So it turns out I have WiFi after all. Here, have a meta.
I’m sure that a lot of people watching Season Ten’s penultimate episode, The Prisoner, connected the final scene, with Dean beating up Cas, to the crypt scene of Season Eight’s Goodbye Stranger, where Cas beats up Dean.
The parallels are clear- the one doing the hurting is under some kind of mind control (in Goodbye Stranger, it’s brainwashing, and in The Prisoner, it’s the Mark of Cain), and the one being hurt is simply trying to snap them out of it- not to fight back.
That person ends up covered in blood, a hair away from a violent death, before the other regains some measure of control over themselves.
The question is, why would they choose to mirror the crypt scene? Clearly the positions are reversed- whereas in Season Eight Cas was the powerful one, in Season Ten Dean is in the position of power.
It isn’t the first reversed scenario that’s appeared in Season Nine or Ten. I’ve written here about Sam’s ABHL death scene being mirrored in Do You Believe In Miracles, with Dean taking his place. Then there’s these two scenes, of course- and also the ‘close your eyes’ scene of Brother’s Keeper, which mirrors the final scene of Swan Song.
The reversal of power between Cas and Dean in Season Ten was also stressed in Black. Cas and Demon Dean are both filmed flopping back in bed; with Dean, however, it’s an expression of his virility, whereas Cas is bedridden thanks to weakness. They also both ‘flash’ (to Crowley and Hannah respectively)- with Dean it’s purposeful, whereas Cas is accidentally exposed.
It only highlights Dean’s strength and Cas’s weakness- they perform the same actions, but Dean manages to make them expressions of masculinity.
And Sam in this episode is an entirely different kettle of fish- he fluctuates between strength and weakness. The episode begins with him torturing a demon and ends with him tied to a chair with Cole standing over him and grinning maniacally. Watching Season Ten Sam is like seeing a H-bomb explode in slow motion- kind of like Season Four Sam, except less permanently pissed off.
In the early seasons, it was Sam who had something dark and evil inside him, and Dean who was the reason for his surrender as well as the person who stopped him surrendering ultimately. Dean, in Swan Song, saved Sam even as he literally damned him- Sam was saved by the action of going to Hell.
And in Season Nine and Season Ten, it becomes clear that, as if by saving Sam, the burden of being infected by evil has passed to Dean’s shoulders. The burden of mind control has, too, passed from Cas to Dean. Destiny has not been changed, only shifted from one Winchester to another- it is Dean who has the connection to Lucifer now, not Sam- and from one guardian angel to another- after Dean saved Cas from Naomi’s mind control, it is as if that destiny was transferred to him too.
It raises the question, did the Winchesters ever really escape?
And then of course they did, finally, in Brother’s Keeper. They destroyed the balance of the universe by letting the Darkness loose. When all the signs had been saying Dean would kill Sam- it was constantly foreshadowed- Dean even defeated the destiny depicted by their own subtext.
It looks like Team Free Will has finally broken out of Destiny’s bonds. And it’s not going to be pretty.