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Should Supernatural Have Signed Misha Collins as a Regular for the Ninth Season?

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Zap2it broke the news yesterday that Misha Collins has been promoted back to regular status for season nine, as well as been given the opportunity to direct an episode. My first thought was “Great!” I’ve enjoyed much of Castiel’s story line over the last four and a half years and, goodness knows, the Winchesters can use all the friends they can get.

Misha CollinsBut I soon noticed I had just a bit of a niggling feeling about the news; something wasn’t quite sitting right. Upon reflection, I realized I’ve had issues with how Castiel has been used over the last two years. The issues have nothing to do with how Misha Collins creates the character—I love the way he imbues the angel with an otherworldly aura. From the moment Castiel unfurled his wings to show Dean he truly raised him from Perdition, I wanted to see more.

I loved Cas and Dean’s story line as they bonded over absent fathers. I loved that Cas fell from grace because he believed in Dean’s vision of free will. Cas and Dean’s friendship has been torn and frayed, but remains essentially intact, and I enjoyed what Cas tried to teach Dean this season as they journeyed through Purgatory. It took nuanced writing to believably posit Dean would forgive his friend for so horribly damaging Sam, but Castiel’s desire for penance feels real, and at this point, no one on Team Free Will has a blameless record.

All of this is to say my niggling feeling is not based on a dislike of the character. I like Castiel. However, I also feel he is a very problematic character. Castiel was created for the Apocalypse story line, which very nicely curtailed his power by having arch angels willing to smite him if he misbehaved. During Season four, it wasn’t clear exactly where Castiel’s loyalties lay as the boys slowly realized the angels were using them as ruthlessly as the demons were. When Cas finally declared himself for the Winchesters, he was in as much danger as they were.

Even with Castiel on the run with the Winchesters, Eric Kripke still had to deal with the issue of the boys having such a powerful ally. The Winchesters need to solve sticky situations by themselves to have credibility as heroes. It does not help the show to have Deus Ex Machina in angel form show up consistently to save Sam and Dean. The boys had enough trouble with agency in season five as they were buffeted between two powerful forces they could not defeat. Kripke found ways to dampen the angel’s power to allow Sam and Dean’s plans and sacrifices to take centre stage, where they belong.

In season six, new showrunner Sera Gamble dealt with the issue of Castiel’s power by creating a civil war in heaven and muddying the waters of Castiel’s loyalty again. It was a problematic solution, because Sam and Dean’s story line did not revolve around that civil war, so all the stresses on Cas happened off-screen, yet his story ended up shaping the season.

I like season six, but I can’t deny there are structural issues with the story lines, and the need to curtail Castiel’s ability to help Sam and Dean was the cause of some of them. And that’s the tail wagging the dog. Castiel should fit into and support Sam and Dean’s story needs, not cause story issues of his own.

Season seven left the writers trying to find another plausible way to depower Castiel, which was so far from easy they wrote him out for much of the season. The eventual solution of transferring Sam’s hell damage to the angel fell into the tail wagging the dog trap, as Sam’s two year long buildup of hell damage ended very flatly, while Castiel was mostly used for comic relief. The show would have benefitted more from concentration on paying off Sam’s arc.

“The Born-Again Identity,” the episode of Castiel’s return, shows how awkward inserting the angel can be. Sam’s cure comes out of the blue, robbing the audience of an emotional scene with Dean as he has to face the price Sam is paying for Dean’s decision to force Sam’s soul back into Soulless Sam. Does Sam blame him or does he agree having his soul is worth dying over? I suspect Sam agrees with Dean’s assessment, but we’ll never know, because the boys did not talk about it.

Instead, Dean’s focus is on Castiel, and again, story awkwardness ensues. Sera Gamble, the writer on this episode and generally an excellent dramatist, wrote two silly scenes in this episode. The first involves Castiel having a wife, forcing us to accept a scenario in which a woman decided to marry a very odd man in a very short amount of time and who is now dangling around the edge of the story, never to return but always to niggle.

The second awkward scene is Dean getting through to Castiel by showing him he carried his trenchcoat all this time in the trunk of his car. That wouldn’t be so bad, except Dean has been stealing a different car a week all year, and picturing him tenderly transferring this coat from one trunk to another, all under Sam’s nose, strains credibility. Supporting actors’ stories should not create story strain.

The rest of season seven constrained Castiel’s power by having the angel develop mental issues as a result of his guilt over killing angels, betraying Dean and hurting Sam. And while that sounds meaty, in fact Castiel was played for laughs, at times to the detriment of the story (Castiel playing twister comes to mind).

Misha Collins and Amanda TappingTaking up the showrunner mantle for season eight (and hopefully nine and ten), Jeremy Carver had to come up with his own plan for using Castiel effectively. He took a leaf from Kripke’s playbook and created angels more powerful than Cas, able to control him and make him dangerous for the Winchesters to trust. It’s been a good story—except there hasn’t been a lot of narrative space to tell it. Sam and Dean have had their own stories to explore and Castiel hasn’t fit into many of them since Purgatory.

Sam and Dean’s relationship has been battered this season, and understandably, there’s been a lot of attention paid to their stresses. I would argue that despite the many scenes they’ve had, the story line needs more exploration yet to make many of the earlier story choices pay off, from Sam not looking for Dean to Sam demanding Dean cut Benny loose. When Sam and Dean don’t work, the show doesn’t work.

So I understand why the writers elected to drop the Castiel/angel story abruptly to set up the brothers’ relationship repair and Men of Letters story line. The show has needed a real reboot since the end of season five—one that gives Sam and Dean new purpose and agency. The new mythology and history does that. And it’s difficult to set up a story line confirming Sam and Dean as partners and giving them the power to take the battle to the enemy if they include Castiel.

Castiel is so powerful that he robs the story of tension, and it’s very difficult to prevent it from happening, as shown when he easily gathers all the spell components to blast demons back to hell. He also interacts almost exclusively with Dean, which unbalances the brothers. Perhaps next season, Castiel and Sam will develop a relationship of their own, but if not, having Castiel as a series regular means Sam and Dean have fewer scenes together. If the show tries to balance Sam’s side by giving him a relationship of his own, the Winchesters have even fewer scenes together, and that does not improve this show.

I’m left to wonder how Castiel will be used to support Sam and Dean’s story next season, rather than cause story problems. I don’t want to see his character’s needs shape the major arc. I want the writers to craft a season long arc they can thread through all the episodes, rather than having to drop it abruptly because Cas’s power is an issue. And I want Sam and Dean to know they each offer the other something no one else can give—that’s the core of Supernatural.

Will the writers come up with an excellent solution for Castiel? So far, every season has had to start from scratch. I think if Cas is going to be a series regular, the writers have to come up with a more permanent solution so there are no tail and dog issues when crafting stories. One possible answer is to cut off Cas from heaven’s power so he is essentially human, and there is story unfolding this season which would support that.

But would that give us a Castiel we all love to watch? I think Castiel’s otherworldliness is a huge part of his charm and making him human is going to work against that. There’s also the problem of how to work him into the story if he doesn’t have powers—is he going to be a third Winchester riding around in the Impala with Sam and Dean? I think that would throw the show off balance, especially if the writers don’t deepen Cas and Sam’s relationship.

It remains to be seen if all this comes together in a satisfying way. I hope it does. But I am a little leery of Castiel’s impact on the story if the writers aren’t worried, too.

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About Gerry Weaver

  • Michelle

    I’ll never understand the dislike/hate of Castiel or Misha. The character adds to the show (and has rapidly become tied for favorite with Dean) and Misha is a genuinely good person who enjoys what he does (which isn’t that the point? loving what you do?). If the show stayed strictly with the Winchesters it would get old really fast. Castiel adds something because not only can he have his own little things going on but having him as a regular allows for people who watch the show to have another character to consistently enjoy.

