: "You're right. And I will be."

- I do like Sam's explanation. He was trying to ignore it so that it'd go away. I'm actually the same way when I get sick. I guess it's superstitious idiocy, but I always feel like if I TELL someone that I'm not feeling well, that will make it's real and I'll FOR SURE come down with a cold/flu. Whereas if I pretend I'm healthy, then I'll be healthy. Mind over matter! It's... a bit stupid. But yeah... of course, we also know that Sam just wants to prove himself to Dean, and that includes not being weak in front of him.

Dean: "Listen, I may not be able to carry the burden that comes along with these trials, but I can carry you."
Sam: "You realize you kinda just quoted Lord of the Rings, right?"
Dean: "Come on, man, but it's the Rudy-Hobbit! Rudy-Hobbit always gets a pass! Shut-up!"

- YES!! I love Rudy. It's one of my "rescue movies" when I'm feeling depressed.
- But again, we are setting ourselves up here for failure, boys - because as I've said before, Sam sees mother-henning as worry and worry as doubt. So, even though Dean is only attempting to be the best pit-crew that Sam's ever had, Sam is only going to see Dean doubting that Sam can succeed.

And Cas is on a bus... traveling away with the plot...

So next weekend (or Thursday?) I'll return with another rewatch, which will be a MOTW and hopefully won't take me as long as this one took me.

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Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
borgmama1of5
Jan. 20th, 2014 04:07 am (UTC)
Sam sees mother-henning as worry and worry as doubt. So, even though Dean is only attempting to be the best pit-crew that Sam's ever had, Sam is only going to see Dean doubting that Sam can succeed.

How sadly true this is...

This was such a major pivot point episode...you gave it a good analysis, there was so much going on...
hells_half_acre
Jan. 20th, 2014 05:25 am (UTC)
Thanks!
supernutjapan
Jan. 20th, 2014 11:42 am (UTC)
Pretty heavy episode - but there were some funny scenes aye?
Cas with "I am a celestial being..." *ha!* I really enjoyed your comments as usual but I see some parts of this episode a little differently and I have to get it off my chest. I hope you can bear with me.

Meg: "I miss the simplicity. I was bad, you were good, life was easier. Now it's all so messy. I'm kind of good which sucks and you're kinda bad, which is actually all manner of hot. We survive this, I'm going to order some pizza and we're going to move some furniture around, you understand?"

This quote is to me one of the most important things said in this whole episode. It's true, when we think back to that evil Meg from Seasons 1 and 2, it is hard to imagine any feelings of love or kindness from her. That was Meg before the apocalypse. Now she is "kind of good." She has changed since the apocalypse from an all bad demon, to a partly good demon. Why? How? And this is where I base my belief that there are other ways to cure demons than that found by the preacher. Maybe being close to Cas gave her some opposing energy - just like the purified blood did to Crowley. I believe Meg was half cured because of it.

Now, I know that you do not believe that Meg and Cas actually had a thing for each other. But your explanation of Meg symbolizing freedom for Cas etc. doesn't really cut it for me. I don't think the writers expect us to think that that was ALL it was. Taken at face value, all those little lines, like Meg's "Why are you so sweet on me, Clarence?" and his honest answer, "I don't know." or "It's a good memory" and their gazing into each other's eyes(and Sam and Dean leaving them be)... Cas arguing with Naomi that they don't have to kill Meg - seems to me to show his affection for her as does his telling Sam to protect her. I also do not think it strange that they might have a physical attraction to each other either. There have been numerous other instances where we saw demons interested in the physical and we know angels have coupled with humans too.

Speaking of symbolism... I was thinking about what unicorns symbolize. As you know well, Sam believed in unicorns as he believed in angels and was very disappointed when Dean told him they didn't. I think Meg knew this, from her time inside him. In lore, unicorns symbolize purity the most it seems. I feel that between Meg and Sam, Sam's unicorn is Sam's light at the end of the tunnel or normal life, which Amelia personifies. That is what they are talking about here aye? Sam wanting to live life away from demons like Meg and such (maybe in a way this is also about Sam's purification as well. His being rid of demon blood.) This goes along with your thoughts on Amelia. Meg's unicorn, Cas, is also the dream of something better. He personifies purity, goodness and hope(and maybe Meg being cured completely?). The evil Meg would not have thought this, but the good/evil conflicted Meg I think has begun to hope for something better. Redemption and maybe happiness after they "get through this."

And THIS is something she is willing to die for. There was nothing until now. It was all about how to survive. Now, she's found something worth it. In the beginning of her conversation with Sam, she asks him "Whatever it is, you okay dying over it?" For me, this, combined with her talk of unicorns and telling Sam to go protect her unicorn, and how she actually dies preventing Crowley from getting to Cas makes it all real. Her half-goodness. Her affection for Cas and her willingness to die to protect him and what he stands for.

I weep for Meg. For her half goodness and her hope for something better.

On a side note, I believe sacrifice is a key theme of Season 8 - not just by Sam but by Dean/Benny, and also by Meg. What is worth dying over? That's the big question aye?


Edited at 2014-01-20 12:02 pm (UTC)
hells_half_acre
Jan. 20th, 2014 06:39 pm (UTC)
Now, I know that you do not believe that Meg and Cas actually had a thing for each other. But your explanation of Meg symbolizing freedom for Cas etc. doesn't really cut it for me. I don't think the writers expect us to think that that was ALL it was.

