Cas has amnesia and when he remembers what he has done to Sam, the angels and to the Earth(or maybe just the USA?), he is so shocked that he feels that everything he does just hurts people so he is never going to use violence again. Gradually, he realizes that recognizing Dick is something only he can do. He can't just throw the responsibility on Sam and Dean. This is the best way to redeem himself: fix what he broke and maybe pay for his actions through death. We see how this continues on into Season 8 and his actions in Purgatory. The attitude is also very similar to Sam's in Season 8 (and of course Season 11) and may help us understand Sam's thought process for coming to the conclusions he does then.
Plot-wise, it is the beginning of the Tablets playing an important role in the actions of Demon, Angel and humans (Sam and Dean). You could even call Season 7, 8 and 9 the Tablet mytharc for Leviathan, Demon and Angel Tablets respectively. We don't know what happens to the Leviathan Tablet after Season 7, but we are left with the Demon Tablet in Crowley's hands - soon to be in Kevin's. The angels are still in the state of Civil War, which has changed from an apocalypse/non-apocalypse war to one between many small factions trying to gain more power to rule. Metatron will be trying to take advantage of this situation and the power of the angel tablet to take over heaven. And Dean and Sam are going to be at the center of it all.
"Carry On Wayward Son" by Kansas (plays during "The Road So Far" recap of events)
"Vincent" by Don MacLean (playing on the radio when Dean finds Cas in the car)
"Born to be Wild" by Steppenwolf (plays during the Impala's return)
The episode starts with Crowley and Dick coming to an agreement - for Crowley to give the boys fake blood telling them it is his, in exchange for Canada. The Leviathans will take over the USA. I have to note that this is an awful deal, and if I was Crowley I would have totally refused it… but Crowley can’t refuse. He has to say yes in order for Dick to let him go.
So he does, while fully intending to give the boys his own blood, in my opinion. I am sure that there is something in that contract/agreement that excuses Crowley - at least some sort of rule like all contracts made under duress are null and void - or something of the sort. And anyone who doesn’t know what a crappy deal this is - Canada has one of the smallest populations (38th in the World with 36 million people) despite being the second largest country in the world. Most of the population is gathered around the border with the States. There is a question of why they do not include Mexico, South America or any other continent/country in the world for that matter. Why just America and Canada? If I was a monster I wouldn’t confine myself to one country, even if it does have 318 million people. And I guess they wouldn’t have. Once their population grew… wait can Leviathan procreate? Maybe not...
Anyway, back to Sam and Dean. Dean thinks it’s a bad idea but Sam is telling him that it was a bad joke but a good idea to go to a church crypt to find a righteous bone. I wonder what the joke was :P
I love how Sam brings up these various nuns and Dean’s reasons for rejecting them :)
SAM:All right. Here – listen to this. Sister Mary Benedict, uh, taught the learning-impaired and died at age 23.
DEAN:Eh, it's a little young. Find someone who's had time to cook.
SAM:Okay, well, there was, uh... here – Sister Mary Eunice. Uh, fed the poor, became Mother Superior at age 60.
DEAN:Sounds political. Power corrupts.
SAM:Right. Um... listen to this – Sister Mary Constant, 83 years of quiet, humble nun-like goodness. What do you think?
DEAN:Wow. I want to be more righteous just reading this.
And of course he has to make a dirty joke! Shame on you Dean.
DEAN:All right, well, I lay odds on her. Here we go. Well... let's bone this nun.
(Sam's bitch face)
They get home with the bone and call Crowley but he doesn’t come and they have to wonder why - if Crowley is doing this on purpose or he can’t for some reason.
Then Meg suddenly comes knocking. She tells them that Cas brought her from somewhere and can they take care of him now, please?
MEG: He was your boyfriend first.
Dean goes out to a car parked outside and containing Cas who is pondering the importance of certain things… like lipstick for example.
DEAN: So, Cas, what’s the word?
(and in Season 8… Cas answers “It’s a shortened form of my name.” Interesting he understands Dean here perfectly… which means HE MAY HAVE BEEN MAKING A JOKE IN SEASON 8??!!!)