    I watch the show for all three of the mains who are amazing together. When Castiel came on in season four I was excited because finally there was another character to enjoy along with the Winchesters. He is a nice break from the drama going on between Sam and Dean (my God that is something someone should write an article about. the overused plot device of those two fighting/separating/doing things behind each other’s backs…I swear get a new plot device).

  • Christina

    Not a fan of Castiel, he is not why I watch the show. Give him his own angel show and take all the other angels with him, except Gabriel.

  • Jewel

    The character is old and boring and the actor is out of control with his antics and acting as though he’s the biggest most important actor on the planet.

  • Destiel

    Castiel is an awesome character and rather than “unbalance” the show because he “disrupts” the brothers’ bond, he adds so much more to the show than he “takes away.” <–in quotations because Cas does NOT take away anything. 😛

    I have not noticed Dean/Sam drifting since Cas. Cas is NOT replacing Sam, but he has become a central part of SPN and I don't understand why people can't just see that. He is such a big GOOD part of the show that I would quit watching if they took him out. Using Cas as comic relief sometimes is awesome and part of the reason I like his character so much! There is NOTHING wrong with having a funny character on the show.

    The scene with the trenchcoat in the back of the Impala was NOT awkward! It showed the profound bond between Dean and Cas. Those two are so obviously in love and hopefully the show is going to show more of that next season.

    • Christina

      You are delusional.

  • Ann

    I couldn’t agree more with your assessment; only I think you maintain more fondness for the character than I do at this point. For me, Cas should have stayed dead at the end of season five. The Apocalypse should have had a cost and with Cas’ power, everything became wiped clean. The angel storyline has been done and done and done again. While I found it compelling in seasons 4 & 5, I don’t see any point in it now. I watch the show for the brothers and you’re right in pointing out that Cas throws that relationship (or at the very least, screentime) out of whack. I wasn’t happy to learn he’ll be back full-time next season. And if he winds up sitting in the backseat of the Impala, solving cases with the guys, that may be enough to finally make me stop watching.

  • Gerry

    Big T–from your keyboard to Dean and Sam’s ears! (-: I do think it’s realistic they have a lot of baggage that gets in the way of communication, but yes, eventually, boys, you have to talk.

  • Big T.

    I love Supernatural, but can’t help myself from saying, That a lot of the problems would be resolved if the two juct talked to one another. They spend 24/7 with one another but can’t seem to have a meaningful conversation.

  • Tina

    Thank you for your article Gerry. You have raised concerns that are valid and truthfully I wasn’t overjoyed at the news of Cas being made a regular again but know that is the decision the PSTB have gone with. My concern is that Cas is a Dean character despite the argument he is a friend to Sam and therefore unless they intend to develop a far more realistic relationship between Cas and Sam the situation will be very Dean and Castiel driven. Giving Dean two brother characters in Cas and Benny as created a very unbalanced show and having Cas back the writers will be too tempted to go with Dean and Castiel in the bulk of the boys interactions with him which is understandable to a point they know it is popular and it is a relationship that has had time spent on it since season 4 . I suppose Jeremy Carvers and the writers miserable attempt to give Sam a relationship of his own with Amelia and the very poor reaction to it will probably not encourage them to give Sam a friend which is why I am hoping that at least if they are going to have Cas around that they develop more of a friendship between himself and Sam otherwise it will become a empty scenario with Sam to enjoy watching.

  • Sammy

    Sorry to get off track from what this whole article was about but I saw a post yesterday that I had to comment on. Watching Sam’s story over 8 years has been amazing and last Season Jared did a phenomenal job with Sam having his hallucinations and dealing with Hell. Sam and Lucifer’s interactions always kept me interested. Jared and Mark P. had great acting chemistry. Personally, I would love to see him back to torment Sam a little more.

    I have nothing against Misha/Cas but did not like the quick fix in The Born Again Identity. Sam’s scenes were amazing in that whole episode. To say that Sam was boring as well as his storyline being boring is just off the wall to me. Hopefully he does not step in and interfere with what we see Sam go thru (with the help of his big brother) while performing the trials.

    Jared has done so much with making Sam the character he is. It is too bad that Sam and Cas have not had a chance to interact more. Speaking for myself, I am happy with Misha having been kept a guest star and not listed as a regular. I want the story to stay focused on Sam and Dean. The bunker and Men of Letters storyline has also been great and would like to see more of that evolve for the brothers. These last few episodes have been wonderful to watch. Maybe Cas will be sacrificed for the greater good.

  • Alice

    Thank you for speaking loud and clear.
    I don’t think it has been a good idea. He can stay as a recurring character, of course, and have his own story but why a regular?
    What I don’t get is the need to make him sort of the third Winchester. Hasn’t he got his own identity? Plot?
    I’d love it if the writers kept him away from the bunker and the Men Of Letters storyline but I guess it’s too much to ask

  • June Bug

    Castiel basically ruined Season 7, and he was barely in it. He flat out destroyed Sam’s Cage story line, from stem to stern. I really would not be surprised if Sam’s insanity was ignored so much because it softened what Cas did to hurt Sam. If you don’t see Sam in pain every week because of Cas, it’s easy to forget that Castiel mind raped Sam by destroying his Wall, forcing Sam to take on 200 years of torture memories all in one traumatizing moment.

    Castiel is like Q on TNG. Q was hugely popular but the writers never made the mistake of taking that popularity and inserting him into the crew. Angel rules, angel powers, they change every other episode with Castiel – there is literally NO consistency to his character or his powers.

    I will try not to let Castiel completely ruin the show for me, because that is giving Castiel too much power. But he’s already ruined the writing on SPN, and he will continue to do so. Just shove him in there, no matter if he fits or not.

    Bringing Castiel back for even more episodes is a huge mistake, and now we’re all stuck with him. Long time fans are on the verge of dumping Supernatural for good now with this news. I am not one of them, but what a pity, when the show has had so many good opportunities to move on and do new stories with the brothers. Now we’re stuck with even more angel crap.

    And I have to say that Castiel is not a child or a baby in trench coat. Why is Cas naive when other angels aren’t? It’s because Cas is being used as a fake Anya type character. Whatever. Castiel is thousands if not millions of years old. To woobie him down as a child is just wrong. He’s also a killer, a liar, and a betrayer. The show wants me to forget this, but I never will. Castiel was an actual villain, and he’s done nearly as much personal damage to Sam and Dean as the YED.

    I think Dean is just such a self-serving hypocrite when it comes to Castiel and Benny that I have lost a lot of respect for him. Gee, if Dean likes a monster, they have to be good, but if Sam likes them, they must be bad, so kill them off. Yuck. Dean doesn’t care when HIS pals kill. So what does that say about Dean? I don’t believe anything Dean says anymore. I think he lies to himself most of all, then to others as a side effect.

  • mika

    I’ll take Castiel anytime in any form. That’s all. Thank you 🙂

  • Gerry

    It does say something that so many comments on why it’s a great idea to increase Castiel’s role are by fans who consider Castiel to be the main reason they watch the show. That’s understandable.

    I don’t think, though, that the ratings show Castiel’s entrances and exits in the story are crucial to most fans’ enjoyment of the show. Last season the ratings were rock steady even when it looked like Cas had been written out and this season the ratings increased when Sam and Dean were finally communicating, even though Cas’s story line has been dropped since hiatus. He’s an important supporting character, but Sam and Dean drive the show.

    Hopefully, the writers will find a way to solve his story problems–but I’m not a fan of this group of writers’ take on story integrity. Character and plot seem to change from week to week, sigh.

