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.
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.
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!
Sean McKenna was a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. He retired in May of 2017. Follow him on Twitter.