Supernatural begins its 10th season tonight. Season nine ended with the angel Metatron (Curtis Armstrong), the “scribe of God”, stripped of his expanded abilities and imprisoned in Heaven’s dungeon; the angel Castiel (Misha Collins) refusing to step into the leadership void; the treacherous angel Gadreel (Tahmoh Penikett) having redeemed himself; and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) having become a demon.
So, you know, same old, same old.
Given the recurring theme of the Winchester brothers fighting for each other, it’s clear that Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) will do whatever he must to restore Dean’s humanity. I doubt, however, that this will be a season-long effort (Sam didn’t remain soulless for the whole run of season six, for example). But whatever Sam does will lead to bigger complications.
Some questions arise from Dean’s new status. Since Dean awakened as a demon after Crowley (Mark Sheppard), the (self-appointed) King of Hell, put the First Blade in his hand, does that mean that Cain (Timothy Omundson)— established as a powerful demon— is still in his original body and not a meat suit?
As I mentioned before, when Dean accepted the Mark of Cain (and with it the ability to use the First Blade), he probably should have listened when Cain tried to warn him about the consequences. But as Yoda might have said, “impatient is Dean Winchester, yes.”
Is Dean now a Knight of Hell like Cain? And if so, how much of a hold will Crowley have over him? Crowley was terrified of Cain. Granted, Cain has had millennia to learn the extent of his abilities, but what if demonized Dean is just as powerful? Dean’s never been known to kowtow to anyone. Even if Dean believes he’s now just an ordinary black-eyed demon, Crowley would be wise to not push his luck in ordering him about. If there were a demon from whom Dean would be willing to take orders, it wouldn’t be Crowley. Not by a long shot.
At the Supernatural panel at this summer’s San Diego Comic Con (AKA Comic Con International: San Diego), Mark Sheppard and Jensen Ackles addressed the issue.
“No one’s ever going to believe that Crowley didn’t know what was going to happen,” Sheppard said. “So I think we’re going to have to see whether Crowley has any control at all or whether Crowley’s in charge or what that is.”
“The interesting thing with Demon Dean and Crowley is that at some point Crowley is going to be like, ‘this was a bad, bad idea,’” Ackles added.
At the convention, Executive Producer Jeremy Carver said Sam digs into how to rescue Dean from being a demon, while Dean, who is a demon, struggles with what that means.
“I think, myself and the other writers, are excited, most of all, with the idea of these brothers questioning who the real monster is,” Carver said.
At the end of season eight, Metatron had used trickery to expel all the other angels from Heaven and set himself up as the new god (the actual God having long since left Heaven). Metatron’s ability to take control of Heaven was an unintended consequence of Sam and Dean having stopped the apocalypse and the subsequent civil war in Heaven.
In brief: The brothers unwittingly freed Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino) from Hell. Sam subsequently put him back in his cage, along with the archangel Michael (Jake Abel). With the archangel Gabriel (Richard Speight, Jr.) having (apparently) been killed by Lucifer, that left Raphael (Demore Barnes; Lanette Ware), who wanted to release Lucifer and Michael and re-start the apocalypse. To prevent this, Castiel partnered with Crowley to defeat Raphael. Castiel absorbed souls from purgatory, declaring himself the new God (he was later restored to his old self) and decimating Heaven’s ranks. He also unwittingly released the Leviathan.
So, when Metatron returned from his self-imposed exile, Heaven was in shambles, making his take-over that much easier. And none of this might have happened if Dean had accepted Sam’s death in season two and not sold his soul to get his brother back. He spent 30 (subjective) years in Hell before being rescued by Castiel. But while there, unknowingly broke the first of 66 seals needed to free Lucifer (Sam was later tricked into breaking the final seal).
Like I said, the Winchesters’ actions lead to bigger complications.
In part due to his actions in his war with Raphael, Castiel doesn’t want to lead the angels, but I think Cass will become leader, either willingly or because circumstances give him no choice. After all, no other still-living angel character has as significant a role in the Supernatural universe as Castiel.
Yes, Gabriel— who was part of a false scenario created by Metatron last season— might have really faked his death, but given that he fled Heaven eons ago and assumed the persona of a Trickster god, there’s no reason to believe he’d want the job.
The only other option is for some significant angel from biblical lore who has yet to be mentioned on the show to show up and play a key role in season 10, with Castiel offering him or her support.
But if this hypothetical angel is so significant, why hasn’t he or she been mentioned before now? After all, Naomi (Amanda Tapping), a powerful angel from season eight, is not listed in The Dictionary of Angels. Wouldn’t the Supernatural writers have used a “real” angel instead of Naomi, if a significantly powerful one— and one whose name is familiar to the general public— remained available?
Castiel also has to deal with the fact that his stolen grace is fading, leaving open the question of how he’ll replenish it. Presumably his own grace, extracted by Metatron, is lost forever. If it had been out there somewhere, Castiel would have been searching for it in season nine. Or there would have been some indication that it could be recovered.
It would seem, however, that Castiel has other things on his mind. At the Supernatural panel, Collins told the audience that Castiel was more concerned about helping Dean than recovering his own powers.
In a separate interview, Collins said Castiel was hell bent on trying to fix Dean, because he believes there’s nothing he can do for himself.
In Supernatural- A Very Supernatural Special, which aired yesterday, creator Eric Kripe said the more Supernatural is about the brothers, the better it is.
He’s right. At its heart, Supernatural is a show about family— biological or otherwise. While there have been some great storylines over the years, the relationships between the characters are what have made Supernatural one of the best shows on TV.
Copyright 2014, Patrick Keating.