I meant to do this earlier in the day, but alas, I'm a chronic procrastinator. So, you get it now, which is, frankly, already Friday for most of you.
Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm finding this December more depressing than usual. So, hopefully this episode stands up to my memory of it being mostly lighthearted, because I wouldn't mind that at all!
Other fun fact: I apparently cannot instinctively spell tombstone. I keep wanting to put an H after the t. Thombstone. Whatta? I'm blaming the fact that I've been teaching myself Irish Gaelic.
I forgot that the teaser for this was a flashforward. I wonder what causes them to choose this route for episodes - is it that they don't want to do a teaser death? Is it that they need to pad the episode out for time? I have to say, that I'm not particular FOND of it - though, some times have been more effective than others. I enjoyed it in Baby, after all, so I'm sort of a hypocrit complaining about it here.
I do like Dean's "aw hell" before we cut to the title screen.
Sam: "No, you're dead."
Cas: "I was, but then I annoyed an ancient cosmic being so much that he sent me back."
Sam: "I don't even know what to say."
Deam: "I do. Welcome home, pal"
- I get my hugs! Yay!
Cas: "How long was I gone?"
Dean: "Too damn long."
- That's not an answer, DEAN!
Cas: "I was sleeping, but then I heard a voice that said my name and I woke up. I thought you had done something."
Dean: "No, we didn't even think we could bring you back."
- And yet, you see how Cas isn't guilting you about that Dean? You see how he accepts that as a perfectly valid reason for you to have not tried?
- Okay okay, I'm sorry, *I'm* the one that's holding grudges here. I'll stop it.
Cas: "Hello Jack"
Cas: "Yeah, it's me."
Jack: "No, we burned your body and what's burned stays dead - how?"
*Cas's eyes flick to Dean briefly*
- I love Misha's little choice there (and the editors) because you can tell who taught Jack that one. I like the slow formation of Jack as Winchester (even if he retains his mother's name - which fair enough, the boy should honour is mother.).
Cas: "Thank you, Jack."
Jack: "I missed you so much."
-MORE HUGS FOR ME!
-Again, I love Misha's acting choice here, where he closes his eyes when he hugs Jack. It's such a HUMAN move, but also, just... something I think we all relate to. "I gotta close my eyes in order to remember how this feels forever and ever."
Dean: "Alright, well, two salty hunters, one half-angel kid, and a dude who just came back from the dead - again. Team Free Will 2.0 - Here we go!"
- As much as I love the line, I do have mixed feelings about characters bringing back phrases and lines that are huge in the fandom, but not necessarily huge in the show. Team Free Will was a line Dean said 10 years ago (in show time) once in a hotel, as a sort "look how hopeless and pathetic we are" type of line, and then no one ever mentioned again. Also, currently, free will is no longer up for debate - and if it were, Dean so far has been on the side of it not being a thing, given how vehemently he argued against Jack's ability to be a good person given his parentage. ANYWAY, on the other hand, it COULD be something that stuck with Dean, even if he hasn't been voicing it - and this is a "getting the band back together" moment, because Sam, Dean, and Cas ARE back together again, and that's the only name that Dean ever gave them as a trio - but now he has to include the kid, because it's quite obvious that both Cas and Sam view Jack as their kid. Dean, I think, still has to come 'round to the idea. (I also think while Sam sees himself in Jack and is very much beginning to fall in parent-hood with him, he's not QUITE there yet. Castiel, having been present for the pregnancy, is there 100%).
This is also the first time we see Sam and Dean carrying their fed suits into a room.
Also, Dean has two duffles over his shoulders. Actually, scratch that, he's got a duffle and a HAT BOX! Oh my god. It's why they have the hats. DEAN LEGIT HAS A HAT BOX. I think I love him. I mean... I already knew I loved him, but I love him EVEN MORE NOW.
Jack: "He really likes cowboys."
Cas: "Yes, yes, he does."
- Poor Cas, we've all been there - when your friend (or SO) has an interest that you don't share, but you gotta listen to them go on about it and try to pretend that you aren't bored out of your tree.
