"Where the hell have you been?"
↳ 14.20 - MORIAH
when you don’t know who you are and you think you’re human and normal until you find out you’re not human, not normal, you’re something else entirely and whatever idea you had about yourself was fucking wrong and you can do weird unnatural things that scare you and aren’t fully controllable yet. and you just want to understand yourself and control yourself so you don’t hurt anyone and can still be the person you think you are instead whatever the truth holds for you.
and you try and use this weird new truth about yourself to try and do good and help the world you were born in and come to love so much and you’re like a hero you wanna be a hero. but the world doesn’t love you back or see you as a hero, it hates you. it doesn’t believe you’re a hero. it doesn’t know what you are , it doesn’t know why you’re here , it demands that you answer the same questions you’ve had your whole life
and instead of finding the answer you find something else . You find a way to do good and be loved and accepted and feel normal despite yourself and you think you’ve found a foothold you think you’ve found understanding at long last . You think you belong snd you think This Is Who You Are until it’s ripped the fuck away from you when finally you learn the truth you’ve been fearing yet searching so hard for. you finally have answers to the lifelong questions of who are you what are you really where do you come from and boom. You’re not a hero . You’re the very threat and danger that the world kept saying you were, kept hurting you because they thought you were.
Every single weird thing you can do has a purpose to destroy and kill and you are born to be a weapon and you can never love anything. Or be loved in return because what you are is a weapon a monster a freak a thing that should not be a thing that will never belong and is fundamentally unlovable . And you’re sorry that’s what you are. You’re so sorry that’s what you are and you hate that it’s the truth and you wish you could go back to not knowing anything at all and you wish you could stop being this fucking Thing but you can’t because it’s in your fucking blood and your DNA and your double helixes and your flesh and nerves and everything.
Your entire body and being and existence and core is made for something horrible and evil and you hate it but you can’t do anything about it except say you’re sorry and offer yourself to the gun or the altar because you still. At the point where you’ve relegated yourself to only being this thing, you still don’t want to, . The last good thing you can do at this point is let yourself die and spare the world from your own inescapable inherent biological ruinousness.
This part of Moriah was not mentioned enough.
DEAN: All right. So, I guess we got to find Jack.
SAM: Yeah. Then what?
DEAN: ...Maybe we call Rowena, see if she can put together one of those, um, "soul bombs."
They were going to basically use the nuclear bomb to kill Jack.
In my AU: They went ahead with the plan. Cas caught wind of the plan and desperately searched for ways to protect Jack. He found only one. Just as they detonated the bomb, Cas used his S6e22 spell to absorb all the souls into him.
Except these are not monster/leviathan souls, they are decent human souls who didn't want to be obliterated by the Winchesters as a weapon against a child (we saw from 8x02 that Dean was perfectly willing to sacrifice more than a million souls from heaven to win the demon tablet in an auction). The souls were grateful to Castiel for sheltering them, and they were sympathetic to Castiel having witnessed his mind and his feelings. They willingly powered Castiel and supported him (see my hc about endosymbiosis).
A stable and immensely powerful Godstiel 2.0 now was able to see his and Jack's painful past for what it really was.
I won't write this fic because I don't know what happens next. It would be up to Godstiel 2.0. How would he help Jack recover and heal and thrive? What would he do to the Winchesters? I don't have what it takes to do justice to these tasks, but Godstiel does.
In a way, the events of 12x19 The Future kinda happened, just not for Cas.
(This is so awful, I’m sorry. ) He saw the future through Jack’s eyes, but Cas interpreted it through his own psyche, needs, motivations, and imagery:
From above (12x19):
Kelly, standing on a BEACH— in the surf— looking out at the ocean.
Sam, racing across an OPEN FIELD. Chasing something.
Dean, in tight closeup. A look of relief— of happiness on his face.
DEAN: Cas— thank you.
Castiel. Shirtless. Standing against a wall, as his WINGS FLARE. But they’re not broken anymore. They’re full and majestic.
These images are script only, but they're a fascinating window into Cas's mindset.
Jack did get his wings back, full-glory, when he ate Michael in 14x14 Ouroboros.
From above (14x14):
Jack drops his arms, opens his mouth, and inhales the grace! All that’s left of Michael. He consumes it. As Jack closes his mouth and swallows, everything goes quiet. Jack’s eyes return the normal, and Michael is finally dead.
JACK: Michael… he’s dead. (he turns to our guys, calm and emotionless) I’m me again.
Suddenly, he bursts in a golden, fiery glow. His eyes flare hold, and his wings flare behind him. Jack has his powers back.
