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Rewatch S9: Stairway to Heaven (9x22)

Back at it! Sorry for the delay. I don't actually know if I have time to do this today, but might as well try! [EDIT: I did it over two days. 29 minutes of the episode on Sunday afternoon, the rest this morning.]

Now, just a pre-emptive FYI - this episode drives me crazy for reasons that most of you can probably guess... so, there will be a BIT of complaining in this, though I'll try to keep it to a minimum.

Also, once again, LJ spell check doesn't work for me. So please forgive spelling mistakes - I type these things up pretty fast and stream-of-consciousness style, so things like spelling and grammar can get a little sloppy at times.

Stairway to Heaven

Bossy lady in the ice-cream shop has to mind her own business! Poor kid angel.

Sleepy Sam!

Dean: "Nice reflexes. Better hair."
Sam: "What's wrong with you? I could have shot you? Why aren't you sleeping? We got in like two hours ago."
Dean: "Not tired. And we got work to do. So put on your dancing shoes and let's boogie."

- Firstly, do you recall the days way back in S1 when Sam made fun of Dean for sleeping with a knife under his pillow? Now Sam not only sleeps with a gun under his pillow, but with his hand on it. And he sleeps this way IN THE BUNKER, which is, canonically, the safest place on the planet.
- Secondly, Dean is not tired - and this makes my heart hurt, because it's one of the greater symptoms of the change.

Dean: "I called Cas. He says there's something going down in Missouri?"
Sam: "What kinda something?"
Dean: "He said he couldn't talk about it over the phone."
Sam: "Why?"
Dean: "Because he's a weird guy. He's a weird dorky little guy..."

- It always amuses me when Dean refers to Cas as "little", seeing as how Cas, in his true form, is as big as a building. Really, Cas is a dorky GIANT guy.
- It also makes me think of when Dean first met Cas though, and was terrified of him... and it's true that Cas has changed A LOT since then, and he's lost his teeth, so to speak - both through life changing him and also through Dean getting to know him and understanding that there is a morality there, and that Cas has come to care for him and would not hurt him... but I still wonder if Dean's habit of "belittling" Cas (baby in a trenchcoat, dorky little guy, little nerdy guy with wings) is also a psychological coping mechanism for Dean - where Dean has to fool himself into forgetting that Cas is a non-human who is superior to Dean in both size and power.

Sam: "How many times have we been around this block? Magic that powerful comes at a price and as of right now, we don't know what that price is!"
- LISTEN TO SAM! (Of course, at this point, I think it's too late - Dean's already changing.)

Cas: "Thank you for coming."
Sam: "Spears and Aguilera?"
Cas: "I've noticed your aliases are usually the names of popular musicians."
Dean: "Wow."

- *snorts*
- Way too recognizable names though. Technically, that cop should have been hella suspicious.

Metatron: "Uh, just a second!"
*Gadreel walks in*
Gadreel: "I gave you a second."

- I love him. I love him for the same reasons that everyone loves Cas. Plus, I'm actually attracted to Tahmoh, whereas Misha does nothing for me (though he has a great personality.)

Metatron: "I don't get this whole Cas love-fest either. I'm offering our people a way home and still, STILL, they're choosing him over me. I mean, sure, he's cute, and Castiel has this simple... charm? He's like a mentally deficient puppy. But I'm loveable and funny!"
*Gadreel judging look*
Metatron: "I made God laugh! Twice!"

- I love Gadreel's judging face.
- Also, I'm pretty sure people are still chosing Castiel because Castiel wasn't the mastermind behind throwing them out of Heaven in the first place! And he's not up in Heaven right now bogarting the whole place.
- That being said, I wonder what Metatron did to make God laugh? I bet he tripped over something.

Hannah: "The Winchesters. I've heard so much about you."
Dean: "What can I say, Cas is a fan."

- Cute.

I like the fact that Sam and Dean CAN offer skills to the angels that they didn't necessariily think about.

Cas: "..I didn't... I would never ask an angel to sacrifice himself to kill innocents. I'm going to be sick."
- It's interesting, because earlier Cas called the whole thing "abhorrent" and it's true that I've been watching this show for a VERY long time, so I know that they've seen people do way more horrible things with even less justification - I mean, Cas himself is a mass murderer thanks to his leviathan possessed killing spree (which is arguably either him high-as-balls or him being controlled.... or cases of both). Anyway, my point is, that we get to see a bit of the angels' original programming, I think, here.... just like Sam's an abomination, this collatoral damage is abhorrent... and they're all very strong words. Anyway, I'm fascinated by angel morality, mainly because they seldom seem to have it - or at least, their morality rarely matches up with human morality... so I'm interested in the rules that they DO have, or USED to have, before God left and they all started to go insane with power and possibility.

I forgot that kid!angel was Esther. They keep using all the good names for these characters that they just immediately kill off. I guess I got spoiled with the demons always just being "demon" and whenever they name an angel now, I want to look up what the name means, and ponder what sort of angel they might be - but they're never around long enough for me to do that anymore. Back when they were first introduced they were, and we could analyze the name Zachariah and wonder what it meant for the future... for example.

Dean: "Cas, I know you try to be a good guy, I do. You try. But what you got here, this is a friggin' cult."
Cas: "Dean-"
Dean: "The last time you had this kind of juice, you DID kill humans AND angels and you did nothing but lie to me and Sam about it the whole damn time!"
Sam: "Can we uh, can we take this somewhere else guys?"

- Poor Sam, having to get in the middle of a marital dispute. :P
- Seriously though, I am GLAD that Dean brought this up - because Cas DIDN'T do well the last time he had power, and it's a valid concern.

Sam: "Stow the baggage, Dean. Look, we got a case. Let's work it. Cas, did you know the angel in that video..."
- Yes, more awesome Sam!
- Sam also has a point here, that Dean - who seems to like to hold grudges a really really long time (see the S8 finale, where he felt the need to reiterate all of Sam's mistakes to Sam with the implication that Sam still needed to ask for forgiveness for them - as though Sam hadn't already atoned 100x over for them) - might be jumping to the "betrayal" conclusion prematurely.
- In fairness to Dean though, the idea that Cas might be lying to them is a worry that he legitimately should have, given their history, and it'd be a frightening/angering thing to think that it might be happening again. Dean was very hurt the last time Cas betrayed them, so of course people doing bad things "for Castiel" would raise familiar red flags. If we think of it like addiction, all of our characters have been addicted to something at some point. Sam to demon blood, Cas to power, and Dean (currently) to killing... and it could be that because there's an addiction growing in Dean now, that he immediately jumps to the conclusion that Cas is also succumbing to something.

Cas: "So, I should just sit here."
Dean: "Pretty much."
Cas: "No."

- Nice. I like Cas standing up to Dean. People in Dean's life don't usually do that.

Dean: "Alright fine, but Sam's coming with you."
Sam: "What?"
Cas: "Because you don't trust me?"
Dean: "To help."

- And Dean is really pissing off EVERYONE he loves, isn't he? Oh man.
- It is a clever test on Dean's part though - if Cas refuses Sam's "help" then it makes him look like he's hiding something, because why wouldn't he want help?

And Sam tells Cas on the drive about Abaddon. I love it when Sam and Cas spend time together with just the two of them - in my opinion, they have a much more fascinating relationship than Cas and Dean have. Mainly, I suppose, because it's not as shippy and not as intense, it's a much more fragile thing that we don't really know that much about.

Cas: "Does Dean seem different to you?"
Sam: "Yeah, lately, he seems to be amped up. You know, on edge."
Cas: "Effects of the mark."
Sam: "What else?"
Cas: "He does seem angry. I mean, he's always a little angry, but now it seems like more...."

- I love this description of Dean. It reminds me of Garth's "he could start a fight in an empty house"... not only is it true, but it's a symptom of toxic masculinity, which is kind of a theme of the show. I always used to complain to my BFF (male) that girls weren't allowed to have emotions besides "happy" because if we did, we were immediately labeled as hysterical/crazy/on-our-period and our emotions were dismissed... men, meanwhile, were allowed to feel things. Of course, my BFF pointed out that men really could only feel either happy or angry, because any other emotions were considered sissy/wimpy/girly/etc. My response was always "well, at least you get to be angry." But the truth is that because anger is the only "manly" emotion, most of all male emotion is expressed through anger. That's why the major symptom of depression in men is actually anger... losing your temper super quickly, punching things, just feeling angry all the time. People think they have rage problems, but they actually have sadness problems... and sometimes they have sadness problems because they're not allowed to say "I'm feeling really sad and I kinda just want to curl up in bed and drink cocoa and watch sports movies." I suppose women are allowed to be sad and cry at romantic comedies... so, men get anger and women get sadness.

Cas: "...like a part of him actually believed that I ordered those angels to.... Sam? You don't, do you?"
Sam: "No, man. Cas, listen... you got a weird thing going on back there...."

- Awww, Sam+Cas friendship.

Cas: "They put their faith in me."
Sam: "Maybe that's the problem. People have been doing messed up things in the name of faith - in the name of God - since forever."

- Sam's wise. (Gamgee)

Angel: "I mean, just smell that."
Gadreel: "Old shoes and alcholism?"

- I love him. Oh god. I love him so much. And I know these lines are DESIGNED to make me love him... but they are working SO WELL.

Angel: "And I like being an independent operator... and I hear you're losing and I hate your face."
Metatron: "Well, I could get a new face."
Angel: "It'd still be you! A nerd trying to be one of the popular kids!"

- I do wonder how angels see people. Because, I think they see their "true face" more than the vessel they're in. Castiel can recognize angels in vessels that he's never seen before. When Castiel was Emmanuel without memory, he was afraid of Meg's true face, which he could see automatically...which makes me think that angels, by default, see the true face first, and have to look past that to see the vessel's "face" - but even that might be the "true face" ie: the soul. I kind of want to have this headcanon where Cas is constantly just seeing souls. Did Castiel ever see Gadreel/Sam after he was re-angeled? I don't think he did. Nope. It happened in quick succession. So, I could be right - if Castiel had been an angel, he probably would have been able to tell right away that Sam was possessed. It makes me wonder just how jarring it might have been for Castiel when he first saw Dean and Sam as a full human... not to mention that it happened just after he was temporarily killed by April.

Gadreel's judging face is just the best. Like "are we really going to bowl? Ugh."

Flagstaff: "My angelic name is 18 syllables long, why don't we just stick with Flagstaff."
- I love that line. Also, makes me think of a friend of mine in Uni who had a very long Sri Lankan name, so just went by a two syllable nickname.

Flagstaff: "...you thinking you help people. It's amusing. I help people - clogged artery here, tumour there. You - you believe every problem can be solved with a gun. You play the hero but underneath the hype, you're a killer, with oceans of blood on his hands. I hate men like you."
Dean *attacks* : "Honey, there ain't no other men like me!"
Flagstaff: "Don't! Please!"
Dean: "Orin, friends?"
Flagstaff" "Constantine and Tessa."
Dean: "Tessa? The reaper Tessa?"

- REAPERS AREN'T ANGELS!!! RAR!!!
- Seriously though, even when he's not hepped up on First Mark, it's not a good idea to tell Dean that he doesn't help people... even if she does kind of have a point. Dean DOES help people, but it IS through violence. It's the difference between a soldier and a pacifist. Dean was raised to be a soldier, and he's a fine one - but there's always going to be the pacifist view that there is a better, non-violent, way to solve problems, and that soldiers inevitably do more harm than good, by contributing to a culture of violence.

Cas: "Step aside. I got this."
*Cas fails to open door*
Cas: "I don't got this."

- So, the line is funny, but it also kind of annoys me - and I think it's because I can see the joke coming. I was talking about this the other day with a writer friend of mine. They just finished reading my demented'verse and their favourite thing about it was how funny it was - and we were talking about writing humour... and how I actually write TO jokes. I will construct a whole scene or plot around the wish to make ONE joke... but the reason it works is that even though I've constructed the story around my joke, I haven't set it up with signposts... a good line, a line that actually makes you laugh, has to come out of left-field. It has to sideswipe you... it can't be a head on collision that you see coming from miles away, or else by the time it reaches you, it's not funny anymore. (Maybe car-crashes aren't the best analogy here, since they aren't funny - but you get my point, hopefully.) There are some good lines in SPN sometimes that I see other people laugh at when they happen, but I sit there thinking "that set-up was too obvious." But in all fairness, I'm sure some people think that about the way I set up jokes in my writing too.

Also, YOU AREN'T SUPPOSED TO BE SEE TESSA! TESSA IS A REAPER! REAPERS CANNOT BE SEEN BY THE LIVING! ALSO, REAPERS ARE NOT F%&#%& ANGELS!

Tessa: "So, you're here? Why? You just love musical theatre?"
Dean: "Only if it's Fiddler..."

- Head!canon of JewishCommunityInFormativeYearsDean! Seriously, this fits in with my headcanon of Dean spending a significant part of his teenager-hood in New York, NY, in a predominately Jewish neighbourhood (and possibly going to see Fiddler on Broadway). I love that headcanon and I hope the writers never take it away from me.

Aww, Constantine was a little cutie.

And Cas has a blacklight in his hand. It kind of annoys me. In S5, they could do shots where you knew you were looking at a building through Cas' eyes, and you could see the invisibile writing that only he could see - and that made more sense then having a blacklight in your hand.

Cas: "Why is six afraid of seven? I assume it's because seven is a prime number and prime numbers can be intimidating."
Sam: "It's because seven, eight, nine."

- I like Cas' answer better.

Cas: "It's word play and the answer's the key like the doors of Durin in Lord of the Rings."
Sam: "Wait, you know about Lord of the Rings?"
Cas: "I'm very pop-culture savvy now."

- Oh yeah! I'd forgotten about this. Cas knows every book and movie that Metatron has ever read/seen.

Flagstaff: "I know he's the commander's friend, and we're supposed to pretend we like him, but that ape put a knife to my throat..."
- Oh Flagstaff... firstly, this is kind of hilarious, that they were instructed to pretend to like the Winchesters. Secondly, calling him an "ape" which is pretty clearly a derogatory insult towards humans, just paints you as a racist.

Hannah: "You wounded her."
Dean: "More like defused."

- And the angels are already getting the wrong idea about what is going on... and Dean isn't helping, since he hasn't let them in on the step by step process.

Hannah: "...we have rules - order. If I let you take matters into your own hands, what's to stop one of them from doing the same thing."
- Hannah has a good point.

Dean: "Are you asking or telling?"
Angel: "We're not asking."

- I'm not sure which answer would be better there, but at least they were honest.

Boobytraps with Sam and Cas!

Sam: "The Last Crusade? Okay."
- I missed that line the first time!

And now Hannah is sitting in on the interrogation... which is good. Of course, Tessa pisses her off and Dean throws her out, which is bad.

Ugh, it just drives me nuts that they turned Tessa into this. TESSA IS A REAPER. REAPERS AREN'T ANGELS. Reapers are supposed to be forces of nature, and Tessa was always extremely zen-like in her approach to life - THIS CHARACTERISATION MAKES NO SENSE AND I HATE IT!

And then we get the fake heaven... which is a weird prom-y type thing.

Sam *reading*: "Welcome to your own personal heaven, Castiel. Good luck finding the real one."
- Castiel's heaven is a prom.

Josiah: "I would rather die than owe my life to you, Castiel. You play at being noble, you play at being one of us, but I look into your eyes - I don't see an angel staring back at me."
- This line is cool and I do wonder what it means for Castiel. Castiel is riding around with someone elses grace - and it makes me wonder exactly what he is. Is he truly an angel again or is he a human who is suped up on angel powers?

Dean: "Let's talk about us. I mean, we've got history."
Tessa: "Yeah, I still remember our meet-cute. You were dying."
Dean: "Good times. Here's the deal. I like you Tess - I mean, for an angel."

- SHE'S NOT AN ANGEL AARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGG!!!

Tessa: "I guess I just can't take the screaming."
Dean: "Whose screaming?"
Tessa: "All of them. The lost souls. The ones that can't get into Heaven now that it's been borded up. I hear them. They are so confused. They're in so much pain. All I want to do is help them. It's what I do. It's my job. But I can't. So I suffered. Until... death, nothingness - suddenly it didn't seem to bad. Seemed quiet."

- So, fine, they justify the personality change with the fact that she's being driven insane by the crowded vale (veil? I don't know which is the correct spelling in this case, someone tell me). But my problem is that they still could have had this storyline (or similar) and kept her a TRUE reaper... or something! I don't know. It's just... really really frustrating. Not to mention that they're taking their ONE RECURRING IMMORTAL "FEMALE" CHARACTER and turning her into a mortal killable thing - and then killing her. Ugh.
- Anyway, let's talk about what she's actually saying - here, again, it slightly annoys me because the writing on the mythology is so continuity-error riddled. Are the souls not getting into Heaven because Heaven is borded up to EVERYTHING?! Would that have happened if they had sealed hell too? Would the vale be full of the EVIL dead. But, Charlie went to Heaven in episode 4, so therefore Heaven being closed to souls has to have happened after that - so, when Metatron "flipped a switch" to make sure that the next prophet wasn't awakened when Kevin died... was his solution to that problem to bar all souls from reaching Heaven, so that KEVIN'S soul couldn't reach Heaven and therefore trigger the new prophet on earth?
- I want to go on a whole other rant about them turning reapers into angels - but I'm going to hold off, because I'm just screaming into a crowded room filled with other people screaming... but just continue to imagine my rage, and you'll get the point.

Tessa: "...and the Cas you know, would he raise an army of angels without telling you? Because this Cas did."
- Way to sow doubt, Tessa.

Dean: "No, see, fun's just getting started."
*Dean takes out First Blade*
Tessa: "Dean, what did you do?"
Dean: "What I had to."
Tessa: "Welcome to the club."
*Tessa kills herself on the First Blade*

- Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh... why did they do this to Tessa.
- Okay, what I DO like about this is the fact that it reiterates the "I did what I had to do" theme of this season and directly points a finger at it and says "this is not good." Everyone, this season, has made a desperate decision that they feel they were forced into, because they didn't like the alternative. Dean saved Sam, even though it went against Sam's wishes and violated his free will (and body). Dean got the Mark, because it seemed it was the only way to kill Abaddon. Gadreel killed Kevin and Abner, because he thought he had to in order to return to heaven and restore his honour. Castiel stole Theo's grace, because he felt it was the only way to stay alive (and save the angels). Sam... well, I think Sam might be the only one that has already learned this lesson back in S4, and he's just like "ugh, come ON guys... the ends don't justify the means!"
- So, what Tessa is saying here is that the very thing that Dean is mad at her for doing, he is doing himself - taking desperate measures to end his own suffering, in the guise of helping others.

And Metatron calls to put the nail in the coffin of Cas' campaign.

Metatron: "So, one time only, I'm offering amnesty, every angel, no matter what their sin, may join me and return to Heaven. I will be their God, and they will be my Heavenly Host."
Hannah: "Why would we follow you?"
Metatron: "Well, look around, you've seen Earth. You've had a taste of free will. I gotta ask you, do you like it? I mean, the way you flocked off to follow Castiel tells me you need to follow someone. It's in your DNA. But Cas? He is not who you think he is. He sends angels out to die. Have you told them about your stolen grace, Castiel, how it's fading away? And when it burns out, so will you? So, no then. I'm not the best, but I'm the best you've got. If you want to stay with Castiel, fine, but he's playing you - because at the end of the day, the only thing he cares about is himself, or the hardy boys there...."

- So, this is a brilliant play by Metatron, and you can see how he was possibly setting this up from the beginning. As we go through this season, it appears as though Metatron is making his decisions on the fly, but this is probably all premeditated, and it's pretty ingenious:

How do you take control of heaven? The angels won't follow a secretary, but they will follow an archangel. Metatron is not an archangel, but he could be the most POWERFUL angel, which would be the same thing - so...
Step one - cripple all angels using The Fall.
Step two, enter the faction fight, but enter it as the only angel who is 1)powerful and 2)has access to Heave.
Step three, set up a main opponent who has a major weakness that you can later exploit, wait until the factions are widdled down to only yours and his.
Step four - exploit that weakness, offer his followers what they want (Heaven), and BAM, you are now God in charge of all angels.