Jack: "You can have the couch. I don't sleep much."
Cas: "I don't sleep at all."
- I love them both.
- Seriously though, Jules/Missyjack did a great short meta about this the other day - how Jack has a different relationship to each of his fathers. And I think I talked a little bit about it in the last Quick Reaction for S14, but I really love Jack and Castiel's dynamic - because they're both "other" together. And as a result, everything they say to each other tends to be ridiculously honest. Castiel will sometimes not be BLUNT in his honesty, but that's the most he ever cloaks his words. There's this really open communication line between them that I adore, is basically what I'm saying. They aren't afraid to be "other" with each other and find comfort in the fact that they have company in that otherness.
Sam: "Still can't believe you brought your own hat."
Dean: "I can't believe you didn't."
- Seriously, what's not to love?
- Completely unrelated sidenote - if you ever want everyone to stare at you while you travel around Germany, wear a cowboy hat. I found that out by accident.
Sam: "You're in a good mood."
Dean: "Yeah, and?"
Sam: "Nothing. I just-uh, you've been having a rough go, so it's good to see you smile."
Dean: "Well, I said I needed a big win - we got Cas back - that's a pretty damn big win."
Sam: "Yeah, fair enough."
- But now how is Sam going to sublimate his grief?
- Seriously though, Dean being horribly depressed was a way for Sam to focus on caretaking. Now, that Cas is back, of course, Sam is also glad - and probably feeling guilty about it, and trying to gauge whether he should be feeling guilty on it based on the fact that Dean is suddenly really happy... because even though Cas is back, Mom is still gone. So, are Sam and Dean allowed to be happy about Cas, even though they're still grieving Mom? Should they feel guilty for it? Does Sam feel anger (misplaced) at Dean for seemingly ONLY having grieved Castiel? Does Dean not care about Mom? Sam KNOWS that's not true, and these are all rhetorical questions to point out that feelings are REALLY COMPLICATED. Do they resent Cas for coming back when they're mother can't? Do they resent Jack for being able to call Cas back from the Empty but not know how to open a door? There are probably a TON OF THINGS going through their heads right now, some rational and some not. I think as long as Sam could focus on making sure Dean didn't off himself, he could not think about them - but now that Dean's happy, Sam might be drowning a little in it all again. Meanwhile, Dean is using his happiness to stuff it all done. Clinging to it just as hard as Sam clung to serving Dean's moods. I think, besides his huge cowboy fetish, it's why Dean jumped at this case - not only is Cas back, but also COWBOYS, that's a lot of happy distractions so that Dean DOESN'T have to address his missing mother and whether nor not there's a chance they'll ever see her again or if she's truly dead.
Also, Sam is wearing one of my favourite shirts of his - possibly my absolute favourite, if I'm being honest. He's had it since S2, and I like if for its history.
Jack: "But it's nice?"
Cas: "Can be."
Jack: "That's good. My mother's in heaven."
Cas: "Yeah, I know she is. Kelly was a - she was a very brave woman."
Jack: "She left me a message - she said I had an angel watching over me."
Cas: "Oh, Jack, I'm so sorry - I should have been here for you."
Jack: "No, it's okay. It's just, I understand why she trusted you. Why I trusted you."
Cas: "Do you remember that?"
Jack: "I remember feeling safe."
- Awwww, seriously.
- Just, the WAY Cas talks to him. I can't even put it into words. I think it's because Cas approaches Jack ONLY as a father, whereas Sam and Dean approach him so much more warily - and cautious - rightly so, because Jack is so much more powerful than them, and they have really bad history with his biological father (Sam especially). Sure, Sam starts being more of a guardian to him first, but it's very much a guardian, or probably better said - like a babysitter - you care about the kid, but the kid isn't yours (not yet.) Whereas Castiel walks into the room and is like "oh hey, my son, awesome. I'm gonna parent this child like it's going out of style."
