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Mallena's Supernatural Musings: 10.05 "Fan Fiction"

Supernatural Con First Timer - Vancouver Part 3

Fan Video of the Week: Supernatural Reflections "The British Invasion”

Supernatural Bits & Pieces September 17, 2017

Supernatural Con First Timer - Vancouver Part 2

Mallena's Supernatural Musings: 3.11 "Mystery Spot"

Check out all our San Diego Comic Con coverage, including on scene reports from Nightsky!  

 

Latest Supernatural News and Spoilers

Sep 21 2017

We have an extended version of the trailer!

Sep 18 2017

Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Hillary Burton showed off her baby bump at last night's Emmy Awards ceremony

Sep 18 2017

The actor, who once played Gordon Walker, won an Emmy last night for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Dra

Sep 17 2017

We have a copy of the EW preview for Supernatural and BTS pictures of episode 6.

Sep 13 2017

We're getting close. The CW released a short promo.

Sep 12 2017

EW just published a big spoiler for season 13. TVLine Spoilers added!

Sep 12 2017

September 13 is Supernatural Day!

Sep 08 2017

TVLine released it's fall preview and had this to say about Supernatural

Sep 06 2017

With the DVD for season 12 hitting the shelves yesterday, several oulets have posted deleted scenes

Sep 04 2017

Misha Collins made the announcement today.

Sep 01 2017

Stories continue to come out on Jensen Ackles fundraiser to help Texas after the devastation of Hurr

Aug 31 2017

The Supernatural Family's work to aid in disaster rescue and recovery efforts has even been noticed

Aug 30 2017

Buddy TV posted a new deleted scene from last season.

Aug 28 2017

Jensen and Danneel Ackles are spearheading an effort to help victims of Hurricane Harvey

Aug 24 2017

We have titles for episodes through 12.

Aug 23 2017

TV Line has some spoilers for this season.

Aug 23 2017

There are a lot of Behing-The-Scenes shots from episodes 3 of Supernatural season 13!

Aug 20 2017

The cast is wishing Misha a Happy Birthday!

Aug 18 2017

Christine Kilmer's latest vlog is up and it's seems rather timely given the latest events.  In

Aug 12 2017

Spoiler TV posted the titles for the first nine episodes and episode 16

Aug 12 2017

Recently, I had to shut down the site because of horrible, negative, disrespectful fighting in our c

Aug 09 2017

We have casting news for season 13.

Jul 24 2017

Nightsky posted her video of the Kansas performance at Comic Con.

Jul 23 2017

We may be getting several of these today.

Jul 23 2017

The cast for Wayward Sisters has been announced.

Jul 23 2017

The 2017 San Diego Comic Con "Supernatural" panel was one for the ages.  A surprise concert, a

Jul 23 2017

Today was a very special panel involving one of our prominent #SPNFAMILY members, Genevieve Padaleck

Jul 22 2017

The photos from Nightsky have been coming in slowly and we are keeping an archive of everything take

Jul 22 2017

The Tick has had a big presence at Comic Con.

Jul 22 2017

EW sat down with Jared, Jensen and Misha at Comic Con.

Jul 21 2017

The Facebook Live chat with Jared, Jensen and Misha is now available.

Jul 21 2017

Catching up with Supernatural Alumni at Comic Con.

Jul 21 2017

Today was the big Timeless panel at San Diego Comic Con.  Our master Eric Kripke was there to t

Jul 20 2017

The cast will appear live tomorrow, July 21, 2017 and will be seen on the Supernatural Facebook page

Jul 20 2017

The first clip from Jared and Jensen's appearance on Conan O'Brien

Jul 20 2017

The WB has released the poster for next season.

Jul 19 2017

The Conan O'Brien show has put out a teaser for tonight's appearance.

Jul 16 2017

Mark Pellegrino is in the running for a Tean Choice Award

Jul 16 2017

We have the first spoilers from this year's TV Guide article covering Comic Con.

Jul 15 2017

Warner Brothers is having a Gift Pack Giveaway.

Jul 14 2017

We have the images on the Comic Con bags for this year's Comic Con.

Jul 12 2017

Conan O'Brien is going to Comic Con and he's going to have Jared and Jensen on his show.

