I'm thinking though that this episode is mainly just trying to hit home how much Sam and Dean mean to Cas - not only because of what they taught him but because their friendship is precious to him. Sam and Dean are worth more to him than the 50,000 souls he could have harvested from saving the Titanic. And despite all that happens, and all the stupid stuff he does later on this season, that love for Sam and Dean doesn't change.
Of course there are some minor points made as well, like not being born is much better than dying a painful death (a point we've heard Sam and Dean iterate about themselves in the Song Remains the Same). Bobby, Ellen and Cas all say it this episode. We also find out that the whole thing about not being able to change the past was just a rule that the angels (mainly Cas and Balthazar) felt could now be broken because the world was on a different path than destined. Both Cas and Balthazar feel no qualms about changing the past so that they can harvest more souls and win against the opposing angel force in their war upstairs. Cas, in fact, sees it as a symbol of freedom - forgetting that he is playing with a whole bunch of souls, including Ellen and Jo and even Sam and Dean. It's scary when Angels decide they can do anything they want.
An even more minor point is that if the titanic had not sunk, Jo and Ellen would not have gone on the mission to kill Lucifer with Sam and Dean, ... or at least would not have been killed in the explosion that resulted.
Oh, and in passing, Balthazar hates the movie Titanic, but Dean doesn't think it's that bad. And both Sam and Dean are stupid enough to not to even consider the implications of NOT sinking the titanic and the real reason why Balthazar did what he did, despite being warned by Death, being given numerous hints on the worth of souls etc. etc. It seems like some force has a destiny planned for them that doesn't involve their intelligence. A force that may perhaps have taken on the job of God somewhere in the real world. But then it is also a force that seems to want US to figure it out at least.
For example, the title of this ep probably means more than just the title of a song that Balthazar hates... The "heart" can also be called the "soul" right? Could it be a hint that when people die, their soul still lives and is valuable to heaven and hell?
We get several other hints that the boys don't get this ep. Apropos talks with Cas about how she understands that unsinking the Titanic is "all about the souls" and why he and Balthazar did what they did in order to win the war upstairs. That should be a pretty big hint to us in addition to the warning bells when we find out that Cas is LYING to the boys.
Anyway, Let's begin.
"One Way or Another" by Blondie (plays over the "Sam and Dean can die at any second" montage)
"My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion(plays when the boys wake up, and the world is back to normal)
We start the episode with this guy getting "karate chopped by his garage door" as Sam puts it. That is the grossest scene and I don't see any reason to rewatch it. It actually reminds me a lot of Bad Day at Black Rock though, how each little action - starting with reaching for a beer that somehow placed in a different place from where he remembers - leads to another and finally to disaster.
Next we are at Bobby's - Bobby drinking up all his whiskey while Sam and Dean watch him from the entrance to the study. We see them bickering voicelessly about who's going to do the talking - You! No, you! - and then Dean goes for the rock scissors paper and wins with his scissors. Superwiki suggests that this is one of the changes made when the Titanic didn't sink. Somehow, either Dean doesn't always throw scissors, or Sam never catches on to it LOL
Bobby has been sensing them and grumpily asks them what they are doing while he is slaving away at the research on the Mother of All. Despite winning, it's Dean that opens his mouth first, suggesting that Bobby hasn't slept in days and it might be a good idea to take a break. Bobby's like, "Good for who?" and demands they get him a cup of coffee and make it Irish. Dean and Sam know that Bobby is broken up about Rufus and is having a hard time dealing - but Bobby denies this.
Then, as they are in the kitchen getting the coffee ready, Sam suggests that going on a job might take Bobby's mind off of Rufus. Bobby comes up and says, just leave me alone. Get out of here.
Sam and Dean decide to check on the case - because they know that Ellen is going to be back in "two shakes" and Bobby should be OK until then. They drive off in a car... which is definitely not the Impala. And on first watch, we'd be like...??? because ... ELLEN?! NO IMPALA?!