  • storyaddict69

    I’m not a cas fan so I’m not excited. My fear is that Cas will take away from the core of the show,which to me is the winchester saga. Cas is NOT a winchester he is a supernatural being. If the writers can write him in a way I like that doesnt make the boys seem like action figures in someone elses story,then I’ll be okay. I just dont trust the writers to be able to do that. I have never liked how they made Cas the butt of jokes or nothing more the sexual innuendo. I also dont like it when the story becomes about him and not a part of the winchester saga. I’ll have to wait and see how it plays out,but if it doesnt work I have to walk away. Its not the show I loved and supported for 8yrs anymore if they take focus of off the brothers. I like supporting characters…but 4 me the angels are not fresh anymore. I’m ready to move on….if they cant write it good there is no reason for me to stick around. Its sad,but I’m done fighting for what I loved about supernatural.

  • El.

    I am so happy that Misha is regular again next season and we’ll probably get to see Cas more. Cas is eesntial to the story, he is essential to the Winchesters, especially to Dean. The past couple of season we have seen that Dean is not the Dean we love when Cas is not around, he needs both Cas and Sam to be happy. Cas is another brother, after all ‘family don’t end with blood’. Castiel has been part of SPN 5 seasons, next year 6 seasons. 6 years out of 9.
    Also, my love for this charcater is immense. Tell you the truth I would have quit watching if they hadn’t introduced this character in 4×01. I fell in love with him on that moment. I relate to him so much, and to see how much he has changed over the years – wow, really amazing but at the same time painful to even compare S4 Castiel with S8 Cas. He teaches us what it’s like to be human, even though he himself is an angel. He is the alien-stranger, a man without a soul, but with so much heart that it has lead him to his own doom so many times. He is so powerful as the burning sun, millions and millions of years old, but at the same time so very young and powerless. He is strong and he is weak, he is everything and he is nothing. He is the greatest represenation of being human on this show!
    I love him with everything I am! And I admire him and I fight for him no matter what, he is love itself!

  • SPN fan

    Cas is there to help the Winchesters or maybe sometimes ask for their help, that’s it & he’s very good at that.I hope he’ll be like that in season 9 too, not a “third Winchester” because it doesn’t make sense

  • Spider

    Absolutely it was a good idea.

    Castiel, as a character, is exactly the sort of stepping stone the show needed to liven things up. His character has breathed new life into the series for me, and Team Free Will is a solid presence that can never diminish.

    I’m so gladdened by the news of Misha becoming a regular again, I can’t wait for the next season.

  • happy

    do you possibly believe that the supernatural show would have lasted for 8 damn seasons with only two character? if you do, then re you fucking insane? the brothers relationship and dynamic was interesting in the first season or my in the second season and the third. it gets boring after 8 damn seasons. season 7 was so boring, i stopped paying attention to the show. not to mention how much castiel’s character has contributed to the show. the viewers started to love castiel’s character as much as they have loved sam and dean. at this point in time for me giving up on castiel is as same as giving up on sam and dean.

  • nice job, Gerry. You obviously tapped into something

  • challahatme

    The solution is very simple: cut him off from some of his powers. Stop giving him new powers every time you can’t think of another solution. The argument that his *angelness* is what make him popular and therefore he would lose appeal if he was depowered doesn’t hold water when you take into account how much people loved him in Season 5, when he was becoming human. And it’s also kind of silly to say his otherworldliness will vanish if he fell and became human. He won’t wake up the day after falling and suddenly get all of Dean’s Star Trek references. As we saw in The End, falling doesn’t mean he turns into an amnesiac and forgets all of his experience as an angel.

    Being a BAMF is what made us pay attention to him initially, but at this point, most of his fans have moved on from this. We fell in love with the character, not his wings. The show can find a new Deus ex Machina.

  • Lizzy

    Easy to solve. He falls. He becomes the ‘new bobby’, not Garth. Everyone wins.

  • shireoki

    I agree with AMM. Castiel has become the heart of the show. I love castiel but I am still surprise to this day. The Writers are surprise, Jensen is extremely surprise. I think the entire show got hit sideway by a train name Castiel/Misha Collins. THey didn’t even plan the show to extend beyond season 5. Misha knew that his character only supposed to last 3 episodes from the get-go so he certainly is surprised.

  • shireoki

    This article has some legit concerns. De-angeling Castiel is a good solution. Anna torn her grace away and she still have some basic angel functions, so the writers have some wiggle room exactly how de-angeled he gets. There are many shows out there that has more than 2 main characters, I don’t see what the problem is. I’m glad the boy’s family is growing. Castiel/Misha Collins has performed so well and I’m glad he’s a regular on season 9

  • AMM

    As a writer, I can safely say that sometimes characters take on a life of their own. The original intention of Cas were to have him as a temporary supporting role, but in just a short while, he became something more. Much more. Something so much more I can’t even begin to explain. The writers know this, and I’m beyond pleased on word of his return to the show. He’s an integral aspect and now that I know him, the show just seems empty without him there with the brothers.

  • Viperzetsume

    As much as I love Supernatural, I would hate it if it went back to just Dean and Sam riding around the country side ganking monsters. Castiel adds to the show, much like Bobby, Ellen, Jo, Garth, and Charlie do. Like Bobby said, “Family don’t end with blood,” and that is what Castiel has become for our favorite brothers. Having Misha Collins back to the show, making him a show runner, is absolutely wonderful. I hope season 9 will be just as amazing as 8 has been so far.

  • Gerry,

    First of all, thanks for a well-written article! You don’t come across as “Cas hater” in any way, you have valid concerns, and that’s nice to see for a change.

    Just a couple of things that stuck out in my mind…

    It really bothers me when people act like Dean put Sam through something worse than what he was already suffering, when he “re-soulled” him. Sure, the Sam we saw on Earth was doing fine… but his soul, SAM himself, was still in hell. Still being tortured. So Dean rescued his brother when he got his soul out of hell, he didn’t hurt him.

    And also, I don’t really see how you can think that Cas’ return robbed the audience of anything between Sam and Dean. I say that, because much of Season 7 was focused on Sam’s mental health after his time in hell. And the brothers dealt with that on their own, just the two of them. Cas didn’t come in until the very end of the story.

    Personally, I’m very excited about Misha becoming a regular again. I do agree that Cas’ character has been mishandled lately, but I’m hoping that they will treat him better in S9. He has a lot of potential.

    And frankly, I think the show is getting a little stale with JUST Sam and Dean. They are the main focus, and always will be of course, but the show is missing something.

    I think that something is Cas 🙂

  • girlwiththesassytounge

    Castiel completes the team. We all remeber team ‘Free Will’ right? Well we can’t have team Free Will with out our ‘Mr. Comotose’ Cas loves Sam and Dean and they’re both torn up about having Niomi doing what she’s doing to them (even if they don’t relise what she’s doing) The last time we saw Castiel he was bleeding. I’m sure Sam and Dean are both worried about their angel. Thats what Cas is theirs. ‘Family don’t end in blood.’ Cas is their family.

  • Robin

    I’m stoked he’s back. Because of it I’ll keep watching and since I am in a Neilsen family, that’s important. I don’t see what the point of this kind of article is to be honest, since he is back, and the fact he is means the writers have already formulated a solution to what you perceive to be “problems.”

  • Niraha

    I think it was a wonderful decision- he adds an element to the show that it needs, and I honestly don’t think the show would survive without him. I love the brothers, and it will always focus on them, but they also needed a change in their dynamic- and Castiel was the perfect way to go about it. His relationship with Dean is wonderful- whether you’re a Destiel shipper or just think of it as a friendship, you can’t deny the beauty of it.
    I also think Misha is a wonderful actor and will make a wonderful director!
    Season nine will be amazing!