In this case, Castiel's weakness is two-fold. A)He is not an "real" angel. He's a human walking around with stolen grace (which is implied as an abhorrent thing to do.) B)He is devoted friends with the two most controversal humans on Earth.

Metatron is also helped by the fact that angels really do suck at free will. Not to sound like I'm pro-house-elf-slavery, but the angels seem to WANT to be told what to do and not have to think for themselves or struggle with morality themselves. It reminds me of my mother's first husband - who, when he reached adulthood and didn't have his mother telling what to do anymore, decided to join a cult where some overlord character(s) would take his paycheque, give him an allowance, and tell him what to do. (This happened after he and my mother got divorced, but my point still stands - he was maybe 22-23 - they got married young and divorced after only a couple years - and so he went from mother authority, to wife authority, to cult authority, because he did not want to be his own authority.)

And Hannah asks Cas to kill Dean as proof that he cares for angels more.... oh, honey, it's never going to happen. For more than just one reason...

Not only is Cas not going to kill the only person who has consistantly stood by him (with the exception of when Cas was doing very very bad things - which really only cements the friendship for Castiel, since he knows Dean is someone who will call him out if he starts going down a bad path)... but, more importantly, ever since S7, Cas has very clearly been a pacifist (or at least has a strong desire to be one). He's not going to kill Dean, because he doesn't want to kill ANYONE.

(Also, there's the fact that at this point, I don't think Cas would win in a fight with Dean - so attempting to kill him would be a suicide mission.)

Gadreel: "You should have told me what our elite unit was for."
Metatron: "Why? It's none of your business."
Gadreel: "Tessa, Constantine - I recruited them and you brainwashed them into blowing themselves up!"
Metaron: "So!...."

- Oh man, I just realized what the trenchcoat was for at the beginning. Metatron was dressing up as Castiel (alterning his appearance, of course) but he needed the trenchcoat.
- Also, man, I feel bad for Gadreel - because he probably picked angels that he really LIKED for an "elite unit", maybe even angels that were friendly towards him, even though he's an angel-felon... and then Metatron killed them. No wonder this is the straw that breaks the camels back.

Metatron: "And then, after a rousing speech, his true weakness is revealed. He's in love! ... With humanity."
- So, I know people get really annoyed at the "queerbaiting" in this show... but I do love that line and the way it's delivered. Mainly, because its true. Angels see Cas as picking the Winchesters over them, but the fact of the matter is that it was the Winchesters that originally reminded Cas of the true mission of angels - protect humanity. All the other angels are working under "serve Heaven" as their base mission - and forgetting that God told them to love and protect man.
- But, just to address the "queerbaiting" thing - personally, more and more, I'm seeing it as a case of "divided creators" - where some on the writing staff want it to be canon and others (writers, producers, network, actors, who knows) are vetoing it. So, the writers that want it are putting it in where they can, and those that don't want it are taking it out - and it all comes out as being something slightly frustratingly inconsistent.

Though, I also think it comes down to the societal preoccupation with romantic-love and the "traditional"/formulaic expression of it. The belief that it's not a romantic loving relationship unless someone says "I love you" or there is kissing/sexytimes, and monogamy, is pretty widespread - that's how we qualify romance.... but it's not always the case. You can tell someone you love them by making them a sandwich and watching a hockey game together. You can tell them you love them by smiling at them at just the right moment. You can be totally in love with someone and NOT be sexually attracted to them or want to kiss them... and it doesn't make that love any less. For years, gay people used to get married to members of the opposite sex, because it was what was expected of them, or it was the only way they could survive... and I'm willing to bet that some of them truly did love their husbands and wives, even though there was no hope for sexual attraction. And you could call that friendship, and think it less than romance, or you could recognize it as LOVE and realize that the level of love and devotion was the exact same. It goes for couples who aren't monogamous too - if they have an agreement that they can sleep with other people, do they love each other less? No, of course not. They are just as devoted to each other as a monogamous couple, perhaps even more so, because at the end of the day, no matter who else they may sleep with, they go home to their partner and keep their promise that their partner will ALWAYS come first when it comes to emotional devotion.

But hey, maybe this is me just trying to explain why I don't think I should be made to feel as though I have never loved nor been loved just because I've never had a "traditional" relationship - it certainly doesn't feel that way to me.

Anyway...

Gadreel's face continues to delight me.

Metatron: "My point is, while everyone else is playing checkers - I'm playing Monopoly, and I always build a hotel on Boardwalk and I always win."
- Capitalist pig! Hahaha... no really, I love that line, because he chooses to say Monopoly, which is a game that was invented to point out the faults in Capitalism and how it inevitably collapses due to its own ruthlessness. Metatron is gloating here, but he's also foreshadowing his own downfall.

Sam: "So, Dean, are we going to talk about this or what?"
Dean: "...Yeah, I lied, but you were being an infant."
Sam: "Wow. Even for you, that apology sucked."
Dean: "Oh, I'm not apologizing. I'm telling you how it's going to be."
Sam: "Dean, I-"
Dean: "That Blade is the only thing that can kill Metatron and I am the only one that can use it. So from here on out, I'm calling the shots. Capice? Until I jam that blade in that douchebag's heart, we are not a team, this is a dictatorship. Now, you don't have to like it, but that's how it's gotta be."