As they leave, Ellen comes back with groceries, telling us that she has been on a hunt with Jo for a week and how she is going to make something for dinner. It's the cutest scene with Bobby and Ellen pulling barbs at one another and all with obvious love for each other.
It seems that the guy that died of his garage was one of three blood relatives killed freakishly. Sam and Dean check out the garage where the guy got killed and only find one golden thread on the floor.
SAM: Why would a handyman have gold just lying around in his garage?
DEAN: I don't know. There is definitely a skeleton in this family's closet. I mean, accidents don't just happen accidentally. You know what I mean.
I'll note here that Superwiki points out a ton of Titanic references everywhere including the fact that this travel agency is named after the Captain of the Titanic and that Sam and Dean are staying at a motel named after the company that owned the Titanic. This episode itself was actually aired on the 99th anniversary of the Titanic sinking.
Sam goes to check the family records while Dean goes to talk to next of kin, Russo. The guy is a dick lawyer who doesn't really care at all for his family, which maybe turns Dean off. Dean's questions are not very polite LOL.
DEAN: Okay, I-I'll just cut to the chase here. Um, your life is in danger.
RUSSO: What? What is that, a threat? Are you threatening me?!
DEAN: No, no, no. No, no. I'm not threatening you. I'm just simply saying that if you don't watch your back, you're gonna die.
RUSSO: Get the hell out of my office.
Dean makes him angry and doesn't get any answers. Sam doesn't find anything either.
Meanwhile another death is in progress and we see the culprit. A woman that looks like a librarian who can stop time and put everything in the right place for everything to go terribly wrong. The travel agent is killed by her copy machine while trying to pick up her keys from beside it. Also gross and totally skip-able on rewatch.
Sam and Dean check this office out as well and find only one thing in common - the golden thread. She's not even related to the Russos.
Sam and Dean are back at the motel talking to Ellen, who with Jo had been tracking similar cases around the country, and find out that the people who died all came to America on the same boat - the Titanic. Then we all find out that none of the characters knows the Titanic. Not Ellen, not Dean, and not even Sam, who knows every geeky detail about everything usually LOL As Sam looks at stuff on the Titanic on the internet, he finds that the Second Mate saved the boat from an iceberg and that Second Mate I.P. Freeley looks suspiciously like Balthazar!
So they get the table in the middle of the room with their angel summoning spell and call Balthazar. Balthazar is like, What? I saved a bunch of people. And I actually ended up saving Ellen and Jo who would have died in an explosion otherwise.
DEAN: Why did you un-sink the ship?
BALTHAZAR: Oh, because I hated the movie.
DEAN: What movie?
BALTHAZAR: Exactly. (laughs)
SAM: Wait, so you saved a cruise liner because -
BALTHAZAR: Because that God-awful Celine Dion song made me want to smite myself.
SAM: Who's Celine Dion?
BALTHAZAR: Oh, she's a destitute lounge singer somewhere in Quebec, and let's keep it that way, please.
SAM: Okay, I didn't think that was possible. I thought you couldn't change history.
BALTHAZAR: Oh, haven't you noticed? There's no more rules, boys.
So, Balthazar's talk about how he hates the movie and Celine Dion's song is funny and everything, but obviously that is not why he unsunk the ship. The thing is, I think both the boys and viewers at this point consider Balthazar to be a wild card. Doing stuff without any important reason, just because he feels like it, with the weapons of heaven, and now here. On rewatch it is obvious that the movie or song is not the reason he did what he did - and knowing that, we also know that his taking all the weapons from heaven must have been for a different purpose as well. It's not just because there are no more rules.
But let's talk more about this because it's very interesting. No more rules... which means that "can't change history" was just a rule. It wasn't something that was impossible to do. I'm sorry I just have to go back to those back to the future eps again and note that Dean could have changed the past there if the angels had just let him. But they hadn't. Michael had come to fix everything. He killed Anna and erased Mary and John's memories of what happened so that the main events would happen as were "destined." That's why they couldn't change history - not because of some scientific idea that the past can't be changed because it's already happened etc., etc. This is a story. It doesn't go by the regular rules of science.