The shirtless majesty in the 12x19 vision was just Cas’s perspective/reinterpretation, superimposing a psychosexual component on top of the vision— his need to be strong and protect his human family.
Thank you (script only):
And Dean did say, with relief, “Jack…Thank you,” in 14x17 Game Night.
From above (14x17):
On Dean. Knows how much he owes this kid, he got there in the nick of time.
DEAN: Jack, I— thank you.
Jack smiles, so happy to be needed, so loved.
Again, Cas’s 12x19 vision tightened that image into an intimate, close-up, because it’s filtered through his desire for Dean to be relieved and safe. (Remember, in 12x19, Cas comments that he didn’t mean to ignite “Dean’s distress.”) That’s why this vignette directly triggered the shirtless Cas/protector-driven imagery in the script. They’re one after another-> Kelly at peace -> Sam (supposedly) running free -> Dean intimately relieved & thankful -> Cas majestic, healed, and strong. Seeing Dean like that made Cas feel like that.
Sam did run through a small field, when rushing to stop the Equalizer confrontation in 14x20 Moriah.
From above (14x20):
EXT. ROAD - DAY
The road outside the cemetery. A car rips up—
And Sam bursts out— racing for— (Through what looks like an open field, Sam enters the cemetery)
As for Kelly and the beach, this is a loose allusion to Jack’s place of birth: Washaway Beach in North Cove, Washington.
The future vision was a tragedy. Perhaps, Jack wasn’t making promises at all.
Perhaps, it was merely Jack’s power surging, tapping into the potential of the cosmos, and Cas saw what he wanted to see because he has trouble facing his own desires.
That’s the problem with seeing the future, Missouri Moseley might say, even when you see it, it’s hard to interpret, and it can be out of order and wrong and misleading in so many heartbreaking ways. You might not even be getting your own perspective.
(Text Attributions// Supernatural scripts here via @spnscripthunt. Transcripts are located here via SPNWiki. Visit their Tumblr to donate.)
things that were allowed on the cw show supernatural: god being the big bad, god having girlfriends and boyfriends, angel being gay.
things that weren't allowed on the cw show supernatural: dean telling his best friend that he loves him.
’Cause Sam’s right.
So ‘god’, or ‘no god’... You go to Hell!
Sam takes a shot at god. You agree. reblog
People talk about how refridging Mary to make Dean want to kill Jack in the soulless Jack arc was a really shitty thing to do, and it was, but the thing is I don’t think that’s even quite what happened, writing-decision-wise. Refridging Mary is not only not necessary for the soulless Jack arc to work, it also actively makes it less effective as a storyline, specifically in ways that seem to clash with what was otherwise being set up. Which makes it look like they didn’t kill her to serve their plot, given they actively made their story worse by writing her out.
(Edit: I’m not going to speculate as to what was going on with Sam Smith because I don’t know, but approx 1400 words under the cut about what I think was happening writing-wise)
Anyway so this is all based on an initial theory from @autisticandroids (who also asked me to write this post, hi!) that the way Mary’s death was handled makes it look like the sort of character death that happens because of an actor having to be written out, rather than one the writers really wanted to do otherwise. And once you’re primed to be thinking about this, 14x18 especially does really come off as the show scrambling to try and make her death hit, which is sort of the opposite of what fridgings are for – they’re normally thought of as being a low-effort way to pack an emotional punch. But because we’ve kind of barely seen her all season (she’s in less than a third of episodes), and because this is Mary so if we’re going to kill her again it has to hit, they feel compelled to spend time giving us a couple of slightly on the nose flashbacks to try and make sure we care. It’s the sort of work you’d normally do before you kill a character, rather than slightly messily afterwards to try and make their death look worthwhile, which is really how it comes off here.
And the thing is, it’s not just that it’s kind of messy – it doesn’t actually help facilitate the soulless Jack arc at all really, instead it actively distracts from it. Obviously this is true in terms of screen time, because we have to take time away from Jack stuff for the flashbacks and for Mary’s funeral, but also in terms of the story’s focus. The interesting thread here is “someone we care about is ~dangerous now, what might we have to do to stop them??”, which is pretty decently well-trodden ground for spn, which you could easily have done just based on the snake and burning Nick alive on their own. And then in theory, this would all be made extra tragic by the fact that it was Jack saving them from Michael that even put him in that position, but we barely lean into this because we’re so focussed on Sam and especially Dean’s reactions to Mary’s death. Like, that thread does even still gets pulled on a little bit! You have Dumah's “he lost his capacity for good through an act of goodness” – and that’s what’s actually compelling here. But it’s barely touched on really, because if you’re going to kill Mary, that’s what you have to focus on, or at least that’s what the show seems to be convinced of. Nick even explicitly says it in 14x18 – “Buddy, you killed Mary Winchester. You cannot come back from that.” So we get hung up on an accidental death that could easily have just happened while Jack had his soul, instead of the actual implications of Jack’s soullessness beyond that.
