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It's going to be hard to follow up Hibbing 911, which is why I have to admit that I've been putting off doing the rewatch for this episode. BUT, the show much go on and this episode does bring up some interesting themes and points...

...I actually did this episode in 2 sessions. The first, which is when I wrote the above intro, occurred on Dec 22nd. I then ran out of time... and then my Christmas Job happened and I was pretty much run off my feet for six days. Now, this part that I'm writing, and everything that occurs after the 25:50 mark in the episode, is being done on Dec 30th. Hopefully it's not disjointed.

The Things We Left Behind

Dean is having ze nightmares. Also, he is pretty.

And we see Claire again after so many years. This is what I like about this storyline - we actually follow-up with someone from seasons ago and see where they've ended up after ostensibly having their live destroyed by their connection to the supernatural.

Guard: "Novak you have a visiter!"
Claire: "Really?"
Guard: "Your father's here to see you."

- So, the thing is that Jimmy is essentially a Missing Person. If he ACTUALLY turned up, the Juvenile Detention Centre (or whatever that place is) would have CALLED THE POLICE and "Jimmy" would be taken into questioning. What's more, if Castiel was actually a good enough lie to come up with a credible excuse for his absence, I think they'd definitely release Claire to him, because it's not like the State actually WANTS to pay for the food and housing of orphans/abandoned children...unless, of course, these sorts of places are part of the Industrial Prison Complex in America (or whatever that Complex is called) and they actually make a profit depending on how many inmates they have - in which case it's understandable that the social worker wouldn't release Claire even IF Castiel was a good liar. Which he's not, so this is all a moot point, except for the fact that the Police definitely would be called when "Jimmy Novak" showed up.
- But, beyond all that, it does sort of break my heart that Claire, for a moment, has a look of hope on her face here - that this is actually Jimmy. (We see this same hope mirrored later with Crowley.)

Castiel: "Can we have a moment?"
Guard: "I'll be outside."
Castiel: "I'm not your father."
Claire: "Right. 'I'm not your father' - those were the first words you ever said to me, remember?"
Castiel: "I remember everything."
Claire: "So do I, Castiel."

- Firstly, I love the call back to that line, because that was such an AWESOME first line for Castiel to have with a character (and really, the first thing he ever said while in possession of a human larynx).
- Secondly, it really annoys me in this episode (and subsequent appearances of Claire) that they never bring up the fact that Castiel once possessed Claire. What effect does that have on a little girl? Does it increase or decrease her hatred for Castiel? Does it factor in at all? When Claire says that she remembers everything, does she remember what containing Castiel felt like? Was the same as Jimmy's experience ('chained to comet' - which to me sounds like a simile to communicate the word 'terrifying')? Or did she experience it differently (like Sam and Gadreel, pushed back in her mind in some sort of dreamland...)? Does she remember her father saving her life? Or did she just black out and wake up with her father walking away from her again as Castiel, now back in the bigger, stronger vessel? Did she feel elated or rejected? Did she feel saved or robbed? Judging by her hatred for Cas, I'd wager that she felt both rejected and robbed, or maybe terrified, thankful to her father, but angry at her father being taken from her again. Anyway, these are all things I would have liked to know.

Claire: "My father, is he still in there?"
Castiel: "No, the human soul, it can only occupy a body while it retains a certain structural integrity and this vessel, it was ripped apart on a subatomic level by an arc-angel"

- This is our first confirmation that Jimmy is dead. Now, the question remains WHEN did it happen? Castiel was ripped apart TWICE by archangels, once by Raphael in S4's Lucifer Rising/S5's Sympathy for the Devil and once by Lucifer in S5's Swan Song. Now, "subatomic"? Was one of those Casplosions more thorough than the other? Both times, Cas was expected to be dead, so I'd argue no. You COULD argue that Raphael's casplosion left pieces the size of a tooth, so maybe it wasn't "subatomic"... but then, Lucifer's left very large blood splatter, so again, also not subatomic. We've also seen that death by explosion is something that certain angels can do... I forget the name of the angel now that was of the order that mercy-killed injured angels... but when HE did it, everything was pink due to the mixture of skin, bone, etc, in the remains.... whereas the casplosions WEREN'T pink, they were very much BLOOD SPRAY with no sign as to where the other matter went except for the tooth that Sam found in Chuck's hair. (Also, as an aside for a moment - I think it's cool that the largest "dna" carrying piece of Cas/Jimmy's remains was in "God's" hand's in that episode, a scene or two before Cas inexplicably showed back up ressurrected.)
- Anyway, in my opinion, it only makes sense for Jimmy's death to have occurred the first time Cas exploded, back in S4. You can feel free to disagree, of course. People did the last time I brought this up. My opinion won't be swayed, so don't feel the need to argue - I'm just saying that we're all entitled to our own interpretations of the text.
- The S4 death, however, would also support my theory (and the show's basically confirmed canon) that angels become more human-like in personality the longer they share space with their vessels... which is why, since Jimmy's been absent since S4, Cas's progress to human-like personality has been SLOW in comparison to other angels. Cas becomes more human with exposure to the Winchesters (and every other human he interacts with), but it's not the same as being exposed to a human 24/7.

