A Dean and Castiel Timeline, Part Two

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Welcome to Part Two of this 3-parter!  Following the progression of Dean and Cas’s relationship through S5 was considerably more challenging for me than S4 was, but in my opinion by the end of S5 Dean and Cas had progressed from friendship into a familial bond, enough of one to validate Dean’s S6 assertion that Cas is like a brother to him anyway.  As in part one, I am looking at episodes in which Cas makes an appearance, and focusing separately on first Dean’s and then Cas’s perspectives for key interactions between them in each episode.  On with S5!     

Sympathy for the Devil

Dean, after the terror of his unplanned plane ride subsides, sets out with Sam to find Cas.  Dean must know it’s likely Cas did not survive his encounter with the archangel, but still heads to Chuck’s in hopes of locating him.  Dean learns Cas died gruesomely, and expresses guilt over his part in Cas’s demise  -- Dean: “Cas, you stupid bastard.” Sam: “Stupid? He was trying to help us.” Dean: “Yeah, exactly.”  Dean banishes Zechariah with a blood sigil learned from his “friend Cas”.  With no time to dwell on Cas’s passing, Dean moves forward to deal with matters pressing down on them.  Dean is surprised and relieved when Cas miraculously appears and saves them from Zechariah.

Cas returns in kickass fashion, battling his brother angels to once again save his human friends.  Cas marks the brothers’ ribs with sigils as their hex bags won’t hide them from Lucifer once he takes his vessel.  Cas disappears abruptly and without answer when Dean asks how he is alive again.  

Good God Y’all

Dean reacts to Cas’s plan to find God with an argument on the existence of and/or nature of God that reminds me of the argument he had with Sam over the existence of angels in AYTGIMDW when Dean demanded that Sam come up with a theory with less fairydust on it.  Dean is surprised to find out that the amulet he has worn since childhood is God EMF, and reluctantly loans it to Cas.  Had Dean held Cas in less regard than he did by this point, Cas would have had to take that amulet by force.  Dean does not believe Cas’s plan will work, but in handing over that necklace with relatively little fuss he still shows a measure of support.   

Cas is hopeful that by finding God they can defeat Lucifer.  When Dean scoffs at his plan, Cas lashes out in frustration, anger, and probably some guilt.  Cas is angry at Sam for breaking the seal and at Dean for failing to stop Sam from doing so, and yet he must know deep down he bears responsibility in this mess too. After all, he knew what the angels had planned for Sam in time to warn him, and didn’t.  And if Cas had responded to Dean’s plea for help just the tiniest bit sooner, Dean would have made it to the convent in time to talk to Sam, to stop him.  Cas knows this, but is not ready yet to deal with his own culpability – and it’s possible he never did acknowledge his responsibility, not even to himself.  His powers are reduced, he is in exile from his Heavenly family, and Dean’s flip dismissal of the existence of a benevolent God pushes him over the edge.  He didn’t come to Dean to seek counsel or permission anyway – he came for the necklace.  

Free To Be You and Me

Dean is startled when Cas appears directly beside him.  Dean calmly reminds him “Cas, we talked about this – personal space.”  Dean has separated from Sam, and he is missing his brother.  At first he snubs Cas’s request for help, in my opinion largely because he fails to grasp that Cas truly needs help.  Cas is still an angel, after all, and even knowing his power is diminished it is an adjustment for Dean to realize that Cas could genuinely require help from a human.  They work well together, and Dean seems genuinely fond of Cas.  He still misses Sam, which undoubtedly impacts some of his actions and attitudes toward Cas, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t appreciate Cas in his own right.   He is at ease with Cas here, guiding him through impersonating FBI agents and whorehouses alike (and the less said about that the better).  Raphael is trapped and proclaims God dead and Cas raised by Lucifer.  Dean steps in when Cas falters, stunned by the implications of Raphael’s assertions, and defends Cas’s view for him even though we know Dean doesn’t completely buy into it.  And somewhere in standing up for Cas, Dean’s own daddy issues merge into his argument and he begins to understand.  Cas’s self-assigned task is as much a search for his missing Dad as it is about the apocalypse.  That’s a mission Dean can get behind fully.  

