May 26

Meg, Her Cause, and Her Unicorn

Originally published March 21 2013 on Tumblr.

Some musing about Meg and her character development from Season 5 onward, in light of “Goodbye Stranger.”

I love Meg. But I have never seen her character arc as redemption; or evil becoming good. And I don’t think she was weakened.  I think her story has always been one of a character with absolute devotion to her cause. Along the way, her world got complicated and her ways of serving that cause changed. But Meg was always about the mission. She lived for it, and she died for it. And Castiel? He was a reflection of the complexity and messiness of her world, from the other side.

Do you ever miss the Apocalypse?  I miss the simplicity. I was bad, you were good, life was easier. Now it’s all so messy. I’m kinda good, which sucks. And you’re kinda bad, which is actually all manner of hot.

This quote is interesting, in that it points out the (apparent) change in Meg’s character from Season 5. Meg does describe herself here as “kinda good,” but I don’t think that means she is actually good, or that she has been redeemed and is on the side of capital-G good. (Does that kind of Good even exist in the spn-‘verse?  I don’t think so. Also, a note: when I talk about Good and Bad here, I am using the terms as general identifiers, not as an indication of what a particular character values.) I think she’s actually talking about how the cause she is currently serving requires her to do “good” things, to work with “the good side.” She’s clearly uncomfortable with this, and clearly still prioritizes “bad” as better. This is shown by her characterization of her goodness as something that “sucks,” and Castiel’s badness as “all manner of hot.” Of course, this last bit segues into a bit of Meg/Cas, but in terms of the previous part of this quote, it also serves to point out that Meg’s priorities haven’t really changed. She likes Cass because he isn’t all good and pure.

Things have gotten messy since the Apocalypse, and Meg is uncomfortable with this. Nothing’s clear for her anymore. Before, at least as Meg saw it, things were clear. There was Bad, and there was Good, and she was Bad. But then the Apocalypse happened, and Lucifer got trapped again, and everything got complicated. Turns out angels have a dark side and even the “good” ones are as capable of mass murder and torture and betrayal as any demon. And sometimes demons have to be a little “good” to get what they want. It’s interesting to wonder what Ruby would have thought of Meg, with her idea of how “simple” things were. Or, for that matter, what Meg thought of Ruby. Ruby said that no one else knew what she was doing, and yet it’s Azazel we see speak directly to Lucifer. Meg was close to Azazel, and presumably knew the endgame of his plan. Meg’s not around in Season 3 or 4, so we don’t know what they thought of each other.

We can clearly see that the (aborted) Apocalypse is the catalyst for Meg’s change. Let’s look at the last time we see her in Season 5—Abandon All Hope.  She’s with Lucifer—in fact, in this episode at least she seems to be his right-hand woman. The Apocalypse is here, Lucifer is freed, and it’s Meg’s version of Heaven on Earth. She works with Lucifer, brings out the hellhounds and sics them on the Winchesters and Harvelles, and is generally her normal self.  Her conversation with Cass when he’s in the ring of fire is somewhat reminiscent of Ruby’s last speech to Sam; it shows how she values a world where Lucifer is in charge. Neither of them wants Lucifer free because he’s going to do Bad Things, but rather because they think it’s what’s right. For Meg, Lucifer is her Creator, her Father, and her God. She believes he loves her, because he created her. And she’s going to do everything to make sure the story ends the right way.

So at that point, we still have our “normal” Meg. Then the Apocalypse gets cancelled. I see her appearance in Season 6–”Caged Heat” as her in a kind of transition. She’s starting to understand how messy everything is now. She’s still somewhat her old self in this episode—threatening Sam and Dean—but she’s also willing to work with them. The situation is presented as “she’s only working with them because that’s the only way she can get what she needs.”  Yet there are some parts that show she’s starting to see how messy and complicated everything is. She’s siding with the Winchesters against other demons—not just Crowley. There’s some indication that she enjoys this a bit; her “Dean Winchester’s right behind you.” And in this episode, we see her expressing trust in the Winchesters, not once but twice. First, when she returns Ruby’s knife to them and tells them to go get Crowley while she holds off the hellhounds (she then takes Castiel’s angel blade, but they don’t know if that will work against the hellhounds.) And second, when she goes into the demon trap with Crowley, she asks if they will let her out, and she trusts them when they say yes.