Now, I mentioned how frustrating it was that Sam and Dean never considered what REAL reason Balthazar had for unsinking the ship but another thing distracts them here and stops them from asking further. Balthazar very cleverly mentiones that Jo and Ellen would be dead otherwise. Once that bit of information is out, it doesn't really matter WHY Balthazar did it. More important now is how to stop these people from being killed.
SAM: But now somebody is killing the descendants of the survivors.
SAM: And that's maybe like 50,000 people.
DEAN: And we need to save as many as we can, but we need to know who's after 'em.
BALTHAZAR: Oh, uh, sorry, uh. You have me confused with the other angel - you know, the one in the dirty trenchcoat who's in love with you. I... don't care. (He takes another sip.) Goodbye, boys.
Yeah, so cute quip about Cas <3
But even more interesting is the fact that, if you think about it, it really doesn't matter to either Balthazar or Cas that these people are being killed. That just means he gets all those extra souls all the more quickly. Maybe both Cas and Balthazar knew what would happen or didn't care one way or another - not until Fate focused on Sam and Dean... or until Sam and Dean focused on Fate and tried to stop her in the first place. The only thing that the angels should have avoided somehow was that bit about Ellen and Jo. Because with that, the whole thing becomes personal for Sam and Dean and also for Bobby and they have to act.
Anyway, going back to the story, Sam and Dean call up Bobby to tell him what they found out. Bobby tells them that that makes sense because he has a theory about the golden threads - that they are Fate's. She is trying to fix the "damage" done by Balthazar and killing everyone that should not have existed in the first place. Bobby mentions that Fate's just doing her job so they probably can't stop her and they should just get Balthazar to re-sink the boat.
BOBBY: How do we stop Fate? Good question.
DEAN: Well, there's got to be a way.
BOBBY: Or there ain't. I mean, this is Fate we're talking about here. You know, the easiest way would be to get that angel to re-sink the boat.
DEAN: No. No way. Forget it.
BOBBY: Big difference between dying awful and never being born, Dean.
There's that minor point I was talking about earlier. They sure like to hammer on that point in various eps and several times just in this episode. I'm not quite sure why.
But Sam and Dean say no way, and Dean's vehemence doesn't go unnoticed. When Bobby forces Dean to talk, he tells Bobby how Ellen and Jo would die if things were "made right." This obviously changes the way Bobby looks at things too. Now, those people who were just a number, are now people who are loved and who would be missed. When you personally know someone and need them, their personal comfort kind of goes out the window doesn't it?
So Bobby tells them that on no uncertain terms should they let the angels sink the ship and of course Sam and Dean agree. What would it be like for Bobby without Ellen? He's taking Rufus' death hard enough as it is.
But they have to stick their neck out and save the others as well, so the first person they go to is Russo. And they see him die very tragically and with as much dark humor as the rest.
DEAN You've got to be kidding me. Sam, check it out.
DEAN Too soon?
SAM Yeah, Dean. I'm pretty sure six seconds is too soon.
Dean thinks it's a bit funny. Actually, wow, that reminds me of Dean and the Trickster too. Dean sure has an appreciation for that kind of "justice" aye?
While they are recovering from that sudden demise, Sam happens to see Fate looking at them from a building across the street. He tells Dean and Dean wants to go and "talk" to her because she's not out to kill them, is she? *sighs*
They go in the building, and into a huge kitchen like place with many stoves. Fate stops time and turns on all the gas burners and then unstops time again to watch it all unfold. And Dean and Sam would have died in that blast of fire if Cas hadn't zapped them over to White Russia LOL! I can't watch this scene without grinning while remembering the "wormstashe"!
Cas tells them that of course Fate is angry at them. They've totally ruined everything for Fate by stopping the apocalypse!