- Yikes. So many things wrong with this... I mean, wrong as in "there is something wrong with Dean" - the writing is good. Jared also does wonderful things with Sam's face during this too - because you can see the RAGE, but you can also see the terror. Sam hated John for running their family like a dictatorship, so that's where the rage comes in... but then, there's no denying anymore that Dean is out of control and changing and that's terrifying.

It's amazing how quickly Dean's mood changes between yelling at Sam and talking to Cas... from one room to the next, he's like two different people - and you have to wonder just what is going on in his head. I think the Mark is causing him to lash out at Sam, because Sam is the obstacle in his way of using the Blade and becoming a demon faster... and I think Dean is just being swept along on this rollercoaster ride... and he's probably scared on the inside, but the addiction to the Blade is probably preventing him from really viewing his emotions with enough distance to understand what is happening.

Dean: "So, batteries."
Cas: "I'm fine."
Dean: "No, you're not. How long you got?"

- Dean also seems oddly pleased here. Whether it's because this is more the Cas he knows - the one that is "a baby in a trenchcoat" who needs Dean's help... or because Dean is just playing the role of Dean here and getting it a little wrong... well, who knows.

Cas: "Dean, those bombers - you don't really think that I-"
Dean: "Cas, you just gave up an entire army for one guy. No, there's no way that you blew those people away."

- It kind of hurts my heart that Cas is so desperate for Dean to believe him. I mean, it makes perfect sense, and that's WHY it hurts. Because Cas has lost Dean's trust before by going down a dark road, so it's important that Dean not believe that Cas is doing it again - that Cas wouldn't betray Dean again by doing something with such questionable morals.

Cas: "You really think that we three will be enough?"
Dean: "We always have been."

- Awwww... it would be touching, if I didn't know what happens next.

And Gadreel just walks into the bunker... so, how secure is that place really? I wonder.

Gadreel: "I know where Metatron is - I know everything.... you don't trust me, fine. I understand. I made mistakes. But haven't you? Haven't we all? At least give me a chance!"
*Dean goes in for handshake and attacks*

- So, yeah, on the one hand, this seems ridiculous to do, given that Dean is itching to kill Metatron and Gadreel can HELP with that. On the other hand, it makes perfect sense, because for the past 6 months or so, Dean has been blaming Gadreel on everything that's gone wrong in his life. It's been easier to blame Gadreel for the problems in his and Sam's relationship and for Kevin's death, then to blame himself for saying yes to Gadreel in the first place, for tricking Sam, for not finding out who Gadreel was sooner, for not warning Kevin about Sam's pocession... for being part of the two-man team that got Metatron to reenter angel-politics to begin with (though, that had the immediate benefit of, ironically, saving Kevin.)
- The sad thing here though is that what Gadreel is asking for here - forgiveness and understanding - if he had just asked for, or been offered, that sooner, before Metatron offered the same, then this whole season could have panned out better.

CUT SCENE

Sam and Dean talking after the scene where Dean tells Cas that Sam will go with him to find Josiah, and lets on that he might not trust that Cas is telling the truth about the bombers. Sam is questioning whether Dean really believes Cas is lying.
Sam: "And Cas?"
Dean: "Look, I hope it was just some nutbag. I hope that Cas is telling the truth - but if he's not, we'll burn that bridge when we come to it. You just keep an eye on him."

- I love that saying... well, mixed-up saying. I forget what it's called when you do that, but yeah, "we'll burn that bridge when we come to it" is something that I say all the time, because I know myself very well.

Sam: "Is that an order, 'cause you've been giving a lot of those lately."
Dean: "Dude, come on."
Sam: "No, you come on, Dean. We're a team here, remember."
Dean: "You're right, yeah. I just got caught up. My bad."

- Ah, cool, so the end line is actually a callback to a deleted scene.
- Also, way to sound insincere and placating, Dean.
- Also, more evidence that Sam's attempt to have them be a professional team, unclouded by the emotions that come with also being family, was a message unreceived at Dean's end (and also an impossible ask, really.)

Hannah: "Are you sure one of us shouldn't come along. The way he talked to you - I don't trust them."
Cas: "Sam and Dean may be a little rough, but they're the best men I've ever known."

- Awwww.



As usual, let me know your thoughts in comments! I'll try to get the last episode done quicker. Sorry again for the delay!

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Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
percysowner
Mar. 9th, 2015 10:55 pm (UTC)
I have a lot of issues with what has happened under Carver, but I will admit that making Reapers angels and letting them go rouge is one of my biggest issues. I also loved Tessa, so killing her off really made me angry. Plus, this makes Death a negligent and inattentive employer and boy, those are the last things I think of when I think of Death. I've been waiting for Julian Richards to come in and slap some sense into his Reapers ever since Taxi Driver, but it doesn't look like that will ever happen.