CASTIEL:Well, Dean, I've been thinking. Monkeys are so... clever, and they're sensible in that they leave the skins on the bananas that they eat. Is it really necessary to test cosmetics on them? I mean, how important is lipstick to you, Dean?
DEAN:Not very. You want to come inside and, uh, tell us what's going on?
Why this topic? I’m not sure. It seems like a dig at cosmetic companies but it could be Cas' take on the world again - how what profits one person can hurt another. One of the things I like about this conversation is Dean letting out a deep breath on top of the car so he doesn’t lose his temper at Cas and can be patient. He almost looks like he’s praying. And then he's just really pretty leaning into the car with his leather jacket and looking so kind and patient.
I also wonder what the song Vincent means here. Seems like they are comparing Cas to Vincent in a way - maybe the way Cas sees the world is similar to how Vincent Van Gogh sees it?And the message he is trying to portray is lost to the people around him? Anyway, going on.
Cas and Dean go into the cabin, Cas goes up to the bone and says it's a good choice, then Dean quietly asks Cas to tell them why he brought Meg here.
Cas tells them that he got worried when he heard nothing from his Garrison and went to check on Kevin and found that they were all dead.
When Dean asks what happened to Kevin, Cas starts talking about monkeys again - maybe because he is reluctant to tell them what has happened. Dean asks what happened again in a louder rather frustrated tone of voice and when Cas reacts badly to this, Dean schools his face into the nice little smile above and tells Cas, "We're worried."
Cas tells them that the Leviathan have killed the angels and taken Kevin, but Kevin is alive. Cas felt that at least he had the responsibility to tell someone so someone could do something about it. Just as Dean is about to call him on throwing the responsibility at them - Meg notices the bowl and supplies for calling a demon and asks about it. Sam and Dean tell her the truth, that they tried to call Crowley and he didn’t show. Just as they are talking, Crowley pops up out of nowhere and is like, “I caught you harboring both of hells most wanted. Awkward enough for you?” He rants for a bit, but then Cas goes up to him with a peace offering and Crowley finally figures out that Cas is not the Cas of yore.
CROWLEY:What are you talking about?
CASTIEL:Um, preferring insects to angels, I guess. Here. I can offer a token, if you like. [He holds up a plastic bag containing a yellow substance.] It's honey. I-I collected it myself.
CROWLEY:You're off your rocker. He's off his rocker – is that it? Karma's a bitch, isn't it?
He acts angry but he of course knows they need Cas - not just his blood either - and figuring out that Cas and Meg seem to have some sort of relationship and Cas needs Meg to keep him happy, Crowley chooses to let Cas and Meg stay with them, and also gives them his blood (telling them of course about the deal, knowing that they will never know that it is his blood until the end - it wouldn't have mattered what he said they would always wonder whether he had lied.) and then disappears again.
Now that they have all the ingredients, they combine them all for the magic “sword” to kill Dick. They are worried about Crowley’s blood, especially when there is no thunder and lightning or anything when they create the potion. As they are feeling worried, suddenly Cas appears.
He has sandwiches he made from scratch, the wheat from a small farm in Normandy and ham cured after he thoroughly examined and comforted the pig before slaughtering. Cas making bread and ham… that’s pretty amazing and a very cute image. But the point is he again wants to show “solidarity” and help the boys in any way that doesn’t involve violence, just like he tried to “act sorry” before. Dean takes the sandwich right away, but Sam wants to ask Cas a question first. Why was Crowley so sure that they would need Cas to kill Dick? It reminds me of the scene in There Will Be Blood when Sam asks the Alpha!Vamp for the boy before taking the blood. Cas, though is adamant that Crowley was wrong.
While that’s happening, Kevin is being held in a room after having translated the tablet and a girl is brought in that is going to be used to show the “delegates" - or Leviathan in various powerful positions - how they can kill off all the inherently skinny people so that the “feed” can be saved for the people who can be fattened for the slaughter. Kevin sneaks out for a few minutes later using the girl's hairpin and finds out what the Leviathans are are up to.