Jul 12 2017

Jensen and others are posting on social media from Vancouver. No Spoilers.

Jul 12 2017

San Diego Comic Con must be just around the corner!  Each year at this time we get some awesome

Jul 08 2017

Rogue Events, the company that hosted the Asylum conventions, is going out of business.

Jun 29 2017

IMDB has posted casting for episode 13.01

Jun 29 2017

It's official, Supernatural is coming to Comic Con this year.

WFB Feature Articles

Sep 21 2017 | Mallena

It’s Rob Benedict’s birthday on Sept 21 and it wasn’t easy picking the story to review that fe

Read more...
Sep 20 2017 | LK

 Welcome to Part 3 of my tale of attending my very first Supernatural convention! You'll want t

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Sep 18 2017 | LK

 

" I write about the power of trying, because I want to be okay with failing. I write about

Read more...
Sep 17 2017 | Percysowner

Supernatural around the web this week.

Read more...
Sep 15 2017 | LK

Welcome to part 2 of my tale of attending my first Supernatural convention! If you missed Part 1, it

Read more...
Sep 14 2017 | Mallena

Richard Speight, Jr.’s birthday was on September 4th and in his honor, I’m writing a review of o

Read more...
Sep 13 2017 | Karen

Supernatural Match Game

Match Game #4

Welcome to Match Game - The Supernatural Way. It's a qu

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Sep 12 2017 | LK

Introduction

 

Boy, this will be a long one! That is probably the sentence I will hear

Read more...
Sep 11 2017 | Karen

Welcome back to the "Memorable Moments" series for episode 12.17 "The British Invasion". Once again

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Sep 10 2017 | Percysowner

Supernatural in the news this week

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Sep 09 2017 | LK

 

" For there is no friend like a sister in calm or stormy weather; To cheer one on the tediou

Read more...
Sep 08 2017 | Elle

One of the last Supernatural episodes of season 12 that was more formulaic and standard MOTW than bi

Read more...
Sep 07 2017 | Mallena

 

Who loves the idea of time travel? I do!  The possibilities are endless as I contemplat

Read more...
Sep 06 2017 | LK

 

"Don't call the world dirty because you forgot to clean your glasses.” — Joseph Addi

Read more...
Sep 04 2017 | Karen

Welcome back to the "Memorable Moments" series for episode 12.16 "Ladies Drink Free". Once again I h

Read more...
Sep 03 2017 | Percysowner

Supernatural and Family in the news this week!

Read more...
Sep 01 2017 | Karen

Supernatural Match Game

Match Game #3

Welcome to Match Game - The Supernatural Way! It's a qu

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Aug 30 2017 | Percysowner

What are Supernatural fans up to? Here's the latest scoop as of August, 2017!

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Aug 30 2017 | Alice

My choices for part one were revealed, so without further delay, here are the Supernatural Season Tw

Read more...
Aug 28 2017 | Karen

Welcome back to the "Memorable Moments" series for Supernatural! For 12.15, "Somewhere Between Heave

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Aug 27 2017 | Percysowner

Supernatural in the news this week.

Read more...
Aug 26 2017 | Nightsky

One of the unique attractions of San Diego Comic-Con is wandering the vendor floor looking at the am

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Aug 25 2017 | Karen

Supernatural Match Game

Match Game #2

Welcome to Match Game - The Supernatural Way! It's a quick a

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Aug 24 2017 | Mallena

This week, I’ve been musing about family dramas.  There are many great examples of the genre

Read more...
Aug 21 2017 | Alice

Today I was utterly dismayed to hear about the closure of a long time fan site which the Wincheste

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Aug 19 2017 | Percysowner

Supernatural in the news this week.

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Aug 18 2017 | Alice

Just like every year, The WFB doesn't stop with just the fan choice awards!  Your friendly neig

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WFB Motivational Posters

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Nightsky's New Book!


Loving You Before Him: Finding Better Angels in Supernatural



“Then he created you….the little hairless apes. And then he asked all of us to bow down before you, to love you more than him.” – Lucifer, “The End”

The character of Castiel is controversial – no two ways about it. Many read the show as a strange kind of love triangle, where Dean’s affection may be split between the two characters of Sam and Castiel, a reading that I think blinds itself to Castiel’s purpose. As I’ve thought about the presence of Castiel, from season four onward, I’ve started to see the angel as integral to the mythos of the show and I wanted to share my reading with you, to get your thoughts but also to offer a generous reading of Castiel that’s not tied to shipping wars on tumblr.