- Also, love the repetition of "angel is watching over you" - again, another line associated with Dean that Jack says (quoting Kelly)... only this time, it's true! I mean, Dean had angels watching over him, but in a SINISTER WAY. Jack has an angel watching over him in the way that Dean WANTED to have one (as a 4 year-old, before he lost all faith and became an atheist.)
Jack: "Oh wow, I'll go tell them"
Cas: "Jack, Jack!"
Jack: "Dean, Dean-"
Cas: "I wouldn't do that!"
*Dean wakes up and points a gun at Jack*
Jack: "No, Dean, Dean it's me!"
Dean: "Hey - whose making me coffee?"
*Dean grumbling while he drinks coffee*
Cas: "I told you. He's an angry sleeper. Like a bear."
- And a hundred fanfics were born, and to the end of time, this detail was added into unrelated ones.
- Seriously though, this is probably why Castiel always woke Dean up by sitting nearby or standing over him until he woke up on his own. Don't poke the bear!
- I do love Jack's continued staring at Dean though.
- Also, my father used to wake up MUCH WORSE THAN THAT. (Okay, well, he didn't sleep with a gun under his pillow, but he was TERRIFYING nonetheless). Waking up my dad was scarier than anything you might want to wake him up for - which always put any bad dreams in perspective. "That dream was frighting, and I would like to feel safe again - but waking up my father will accomplish the opposite of that, so I think I'll just lay here and get over it myself."
Dean: "Just act like you're from Tombstone."
Cas: "The city?"
Dean: "The movie! With Kurt Russell? I made you watch it!"
Cas: "Yeah yeah..."
- I love how even DEAN knows that he's enforcing his tastes unwillingly on his friends. I tried to do that recently with Empire Records, but my friend refused to stay in the same room as it and kept getting up to "just get something from the kitchen - oh no, don't bother pausing it, I'll be right back." And it's like, listen, you're the one that wanted to understand my references, so I rented it for you. And then later, when my sister and I were referencing it, she was like "what's this? Why are you having a good time and I'm not included in this language?!" and I'm like "It's from Empire Records - I made you watch it!" and she was like "Oh... maybe I should try to watch it again." But she will have to do so ON HER OWN TIME, because it was downright rude to ignore it the first time. I mean, at least watch it and hate it, like I did with the Sound of Music and A Streetcar Named Desire (for a different friend) - then you can say you gave it a chance, and you for sure get the references. But ignoring it just accomplishes nothing, besides me watching a movie I've already seen 100x while getting really pissed off that SOMEONE keeps making noise in the kitchen the whole time.
- Uh... anyway... this is all to say that I don't get the Huckleberry Reference, because I've never seen Tombstone... also, I don't feel I need to explain my art to you.
Lopez the Undertaker is really cute, and I like her retrostyle... I guess it's '50s? Anyway, too much maintenance for me to ever attempt, and I don't have the volume in the hair for it, but I like it on other people - especially people with thick black hair (probably the only people WITH the volume for it.)
And Ghoul boyfriends are controlling abusers... not letting their human girlfriends go to make-up school.
Ah, and Jack makes a mistake - poor Jack.
Still though, they probably shouldn't have gotten into a firefight right outside the bank.
Cas: "Is this the first time he's hurt anyone?"
Sam: "No, but this is the first time he's hurt someone who didn't get back up."
- Awww - I do love how they're all just CONCERNED. Even Dean, isn't like "I told you!" he's just like "Okay, Cas is best to take care of Jack. I will kill a ghoul. Divide and conquer."
Again, ghoul boyfriends - not that best boyfriends. Though, to be fair, it doesn't seem like she knows he's a ghoul? Or at least, didn't know that he was a robbing graves and killing people.
Dean gets to do his Bruce Willis impression in the tunnel. And I like Jensen's little "no, I don't wanna, okay" before he gets in the tunnel - which, as I understand it, was very much just Jensen not wanting to, because the hole he had to go into was gross and full of bugs.