CASTIEL Nothing of import -- just the tiny matter of averting the Apocalypse and rendering her obsolete. I think maybe she's a little irritated about that. And then you go and dangle yourselves in front of her...
DEAN So we've pissed fate off personally.
CASTIEL Balthazar has a weapon that will work against her.
DEAN Of course he does. Yeah. Boy, that guy's just got it covered, doesn't he? You need new friends, Cas.
CASTIEL I'm trying to save the ones I have, Dean.
And here a hint that Balthazar is not the one that's a problem here (he got the souls for Cas right?!), it's Sam and Dean.
Cas suggests they kill Fate - because of course Balthazar has a weapon that can. Sam and Dean will just have to "tempt" Fate to come out into the open.
Thus starts the awesome sequence very similar to what that guy in the beginning experienced.
Sam and Dean walk through a bunch of dangerous situations but without a scratch. And just as they are wondering ...
SAM All right. I don't get it.
DEAN I don't either. Who do you got to kill to get killed around here?
A huge tin box falls down from above - totally reminding me of Mystery Spot and Gabriel again. Gabriel and Fate would get along fabulously together. I bet they were good friends.
But, I'm getting ahead of the story. While all that's happening, Bobby is having a talk with Ellen
BOBBY It's the boys. If anybody can pull this out of their ass, it's those two.
ELLEN Yeah, you ever hear the saying "you can't stop fate"? You know, cleanest fix would just be to sink the boat.
BOBBY Why would you say that?
ELLEN Well, because, right now they're all dying bloody. It's not the same as never being born.
BOBBY You're talking about people -- people who are loved...Who would be missed.
ELLEN What the hell is up with you?
Ellen senses that something is bothering Bobby, just like Bobby sensed it with Sam and Dean. And she gets him to talk. But you'll notice that Ellen here also says what Bobby said before - never being born is much better than being killed, while Bobby - for which this case is now very personal - argues that these are people are are loved and would be missed.
[Spoiler for Season 9 (click to open)]This whole thing keeps reminding me of Season 9 and how Sam's words to Dean led many people to argue that Dean should have let Sam die if he wanted to, and that Dean was selfish not to. Love IS selfish. Not all of course, but humans are social beings. We need those people we love, and miss them when they die. It is natural not to be able to let someone go. It's easy to say that people should be allowed to die when they want to if it's someone you don't care about personally, but it's a whole different thing when it has to do with someone you know and love.
Anyway, Ellen takes her own death and Jo's in stride but she also knows what that would mean to Bobby -
ELLEN Well...If it was meant to be, then...I guess whatever happens, happens.
BOBBY But that's just my point. Nothing's "meant to be." Whether we're together is at the whim of some dick angel.
ELLEN Oh, Bobby, relax.
BOBBY I can't. We need you. Especially me.
ELLEN I know.
And Ellen touches Bobby's cheek tenderly as we pan out and I'm crying just remembering it.
Back to the boys frozen in place with a big tin box hanging over their heads. I love this effect by the way. They show a reflection of the boys' faces on the box and pan from all different directions. It's pretty cool. Fate appears and so does Cas. Fate talks about how she doesn't have a job anymore because the apocalypse didn't happen, that none of the angels can tell her what to do, etc. (So Fate is actually under the angels' jurisdiction? That's weird, right?)
CASTIEL All right, let's talk about this.
ATROPOS Talk? About what? Maybe about how you and those two circus clowns destroyed my work. You ruined my life.
CASTIEL Let's not get emotional.
ATROPOS Not get emotional?! I had a job. God gave me a job. We all had a script. I worked hard. I was really, really good at what I did...Until the day of the big prize fight.And then what happens? You throw out the book!
CASTIEL Well, I'm sorry. But freedom is more preferable.
ATROPOS Freedom? This is chaos! How is it better?