Castiel: "Claire-"
Claire: "What? Huh? What? You took everything from me, what do you want now?"
Castiel: "Nothing, I just- I came here to help you."
Claire: "Why?"
Castiel: "Because I've hurt you so much."

- Aww, Castiel. It's a nice gesture, but you gotta wonder if it might not have been better to stay away (mind, you, given what happens in this episode to Claire, we all know it's actually for the best that Castiel was there.)
- But, this does loop back to Castiel telling Jimmy that "Of course we keep our promises" - and Castiel promised to keep Jimmy's family safe... and he's failed pretty spectacularly at that, it seems. Now, mind you, he was distracted by the apocalypse at the time, judging by the timeline Claire is about to give us...

Castiel: "Where is your mother?"
Claire: "About a few months after you, she took off. Droped me off at my Grandma's and went to go find herself. I guess she's still looking."
...
Claire: "...after my Gran died, I didn't have anyone, so I bounced around difference foster families, ended up in a place like this - living the dream, you know."

- So, it can be understood why Castiel perhaps didn't realize that Claire and Amelia were in danger, after all, there's nothing that says that a woman can't ditch her kid with her mother and drive off into the sunset... so Castiel probably didn't know that anything was wrong - because it wasn't supernaturally wrong. No angel-radio news on the Novaks probably meant that the Novaks were safe, or so Castiel believed. Also, if Claire was abandoned by Amelia only a few months after 4x20, then it probably happened in S5, when Castiel was slowly losing his angel-powers and becoming human, and Cas might not even have been able to keep up with more than the Winchesters and the apolocaypse... and yeah, then civil war, leviathan, amnesia, purgatory, complete human-ness... it's not surprising that Cas has only had the time to check in with Claire now.

Sandy: "So, Mr. Novak, I hear you want custody of your daughter."
Cas: "Yes, that's... *coughs* *speaks in higher voice* That's right."
Sandy: "Why?"
Cas: "Excuse me?"

- I love how Cas changes his voice here, and we find out that this whole time Cas COULD have been speaking normally, if he just (apparently) put a little effort into it. Hilarious.

Sam: "Well, I'm glad you're feeling better."
Dean: "Better than ever"
*Sam puts down grilled cheese*
Dean: "Oh, hello beautiful! Oh yeah, mmm!"

- So, the thing that gets me with Dean in this scene is that he's basically OVERACTING like himself in order to either be in denial or keep Sam in the dark about what the Mark is doing to him.

Then we go to Hell where we revist Rowena, who is trying to play the poor mother.

This episode is really not about the Winchesters at all, now that I'm watching it.

Claire: "You've changed. The Castiel I met, he was crappy. Like, super stuck-up and a dick, and you just wanted to punch him in his stupid angel face."
Castiel: "I don't think I was that bad."
Claire: "You totally were. Now you're just, I don't know, nicer - and kind of a doof, no offense."
*Castiel smiles*

- Awww...
Castiel: "Well, before I was very self-assured. I was convinced I was on this righteous path. Now I realize there is no righteous path just people trying to do their best in a world where it's so easy to do your worst."
- So, see, Claire only "met" Castiel for the time that she was possessed. Before that, she had her "father" saying that he wasn't her father and walking away. So, the fact that she can claim he was a stuck-up dick meant that in those few moments where she was possessed, she was VERY AWARE of Castiel's emotions. Also, this was Castiel RIGHT after being tortured/re-programed back into submission... so, he would have been VERY self-assured of the righteous path of heaven, given that he wasn't allowed to think otherwise. Now, if they had actually addressed the context in which Claire knows Castiel, her hatred of him would probably make more sense. WE are too used to the "doof", Claire has had years of dwelling on a brainwashed prick who she probably said yes to out of fear and then had to watch as he stole her father (again) when he left.

I just realized that the actress behind the counter never speaks...way to not have to pay someone as much, SPN! Hahaha, I bet she was just a "featured extra."

Cas: "I understand, but I need to know that Claire is safe and I need your help."
*Dean acquieses*

- Cas gets what he wants via the OPPOSITE of puppy-eyes. He basically gets what he wants by reminding Dean that Cas is an angel and that Dean owes him... not like, outright, but just in the way that Cas also owes Dean... that you almost always owe your friends. I think Dean gets what he wants from Cas the same way - most of the time, anyway. "YOU ARE DOING THIS FOR ME!" "Okay, okay, I'm doing this for you."

Castiel: "I've been thinking of people. I've helped some, but I've hurt some."
- So, this is the direct result of, I'd argue, both Hannah AND Gadreel. Gadreel, in his exiting speech, reminded everyone in the room with him that the "mission" came first - and the "mission" was always "protect humans" - and Hannah took that to heart first, it seemed, and then Castiel through Gadreel and then through Hannah, who was so devoted to the mission that she included her own vessel in it - for her, there was no reasonable collatoral sacrifice when it came to humans. Castiel no longer has to worry about the soul his vessel belonged to, but he does have to worry about the humans in the past that he DID see as necessary sacrifices to the mission, whether in their death or in the quality of their lives. And now he's worried that he shouldn't have done that. Dean is going to make a counter argument, possibly here, but mainly to Claire later on in the season, against this way of thinking.

Dean: "Cas, listen to me, some stuff you just have to let go. The people you let down, the ones you can't save. You've gotta forget about it. For your own good."
Cas: "Is that what you do?"
Dean: "That's the opposite of what I do, but I'm not exactly a role model."
Cas: "That's not true."

- Awww, Dean, you're CAS's role model. It's only been 7 years, you'd think you would have picked up on this by now.
- Also, I think that the guilt that Dean feels, for the ones he's let down, and the ones he couldn't save, I think that guilt IS his penance for whatever wrong he may of committed. If he actually COULD let it go, he'd probably be a sociopath... or actually, he'd be demon!Dean.

Cas: "How are you, Dean?"
Dean: "Fine. I'm great!"
Cas: "No, you're not."

- Awww, friends. Friends can always tell when you're lying... especially when they are angels of the Lord.

Cas: "The Mark of Cain still affecting you?"
*Dean goes into ptsd style flashback to dream*
Cas: "Dean?"
Dean: "Cas, I need you to promise me something."
Cas: "Of course."
Dean: "If I do go darkside, you've got to take me out."
Cas: "What do you mean?"
Dean: "Knife me, smite me, throw me into the freakin' sun, whatever. And don't let Sam get in the way, because he'll try. I can't go down that road again, man. I can't be that thing again."

- Dude, Cas isn't going to want to do it either! He's just as much your family as Sam is.

I really like Rowena's cellmate. She's pretty.

Crowley: "...did I ever tell you about the time she tried to trade me for three pigs? THREE! I was an attractive child, I could juggle. I was worth five pigs at least."
Gerald: "My ma used to burn me with cigarettes."
Crowley: "Nobody cares, Gerald."

- I love the little theme here that all demons weren't loved enough by their parents. I mean, it's not a good theme if you're an abused kid... but... uh... yeah... it's still, interesting? I don't know... Listen, abused kids, we're not saying that you're going to become demons. You are a good person too. BUT... one of my favourite novels is No Great Mischief, and it has this gut-punch of a moral, and it can basically be summed up with "We are all better people when we are loved."

Crowley: "Don't get me started about the name. Fergus! It sounds like a veneral disease and not the fun kind."
- I don't know about that, Fergus is a pretty epic figure in Celtic Mythology. Just look at this quote about Maeve: "It took seven men to satisfy her... or Fergus once." I think Crowley would LIKE that name origin, if not the sound of the name.

And then we get Claire's little side-story here... with the exploitative Finnegan we find in Gary. Some stories are a classic, I guess. Ah, douchebags.

And Claire goes to rob a convenience store. Never a good idea.

Claire: "You want to talk about wrong? You killed my dad. Is that wrong enough for you?"
Castiel: "No, I didn't."

- I like the fact that Castiel is emotionally together enough not to blame himself for Jimmy's death, even if Jimmy's death occurred because Castiel was using his body. It's actually a super grey-area, I realize, but INTENT matters, and Castiel intended to keep Jimmy's soul safe inside that vessel for as long as he used it.

*Claire pulls gun on Cas*
Castiel: "That won't hurt me."
Claire: "Fine!" *points gun at Winchesters*
Dean: "Whoa"
Sam: "Hold on a second."
Claire: "Why? Like you don't have it coming? You stood there, while this monster took my dad."

- So, in Claire's opinion, the TAKING of her dad was the crime, and Sam and Dean fall under the bystander law...in that, since they didn't move to help, they too are culpable.
- Also, is this the first time we have a character label Castiel as a monster? Because, technically, he sort of IS, if your definition of monster is "non-human."

Claire: "I used to pray to you, Castiel. Every night, I'd beg you to bring him home safe."
Castiel: "I know."
Claire: "You know. My father was a good man. In what messed up world does he have to die and you get to live?"
Castiel: "I'm sorry."
Claire: "No, you feel guilty. There's a difference."

- Is there? Does he? I think that Claire has it backwards (and understandbly, given how angry she is)... but to me, it appears that Castiel feels sorry, but not guilty.
- Claire IS dealing with an unfair world here in much the way that all teenagers do, by rebelling against it. The fact is that it's a crushing blow when you realize that the world SUCKS and that good people die and horrible people not only survive but have good stuff happen to them. You always want that notion of instant-karma to be true... that the bad will get what's coming to them and the good will be rewarded. It's why humans invented the concept of karma or Heaven and Hell - "it happens, we just don't see it happen!" and they take comfort in that idea. If you're an atheist, you just have to accept the fact that the world blows monkey-chunks. You can be a good person and have your whole family killed by a drunk-douchebag who pays his way out of jail and then lives until 115 on gold yachts while snorting cocaine of the asses of 18 year-old sex workers, whose lives he is also ruining... and that's just the way life is. My other favourite book from when I was a teenager has pretty much that depressing moral (though not at all that story) - it's called For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down. And yeah, you can tell by the title how uplifting it is. :P
- Anyway, all that aside, Claire tells us here that she DID pray, but she prayed FOR HER FATHER, and I'm guessing when she was doing this, it was probably already too late - so how exactly was Castiel supposed to respond? I suppose, he should have given her closure sooner rather than have her live with the false hope that one day her dad would return... but Castiel probably wasn't human long enough to understand how telling someone their father is dead might be a good thing to do.

Okay, back in "Hell" (which we find out in S11 isn't actually Hell - slight spoiler there, sorry.)

Crowley: "Mother"
Rowena: "Fergus"
Crowley: "Crowley"
Rowena: "Fergus"

- I do like the fact that Rowena absolutely refuses to give Crowley more power than he already has - even while she's trying to manipulate him.

Crowley: "..As I remember it, you said I would die in a gutter, covered in my own sick."
Rowena: "[...] How DID you die?"

- I just love Crowley's face there and the fact that he doesn't answer her. Ripped apart by hell hounds... probably in a gutter, covered with his own sick.

So, we find out in Crowley's yelling here that Rowena abandoned him when he was eight. That's actually... hella young in my opinion. Like, they'd actually have NO relationship to fall back on. I'm trying right now to remember stuff from when I was 8. I guess I remember my best friend, and my teacher, and... the first time I went to camp. So, MAYBE it's enough to have a relationship of sorts, maybe I'm being too dismissive of human memory.. mind you, I also haven't lived as long as Crowley or Rowena. I wonder how human memory work at that stage - you'd have to forget some things wouldn't you? Maybe check back in with me when I'm 94 and ask if I still remember being 8. :P

Crowley: "..I didn't even have a father!"
Rowena: "Of course you had a father! You were just conceived during a winter solstice orgy and it's not like I was taking names."

- Crowley's face when she says that he had a father though BREAKS MY HEART. Like, seriously, I am the least likely person to be emotionally effected by Crowley or to have any sympathy towards him whatsoever (I just don't like villains, you guys, I can't help it.) But DAMN, Mark Sheppard knows the exact face to make for me to go "OH NO! Crowley desperately wants a father and he's HOPING and it's FALSE HOPE." Seriously, false hope is heartbreaking, I don't care who you are.
- Also, this returns us right back to our main theme of Supernatural - Absent fathers and the emotional damage caused by the social construct of masculinity.

Rowena: "But I'm here now. We've got a second chance. We could be a wee family again, Fergus."
Crowley: "Crowley - and I have a family."
Rowena: "Who? The demons? Anyone of them would stab you in the back if they thought they could get away with it?"
Crowley: "And you wouldn't?"
Rowena: "No, because we're family - we're blood. You can trust me. And I can help you..."

- So, this season is pretty much Crowley learning the lesson that Sam and Dean learned in S6. It's a lesson that Dean will tell to Crowley in a later episode as "Family don't end in blood, but it don't start there either."
- As an aside, I actually think that when Crowley says "I have a family", he MEANS the Winchesters and Castiel. He means the people who are, very precariously, keeping the universe in balance by his side. They basically have the kingdoms divided between them - Castiel has managed to sew heaven up, to a degree (even if he's not in charge, I would actually count him as the "sheriff", just like Dean said he would be in 5x22), Crowley's got Hell, and the Winchesters have the world. At this point, the show is really about these four main characters trying to keep the system in balance. It's part of the reason why I would have actually loved to see (if it hadn't been Sam-fatal) what would have actually happened if they'd successfully sealed Hell at the end of S8... but, I guess that was way too huge a theological debate for the show to have with itself.

Anyway, what were we talking about? I guess... whether Crowley's actually buying this? She does make a point to touch him and kiss his head - and for me, there has to be an element of bewitchment here. I know that TPTB seem to say that it's FERGUS being manipulated - that Crowley still has enough human-blood/influence in him left over from last year that he falls for the emotional manipulation, because he has CRAVINGS for LOVE and FAMILY and all that human stuff that he cried about in 8x23 and parts of S9. To me though, I just think Crowley's always been way more intelligent than that, so there has to be an element of bewitchment that is taking place in order for me to buy it.

Dean: "...she's got issues."
Cas: "Because of me."
Dean: "Well, you are wearing her old man's meatsuit. Probably didn't help."

- It's so rare for them to acknowledge that Cas is WEARING someone. He's had that meatsuit for so long, I think everyone tends to forget that it isn't HIM. It's just... really cool that they're actually drawing attention to it for once.
- Also, this makes me wonder if the brothers know that Jimmy is dead. They must, or they'd probably tell Cas to let him go look after Claire and find himself a new vessel or something. Ruby-style, though I guess he'd need the vessel's permission first, so I'm not sure how that would work out.

Sam: "I mean, Jimmy was her father and to some people - that's everything, you know?"
Cas: "No, I don't. I never knew my father."

- I think Sam's "some people" are "Me and Dean... especially Dean." :P
- Also, I love this conversation on so many levels.

Cas: "What about you, did you love your father?"
Dean: "With everything I had."
Sam: "Yeah, yeah, I mean, it wasn't always easy, but yeah."
Dean: "I mean, look, John Winchester's not going to win any #1 Dad awards, you know, but - but damn if he wasn't there when we needed him."

- I love how Dean can say "I mean look" so fast that it sounds like one syllable.
- That aside, you'd think by now Cas would already know that Dean loved John with everything that he had... but, then, Cas didn't know Dean then and human emotions alluded Cas for a really long time...so, maybe not, fair enough.
- I also like how Sam really does sum up the complicated love we can feel for people just in the way he answers - like, "yes, but I hated nearly every moment of loving him." Because that's really what it boiled down to sometimes.
- Also, I'd argue with Dean that John actually WASN'T there when they needed him - see, Home, Something Wicked, Faith, and S2 on... but, in fairness to John, he wasn't in S2 because he WAS there that time in 2x01 when Dean needed him. So, I guess this is sort of a case of Dean remembering the times John came through for them rather than the times that he didn't. The human brain is wired to forget pain, afterall.

I'm breaking this next bit up into sections...

Sam: "Hey, uh, tell him about that time in New York"
Dean: "Oh yeah, yeah, okay so, uh, we were working this haunting in Long Island, and- and me and Sam begged the old man to let us go in ths city for once."

- Jensen does such a good job here of making this seem like a spontaneous story, that he's not sure exactly how to tell at first.
- Also, this TOTALLY supports my headcanon that the Winchesters spent a portion of Dean's formative years in a New York Jewish community...which is why Dean's cellphone in the early seasons had a New York City area code, and also why Dean is so goddamn Jewish sometimes.
Sam: "He had this thing about New York, right, too big, too loud, too dirty..."
Dean: "Yeah, and he hated the Yankees."
Sam: "Big time, yeah."

- I also love the back and forth between the brothers, that even though Sam SLEPT through this story, he has an ownership of it too in a weird way, through brotherhood.
Dean: "Somehow we convinced him to let us go. So, we all go, we see all the sights, and, uh, ride the subway, eat too much pizza, the whole nine. By about midnight, Sam and Dad are zonked and I figure, screw it, I'm going to CBGB"
- Also I LOVE the family memory of being tourists in New York. I also love the fact that they don't mention things that cost a lot of money. They "saw the sights" but a lot of sights in New York you can just look at while you're out on the street... and the subway doesn't cost that much, and pizza is pretty damn cheap. I just like the fact that this can be as rich or as poor financially of a situation as our headcanons allow for.
Sam "CBGB is-"
Cas: "I know. It's where the Ramones and Blondie got their start."
Dean: "That's-"
Sam: "Right. Wow...."

- I like the fact that even with Castiel now knowing references, they still have a way to make him awkward with references. Like, he has this knowledge, but it's pretty much useless to him, because he doesn't use it to colour his language the way that people USUALLY do with references - instead they're just random bits of culture that he knows from an almost academic standpoint.
- I also like how Sam almost seems put-out that he doesn't get to explain. It reminds me a bit of Nat in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when Steve already knows what War Games is.
Sam: "...Anyway, he was way underage at the time."
- I forgot that it was Sam who tells us that Dean was way underage. I really do wonder how old Dean was. I mean, it's hard to say, because drinking age in the US is so damn old. But, if drinking age is 21, then in my head "underage" would be 17-20 and "way underage" would be 14-16.
Dean: "So, I get there, I sneak in and it is nuts - I mean, people are drinking and they're smoking and they're snorting whatever! There's a 500 pound guy on stage with a mohawk just screaming, and uh, my mind is blown, I don't even know what to do - and this girl walks up and is like 'hey, why don't you come over and sit with me and my friends at a table' and I'm like 'alright!'"
Sam: "Yeah, and they get him drunk. First time."

