Absence is a tribute to Samantha Smith’s character of Mary/Momma Winchester. To quote angel Duma,”She is complete.” Whether you care for Mary or not, the series takes us as a whole from her early days as a hunter through her death at the will of Yellow eyes, her revivification through the benevolence of Amara, her reunification with her sons, her abilities as a hunter, her libido,and her accidental death at the unskilled whim of Jack, a nephilim who has a questionable future, to the end with John in Heaven,although there is no scene. Take the word of Cas on this one. Her arc resolves as her sons mourn her with a hunter’s pyre using a shell of Mary. Finality.
Mary’s end is foreseeable as she starts her goodbye tour in “Game Night”. The scenes alone with Dean and Sam and then the hunt with Jack alone, are the death bell ringing for her. The direction and editing in the black and white memories of Mary as she navigates her distrust of angels with Cas, explains her distance from her sons with Dean while driving Baby, and her openness with Sam are all inserted at just the correct moments in this script. The editing process must have been a difficult task at least to make it all fit within the time limit and have some current story to tell. The overhead scene at the funeral says it all. The most heartfelt scene,imo, is Ca’s attempt to comfort Dean at the funeral and Sam’s arm just holding him back. He knows what Dean does not need at this moment. It is private. Absence of words or gestures. Sam places a picture of young Mary into the fire. It’s Sam’s goodbye. Not that they have many pictures to remember her by, but it is symbolic of her journey with Sam. It has ended. This arc is done.
Dean telling Cas,”you are dead to me” is emotional and a replay of an earlier season(6?), but the drama tampers down when in Sam’s maturity he acknowledges that he too chose to ignore the signs Jack has an issue. Dean admits that he ignored Donatello’s warning as well, although it was not the strongest of warnings, but it should have been enough to keep a closer watch. This thread provides a way for the writers to include Cas in the Winchesters’ adventures to come and surely he is not happy, so the Empty can wait a bit for him. Personally, the scene falls flat despite the drama because Dean has said this to Cas before and there is always a way. How can he blame Cas when he too only wanted to have hope for Jack. His doubts were hindered by his paternal love for Jack. It is not that Cas, Dean or Sam saw bad in Jack, they just did not see the absence of good. Yes,killing the snake should have been a shared concern, but then the writers couldn’t have used that dramatic line. Does it add to the episode? Time will tell what the relationship between Cas and Dean becomes or not.
Cas’ line about not seeing the absence of good is the best line in the episode. Strangely, it is the most human line. The brothers do what they always do when they lose someone close. Consistent. The loss of Mary fuels the Winchesters, much the same as her loss fueled John’s pursuit of the yellow eyed demon. There is symmetry afoot. However, the viewer has come to accept Jack as a Winchester so this is just as hard for the viewer as it will be for Sam and Dean to pursue him. This is how writers plan an arc and draw in the audience.Jack knows he is a target. Survival is instinctive. He knows he can never be the same with the Winchesters so will he fight to survive and at what cost? Does he have anything left in the tank for his “family?” Is it enough to save him?
Jack may have some conscience left because he feels the loss of Mary or guilt or at least acknowledges it was a wrong reaction. So how much if any of his soul is left? Using Luci/Nick as the voice of his conscience is a great move. It connects Jack back to Lucifer while connecting the viewer back to season 7 when the levee broke in Sam’s brain. When Sam had no soul, he did some awful things as well but these acts were not personal to Dean and so forgiveness ensued once Dean got all of Sam back. The paternal instincts are not limited to Dean . Dean knows he has to save the world from the most powerful being on the planet who cannot control his own powers, but he shares this task with Sam and will only go forward if Sam signs on to the disposal of Jack. A question which will be answered shortly.
It is the absence of Mary that Sam and Dean and Cas must compartmentalized and do what they always do. Save the world. Carry on. Is the absence of good but not evil justification to go after Jack? Whether intentional or not the show provokes the question as to how much we may choose to ignore in the world because it is not really bad, but just lacks good? Absence. Now knowing the finale of the series is ahead, how do we prepare for the absence of our on screen heroes? How do we prepare for anyone’s absence? Does knowing the finish line has been painted for the Winchester change how the writers portray them? Carry on. Thoughts?