  • Ariel

    I think so! I love Cas and think he adds a good perspective to the boys.

  • Eileen

    I love how people like Kelios pretend that that’s why they want Cas gone when we all can see on twitter that they just want Cas gone because they ship Wincest and in their mind Cas is preventing dean from having sex with his little brother in the back of their father’s car. Wow I just…that’s just screwed up. I am disgusted.

  • Shereile

    And Castiel is not a toy to be shared with either of the brothers. Castiel’s own choice was to form a bond between him and Dean. Simply because he likes him more.
    I see no problem in that or trying to force Castiel on Sam just to “balance” out things. This is a problematic argument, because it reveals that people don’t particularly care about the relationship itself, but simply about their problems of having a character not that close to him. The show could introduce more characters to Sam and make them characters in their own rights instead of just “friends” or “love interests”.
    I also completely disagree with the sentiment that the show can never be an ensemble show.
    It can.
    Just because things start out in certain ways, doesn’t mean they have to stay that way. Especially if a main relationship becomes boring.

  • ilovehowyouletmefall

    Do I even care about these issues? No. Because Castiel is the best. I love him as a character and need more of him on my screen. The writers will find a way to deal with whatever issues arise. At least wait to see how the story unfolds before getting all worried about it.

  • Absolutely!! I think he will do the show some great justice! I love the brothers together but sometimes they make each other miserable ( alot of the time actually) even though the need each other, I think it will be good for them to have someone else around to keep them sane. Plus, Cas is their friend, so I’m sure they will love having him around, especially if he joins them in the batcave! That would be so much fun to see 🙂 Plus I am really interested in seeing how Cas’ relationship with Dean develops this season and season 9 (and I would also like to see Cas and Sam become better friends!)

  • Shereile

    I mainly watch the show for Dean and Castiel (and my subsequent interpretation of romantic vibes between them, which in no way cheapens the friendship btw). To me they are the most powerful element of the show and represent something very deep. Mainly the interaction between humans and creatures and the belief that not all of humanity is good and not all of non-humanity is bad. They come together and represent a grey area. Which is super important in a show that has the tendency to glorify humanity and use all side characters as plot devices.

    Castiel is not a plot device. He’s not a comic relief or just a companion to the Winchesters. He is indeed the third main lead to me and I’m super happy Misha is back. It is important that he is treated as such. And just because he was created as a plot device for season 4, doesn’t mean he had to stay as one.
    I see him as a character in his own right. First and foremost.
    And also as a necessary breaking ground against the rather stale and repetitive relationship of Sam and Dean.

  • Katie

    Of course they should have brought Cas back! As amazing as the show is with just the brothers, Cas/Misha adds something special to it that I severely miss when he isn’t around. I’m thrilled that Castiel will be back as a regular in season 9. I’ve been missing him.

  • Sam

    Absolutely they were right in signing Misha for a ninth season! Castiel is a key component to the show at this point; he should continue to be a main character and I personally find his and Dean’s relationship to be an interesting clash. He gives the show a little something different and it’s always exciting to have him. So yes, good going Supernatural. Job well done 🙂

  • cherrypiebaby

    The problem I have with this article is that every complaint/concern about Castiel is something that can equally be applied to Dean and Sam.

    For starters….


    Remember that the initial plan for Supernatural was to have it run 5 seasons. We are now on the 8th reason and about to embark on the 9th and the actors have already signed a contract for a 10th season. That means the Winchesters will be on our screen for TWICE the duration they were originally intended to be in!

    And while you point out the struggles that the writers have had with Castiel, you completely ignore the struggles the writers have had with Sam, and keeping him interesting and relevant.

    The demon blood arc of season 4? The The souless!Sam show of season 6? Crazy!Sam of season 7?


    We don’t want to see crazy/souless/corrupted Sam anymore than we want to see crazy/evil/uncaring Castiel.

    Yet the writers have put BOTH of these characters through these kinds of storylines.

    So while I agree that I haven’t been a fan of every story arc the show has given Castiel, I don’t want the impression to be that having Castiel as a series regular will continue these problems because that isn’t the case. If this season can finally present Sam as he originally was, and even find him something awesome like the Men of Letters, that becomes his little niche in the series then they can do the same for Castiel.


    By all reports, most fans ADORE Castiel. Having more of him has the potential to be a marvelous thing!

    On a different note, you also mentioned about Castiel has a stronger relationship with Dean and how that creates an imbalance from where Sam is concerned. To that I say that many characters do that. Ruby was more involved with Sam; Lisa was more involved with Dean. Amelia now with Sam. Benny more with Dean.

    I don’t agree with this implication that we need to have more Cas/Sam scenes just to balance out the Dean/Cas scenes. That would be awful! In fact, I believe that type of thinking (that the brother’s time with others must be ‘equally’ divided) is what resulted in the Amelia/Benny inclusion this year and personally it hasn’t worked for me.

    I don’t care for Amelia and I barely like Benny.

    When I tune into Supernatural, I want to watch Dean and Sam being brothers and doing awesome things together. I want to be scared and excited. But I also want to see that little angel because he’s stolen my heart since season 4 and I miss him when he’s not around. I want to see him being awesome and I want to see him sharing as many scenes with Dean as possible because they are electric together.

    And I suspect that many fans feel the same way about this show.

    Very few people get so antagonistic and combatative about which brother is handing out with which character more or less.

    Moreover, as a Castiel fan I resent the fact that his storyline is going to revolve in anyway about evening the playing field for the brothers. No, at this point, Castiel is there to enhance, enrich, and enliven the show. He does that. But he’s also there as one of Dean’s only friends. He’s known him for 5+ years now and I don’t want that relationship sacrificed or wattered down for the sake of “proportions” between the brothers just like I wouldn’t want to see Dean/Sam watered down. Cas isn’t a party favor! He’s now a series regular again because th epassion and love fnas feel for him has NOT died down in 5 years, not even after all the “story problems” you have mentioned.

    And about the ratings, they are a complex animal. I hardly believe the first half ‘suffered’ because of the Sam/Dean tension and I haven’t seen any concrete analysis of this data to prove otherwise. From what I have seen, the ratings have gone up in some periods, and down in others – many times mirroring the same spikes/decline as Arrow. I always view ratings as mirroring more the overall storyline and not just one character (Sam) or even two (Dean/Sam’s relationship).


    So while this 2nd half has seen a good increase in ratings, the first half still had some stellar episodes rating wise and a few of them included pivotal narrative moments for Cas and Dean/Cas.

    And I agree with you about Castiel being problematic for the writers – they’ve stated as much in almost every article.

    But this is not a problem without solutions.

    Castiel can be made human.

    Castiel can be depowered.

    Castiel can have limited power (due to his dwindling access to heaven).

    And there are MORE possibilities out there. You just have to be creative, and I do believe the writers can manage to do it, especially if they now want him back in a more substantial capacity.

    To conclude, the writers are smart enough to be aware of all the problems/conflicts that Castiel AND EVERYONE CHARACTER poses, yet they have chosen to increase Castiel’s involvement next year.

    Clearly they believe they can handle this challenge that they themselves have mentioned goes into writing Castiel.

    And sure they have try to handle it in the past and it didn’t work but so far this season has been GREAT and I can’t help believing that next year will be even better.

    We’ll see in the next 12 months who was right! =P

  • Gerry

    “Jensen and Jared however are perfect.”

    Mr. Reality, on this we agree! (-:

  • Gerry

    Welcome Kelios, Alan, Amynion and Mr. Reality! Thanks so much for commenting.

    Amynion, I’m really enjoying the discussion as well, and I welcome all the opinions. As long people are polite and follow the commenting rules, a vigourous discussion is usually fun.