While I don't agree fully with you, I also don't disagree. When I say that Meg symbolized freedom for Cas - that isn't to say that is ALL he was to her. It's just to explain WHERE I think the affection comes from. "Why are you so sweet on me?" "I don't know" - is the question I'm answering. Just because Meg symbolizes freedom for Cas and Cas symbolizes new interesting things for Meg, doesn't mean that from there they didn't build up real affection for each other.

Personally, I'm just not a fan of the idea that Meg changed in anyway - I LIKE Meg the way she was. So, yeah, although I'm sure there's a bases for the idea that contact with angels might have a weird effect on demons - I'm just not buying it. I don't think Meg needs explaining in that way, and I like the idea that she didn't need to have an outside force act on her and change her in order to sacrifice herself to her current cause. I think Meg wanted to die on her own terms and she got that.

As you know well, Sam believed in unicorns as he believed in angels and was very disappointed when Dean told him they didn't.

Although I'm not disputing what unicorns symbolize. I'd like to point out that Sam actually never believed in unicorns... that was a joke he played on Dean. He wasn't serious, which is why Dean pauses for a moment and then says "that's cute" and Sam smiles. He wasn't serious.

So, yeah, we're just going to have to disagree on this one. Though, with my clarification that I'm not saying that Cas and Meg didn't feel affection for one another, I'm just saying that that affection is based on things other than each other.
supernutjapan
Jan. 20th, 2014 11:15 pm (UTC)
Was it a joke? seriously? awww. :D I'm so bad at catching those. *head-desk*

I was going to edit that part though because it wasn't really necessary to the point I was trying to make.

You said you didn't really want Meg to change - I can understand that - I do feel that the actress change for Meg was really drastic and that added to the confusion - I can't imagine the latter Meg doing any of the stuff the first Meg did. Is that why?

Edited at 2014-01-20 11:22 pm (UTC)
hells_half_acre
Jan. 20th, 2014 11:27 pm (UTC)
It's okay! You were still right about the symbolism of unicorns and how that might factor in!

Crowley's change is different, and I actually want to see MORE of it - because there's an actual basis for it, in that he very nearly was cured of demon-ness. Also, I feel Crowley NEEDS redemption, perhaps because during the third trial he started wanting it?

I guess, with Meg, I don't think she needs redemption because I think she was fine the way she was - in that she was FINE with who she was. She didn't have any regrets, she didn't want to be any different. Crowley was changed enough (briefly or otherwise) to suffer from remorse, to want redemption, to want love.

It's like Edmund in King Lear - who remains one of my favourite Shakespeare characters ever. The whole play he's perfectly aware that he's the bad guy and he's cool with that. He's happy in that role. This is I think where Meg was and where she ended.

Then, Edmund's last line is (from memory, so possibly not word-for-word accurate): "And so the wheel comes full circle. And yet, Edmund was loved."
- And that line changes everything about Edmund, because he knows he's defeated and he half expected it because he KNEW he was the bad guy, that the wheel of fortune would turn on him eventually...but the thing that DID surprise him was that he was capable of being loved. And I think that's where Crowley is - in the third trial, he became human enough to crave love, to WANT it, and he knows that the only way to be loved is to find redemption. So, yeah... I DO want a redemptive arc for Crowley, but I don't think Meg needs one, because she never wanted to be anything other than a demon and she never cared what anyone thought of her.

Does that make any sense?
hells_half_acre
Jan. 20th, 2014 11:30 pm (UTC)
Oh! I answered your original question before you edited.

I'll answer your second question: I think no matter what actress was playing Meg, it was still the same character - so those actions were still hers. Meg was unapologetic and I don't think just because she was slightly less horrible in the later seasons that that negated what she had done before - so, yeah, basically, I just want Meg to stay unapologetic and self-centered, because that's the character I like.
supernutjapan
Jan. 20th, 2014 11:43 pm (UTC)
It does make sense. And I like it - for you.
I'm glad we can enjoy the same character and same scene in totally different ways.
hells_half_acre
Jan. 20th, 2014 11:57 pm (UTC)
Me too!

That's the great thing about art being subjective. Everyone brings their own experiences to it and walks away with something unique to them. :)
khek
Jan. 20th, 2014 04:21 pm (UTC)
I never liked version 2 of Meg (maybe it's because I remember watching sweet little Rachel Minor on As the World Turns as a preteen) so your take on the events of this episode really made me reconsider her actions and character. And...I kind of understand her now. Thanks!

I think Crowley has been around a lot longer than the 1700s, and that he set up that cover story to amuse himself as well as throw Sam and Dean off track. I mean...really. Would someone truly trade their soul for a bigger penis? (Of course, I'm not a guy, so maybe I'm missing something and some would.)

I was glad that Naomi got terminated eventually. She was evil, but not in an "I kind of like her despite myself" evil. (Like Crowley, or Meg, or Balthazar or even the YED.) She was just mean and vengeful, and they never showed any redeeming qualities in her.

I love reading your recaps. They make me notice things I didn't the first (or second) time around. I have to admit, this isn't an episode I've rewatched, so I didn't have a lot of thinky thoughts about it. But I may go back now!

hells_half_acre
Jan. 20th, 2014 06:18 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I had never seen Rachel in anything else - but it's hard to follow up Nicki Aycox.

I'm with you on Crowley. I think the whole Fergus thing was a smokescreen. I'm not a guy either, mind you, but Crowley seems much too clever to have a penis complex.

I agree about Naomi. Although Amanda Tapping did a good job with her, she wasn't dynamic enough to be captivating... and when they did give her other qualities, it was so out of the blue that it just seemed weird.

I'm glad you like the recaps!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )