We catch back up with Claire, and find out what happened to both the Novak parents. Of course, we've already had Jimmy's death confirmed, but it's nice to know, for sure, at the end of this episode, that he's been in Heaven this whole time. But we're not there yet.
First, we get Amelia's vision/dream of Jimmy coming home finally. Only, she's bleeding from the arms, so this is obviously something horrible going on... and sure enough, there is. Some dude has got her tied up in a barn and is slowly eating her soul. Gross dude. Super gross.
The novaks live in a really nice craftsman house.
Claire's in Tulsa, bribing baretenders.
And Ronny Cartwright is the same actor who played Dean's friend and neighbour in 6x01.
Ronny: "I don't know Amelia Novak, got it!"
- Oh, Ronny, you're an idiot.
I do really like the fact that Ronny isn't PURE evil.. like, he is regretful for accidentally hurting Claire and then calls an ambulance for her so that she's not there long. Like, he's still a douchbag, but not a cartoon douchebag.
Dean: "Look, Cas, we're glad to help, but Claire and I aren't exactly on the best of terms. I mean, should I even be here?"
Cas: "I need help from both of you, you were both troubled teens, you speak her language."
- They weren't troubled in the same way that Claire is though. Sam and Dean were isolated from society and neglected (physically and emotionally), but they still had their father and had never been abandoned (though both had a fear of it.) What I'm trying to say here is that Claire has a LOT more problems with authority and parental figures than Sam and Dean ever did - and for good reason. For Dean, his father was like a God who was never wrong (even when he was wrong), but for Claire, parents are idiots who make really stupid mistakes that make her life a living hell. Dean trusted his Dad. Claire is unlikely to trust anyone.
Sam: "How is she?"
Cas: "I haven't gone in yet. I was waiting for back-up."
Dean: "Back-up. Three men and a lady, let's do this."
- It's nice to know that Dean DOES know what he's doing there though - what Cas wants him to do. He understands that he's there to be a parental figure, along with Cas and Sam. I think it takes him a while to work up to actually doing that though.
Cas: "The police found my number in your emergency contact list."
Claire: "Yeah, well, that was a mistake. You can go now."
- Aww Claire. I do really like how they write her... I guess it's Robbie in this episode... as half reaching out, and half pulling away. It's very true to, not just teenagers, but I think everyone who has had emotional trauma in their life that makes them shrink away from attachments, but also crave them. So, they're actions have this weird sort of bipolar aspect to them. Or maybe I'm projecting.
I just realized Cas is wearing his tie. Has he been wearing that since Claire gave it to him, or did he put it on special for Claire in this episode? Damn. Now I wish I paid more attention to Cas' clothes.
Sam: "Look, we're not leaving until you tell us what the hell really happened. So, if you want us gone, talk."
- I like Sam. I think he's actually the best at speaking with Claire when it comes down to it. Obviously, he doesn't have Castiel's impediment of wearing her father, and he doesn't have Dean's problem of having killed someone Claire cared about... so, he gets the least of her animosity - though, I'm sure she still also blames him for allowing Castiel to wear her father to death.
Dean: "Cas, what you're doing for Claire, help her find her mom... it's good. It's a good thing."
Dean: "Well, where does it end? I'm not trying to be a dick, but truth is, you're not her dad. In fact, you're not anything to her except a constant reminder of someone who's gone."
Cas: "No, I'm responsible for everything that's happened to her."
Dean: "Look, I'm just saying, she's been surviving on her own for quite awhile now, and I think partly because she doesn't have anybody to answer to. There's nobody holding her back."
Cas: "We just found her in a hospital. You're telling me that she'd be better off on her own?"
Dean: "I'm saying she might be stronger on her own."
- So, there are SEVERAL conversations going on here.
- 1)Is Cas ready to be a dad? He's not one. Claire is likely to reject him as one. Why keep trying?
- 2)Is Claire better off on her own? Has she survived this long BECAUSE she's on her own or INSPITE of the fact that she's on her own?
- 3) Is DEAN better on his own? Are Sam and Cas holding him back? From what? The Mark? Being as "strong" as he can be, ie: as murderous.
- In cases 2 and 3, Cas thinks that Claire/Dean is not better on their own. They've survived on their own despite being alone, not because of it - and evidence proves that they get into trouble/get hurt, when they are on their own.
- For case 1 - the question is not whether or not Cas should act as a father, but whether or not he should fulfill his promise to Jimmy to protect his family. In my opinion, the fact that Cas has been neglectful up until this point SHOULD be a sorce of guilt for him. Circumstances that led to his neglect aside, he DID make a promise to Jimmy to protect Claire and Amelia, and he has not failed in keeping it.
-- "stronger on her own" - might very well mean "in less emotional pain." And I have to agree with Dean there.
So, I know Dean beating up Ronny is a huge warning sign that he is getting way to murderous - but all I can think is HAWT. And if anyone ever knocked me out in an alley, he'd be the one I'd want to avenge me for sure.
Oh Ronny, you're such an idiot.
Sam and Claire!
Claire: "How did you-"
Sam *holds up postcard*: "Also, you checked in under the name Claire Novak. A little pro-tip - use an alias."
- So, I know people go on about Castiel and Dean being Claire's two dads... because, you know, destiel. But I really do think that Sam's the one that's the most dad-like of all of them. Or at least, he's the one that has this in the bag. I suppose you could see him as the cool uncle who actually gets through to the kids, but I think it's really that he's the only one that sees Claire as a person, not a responsibility/daugher-figure (Cas) or a problem/teenager (Dean). Maybe I'm being way too harsh on Dean there though, as I think he does come around in this episode to seeing Claire as a person too. It's just that Sam arrives already there. Dean arrives respecting Claire's wish that she might not want to see him, but not really caring about her beyond that she's seemingly important to Cas - and even then, Dean talks like it's a misguided importance at first.
I also like how Sam's sitting when Claire comes in and remains sitting while they talk. I think Sam is well aware of how intimdating his height is, and that's the first thing he eliminates before Claire arrives.
Sam: "You know, this is good. I was impressed. How did you get the information that you-"
*Claire tosses him the diary*
Claire: "It's mostly empty promises and regret, but there were enough breadcrumbs to get me here."
Sam: "How did you get your mom's diary?"
- I like the tiny mirror of Claire trying to find her mother using her mother's diary, just as Sam and Dean hunted their way across America using their father's journal while they were trying to find him, way back in S1.
Sam: "You came all this way just to tell her off?"
Claire: "You always get along with your mom?"
Sam: "Never had a chance to find out. My mom died when I was a baby."
Claire: "I'm- I'm sorry, I didn't-"
Sam: "Oh, it's okay, I got to know her later in life - and yeah, I suppose we got along okay."
- I love how bizarre Sam's life is. He met his mother briefly, as an adult, desperate for any connection to a mother possible... so, it's automatically a VERY different experience to someone who grew up with a mother, or who had a mother who made questionable life-decisions.
- I also like this though because it's very much a point of 'don't assume you know who I am' or 'don't assume that I don't have good reason for the way I am or the life I lead.'
Sam: "In this line of work, Death isn't always goodbye."
Claire: "This is different, my mom left me."
Sam *reads*: "'Claire, I'll be home soon. We'll be home soon.' Doesn't sound like someone who wanted to abandon you. Did you check her credit cards?"
Claire: "They wouldn't send me her records."
Sam: "Okay, I know you need to be somewhere far away from all of us, but let me get my laptop, I'll teach you how to hack into her credit-card records - it'll help you get a lead on your mom."
- See, Sam's just so good. He's like 'you shouldn't assume that you know everything about me - you also shouldn't hate your mom without any proof that she did this intionally.'... but he doesn't do it in a preachy way, or a "you listen here, kid" way... it's more just like "hm, interesting, let's examine the evidence before us and see if it supports your conclusions..."
Also, we find out that Amelia has been missing for two years. I'm sure I talked about this in the Quick Reaction, but that means that she left Claire at her Grandmothers sometime after S4 and then went missing in S8. So, she was gone for 2-5 years before she went missing, depending on how you count time in SPN and when you think she dropped Claire off.
