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First off, bad news everyone, take a deep breath, sit down, grab a tissue or your pillow or puppy, kitten, bunny, frog, lizard - whatever it is that helps you get through bad news. Okay. Is everyone set? Good. I'm sorry to have to be the one to tell you this but Hellatus is halfway done. That's right. I'm sorry to say that we have reached the mid-point of 2010 Hellatus and there's nowhere to go but quickly into the new season. 
Everyone all right? Okay. Remember, together we can manage the fact that soon Hellatus will be all over and there will be nothing to do but enjoy a new episode of Supernatural each and every week.  Darn. Jas' couch is always open so pile on if you need to.
Now, with the bad news out of the way it's time to give a little love to Castiel. Castiel stormed onto the scene at the beginning of Season 4 and I for one can't imagine my Supernatural without him. Like Bobby Singer, Castiel quickly stole my heart. 
Enter one bada** angel with a mission for Dean from God. One of the coolest entrances ever.
Castiel is curious about humans as evidenced by his flipping through the spell books Bobby had on the table as well as his incredulous realization that Dean doesn't think he's worth saving. That doesn't stop him from quickly getting down to business and he doesn't brook any of Dean's insolence at the end of Are You There, God, It's Me, Dean Winchester:
"You should show me some respect. I dragged you out of hell, I can throw you back in."
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It doesn't take long for Castiel to start to find some sympathy for Dean and what he's facing though. Castiel's purpose in sending Dean back in time in In The Beginning was to speed up the learning curve and get Dean on board with how long Azazel has been putting his plan into works, however, Castiel learns a little something along the way; he cares.
 Castiel's next appearance has him meeting Sam for the first time; still unaccustomed to human interaction it's a very uncomfortable meeting for both:
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While Dean continues to generate sympathy in Castiel for all that he's facing, Castiel is still focussed on his mission and being resolutely loyal to heaven, thus his appearance with his new angel-sidekick Uriel is decidedly not filled with forgiveness nor sympathy for the choices some have made: 
"Anna has to die."
And yet, at the end of Heaven and Hell, Castiel's sympathies arise again, this time for Anna.
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There is a four-episode break in Castiel appearances and when he returns at the end of Death Takes a Holiday and captures Alastair there is something very Cheshire Cat about his appearance, Cas is clearly pleased with his cleverness.
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All is not good for dear Castiel though for as we now know, Alistair was never to be captured and once he was, Dean was to be killed by him and Castiel was to remain thinking the demons were behind the recent death of angels. We now have every reason to believe that Zachariah and Uriel were working together behind the scenes in some fashion or another, although I don't believe Zachariah wanted Dean to be killed but he didn't mind the death of angels from what I can see, so it's likely that Castiel's new restrictions and his loss of authority were directly attributable to Zachariah's orders.
Castiel's conflict grows exponentially in "On The Head of a Pin" as he truly sees the toll his angelic orders are taking on Dean and through Anna's pointed comments and his own ability to think Castiel starts to realize that he's being played a fool and free will starts to take hold, the smallest nugget of it to be sure but it's a start; and the burden is heavy.
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Monster at the End of This Book shows that while Castiel still maintains his loyalty to heaven he's learning how to play a little outside of the lines. He truly can't interfere with Dean's desire to get Sam out of town rather than a chance a face to face with Lilith, but Castiel has learned that you can still tell the complete truth and yet provide your now friend the information necessary to save the day.
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Sometimes, however, in trying to help people you forget to cover your tracks, and you forget just how clever your bosses and/or frenemies are at catching you out. The Rapture gives us a glimpse at a little lesson Castiel gets for straying outside of the line. Was his punishment meted out by Zachariah? Probably, for Zachariah needed Castiel to keep Dean in line and assist in manoeuvring him into the corner that Dean found himself in during When The Levee Breaks. So in The Rapture, Cas is snatched from his vessel and given some heavenly punishment that is more rocky road then heavenly hash. [I'm going to an ice-cream social with friends tomorrow, so you can see where my focus is]  For us it's a chance to meet Jimmy, and there have been times since then, especially in My Bloody Valentine, when Jimmy has peeked out of Castiel's eyes.
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Castiel is allowed back into Jimmy's body but it is clear that all is not as it had been. When the Levee Breaks finds Castiel with zero sympathy for Dean's distress over Sam's demon-blood addiction, instead we find Castiel cornering Dean and forcing him to vow to submit to the will of heaven, likely something that was necessary in order for Zachariah to imprison Dean in the "green room" in Lucifer Rising. [We know that Adam went willingly with Zachariah in Point of No Return as he was intent on finding his mom, so it is likely that Dean's initial willingness to submit was a requirement for imprisonment, that's my thought.]
Still, Castiel's conflict over forcing Dean to submit to the will of heaven and his subsequent betrayal of Anna are weighing heavily and he is not the same warrior angel that vowed he would throw Dean back into hell if Dean didn't give him some respect. Even when forcing Dean to submit, we can see the conflict.
At the end of Season 4 Castiel has made his decision, he's choosing between what his orders are and what he now thinks to be right and they are mutually exclusive; there will be hell to pay come Season 5.
So there you have it, part 1 of a two-part look at Castiel's changing role. Stay tuned for Part 2, coming up.
Thanks for reading, Elle2