When Castiel first appears in “Lazarus Rising,” he identifies himself as both an angel of the Lord and the one sent to pull Dean from “perdition.” This season also introduces “God” as an active agent in the storyline. Before this season the notion of an active god was relegated to single episodes where demi-gods or pagan gods were generally the villains, such as in “A Very Supernatural Christmas” and before the season five reveal of Gabriel, the episodes with the trickster figure.  However, at the very beginning of season four when Castiel calls Dean to duty, he calls him in the name of a Lord God, a gesture that invokes the Judeo-Christian background against which much of the storyline has taken place. From this episode onward the “Lord-God” slowly becomes a presence in the storyline and to my mind it is not coincidental that this happens concurrently with Castiel’s presence.

In an earlier article, “The Importance of Being Sorry,” I focused on Castiel’s own father issues when it comes to God and I think those concerns are still valid but here I’d like to see how one might read Castiel’s presence as indicating God’s presence in Supernatural. This is a brief essay and uses some examples from the show to make its points, but I invite you to add to it and also to offer your own readings of Castiel that are generous to the character. Lately it has become easy to see him as obstructive and I want to resist that interpretation. He’s here for a reason, so what is the story he’s telling?

The Most Important Commandment



“I gave everything for you.” – Castiel, “Point of No Return”

Throughout seasons four and five we see Castiel struggle with his obligations to heaven and by extension, his fealty to “God.” Since the show decided to portray angels as warriors/soldiers, a notion consistent with one popular narrative of angelic beings, it had to establish the “mission” to which the soldiers were committed. In this case, the show presented the apocalypse as “god’s mission.” The god that emerges seems part Old Testament vengeful and present god as well as part New Testament mysterious and absent god. The multi-faceted (and perhaps confused) nature of god’s character gets represented in the personality of Castiel, who first appears in the story as a violence, an intrusion.  As he evolves through season four he connects to humans, to Dean in particular, in a way that I believe approximates a kind of affection and love that the God of Supernatural suffers for humanity.  

Since the show chooses the Islamic version of Satan’s fall, that he refused to bow before Adam/humanity, it cements the western (and Mesopotamian) roots of its underlying mythos. Now much can be said and argued about Supernatural as a bizarre mashup of religious tales, which would be quite interesting given its purported roots as an “American” narrative, but for the purpose of this essay we should read Lucifer’s fall in opposition not to Michael, but to Castiel, because neither Lucifer nor Michael demonstrate loving humanity above all else. It is only Castiel who chooses the human over the divine. Even Anna, who was determined to stop the apocalypse, chose revenge over humanity by attempting to undo God’s creation rather than by protecting God’s creation. Killing Mary and John would’ve been tantamount to killing the Adam and Eve of this narrative. In fact, every angel we encounter besides Castiel seems to corrupt the commandment that stands at the heart of this story.

Castiel’s journey from obedient soldier to rebel lieutenant mirrors not only Dean’s own journey but also serves as the model for behavior that the initial command “to bow before man” demands.  Throughout most of season four we are led to believe that the apocalypse is God’s command, but as we learn that both Sam and Dean are the “vessels” for the final battle between Michael and Lucifer (and one wonders why they could not fight in their own celestial bodies) we see that the apocalypse is really a story of brotherhood and family and that Michael and Lucifer both misread God’s command. In Michael’s obedience he threatens to destroy God’s creation; in Lucifer’s envy, he threatens to rule God’s creation.

In a way, the final fight scene between Adam/Michael and Sam/Lucifer in “Swan Song” acts to highlight the profound moral lesson of the show. Michael and Lucifer’s relationship is an extreme distortion of the Winchester brotherhood – where instead of “saving his brother” Michael only hears “kill your brother.” It’s the reason that Dean had to say no, in the end. He must remain in his human form as a tangible reminder of what the apocalypse could cost, but further to show that Dean would always choose the humanity in Sam over the demonic in Sam, thus choosing the man, rather than the potential god in the man. And in light of that command, Castiel must be present in the battle. He acts as a material body for god as Bobby acts as the physical representation of the father. And Castiel’s “death” is a way for the show to demonstrate his final act of fealty to the “lord-god.” He stands by as guide, as champion, as companion to humanity and in that final scene, as willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of humanity, a humanity represented in the form of Dean Winchester.