Ronny has a flip phone. I miss my old flip phone, even though it is impractical for today's world.
Sam: "I can also show you how to set up fake credit cards. It'll make life on the road a lot easier."
Claire: "You guys a credit-card scammers too?"
Sam: "Yeah! Hunting monsters doesn't exactly pay the bills."
Claire: "Then why do you do it?"
Sam: "To help people. Make a difference."
Claire: "That's it?"
Sam: "That's not enough?"
- I love Sam SO MUCH. Seriously though, also, I love how Sam is just SO different from the pilot now - back then HE was a moody teenager (and I know he was 22, but I'm old now, and I only see that as still being a moody teenager.) Because back then, it was still about rebelling against how he was raised - and being moral in ALL aspects of life, which meant getting on Dean's case about the credit-card fraud and not treating credit-card fraud or pool-hustling money as having been "earned" and.. yeah, now he's just like "this is how we get money to do our outside-society jobs."
It's interesting too, because Claire doesn't really KNOW about hunters and all that - she knows that Sam and Dean were involved with Castiel, and Castiel is an angel, and that there are demons and such... but I wonder if she's ever actually thought it through. WHY are Sam and Dean caught up with angels and demons when no other person Claire meets seems to be? I'm assuming, by her legitemately questioning tone of "that's it?" that she had, somewhere along the way, assumed that there was something in it for them. That they were getting some kick-back from somewhere - heaven?
Cas: "Are you alright?"
Claire: "I will be when no one ever asks me that again!"
- Haha, it's funny because it's true. If no one ever asks, it's usually because you are alright. If you aren't alright, people are going to ask if you are.
- Also, again, Claire shows us another thing that Sam did right - not asking her if she was okay when she came in, but trusting her to know whether she was or not.
Cas: "Claire, um, happy birthday."
Cas: "I got it at the hot topical."
Claire: "Right, um, thanks, I guess."
- So, yeah, this episode, in terms of shipping, isn't really about Claire and her two dads. It's about Dean and Cas going to hot topic, while Sam actually parents. :P (I'm so harsh, I'll stop, honestly. It's just fun to tease.)
Sam: "...Ronny's body was just found outside Susie's Bar."
Claire: "You were just supposed to talk to Ronny, what did you do to him?"
Dean: "I didn't lay a hand on him!"
Cas: "Dean, that isn't exactly true."
Dean: "I didn't kill the guy!"
- Yeah, Cas, when Claire AUTOMATICALLY jumps to "perhaps the psycho-killer did it" the thing to do would be to DISPEL those fears, rather than be pedantic about the literal truthfulness of Dean's denial.
Sam: "Hey, Cas, what happened at the bar?"
Cas: "Dean snapped. He's getting worse."
- So, this is the thing - yes, unleashing the Darkness is bad. And I GUESS Death's solution would have worked... but, honestly, by the time Sam HAD Death's solution, it was too late to stop the counter-curse... and at this point, what choice does Sam have? You either go the dark-consequences magic route or you watch your brother murder the world. (I just tried to look up if there was a fancy word for this sort of situation - but apparently the closest people have come is "the horns of a dilemma", "a rock and a hard place," and possibly, "between the devil and the deep sea.")
I like Sheriff Coltrane. She's a good actress, because she doesn't have any lines that aren't exposition, and really only has three or four lines, and yet she gets across an entire personality.
Cas: "... I can't let anything happen to you."
Claire: "Anything else, you mean."
Dean: "Claire, you're not going."
Cas: "You're not either, Dean."
- And then we have Cas parenting both Claire AND Dean. Haha.
- The dig from Claire is pretty brutal, but also doesn't make much sense as a comeback - since, you know, when your kid falls and scraps their knees because you didn't notice their shoelace had come undone - that doesn't mean that you've now failed forever and should let your kid play in traffic. :P
Cas: "Back at the bar with Ronny."
Dean: "Oh come on, Cas, he wasn't going to talk - I just helped him talk."
Sam "Dean, Cas is right. We need to keep the Mark in check. We don't know what's out there, maybe you should- should stay here."