This idea to kill off the humans who are not in line with the Leviathan breeding program reminds me of a show I watched recently about the Nazis killing off people with mental illness as well as physical illness such as Parkinsons in order to "create a superior race." The reason for this show was that the Physicians Association in Germany had admitted that this research had started before the Nazi rule and originally was not a Nazi idea - that Hitler had only given authorization to act on this research. Meaning that we can't just brush it off as a one time thing in one country under a crazy dictatorship. The reasoning may be different, but there are people in every society that begrudge care and funding toward people with special needs, immigrants or other minority groups, thinking of them as just a number or less-than-human, gobbling up public funds. Basically, Leviathan are not the only monsters to think of something like this.
Of course the Leviathan want to breed for consumption and they are not breeding their own kind but what they think of as a lesser animal so, it is also very similar to how we breed our cattle to create the most tasty meat and kill the runts, for example, because they don't grow as big and fat. All this reminds me of the title of this episode and how humans (Sam and Dean) end up winning this battle for survival. ... Which made me want to look up "Survival of the Fittest" which is a saying originating from Darwinian evolutionary theory but thought up by a Herbert Spencer.
"This survival of the fittest... is that which Mr. Darwin has called 'natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life'."
And then I found this quote by Darwin himself which I thought went well with what I've been going on about. I'm going to put under spoilery cut because it's rather long:
[Spoiler (click to open)]
“With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.
The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with a certain and great present evil. Hence we must bear without complaining the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely the weaker and inferior members of society not marrying so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased, though this is more to be hoped for than expected, by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage.”
― Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man
I don't like how this guy thinks. There is something very off about it. BUT..the instinct of sympathy and the noblest part of our nature... that sounds like Sam and Dean, who continually defy the natural order/selection and save the world from destiny.
Getting back on track, Sam and Dean are on their way to Sucro Corp where they heard on the radio that Dick is “holed up.”
Bobby, on the other hand, has been getting more and more vengeful and less and less logical. He’s decided that he’s going to off Dick with a silver knife in the body of this motel maid, all by himself.
When Sam and Dean arrive at the company, armed with Charlie technology with which they can see the whole security camera system, they first find that there is more than one Dick - quite a few more, actually, all acting exactly like him. This is of course because Dick used a hand that he cut off of the real Dick to regenerate and create more Dick bodies. Now, there is only one Leviathan leader and he can't divide himself into more than one body, so some other Leviathans have to act the part. Sure they would have the DNA of the original Dick so his mannerisms would be the same, but the other Leviathans have to act like their leader. How can they do that to perfection? I’d think it would be impossible - they are just not as smart.
Anyway, Sam and Dean are wondering who the real Dick is, when they see a truck parking across the street and Sam recognizes the maid from the motel. ISN’T THAT INCREDIBLE? What was that about dumbed down Sam in later seasons? Who even notices what a maid looks like except an exceptionally talented hunter with a crazy memory and observation skills? That is amazing.
SAM:Oh, no. Oh, Bobby, what are you doing?
DEAN:Wait. Are you saying that Bobby –
SAM:Look, just, uh, wait here.
DEAN:Are you out of your mind?
SAM:You got the weapon, and – and eyes on Dick, plural. I'll take care of Bobby. [He gets out of the car.]
I love him telling Dean to shut up as he jumps out of the car.
When he gets to Bobby, Bobby almost sounds like he doesn’t even recognize Sam, he is in such a craze. He also doesn’t care that all the security cameras would catch him and that he - or the maid - would be dead before he even reached Dick, not to mention, you can’t kill dick with a knife.
He’s just about to choke Sam to death when he sees himself in the reflection of the car behind Sam and stops himself just in time. Sam grabs the maid who’s lost consciousness and rushes over to the car.
Mission aborted. Back at the cabin. Sam is telling Dean that the maid is OK after a phone call to the hospital, and Meg’s asking why they came back for the sake of one maid. Sam explains that Dick made more Dicks and they couldn’t tell who was the real one.
