Over the last decade, a certain trench-coated celestial has warmed his way into the hearts of the Winchesters and the audience of Supernatural. Castiel broke through the barn door on September 18, 2008, and throughout the next decade, he has been a source of laughter, tears, and more than a few awesome bad guy take downs.
September 18, 2018, will be the ten-year anniversary of Castiel’s first appearance on Supernatural, and we are celebrating by publishing an article daily leading up to that special day. Each article will focus on Castiel’s five biggest moments from one of the ten seasons he has been a part of the show. If you missed them, you can see his biggest moments from Season 4 here, Season 5 here, and Season 6 here. On the anniversary itself we will post an ode to Castiel and his time on Supernatural, and you won’t want to miss that!
Season 7 is a tough one because Castiel only actually appears in five episodes, one of which only counts for the first roughly five minutes. On top of that, “Cas” is not really “Cas” for most of those few four episodes. For the most part, he switches between what fans like to call Godstiel, Leviathan!Cas, Emanuel and Crazy!Cas, all with their own quirks and personalities. All that being said, I was still able to find 5 awesome Castiel moments from Season 7.
Season 7, Episode 1 – “Meet the New Boss”
Now, I’m not saying Cas made the right or good, choice, but there is something about a righteous, all-powerful Castiel (or Godstiel) that is both terrifying and a little sexy. One of the first acts that he performs as God takes place at “Lady of Serenity Church” where the preacher is giving a sermon about the sin of homosexuality. Cas shows up and assures the congregation that he, God, is “utterly indifferent to sexual orientation,” which is great! But then he kills a congregation member and the Preacher which is… less great. But he sees himself as righting wrongs and correcting false beliefs in him, so it is hard to believe he is doing the wrong thing.
This is also the first moment that the audience sees that all is not well with Cas – he stops and leans on a pew as we hear the voices of the souls inside him whispering to him. He leaves the pew scorched as he lifts his hand, and as he walks out of the church, he changes the stained glass behind him from supposedly Jesus to an image of himself. It is a small detail, but it shows how he truly believes he is virtuous and almighty, and because of that we don’t disagree with the horrible acts he is committing. It allows the audience to stop and think about what exactly it means to be right or wrong, and at the same time adds a new dimension to the character of Castiel.
Season 7, Episode 17 – “The Born-Again Identity”
Jumping ahead almost the entire season, (as he supposedly died in episode two,) Cas returns in a pivotal season arc episode. With Sam’s visions of Lucifer becoming completely debilitating, Dean reaches out to one Emanuel, a supposed healer. When Dean finds him, who should Emanuel actually be but the one and only Castiel, just without any memories. After teaming up with Meg the demon, played by the lovely Rachel Miner, the three head to the hospital to help Sam, only to find it guarded by several demons. Dean tells Emanuel that he has smote demons before and that he can do it again now. Emanuel walks into the pack of demons and, just as Dean assured him, he is able to kill each and every one. As he smites each of them, his memories return, and it gives the audience and awesomely edited montage of Castiel’s best (and worst) moments on the show. As the demons lie dead on the ground, Castiel is finally back and able to help Sam.
This scene is important not just because of its place in the plot, but also because on a technical level it is exquisite. The whole sequence is set to “Turn into the Earth” by the Songbirds which adds a badass, grungy, almost western vibe. As always, the special effects are spot on, and the way the montage is edited really gives the viewers the feeling that, after nearly a season without him, Cas is back – even if officially that is just for a few minutes.
Season 7, Episode 21 – “Reading is Fundamental”
In episode 17, Castiel attempts to make one of his past wrongs right. Though he was the one who broke Sam’s wall back in Season 5, he tries to fix it now that he isn’t quite so power-hungry by transferring the effects of Sam’s mental trauma unto himself. While in Sam this trauma manifested as visions of Lucifer, for Cas it manifests as… pacifism? Tranquility? Being kind of stoned? It is never actually clear how it affects Cas internally, but externally, it causes him to be a little… different. He is a bit funnier and less serious than usual, but also spacey and distracted.
