Kalliel (kalliel) wrote,
Kalliel
kalliel

What the Cas & Hannah show has to do with anything; what discrete, essential identities doesn't.

This is soooo not developed enough to make sense outside of my own head. Just thinking about Stuff. SPOILERS 10x02.

What I loved this week was the way that, removed as it is from anything else, the Cas and Hannah show actually pushed some stones into the walkway that the Sam and Dean show is treading.

Crowley's "Are you a demon or a human? Choose a bloody side!" isn't interesting at a fact level--the level of actually attempting to delineate Dean from demonism (or humanity writ large from demonism); to separate these things out and organize them around two essential, oppositional cores. (At a certain level, this whole episode is just a continuation of 10x01's polite suggestion that such a question/project of delineation--which fandom has taken up regardless--is not the question you should be asking at this point. Is a red herring of sorts, but more than that, just ain't interesting.)

I loved Castiel's confrontation with Hannah up in Heaven, where he he argues for his slow death over the sacrifices of others (not unlike Sam in 8x23 and 9x01). Castiel, tinged-with-humanity-Hannah-thinks-the-Winchesters-are-a-bad-influence Castiel. As you might recall, this was not a position Dean was down with--at least if Sam's the one dying his slow death. If the situation were reversed, and Dean was the one dying, sure. Maybe he'd be on board. But as intellectually interesting as these kinds of counterfactuals can be, the hard fact is that the situation was not reversed, and Dean was not on board with Sam's martyrdom, the Greater Good, human altruism, etc. Not on board in a big damn way--a "this shall serve as lynchpin for a good deal of all of S9" kind of way. Whatever the what ifs and "if this were different"s, in all the ways that are real, and that actually matter in a "this is our one reality" sense to these characters, Dean is positioned in opposition to Castiel's, tinged-with-humanity Castiel's, argument here.

And Hannah--Hannah the angel--occupying Dean's role in this confrontation, concedes to Castiel's position. It's not even just that she doesn't like Castiel's position, but lets him win anyway. She understands it, at some deep internal level.

Which, notably, Dean did not do and Dean did not understand. (He was aware, at a surface level. He did get Sam. But he also really, really didn't get Sam.)

Hannah and Castiel aren't involved in the Sam/Dean storyline, and they're not even arguing about anything related to it. But speak to it they do. Dean's not aligning with Cas here ("human") and certainly not with Hannah ("angel"). When Cole asks what he is, all Dean gives him are those eyes and a word Cole's only just beginning to know--"demon."

And it's not a shock value thing. Like, oh, omg, Dean's a demon! Been there, done that, so last May. You know? It's not a response to "is Dean a human or a demon?" as a fact-question. And even though I've set Castiel, Hannah, and Dean up here as some kind of essential, Euclidean trinity, it's not about establishing that, either.

Because if you look at Dean's assertion that yes, he is a demon, and Cole's assertion that yes, Dean's a monster, has been a monster since 2003 at least, then it seems like the argument is that Dean is actually just a bad person, always has been, and that is the core of his being.

You, viewer, object to that. (As does Sam.) You, viewer, haven't known Dean as long as Sam has, but you know enough to know that Cole's wrong, and demon!Dean's wrong, and everyone is wrong about him. You'd be hard pressed to prove he's a saint (and stop trying, fandom), but you know what else he's not. You know Dean Winchester.

And Show knows you know.

What you're undoing when you think these things, viewer, is the ages-old idea that trinities, binaries, discrete values-based identities, are how the world needs to be organized, is best organized, should continue to be organized.

Show's been rocking the boat on this since Day 1 (or at least, very explicitly, since Day 2x03), but it's always allowed for a little wiggle room. There's a gray area, but also some hope for someone's fundamental goodness, fundamental evil, etc. What it's doing now is blowing that open in a big, big way. We're not muddying the waters here, we're throwing out the bathwater--and maybe the baby, as well. Shit's gonna hurt.

You, viewer, have been hailed directly, and your cognitive dissonance is a character now, too. This is just another way the fourth wall's been dropped away. (Except rather than reveal the stage and the theatre, you've been pulled up onto it, and you're a part of the play--the moral drama, if you will, the mystery play. You're implicated.)

You, viewer, have been asked to step up to the fucking plate.
Tags: fandom: spn, spn x
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