Dean notices that Cas looks like he knows something and asks him, reminding him that Crowley had been sure that Cas could help.
DEAN:Hey, shifty, what's your problem?
CASTIEL:Do we need a cat? Doesn't this place feel one species short?
Again Cas feels uncomfortable with telling them what he knows and tries to talk about something else.
DEAN:You got anything to say on the topic of Dicks? Crowley was pretty sure that you could help.
CASTIEL:I can't help. You understand? I can't. I destroyed... everything, and I will destroy everything again. Can we please just leave it at that?
Then Cas tries to explain why he’s been acting like he has. He feels that because he destroyed everything before, he shouldn’t do anyting violent on the fear that he might destroy everything again. Dean’s patience runs thin.
DEAN:No. No, we can't.
DEAN:We can't leave it. You let these friggin' things in. So you don't get to make a sandwich. You don't get a damned cat. Nobody cares that you're broken, Cas. Clean up your mess!
Cas can’t handle the emotion though and he disappears, saying that they should play Twister.
MEG:Nice. You scared off the Empire's only hope.
MEG:It occur to you every one of those things was in Cas? He knows them. He can see past the meat suits.
SAM:So, he'll be able to spot the real... fake Dick Roman.
Meg thinks Dean scared him off, but he comes back quick with a Twister mat, all ready to play.
It’s possible that these games are a way for him not only to retreat into himself, but also consider the situation without panicking, because he has obviously been thinking a bit when Dean calls him and asks him to go on a little errand with him. I love this. Dean drawing Cas out with kindness, sort of apologizing for what he said earlier. I feel for Dean. His frustration with how Cas has changed and his inability to talk to him the way he used to, even though he knows that Cas is “sick” for reasons he can understand and empathize with - basically guilt for causing pain to others.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Sam and Dean actually leave Cas alone for a bit while they try to figure out how to know who is the real Dick. They have a hard time of it because they are all the real Dick’s body and they all have the same tells. Bobby suddenly appears, scaring them, but he reminds them that they still have the flask. He then tells them that he’s ready to go. He's done with being a vengeful spirit.
DEAN:So, what's it feel like?
BOBBY:What? Going vengeful? It's an itch you can't scratch out. Look... I'm done. Go get Dick. But don't do it 'cause you think it'll scratch the itch. Do it 'cause it's the job. And when it's your time... go.
And then we have that sad scene where they say good bye to Bobby for good. Although we don’t see Bobby burning up, we see Dean’s face light up with the glow. We also see Cas watching this happen on the stairs. So, Bobby leaves all three of them with an important lesson. Go get Dick but don't do it for revenge - do it because it's the job. And when you die, go peacefully.
Maybe this is one of the things that changes Cas' mind about "using violence" to help Sam and Dean.
So, back to Cas and Dean's little errand. They go to get Baby, because Dean has a plan on how to go in to Sucro Corp. Dean kindly thanks him for bringing him, and Cas tentatively asks,
CASTIEL:If we attack Dick and fail, then you and Sam die heroically, correct?
DEAN:I don't know. I guess.
CASTIEL:And at best, I die trying to fix my own stupid mistake. Or... I don't die – I'm brought back again. I see now. It's a punishment resurrection. It's worse every time.
DEAN:I'm sorry. Uh, we're talking about God crap, right?
CASTIEL:I'm not good luck, Dean.
DEAN:Yeah, but you know what? Bottom of the ninth, and you're the only guy left on the bench... Sorry, but I'd rather have you, cursed or not. And anyway, nut up, all right? We're all cursed. I seem like good luck to you?
CASTIEL:Well, I don't want to make you uncomfortable, but I detect a note of forgiveness.
DEAN:Yeah, well, I'm probably gonna die tomorrow, so...
CASTIEL:Well, I'll go with you. And I'll do my best.