Cas is determined to find God and certain Raphael is the best lead.  He needs help, and Dean is his best (and only) option.  And though Dean’s assessment that Cas is using him as a bullet shield is accurate, I don’t think Cas fully recognizes the potential for Dean to end up in real danger.  When Raphael speaks threateningly to Dean, Cas says “You won’t kill  him.  You wouldn’t dare”.  Cas hasn’t taken into account there are worse things the angels can do to Dean than kill him, and he clearly hadn’t anticipated the possibility Raphael would simply drag Dean off to Michael.  Cas waits as Dean baits Raphael, luring him into position to be trapped.  When the confrontation is over, Cas is dejected and unsure of what to do next.  Instead of fluttering out to parts unknown he rides along with his friend, accepting support and advice to forge ahead with his mission.  But he hesitates, uncertain about leaving Dean alone.  After a likely false assurance from Dean that he is good, Cas departs.  

The End

Dean is almost jovial towards Cas as he lightly mocks the angel’s cell phone predicament before returning to rationally discussing their opposing opinions on the continued existence and usefulness of the Colt.  Dean soon agrees with Cas that it is at least worth looking into, but asks Cas to wait until morning continuing.   When he is zapped to the future Dean meets a bleak version of Cas, bereft of powers and hope.  When he returns to his own time Dean is very relieved to see his version of Cas again, and not only because Cas saved him from Zechariah.

Cas has gained intel on the Colt prompting him to temporarily halt his mission to find God in order to help Dean with his mission to kill the devil.  Just as Dean previously supported and helped Cas in his plan to find God despite disputing its effectiveness, Cas is returning the favor in helping Dean with his plan despite believing it to be insane.  Cas wishes to pursue the lead immediately but agrees to wait until morning when Dean pleads exhaustion.  Cas saves Dean from Zechariah in the nick of time, and is almost gleeful in this small success.  His small smile when Dean tells him “don’t ever change” is genuine and proud.  

I Believe the Children Are Our Future

Dean and Sam call Cas when they find a half-human, half-demon child.  Cas insists the child must die.  This predictably does not go over well with either Winchester.  But Dean hears Cas out, not because he remotely agrees but because he knows by now Cas would not suggest something so dire without good reason.  And to come up with an acceptable alternate, he must understand Cas’s reasoning.    Quite a difference in attitude compared to his reaction in Heaven and Hell when Cas insisted Anna must die and Dean flat out refused without caring about the “why”.   Dean asserts they will not kill a kid, but suggests taking the child to Bobby’s where he can be protected and watched.  

Cas has already made up his mind the child must die before arriving at the motel, so I wonder why he stopped by their room beforehand at all unless it was a courtesy to Dean.  Cas rejects Sam’s objections and Dean’s alternate plan and flutters out on his own to take care of the situation to comically disastrous results for himself.  I find it interesting that there does not appear to have been argument or discussion over Cas’s attempt to kill the child nor over Sam and Dean refusal to do so when Jesse easily rendered Cas, well, inanimate is as good a word as any.  It seems both sides just dropped the matter with no recriminations on either side. 

Changing Channels

Dean is alarmed when Cas disappears in the middle of a rescue attempt, but he is quickly drawn back to more immediate concerns – namely the Nutcracker.  I mean, hey, friends are friends, but can you really expect a guy to maintain focus on another dude’s welfare while strapped into that?  Dean is relieved when Cas reappears in the sitcom motel room, and rounds on the Trickster in anger when the Trickster immediately zaps Cas back out again with a flippant “he’ll live – maybe.”  Believing he is free from TV Land Dean voices his worry to Sam over Cas’s fate (Sam is not there to hear but Dean doesn’t know that yet).  And once they are truly free and Gabriel is trapped, Dean immediately demands that Cas be returned to them.  Assured that Cas is all right, Dean turns back to the confrontation with Gabriel.

Cas searched for Dean and Sam for days before finding them on the game show.  When he is zapped away before being able to rescue them, Cas knows the creature is too strong to be a trickster.  He fights his way back to warn Dean and Sam only to be silenced and zapped away again before he can tell the brothers anything.  When Gabriel finally releases him from wherever he’d been, Cas is extremely upset with his brother.  Even so, he opts to let Dean handle the situation, voicing no objection when it appears Dean intends to leave Gabriel trapped nor when Dean decides to let Gabriel go.  In the end, he throws one last look at his brother before following Dean and Sam out the door, leaving Gabriel behind.