    I do understand that if Castiel is the reason you watch rather than the Winchesters, there’s no question you want more of him in whatever form possible.

    However, I would say the ratings suggest the Winchesters are still the main draw for most and when they work, the show works, and when they don’t feel right, the show struggles. Castiel’s exits and entrances to the show last year and this have not affected the ratings in any way, despite some very disgruntled fans.

    On the other hand, Sam’s story line this year looked to be taking the steam out of the early good ratings, while the resolution and the introduction of the Men Of Letters after hiatus put a little zip back in. Not that the last episode had great ratings, but man, it didn’t deserve any. (-:

    So I think the writers should craft Castiel’s story carefully, with a mind to how to use him well.

    Seasons six and seven had issues and certainly not all of the centered on Cas. But I do think separating his storyline in season six was a mistake, because his character had to do such a turnaround and we didn’t get follow his journey.

    Yet the story had to be separated because the boys had to have a separate story from Apocalypse Redux and had to have reasons not to call constantly on Cas for help. The writers’ solution didn’t work particularly well for the show, even though I thought the premise was interesting.

    Season seven had many issues, but how to use Cas was one. Again, the way the writers brought him back caused story problems instead of enhancing the main arc–Sam’s hell damage demanded a–well–hell of a payoff after the huge build up. Switching it onto Cas for comic relief was not the answer, for either character. But I do understand the writers were trying a strategy to constain his power. It’s just that those strategies have to move the story along, not force the story into a shape where Cas can be used.

    I do like Castiel and I’m not arguing for getting rid of him. I just question whether the show needs more of him because that will impact the main story arc even more and the writers current track record with him isn’t good.

    Becoming human is one strategy–but it’s not one that excites me. I like Castiel as an angel and I don’t think a human Castiel will pull off the fish out of water for any length of time. There’s no real reason the angel is so clueless–no other angel is. So I think Castiel needs to remain “other” to be believable.

  • Mr Reality

    This show died after season five. Shiban left, Tucker left, some more of the earlier writers left, Manners died, Kripke deserted, Gamble scrammbled it, Singer has no clue, Edland goes with the flow, and Carver needs to remember his past episodes- and do more homework. Jensen and Jared however are perfect.

  • Amynion

    First of all I have to say how nice it is to see a reasonable respectful dicussion on Supernatural for once XD

    Now I’m very happy we’ll get more Castiel. I don’t care what they do with him as long as he’s there. At this point I’m more interested in his story than the Winchesters… I know, I know, strike me down for being a bad fan or whatever… I love the boys, I really do, but the rinse/repeat wangst is wearing thin. And lest I come across as nothing but a rabid Cas fan – I’ve watched since s1 ep 1. Just the boys and the MOTW kept me happy back then, but we’ve grown past that. It just doesn’t cut it for me anymore, season 7’s attempt to get back to basics was something I endured more than enjoyed.

    Anyway, back to Cas. Back in season 5 I wasn’t keen on him becoming human, I loved BAMFy angel Cas (and still do), but if falling is what it takes… let him fall. The doors to heaven could close with Cas on our side, and he’ll slowly lose his powers again. I think there’d still be an element of otherworldliness about him as he’s spent his life as a millennia old angel. He’ll still have that background, and maybe they can find a way for him to keep some low level power. Cas in The End could sense Dean wasn’t from 2014, there must have been something angelic left in there… I’m sure TBTP can come up with countless ways to solve the power problem. The only limit is their imagination, and whether they have the balls to change him dramatically ie make him human. Though with all the incarnations of Cas we’ve had so far, I’m guessing that won’t be a problem.

    As for Cas through s6 and s7, to be honest I view those seasons as a hot mess, and if Cas’ actions back then weren’t influencing current storyline (ie his guilt/regret) I could quite happily pretend the whole shebang never happened. Season 6 had a palpable course change around mid-season. Storylines that went down like a lead balloon were quickly dropped (sudden mass Campbell slaughter anyone?) and the whole power mad Cas thing seemed to come out of left field in a scrabble to pull something together for the end of the season. Season 7… eh, the less said about that the better XD So any Cas problems I’m putting down to the systemic problems of those seasons rather than the nature of the character.

    Season 8 is much improved but there are still problems (um, I’ll just pretend Amelia didn’t happen while we’re at it). So I’d agree in saying the previous mess canot be laid entirely at Sera’s feet… and on the subject of problems I wholehearedly agree with your last paragraph (comment 34). It’s hard to keep momentum and interest in arcs when they keep chopping and changing and padding with filler eps.

    Anyway, I’ve wittered on too long! Save to say that I’m glad we’re getting more Cas, and my fingers are firmly crossed they can find an awesome way to sort him (and everything else) out 😀

  • Alan

    Extremely well thought out article and I could not agree more.

  • kelios

    Thank you!
    I agree wholeheartedly with all of your issues about Castiel. He simply no longer fits into the story (if he ever did). I have never been a fan of the character, and the increasingly ridiculous contortions the writers have put the show through in order to keep him around need to stop. As you say, minor, secondary characters should ENHANCE the main story, not cause it strain. It’s my hope that Castiel will return to heaven when it’s closed or be sacrificed to close the gates, and S10 will finally be free of him.

  • Gerry

    I’ve enjoyed the angel/demon story lines, so that aspect won’t deter me from watching next season. I like the urban legends, too, but I do think the show benefits from having a strong quest to push the season forward.

    Mind you, I don’t think the quest aspect has been done well this year, as it’s not got much forward movement at all. That could definitely improve next season, which means everyone’s arcs have to tie together enough to move things along, instead of one arc moving, then stopping, then another arc moving, then disappearing . . . it leaves to much to develop and tie together at the end of the season and everything gets rushed.

  • Scotty

    Excellent analysis. I think on balance Castiel brings more problems than benefits. I had hopes they were going to finish his storyline this year, but now that that hope has been dashed, I won’t be tuning in for another season so top-weighted by angels. I find the folklore and urban legends much much more interesting and scary than this heaven/religion bs.

  • deansfangirl

    I trust this writing team completely. They’ll figure out a great direction to take Cas in, and they’ll make it awesome.

  • Tess

    I completely agree with your viewpoint regarding the outlook for season 9. TPTB can either do this very well or screw it up like they did Sam’s storyline(s). I believe they will be careful with how the fans view Cas, but not in regards to the brothers’ relationship. For some reason, they feel we want to see nothing but fighting and mistrust between Sam and Dean with them looking to others for solace and support. Sorry, that is not what I started watching SPN for and if season 8 ends on a sour note for me, at least I have the summer to get over my loss, ha ha. Thanks for your insightful article. It summed up everything I have been concerned about since hearing the news and the next several months should be very interesting for SPN fans.

  • JJ

    Gerry, they don’t say why they got rid of Bobby…you are giving a speculative interpretation. And they still give them Bobby type help, so they didn’t really change much. And don’t need to imo.

    Yes, we disagree on how well Cas has worked…so we disagree on how much of a problem next year will be. So just a difference of opinion.

    Again i’ll state Cas will still be otherworldy and naive if depowered some or all…you won’t lose that aspect you like. It’s not going to be a snap of the fingers and PRESTO…CHANGO.

    And with the writers and tptb–they have consistently thought Cas has been worth it post season 5. Otherwise there would be no more Cas. So somewhat difficult is worth it for them It’s just that easy. Anyway, everyone looks at the show differently.

