They say that time flies when you are having fun and that is definitely true when it comes to Supernatural. It does not seem possible that it has been ten years since the most beloved angel on television made his debut, but it has in fact been a decade on September 18, 2018. To commemorate this momentous occasion, a few of the writers for Nerds and Beyond challenged themselves to choose the biggest Castiel moments from each season. You can see them all so far here.
It feels like it was just yesterday that Castiel appeared on the scene in what is undoubtedly the most unforgettable entrance on television. Since that time, we have watched him evolve from the angel warrior of Season 4 to a member of the Winchesters’ extended family.
We have seen him in a myriad of situations through the years, but in Season 9 we get to see him at his most vulnerable. The season starts right after the angels have fallen from Heaven, and Metatron has stolen Castiel’s grace and sent him back to experience Earth as a human.
Season 9, Episode 1 – “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here”
This episode begins as Castiel is almost hit by a truck while wandering the roads near Longmont, Colorado. Injured and bleeding, he stares at the blood on his hand in stunned disbelief. Now that he’s human, he can be injured by something as trivial as falling on the pavement like the rest of us. The driver of the truck offers to give him a ride and, bitterly, Castiel seems to realize that he actually does need help with this.
This is typical Cas, answering in a very stoic, Spock-like manner that is both heartbreaking and funny at the same time. That pause and the “not anymore” at the end of the sentence is agonizing to hear. It’s not entirely clear yet if Castiel fully realizes that he is completely human, but this is the first time we see him having to deal with one human limitation: transportation. Unfortunately, having limited transportation is only the first hurdle Castiel will have to deal with this season.
Season 9, Episode 1 – “I Think I’m Gonna Like It Here”
The second significant moment is also from this episode. It is a discussion that Cas has with Hael, another fallen angel. She is looking for guidance, and after she reveals she created the Grand Canyon, Castiel suggests that she visit it. Castiel notices that Hael doesn’t want to see the beauty in the world around her or the many opportunities that await her, and he tries to make her see that she has the power to reinvent herself.
This little speech is significant because free will is something that Castiel knows angels struggle with. He struggled with it himself when he first went against his orders, after all. In this scene, he’s basically telling her to decide for herself, think for herself, and not to let anyone else decide what is right for her. With a few pointed words, Cas describes Team Free Will and everything the he and the Winchesters stand for. Perhaps this is a pep talk similar to one Castiel used on himself that lead him exactly where he is in this moment.
Season 9, Episode 6 – “Heaven Can Wait”
In the middle of dealing with a confused rogue angel called a Rit Zein, that is mistakenly killing humans because he can feel their pain and wants to end their suffering, Dean preps Castiel for a rite of passage that almost all humans go through: the first date. The exchange between the older Winchester and the angel is absolutely precious. The serious expression on Castiel’s face as Dean imparts some of his Winchester wisdom about women and dating is absolutely priceless. Dean finishes his speech with the words, “Go get ’em, tiger,” and sends Cas in to meet his date.
This is a lighthearted moment, but a big one all the same. It’s another example of something simple that most humans will go through several times in their lives, that Castiel, angel of the Lord, hasn’t yet experienced. He’s completely clueless (which is proven when it’s revealed this isn’t a date at all, but instead, a babysitting gig) about not only dating, but innumerable parts about being human. We get a better glimpse at this later on in the episode when Castiel talks to himself while caring for Nora’s infant.
Nobody told you. Nobody explained. You’re just… shoved out kicking and screaming into this human life, without any idea why any of it feels the way it feels, or why this confusion, which feels like it’s… a hair’s breadth from terror or pain. You know, just when you think you do understand, it’ll turn out you’re wrong. You didn’t understand anything at all.”
Season 9, Episode 18 – “Meta Fiction”
This episode begins with Metatron narrating the events as if he is telling the story. Of course, since this is his story, he is setting himself up as the hero and Castiel as the villain. The one decent thing that Metatron does in this episode (and it’s only to make things easier for himself) is to give Cas the knowledge of all the books, movies, and TV shows that Metatron has experienced during his time on Earth.
Castiel’s grasp on this knowledge becomes apparent when he correctly interprets and responds to Sam’s reference to the Death Star from Star Wars. The Winchesters exchange surprised glances and it seems that Castiel is just as surprised as the Winchesters, considering his response. This is significant because part of Castiel’s humor and charm in the last five seasons has been that he just does not understand a lot of the jokes the Winchesters make, and gets even fewer references made to pop culture. Now that he’s been given so much knowledge, it makes us wonder how that’s going to impact the way he interacts with Sam and Dean in the future.
Season 9, Episode 22-“Stairway to Heaven”
Metatron has been using angel suicide bombers to murder other angels in Castiel’s name in the hope that his new followers will turn against him. Cas calls the Winchesters to help him get to the bottom of the situation. While Dean is interrogating Tessa after finding out that she is part of the suicide bomb plot, things get way out of hand. It escalates until Tessa impales herself on the First Blade, which Dean has brought with him, unbeknownst to Sam.
When Castiel’s followers find out what Dean has done and that he broke the no violence rule, they demand that Castiel show his loyalty to the angles by punishing Dean for what he did to Tessa. Hannah offers the ultimatum with this, “You gave us order, Castiel, and we gave you our trust. Don’t lose it over one man.” She hands him an angel blade to use to punish Dean, and he declines.
When Castiel’s back is against the wall, he makes the decision that Castiel will always make: he decides to choose family. In that moment, he looses everything he had been working towards for the majority of the season. He went from leading an army of angels to having absolutely nothing but Sam and Dean. To put a twist on a Star Trek reference, the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many. The angels turn against him and the episode ends with Sam, Dean and Cas returning to the Bunker.
These are just a few of the wonderful Castiel moments in Season 9, but they are some of the most defining. They show Castiel trying to navigate the highs and lows of humanity as an actual participant and not an angelic observer. He faced some of the toughest choices that anyone has to face and did so admirably.
Make sure to check in tomorrow to see how Castiel’s decisions in this season affect the ones he is closest to as he helps the Winchesters with their fight against the Darkness.