I think you may have it right about the way the Cas/Dean relationship is being written. I do think that someone, presumably Carver, needs to decide that they are going one way or the other and then make it stick. Either have a straightforward declaration that Dean and Cas are romantic and tell whoever doesn't want it to cope, have it be romantic on Cas's side but not Dean's, if there is actor resistance, have Dean and Cas discuss their feelings and lay it on the line, or stop toying with it. I don't often see the queerbaiting, but this particular week was pretty in your face about it and I think they have to just stop or have it be an acknowledged thing. Personally, I don't want romance from this show but make up your damned minds and stick with it! I do agree that there are many kinds of love. There is love between friends that has nothing to do with romance or sex. There is familial love. So Cas and Dean can love each other without a canon on screen romantic entanglement.

Also, more evidence that Sam's attempt to have them be a professional team, unclouded by the emotions that come with also being family, was a message unreceived at Dean's end (and also an impossible ask, really.) The fact that they can't get rid of the emotions that come with being a family doesn't mean that they can't be a team of more or less equals. They were working toward equality in season one and were equals in seasons 2 and 3. I do think that Dean needs to stop being a dictator, actually let go of his resentments about Sam (I'm not sure that he really has, even after Sacrifice) and start treating Sam like a trusted partner, not an untrustworthy subordinate.The writers also have to stop knocking Sam unconscious at every opportunity, because otherwise he will never be an equal and he wasn't that incompetent before Carver took over.

Oh, and I'm pretty sure it's veil.
hells_half_acre
Mar. 9th, 2015 11:09 pm (UTC)
I would love for Julian to come back and knock some sense into people. At the same time, with the horrible way that Carver has changed the Reapers, I don't want him to get his hands on Death - because Death is not an angel either and I'm afraid that Carver will make him into one. Death, in SPN, is firmly established as God's equal and that's what makes his character so fantastic.

I don't really care either way where they take the Dean/Cas relationship, but I do agree that they need to decide what they are doing and then stick to it.

The fact that they can't get rid of the emotions that come with being a family doesn't mean that they can't be a team of more or less equals.

Agreed. I said that poorly. They WERE equals back at the end of S5 and in the latter half of S6 and S7 (when Sam was mentally sound)... and then they slipped back into not being equal in S8, when Dean got back from Purgatory and was angry at Sam and when Sam got sick... and now Dean is high on MoC and so, yeah, they just keep regressing.

Another issue is the fact that I'm not 100% sure that Carver knows who Sam is... competence included.

I think Carver has had some good ideas, but I also think he's a little too married to brother-conflict as a driving force of the show. You can have a good show without the brothers being at odds.

shadowsong26
Mar. 10th, 2015 12:03 am (UTC)
I like everything about this episode except Tessa. And you summed up why I don't--though I'm more annoyed by the characterization issues than the mythology.

I still wish that S9 had done more about the consequences of the Fall--like, how many people went missing? Is anyone looking for that girl? Was her whole family possessed, since vessels=bloodlines? We get some of that in S10 with Hannah, but...IDK.

Sleepy!Sam is adorable yes.

I still wonder if Dean's habit of "belittling" Cas (baby in a trenchcoat, dorky little guy, little nerdy guy with wings) is also a psychological coping mechanism for Dean - where Dean has to fool himself into forgetting that Cas is a non-human who is superior to Dean in both size and power.

That makes a lot of sense.

Agreed on p. much everything about Dean and Cas interacting, especially in the early parts of the episode.

And Sam and Cas yes.

Gadreel's judgy faces are AMAZING.

And Cas has a blacklight in his hand. It kind of annoys me. In S5, they could do shots where you knew you were looking at a building through Cas' eyes, and you could see the invisibile writing that only he could see - and that made more sense then having a blacklight in your hand.

I didn't really think about this until you pointed it out, but yeah, that was cool. On the other hand, the blacklight does sort of make sense? Like it's a way to show non-angels if the angel chooses? 'Cause I don't think we're seeing this from Cas' POV, so he's showing Sam (and us) what he sees, as opposed to just narrating it without the visual. Still, for the audience, the angel-view would've been cooler.

Cas: "Why is six afraid of seven? I assume it's because seven is a prime number and prime numbers can be intimidating."
Sam: "It's because seven, eight, nine."
- I like Cas' answer better.


Me too!

- This line is cool and I do wonder what it means for Castiel. Castiel is riding around with someone elses grace - and it makes me wonder exactly what he is. Is he truly an angel again or is he a human who is suped up on angel powers?

Yeah especially since, when he was fully human earlier in the season, wasn't it a surprise to an angel trying to ice him? I vaguely remember that...so, what's changed? Or, more accurately, how has taking Theo's grace changed him from something basically human that looks like an angel until cut open to...whatever it is Josiah sees?

I think it's 'veil.'

I agree on the 'did what I had to do' theme. And about Sam knowing better now and being at least internally frustrated that no one seems to have learned from his example...

Totally agreed on Metatron's strategy being genius.

I think you raise good points about romantic love--though I don't think that platonic love/friendship is 'less' than romantic love (even if that does seem to be the societal bias), but...yeah, definitely agreed on the rest of what you said. Traditional/formulaic romantic love is not the be-all-end-all of romantic love, let alone all love.

