This started off as an exploration in whether or not by virtue of the, using vessels, entities in Supernatural engage in dub or non con by default. Somehow it ended up as an Destiel manifesto of sorts. I’m
Is there a polite way to date while wearing a meat suit?
There are more than a few things in Supernatural that require suspension of disbelief, it’s something expected of any genre show, and Supernatural is no different. Loki is really the Arch Angel Gabriel attempting to get a break from his warring siblings, or a Golem is under the command of a college boy and former high school stoner, or that two boys from Kansas are not only the basis for the next Gospels but that both have survived Hell. Like any other genre show, fans actively engage in transformative fanworks often involving Shipping- relationships between characters that can be platonic or romantic, based on canon or fanlore. An issue that occurred to me after watching 8×17 Goodbye Stranger and hearing the refrain of ‘it’s practically canon!’ from my fellow Destiel shippers and the newly converted Meg/Castiel (Megstiel if you will) shippers all over tumblr; and that is it OK to date while possessing someone or as Supernatural so lovingly refers to it, wearing a meatsuit?
There’s four kinds of possession in Supernatural:
Spiritual- Spiritual possession takes place when the deceased do not move on, and instead occupies a person or object. One of the first possessions we see of this kind is 1×05 Bloody Mary, where a murdered woman possesses mirrors. In season 7 we have one of our most notable spiritual posessions where Bobby occupies a flask and in episodes 22 and 23- There will be Blood and Survival of the Fittest, respectively- Bobby possesses a woman in an effort to track Dick Roman, leader of the Leviathan.
Demonic- Arguably the most common we see in Supernatural one notable possession is that of the Yellow Eyed Demon Azazel who possesses bodies in 4×03 in order to make 10 year deals, and who not only possesses the Winchester’s grandfather, Samuel Winchester, but who gives an infant Sam some of his Demon blood.
Monster- Monster possession first shows up in Season 6, the Leviathan being the most prevalent, they take control of Castiel’s vessel in 7×02 Hello Cruel World and cause it to deteriorate.
Angelic- Angels differ from the other forms of possession as they require vessels from anointed bloodlines and the explicit consent of the body’s owner before they can occupy a body.
The requirement of Angels to have their vessels consent to occupation is important, and I think most shippers operate on the premise that in giving consent to Angels, may imply the vessel consents to anything the Angel may want to use it for. I believe how an entity came to use their vessel plays a big role in whether or not how they use it matters. I’ll start with Meg since she appears first in the series.
When we first meet Meg it’s in 1×11 Scarecrow however we don’t see her true Demonic nature until 1×21 Salvation. When Lilith breaks Lucifer’s seals in 4×02 Are you there G-d? It’s Dean. Dean is confronted with the vengeful ghost of Meg Masters, who gives insight as to what it was like to be possessed, telling him she was awake during the possession and that she witnessed and endured horrorfic things. Now while she could have just been saying that because vengeance was making want Dean to feel as guilty as possible, and it would affect him the most knowing someone was crying out for help and he didn’t save them, but I’m inclined to believe she was telling the truth. The next time we see the Black Eyed Demon now referred to as Meg, it is in the body of an aspiring actress from Michigan, a vessel she keeps until her presumed demise in Season 8. Given that the previous body Meg occupied was fully aware, the torture Meg endures in her most enduring vessel is even more sinister.
Though Angelic possession is different in nature, it still throughs up questions. While a vessel consents to possession are they consenting to everything an Angel might use it for? Take Castiel
for example, he chooses Jimmy Novak because he is of the bloodline of Ishmael which makes him able understand the Angelic language of Enochian. Jimmy’s strong Christian faith also makes him ideal as he is open to belief in the very existence of Angels. Castiel first test Jimmy’s faith, notably making him put his hand in boiling water. After Jimmy is threatened with an ultimatum that he get psychiatric help, Jimmy prays to Castiel asking him to take his body, while yes it is consent one could argue that he was under duress. When we meet Jimmy in 4×20 the Rapture, he reveals that nis experience is unpleasant, in fact he likens it to being chained to a comet and expresses a yearning for his old family life back. He tells the Winchesters “I’ve been shot, stabbed, and healed, and my body has been dragged all over the Earth. By some miracle I’m out, and I’m done. I’ve given enough…”. Of course it’s not that simple, Demons associate Jimmy’s body with Castiel and attack his family, possessing his wife. Jimmy gives up his body a second time to ensure his family’s safety but again does the circumstance take away his ability to freely say yes? Castiel tells him that his situatiom will likely not improve that “if the last year was painful” , he should “picture a hundred, a thousand more like it”. Jimmy’s “it doesn’t matter…just take me” is less of a yes and more of an ‘I give up’. This makes things tricky if you ship Destiel pre season 5.
There is hope, I believe for shippers though. As we see with Crowley and Angels like Gabriel who seem to have possessed their vessels for centuries, at some point the ratio of owner to occupier swings in the balance of the occupying entity. Using Castiel’s case as an example, in 4 x22 Jimmy’s body and Castiel is destroyed by Raphael following Castiel’s rebellion against Heaven; however when Castiel is resurrected by G-d in 5 x01 Sympathy for the Devil, he is in Jimmy’s body. We can assume that some of Jimmy’s essence is present because his affinity for red meat causes Castiel to consume hundreds of burgers in 5×14 My Bloody Valentine. After this however there is no mention of Jimmy, and I take the phonecall in 5×21 between Dean and Castiel, where Castiel refers to the doctors thinking the body brain dead to indicate that only the essence of Jimmy remained in the body and he himself was not fully present. Considering Castiel is again destroyed in 5×22 Swan Song and resurrected in Jimmy’s body, to me means that Castiel is binded to his vessel with Jimmy’s essence anchoring him. In the case of Meg, considering the demon occupied the body longer than Castiel the same might be true, but considering there was no initial consent the owner of the body may make binding to a body harder.
What does this mean for shippers? Well I believe a major factor in the canonical relationship between Castiel and Dean progressing relates to the ownership Castiel has over Jimmy’s body. Remember Dean has experienced Meg Master’s possession as a horrific experience, something echoed by Jimmy when he is free of Castiel. Considering Dean’s attachment issues it would be hard to get attached to a form he views as temporary. For shippers writing pre 4×22 there is the opportunity to explore an OT3 relationship between Jimmy/Castiel/Dean, however if we are sticking with canon I think post apocalypse both Dean and Castiel see his vessel as permanent and Castiel is comfortable in it. I highly doubt Jimmy could survive Naomi’s ‘fixing’ of Castiel in season 8 which in turn clears a more guilt free path for a canon relationship between Castiel and Dean if it’s the end game intended.