8x17 // 9x18
Both Goodbye Stranger and Meta Fiction were written by Robbie Thompson, and directed by Thomas J. Wright. It’s no coincidence then that were were several common themes shared by these two episodes.
They were stark contrasts to one another in many ways, with Dean and Cas seemingly having switched places at this stage. In Goodbye Stranger, it is Cas who is being controlled by Naomi; in Meta Fiction, Dean is being changed by the Mark of Cain. In Goodbye Stranger, Cas leaves Dean standing in a crypt; in Meta Fiction, Dean leaves Cas standing in a parking lot.
Throughout season 8, and the first half of season 9, it was Dean who showed great concern for Cas and his wellbeing. Now, it is Cas who is showing great concern for Dean. They know each other so well, and they can sense when something is not right. Dean knew Cas wasn’t right when he got back from Purgatory, and Cas sensed right away that there was something different about Dean after seeing him for the first time since he took on the Mark of Cain.
Both episodes end with music being switched on, followed by somber car rides with Sam looking concerned after he knows Dean has had incredibly emotionally draining moments with Cas.
The song that plays at the end of Goodbye Stranger is the episode’s namesake:
Goodbye stranger it’s been nice
Hope you find your paradise
Tried to see your point of view
Hope your dreams will all come true
Goodbye Mary, Goodbye Jane
Will we ever meet again
Feel no sorrow, feel no shame
Come tomorrow, feel no pain
In Meta Fiction, the song The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore plays as the episode comes to a conclusion:
Loneliness is the coat you wear
A deep shade of blue is always there
The sun ain’t gonna shine anymore
The moon ain’t gonna rise in the sky
Tears are always clouding your eyes
When you’re without love
Both incredibly fitting songs, the first about a wayward lover, the second about deep abiding loneliness. It’s also interesting that the song playing in Meta Fiction contains the lyrics “I need you”, which as we all know is something Dean said to Cas in Goodbye Stranger. I know many of us have been wanting a reverse crypt scene, and I think last night we at least got part of one, in a way. Only this time, with a lot less violence, and far more love and concern on Cas’ part. Perhaps this is an indicator of things to come. Perhaps this is an indicator that the angel who knows Dean so well will be the one to break the connection next time.