Supernatural Review: "The Man Who Would Be King"

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As humans, we all get our crack at freedom.

Some perhaps a little more than others, but the opportunity to make choices and decisions are a prime derivation of that autonomy. It's a good thing that a majority of us spend more time deciding what to eat for dinner rather than the upgraded version of choosing to make a deal with the King of Hell.

Unfortunately, with Castiel's reemergence after Lucifer's drop into the cage and his burgeoning acknowledgment of free will, his script had been thrown out the window. He no longer had to follow orders and more importantly, he could make decisions based upon his own beliefs and understandings.

The Winchester Bros

Oh, how the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

And while good intentions seemed to be at the forefront of Castiel's mind, his freedom to pick his own options drew him down a dark path.

He could have asked for Dean's help. He could have left Sam's body in the pit. He could have acted like a typical angel and submitted to the orders of a superior.

Yet, he didn't.

Instead, Castiel wanted to let his friend retire in peace. He wanted to save Sam's body, even if there wasn't a soul yet. He wanted to stop Raphael from causing the apocalypse from getting back on track.

It's certainly interesting to see him make that deal with the "new" devil and start the civil war in Heaven. Perhaps he thought that it could only get worse before it got better. He just didn't know how much worse it was going to get for him.

I recognize that Castiel had some tough decisions to make. After all, filling in God's shoes must be no easy task. It's easy to see why Sam, Dean, and Bobby would be upset, but let's be honest, they haven't made perfect past choices either.

At the same time, Castiel should have gone to his friends before any demon, no matter what the temptation. If anything, these characters should have learned by now, it's important to talk to each other. They wouldn't be in a majority of these messes if they worked together and talked it out.

It's especially heartbreaking to see a character so dedicated to God, his friends, and the common good, that he eventually finds himself on the wrong side. What's worse is that he felt he had lost his way and with zero response from God for guidance, Castiel seemed prepared to fall farther.

Hell or High Water

For a moment I expected something to happen at the end, but it was far better Castiel was met with silence. He really did have it right when he defined his ordeal as a tragedy.

Which begs the question, where is God? He's been mentioned on a number of occasions, but no real physical appearances. Is his absence a good thing or should he eventually appear in a future season?

Either way, the search for Purgatory and the powerful monster souls within remain at the forefront. The quest for power can make you do some crazy things.

Crowley is one of my more favorite "big bads" of this show because of his quick witted retorts, ability to avoid death, and his refusal to underestimate Sam and Dean. His remark about their past defeated foes from Azazel to Lucifer was smart recognition indeed. It's rare for an enemy to not want to gloat about supremacy and see the potential consequences of blind power. He's such a fiendishly great character.

I'm not sure if the lines about Superman were placed into this episode because of Smallville's series finale next week, but it was a great nod to the lead in show. Hopefully, the brothers won't have to use their own form of Kryptonite to kill their friend. Swing him back to the light, boys!

In the end, "The Man Who Would Be King" was befitting in respect to both Crowley and Castiel's desires. Plus, the episode contained the right amount of explanation of Castiel's past, as well as a progression of storyline forward.

How will it end? Will they find Purgatory? Will Castiel become the new enemy? Will Sam's patched up soul wall finally break?

Supernatural doesn't return for two weeks, but in the meantime sound off below what you think will happen!


Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (118 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


This was a tear jerker, thankfully I planned ahead and had the tissues close by. I love Cas and I don't blame him for making the decisions he did...he was desperate. Being pushed into a corner is a nasty place to be. I'm heartbroken for him, I just wish he would have talked with Dean at the beginning. I understood why he didn't, but I think it would have been better for them both. We know Dean was struggling, he's said it before, and obviously Cas was having his issues; they needed to work together. This show, like so many big epic tales, has one big tragic flaw: lack of communication. Of course, then we wouldn't have the really juicy stories that we love. I don't believe that Cas brought Sam back broken on purpose. He said that when Sam walked away after seeing Dean it should have been a clue that something was wrong. I loved how much Dean fought for Cas, but I will admit, I was frustrated that he wouldn't at least sit down and hash the whole thing out with him at the end. Is Cas wrong? Of course, but give him the benefit of the doubt and at least listen to him. He's family, he deserves that much. I love being able to turn their own arguments against them. Those stubborn Winchesters can drive a person nuts once in a while. I'm also frustrated at Cas that after Dean begged he didn't listen. This is the time to be listening to them. I'm begging you Cas, please listen. EVERYBODY FREAKIN" LISTEN!!


I liked the episode. The development of Cas's character was good. I'd like to know what happened with his vessel's family. Jimmy's daughter, Claire could also serve as a vessel and the last we saw of Amelia and Claire wasn't Amelia demon possessed?


Poor Cas - have a feeling he'll manage to kill the ninja turtle, only to discover that (duh) Crowley had some very, very nasty ulterior motives. Like using the souls from purgatory to make himself into a new satan, or find a way to heaven, or release hellspawn on earth, or something blindingly clever and evil that no-one else saw coming. Dean is right in calling Cas out - the angel isn't thinking about long-term consequences. Letting Crowley get his hands on half of the evil spawn of purgatory is about as stupid as letting Raphael take over. Because it's Crowley, for God's sake. And he's smarter than Castiel, and Raphael, and Dean, and...well, Bobby may be partially as clever, but that's about it. And Castiel will be horribly embarrassed and ashamed and we'll all feel bad for him, and feel bad Dean for losing yet ANOTHER trustworthy friend. And then we'll have a great rich plot next season with all sorts of new Crowley-released Big Bads. :) Because frankly, I think everyone would be rather tired if Raphael was the Big Bad next season; angel's have been dicks long enough now. But this episode was about Castiel, and it is pretty heartbreaking. I don't blame Cas for bringing Sam back. Would take a real ass to leave a friend trapped in a cage with Lucifer for the rest of eternity. Really just depends on how much the writer's want to put Castiel and Dean's friendship through hell. Which, considering how far they pushed Sam and Dean's relationship in previous seasons, I have a suspicion it's going to get pretty rough. Wish it didn't. The Cas/Dean loyalty and friendship has been one of the bright parts in the show that keeps people watching; it's gives us a reliable breath of fresh air whenever Sam and Dean were spending entire seasons making each other miserable. And they writers have kept that friendship rather protected, understated, unexplored, and steady, not really testing it till now. So either they'll decide to make the two so at odds that Dean's tiny family unit has to shrink AGAIN, or they'll finally make the relationship into something even more meaningful, which at this point, it deserves to be. And I'd really hate to tune in next season and see the two not interacting (Castiel dead, or some standoffish sheriff who never leaves heaven), so I'm hoping they'll have sympathy for the man. Angel. Whatever. Frak. Two weeks.


I believe Castiel on this one. I firmly believe he is doing the right thing. Yeah, Dean, Sam and Bobby don't agree, but they didn't give Castiel a chance to explain himself.
I'll admit I disliked Castiel during the beginning of season 4, but the character grew on me towards the end. I absolutely adore his character and am looking at the situation from his perspective.
On another note, I'm glad Crowley is still around, I love his character. Too bad he'll end up dying. *sigh*.
2 more weeks till the finale. D:

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Supernatural Season 6 Episode 20 Quotes

C'mon, dry dung can only be stacked so high.


I've been here for a very long time.