- It's also the first time that Dean gets drunk. That, to me, means that he's probably more towards the 14-16 end of the scale... because I don't know about the states, but in rural Canada (and Sam and Dean had a fairly rural upbringing, I'd argue) you tend to get drunk for the first time when you're fairly young. I have a friend who QUIT drinking when he was 16. (He started up again when he was 23 or so.) I suppose though, if you're either under constant supervision or constantly the responsible adult in the room, like Dean was, then MAYBE it could be later. We know that John drank a lot, so Dean definitely had access to booze, but Dean probably didn't drink if his dad was drinking or if his Dad was out and Dean had to look after Sam... but then, John also seems to be the kind of dad who would declare Dean to be a man at a stupidly young age and let him have a drink or two with him. Though, that's probably different than getting drunk.
Dean: "But not fun drunk. I'm not quite sure what was in that stuff, but the room starts to spin. And I feel like I'm going to puke, forever, and right around that time - I hear him. DEAN WINCHESTER. My old man. I don't know how but he found me. And now I'm really freaking out, because he's just standing there, not saying anything - I look around and everyone else is freaking out too, I mean, no one is even looking at him in the eye. And finally this one guy with like a safety pin in his nose and a 'kill everything tattoo' looks up and he says 'Sorry, sir' - yeah, sorry, sir. John frickin' Winchester."
Cas: "He saved you."

- I like the way they structure this, because you can leave it up to your imagination what exactly was going on - it could be as innocent a some dudes getting an obviously underage kid plastered for some laughs...or it could be that "what was in the stuff" was something very bad indeed and whoever was at the table had worse plans than just having a laugh at Dean's expense. It could go either way, and perhaps Dean himself doesn't actually know which was the case. It's interesting to note, however, that we do get this story in an episode where there's an attempted sexual assault on a teenager - and who Cas rescues after HEARING this story and realizing that he has to be John Winchester in the scenario.
- I also love the way John really is just a superhero in Dean's mind - he shows up in the story and commands respect from his presence alone.
Dean: "Yeah, and you know what he got for that? Me whining about how much he embarrased me. Me telling that I hated him. But then he stopped and he turned around and looked at me and he said, 'Son, you don't like me, that's fine. It's not my job to be liked-'"
Sam: "'It's my job to raise you right'"
Dean: "Yeah, and he did."

- I love this quote too and how both of them repeat it. I almost feel like it's a little message to the fandom too, because the fact remains that John is a very complicated character - he has his good points and bad points - and fandom, to this this, loves to debate about whether or not he was a good father or bad father. Some have come to just blanketly call him a bad father... but I think Sam and Dean both make the point here that John did good where it counted in their opinion. He raised them to be moral and good at their core. Now, you could argue nature vs. nuture, I guess... but to me, this is Dean and Sam saying that despite his flaws, they're thankful for who they've become because of John. Like Sam said, "it wasn't always easy, but yeah..." He raised them right - right for them, anyway - right for the kind of world and lives that John must have realized that they were going to have, what with Sam being targetted by the forces of evil and all.

Cas: "Do you think Claire is in trouble?"
Dean: "She's hanging out with a guy named Randy. She's in trouble."

- I wonder what Dean has against guys named Randy. Wasn't that also the name of the guy you weren't supposed to take smoke from? No wait, that was Don. I take it back.

This comes back with the social worker lady telling Cas that Claire needs a father, not a friend - I don't think Cas really understood what that meant. You want to be liked by your children,  but sometimes you have to make a choice between being liked and having your children still be alive at the end of the day. :P

Anyway, then creepy scene with Randy selling Claire to creepy dude.

Randy: "Like I said, Claire's like family to me... so it better be a good deal."
- Again, the S6 theme, but more explicity... whether someone is family or not is not up to other people to decide, it's up to you. People are family by their actions, not what they say or whether they're related to you.

Again, with Rowena not falling through on her promise to the demon girl in the prison - actions, not words, my friends, are what matter in this world. (though, "everything begins with words" is a lesson that's also really important in life - but that's slightly unrelated to what we're tallking about... that's more of an institionalized-racism/red-flag-relationship thing.)

I am typing this while ignoring the attempted rape scene, because I really can't stand that stuff - especially with minors. I mean, I don't think a lot of people can stand it, but I also had a job for six years (and may have it again in 2016) where I had to read a lot of survivor accounts of all sorts of abuse of minors and you'd think your tolerance would grow, not shrink, but it shrinks...oh man, does it ever shrink.

