Shannon – hello!
YES! To me, Cas learned from Dean what it is to be human and that DEAN is an exceptional human being, devoted to and self-sacrificing for those he loves. Watching Dean, Cas learned what love is through the way Dean shows HIS love for other people. I just do not see this as a romantic declaration (though both Misha and Robert Berens have said they saw it that way). I see it as kind of a revelation before his (Cas’) end. A revelation that maybe makes Cas feel that he learned what he set out to learn and so therefore accomplished what he most wanted to accomplish. THAT is lovely and that would have been a great way for Cas to go out! Telling Dean all the things Dean needs to hear about himself, why he’s truly an exceptionally good person, and then shoving Dean out of the way, thereby saving him, so Cas could sacrifice himself for the human who taught him the good parts of humanity. Done! Lovely! Why did it have to be more??? And I have to say that Cas acting THAT emotional, to me, was all Misha; it’s like Cas had already left the building. It felt very out of character for me. If Cas has delivered those same lines in character, it would have been MUCH more impactful for me.
Now, answer the damn phone, Dean (I second that!).