Cas: "Cas, I've killed people who didn't deserve it. I've killed people I love. I wish I could tell you that with time it gets easier and it hurts less. Because that would be a lie, it never stops hurting. But that doesn't mean that you should stop fighting. That just because you made a mistake - that's what this is Jack, it's a mistake - that doesn't mean you can't be better, DO better. I believe that, I have to believe that."
Sam: "We still believe in you Jack, we-"
Jack: "Stop. Just please stop."
- I mean, yeah, I'm with Jack on that one. Though I still love Castiel's honesty - I'm not sure it helps here, which is why Jack probably needs his other father's too. Though, again, Sam comes in with what he would need to hear in that situation - that people believe in him, etc. I'm not sure what Jack needs in this moment though, to be honest.
And the answer is that she doesn't know he's a ghoul. Today is REALLY not a good day in that relationship.
Jack: "How is that good? I killed someone? What was his name? The guard, did he have a family?"
Cas: "Cas, don't do this to yourself."
Dean: "Yes, he did."
Sam: "Jack, look, this life - what we do - it's not easy. We've all done things we regret."
Jack: "Just, don't."
*Sam backs off*
Jack: "You're afraid of me."
Cas: "Jack, no."
- And this is where the stark difference between the way Cas handles Jack and the way Sam does makes a huge difference. If Cas had been around LONGER, Jack wouldn't be so unsure of himself - wouldn't be so unsure of whether he should be feared or not - because he's realizing now that Sam has ALWAYS treated him like he's something that should be feared a little, no matter how much Sam believes him to be good, he can't help KNOWING that Jack is volatile, and volatile beings that are that powerful have to be approached and "handled" cautiously. And actually, maybe it is the two days he's had with Cas, that makes Jack realize now the difference between being "handled" and being parented.
Jack: "Maybe you're right. Maybe I'm just another monster."
Dean: "No, you're not. I thought you were. I did. But, like Sam said - we've all done bad - we all have blood on your hands, so if you're a monster - we're all monsters."
- And it's ironic that Dean comes around just a little too late on this. Because Dean needed Cas there too - he needed Cas's example to see Jack as a kid (as Cas' kid) and not "the reason Cas is dead" or "an wildcard."
Jack: "...I thought I was getting better. I'm not. I don't know what I am. But I know I can't make the world a better place - not like this. I can't even do one good thing. And I know that if I stay, I'm going to hurt you - all of you. And I can't... you're all I have."
Sam: "Jack, listen."
Jack: "I have to go. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
- So, I love the fact that Jack can fly. I miss that.
- Also, ironic that he first throws them all, like - did you not just learn your lesson on that?
- And poor Cas, gets to spend all of two days with his kiddo, before the kiddo runs away on him.
ALSO ALSO - someone pointed this out, but it's interesting that when Castiel is resurrected from the Empty, he's not resurrected with his wings. He's still a broken post-S8 angel. And that fact is never remarked on. It's odd, because we know that angels who were outside of Heaven at the time DID keep their wings (Lucifer, who was in the cage, still has his for instance. Metatron kept his, as the performer of the spell. I don't think there are other examples.) Basically, every angel on Heaven and earth suddenly got their wings clipped, and seemingly have stayed that way since with no chance to heal - even when resurrected by Nephilim. That's a pretty powerful spell!
And completely unrelated to everything: It always kind of tickles me, and it's a testament to Alex's acting, that Jack can be a ~18/21 year-old with such an obvious receeding hairline, and we all still completely buy it. Or, maybe that's a testament to how we've all gotten used to 28 year-olds playing teenagers. Sometimes, I have to admit, it throws me a little out of the story - then I remind myself that my father was completely bald by the time he was 21, so it DOES happen. So, maybe I'm the one that has gotten too used to teenagers NOT having receeding hairlines (I knew an 18 year-old who shaved his head preemptively because he realized he was going bald young and just wanted to get it over with.) I'm way off track now.
As usual, let me know what you thought in comments! Sorry I got a little off track and rambly with this at times. No rewrites though. It was good times. This entry was originally posted at https://hells-half-acre.dreamwidth.org/569305.html.