The Morning After
Well, that was a bit of a surprise! It wasn’t what I had hoped to see but maybe it was what needed to be shown.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve enjoyed all of Kaia’s episodes, largely because Yadira Guevara-Prip is a good young actress. She has excellent timing and presence on the screen and I enjoy the diversity she brings to the Supernatural world. As a character, Kaia has spunk and advanced fighting skills, plus a unique dream walking ability. She has always been my favorite wayward daughter.
Having said that, I really haven’t given Kaia/Dark Kaia much (or any) thought for a long time. I had to look up their history because it seems like it all took place a millennia ago. It’s hard to believe Dark Kaia was a part of the story just last season! Her relevance to the storyline occurred before we knew the show would end in season 15, and I believe that knowledge fundamentally changed how fans are viewing the show. Now, every episode is one of the few remaining opportunities to find out what’s ultimately going to happen to Sam, Dean and Castiel. But Kaia? Not so much. So I was a little disappointed that the entire episode was about saving her. Still, there’s a grand plan to pulling the series to a close and somehow this story is a piece of the puzzle so I’m intrigued.
To refresh your memory (and mine), Kaia was killed in 13.10 “Wayward Sisters.” I was shocked and disappointed when they killed her, but It was not a death that enraged me (like Eileen’s) or that I suspected was for dramatic effect (like Rowena’s). I thought Kaia’s death was completely unnecessary, but since her multiverse doppelganger, Dark Kaia, took her place in Sam and Dean’s world moments later, her death was more an exchange than a loss both in the storyline and in my emotional attachment to the character. Dark Kaia returned twice in season 14, when she hesitantly allowed Dean to “borrow” her magical staff as a weapon against Michael. Promises and threats were exchanged as the currency of that transaction. From Superwiki’s summary of 14.09 “The Spear”:
Dean is ambushed by Dark Kaia with her spear. When she tells them she has no intention of letting them take her spear, Dean tells her she should just kill him, as without the spear they have no hope of stopping Michael, who will kill thousands with his monster army. Kaia lowers her spear, and when asked what she wants out of the trade, she tells them she wants Jack to help her go back to her home as the magic she used doesn't work in the Winchesters' world. With Michael's monsters constantly hunting her, she came to the realization that their world is ultimately no different than hers, but with her home she at least knows her place in it. When Castiel asks why she wants to go back, Kaia says that she has family back in the Bad Place, people she feels bound to protect. Dean agrees to help her and is given the spear, with Kaia swearing that she will kill Dean if he doesn't return the spear. She tells the duo to find her when they're finished using the spear before disappearing.
Since then, neither Kaia’s death nor Dark Kaia’s whereabouts have been mentioned (or at all been on my mind), but it seems that they were gaping open issues for both Jensen and Robert Berens.
I felt it was important because Dark Kaia’s promise to Dean in 14.09 was so loaded, and we never resolved it. (The plan was to do it in S14 but it didn’t happen.) That Jensen agreed it mattered gave me some steam to push for it. #supernatural— Bobo Berens (@robertberens) March 17, 2020
I don’t think they knew that part. I think with Jensen it came down to tracking the fact that Dean had broken a promise onscreen, wanting that resolved— mixed with, I suspect, that he’d enjoyed shooting his last fight with DK.— Bobo Berens (@robertberens) March 17, 2020
Berens summed it up this way:
But with limited real estate on #Supernatural I had resigned myself to Kaia just being dead. It was only by embedding it in S15 stories (Chuck, Jack’s return to the Bunker, Billie’s plan) it felt like it was possible to tie that loose end in a relevant and appropriate way.— Bobo Berens (@robertberens) March 17, 2020
Was closure the only significance to this episode, then?
Dreams and (Alternate) Reality
What might be the hidden importance to these events? Kaia and Dark Kaia were both dream walkers, so their return reinforces the “dream” thread we’ve been tracking all season. They were also linked psychically, much the same as Sam and Chuck were at the beginning of the season through their mutual shoulder wounds. That gunshot, and the girls’ mental connection, allowed both duos to see to alternate realities, or “dream worlds” as both they and Sam initially categorized them. Additionally, characters have continually questioned whether they could know or trust what was “real” this season, so the visual of travelling to another world to save your clone is another way to blur the boundaries of reality. The implication is that not knowing what’s real and what’s a “dream” is somehow important to the final resolution of the plot.