Abandon All Hope

Dean and Sam work seamlessly with Cas, executing their plan in tight coordination.   Once the colt is in their possession, the brothers and their extended family – Bobby, Ellen, Jo – hold a gathering to enjoy each other’s company one last time.  And Cas stays among them, joining in on the very human activities of drinking games and group photos.  I contend that Cas is fully family now, to Dean anyway, and it is only fitting that he is present.  When Cas vanishes while investigating the reapers Dean is concerned but focuses on the mission, knowing he has no way to locate or help Cas. 

Cas is solidly on the brothers’ team.  They work in concert to locate Crowley, and Cas meets them afterwards at Bobby’s.  We’ll never know why Cas joined them there rather than pursuing other agendas while waiting for time to leave for the big battle.  He certainly didn’t have to.  Maybe he had nowhere else to go.  Maybe Dean asked him to stay.  Or maybe he just wanted to spend what could be his final hours with this particular group of humans.  This is his family now, though Dean is his only solid tie to them.  And when Lucifer traps him and threatens a member of that family – Sam – Cas reacts protectively.  He will not allow harm to either of the brothers without a fight, even if that fight is against the devil himself. 

The Song Remains the Same

Dean, instructed in a dream to meet Anna, contacts Cas first rather than rushing off to her aid.  Whether Dean is left behind by mutual agreement or whether Cas restrained or just ditched him is unknown (side note:  who else wouldn’t just love to see how that particular discussion went down?.)  Cas informs the brothers Anna intends to kill Sam and obliterate the remains beyond angelic powers of resurrection.  Cas’s assertion they must find and kill Anna can’t sit well with Dean, but Dean also knows he cannot protect Sam from her if she’s determined to kill him.  So Cas’s plan it is.  Ascertaining that Anna traveled in time to target his parents and prevent Sam’s birth,  Dean refuses to be left behind even though taking the brothers with him will weaken Cas.  I personally don’t think Dean expected the trip to incapacitate Cas to the extent it did.  But I think even had he known it would not have mattered.  Dean leaves Cas in a motel room, knowing Cas’s condition is unlikely to be fatal.  Mary and John, however, are about to be in a very life-threatening situation so the brothers leave Cas behind to go help them.   Michael zaps Sam and Dean back to the present leaving Cas to find his own way back (or not).  When Cas pops back in, worse for wear but in one piece, both brothers are relieved at the angel’s return.

Cas goes alone to meet with Anna. Cas believes Anna means one or both of the brothers harm, and he means to protect them from her.  Upon learning of Anna’s plan, Sam asks Cas if it could really stop Lucifer, clearly considering sacrificing himself if the plan has potential.  It is not clear whether Cas believes that Anna’s plan foolproof or whether he just believes it has a chance of succeeding, but it is clear from the glance he throws a distraught Dean that he is lying when he denies Anna’s plan has any merit at all.  Cas knows transporting the brothers with him will cause him suffering and temporary damage, but he cannot bring himself to force Dean to the sidelines for such a personal mission.    

My Bloody Valentine

Dean calls Cas when they encounter angel scratches on corpses while working a case, resulting in an awesomely awkward, simultaneous over-the-phone and face-to-face  conversation.  Cas confirms angelic involvement (cupids) and the three set out to track the little dickens down but determine it is a dead end.  Cas realizes Famine is in town and is to blame for the mysterious deaths.  Sam, struggling to control his sudden desire for demon blood,  can hear Dean and Cas’s very brotherly squabbling over Cas’s raging burger cravings in the next room (“What are you, the Hamburgler?” – “I’ve developed a taste for ground beef” – “Well, have you even tried to stop it?” – “I’m an angel, I can stop any time I want”).  Dean appropriately whatever’s that last statement and turns his attention back to the case.  While staking out the morgue, Cas questions Dean’s lack of response to Famine’s presence.  I personally am unclear whether the writers intended the audience to perceive that Dean was simply unaffected at all by Famine, or whether we were supposed to see Dean’s appetites as being actually suppressed. Either way, Cas accepts Dean’s explanation that he’s just too well fed for Famine to have power over him.  When Famine has been defeated and Sam is locked back in the panic room for demon blood detox, Cas appears to stand somberly beside Dean and attempts to empathize with him.  Dean, however, cannot accept solace at this moment without breaking down – he has to get out, to get some air.  He leaves Cas standing vigil over Sam and goes alone out into the night. 