Atropos has a good point here. Freedom is not everything, especially if a social structure is to be maintained. Which I guess is the whole point of Season 6. Everyone and everything is just in chaos because of the apocalypse being averted. It's like the aftermath of a civil war, when there's no leader to create rules and regulations. Everyone is doing what they want to do - Demons are trying to get more souls for more power and Angels as well. Monsters and humans are caught in the middle and trying to stop what is happening. What they should have done in hind sight, was work together even here before Season 7, to stop Crowley and Cas. If the Alpha Vamp had not been so cryptic, if the Mother of All had been a bit more talkative and if they had just been able to trust each other to work together, they could have stopped all of this. But of course, with all good story telling, that NEVER happens.
CASTIEL It's Balthazar. He's erratic -
ATROPOS Bull crap. This isn't about some stupid movie. He's under your orders. You sent him back to save that ship.
CASTIEL No, I didn't. Why would I?
ATROPOS Oh, maybe because you're in the middle of a war and you're desperate?
ATROPOS Come on. This is about the souls.
CASTIEL You don't know what you're talking about.
ATROPOS That angel went and created 50,000 new souls for your war machine.
CASTIEL You're confused.
ATROPOS No. You can't just mint money, Castiel. It's wrong...It's dangerous... And I won't let you.
Apropos warns Cas that she's not going to rest until Sam and Dean are dead, and even if he kills her, her sisters are bigger and will come to get their revenge. Balthazar comes up and tries to kill Apropos on order but Cas stops him and makes a deal with Apropos to sink the Titanic in order to save Sam and Dean.
And here is our hint, as well, that this whole thing was about souls. Cas avoids telling Sam and Dean this by disappearing conveniently later so we are the only ones that can piece it all together at this point.
Sam and Dean wake up in the Impala, and we know what happened already. They've both had the weirdest dreams... which seem to be the exact same dream... and Cas comes and tells them well, it wasn't a dream. It actually happened.
SAM Wait. So, what happened?
CASTIEL Well, I insisted he go back in time and correct what he'd done.
SAM What? Why?
CASTIEL It was the only way to be sure you were safe.
SAM So...So, you killed...50,000 people for us.
CASTIEL No, I didn't. They were never born. That's far different from being killed, wouldn't you say?
DEAN Ellen and Jo?
CASTIEL I'm sorry.
DEAN Hold on. Uh...So, if you guys went a-and changed everything back, then that whole timeline or whatever, it just got erased?
CASTIEL Yeah. More or less.
AGAIN, this time Cas tells them how never being born is so much better than being killed. Yes, we get the hint. But I still don't get why that point has to be hammered in...? Maybe just so we don't feel bad about all those people not existing? If they didn't exist, their souls didn't exist either so... that didn't turn out very well for Cas in any case.
And we have confirmation of how timelines work in Supernatural without "rules." Which actually means that it works that way with rules too - there are just angels to reinforce the rules so things happen the way they want it.
There is a connection to Freedom and Caos here too, I'm sure of it... something like, society is held together with the very fragile thread of law and order(rules) and underneath is molten caos ready to show it's head? Freedom is not everything and we need some kind of rules, especially for those with power?
DEAN So, wait. Did...Balthazar really, uh, unravel the sweater over a chick flick?
CASTIEL Yes. Absolutely. That's what he did.
DEAN Wow. Well, might be time to take away his cable privileges. Besides, "Titanic" didn't suck that bad.
Here we all know for sure that Cas is lying to Sam and Dean and probably has been lying all along! And I agree with Dean. Titanic wasn't that bad. I liked the song too. It was just too popular and got to be a bit too much, that's all - sort of like Frozen.
Things are back to normal. But one good thing came of this - maybe with the help of Cas. Bobby has finally fallen asleep. They agree not to tell Bobby how good he had it. Then Sam asks if they should wake him (ARE YOU KIDDING?!) and Dean tells him no. This is probably the best he's slept in a long time. He covers Bobby with a blanket (awwww!) and we see the picture of Bobby at his scrapyard, all by himself instead of with Ellen in the alternate reality.