Dean: "So, you want to bench me again. Alright, fine, I'll stay here and babysit, but if anything happens, anything at all-"
Cas: "Yeah, we'll call you. No fighting."
Dean: "Yeah, tell her that."
Cas: "Both of you!"
- Then we get the other dilemma - does feeding the Mark make it better or worse? Does Dean being extra murderous make him a more reliable hunter or a less reliable one? Is it better to bench him or should they be sending him in on the front lines and letting him slaughter things?
- Also, again, we see that very much the show is lumping Dean in WITH the child, rather than as another father figure. Castiel is being fatherly, Sam is being, at the very least, a professional-mentor (but I'd argue actually the most effective father), and Dean has really been responding to Claire's animosity with his own animosity, which is hardly the adult thing to do in the scenario (though, he at least RESPECTS her animosity towards him.)
Claire: "Can I have one? Like you never had a beer before you were 21."
- If Dean is anything like rural Canadians.... and I'm guessing that rural Americans and rural Canadians aren't actually THAT different... then Dean was probably a seasoned drinker by the time he was 18. Though, granted, drinking age in Canada is 18-19, so we're probably a LITTLE different.
Cas: "When this is over, should I leave Claire alone?"
Sam: "What? No man, she's family."
- See! SEE!! Sam's just like "okay, cool, we have a daughter now" or, at the very least, "Cas has a daughter now and Cas is my brother, so therefore I have a niece."
Sam: "Well, she's not exactly family, but she's close enough - I mean, you two have history. It's as simple as that."
Cas: "So you don't think she's better off on her own."
Sam: "Cas, she JUST turned 18."
Cas: "You were alone - left for college at that age, weren't you?"
Sam: "Yeah, but that's different."
Sam: "Here's all I know - going it alone, that's no way to live. You being there for her, even if she thinks she doesn't want you to be there for her, that's good for both of you."
Cas: "Maybe, in the end."
Sam: "In the end."
- Seriously, Sam is killing me this episode by being way too awesome. Also, it's really really cool to see Sam and Cas talk like friends... about something other than Dean. Hahaha. All the way back in S5, when Cas was suddenly like "Sam is my friend", I was like "I want proof of this!" and I just had to be super patient. :)
- I also love this because of COURSE Sam knows... Sam was kicked out at 18 FOR going to college, and probably was like "screw you guys! I don't need you anyway!" and because of that, he KNOWS what it feels like to think that you're all alone in the world... but, at the same time (depending on your headcanon) he either found out later, or perhaps part of him always knew, that he could call up Dean or Dad if he were in trouble and they'd've still come running - and that might have been a comfort to him, either while he was alone, or in retrospect... and it was something that he might have treasured when he was feeling particularly lonely.
- Also, that's just, really good advice, because that's what parents are supposed to be - people who are there for you, whether you want them to be or not - they're people who SHOULD be in your corner, ready for you to tap them into the ring when you need the support, but otherwise they're just going to stand there and yell 'yeah! go get 'em!' while you kick ass.
Meanwhile, Dean and Claire, finally bond over golf... and crappy movies.
Dean: "Bill Murray. Caddyshack?"
Claire: "Haven't seen it. Not a fan."
*Dean is disgusted*
Claire: "You done."
- So, maybe the 'you done' is about Dean's turn, or Dean talking, but to me, it's Claire saying "are you finished with your theatrics now?"
- To be honest, I'm a little surprised that Claire is cool with hanging out with Dean one-on-one. If it were me, and my only interaction with the man in the past six months was to watch him slaughter a bunch of people, I'd be just a little afraid that he was a psycho-killer.
- So, yeah, I don't really see Dean as being as parental as Cas or Sam, I see him, once again, bonding with a kid by respecting that they are a person with legitimate thoughts and feelings...which is a good thing, but he bonds with Claire more on a friendship level than anything else. It's not a BAD thing. I think given Claire's distrust/abandonment-issues with parental figures, that Dean befriending her, and Sam treating her as an adult-child/novice-hunter (disguising the fact that he's parenting the hell out of her), is probably the best way to stay in her good graces (and therefore in a position where they can help her). Cas, who constantly approaches her from the role of a father, has the hardest battle to fight between the three of them.