Cas appears immediately when Dean calls, before the call is even over.  They track the cupid, who enrages Dean so much he throws a punch despite surely knowing the futility of that by now.  Cas is irritated with Dean’s rash burst of hostility and he exchanges a weighted look with Sam, who verbalizes concern over Dean’s  behavior since having met Michael in TSRTS.  They locate Famine and Cas is all too susceptible to the horseman’s power, sidelined almost immediately and leaving Dean to face Famine alone until Sam’s unexpected arrival.  Outside the panic room, Cas attempts to offer consolation and support as Dean powerlessly listens to his baby brother screaming out his name and begging him for help.  Cas watches in concern when Dean flees his presence to seek out solitude instead.  

Dark Side of the Moon

Dean is surprised when Cas informs him over Impala radio he is not dreaming, but in Heaven.  When Cas asks the brothers to find the angel Joshua (who talks to God) rather than be returned to earth immediately, Dean protests and tells Cas to do it himself.  But when Cas reminds Dean he is a fugitive and cannot enter heaven, Dean agrees.  After they find Joshua and report his devastating message back to Cas, Dean is strangely silent while Cas struggles to cope.  It is Sam, not Dean, who quietly negates Cas’s hope that Joshua may have been lying.  Dean watches Cas with concern, but he says nothing.  Even when Cas tosses Dean’s amulet back to him and proclaims it worthless, thus proclaiming his search for God worthless, Dean offers no words of encouragement.  Dean is floundering himself, and just cannot.  

Cas speaks to Dean briskly when he manages to contact him via radio in Heaven – he needs to send Dean on a mission, and the connection will not hold.  In spite of the urgency, he does take a second to offer “condolences” to Dean over his own passing.  When Cas establishes contact again, he urges Dean and Sam to find Joshua.  Cas is irritated at Dean’s initial refusal, reminding Dean he is cut off from Heaven.   And when the brothers share Joshua’s message with him, Cas is despondant.  It is likely that even had Dean spoken to try to comfort him, Cas would not have been able to accept it – much like Dean was unable to accept comfort from Cas in My Bloody Valentine.  Cas returns Dean’s amulet, and departs abruptly even as Sam—not Dean -- asks him to remain.    

99 Problems

Dean’s depression is as evident in what he does not do as it is in his actual actions.  In this case what Dean does not do is place the call for help to Cas -- Sam does.  But discovering the Whore of Babylon is tricking people into Hell via slaughter of innocents is too much for Dean, and he jumps on board with Sam and Cas to find a way to stop her.  During a break in the action Dean shakes off his apathy to console Cas as he could not in the previous episode, tossing him a bottle of aspirin and commiserating over absent fathers.  When Cas asks how Dean bears the disappointment, Dean expresses the sentiment that you just keep fighting through it (“On a good day you get to kill a Whore.”)  It’s possible Dean even meant it in that moment, this echo of his past “go down swinging” swagger. But it’s also possible he is just going through the motions, trying to help Cas through his confusion and discouragement even though Dean cannot find a way out of his own.  After the creature is dead at Dean’s hand, Dean helps the injured Cas to the Impala while Sam frets over Dean’s mental state.  With Cas immobilized and Sam occupied with tending the preacher’s injuries, Dean does the one thing no one expects, not from him – he walks away from family, from Sam.  