Saving Cain



“You have me confused with the other angel. You know - the one in the dirty trenchcoat, who’s in love with you?” – Balthazar, “My Heart Will Go On”

“The minute I heard my first love story,/I started looking for you, not knowing/how blind that was./Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere,/they’re in each other all along.” – Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

So the relationship between Dean and Castiel has often been misread, to my mind, as a romantic one. And I can see why. If my argument holds out, which I think it does, then their relationship has the hallmark of many forms of adoration. Christianity (in particular) but the adoration of gods in general often has an erotic element to it. Teresa of Avila, the Song of Songs, Rumi, and other artists and artworks that dedicate themes to worship sometimes depict the mystical quality of prayer as an act of love because one assumes that the love of god is all consuming, both in body and spirit. The Rumi poem is one of many examples of the love for god being portrayed as one for a lover and so if we consider Castiel’s presence as indicating God, then an erotic reading is not “wrong” but it may miss the entirety of the relationship, humanize it in a way that actually distorts its value. Let me explain what I mean here.

In Supernatural, Dean Winchester comes to represent the converted everyman. Unlike Sam, who begins the narrative as chosen, Dean is the ordinary guy thrown into extraordinary circumstances wherein his humanity is his best and most trusted resource. And while the first few seasons of the show portray a world inhabited by super and preternatural creatures, we learn in the second season episode, “Houses of the Holy,” that Dean is a man with little or no faith in a divine. He is a man without a belief in the tangibility of a “lord-god.”

In fact, his spiritual life is unbalanced for much of the series’ run through season three, in a drastic and fundamental way.  Because he only chooses to believe in what he can see, then he only sees the demonic, the unholy, and the supernatural’s threat to humanity. He does not see another side. Imagine that worldview – imagine a world where everything you love is under threat and even moreso, the person you love most is the threat. It is no wonder then when Castiel enters the picture and provides proof of God that the conversion experience is an emotional and contentious one for Dean, one which ties directly to the physical manifestation of that proof – Castiel.

If you compare the Dean of the first three seasons to the Dean of the past five seasons, you can trace a gradual evolution of a man into faith. Simple acts, such as the willingness to pray, provide proof of Dean’s growth as a character. For Sam, prayer is not a catastrophic act. He has faith, even if it’s misguided, because of his loyalty to the idea of fate. Fate, destiny, providence – these are terms that assume purpose in the world, assume an intention, and by extension, a design. For Dean, such an idea is a myth, an intangible and thus unbelievable, outcome. The only commandment he encounters is an abomination of the Cain and Abel dilemma – he must save his brother, either through redemption or murder. And he lives with that fear until season four, when we see the angels come into play. Once the angels arrive the presence of a god that balances out the devil also arrives. And that is why Castiel’s presence is important because he provides evidence of a god that perhaps does give meaning to the randomness even if the logic of this world is kept hidden by an absent god. However, the relationship is not one that should be read by human standards.

Many dismiss the power of platonic love, but indeed, it was considered by its namesake, Plato, to be the highest and purest form of love because it turned the soul towards the divine. I would argue that is Castiel’s place – to turn Dean towards the divine. Now I know many will send out kill orders for me after making this statement, but it is genuinely how I have come to read Castiel’s presence – as evidence of the divine, of the celestial, and its emotional ramifications for a man like Dean who has spent much of his life without a faith in anything other than war.