Then we have Season 7 Meg. Her cause hasn’t changed from the last time we saw her—she’s still intent on getting Crowley. She recognizes that Castiel is potentially a powerful weapon, so it’s—again—in her interest to work with the “good” side. I think the clearest indication that Meg is not on a redemption mission, but still working to serve her own purpose (which I still think is in service of Lucifer) comes in “Reading is Fundamental.” Meg flat-out explains to Dean that she’s working for a cause, and that she understands that to achieve that cause, she’s going to have to work with the “good” guys.

I’ve figured one thing out about this world – just one, pretty much. You find a cause, and you serve it. Give yourself over, and it orders your life. Lucifer and Yellow Eyes – their mission was it for me…Obviously, these things shift over time. We learn, we grow. Now, for me currently, the cause is bringing down the King. 

This is a pretty clear indication that Meg’s priorities haven’t actually changed. It’s not that she is now on the side of Good. She has her own interest in taking down Crowley. I’ve never understood the argument that post-Season 5 Meg is weak and no longer the evil demon she was because she allies with Sam and Dean. Working against them—and against her interests–simply for the sake of being properly “demonic” wouldn’t be evil. It would be stupid, and Meg’s not stupid. I think Meg was a Lucifer loyalist to the end—we’ve seen nothing that would indicate her allegiance has shifted. She’s working with Sam and Dean not because she wants to be redeemed but because they currently have a common cause.

I think there’s a bit more complication in her relationship with Castiel, though. She likes Cass not because he’s a symbol of good and she’s seen the light (so to speak) but because she sees that Cass is not all good. He isn’t pure. He’s done awful things. And she likes that, she finds it attractive, because she’s on the side of Bad. But she also identifies with it, because she understands. He’s done terrible things in the service of (what he thinks is) Good; she’s done good things in the service (probably) of Bad. Everything’s complicated now, and she sees Castiel as someone who understands that, even though he’s coming from the other side.

In the end, Meg refers to Castiel as her “unicorn.” She first refers to Amelia as Sam’s unicorn, that rare and mythical creature that could make Sam give up hunting. Yet she also knows that Sam had with Amelia—the normal life—was something Sam had wanted. So Meg uses unicorn to describe a rare creature who is able to give you something you always wanted but thought you could never have.  This makes her reference to Castiel as her unicorn even more interesting. I don’t think it’s as simple as “Sam loves Amelia and Meg called her his unicorn; she calls Cass her unicorn, so she was in love with Cas.”  It means Castiel gave her something she never thought she could have—or perhaps even knew she wanted.

So what, exactly, is it that Cass gave her? We know she’s attracted to the bad in him, and that she misses the simpler times when he was Good and she was Bad. I think, even though she doesn’t like the complexity of her world now—working with the Winchesters, liking angels—she values the fact that he’s shown her that it isn’t just her. That things are complicated for all of them. It’s not simple for anyone anymore. If he can do bad and still be Good, then she can do good and still be Bad.  That’s what makes him her unicorn.

I’m not happy with the way Meg died. Partly for my own selfish reasons–I wanted her to still be around at the end of Supernatural. I wanted her to make it through the whole series; that would have been awesome. But also, I think the way her death was presented was very anticlimactic. Meg’s death is sudden; we see the flash of light in her face as she’s stabbed. There’s no real focus on her; we see Sam and Dean watching and then we pull out to see Crowley standing over her body–but even there the focus is on him. Minor and one-time characters have gotten better death scenes. Her death is treated as an afterthought, as if it didn’t matter, and it should have mattered. It did matter.

But even though I’m not happy with the way she died, I think it’s important that Meg was Meg to the end. Meg was a demon with a mission. And at first the world was simple for her–she was a demon and she did evil to achieve that mission. Then everything got complicated and she realized that sometimes she had to be good in service of her mission. Meg lived for her cause. And she didn’t die to become good, or to be redeemed. She died for her cause.


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