Claire: "This is what you guys do? Stay at cheap motels, steal credit cards, play mini-golf."
Dean: "Actually, we haven't played mini-golf in a while. But, uh, yeah, that about sums it up. We help people. At least we try to."
Claire: "Like Castiel helped my dad?"
Dean: "Claire, what happened to your dad, I'm sorry, I really am. But uh, there's something you gotta know. Your dad's sacrifice was not meaningless. Yeah, he gave up his body - his vessel - but because he did that, Cas - Cas was able to save the world. The WORLD. Your father's a hero. He did not die in vain."
- Awww, Dean. I like that he gives credit to Cas for saving the world, because Cas WAS intregal to that. They, all three of them, have saved the world - because none of them couldn't have done it without each other.
- Also though, it's nice to give Claire context for her father's death - he wasn't just stolen and murdered by some angel. He sacrificed himself so that the angel could save humanity. It's not dissimilar to soldiers going off to war... maybe it depends on the conflict, but personally, I think you can be mad at a soldier for being dead, but you can't get mad at the reasons for why they're dead - if that makes sense. It's again similar to Claire's mother - was the intent to die? Was the intent to leave Claire or was it to make her life better or keep her safe? Castiel wanted to keep her safe and thought Castiel was his best bet. Amelia wanted to make Claire's life better and thought trying to get Jimmy back was her best bet. Whether they're right or wrong, the good intentions where there.
So, I love the idea of an actual angel SWORD. I think it's pretty bad-ass.
Amelia: "I looked everywhere for you! I tried to find you! You took my husband"
- So, it's interesting that when Amelia wakes up, she immediately acts as though Cas is Cas, rather Jimmy. I guess she can just tell.
*Dean hands Claire a gun*
Dean: "Happy Birthday - don't shoot me."
- Aww Dean, only you.
Amelia: "...You're not him anymore, I can tell."
Amelia: "Where's Jimmy?"
Cas: "Your husband is in heaven. Amelia, I promised to protect your family, and I failed."
Amelia: "Not if Claire's alive. She's all that matters."
Cas: "She is alive. She grew up to be a very strong-willed woman."
- Awww, Cas. You're good at comforting people, even though you are socially awkward. It's also nice that Amelia doesn't blame him for everything. She blames herself for leaving Claire.
- Also, I was right, Amelia can just tell.
Sam: "Since when do angels feed on humans?"
Gregori angel: "Since the dawn of man. Your souls are little pieces of heaven..."
- So, I wonder if angels in heaven "feed" on souls, or if it's just these guys?
Gregori: "There were hundreds of us, but now- Each of our names, inscribed on our swords. A brotherhood of perfectly crafted engineered beings, sent to protect you, a bunch of pathetic bottom-feeding disasters."
- Aww, the ol' Lucifer defence.
I'm glad Amelia got a chance to apologize to Claire. :(
You'd think one of them would stay out in the barn and protect Amelia and Claire.
Cas: "No... they were some of the first angels on earth, it was an elite unit that went bad, but they're they're extinct, they were destroyed."
- Ah, so probably regular angels DON'T feed on humans and it's just this accidental first go at angel protectors.
And then Amelia sacrifices herself for Claire.
And Claire saves Cas from being stabbed, but Amelia is already dead. :(
It's pretty goddamn brutal how they shot that too - with Amelia being all dead-floppy and Claire being so small. Ugh, my heart.
Then Amelia gets to go to heaven! And this time it's her walking through the door of the really nice house.
And we get to see Jimmy again!
Jimmy: "It's Heaven - I waited for you for so long, I- How is she? How's Claire?"
Amelia: "Ah Jimmy, she grew up so beautiful. She's so strong."
Jimmy: "Like her mom. I love you."
Amelia: "I love you too."