Anyway, now that we're up to speed with which part of the episode I'm on...
- I'd forgotten that Claire SAW Randy, and SAW that he was just sitting there when she came down the stairs... I mean, maybe she doesn't put it together. Maybe she says "Randy", not out of disappointment or confusion, but out of wanting him to comfort her after this completely unexpected attack that he must not have known about.

And then sleezebag makes the mistake of hitting MoC Dean over the head with a bottle.

Dean: "You guys don't want to do this."
- And yeah, until they kick him in the head, he has enough control to warn them a little.

The slow-mo of Sam realizing what's happening is pretty awesome.

As is the awesome staging of the aftermath scene.

Sam: "Dean, Dean, hey - tell me you had to do this."
Dean: "I did- I didn't mean to."
Sam: "No, TELL ME IT WAS THEM OR YOU!"

- Sam's hands are so big.
- Sorry, got distracted there.
- Seriously though, this scene is awesome. I like Cas pulling Claire from the house with the horrified look at the bodies - like, it's only now just occuring to him how poisonous the Mark is, how brutal a killing machine Dean has become. Also, how HE SHOULDN'T HAVE FOLLOWED SAM BACK INTO THE HOUSE WITH CLAIRE! Geez, you were hugging in the backseat, it was all you wanted! You could have just STAYED IN THE CAR.
- Mainly, though, I love the fact that when Sam sees a bloody Dean surrounded by bloody bodies of people he has murdered seconds before, he runs TOWARDS Dean and CRADLES his face. Like, oh man, you don't really get more trusting than that, do you.
- Also, I kind of wrote this into a fic (Men of Legend) with a non-SPN character, but there comes a certain point where someone WANTS to be lied to, is basically just DEMANDING to be lied to because it would make their lives so much easier... and I like the fact that Dean doesn't give in here. Maybe it's because he's still coming out of the daze. Maybe it's because he himself is so terrified that he's incapable of denial anymore... but I like the fact that he doesn't lie to Sam.

And done! That only took me two sessions and more than a week. Thanks a lot CHRISTMAS JOB! :P

Next one should be done sooner.

I hope you all had a great Christmas! And I hope you have a great New Years Eve!

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
borgmama1of5
Dec. 31st, 2015 03:52 pm (UTC)
I remember being somewhat let down for this ep being the mid-season finale--literally only the last few minutes had any ramifications for the brothers, the rest, while a nice story, was about (to me) secondary characters.

That being said, I'd love to see what is going on at Jody's right now with Claire and Alexis...
hells_half_acre
Dec. 31st, 2015 05:05 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think they made a erred a bit when they dragged the MoC plot to be a full season - there just isn't that much there to give sustenance - so they had to focus more on the secondary recurring cast. But then, the problem with that is that they didn't really have meaty plot either - as Castiel told Dean in 10x03 - "it's quiet out there" - okay great, so if it's quiet, and nothing is really building besides Dean's murderous rage, what is our mytharc going to be? What are we invested in that holds our attention through the monster of the week episodes?

I actually like Castiel's storyline, but again, there's just not enough meat on the bones to have it show up more than it does. My distaste for villains makes the Crowley-Rowena stuff more annoying than interesting, unfortunately, because I think that's where they were TRYING to put the meat, but again, I'd say that storyline isn't as rich as they wanted it to be - instead it just becomes a long season of obvious manipulation and non-understanding about why Crowley is falling for it.

Anyway, rant over.

I do think they could have cured this somehow. I'm just not sure how at the moment...I guess when it comes down to it, they just plotted wrong and it created too much of a lull.
shadowsong26
Jan. 1st, 2016 08:04 pm (UTC)
First, I want to wish you a Happy New Year! May it be safe and prosperous and better than the old.

This is what I like about this storyline - we actually follow-up with someone from seasons ago and see where they've ended up after ostensibly having their live destroyed by their connection to the supernatural.

Agreed. As much as I think the Claire plot missed some key points, I'm really glad it existed.

it really annoys me in this episode (and subsequent appearances of Claire) that they never bring up the fact that Castiel once possessed Claire

Me too! I was really looking forward to that. Partly because I spend way too much time thinking about vessels/hosts in general, but also because (other than Sam and now Caroline) she's the only living known ex angel vessel? There were others who survived the possession itself at least once, but they're all dead now. And most vessels don't have identities outside their angels (I counted at one point; there are eight known vessels other than Sam) so...Claire is really interesting to me, even independent of the fact that she's Cas's ex-vessel, especially given her age, and all the circumstances involved (losing her father, her mother's demonic possession at the same time, etc.)...Plus, the impact in theory goes both ways, and I wonder if, despite how brief the possession was, how much affect Claire had on Cas, if any...

Totally agree about your interpretations of Cas and Dean's conversation. Also, awww.

