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05 May 2012 @ 10:17 am
This meta doesn't know where it's going, and that's wonderful.  

First off: Edlund is our king.

Do you know what we saw this episode that we haven't seen for ages?

A complex Cas. A beautifully complex, broken, evolving Cas. He's no longer the classic hubris figure that he was forced to be. And there was a beauty in that, too, truly there was, but this Cas is complex in a completely original way. So broken, so overwhelmed with the depth of what he can see without the limits that had been imposed on him.

A few things really, REALLY struck me in this episode, a few lines that felt original, felt not like a retread of old stories but like something completely unexpected and new.

Castiel saying that lifting Sam's burden actually helped him. What a profound concept that is. And it does get me thinking about how angels' psyches are built. They don't have the intuitive drive to question. They kneow more, the have more power, but they don't have as much freedom of thought. And when those barriers are taken down, as they were with Castiel, pride and self-righteousness and delusions of ggodhood are the natural progression. In a way, Castiel was only following the same pattern as Michael and Zachariah and Uriel. Without a Father to lead them, with only the imperative of their knowledge of destiny and prophecy burned into their heads, naturally they sought to move the world in a direction that perhaps their Father had, all along, been preventing. And having somehow broken down his own walls of freedom of thought, Castiel looked at the world and did the same, in his own way.

But taking on Sam's pain helped ground him, helped free him of the crushing guilt and show him a way to go on. A broken way, an absurd way perhaps, but a way that allows him to function. Whatever he decides "function" might mean. The thing that broke down walls in Sam's mind might just be creating enough of them in Castiel's mind that he isn't blown away by the hurricane force of his own actions. Pain and perspective are what makes humanity function. Once more Castiel is part of humanity.

And then there's what Dean says about angels. That they don't have the eqipment to care, and when they try, it breaks them. How much fucking pain was in that statement? How many memories and how much guilt for being the catalyst to induce Castiel to break out of his mold? And how much regret for having to watch something that he helped create go horribly awry? How much of watching Castiel try to become God was just like watching Sam drink the demon blood? And how much guilt does he carry for thinking he is the root of all evil in the world, he's a road to hell in and of himself for all the good intentions he carries?

Honestly, if this were Castiel's last episode on the show, I would be content. He's gone out into the world to rediscover it. He's stepped back from the fight. He's finding himself, and he's tragic and broken and beautiful and if I never saw him again I would be content knowing that's where he was.

(God, I'm tearing up writing this.)

So many fanfic possibilities from this. So many routes to Castiel realizing that he has done one thing completely and unadulteratedly right: he has built a relationship with two boys for whom he's happy to bleed, and his desire to be with them is one instinct that it's OK to follow.

(And so much case!fic and new mythologies opened up for the Word of God, but that's neither here nor there.)

I know there was more. I was up last night (at 2 a.m., after watching it at 1 a.m. after coming home from the show, YAY PERFORMANCE) thinking about it all. I might add to this later. I just... I'm all wow and goosebumps. Finally, SPN is back to beautiful, broken, tragic characters finding some way to keep on living.

That was it! That was the other thing I wanted to mention. That was a theme I'd been waiting for. When you go back to Seasons 1 and 2 and 3, think about John and Ellen and Jo and Rufus and Bela, that was the common thread, and that's what made the show so gorgeously real. These are all broken people, people for whom life is rough and unfair and often bloody. And they find a way not just to stay alive, but to protect their own, to try and make a bit of a difference to the world that's been so cruel to them, and to find some small measure of happiness in the midst of all the darkness that's out there. And that's what we want from them, that's why we write so much schmoop for them, and that's why we keep watching. Because despite the "river of crap" as Dean once so artfully put it, we want to believe that for once the universe will be fair enough to give them happiness. And for that we subject ourselves to the torture of watching them suffer, and keep hoping the writers will be fair enough to give us some happiness, too.

