When we last saw Castiel at the end of Season 4 he was standing resolutely next to Chuck - I am the prophet, ready to hold off heaven's most fearsome power, an archangel.
Season 5 opens with the news that Castiel was smote, like a water balloon filled with Chunky soup, not to worry, though, our Cas returned, brought back by God and he's determined not to take any of Zachariah's crap anymore.
"Now put these boys back together and go, I won't ask twice."
Another fine entrance, Cas.
We quickly realize, however, in Good God, Y'All that while Cas has some tricks up his sleeve -- Enochian carvings on Winchester ribcages anyone? -- all is not well. He can't heal Bobby and Cas picks up his newest accessory to his wardrobe, enter Cas' cell phone.
Free to Be You and Me finds Castiel struggling greatly with human interaction. He stands way too close to Dean, "Cas, we've talked about this; personal space." Has little to no understanding of the meaning of subterfuge, "It's the angels and demons, probably; they're skirmishing all over the globe." Can hold his liquor but not the truth from a prostitute and gets him and Dean thrown out of a brothel. However, Castiel does know how to handle an archangel, a little holy oil from Jerusalem (where else) and a well-laid trap gets the information they need, although not all of it, nor the information they wanted, and a quick escape, "Maybe one day, but today you're my little b****."
We're treated to yet another incarnation of Castiel in The End; future, human Cas, loves the ladies, is stoned out of his mind, completely cut off from heaven and remembers fondly that he likes the Dean of 2009. This Cas is loyal to a lost cause, while somewhere, somewhen, five years earlier, present Cas is waiting silently by the side of the road for Dean to get a few hours of sleep and then carry on with his plan to find God. Cas may not be a good liar and he may continue to struggle with his cell phone, "This isn't funny, Dean, the voice says I'm almost out of minutes." -- but he is loyal and he understands that timing is everything, "We had an appointment."
Then there's I Believe The Children Are Our Future,really, what more can be said, Action Figure Castiel!
You can choose your friends; you can't choose your family. Castiel has been blown up, turned into an action figure, run out of a brothel, killed (in the future) and now he is on the receiving end of quite a beating, Changing Channels is a lot of fun, to everyone that is but Castiel - yeah, and Sam didn't get away without some pain and embarrassment, and sure, Dean got shot - again - but this is a Castiel article.
Abandon All Hope: Castiel, meet Ellen Harvelle. One of my favorite meetings between Supernatural characters was Ellen and Jo and Cas. From Cas slinging shots with Ellen: "All right, big boy." "I think I'm starting to feel something.
To: "Haven't you ever heard of a door handle?" "Of course I have."
I'm so glad we got a chance for these characters to interact, if only briefly.
And let's not forget that the Castiel who awkwardly shook Sam's hand and called him the boy with the demon blood in him back in It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester, now stands strong in the face of Lucifer and tells him: "You're not taking Sam Winchester, I won't let you."
The Song Remains the Same renders Castiel as basically a means to time travel, but there is little bit of a toast at the end as Team Free Will finally comes into its own. Bottoms up, Cas,uh, Cas?
My Bloody Valentine, so much Cas goodness, I hardly know where to begin. I love the peek we get as Cas is shovelling burgers into his mouth of Jimmy, it's a peek but there he is.
Also, Castiel has learned a thing or two about studying Dean over the past year and so many months, he's very aware that all is not well and he openly confronts Dean about it. Unlike Dean's interaction with Sam on the same matter, Dean is willing to talk to Castiel; likely because he knows Castiel will not push him as Sam would - and rightly Sam should. In the end, Castiel's silent, steady presence outside the panic room says it all; no matter what, he's part of Team Free Will and he's there when things go well and when things don't seem to be going well.
Then there's the funny bits with Castiel, and there are plenty this season:
"They're not incontinent." BWAH!!!
"I'm going to hang up now."
Poor Cas is also given the less than pleasant, or comfortable, task of consoling the disconsolate Cupid,sucks to be the newest member on the team.
Dark Side of the Moon (a masterpiece) takes Cas to almost his lowest point this season. Faithful in his belief that he can find God and get some answers he embraces the opportunity of Sam and Dean's death and subsequent arrival in heaven as a chance to discover what God's plan is. In the end though he's deeply disappointed and we see how very human Cas has become as he loses his hope, his faith; he truly is a part of Team Free Will suffering emotional loss as well as physical and personal.
Drunken Cas is very funny Cas, even if he doesn't realize it (and Misha plays it perfectly. I remember reading somewhere Misha commenting that portraying a drunk person is quite difficult as most drunk people try very hard not to appear drunk; I like his understated drunken portrayal of Castiel very much and like the scene in My Bloody Valentine with the cell phone, it's a part of 99 Problems that I watch over and over again and enjoy every time.)
Cas finally realizes just how heavy Dean's burden and pain really is, something he's studied and wondered on since Lazarus Rising (You don't think you deserve to be saved) and continued in It's the Great Pumpkin (I don't envy the weight on your shoulders) to his confrontation with Dean in Lucifer Rising (I see the pain inside of you, the doubt.) and now here in 99 Problems he questions Dean as to how he handles it, "Some days you get to kill a whore." Dean has always used hunting, the job, as a deflection when things get too heavy, here Cas learns that lesson as well and he puts it to good use in Point of No Return.
Despite all of Cas' disappointment in God and his actions of crawling inside a bottle - well, a liquor store, in 99 Problems, when faced with a crisis of huge import Cas is all business and back alongside Sam fighting to save a member of Team Free Will in Point of No Return.
While Cas has very little patience or faith in Dean during Point of No Return he has infinite amounts for Sam. He assists Sam in returning Dean to Bobby's at the beginning, tracks him down again after his initial escape from Bobby's - giving him quite a beat down for while Cas is learning to cope with his loss of faith in God he's got to vent his anger somewhere - and agrees to what he presumes to be a suicidal plan to rescue Adam simply because of Sam's faith in Dean; Cas trusts Sam, a long way from earlier in the season when he reminded a very earnest Sam who wanted to tell Jesse the truth that Sam knew the truth and it didn't stop him from making bad moves. Sam has earned Castiel's faith as well as Castiel's friendship.
Our beloved Castiel blew himself to places unknown and he remained there for a little while finally turning up off the coast of California and completely human now. He's going to need more than a liquor store and a bottle of aspirin to keep up with the Winchesters, good thing there's a bus.
In more than one way Castiel's transition from angel to human is shown, not only can't he heal his cuts and he now needs public transportation to get from one place to another but when strategizing with Team Free Will - and getting lost in the sarcasm that is Bobby, "I don't understand your definition of good news." - he sits and leans his head on his hand to support himself - ahh, Cas, not the same as when we first met you.
Cas has learned the value of a shotgun, now he learns the value of a Molotov Cocktail - witty insults still elude him , "Hey, assbutt!"
Castiel has truly earned the right to be among Team Free Will. He went from heavenly angel, curious but indifferent to humans, to sympathetic, confused, loss of powers and loss of faith to ultimate loss of anything resembling an angel and becoming fully human. Yet even with knowing all that he'd had and not no longer had he willingly faced certain death with nothing other than a shotgun, a bottle of accelerant and a loyalty to friends and yes, family.
In the end of Swan Song Cas' choices led to him being fully restored to his angelic powers, so much so that not only could he heal Dean's injuries but he could restore Bobby's life. Dean remains an enigma to him, from their first meeting Cas didn't understand Dean's lack of self-esteem and at their last parting Cas didn't understand Dean's motivations any more than Dean understood them and he leaves us wondering as he asks another difficult question:
"You got what you asked for, Dean, no paradise, no hell just more of the same. What would rather have; peace or freedom?"
Just as Castiel stormed onto the scene in Lucifer Rising and proclaimed himself an angel of the Lord, he leaves us in Swan Song (thankfully to return) wondering just what is the answer to that question.
Thanks for reading, Elle2