Everything with Mary’s death also obviously makes Dean come off less sympathetically (and not in an interesting way), if he’s motivated by revenge, rather than genuine concern about what Jack might do. In part because of the revenge motive, he seems to take a genuine vicious satisfaction in tricking Jack into the box, for example, whereas if it was more a tragic last resort for how to deal with this very difficult situation, it would make for a much more nuanced and interesting situation, that would hit much harder.
And this isn’t the only way in which the restructuring of the arc to accommodate Mary’s death has implications re Dean’s character. It does look like they were setting Jack up as a Dean parallel here, which obviously if he’s killed Mary, it’s hard for him to be in the same way anymore. There’s a really good post somewhere which I’m annoyed I can’t find about how good leaders don’t ask their subordinates to do things they wouldn’t do themselves, and how Dean would do insane things and so thinks it’s reasonable ask his subordinates to do them too. The post explicitly cites Jack in the Box and iirc also Moriah (edit: it was this post and it cites Jack in the Box and Unity) as examples of this, and while it’s a really interesting piece of character analysis, it’s kind of striking when trying to think about writing decisions that 1) this stuff would be strengthened if Jack was still in the category of people Dean could see himself in, which because he’s killed Mary, he can’t be and 2) by drawing the parallels it draws, it also points out that “oh hey! The writers have chosen to put Jack in situations that Dean has also notably been in! What does this tell us?”
Moriah is probably the less strong of the two examples re just the situation, but the thing is that in addition to Dean effectively asking Jack to be prepared to die for the good of the world like he has before, the obvious thematic use of a mechanic like the Equalizer is “by killing this person you are killing yourself not only literally but also figuratively”. Like, something something supernatural and wasted potential goes without saying, but they did presumably come up with that object for a reason, y’know? But then Mary’s death and the revenge motive means that Moriah doesn't come anywhere near to playing like Dean killing himself on two levels even though like… what is the point of that gun otherwise? It almost feels like a fossil from a different story. And then the situation re the Ma’lak box is very similar. @autisticandroids pointed out to me separately a while ago that Jack is becoming Dean in ouroboros – “I am a winchester + eating michael + being destined for the box” – and also that were it not for the vengeance motive things would very much more come across as “oh my god dean’s putting himself in the box”, which y'know would be both hard-hitting and also the sort of thing spn loves to do.
And it’s also what they’ve been setting up! Like, you go from Dean having something dangerous inside him that means he might have to be locked up or killed, to Jack ending up in that position instead, specifically via him fixing Dean’s issue! It's even him specifically who directly argues for killing Dean to protect the world from Michael in 14x02! There’s a lot of groundwork there for them as parallels in s14 which Mary’s death undermines – the season is just structurally way tighter and more thematically resonant if you take it out. Getting rid of Mary’s death and the revenge motive for Dean (leaving a tension between concern about Jack vs concern about the world in its place) also meshes way better with the way they originally set up the stuff with Jack’s soul too, where it’s meant to be a sad thing for him, that he would no longer be himself etc. And like, that’s arguably partly because it’s Yockey handling it and he’s the only writer who cares about Jack, but it is still what was being set up. “Jack died –> the mechanism we used to bring him back allowed him to burn off his soul to be useful –> he’s dangerous as a result of this and oh god we have to do something about it” is way neater and more compelling as a trajectory if you don’t throw in “also he accidentally killed our mother and so Dean sort of wants him dead because of that too”. There’s a disconnect between the obvious route to take this story and then end result, and Mary’s death seems to be the thing lying behind it.
So yeah, Mary’s death was a bad writing decision not just because it’s not worth refridging her for the sake of the soulless Jack arc (which it definitely isn’t), but also specifically because it actively makes the soulless Jack arc worse. Obviously misogyny was frequently a driving force behind writing decisions on spn, but it doesn’t look like it was here in the way people seem to assume. It doesn’t look like they were killing a woman in order to serve our story – instead, the story has been actively derailed by them killing a woman. Which does really make it seem like that’s not why they wrote her out.
One Castiel Quote per Episode 123/136
→ 14.20 “MORIAH"