Supernatural: "The Man Who Would Be King": all about soul(s)

Quick Take: Supernatural: "The Man Who Would Be King"
Dean has another wayward brother issue!


Review: Supernatural: "The Man Who Would Be King"
(S0620) Writer/director Ben Edlund might have given Castiel a voice, but whether the voice was what the show’s vast and vocal fan base would appreciate hearing would only be tested when the episode aired. "The Man Who Would Be King" should now answer that question in the strong affirimative!

The style of this episode is best summed up with one word: intelligence. Edlund has provided Castiel with a direct connection with the audience. The confession of an Angel that leaps from the first life form crawling from the ocean to the present, with a few fleeting biblical references. As his story progresses we learn how incapable Angels are of thinking for themselves, of Raphael’s arrogance, and of Cas’s own hubris; thinking he had rescued Sam, only to discover he had left Sam’s soul behind. He laments how badly his actions might affect Dean especially, as he invisibly spies on the boys, to stay ahead of them finding Crowley, which would either end with their deaths, or reveal his “business” arrangement with the King of Hell.

We discovering Crowley approached him as he considered asking Dean’s advice, following Raphael’s ultimatum to either join him in raising Lucifer and Michael to put the apocalypse back on track, or die, was intriguing. Interesting that Crowley could find the Angel, or perhaps it was Dean he was considering recruiting and came across Castiel.  They might become uncomfortable allies, but Castiel is not averse to smiting Crowley’s demon slaves in order to prevent the boys from discovering his complicity in Eve rising from Purgatory. He needs to gather as many souls as possible from Purgatory to produce enough power to defeat Raphael’s apocalyptic aspirations.

There is much soul searching in his monologue as the story unfolds, and shows how conflicted Castiel is by his mission; Crowley will take half of Purgatory’s souls in order to strengthen his position in hell. Crowley’s often denigrating comments, about how dangerous the Winchesters are given the previous victories, does not sway Castiel’s notion of still being their guardian. This notion of protecting the boys culminates in revealing his duplicity; a weakness strangely shared with Sam and Dean; a willingness to defend them no matter the consequences. Ultimately, of course, the boys find out, trapping him in holy fire and learning that he freed Sam from hell, albeit poorly, before fleeing at his insistence from a whirlwind of black demonic smoke snaking its way toward the house where they have him confined. Crowley frees him with some rhetoric about your friends betraying you. One more attempt to explain his actions to Dean sees them part badly, Dean offering a threat, if a weak one, with Castiel stating the obvious, you’re just a man, I’m an Angel. It is a word Castiel used again and again, Crowley is right, he does not like what he’s becoming for this war, to remind himself of who he is verbally so often means he feels completely alone. The episode concludes with Castiel addressing God to ascertain if he is on the right path; he needs a sign, will he get one?


  • What is clear from this episode is that Castiel has been at the forefront of the problems facing the boys in season six whilst appearing to be very much in the background.
  • He is unable to free himself from a perceived destiny to prevent a rerun of the apocalypse, even the Angels who seem oddly mesmerised by him believe he must lead them since he defeated the Archangels, Michael and Lucifer; his shoulders are suddenly Dean’s in many respects as being the saviour is now his responsibility.
  • Castiel is desperately trying to fight and win a war poorly equipped and thus doing what he’d learned from the boys, accepting an offer of help from Crowley since it was mutually beneficial, he admits time and again to his uncertainty of his course but he seems unable, or unwilling to sway himself to there being an alternative.
  • Whilst I am used to Dean’s self-righteous speech making, we have seen a little of that this season – it was badly chosen here (from the storyline perspective it was brilliant of course) the entire “I am the moral compass and you must trust me”, is a little rich. Dean and Sam have thrived on deals with demons and working with whoever suited their end game, and why not? This is what Castiel is doing. It might be poorly judged, given what might happen, but equally the victory over Lucifer and Michael was one that could never have happened if Castiel had not rebelled. God has brought him back several times to help Dean and Sam, and helped he has.
  • Crowley, who worked with the boys during season five to defeat Lucifer and Michael, came through and his behaviour which includes slitting the throats of humans whilst Dean watched was set aside because of the end game.
  • Dean’s threat to Castiel is interesting, examining the big marks he and his brother have killed in order, Azazel without Castiel, but at the cost of his own life – Castiel rescued him from Hell because he was ordered too – but then the Angel actually began to like and admire Dean and ultimately, despite a plan that had been written allegedly by God, and in existence since the beginning of time, rebelled and helped Dean and then Sam defeat the devil, and the Angels!
  • Lilith did not underestimate the Winchesters at all, as Crowley assumes, we know the big plan meant she died in order for Lucifer to live; Ruby’s speech when the cage begins to open tells us that.
  • It was without doubt Castiel’s intervention that saved the boys once more in Season Five, despite dying at the hand of Raphael, giving Dean the time to try and stop Sam from killing Lilith. It failed because Sam caused Lucifer’s resurrection. But Dean helped him escape, killing Ruby in the process.
  • When he returned for season five, resurrected by God, he once again fought against his own family to help them; he carved Enochian warding symbols on their rib cages to prevent Angels finding them, and killed many of his brothers and sisters to defend them, he also saved Dean from Zachariah, and provided the means to kill him.
  • Some blame the Angels, arguing in effect that it was Castiel’s fault so why shouldn’t he have helped? Castiel did not write the end game, apparently God did – so he actually abandoned his family and something drummed into him for six thousand years in order to help Dean achieve what he’d asked for, freedom of choice.
  • There was and is a difference between Castiel and Lucifer, as Crowley tells him, you still love God, not having a tantrum as Lucifer had.
  • I think Castiel is as much a slave to God’s will as he ever was, proven by the fact that he feels duty bound to fight a war to save the Earth, God could be testing his wayward son’s faith in his own beliefs, in choice in freedom – what would you do to preserve them?
  • The weariness Castiel shows throughout the episode are so amazingly illustrated that they pick up threads of previous episodes and sew the entire story together. This will shape and become the springboard of the two final episodes; loyalty, trust, love and family devotion. It reads like a Shakespearean tragedy, as Castiel himself laments. It will take some Herculean effort to prevent a total and catastrophic breakdown between the Winchesters and their allies now, and someone will pay with their life!
  • By Jaclyn

    About the author

    Absolutely passionate about Supernatural.

    English freelance writer who has contributed to Sports and Entertainment genres.

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