- Awww... guys stop. Also, this means that in the SPN universe, it's unclear whether the dead can view the living or not. Jimmy and Bobby both seem to have no clue what's going on with their living loved ones, and yet Ellen, in S7, knew what was going on with Dean. So, my personal headcanon is that you have to know Ash if you want to know what's going on with your loved ones. Ash hacked "angel radio" so, I'm guessing he probably also hacked earth surveillance feeds. :P
Claire: "So, this is some sort of half-way house for wayward girls?"
Sam *laughs*: "No, not at all. Jody Mills is good people, and she'll give you a place to crash until you're back on your feet. It's not forever, you know?"
- Now, Sam is like "let me send you to my BFF", because Sam/Jody is my brotp. :P
- Seriously though, even now, Sam is framing things in a way as to not spook Claire - Jody's is "a place to crash" as in, "I am not sending you to a group home or another parent" even though, that's kinda what he'd doing... but he's basically saying "I will not force you to stay there." He's offering the gift of giving Claire someone who will BE THERE whether or not Claire wants them to be. (just like he advised Cas to do).
Claire: "You said sometimes death isn't always goodbye, right? So goodbyes aren't always forever."
Sam: "Right. Take care of yourself, Claire."
- Claire's phrasing is really odd there. It's hard to tell if she's asking if she might see her mother again someday or if she might see SAM again someday. To me, it actually sounds more like the latter. That they're saying goodbye then, but goodbyes aren't always forever.
Dean: "I felt bad about taking the gun back, so-"
Claire: "Thanks, but I don't think I'm interested in anymore homework."
Dean: "Huh." *unzips Claire's bag, shows her the gregori sword* "You honestly think I didn't see you take this?" *picks up grumpy cat* "Really? I'll just put this in here. You know, Claire, you already got your revenge. You go down this path, our path, it's not a long life."
Claire: "I don't know, you seem pretty old."
- And this is the Dean we know and love, warning young people away from the hunting life because it SUCKS, while, on the other hand, making sure that they're armed with knowledge, just in case they don't listen to him. THIS is where Dean's good parenting skills come in. So, it's not that Dean is a bad parent, it's just that he gets to the place slower than Sam, who was there from the jump.
Claire: "Listen, Dean, what I did, setting you up, I just-"
Dean: "Forget it. It's in the past."
Claire: "Are you going to be okay?"
Dean: "Me? I don't know. But I will keep fighting, I'll keep swinging until I got nothing left."
Claire: "Will you keep an eye on him? He's been through enough."
Dean: "So have you? Claire, do your homework before you do anything stupid, okay? And we're here, if you need us, any time."
- See, this makes me think that Dean's conversation in the car with Castiel was more about Claire's emotional well-being - that she is "better off alone" rather than with a constantly reminder of her father's death following her around trying to parent her. Because, Dean makes the exact same offer here that Sam advised Cas to make - let Claire "go to college" but make sure she knows that you're there for her, whether or not she wants you to be.
Cas: "Claire! If you, if you um, if you need anything, ever, I just wanted you to know that."
*Claire hugs Castiel*
*Claire gets in car*
Cas: "Someone just tell me that she's going to be okay."
Sam: "Yeah, Cas, of course. She'll be okay. So will you."
- And now we get our callback to Swan Song, where we see how far Cas has come - now being the one that wants Sam to lie to him to tell him that his family is going to be okay, whether or not it's true... he just wants the reassurance.
- It makes me wonder though, if, like the hamburgers in S5 (which I headcanon as after Jimmy's death), there's bleedover into Cas from Jimmy, even without the human soul's presence. Because there's no doubt that Cas has a great love for Claire, even with very little interaction with her.
Though, it now comes the point in my rewatch where I have to complain that THEY NEVER TALK ABOUT HOW CASTIEL ONCE POSSESSED CLAIRE! RAR! Claire KNOWS Castiel and Castiel knows Claire on a level that we cannot comprehend - and that would be a DELICIOUS thing to explore, and yet we never explore it. BUT, I will say that maybe that's why, even with their limited interaction, Castiel has grown so affectionate for Claire so quickly.
I like this song cue too.
And, that's the end of that episode!
Probably won't do another rewatch until the April 16/17th weekend, because next weekend I'm going to visit my sister on the Island and the weekend after that is Emerald City Comic-Con! Woo!