There are a lot of great Crazy!Cas moments or aspects: his fascination with bees, literally teleporting to avoid conflict, and making sandwiches as a way of “helping out” are just a few. Perhaps most importantly is that after all the damage he did while he was Godstiel, he is now completely unwilling to fight anymore.
My favorite scene, however, takes place at the hospital and shows us just how different this version of Castiel really is. Sam and Dean bring him and Meg a stone tablet that Cas is able to identify as the “Word of God.” They ask him if he can read it and he looks at it intensely, but quickly and sarcastically says, “Tree. Horse. Fiddler crab. I can’t read it,” and just shrugs it off. In the past in this type of situation, Cas would be doing whatever he could to help the Winchesters, or at least give insight as to where to find help if he could not provide it. But Crazy!Cas takes it as an opportunity to make a joke and lighten the situation, as he often does. Throughout the show, Cas has been a friend, ally and resource for the Winchesters, but as this scene shows, Crazy!Cas happens to be more of a snarky, yet kind, responsibility and companion.
Season 7, Episode 23 – “Survival of the Fittest”
At the beginning of this episode, Castiel is worried about his garrison of angels when he finds he can no longer the angels’ voices. After realizing they’ve all been wiped out, he asks Meg to return him to the Winchesters. Once again, he tells Sam and Dean he refuses to fight, but he offers his help in form of approving the bone the Winchesters chose to kill Dick Roman.
Towards the end of the episode, Dean and Cas find themselves in a warehouse of sorts, alone. This is one of the few scenes since the events of Season 6 (Castiel working with Crowley, hurting Sam, betraying Dean, etc) where they are able to pause and just talk. Castiel finally attempts to explain his strange behavior, explaining that he believes he’s bad luck. As they talk, Castiel says he detects a note of forgiveness from Dean, which Dean agrees to, telling him he’s probably going to die anyway so he might as well forgive him. Dean tells Cas that he wants him by his side, no matter what condition he’s in. In his own words, he says, “Sorry, but I’d rather have you, cursed or not.” In return, despite his earlier protests, he tells Dean, “I’ll go with you, and I’ll do my best.” This moment is important because it shows just how deep the friendship between these two go. Through monsters, demons, betrayal, sacrifice, and even after Castiel caused mental harm to Sam, Dean and Castiel still have each other’s backs when it comes down to it.
Season 7, Episode 23 – “Survival of the Fittest”
Though Castiel still refuses to fight, he is still helpful to Sam and Dean when it comes down to taking on Dick Roman. Castiel can see past the face of the “meat suit” in order to tell which copy of Dick Roman is actually him. Once Dean and Castiel track him down together, Dick tries to taunt Castiel by thanking him for releasing the leviathan.
At one point, Dick Roman moves towards Dean to attack him, causing Castiel to intervene in order to push Dean aside, sacrificing himself by shielding Dean from Dick’s blow. By doing this, he gets himself thrown across the room and into a wall, and were he not an angel he probably would have been seriously injured.
Though a small gesture in terms of the span of the Team Free Will monster fighting timeline, in terms of Crazy!Cas’s arc, him doing this is huge. For the past several episodes, Cas was steadfast in his pacifism and told Dean he didn’t want to fight time and time again. And yet, the moment Dean was about to be attacked by a biblical monster, he did not hesitate to sacrifice himself and protect Dean. Not only that, but he later aids in the violent death of Dick Roman by pulling his head back and holding him still so Dean can impale him with the weapon created to kill leviathan. When Dick Roman explodes, black goo goes everywhere, and the last we see of Castiel (and Dean) in Season 7 is the two of them disappearing along with Dick Roman.
Throughout each season so far, Castiel has changed and grown from a heavenly soldier to, by the end of the Season 7, a fallen angel in Purgatory. Even with only being in just four episodes, and barely being his true self, Season 7 continued Castiel’s growth through his loyalty to and bond with Sam and Dean. Now, with Purgatory on the Season 8 horizon, only adventure awaits the little tree topper.
Check back tomorrow for our fifth post in our series celebrating ten years of Castiel on Supernatural where we look back at five of Castiel’s biggest moments in Season 8.