Cas is adrift and somewhat impaired in his drunken state.  He responds to Sam’s call for help and, in Dean’s absence, works with Sam solo for what I think is the first time.  With a plan formed and a break in the action, Cas sits near the Impala in physical pain and emotional distress.  Dean quietly provides him with aspirin to relieve the physical aches and takes a moment to bond with him over shared abandonment issues.  When they confront the Whore, Cas is incapacitated almost immediately and is not witness to Dean killing her.  As Dean helps him to the car, I wonder if Cas shares Sam’s deep dread at the potential significance of Dean’s ability to kill the Whore of Babylon but is too injured to express it.  By the time Dean makes the silent decision to leave Sam and Cas behind, Cas is still completely immobile on one of the beds, leaving us to only guess his thoughts.  And though it is undeniably more shocking that Dean walked out on Sam, he abandoned Cas in the process as well.   

Point of No Return

Dean’s plan to surrender to Michael is foiled by Sam with a major assist from Cas.  Dean is taken to Bobby’s, a prisoner despite not yet being physically locked up.  Dean is surly and obstinate when he is not being surgically cruel with words intended to cut, Bobby being the victim of the worst instance.  When Cas doubles over with pain, Dean drops the attitude long enough to ask what is wrong though he receives no response and Cas disappears.  Cas returns with Adam, and they soon realize the angels intend to substitute Adam into the fate they had intended  for Dean.  Dean shakes off the attitude long enough to ask how, and why.  Cas’s reply includes a harsh reproach of Dean, who responds with a horrifyingly insolent “blow me, Cas”.  Adam rises to leave, and though Cas and Dean are on very different sides in this moment  their reaction to Adam’s attempt to leave is the same.  Dean, who had been sitting in a reversed chair with arms draped casually along the top, straightens his back and drops his arms to his side, ready block any move the younger Winchester might make to the door, while Cas similarly shifts posture behind him.  Dean is locked in the panic room, but he continues to purposefully provoke Cas.  Dean tricks Cas into the panic room and banishes him with a blood sigil to facilitate his escape.  When Cas catches up with Dean, Dean is completely unprepared for the rage Cas unleashes on him. Despite Dean’s persistent jabs to anger Cas earlier, Dean seems genuinely surprised when Cas attacks him physically.  His pleading “Cas, please” falls on deaf ears and the beating Cas administers is brutal, a stark reminder that even with reduced powers Cas is not a creature to be toyed with.  He is still far stronger than any human and could simply beat Dean to death if he chose.  Dean, bloodied and completely unable to defend himself, looks up from the ground at Cas with pleading in his eyes, searching for his friend.  Until his gaze fixes on Cas’s still-clenched fist.  Dean’s face changes, hardens, and he tells Cas to do it, to finish him off.  Cas instead knocks him out.  When Dean wakes, he is again in the panic room and he half-jokingly warns Sam not to piss off the nerd angel.  Outside the warehouse in Van Nuys, Dean is stunned when Cas expresses his loss of faith in Dean, and his preference to die rather than witness Dean fail.  

Cas transports Dean to Bobby’s and guards the door as Dean prowls the room.  Cas scowls at Dean, the expression changing to a disdainful glare when Dean hurtfully snarls that Bobby is not his father.  When Cas receives the painful alert that “something’s happening”, he answers Dean’s query with another glare before departing.   After a battle with angels he returns with Adam, and confirms that Adam as Michael’s vessel is a possible if not perfect substitute for Dean. Cas angrily concludes that the angels are desperate because they have erroneously put too much faith into Dean’s fortitude and courage to hold out against them.  When Adam tries to leave, Cas readies to block the boy’s exit by straightening up from his leaning posture and dropping his crossed arms to his side in an echo of Dean’s preparations to  block Adam if necessary.  Later, when Cas accompanies Sam to the panic room to check on Dean, his face holds an expression close to contempt.  And the anger only increases when Dean throws out one more taunt, prompting Sam to send Cas back upstairs and away from Dean.  When Sam returns upstairs, clearly upset, Cas returns to the basement.  As Cas descends the stairs he hears a crash and then silence.  When he calls Dean’s name and receives no response, the anger on his face gives way to concern that Dean might be hurt, that he may even have hurt himself.  Dean uses that apprehension against Cas, undoubtedly increasing the fury with which Cas beats Dean in the alley later.  Cas unleashes his full frustration and rage on Dean, beating him until he can barely move, and for a moment it does seem he might strike Dean down.  But ultimately Cas cannot.  He unclenches his fist, and mercifully knocks Dean unconscious with a touch on the shoulder.  And though Cas bitterly tells Dean outside the warehouse that he has no faith in him, I am unsure whether it is entirely true.  Dean’s focus is saving Adam, but Cas has no tie to Adam.  His mission is to prevent Michael from taking a vessel.  Clearing a path for Adam to be saved while handing over a submissive Dean would not achieve Cas’s goal.  I do not believe Cas would risk almost certain death in order to get Dean into the room where there is potential for him to give in to Michael instead of Adam unless part of Cas, like Sam, held out hope Dean would make the right choice when the time came.