Ugh the last few minutes...the thing is, yes, Dean stabbing him makes sense, but I still read it mostly as a sign of the Mark, instead of a logical/completely natural follow-through on his vendetta. And there's two reasons for that--first, Sam (who should get to make this call) indicates he wants to hear Gadreel out. Second (with the caveat that it was a much longer time between enemy and ally), how is working with Gadreel different from working with Meg? Pretty much every horrible thing Gadreel did, Meg did too, if not more. And they worked with her on reasonably civil terms for like three seasons before she died...IDK. Dean, despite being a champion grudge-holder, is able to bury the hatchet when there's bigger fish to fry...so, yeah. It both makes sense and it doesn't, in regard to Dean's 'natural' headspace, so I tend to put it down to the Mark more than anything else.

The sad thing here though is that what Gadreel is asking for here - forgiveness and understanding - if he had just asked for, or been offered, that sooner, before Metatron offered the same, then this whole season could have panned out better.

Yes if only. :(

Anyway, like I said at the start--barring everything with Tessa, I like this episode. It's just...everything with Tessa, you know?
hells_half_acre
Mar. 10th, 2015 12:26 am (UTC)
I still wish that S9 had done more about the consequences of the Fall--like, how many people went missing? Is anyone looking for that girl? Was her whole family possessed, since vessels=bloodlines? We get some of that in S10 with Hannah, but...IDK.

Me too. I mean, there would be a HUGE number of people missing - unless, as you say, whole families got possessed so that no one could report them as missing persons.

Yeah especially since, when he was fully human earlier in the season, wasn't it a surprise to an angel trying to ice him? I vaguely remember that...so, what's changed? Or, more accurately, how has taking Theo's grace changed him from something basically human that looks like an angel until cut open to...whatever it is Josiah sees?

Good point. The angel trying to kill him didn't realize that he was human until he sliced him open and he bled without grace mixed in... so, what about what angels see makes it hard for them to distinguish between human soul and angel "soul" (I put soul in quotes, since angels supposedly don't have souls, but they have SOMETHING besides grace that means that if they lose their grace they can be "reborn" in a human form.)

I think you raise good points about romantic love--though I don't think that platonic love/friendship is 'less' than romantic love (even if that does seem to be the societal bias)

I completely agree - I didn't say that platonic love/friendship was 'less' than romantic love. Or at least, I hope I didn't, because I certainly don't believe that. That was my whole point - you can have "romantic" love without sex. You can have love without romance. You can have love with sex and monogamy, or with sex but not monogamy... or whatever iteration of love that you want, and they are all love and all equal... it's really the quality of the devotion that matters with love, and that can take many forms (including being toxic and co-dependent).

Totally agree with you about the Mark being the cause of Dean's attack in the last few minutes - I guess my point was more that the MoC is PREVENTING Dean from burying hatchets that he would normally bury... it's probably giving him justifications for the violence that he craves, which is why we don't really see him fighting it as much as he possibly could be.

Anyway, like I said at the start--barring everything with Tessa, I like this episode. It's just...everything with Tessa, you know?

My sentiments exactly.

shadowsong26
Mar. 10th, 2015 12:42 am (UTC)
I completely agree - I didn't say that platonic love/friendship was 'less' than romantic love. Or at least, I hope I didn't

You're right, you absolutely didn't, I misread something you say--sorry, I should've reread before actually posting my comment ^^;;

And, yeah, about the Mark preventing Dean from burying hatchets--that's a really good way of putting it.
shadowsong26
Mar. 10th, 2015 12:43 am (UTC)
I completely agree - I didn't say that platonic love/friendship was 'less' than romantic love. Or at least, I hope I didn't

You're right, you absolutely didn't, I misread something you say--sorry, I should've reread before actually posting my comment ^^;;

And, yeah, about the Mark preventing Dean from burying hatchets--that's a really good way of putting it.
borgmama1of5
Mar. 10th, 2015 02:34 am (UTC)
...I still wonder if Dean's habit of "belittling" Cas...is also a psychological coping mechanism for Dean - where Dean has to fool himself into forgetting that Cas is a non-human who is superior to Dean in both size and power.

Nice point!

This Tessa was nothing at all like the Tessa in prior episodes, and it's a shame that she had to be sacrificed when any rogue angel would have worked for that part of the plot.

I do hope that after this season the boys resume being a team and go after other stuff--even Jensen and Jared expressed that desire in the last con, that it's time for the brothers to resume 'saving people, hunting things' and enough with the angst with each other!
hells_half_acre
Mar. 10th, 2015 03:00 am (UTC)
Agreed on all points!

It could have been ANYONE, it didn't have to be Tessa - and the whole episode annoys me to no end because of it. There was absolutely no reason to butcher Tessa's character like that (or make the Reapers angels.) Rar.

And yes, I really hope that as we move into the latter half of S10 and into S11, the boys remain a team.
cappy712
Mar. 11th, 2015 03:46 am (UTC)
Great review - I agree especially the reaper / angel thing with Tessa.

Thank you for sharing.
hells_half_acre
Mar. 11th, 2015 03:51 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading! Glad you enjoyed it. :)
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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