I’d like to start this sort of remix meta of an old meta of mine on the same topic with a line from a „The Doors“ song. Not just any song, but a song called „The End“. A song, which is going to be as much a topic of this meta as will be the lead singer of the band: Jim Morrison. As the title suggests though, I won’t just write about „The Doors“ as a huge fan of their music, but how the song „The End“ and Jim Morrison as a person and the lifestyle he led, might have served as an inspiration while creating endverse and 2014!Cas. Of course I don’t know, what Ben Edlund’s exact sources or inspirations were, when writing this episode, so from here on out, it really is more about how I personally think the song „The End“ and Jim Morrison as a person relate very well to who the characters – Cas in particular – have become in 2014 and how a piece of music actually sums up the whole tragedy of one of my personal all time favourite episodes SPN has every created.
„The End“ was written by Jim Morrison and was included on „The Doors’“ debut album with the same name, that was published in 1967 (of course I have to think about the fun coincidence of a certain Impala rolling of the line in the very same year). It’s an almost 12 minute long psychedelic, eerie sounding epos, which Morrison described as a goodbye song (you can listen to it HERE), though he later said, the song changed its meaning almost every time he sang it – I personally think the song is largely about death, which is a topic Morrison has seemingly been fascinated by and was sort of ~obsessed with in major ways, like many other „The Doors’“ songs show as well:
“Everytime I hear that song, it means something else to me. It started out as a simple good-bye song… Probably just to a girl, but I see how it could be a goodbye to a kind of childhood. I really don’t know. I think it’s sufficiently complex and universal in its imagery that it could be almost anything you want it to be.”
- Jim Morrison
I really like the way he talks about the lyrics and their meaning here (not just because once again it is a cas of the „author being dead and open for any interpretation“ in a Roland Barthes sort of way of thinking about literature). Especially, because I personally always felt like it might have been a very deliberate choice by the writers to call 5x04 „The End“, because it opens up a whole new set of possible readings of the episode. Let’s take a look at some of the lyrics:
„This is the end
This is the end
My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I’ll never look into your eyes…again
Can you picture what will be
So limitless and free
Desperately in need…of some…stranger’s hand
In a…desperate land“
I personally feel like those three verses actually fit very well to the bleakness and hopelessness in which endverse is presented to the audience. In away it’s a goodbye to innocence as well. Dean is barely recognisable anymore, he is just a shell of himself. But he is not the only one broken, there is also a former angel, who is only able to take this new world and also the person, he once rescued from hell, has become, while operating under a constant haze of drugs and alcohol. Which fits nicely with the lyrics of the song also seemingly alluding to quite a bit of drug use:
„C’mon baby, take a chance with us
And meet me at the back of the blue bus
Doin’ a blue rock
On a blue bus“
More on Fallen!Cas an the possibility of him being based or inspired my the lead singer of „The Doors“ in a bit. Let’s take a look at „The End“ (the song) some more before. As much as this song seems to be about dying/death, to me it also kind of captures the notion of “going to war”. In the sense of leaving and not knowing whether you will return or not. And that is something that brings me to
The End, the Apocalypse and Apocalypse Now
You see, the lyrics of “The End” alone, to me already capture the mood of endverse really well. What is interesting especially in relation to the notion of „going to war“ though is, that „The End“ was also used in Francis Ford Coppolla’s war (or rather anti-war) movie „Apocalypse Now“ from 1979. While “apocalypse” in the movie relates to the horrors of the vietnam war and on SPN is very much about the actualy biblical apocalypse, there are interesting similarities here. In 5x04 „The End“ the world is at war – hell, we even have the visual of soldiers drinking and killing croats in the very beginning of the episode set to „The Contours’“ „Do You Love Me“ - which btw will always be one of the most chill inducing scenes to me and also one of the most memorable and best song choices I think they made on SPN since pretty much everybody knows this song from „Dirty Dancing“, well and in „The End“ it’s all pretty much a dance with death, not an expression of passion or love, but rather shows how the situation caused many people to switch off their humanity – not just Dean) – Dean, Cas and the other suvivors at Camp Chitaqua are at war. Fighting against Lucifer and the croatoan virus and in the end (no pun intended) being lead to Lucifer’s hide out not knowing whether they’ll return from their mission or whether they’ll die. I actually happen to think Cas might have known Dean’s plan, but kept going with him nonetheless, even if it meant certain death. Maybe it was sort of a comfort for him (just reminding here again, that those are just loose ideas and my thoughts, I don’t claim those ideas to be right), which reminds me of something Jim Morrsion said about fear, death and pain and which serves as a nice stepping stone to the third and last part of this meta.