Two Minutes to Midnight

Dean is arguing against Sam’s plan to trick Lucifer into the cage when he receives a call from Cas.  Relieved Cas is alive, Dean invites him to zap over and accompany them on their mission against Pestilence.  Cas tells Dean he cannot, that he is virtually human.  Dean’s verbal response is a simple “wow, sorry”, but he sits, processing the information, perhaps even remembering what losing his powers meant for the Cas he encountered in 2014.  Dean tells Cas not to worry and accepts Cas’s awkwardly offered apology.  When he and Sam have completely succumbed to the various diseases Pestilence has inflicted on them and are immobilized on the floor, Cas saves the day and obtains the horseman’s ring.  When the group splits up to embark on separate missions, Dean goes with Crowley while Cas goes with Bobby and Sam.  Tangent alert:  I have always been curious as to how that decision was made.  If the configuration of teams hinged on Bobby being wheelchair bound, then why wasn’t it reevaluated when Bobby regained use of his legs?  It seems ill-advised to send Dean off with the demon without any backup at all to hunt the most powerful of the Horsemen, and even without his powers Cas could have at least helped watch Dean’s back.  Maybe it was the group consensus Cas could be of most use on the Croatoan mission.  Or maybe Crowley, using Bobby’s soul as leverage, refused to allow Cas along on the Death mission.  

Cas calls Dean from a hospital bed and learns that they have found a way to open Lucifer’s cage.  Cas informs Dean he is powerless and will require money to travel anywhere, and Dean assures him Bobby will send funds.  Cas takes a bus to rush to the brothers’ aid, and bursts in to the room where Pestilence has Dean and Sam incapacitated.  He is unsteady on his feet, but tries to assure the brothers “Don’t worry, I …” but is cut off when Pestilence drives him to his knees in a coughing spasm that produces blood. Pestilence realizes Cas has lost his angelic mojo and mocks him for it, failing to realize Cas’s proximity to Ruby’s knife.  Cas manages to grab the knife and cut off Pestilence’s ring finger.  Though Dean and Cas are both present in several more scenes they do not interact directly again in this episode.   But there is one more scene that I think is significant when discussing the development of Dean and Cas’s relationship even though Dean is not present.  It is the scene when Cas contemplates Sam’s plan to say yes to Lucifer.  I think the contrast between Cas’s reaction to Sam’s sacrificial plan now and his reaction to Sam’s questioning whether Anna’s plan to destroy him would work in TSRTS is interesting.  In regard to Anna’s plan, Cas lied out of both reluctance to hurt Dean by giving Anna’s plan credibility and reluctance to see Sam killed.  But this time, Cas validates the potential of the plan instead of denouncing it.  Cas has to know Dean would not be happy with this plan – he’s met him, after all – and I find his decision to support Sam’s plan here interesting.

Swan Song

Dean has witnessed his brother say yes to Lucifer and fail to subdue him.   He turns to Cas to ask what to do now, but Cas has no options to offer, and Dean berates him for giving in.  But when Dean realizes Bobby has also lost hope he begins to despair himself. Dean determines to interrupt Lucifer and Michael on the battlefield, to try to reach Sam one more time.  When Cas argues that all Dean will accomplish is witnessing his brother die, Dean asserts that Sam will at least not die alone.  Cas (and Bobby) arrive in time to buy Dean 5 minutes with Lucifer/Sam, but Lucifer kills Cas in a dreadful display of power almost immediately.  Dean is stunned.