Cas tells Dean he will help - maybe because this is sure to be a good thing. There is no way he’s going to ruin the world by doing this. He can help make Sam and Dean heroes, and if he's lucky he can sacrifice his life for the cause, to fix what he broke. Of course, he might be brought back but that would be a punishment for him.
Cas also talks about how he is bad luck, which reinforces that talk about how he destroys everything and the guilt for what he has done. And Dean reminds him that none of them are lucky. The note of forgiveness Cas hears is because Dean also thinks he might die tomorrow. Boy does this remind me of that little talk at Rufus’ grave in Season 6. :’)
Now that Cas is going with them, they have a much higher chance of actually killing Dick… and maybe getting out of there alive.
I also want to note though that while Cas and Dean are prepared to die here, Sam has shown that he at least is considering the possibility that they might be able to get out of there alive. He was the one worried about how they were going to get out AFTER they killed Dick. But maybe despite wanting to get out of there alive, he also expects one of them to die, just like they always seemed to do. And when Dean and Cas disappear, he actually does think that Dean must be dead. How could he NOT have died? WHY WOULD HE EXPECT DEAN TO BE ALIVE? That’s one way you can look at it anyway. And after Bobby's little lesson about going when it's time, he wouldn't try to get Dean back if he thought he was dead.
Next we see Baby on the road again - FINALLY <3<3 *CHEERS* But Dean’s not driving, at least for the last bit. It’s Meg. She’s agreed to go in with a bang all by herself which is nice… like, when did she agree to even help them get the Leviathan? Is she doing it for Cas? She must be. WHY? This is a pretty dangerous mission and if they die, there is no one to protect her from Crowley. But somehow she trusts that Cas and the boys will pull through, especially with Cas’ help. The other time Sam and Dean went to get Dick they were on their own. No help from Meg. It’s only when Cas gets involved and brings her back that she decides to help.
As she's walking away after killing some Levis, a couple of demons come and take her to Crowley.
Sam is on a mission to save Kevin. As soon as he finds him, he tells him that they have to leave.
But Kevin knows about the evil cream to kill thin people and won’t go until it’s blown up. What kind of badass is he?! LOL
Dean and Cas have gone around to each place the Dicks are located to find the real Levi leader and find him in the same lab that Sam and Kevin head to.
(Love Dean's face<3)
I love how they set up this scene, with Dean stabbing Dick in the chest first … with part of the righteous bone? Then Cas comes up from behind and holds Dick’s hair while Dean stabs Dick in the neck - severing the head as in the Tablet.
Dean tells Dick that they thought they had to take him off guard and that's neat I guess, but it makes more sense to me that they had to stab him in the neck - severing it from the body - but anyway Dick starts to pulse out and out and out.. And then suddenly sucks everything back in like a big tidal wave and suddenly implodes, splattering black goo all over the place. And Dean and Cas get blown to Purgatory, as we find out later.
Sam looks up to an empty room from covering Kevin, and Kevin’s like let’s get out of here, but they’re not fast enough. Crowley has a hold on Kevin and leaves Sam saying that Sam can take care of the rest of the Leviathan, now that the leader is dead. And when Sam demands to know where Dean is,
CROWLEY:That bone... has a bit of a kick. God weapons often do. They should put a warning on the box.
SAM:Where are they, Crowley?!
CROWLEY:Can't help you, Sam.
And poor Sam is left all by himself and he looks at a loss.
I’m not sure at this point whether Crowley knows that Dean is in Purgatory or not. I feel like he probably doesn’t but is happy Dean is gone because Dean and Sam together are formidable, but Sam by himself, he thinks he can handle.
Cas wakes Dean up and tells him he’s in Purgatory. When Dean asks how they are going to get out, Cas tells him they are much more likely to be killed, and then disappears (so that he can protect Dean from the monsters hunting him). Dean also is left all alone and looks at a loss.
There are interesting parallels here and I guess that’s one way to end a season, wondering how both Sam and Dean are going to deal with this “alone-ness.” I'm sort of glad that it isn't as devastating as the other finales... especially considering what is coming up in Season 9.