# Jasminka 2010-07-22 03:41
Elle2, you’re so right – Castiel deserves a ‘little love’. He has also become one of my favourite characters. If I had to choose between Castiel and Bobby, though, I would pick Bobby (I love Bobby, have I mentioned that I love Bobby?) – don’t mind me… I have always been on Castiel’ side, even when he appeared to be acting suspiciously.

For an angel who was devoted to his task and trusted God and his superiors without doubt, he grew immensely. He lost a huge part of his faith along the way, but gained love and compassion for humans, something new and unsual for him. He demanded respect from Dean – but gained it in the course of the show: to my mind that is the only kind of respect one should strive for – when others respect you for your actions, your soul, your achievements, etc. and not because they are afraid of you or commanded to…

With his actions he became a respected member of Team Winchester. He grew a pair. He felt doubt and fear. I think that’s essential to understand humankind better. And this should help him to do his job as an angel better and with more compassion.

Thank you for this article, elle2, looking forward to part II. And, of course, my couch is open to everyone who feels the need to go there – plus: it’s cozy as hell…. (no pun intended).
Love Jas
# Karen 2010-07-22 07:37
Hi Elle2
I love Castiel.
I think he was a great addition to the Supernatural team.
I love his awkwardness and innocents, but I also love when he Bad*ss.
I have to agree with Jasminka tho, if I had to choose between Cas and Bobby I would have to choose Bobby. But I hope it never comes to that.
Can’t wait to see part 2.
# Bevie 2010-07-22 12:47
Hi Elle2

I too love Castiel and don't want to lose him. I like that Dean has someone to hear him and understand.

I hope it never comes down to Cas or Bobby because there is room for both of them and I like them together also. Such a contrast! And next season toss in Crowley too!

I'd like to see a lot more of Cas and Sam interactions too.

Looking forward to part 2.
# elle2 2010-07-22 18:48
Hi, Jas, Karen and Bevie,

Like all of you, Castiel and Bobby are mainstays as far as I'm concerned but I would have to say that when Swan Song was fast approaching and it was 'known' that the big five-year arc was closing down I figured Castiel was a goner, especially since so many other angels had been purged along the way. It made sense but I struggled with the thought of no more Cas going forward. If given a chocie (ah, never, Sera, NEVER!) I would choose Bobby, surrogate father always, but I'm hoping I never have to make or survive that choice.

Bevie, I too am hopeful for more Sam and Cas interactions (besides what's coming in Part 2 that is)

Karen, all of Cas' many facets are enjoyable to me, angry Cas, confused Cas, bada** Cas, drunk, sad, lost his faith, refound his faith Cas; he's a great character for the writers to explore.

Jas, I know the couch is quite cozy, I've been snuggling and enjoying Hellatus this year with all the wonderful articles, games, puzzles, posters, videos and what not. Just think, we'll start getting exclusive Comic Con articles soon and quickly powering down to the beginning of the next season...hang on all, 'tis going to be fun!
Lesley M
# Lesley M 2010-07-22 23:50
I love the way you put it. "Like Bobby, Castiel quickly stole my heart".
Sames. 100% the Same.
I could not watch Supernatural if Bobby wasn't a part of it and very soon after Cas was introduced I felt the same for him.
So glad that they are both back for S6. Now we just have to wait.... 63 more days....
# Evelyn 2010-07-24 15:28
I love the progression of Castiel and how he has become more "human" throughout the last two years. This is a great look back elle2 and I look forward to Part 2.