  • SmallMe

    I greatly appreciate this thoughtful article, you’ve hit on a lot of the same issues I have with the continuation of the “what do we do with Cas” game into season 9. Part of the problem for me is the abrupt changes in characterization from episode to episode, but not as part of character growth or development. Cas is funny this time, no he’s serious, now he’s crazy, whoops he’s an enemy, awww he’s a friend, now he’s like a brother, etc. You get whiplash trying to figure out which Cas is he now, much less having Sam and Dean react appropriately to him. And that’s not even looking at his affect on the overall storylines, which I thought you wrote about very clearly here.

    There’s a real connection to be made between Sam and Cas, they’ve walked the same path that Dean has not, Sam has always had faith in and forgiven Cas (Dean has not), so why aren’t they interacting more on the screen? If the writers could figure out some way to show that in the story, then the imbalance of Sam and Dean vs. Dean and Cas scenes would not be such a problem.

    If they’re keeping him around, I want Cas to eventually figure out why God (or whomever) keeps bringing him back over and over again. He says he thinks it’s a punishment, but I think he’s supposed to be learning something important. Like Death telling Dean he’s an “intrepid detective”, that’s about the only consistently interesting thing about his story to me, so I hope they don’t lose track of that in all the tablet hoo-raw.

    Thanks for such a great, thought-provoking article.

  • Gerry

    Hi Alexis, nice to see you here! Your comments are welcome–the article was meant to invite discussion.

    In my opinion, the show will never be an ensemble show. The show came into being centred on these two brothers and while they need supporting cast, they are the heart–their story needs have to drive Supernatural.

    I also think the writers have been afraid of increasing Castiel’s role for good reason. As Loflin said, his powers make him a challenge to write–even Kripke, with all the advantages of having arch angels and the Apocalypse, had to figure out how to depower him to keep the Winchesters the human heroes triumphing against incredible odds. Castiel tips the odds too much in their favour.

    “Castiel could help both Dean and Sam understand the other’s point of view, make them talk to each other with honesty.”

    I think if Castiel’s role increases (it actually didn’t in season six, but I do suspect it will next season), he has to forge a relationship with Sam. However, he doesn’t have one now, even if he no longer views Sam as an abomination. He’s not in any position yet to mediate between Sam and Dean. That could be an interesting thread to follow, if Sam actually becomes a part of Dean and Cas. He’s not now.

  • Gerry

    “Gerry, I also saw the interviews you cite but still think it doesn’t lead to your conclusions. A couple of snippets here and there from interviews do NOT tell us what really is going on behind the scenes and WHY they do things.”

    How do you interpret the comments other than to suggest they felt they had gotten too reliant on the phone calls to Bobby and that writing him out made them get more creative? It does seem to me that is what Loflin says.

    The issue with help is what kind and how much. If you can bring in a character to fit a particular plot, that usually works well. When you have to service an ongoing character, that means you have to have a long term plan on how the character fits your arc. I should perhaps make clear that I see no need to write Cas out completely–I like him. What I’m not sure about is increasing his role when it’s already hard to work him in.

    We can agree to disagree on how well the writers have handled Cas since season five. (-: We most likely won’t change each other’s opinion and that’s fine.

    Changing Cas to human is an unknown factor–if the writers go that way, I think they’ll be holding their collective breaths–because it’s a huge change to his character. I know it doesn’t do a thing for me because I love that he is “other.” Making him human will work against that.

    I agree that the writers and ptb have made a decision. What I’m not sure is that they think he is *easily* worth it. But he is a popular character and Misha certainly knows how to play him, so I am hoping they have a plan. A much better plan than they had for Sam in the first part of this season. These guys aren’t infallible.

  • Alexis

    I disagree that Castiel’s presence would unbalance the show, Supernatural has smart writers and a smart showrunner, they can find a way to deal with his powers and hopefully stop using him as a plot device, since fan fiction writers can do it, I don’t see why professional writers couldn’t.
    I think the show’s problem with Cas so far has been that the writers knew he was needed (because the fans and the brothers care about him), but they were always too scared to make him a more prominent character, and I just don’t get it. Supernatural started as a show about two brothers, but it was never just about them. Of course the brothers will always be at the heart of the show, but Supernatural is more than that (family don’t end with blood, anyone?).
    In one of your comments, Gerry, you say the writers got rid of Cas until after hiatus to give the brothers the time to mend their relationship, my question is: how many times have we seen this before? How many times will we have to see it again before the end of the show? Is this the only plotline the brother’s relationship can offer? The brothers being miserable, lying to each other?
    I believe Castiel’s presence (and the presence of other characters as well) could benefit their relationship in the long run, it could help them grow, it could make them a little less miserable, Castiel could help both Dean and Sam understand the other’s point of view, make them talk to each other with honesty.
    It’s been 8 years, there is nothing wrong with having an ensemble cast and there’s nothing wrong with Sam and Dean getting help from Cas or other allies, what’s the point of being heroes without friends, of saving the world if they’re not even a part of it?
    In my opinion, it was about time they made Misha Collins a regular, Castiel is a great character who can bring a lot to the show, he has been doing that since season 4, despite him being “a challenge” to write. I wish the writers stopped being so afraid of Castiel, he can be a regular and not destroy the show or the brothers’ relationship, he can make Supernatural even more interesting.

  • JJ

    Gerry, I also saw the interviews you cite but still think it doesn’t lead to your conclusions. A couple of snippets here and there from interviews do NOT tell us what really is going on behind the scenes and WHY they do things.

    The Jim B quotes tells us the after effects of Bobby gone, not why he was gone. Anyway we just got others like Frank and Garth helping OR a guest star. There is nothing wrong with the boys getting some help–as I said before that has always been part of the fabric of the show.

    With the Cas quote–yes an angel being all powerful is a challenge. As the quotes say, “limiting him is sometimes a challenge.” Sometimes a challenge(kind of mild)–and I submit they’ve done it well. So why I have a lot more faith in them doing it well.

    I also submit if Cas is depowered fully or partially, he will not lose his otherwordly charm. Cas is still naive with humanity as you rightly said compared to most angels–being depowered for multiple years won’t be long enough to lose that. It would take a long time, much longer than the show has left.

    Again the whole Cas arc has been highly entertaining, So I think the manuevering with Cas has been highly effective. Has the show post Kripke been more inconsistent? Yes. Is it because of dealing with Cas? I think not. I submit it’s finding a structure that will out do the Apocalypse.

    I’m finding the Men of Letters and the Tablets very promising. I find no reason Cas can’t fit in there. And about the difficulties of Cas–there are some but they are and have been surmountable. Which is why they keep using Cas…because he adds to the show! Otherwise they wouldn’t do it–he’s way worth the trouble. And the writers and tptb have voted in the affirmative by using him–and next year even more. So regardless of a few quotes(which are very mild!), on what counts which is ACTION…tptb and writers have said Cas is easily worth it.

  • sistermagpie

    Cas definitely offers some unique challenges as a character–but I admit that just makes me really hope he can also inspire some really creative solutions. Because it does feel that in some past seasons they were flailing around with Cas. He’s a great character in terms of personality and what makes him tick, his relationship with Dean. But when he first came on he came with rules and a belief system that limited what he could and would do. As a wanderer like he is now, he doesn’t have those and it doesn’t yet feel like the writers have hit on a new role for him. Not a new role as a character but as a supernatural being. For instance, Gabriel as a trickster had what seemed like unlimited powers, but his personality meant that he wasn’t always going to do what Sam and Dean wanted. Angels by definition have a pretty strict code of behavior, but Castiel’s history kind of leaves him in limbo there.

    But I think it could work if they really sit down and think about how to use him well for the story and his personality. Hell, he could have a vision from God that gave him a new sense of purpose that allowed him to refuse to get into the fight 100% without being a betrayal. Just something that makes his status as an angel a plus instead of only something that must be written around or cancelled out.