Endings for Characters (i.e. Goodbyes)
I think it’s also significant that Kaia got her happy ending. Like Garth, Kaia gets to go home to a loving family. She’ll probably still hunt as necessary but she’ll also have some kind of normal life to subsidize and hide her secret occupation. Presumably, she and Claire will reunite as a couple, giving Claire her happy ending as well. We didn’t get the closing shot of the family at the dinner table as we peered at them through a window from the driveway, but we can imagine it from the example given by Garth’s farewell scene. We wave a fond adieu to the Wayward clan knowing they will be together to face the world.
Things didn’t work out quite as well for Dark Kaia, but she did get what she wanted in the end, too. She wanted to die at home, with her “people” in her world. For her, there was peace when she was done.
I’ve learned that the seemingly insignificant standalone episodes are often the ones that most obviously foreshadow the direction of the season’s over arching storyline. In this case, a pair of inseparable “twins” who were linked psychically since birth, were forever separated - one lived a happy ending, albeit without her “sibling”, while the other died heroically, accepting her fate at the hands of the season’s antagonist. There has been a great deal of fan speculation that the series will end this way – with one brother living, most commonly believed to be Sam, and one brother dying, presumably Dean. This isn’t a spoiler. I don’t know anything that corroborates this theory, but I find it curious that the entirety of “Galaxy Brain” was devoted to seeing the Kaia girls’ outcomes. Were their character and plot closures really that important to Supernatural’s 15 year legacy? Maybe. We won’t know if Kaia and Dark Kaia’s stories are important to the series for closure or as foreshadowing of Sam and Dean’s fates until the very end, but it’s worth thinking about. What do you think? This last year has been tying up a lot of loose ends, but I can’t help but suspect that there’s more to it than that. I’m a little worried about it, actually. The boys have seen their friends get peace, but hard core warriors (like Dean) aren’t doing as well. Here’s a summary of season 15’s focus so far on character arcs:
Character Ends with ‘Happily Ever After’:
Kaia, Claire – Resolved. Happily ever after.
Rowena – Resolved. Not exactly resurrected but her character was revived and given her “happily ever after”
Garth – Resolved. Happily Ever After.
Character Experiences Warrior Death:
Dark Kaia – Resolved. Died the way she wanted to go (i.e. at peace).
Benny – Resolved. Brought back in an AU but killed yet again. He died a heroic death and is at peace.
Character has Closure, with an upward trajectory:
Michael/Adam – Open issue resolved. They’re at peace with each other and free to find their places in the world.
Becky – Redeemed. She was living happily ever after until Chuck snapped her away somewhere. She’s either dead but redeemed as a character (and thus at peace), or she’ll be revived when Chuck is defeated, again giving her a happily ever after.
Sheriff Jody and Donna – Alive and living life as they choose.
Eileen – Resurrected, correcting an unjust death. Free to live her life as she chooses. May still find love with Sam?
Jack – Resurrected. Still no soul but is everyone’s last, best hope.
Did I miss anyone? Are you reading any deeper message into this character reunion parade besides just neatly sewing up the seams of the series? I’m encouraged that the happily ever after scenarios vastly outnumber the heroic deaths, so maybe that’s cause for hope?
As the writer of the “Supernatural” reality within the storyline, Chuck vocalized in one on-the-nose meta-comment what the series’ writers might be thinking about ending the show in our reality:
Chuck: I don't need more - more things, more distractions. I need less. It's time to clear the board. All the other worlds, alternate realities, the subplots, the failed spin-offs. It's time to start cancelling shows.
Are the writers trying to close out all the open issues – subplots, spin off attempts, AUs, etc - so, in the end, it all boils down to just Sam and Dean? Maybe. It’s curious that they inserted that commentary, though. Was it a warning or an explanation? Chuck’s version of simplifying his plotline certainly advanced the image that he is a manipulative, egotistical, petty god that Team Free Will 2.0 must kill.