A Clockwork God



“But what if I’ve made the wrong choice? How am I supposed to know….” – Castiel, “The Man Who Would Be King”

The sixth season episode entirely dedicated to Castiel as a character, “The Man Who Would Be King,” portrays the aftermath of the averted apocalypse. But rather than freedom and free will as joyous turns, Castiel’s world is chaotic; heaven is a place of political struggle and intrigue. One reading of the show is that it was critiquing any form of government that is overthrown and the effect that creates in and on those left behind. However, as a narrative concerning the idea of god, it’s almost a retroactive retelling of how a god that becomes human-like. In this reading, Crowley emerges as a true devil’s advocate, using reason and sense to seduce Castiel. And Castiel falls for it. Some may even say that season six is a stunning indictment of the clockwork universe, the one where God has left the building and abandoned humanity to its own devices and therefore leaving open the way for other gods, other grabs for power, a path we see Castiel follow during season six and season seven.

When Castiel retrieves Sam from hell he commits his first act of arrogance, and that act tells us that his story is one like Sam’s of season four – the path to hell is paved and all. By doing so, he undoes a human choice and consequentially alters the human dynamic – he interferes and the power to interfere infects the rest of his storyline for the season. His is a cautionary tale of god – when we humanize god, a god with an agenda emerges. Castiel’s storyline illustrates what happens when a rogue divinity attempts to direct behavior, especially in the last few episodes of season six and the season seven premiere.

His storyline also mirrors that of Sam’s addiction – addictions are addictions no matter the substance. Both Sam and Castiel become addicted to the idea of power, of changing the course of human events, and thus protecting humanity from the supernatural. But by doing so, both characters lose their moral compass. For Sam, Ruby leads him astray by pretending companionship and using logic and reason to fuel his anger. For Castiel, Crowley performs the same function. And that story turn, too, is important because being influenced corrupts the divine in Castiel. It also reminds the viewer and Dean that Castiel’s strength is in brotherhood, not fatherhood, because in a way, humanity’s (and for Castiel Dean is the representation of humanity) dependence on the divine to fix things actually abrogates free will. In other words, the show knows that the character of Castiel cannot continue to be the deux ex machina he’d become.

Castiel’s redemption, then, is important because it mirrors Sam’s in many ways. Both characters feel fundamentally betrayed by the father, and yet at the same time, take the father’s mission to heart as personal identity. It is not surprising that Castiel would “take on” Sam’s illness in season seven’s “The Born Again Identity.” Castiel’s gravest acts of hubris were against Sam – both pulling him out of Hell without a soul and then causing Death’s mental wall to crumble inside Sam’s mind. Castiel’s amnesia blocked out that crime (and I often wonder if that was not an act of God) until he was confronted with the severity of his choices in the form of a catatonic Sam. Whether possessed by Leviathan or by Lucifer, both characters suffer a psychic vulnerability and both characters look to Dean as the center around which not to collapse. So again, it is appropriate that Castiel’s redemption arc would truly begin with taking Sam’s sins on as his own, and in many ways, this act invokes the Judeo-Christian background. We see one taking on the illness of the other, for the other.

Such vulnerability also explains how Castiel might be subject to manipulation in season eight. His current storyline loops him back toward the divine but through the human. He is finding god through mission, such as in the case of the tablets. His journey back to god is marked by important choices. The choice to remain in purgatory invoked Sam’s choice to jump into hell, and again, Dean becomes the representation of what is being saved in that choice.

Now, here, I’d like to say that I’m not arguing that Sam and Dean’s relationship is the exact mirror of Dean and Castiel’s relationship. It can’t be nor should it be. But I do think that there are many similarities and those similarities are there for a reason. They show us that, read one way, Dean is the archetype for the humanity of the story, that Dean’s place is the center of the narrative and that both Sam and Castiel love Dean because he is the one worth saving.

A Better Angel, Indeed.

The show uses these characters to tell a larger than life story of brotherhood, one that is meant to instruct us on what it means to love the other before ourselves but at the same time warn us that such love can be destructive if it becomes unbalanced. For me Castiel is the show’s way of making god a part of the story without bringing god into the story. He’s also a way to show us how both Dean and Sam have the divine in them – that he acts out their journeys in his own provides an example of the brotherhood of god also being the brotherhood of man. It’s a hopeful tale at times, and at other times it’s a hopeless one as well. But that’s kind of the point of belief, I would say. Sometimes you see the footprints and know you are not alone. Sometimes the water washes them away and you are left without direction and you must find the better angel in yourself before taking the next step. And so I guess my point is that all of these characters, Castiel included, are as human and divine as we are.