  • Gerry

    Hi JJ–thank you for your polite discussion as well–I love discussion! Different viewpoints are welcome.

    “You assume the way the writers wrote the last 2 and a half seasons are because of Cas and the problems he creates.”

    No, what I’m saying is that Cas brings issues with him that the writers have to deal with–he’s not the only issue nor the only shaping force.

    But Kripke had to find a way to power down Cas to centre the final Apocalypse show down on Sam and Dean. And Gamble had to find a way to way to power him down to allow Dean to kill Eve. She had to find a way to make Cas unavailable to Sam and Dean in season six in general to fight the deus ex machina issue–but having Cas make a huge character shift largely offscreen because Sam and Dean were not involved in the civil war was a problem.

    In season seven, Gamble took Cas off the playing board again until she could find a way to depower him–and again, I think there were story issues with how she brought him back.

    The point is that Cas’s power is a continuing problem that requires big story points to handle.

    “Also we do NOT know why they wrote Bobby out–that is another assumption:”

    No, I took that from the interview with the writers at: http://spinoff.comicbookresources.com/2013/02/19/supernatural-writers-return-drama-to-its-hellish-roots-in-season-8/#sthash.p0nhPWj4.dpuf

    Loflin said: Jim Beaver is a phenomenal actor, and we always loved to work him into episodes, almost to a fault. His absence makes it so we have to get a little more creative in how the boys do their procedural stuff . . . The “Let’s call Bobby” has become kind of a cliché.

    He also said: “So to have them face challenges without Castiel as backup or have him be unreliable allows us to put the focus on Sam and Dean. Because Cas as an angel is very powerful and limiting him is sometimes a challenge.”

    So I know the writers have considered a lot of the points I’m concerned about. The only reason I’m still concerned is I haven’t always thought their solutions worked. (-: As Claire noted and I agree, they haven’t handled the Bobby at the end of the phone issue well yet.

  • Michele

    I, for one, my husband and every one I know that watches SPN are all super happy he’ll be back! Sam and Dean need to stay the main focus but it’s not the same without him around and after 5 seasons he deserves to have some of the spotlight and be a regular again!

  • Gerry

    Hi Sara and Claire, thanks for commenting!

    Sara, thanks! I do understand really loving a character, but telling the best story is really the bottom line for the writers.

    Claire, I agree the writers haven’t handled the Bobby issue at all well. Simply having the boys phone another person doesn’t solve the issue with a very tired plot device. But that just makes the plot device still an issue they have to solve. Deus ex machina is not good writing, whether Cas or Bobby.

    I also don’t think the decision to take Cas’s power away is a simple one. I think many people love the sense of “otherness” he has. Losing that I think will take away from the character. It will also make the way Castiel has no people skills even harder to swallow than it is now, given other angels seem to assimilate just fine. He’ll have to figure out how to talk to people or have no place in the show.

    I’m not sure the writers can’t come up with something that works, as I wrote in my article. But I think it is hard and I’m not sure making Cas a regular is going to make it any the easier. He may work better in smaller doses.

    And maybe the solution will be to keep him in smaller doses even if he is a regular, as the writers did in season six. There are a lot of possibilities.

  • JJ

    Gerry, I respect your polite response though I do disagree with many of your points and assumptions. Firstly if you say your are not a hater then i’ll take your word–it’s just a lot of your points are “talking points” of a lot of the fringe who spew against Cas as the font of all SPN problems and evil.

    You assume the way the writers wrote the last 2 and a half seasons are because of Cas and the problems he creates. I submit that is wrong–at best that is your surmise. The writing may have been uneven but it’s highly dubious to blame it on one factor.

    I thought the Cas trajectory from Crowley, to souls, Purgatory, God Cas, Crazy Cas and redemption Cas has worked well. Highly entertaining. Now you my disagree but hey it’s just a different personal judgement.

    Also we do NOT know why they wrote Bobby out–that is another assumption. The fact of the matter is the boys always get help pre and post Bobby and always will. With Cas again I think they have been fine in making the boys the heroes and Cas helping from time to time. I disagree that it hasn’t worked.

    With Cas being more with Dean–doesn’t mean Sam won’t interact with him. It just doesn’t have to be halfies, which is unrealistic. And having just one more regular for a hour show leaves plenty of time for Sam and Dean–even with recurring visitors.

    So really just don’t buy many of your assumptions and judgements on the show. Which is fine–we all have opinions.

  • Claire

    “He is too powerful. Do you really want the audience to know they don’t have to worry about the characters dying because they always have Cas? That’s not suspenseful or interesting. ”

    LOL, do me a favour. We don’t have to worry about the main characters dying because they’re the main characters and they’ve signed on for two more years. And they left Bobby dead didn’t they? Instead of having Cas raise him.

    They can depower Cas easily. He falls: it’s done.

    “there have been times I have felt Cas’ story took precedence over there’s which as you say…makes the show not work.”

    He has been in, what, ten or eleven episodes across the last two seasons (meaning season 8 so far)? Please. And as far as I’m concerned Born Again Identity was ruined by the boring Sam scenes and season 7 was ruined by yet another boring what’s wrong with Sam storyline. The show might not work for you with him in it but it works for me and a whole lot of other fans who are important to this show’s ratings. I’ll actually watch season 9 now.

  • Dot

    While I agree that the agency needs to stay with Sam and Dean, rather than relying on a superpowered ally, and that’s a challenge of writing Castiel, I don’t agree that having another regular character will take away from Sam and Dean’s relationship or their screentime together. Castiel was a regular in Season 5, he wasn’t in every episode, there were plenty of Sam and Dean focused episodes and moments. The issues on the show that made Castiel’s storyline in S6/S7 wobbly are systemic ones that affected all of the characters, including Sam and Dean as individuals and the brother relationship. There’s also the actual in-story factors that have strained Sam and Dean’s relationship over the years and one of them is the relentless losses and isolation. Castiel’s hero journey is compelling in its own right. To me that’s a feature not a bug–I don’t think supporting characters should be only be about leads, they need to be fully fleshed out, not one-dimensional cardboard players. I also think Sam needs to have other relationships and Dean needs to have other relationships. Season 8 brought in Amelia and Benny, brought back Kevin and Charlie and restored Castiel, and I feel the brothers’ story is better for it because of all the notes these other characters bring. I fully expect the brothers to remain front and center but the show needs Castiel and others and I’m kind of wondering why mistakes in the writing for the two leads doesn’t mean anyone questions the validity of the characters, but when the writers make mistakes with supporting characters, it often leads to discussion about whether they should be there at all. Obviously Sam and Dean can’t be removed, but leads need a framework and a structure around them.

  • Claire

    “The writers wrote Bobby out because they felt they had made the boys too reliant on him. ”

    Case in point. They wrote him out and promptly brought in a substitute and then brought Bobby back. If they want a deus ex machina they write one in. It’s as simple as that and it isn’t at all dependent on Cas being in the storyline.

  • Sara

    Cas fans obviously will not take kindly to your opinion even if you like the character or give very credible points. They can be very protective and extreme sometimes but I thought you should know I believe you have very excellent and true points. Whether you like the character or not, there are issues with inserting this kind of character into the show with a show like this. He is too powerful. Do you really want the audience to know they don’t have to worry about the characters dying because they always have Cas? That’s not suspenseful or interesting.

    The story is meant to center on the two brothers and there have been times I have felt Cas’ story took precedence over there’s which as you say…makes the show not work. I get if fans like the character but it’s not about that: this character does present problems and in many ways the writers have written themselves into the corner with him and lost golden opportunities to good scenes like in Born Again Identity. That episode could’ve been great but instead we had the instant fix and it was more about Castiel than Sam and Dean.

