Friday’s “Supernatural” episode features the return of Misha Collins as Castiel — well, sort of as Castiel. When Dean reunites with his buddy, Cas is calling himself Emanuel, is married to a nice lady named Daphne, and looks pretty comfortable in a sweater.
Collins has played many “versions” of Castiel over the years, but “Emanuel” won’t feel like a whole new character to fans who have missed their favorite rogue angel. “Honestly, it felt more like a hard reset than like a new version of the character,” Collins tells us. “Like we were going back to Castiel at the beginning.” He laughs. “I am revealing a lot to you. Maybe I shouldn’t. I definitely felt like we were returning to ground that we had already tread on with Castiel.”
We’ll learn that when Castiel ultimately emerged from the lake he was “drenched and confused and unclothed,” with no memory of his life as an angel — and, for that matter, no memory of his vessel’s life as Jimmy Novak. He was found by a woman named Daphne, who took him in and helped to nurture his gifts; they eventually married. He’s been curing the sick and healing the crazy from their home.
Castiel fans who are hoping that he and Dean mend their broken friendship will definitely find some hope in the episode. “At first when Cas returns, he has a little bit of wariness of Dean. He can tell that Dean’s a dangerous guy,” Collins tells us. (It doesn’t help that Dean’s got a bloody knife in his hand when they first meet.) “Cas is not quite positive that he’s an ally, at first, and Dean is not being totally forthcoming with returned-Cas either.”
As the former friends drive to visit Sam in the institution (more on that here), Castiel asks Dean about what’s plaguing him. “What’s your issue?” he says. Dean bluntly replies, “My brother.” Isn’t it always?
Dean definitely opens up to Castiel in the episode, which, relative to most “Supernatural” episodes, has a little more talk and a little less action. It’s rare for Dean to be so honest and vulnerable, so it’s clear that despite the fact that the betrayal still stings, Dean’s got hope for Castiel yet. It’s a testament to Collins’ performance that despite the fact that he’s not quite playing “our” Castiel, the connection between the two men — who essentially shared a foxhole for three-plus years — is still palpable.
Off-screen, Collins tells us that he was welcomed to set with open arms. “Everything had changed. It was a whole new world,” he teases. “No, I was actually shocked by the extent to which it was as if nothing had changed at all. It’s as if the ‘Supernatural’ set has frozen in time and no one ages there. Nothing changes at all. Everyone was still there, all the crew was still the same. It was as if we picked up exactly where we left off. The banter was as if I had been there the day before. It was really nice.”
Oh, and as for that whole Castiel-is-married issue… we’ll just say we didn’t get the impression that it’s a romance for the ages. Later, when the demon Meg joins Castiel and Dean for the road trip, she picks up just where she left off. “Meg is still turning up the heat on the sexual tension between Cas and herself,” Collins jokes. “Meg is shaping up to be — well, it’s a lingering question. Is Meg an ally? Is she helping? Is she infiltrating? We’re just not sure.”
We’re going to go with all of the above. Tune in Friday, March 23 at 9 p.m. EST to see how it all shakes out. For more from Collins, click here.