The expression on his face is terrible – it is somewhere beyond horror.   And he will wear this expression again at the end of S6 when Castiel destroys Raphael with the same casual finger snap Lucifer used to destroy him.  Dean regroups and continues trying to reach Sam, but takes the most vicious beating anyone has ever received on this show to do it.  After Sam jumps into the cage, Dean is left alone and utterly devastated – Sam is gone, Bobby is dead, Cas is destroyed.  And then suddenly Cas is behind him.  Cas’s powers have returned and he heals Dean’s grotesque injuries while Dean looks up at him in surprise, and something like awe.  Dean even asks if Cas is God in an almost reverent voice.  As Dean drives through the night with Cas sitting in Sam’s customary seat, Dean is bitter and angry at the price paid to stop the apocalypse.  He becomes silent at Cas’s reminder that Dean got what he professed to want at the end of S4 – freedom over peace.  Cas departs before Dean can respond, leaving Dean to continue his journey alone.  

Cas stands with Dean and Bobby, watching news of increasing disaster through a storefront window.  Dean responds to a comment from Cas with unthinking sarcasm to which Cas replies with a downcast “you don’t have to be mean.”  His feelings appear to be hurt, something I don’t think he’d ever exhibited before this point.  Cas has lost all hope of being able to stop Lucifer and he sorrowfully tells Dean the fight is over.  When Cas and Bobby catch Dean in the process of leaving to see Sam on the apocalyptic battle field, Cas urges his friend not to go, telling him the only thing he will accomplish is being forced to watch his brother die.  And in the end,  just as Dean will not let Sam die alone, Cas and Bobby determine not to leave Dean alone to witness his brother’s death.  They arrive as Michael advances on Dean, and Cas banishes the archangel to give Dean a fair shot at trying to reach Sam.  And I think it is important to note here – Cas faces the archangels completely powerless.  True, Dean and Bobby are powerless too, but that’s nothing new to them – it is to Cas.  The courage he exhibits as he stands with them and takes the lead in firebombing Michael is worth noting, and quite a difference from the fearful Cas who hesitated to help Dean escape Zechariah’s clutches in Lucifer Rising. I stated in part one of this series that I believe Cas’s decision to side with Dean in the S4 finale was not for Dean or Sam’s sake, but because Dean’s stand coincided with what Cas believed to be right, what he believed God would have him do.  But this time, when he sends Michael away with the knowledge Michael will return enraged, he takes this stand for Dean.  He does not hold much hope that Dean can reach Sam, or that Lucifer could be overtaken even if he did, but he does have faith in one thing – that if anyone can succeed in getting through, it is Dean.  Cas is exploded for his efforts, but is later reformed and his powers returned, presumably by God.  Cas looks at the ruin of Dean’s face in sympathy before healing him.  When Dean quietly asks if Cas is God, Cas smiles benevolently and answers in the negative.  Cas resurrects Bobby and joins Dean in the Impala.  Cas tells Dean he intends to return to Heaven to help return order in the chaos that undoubtedly resulted from the failed apocalypse.  When Dean’s angry reaction focuses on his own losses rather than the victory achieved, Cas reminds Dean that he got the best outcome they could have hoped for.  Cas departs without waiting to see if Dean will respond, and without saying goodbye.  


As an aside, I personally wish the writers had ended Cas’s story here.  I do not say this in reaction to the events of S6, as I felt this way long before S6 premiered. I love the character of Cas and have from the moment he first appeared.  But I personally felt Cas should have either been left dead at Lucifer’s hand (which of course couldn’t happen because they needed him resurrected and powered up to put the pretty back on Dean’s face after Lucifer smacked it off) or else let his words reminding Dean of his own belief in freedom over perfect peace serve as his goodbye to the Winchesters and the audience.  But the story is not mine to tell, it belongs to the writers and the characters.  And so Cas’s story intersects with the Winchesters a little longer.  Season 6 up next.

Part 3 coming soon . . .

Comments  

Kathie
# Kathie 2011-06-30 20:26
"As an aside, I personally wish the writers had ended Cas’s story here. I do not say this in reaction to the events of S6, as I felt this way long before S6 premiered."