Title Thread – Galaxy Brain
Chuck views galaxies as his creations, and people as his toys. His view is SO galactic, he can no longer perceive humans as worthy of care, compassion or even consideration. They are puny players in his sandbox, and he wants to take his ball and go home. How cavalier he was about destroying entire worlds! Eating a burger and fries and sipping on a drink while watching billions of stories get snuffed out as if they were shows on television screens, because literally that is all they are to him. He watched them like we watch Supernatural. They were characters living out a drama on his TV.
Jack, on the other hand, has a much smaller view. He’s the lynch pin in the battle between two “cosmic beings”, yet he decided he needed to save one person because it was “the right thing” to do. On a galactic scale, i.e. the view that Chuck and Billie have of all worlds everywhere, Jack’s decision was irresponsible. Sam and Dean have always tried to save people while hunting things, though, so on the Winchester scale, it was what they would have expected him to do. They can’t always control the larger game, especially when it’s cosmic forces like God and Death playing, but Sam, Dean and Cas do what they can on a human scale. Jack has cosmic powers, but he hasn’t yet adopted the “galactic” view, so he did what his dads taught him to do, i.e. he chose the human course of action. In this case, it was saving one scared young girl.
In Berens’ words:
The episode is about Sam, Dean, Cass and Jack reintegrating as a family unit in time to face the fight ahead. And by saving Kaia, despite the risks and odds, affirming their shared values. The candy in the middle, for me and those who care about WS, was saving Kaia. #SupernaturaI— Bobo Berens (@robertberens) March 17, 2020
Souls and Doing What’s Right
The question of whether Jack returned with or without a soul was answered when Sam noted that Jack “still doesn’t have a soul.” Jack’s compassion for Kaia, his guilt over having marooned her, and him taking responsibility for his actions all seem to indicate that he is still trying to act like he has a soul, though, even if he doesn’t. In contrast, God is acting without empathy or remorse whatsoever, so he is quite comfortable behaving as a soulless being. His separation from the moral compass he installed in his creations is troubling and deadly. Did he recognize that as a weakness in his design and thus compensate for it in his creations?
Yes, according to Billie’s galactic view:
Billie: When I was a reaper, I believed in the rules. But then you killed me. And when I became Death, I inherited Death's knowledge... and Death's library. And in Death's library, everyone has a book. Even God.
Dean: So God can die?
Billie: Everything dies.
Castiel: Why would God write the blueprint to His own death?
Billie: He didn't. The books write themselves. After God made the world, He couldn't stop. He wanted more. But He needed to create a perfect harmony -- a Swiss watch so that this world could keep tick-tick-ticking in His absence. He had no choice but to build Himself into the framework. It's His only weakness.
Dean: So Chuck doesn't know what's inside the book?
Billie: No one can read their books unless I let them.
Sam: What about Jack? He's in God's book?
Billie: And so are you. I told you Dean -- you and your brother have work to do. This is your destiny. You are the messengers of God's destruction.
Build himself into the framework? Besides supposedly explaining why he has a book in Death’s library, I really don’t understand that idea. God had to make himself mortal so the world would keep going in his absence? I’m not following that. Like, at all. But I’ll go with it for now. Guess you need a galactic brain to understand it!
Time to Play The Game
Threads-wise, there were once again many references to games, continuing the emphasis on winning and losing that was showcased in “The Gamblers.” Jack and Castiel’s game of Connect 4 was particularly amusing! Double-entendre of the four boys connecting again? Clever.
The word “right” was also used frequently in the dialog. I could imagine that the world at stake would absolutely make one continually question whether their actions are right or wrong! Time was also emphasized, not that any of us need reminding that the clock is ticking down to the end!
“Galaxy Brain” won’t ever be on my Favorite 100 episodes list, but it was nice to give Kaia a proper ending. Only time will tell if this episode is more significant than that. It certainly mattered to the billions of people and multitudes of worlds that died in Chuck’s “crisis.” Billie affirmed that the boys have work to do, but we already knew that. Given the responsibility on their shoulders and the mission they have been given to “destroy” God, I’m happy that my brain doesn’t have to content with the matters of the galaxy. I have plenty to worry about in my own bunker.
Share your thoughts below!
Read more of Nightsky's "Threads" reviews! Links can be found on her writer's page.
Screencaps courtesy of Raloria@livejournal