I totally missed the implications about the tragic-backstory conversation Crowley and his minion have the first time...

Also, is this the first time we have a character label Castiel as a monster? Because, technically, he sort of IS, if your definition of monster is "non-human."

It might be the first time Cas specifically has been called a monster, but I think Dean labeled angels in general as monsters in early S9? Which raises an interesting question, of when an entity from a monster-species stops being a monster, and how much personal bias/perspective defines that change. Which is one of the things I like most about Claire's story, because we see Cas (and Sam/Dean to a lesser extent) through a different POV than usual, one that's harder (at least in theory) to push aside or ignore.

Is there? Does he? I think that Claire has it backwards (and understandbly, given how angry she is)... but to me, it appears that Castiel feels sorry, but not guilty.

Agreed.

I actually think that when Crowley says "I have a family", he MEANS the Winchesters and Castiel. He means the people who are, very precariously, keeping the universe in balance by his side. They basically have the kingdoms divided between them - Castiel has managed to sew heaven up, to a degree...Crowley's got Hell, and the Winchesters have the world.

Good point!

Also, I don't think that sealing Hell up would have happened at the end of S8 unless that was going to be the series finale. Mostly because, for all the other/bigger evils that the boys have faced, demons/Hell will always be Their Ultimate Quest, in a sense? Like, everything started with demons for them (despite the other involved entities uncovered later), so, in a narrative sense, if they end the presence of demons in the world, their story ends with it, even if there are still other Great Evils running around? Not from an internal perspective, but...I'm not sure I'm explaining it very well. IDK, I just feel like, for storytelling reasons, they can't seal Hell until the series finale, if ever.

Also, yes, so nice to have them acknowledging that hosts/vessels are people again.

And I also appreciate/agree with your interpretations of the boys' opinions on their father at this point in time.

I don't have much to add about the story they tell, because you basically said it all.

Agreed with all you said about the end of this episode. I have to say that, to me, it doesn't really feel like a mid-season finale? 10x14 hits that note much harder, IMO. But, overall, I like this episode well enough--despite focusing more on Cas/Crowley than the boys, it's still about a core theme of the story as a whole: what makes a family. And it raises points about worldbuilding topics that I'm particularly interested in, so there's that!
hells_half_acre
Jan. 1st, 2016 09:09 pm (UTC)
First, I want to wish you a Happy New Year! May it be safe and prosperous and better than the old.

Likewise!

I totally agree about why it would have been cool to explore the fact that Claire was a former vessel. It's true, it's VERY rare to have living former vessels - especially ones with differing degrees of awareness. Sam counts, but he was kept largely in the dark during is possession. Whereas, I feel characters like Caroline and Claire may have been more conscious of the angel's that were possessing them and what their body was doing at the time.

Which raises an interesting question, of when an entity from a monster-species stops being a monster, and how much personal bias/perspective defines that change. Which is one of the things I like most about Claire's story, because we see Cas (and Sam/Dean to a lesser extent) through a different POV than usual, one that's harder (at least in theory) to push aside or ignore.

It's true, and this will be brought up in the finale by Dean about the Winchesters - though I think he uses the word "evil" rather than "monster" - but basically, a slight sub-theme of this season seems to be the question "what makes a monster?" and we've explored this in episodes in the past too - especially with Sam and the special kids. But it's interesting to revisit it. I think really, the conclusion that they come to is that it's a mixture of intent and perspective. Dean was a monster to Cole, even before Cole knew about monsters. Cas is a monster to Claire, even though she knows he's an angel and she has experience with demons... but in both cases, through Cole and Claire spending time with their monsters, they realize that the INTENT was different than they thought, and through this realization, they stop perceiving their enemies as monsters and come to see them as either heroes or allies or just people.

Anyway, I should talk about that in one of my rewatches. Maybe the next Cole or Claire episode... or the finale.

IDK, I just feel like, for storytelling reasons, they can't seal Hell until the series finale, if ever.

I guess I didn't explain that well. I understand WHY they didn't do it. What I meant was that I wondered what would have happened IF they HAD. Like...hypothetically, what would happen to the SPN Universe if you sealed-up Hell? I'm not talking about plot/character/story... I'm pretending the world is real and wondering what would happen. Like, if I took our world and said "What would happen if we blew up the moon?" I understand why we're not going to blow up the moon, because that'd be stupid - we need the moon. I'm just wondering what would happen to the tides/atmosphere/climate/gravity, if we did.

have to say that, to me, it doesn't really feel like a mid-season finale? 10x14 hits that note much harder, IMO. But, overall, I like this episode well enough--despite focusing more on Cas/Crowley than the boys, it's still about a core theme of the story as a whole: what makes a family. And it raises points about worldbuilding topics that I'm particularly interested in, so there's that!

Agreed agreed agreed.
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