My dearest Collectors, I had written you a 1000 word review of magnificence and great depth and then…
Sometimes I hate the internet.
But really, the most important information about Robbie Thompson’s “Angel Heart” can be gleaned from this very humorous yet apropos tweet from
the Overlord Misha Collins.
Okay, so yes, this is an adorable and comic edit of an adorable BTS photo, but actually it’s so much more. Normally, this is the part where I’d wax eloquent on the plot’s synopsis, but since Metatron killed my words (really, my computer’s name is Metatron), let’s talk about the most important theme in episode 10×20: family.
Yes, family in this case refers to so much more than the Winchesters. Opening scene: Jimmy and Amelia Novak. Next scene: Claire trying to locate a lost parent. Hmmm…this sure sounds familiar. A young, angry teen upset over the supernatural demise of one parent, desperately searching for clues as to the whereabouts of their living one?
Might be something we’ve seen before.
Throughout the episode, Claire’s assertions of independence are countered by the Winchesters’ desire to help her find Amelia. Claire realises that she needs their help, but is reluctant to admit it. Eventually, they reach a balance: she agrees to their help as long as they recognise that she’s her own person and doesn’t plan on sticking around once she’s with Amelia. As soon as the tenuous agreement is made, we see a new dynamic appear amongst the four. It does, indeed, feel like Claire with her two fathers and uncle (or possibly older brother?).
The Eternally Paternal Dean Winchester
The most obvious parental guide in the episode is Dean. He protects and mentors Claire (at one point he even introduces her to a sheriff as his daughter), but also realises that she is not a child and can (and should) be included in the search for her mother. He doesn’t talk down to her, and even takes her on a pretty standard parent/child outing to mini-golf. The scene when Dean hands Claire the gun before he takes her with him to confront the Gregori angel was fairly reminiscent of my relationship with my own father, who did something very similar for me on my eighteenth birthday (except we went to a shooting range and not on a hunt for the supernatural).
Dean’s quickly found bond with Claire isn’t so surprising when we think about how good he is with children. We first saw it in 1×03 “Dead in the Water,” when he was able to connect with a child that wouldn’t speak to anyone else. We saw it again with Ben, and we see it now with Claire. Yes, “Angel Heart” showcased the paternal side of the older Winchester, and while the cuteness of his and Claire’s interactions made us “awww,” it also reminded me that Dean is so good at being a father because that’s what he’s been for Sammy. What he doesn’t know is how to be a brother.
The Awkwardly Parental Castiel
Cas is awkward around humanity, and that’s a big part of the reason we love him. How can you not love an adorkable angel? We’ve watched Castiel fumble his way through a lot of firsts and a lot of awkward social situations, and now we see him interact with his vessel’s teenaged daughter.
It’s right that Castiel feels responsible and protective for Claire. It’s true that everything that’s happened to her is his fault, but in “Angel Heart” we really see that his attachment to the girl extends far beyond his sense of responsibility. He cares about Claire, and if you didn’t giggle and clutch a pillow to your chest when he gave Claire a badly-wrapped Grumpy Cat from the “Hot Topical,” you didn’t understand that was Cas being a parent. An awkward, emotionally-stilted parent, but what parent isn’t awkward around their teenaged daughter? It’s okay, Cas, my father didn’t know how to talk to me when I was eighteen either.
In the end, Castiel is unable to permanently reunite Claire with Amelia, but the wayward girl is able to get closure with her mother, and Amelia is able to be reunited with Jimmy in heaven. In an incredibly touching moment, Amelia tells Jimmy that their daughter has grown up to be “so strong,” and part of me wonders if Amelia was acknowledging Castiel’s influence in all of their lives.
The “Cool” Big Brother Sam
I don’t think of Sam as an uncle to Claire, but more of like the cool older brother who teaches her all the awesome ways to do illegal shit and not get caught.
Now, I may be biased because my own older brother is as tall as Moose and also taught me…computer shortcuts. Like Dean and Castiel, he is also protective of Claire, but it’s a different kind of protective. He’s the first to recognise how to connect with her is not to exclude her from the hunt, but rather to teach her useful things that will help her find her mother. He connects with her through her interests, by teaching her things that she might think are fascinating (like hacking into her mom’s credit card statements).
To make a comparison: at my most troubled point in my childhood, it was my older brother who found a way to talk to me, to build a bridge between my parents and myself. This is what Sam does when he finds Claire. He is the bridge between her and Castiel, and later, her and Dean. Would Claire have trusted Dean if Sam weren’t around? Probably not.
At the end of “Angel Heart,” after Amelia’s death, the Winchesters and Castiel decide with Claire that the safest place for her is at the home of Sheriff Jody Mills, who had taken in another wayward teenaged girl in “Alex Annie Alexis Ann.” Sam and Dean send Claire off with Life Advice from the Winchesters, and Castiel receives a hug, which in teenaged girl speak translates to, “You’re pretty awesome for a father figure.”
This is where Misha’s tweet was right: Claire’s story is the spin-off we’ve been waiting for. Last season, “Bloodlines” gave us a shoddy and shallow rewrite of a pilot we’ve already seen, but “Angel Heart” gives us a character we’ve grown to care about and introduces her to the hunting lifestyle in a way that intrigues us, and its ending leaves Claire’s future with Jody Mills and Alex open to interpretation. In fact, a movement has begun on the interwebs for a spin-off about Supernatural’s Wayward Daughters.
A series devoted to Claire and Alex kicking ass in Jody’s home turf? A Supernatural spin-off about characters we already know and like? A new show that would pass the Bechdel Test on a weekly basis?
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