Here’s the good news: Misha Collins returns in this week’s episode of “Supernatural,” and he’ll be sticking around, as he’s been made a series regular in the upcoming Season 9. Here’s the bad news: Things are not going to get easier for Castiel any time soon.
We visited the set while Collins was filming this week’s episode, “Goodbye Stranger,” in which Castiel makes his not-so-triumphant return to the Winchesters’ lives. When we last saw him, he’d just killed Alfie — possibly his one remaining ally in Heaven — on orders from the mysterious angel, Naomi.
“Yes, that was an uplifting exit for Cas,” Collins says. “Now I’m back shooting what’s going to be episode 17 of Season 8, and we’re picking up that storyline again and seeing what has happened with Cas in the intervening weeks. Cas has been getting programmed by some bad angels upstairs.”
Ever since returning from Purgatory, Castiel has been puppeteered by Heaven — though the extent to which he’s being manipulated is a bit unclear to the audience and, to some degree, to Collins.
“He’s being programmed by Naomi, yet it seems as though largely he’s being programmed on an unconscious level,” Collins explains. “It’s been a balancing act for me, deciphering just how much he’s aware of what’s going on and how much he’s not. He does take moments away to go ask her questions, so he’s clearly consciously communicating with her to an extent, but largely the programming has gone on in his unconscious mind. It’s very convoluted, but you know what? It’s good.”
It’s certainly a new side of Castiel — this season is the first we’ve learned of angels being “programmed” — but this is just the latest in a long list of troubles that have been thrown Castiel’s way.
“I feel like the writers are always trying to figure out a way to deal
with Castiel’s character to somehow make it so that Sam and Dean aren’t
aligned with a superhero who can make their lives easy,” Collins says. “He’s always
encumbered in some way, or going through some weird emotional or mental
strife, or being crazy … or being God. There’s always something that’s sort of veering him off so that he can’t
be that helpful to Sam and Dean, and I think this is just the latest
In “Goodbye Stranger,” Castiel manipulates the Winchesters into hunting down Lucifer’s crypts with a series of lies crafted by Naomi. Fortunately, Sam and Dean have developed relatively proficient internal lie-detectors, and they know right away that Castiel isn’t his usual self… whoever that usual self might be.
“We have some dialogue in this episode that’s like ‘Which Cas are you right now? Are you crazy Cas? Are you megalomaniacal Cas? Who are you? Lascivious porno-watching Cas?'” Collins tells us. “It has been yet another interesting little arc for Cas to play.”
During the episode, we’ll see Dean and Castiel leave Sam to deal with Meg and Crowley, so that they can find the crypts and the artifact that the angels are looking for. Unfortunately, Dean and Castiel don’t make the best team at the moment, because Dean has his guard up. “Sam and Dean do not trust Cas at all at this point,” Collins says. “Dean has been
very distrustful of Cas all year, all Season 8, and probably much of
Season 7 as well. The circle of trust has certainly been broken with
them, and rightfully so, because he’s being programmed.”
While we can’t reveal what’s in the crypts, we do know that the angels are trying to find a certain tablet before the demons can get their hands on it. It’s recently been revealed that there is an angel tablet that could banish all angels from the earth forever. We know that Castiel will be back next season, so we can make the educated guess that all the angels won’t vanish, but it does beg an interesting question. Would Castiel sacrifice himself in order to get rid of all the angels?
“Cas, I think, could conceivably go kamikaze,” Collins says. “I haven’t seen that actually unfold in the story lines, but I also don’t think that Cas necessarily wants to kill off all of the angels. He does feel some allegiance to them. He feels like they’re his brothers.”
Tune in Wednesday night at 9 p.m. EST on The CW to see how it all goes down.