This Supernatural article contains MAJOR spoilers.
For Supernatural, it’s a tale as old as time: Things are chaotic with no solution in sight and an apocalypse on the horizon. When everything seems hopeless, a path emerges, one where sacrifice is the only solution. Supernatural is known for this and we have watched on for years as Dean, Sam, and Cas sacrificed for each other and ultimately come out on top despite things looking grim.
This time, Supernatural went a little too far with Castiel’s sacrifice for Dean and the rest of the SPN Family. Not that what Cas did was wrong. It was all sorts of right and what they do for each other because: family. But Castiel’s confession to Dean, that changed things and made it more than a sacrifice. It made it a stand out moment that will be remembered for years to come.
Castiel, knowing that he had only moments left with Dean, laid it all bare and told his best friend about his feelings. Some might try to paint this as Castiel telling his friend, his brother, how much he matters to him as family. But the tears, the words, and the conviction in his voice, they told a different story. One where Castiel knew what he wanted but unfortunately could not have because time had run out.
Our favorite angel made sure that Dean knew that he was special, admired, and thought of in the highest regards despite all the darkness that Dean thinks is wrapped around his heart and life. Castiel told Dean that his life was better for knowing the hunter. And he told Dean, with tears streaming down his face, that he loved him. That right here, broke the fandom and left Destiel shippers floored and with more questions than answers about this culminating moment.
What it means for Destiel shippers.
Take a little stroll through the Destiel tag over on Twitter or Tumblr and the reaction to Castiel’s confession of love is a mixed bag with Supernatural fans. Some, still wear rose colored heteronormative glasses where they only see heterosexual vibes between Castiel and Dean. They think that this was an “I love you” between friends/brothers who knew that this would be the last time they’d see each other. They think of it as platonic, yet lovely.
For Destiel shippers, Castiel’s confession felt like the pinnacle of years of build up and chemistry between the angel and hunter. It felt like validation for seeing something between them that was more than friends or brothers in arms. And that feeling of recognition on Supernatural, made fans feel acknowledged and seen in a way the show has never done for the LGBTQ+ community besides the occasional Charlie storyline.
It also made the queer community very mad. After all these years, this is the end of their story and the journey they were on? We’re supposed to accept Castiel torn open and honest, pouring out his heart to Dean, before dying right in front of his best friend straight out of the Bury Your Gays trope guidebook? It doesn’t seem fair and like what we deserve as viewers of Supernatural and as queer fans of this show.
If anything, it makes us look back at the show with a more critical eye. Because Castiel was a well-developed queer icon. Sure, he didn’t go around waving a rainbow flag and participated in Pride, but he was queer-coded from the very start, particularly because he’s an angel. If we learned anything from Lucifer Morningstar from Netflix’s Lucifer, they don’t see sex or gender. They see people.
And Castiel, he saw Dean. He saw Dean for the strong, kind, and considerate man he was and he fell in love with him because of it. That’s what makes his death hurt even more for Destiel shippers everywhere. The potential was there from the very start and Supernatural wasted every opportunity to make them into something more because they wanted to play it safe and not acknowledge what was clear to shippers from the very start: they were meant for each other.
Where do we go from here?
With two episodes left, it’s hard to nail down where we go from here when it comes to Destiel. There’s a small chance that Castiel is not dead and that he will come back. After all, this is Supernatural, aka the show that brings everyone back one time or another. But with the finale around the corner, there’s also a chance that this is it for Destiel.
Dean will most likely not get an opportunity to process his feelings and for us to see if he returns them because the end of the world is right around the corner and his friend is gone. And it feels like narrative highway robbery to not give Dean the time to contemplate how he feels about Castiel after so many years together as family and friends. He deserves better than the mere moments given on Supernatural’s “Despair.”
The only respite, show wise, is that Supernatural might have an ace up their sleeve. Maybe they have a twist, ready to wow unsuspecting fans of the show and the ship? But the chances of that being so are slim because of the amount of episodes left and the conviction, honesty, and power of Castiel’s confession needing more than that many episodes to tell a satisfying story. And that’s where fanfiction comes through.
Talented authors and creators will take the confession in Supernatural‘s “Despair” and give Dean a chance to reciprocate or explore his feelings for Cas. And it sucks to think that, after all these years, this is what the Destiel fandom has to resort to, but we’ve felt the pain of disappointment when it comes to LGBTQ+ stories being cut short or not given the time of the day on Supernatural.
We, members of the SPN Family and Destiel shippers alike, will use our words to explore what Supernatural missed out on. We’ll craft the scenes, explore feelings, and come up with the kind of dialogue that Destiel deserved after all these years. Because until TV shows and films realize that we want more than queerbaiting, we’ll have to craft our own stories and give Castiel and Dean the ending they deserve.