  • Claire

    LOL, right, because if Cas isn’t there the writers won’t just come up with another plot device to tell the brothers all they need to know, or magic them back through time, or help them learn out to destroy the MOTW. Please. He wasn’t there in season 7 and there was a new plot device every week. They can easily depower him. He falls: there, I did it for them.

  • Gerry

    Hi Laura, I am writing from the standpoint that Cas is a supporting character to Sam and Dean’s leads, which I think there is a good deal of support for. (-:

    Of course Cas has fans in his own right and deservedly so. But I also think that Sam and Dean have to work for the show to work and that Castiel will not be a substitute for the brothers’ dynamic working well. There’s a reason the writers shuffled Cas’s story offscreen after hiatus to give Sam and Dean the space to heal and reboot.

    “And you assume the highly paid people who run the show can’t also think up a way to do this?”

    I assume the clear issues the other showrunners had with dealing with Cas’s deus ex machina issue will not disappear for Carver and that Carver is not infallible. I think he already stumbled with Sam’s earlier story line.

  • Laura

    Wow, way to diminish a character who is important and relevant to a lot of fans *in his own right* and who is certainly much more than support to us too. In fact I’m more interested in Castiel’s story and journey right now than I am in the tedious rinse-repeat brotherly angst-woobie-Sam-worried-Dean we seem to be getting. Please don’t parrot Gamble’s view that Cas (and by virtue his fans) are redundant to this show.

    “Kripke found ways to dampen the angel’s power…”

    And you assume the highly paid people who run the show can’t also think up a way to do this?

  • Gerry

    Hi JJ, not sure how you got Cas hater out of my article. Definitely not where I’m coming from, as I think my past reviews have frequently shown.

    I do think how Cas relates to both the boys matters if he’s going to increase his time on the show and I do think the way he is an ally is a huge story point that matters. The writers wrote Bobby out because they felt they had made the boys too reliant on him. If Bobby was a problem as deus ex machina, Castiel is more so, which is why the writers take such trouble to find ways to depower him and most frequently end up dropping his story line abruptly while they brain storm. I don’t look at season seven as a great way of telling Cas’s story.

    I also don’t think the way the writers had to drop Cas and Naomi’s arc to allow the brothers to come together and gain power as a great way to develop the tablet arc.

    Threading a season long arc throughout all the episodes has been a problem since season five ended and Cas has to support that goal, not be a problem.

    I wish it felt like solving these problems is something the writers can easily do, but they’ve pretty clearly shown it’s really difficult. I do have hope Carver has something up his sleeve as great as the Men of Letters story, but I have to say I was very unimpressed with the Amelia story, so it could go either way.

  • KAY66

    I have no worries that Carver Edlund will have success in making Castiel’s character consistent and relevant to the story of Sam and Dean, that he will be allowed to have a well rounded character and I’m looking forward to his interactions with Sam and Dean as a team and individuals, of course that also means a world of pain. It wouldn’t be spn any other way.

  • JJ

    Good god–you sound like one of Cas haters who think the brothers need to be alone. Cas need not be equal friends to each brother–how realistic is that? And Dean and Sam having a regular ally is good not bad. And the Cas solutions have worked despite what you say ANd I have faith in Carver and his crew to make it work.

  • Gerry

    Hi all, so glad to read all your comments! I agree with many of you that Castiel has offered a lot to the show over the years. I just also think that since the Apocalypse ended, he’s also added story problems.

    Deborah, I don’t think I stated Sam and Dean did every things alone. I love the relationships they had with Ellen, Ash, Jo, Rufus etc. But none of those characters were ever any near to regular status. They were used only when there was a specific story need for them. And none of them had superpowers, so Sam and Dean always took the lead on solving whatever problem they were in. The scene where Dean had to wire Jo up with explosives so she could provide a distraction for the hell hounds was heartbreaking because there was no other way out, no magic solution.

    I think Bobby is the closest comparison to Castiel and while he always seemed to have the right spell at hand, he couldn’t zap anything to make it right. And the writers still decided the Winchesters relied too much upon him and wrote him out. If they relied too much upon Bobby for story comfort, I really wonder how they will increase Castiel’s role without causing story issues. And Bobby related to both boys, unlike Cas.

    I hope for the best with Castiel, but I do have trepidations about increasing his time.

  • Kivina

    I couldn’t be more happy about Misha being regular again. When he disappeared during season 7 and it was just the brothers over and over again, I have to admit I stopped watching for a while and then started watching more episodes at once when Cas came back. It was just…boring. Now, with season 8 it’s something different. I’m every week thrilled to see what’s going to happen on the show and I can’t wait for Cas’ return. But now I know that he’s out there, actually alive and important to the story. He adds so much to the show. He’s family now. Without him it’s like if the show was without Dean or Sam. I get that he’s not that important for the show and never will be but he’s important to me and the characters.
    I’m pretty sure that producers and writers have something in mind for him when Misha is being regular again. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had to become human to get away from Naomi.
    Season 5 with Team Free Will was my all time favorite and I hope season 9 will be just as amazing.

  • Joels

    Thankfully we have fresh Show running blood with Jeremy Carver and a creative, versatile bevy of writers with which to solve a powerful problem like Castiel. Indeed, SPN’s fan fiction writers have had no trouble overcoming this angelic niggle for years.
    I’m thrilled at Misha Collins return as regular & director next season and the opportunity for him to do more with our beloved, enduringly popular Castiel.

  • Cassie

    I absolutely LOVE the character of Castiel. He brings so much to the show. So happy to have him as a regular again!

  • Marie

    I definitely share you concerns, Gerry. The problem with having a “Superman” on a show–at least on the side of good–is that for that to work, the superpowered hero has always had to be the primary focus of the show. When has there ever been a “Superman” where the story is based around his human counterparts? I think all of Cas’s storylines since S4 ended show how awkwardly he fits into their universe, which is a shame, but not surprising. I’m not sure the writers will ever commit to depowering him (they seem to like having the deus ex machina side of him around), so IA that using his powers to make stuff too easy is a problem this show will be facing for at least one more year. I also very much agree with balancing out Dean-Cas scenes with Sam-Cas scenes. This season the imbalance between Dean-other characters and Sam-other characters in general has gotten the most lopsided this show has ever been, and them starting fixing that with Cas would go a long way to correcting it, if the writers ever plan to.

  • Nicola

    To answer your question, yes Supernatural should have signed Misha as a regular for season 9. I love Cas and I enjoy the show more when he is in it. Supernatural will always be about Dean and Sam but I don’t see why Cas can’t be there to add another dynamic to the show. It would have gotten stale a long time ago if it wasn’t for the addition of other characters.

  • Kara

    I agree that Castiel’s character brings a lot to the show, but as you point out he also brings a lot of problems the show has not always been able to deal with. With the power at his disposal less is always more, and I’m afraid as a series regular he unbalances the show. That and the obvious imbalance when it comes to Sam and Cas scenes vs Dean and Cas scenes. If they can’t find a way to reinforce Sam and Cas’s relationship, I think the Angle’s regular presence next season will be even more problematic.

  • Dilys

    I could not disagree with you more. I am thrilled that Misha is a regular in Season 9 and so happy Cas will be part of the story more. He’s my favorite character and he is the reason I fangirl SPN so much.

  • deborah

    I’m saddened you have joined the argument that Dean and Sam have always done everything alone,etc. Tell that to Bobby, Ash, Ellen, Jo, and the list goes on. Dean and Sam have never gotten themselves out of “sticky situations” without help from some corner. Frankly, Misha Collins’s Castiel is a HUGE asset to Supernatural and the Dean and Castiel stories are one of my main draws to the show. I am thrilled Misha has been signed as a regular in season nine.