When you mention Supernatural and Ben Edlund in the same sentence, things like fairies, suicidal teddy bears and meta-to-extreme come to mind. But this Friday’s episode (The CW, 9/8c), which was written and directed by Edlund, takes a serious look at the Winchester brothers’ heavenly ally, Castiel (Misha Collins). “The Man Who Would Be King” will give fans much-needed insight into what Cas has been up to upstairs (and downstairs?), says Edlund, who in this Q&A also tackles our questions about the angel’s devilish side and whether he might one day become human.
TVLINE | A lot of Cas’ story this season has been off-screen. What’s going to be explored in this week’s episode?
It’s a story told from his perspective, which makes it naturally non-terrestrial. We’ll go to Heaven. We’ll go to Hell. But also what I’m pleased with is he’s kind of a dreamy cat. He’s got this angelic point of view on the world, so the structure of the episode is, I’d say, among our more kaleidoscopic, if you let me use that word.
TVLINE | We learned quite a bit about Cas and Crowley’s (Mark Sheppard) secret relationship in the last episode. How are Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) going to react to that? Is this going to have an affect on Cas’ relationships with them?
I think that’s inevitable. The way that Cas has evolved, he’s become a family member for Sam and Dean — even if he’s not of the same species. Lies and omissions and secret agendas, those are the kind of things that they respond to with a lot of emotion. That’s what will take place.
TVLINE | When we spoke at the Paley Festival, you said Cas would be making some difficult choices in this episode and taking stock of his life. What are some of the struggles he’s facing?
His biggest problem is responsibility. He’s in a kind of a Wild West situation in Heaven. War makes really, really difficult decisions arrive daily — moral choices, sacrifice and ultimatums are the things he has to weave through. I think that Episode 20 in a lot of ways sets up a lot of the choices that he’s going to have to look through and make. There’s a three-part energy to the last three [episodes, including the two-hour May 20 finale], so it puts the ball on the tee.
TVLINE | Is he going to be torn between staying in that angelic state and maybe adopting a human form?
I think that’s an inventive and possible thing. He’s essentially… a perfect machine that has been infected with human qualities. Or you could say he was once a ruthless mechanism and he’s been elevated by human qualities. He’s a hybrid now. That creates as much conflict as it does insight.
TVLINE | How does the fight for souls factor into this episode? We haven’t learned much about the mechanics of what they mean and how they help Cas’ fight yet.
I think a lot of that will be revealed, but it will be revealed then. [Laughs] That’s a lot of what the story will revolve around. When I was sitting down with everyone … my first thing to do was I drew this big, long, awful-to-look-at timeline, going back to almost The Big Bang. [Laughs] They had to listen to me for days [as I] sort of worked out my own sense of what the mechanics were. We had a lot of it, but then there were just pieces and places that I felt we had to think a little more deeply into. I think it worked. It will, I believe, satisfy a lot of those questions. There’ll be many left open because that’s the purpose of drama, but yeah, it will get you closer. [Laughs]
TVLINE | It almost seems like the Mother storyline was a diversion for what was going on with Cas and Crowley. Should we consider Cas the foe that Dean and Sam really need to be concerned with?
I think what’s kind of developed between Seasons 5 and 6…. It started to me with the way we looked at Lucifer and investigated his situation as not simply this red guy that pops out of a hole and is pernicious and wants to generate wickedness for wickedness’ sake. He had his point of view. He had conflict. He had love, tremendous love. I think one thing that’s a credit to the show is that our villains aren’t full villains. I don’t think that we’re operating on the full-on Big Bad thing. Maybe it’s possible that the Mother of all monsters felt diversionary. That was an intended aspect of what her job was, but also she is a monster. She’s more monstrous and more closer to wicked than we have been dealing with in other areas. She holds up some weight for us doing that kind of stuff because it’s good to have some of that thing there. But when it comes to Cas’ impact on the boys and his universe…. He’s kind of like a screwed up good guy. One might say he’s misguided. We’ll see. It’s more complicated. I like that.
What are you most excited to see in tonight’s Cas-centric outing? Think he’s just misguided, but ultimately good? Hit the comments and let us know.