And wasn't that every single person in this week's episode? The angels. Kevin. Meg. Castiel, the boys, of course. They're all dealing with a world that has not ended up the way they wanted it to. They've seen their dreams crash and burn, and they're left wandering the wreckage. And they drop into despair, they resort to violence, they follow outdated rules and cling to the few barriers left in their own psyches because those are what give the world some sense. And then, somehow, those of them who survive the chaos find a way to live with it. It can be following bees, or breathing into a paper bag, or just knowing that someone you thought was gone is here, if not quite the man you knew, and still cares enough to stand by your side although he's pledged not to fight anymore. Small solaces, but then you're able to transmute them into small victories, and those become smiles.

We'll take the smiles as they come, because we love their wearers so damn much, broken or not.

Tl;dr: This was the deep, brilliant episode I've been waiting for all season long. Thank you, Mr. Edlund. In thee we trust.

Now off to write all the Cas-finding-himself fic.
seraph_lostseraph_lost on May 5th, 2012 02:27 pm (UTC)
Oh I love you so much. lol That was beautiful and 100% exactly how I felt about last night's episode. I thought it had so much beauty and depth, and the way single lines were speaking volumes was absolutely heartbreaking. It was far and away my favorite episode of the season at this point, and I mentioned elsewhere that the season could have been five episodes long - if last night took place directly after 7x02, and I would have loved it in all it's bittersweet short-ness.

destielchilddestielchild on May 5th, 2012 02:30 pm (UTC)
I am so glad to be on board with the sane part of the fandom, lol. I loved the episode. I just really really hope they develop this, instead of dropping it and letting it be a one-episode arc.

But basically - agree on everything!
i dream of colors that have never been seenetoile444 on May 5th, 2012 02:34 pm (UTC)
I agree with you so much! High five!! I think what stands out is that the theme is there. The theme of the broken fighting the good fight is there. People tend to lament that show needs to return to its roots. What are the roots? Family, damage, and rising from the ashes to carry on. I think Ben gets it. In Ben we trust.
monteseverusmonteseverus on May 5th, 2012 03:36 pm (UTC)
As usual Tippy, you hit the nail on the head. The best part for me, Sam's attitude towards Castiel. Not to mention that crazy hug! I hope they let him go find himself now without ten tons of crap (or Meg) following behind him. BTW "Pull My Finger" ;-) And congrats on YOUR show!!

Edited at 2012-05-05 03:38 pm (UTC)
Patricia Mullispatriciamullis on May 5th, 2012 04:37 pm (UTC)
Beautifully said! It's just the way I feel. Though I hope it's not the end for Cas. Edlund is still my king, too. So much in the episode to love. Our sweet Sammy, being concerned. Our guilt ridden Dean. And Castiel! I think this is the best incarnation yet. For me, the best of the season. There's so much passion in the fandom.Thank you for you're common sense approach.
zatnikatelzatnikatel on May 5th, 2012 06:04 pm (UTC)
You nailed it, bb. I thought Dean's pain and sense of loss was very clear... and I hope so hard we'll get the Cas we know and love back for season 8. <33333
getting the chocolate in the peanut butterdotfic on May 6th, 2012 06:31 pm (UTC)
This is a beautiful post! I like this post.

And then, somehow, those of them who survive the chaos find a way to live with it. It can be following bees, or breathing into a paper bag, or just knowing that someone you thought was gone is here, if not quite the man you knew, and still cares enough to stand by your side although he's pledged not to fight anymore.

I loved how you connected Kevin's breathing into a paper bag with the other coping mechanisms (or lack thereof) on display in the episode. It's all about how to keep going when things go completely haywire. Or how you keep going when you can't any more. Or how people cope and put up defenses, and struggle to reach out to each other (and sometimes fail and sometimes succeed).
writingpathways on May 6th, 2012 11:26 pm (UTC)
Yes this. Especially those two paragraphs on Cas and Dean. Sigh.