It's my understanding that CW gave Misha a 2 year contract so the writers had to use the Cas character for s5 and s6, they didn't have a choice. The second half of season 6 feels like what the second half of season 4 was supposed to be in regards to the Cas character, which is why people have commented that Cas seems to have reverted to his season 4 self. Just a thought.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-06-30 21:39
Interesting interpretation of season 5 Cas and Dean.

I feel that in season 4, Cas was oft following the plans that he was told to follow. He's always needed a bit of guidance. I don't think he knew that Dean was meant to spill blood in Hell before he rescued him. I think that was withheld from him until it was a moot point. He starts to sway towards Dean until The Rapture, is re-indoctrinate d to follow his orders, and does right up until the moment he helps Dean get to the church in Lucifer Rising.

In season 5, he seems to have chosen Dean to follow. All of his angelic brothers have abandoned him and he has no connection to his home. I don't know if he was using Dean as a means to an ends to get back there or not, but he certainly starts to follow Dean in his angelic brother's stead.

In season 6, which I know you will be discussing, he's rather a tumble weed blowing in the wind with Crowley on one shoulder to tempt him and taunt him and no one on the other to counteract. But I'll leave that for your season 6 analysis. I rather liked his inclusion in the season 6 storylines, but I do acknowledge and agree that it could have been just as well to have Dean say goodbye to Cas at the end of Swan Song. It's one of those debatables and since you can't change it well-----

As for their relationship, I think they did grow very very close in season 5, and while a lot of people argue about Dean's assertion in season 6 that Cas was "like" a brother to him, in season 5 he was. I say that as a brother in arms, like other men and women feel about their fellow soldiers in combat. He's not above Sam, e's not equal to Sam, he's a different breed of family. And while he did some questionable things through season 4 (including the letting out of Sam from the Panic Room to go confront Lilith) and expressed some doubts in Dean in season 5, he was still family in a sense.

Season 6 seems to take that notion and destroy it beyond a shadow of a doubt, and the question becomes will they fix it or end it in the story?

I look forward to your next installment. This one fosters a lot of thought!
Kathie
# Kathie 2011-07-01 07:01
Agree Cas was a brother-in-arms , but no where in the same level as Sam in Dean's eyes. Dean can have a friendship with Cas, of course, just not the unrealistic one that some destriels crave. It is the unreality of what those destriel fans want that frustrates them. Sam has been a part of Dean’s life since the minute he was born, Cas only for a brief period. A life time compared to a short span there simply is no contest. Sam will always come first.
Kathie
# Kathie 2011-07-01 07:06
Far Away Eyes, I forget to add that I enjoy your thoughtful and in depth posts and article. They always seem so well balanced with wonderful tributes to the creative art.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2011-07-01 22:10
Thanks so much! That made my day, and after a tornado did some damage back home while on vacation, I needed that.

I really enjoy the show, even when it doesn't work perfectly, and I hope that is reflected in what I post. They do some really daring things and as a writer it really inspires me.

So again thanks for saying that!
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2011-07-01 17:54
I agree that Cas perceives Dean as more of a brother-in-arms , a fellow soldier. He has lost contact with the other soldiers of God, so he relies on Dean because both of them are fighting for the same cause. Dean I think on the other hand does think of Cas as a member of the extended family. I see Dean as the kind of person that if you are faithful to him and Sam and help them in their cause, you become an honorary member of the Winchester clan. Bobby, Ellen, Jo, and now Cas. That's why Dean feels so betrayed by Cas in season 6. Anyway, I'll be anxiously awaiting Lori's third part to this interesting discussion.
Sara
# Sara 2011-07-01 17:46
Well in season 5 Castiel was losing his powers having been cut off for rebelling, so by the end of the season he was almost human, even suffering from lack of faith and abandonment issues. It makes it much easier to see Dean and Castiel as equals on this level. Castiel had to learn to survive as his human friends did and was in fact like an adult sized child in his understanding of the world his was left to survive in. Castiel needed Dean's guidance in matters of Earth survival, but even when he had no powers, he took the bus to save the day and exhibited resourcefulness with a gun as well. In season 5 we see Dean and Castiel as soldiers fighting a seemingly losing battle. Both thought they had nothing left to lose, both lost their faith and both decided to fight not for themselves but for the sake of the greater good.