It was interesting that when Castiel told Dean that he will throw him back to hell if he doesn't show him some respect, the genuine fear on Dean's face and how after a couple of episodes, when Cas really started to feel empathy for Dean and understand his plight better, that fear in Dean turned to a genuine friendship and respect. I just really love it how the relationship between these two has evolved. It's been a joy to watch.
# anene 2010-07-24 21:44
All this post does is make me miss season 4 Castiel. When he was actually a badass and an asshole to the brothers but was still cool in my eyes. I don't know if i will feel the same way about him come season 6 if a period of time has passed, and he appears to Sam & Dean again still in Jimmy's body, and still wearing the same clothes. I am beginning to loose any suspension of belief of why he would still be on earth and in the character altogether which is making the show more cartoonish.
I hope they address the issue in a plausible manner or i will be very sad and uninterested. And also make sure to explain why on earth he would need mere mortals like Sam & Dean to help him deal with any heavenly chore.
I value a well crafted story and character above all. I hope the Supernatural team doesn't kill my love for this character and do right by him.

Season 4 Castiel was awesome from beginning to end.
# mysticpeach 2010-07-24 21:48
I love Castiel. He came right at a time when my love for the show was going south. Though the buzz wore off around the end of season 4, he continued to be my favorite character right behind Dean. Call me the odd one out, but if it came between Bobby and Castiel, well...sorry, Bobby. I only say that because, from a storytelling point of view, there is much more to do with Castiel than with Bobby. There's also the fact that Bobby has been in the story since the end of season 1 and his character hasn't changed that much. Castiel has been in for two years and he's gone through an amazing transformation that is more on par, maybe even above in some instances, Sam and Dean's. At least in my humble opinion.
# elle2 2010-07-25 13:19
Hi, Lesley M, Evelyn, Anene and Mysticpeach (love that name!)

Lesley, I know what you mean regarding both Bobby and Cas, I truly feared the worst prior to Swan Song that it was going to be very difficult to not have either of those characters in Season 6, so glad they're back.

Evelyn, I too feel that the writers did a nice job at progressing Castiel's character, it will be quite interesting to see where it goes in Season 6 as it now appears he's refound his faith (Yes, quite quickly but perhaps resurrection and renewal of angelic powers would actually do that).

As for the fear in Dean's eyes after Castiel told him he could throw him back in, Dean was fearful and I like how that was followed up on in Yellow Fever, good continuity.

Anene, Season 4 Cas is likely my favorite Cas mostly because there was such mystery behind him. The early parts of Season 5 (mainly Free To Be You and Me) I didn't like as much as he was a bit awkward pushed in there with Dean but in retrospect that may have been the whole point, so that Dean would realize that what he missed and needed was Sam as his partner.

As for how things go in Season 6, like you I'll be watching to see what they do. Since this is still very much Kripke's vision even though Sera is assuming the reins I suspect the reason why a powerful angel (or any angel for that matter) needs Sam and Dean to accomplish anything is because humans are the heart and soul of the story and thus while Cas can handle some things on his own (like capture Alistair) he needs Sam and Dean to 'flush' him out -- when he's hiding behind angel hiding sigils and things of that nature.

There may also be the whole idea that angels cannot directly involve themselves in human affairs but can indirectly, thus Sam and Dean are necessary...don 't know. Then there's the whole thing that Castiel isn't all-powerful so likely the forces in heaven that may be unchecked because Michael is gone will result in some havoc on earth that Sam and Dean will have to contend with while Castiel can provide details on the who and the what...don't know. I'll be watching right along with you. :-)

I hope it goes well especially so that you can enjoy the show as you desire. :-)


I would definitely agree with you that Cas has transformed much beyond Bobby but I suspect that is likely because while Bobby has some backstory to develop (and has developed) and his relationship to the boys has tightened up to 'family' whereas before he was helper in dire straights Bobby was already a developed character, seasoned hunter, mixing his hunter lifestyle amonst his 'public' lifestyle. He didn't discover hunting as Henrickson did and thus wouldn't have the kind of transition that Henrickson would have had (had he not be killed) and unlike Castiel he understands humans, although losing his ability to walk and then gamble away his years was definitely a good emotional exploration. I also like that he made the deal with Crowley -- if for no other reason than he can no longer berate Dean and/or Sam for their self-sacrificin g ways as he too has done the deed.

We're another half a week closer to the end of hellatus...whoo hoo!!!

Thanks for reading and for all the comments.