Jim Morrison, Mr. Mojo Rising and an Angel, Who Lost His Mojo
“Sometimes the pain is too much to examine, or even tolerate… That doesn’t make it evil, though – or necessarily dangerous. But people fear death even more than pain. It’s strange that they fear death. Life hurts a lot more than death. At the point of death, the pain is over. Yeah – I guess it is a friend…”
- Jim Morrison
To me, this quote actually kind of sums up how I perceive Cas’ state of mind in endverse. He’s is desperate. He himself says:
„I’m powerless, I’m hapless and hopeless and why the hell not bury myself in women and decadence?“
Our favourite angel is not good at all. In fact, like I mentioned earlier, the situation in general, but I personally think his broken relationship with Dean as well, has him struggling with thoughts of being useless after losing his powers and thinking he has no true place any longer („I used to belong to a much better club“). That being said, the way Misha portrayed 2014!Cas (or how Edlund wrote this version of Castiel) to me has some interesting similarities with – or may have been inspired by – Mr. Mojo Rising (Morrison often used this anagram when he referred to himself). And damn, doesn’t this fit well with an angel, who lost his mojo?
But it’s of course not just because of that, that I feel like Jim Morrison as a singer, poet and personality might have influenced the writers (or maybe actually more Misha in the way he portrayed that version of Cas - actually that would be an interesting question to ask at a panel… Maybe I should ask him that at JIB this year… If there are any fictional characters or real people, he based 2014!Cas on) in creating 2014!Cas. Because you see, Jim Morrison has been said to have been an extremely charismatic person, a womanizer. Someone, who was interested in the „native american culture“ as well as „spirituality“ and has often been called a “shaman”. He was not just well known as a singer, songwriter and poet, but also because - maybe even more so in the public eye - of his excessive lifestyle. He did have a big love for alcohol and a whole bunch of other drugs. All of this reminds me quite a bit of how 2014!Cas goes about human life, though I think the reasons for his drug use are fairly different from Morrison’s. Ignoring that though I think there are a few interesting parallels one could draw from “Mr. Mojo Rising” and “Mr. No More Mojo”. At Camp Chitaqua Cas has taken the place of the „spritual leader“ if you will. If Morrison to his fans was a shaman, believing to know deeper thruths about life due to him exploring and engaging with native american culture, etc., then Cas could very much be seen as someone, who the people at Camp Chitaqua went to for ~spiritual guidance as well due to him being a former angel and knowing more about life than the ~ordinary person. Then there is the thing about Morrison being a womanizer. Rumours have it that by the time of this death, there were allegedly over 20 paternity suits filled against him from his many one night stands with his groupies and flings. Fallen!Cas sure liked to have his fair share of sex if his line of „getting washed up for the orgy“ is any indication. And then of course there is the thing about drug use. Like Cas states himself he is „generally stoned“, he is popping pills and chases them down with absinth.
And in the end, even though this doesn’t really have that much to do with 5x04 as an episode and Morrison’s music and writing or anything, they shared the same fate: They both did not survive. Morrison has always been fascinated by death, so maybe he was welcoming it and maybe Cas was welcoming it a bit as well… After all…
"Death makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as ravens claws."
- Jim Morrison