Monday, March 9, 2009

Angels in the Supernatural World

As likely as not, when someone mentions angels now, people immediately think of women with golden, flowing hair; long gowns; wings and harps in their hands. Sometimes little cherubs come to mind. You can find both versions in Hallmark stores, hospital gift shops and Christmas decor stores without fail. But for some reason, the angels that are actually portrayed in Revelations, fearsome warrior angels, aren't the image conjured by modern minds. So when Eric Kripke and friends brought angels into this season of Supernatural, and made them of the darker warrior breed, it startled some people. I didn't know how I would feel about this storyline at first, but so far I'm enjoying it. I'm intensely curious where it's going to go -- and how the angels Castiel and Uriel are going to react to whatever battle is coming.

From the moment Misha Collins appeared as the angel Castiel, I was intrigued. I love it when he appears in an episode. While he is undoubtedly powerful and not of the cherubic or "angelic" stripe, I do sense compassion in him. I think viewers can connect more with him because he's actually expressed doubt and he doesn't go around flounting his incredible power unless necessary or to get a point across. You get the sense that he believes what he is doing is for the greater good.

Uriel, on the other hand, just comes across as an arrogant jerk. From him, you get the sense that he views humanity as a bunch of bugs and perhaps he doesn't know why God bothers with us. To me, he's almost like an unthinking soldier who just does what he's told without too much self-inquiry. I also think he likes showcasing his power, like a bully.

No matter their differences, Castiel and Uriel are undoubtedly powerful, enough to scare demons like Ruby. Enough to blind someone who spies on them, and enough to nearly split eardrums when someone can hear their true voice. Enough to pull Dean right out of hell. The writers backed up this characterization of angels with dialogue such as when Dean asks Castiel who he is and Castiel replies, "I'm the one who gripped you tight and raised you from Perdition." They also use imagery like the raised-welt handprints on Dean's arms as well as this shot (which is one of my favorites from this season) that revealed the truth of Castiel's words.

I have lots of questions regarding these guys:

1. Why did they pull Dean from hell? Did they think he was the only one who could convince Sam to stop doing whatever it is they want him to stop doing? That seems odd considering how incredibly powerful they are? Does that mean that Sam, and some of the higher-level demons, could put up a good fight against them? Is it only the lower-level demons they scare the bejeebers out of?

2. Will Castiel end up seeing things from the boys' point of view, that everything isn't black and white and sometimes you have to fight evil in unconventional ways? Will Castiel (and Dean, for that matter) realize that the way Sam intends to fight the baddies is actually the way to go? The only way to win? How wild would it be to see Castiel and Ruby fighting side by side!

3. Will Castiel and Uriel end up fighting each other? And does that mean Castiel will fall?

When this season is over and the DVDs come out, I really need to go back and watch all the episodes again, especially ones that deal with the angels. There's so much going on there that we've yet to see or understand.

And then there's Anna, the fallen angel. She was introduced as a girl who could hear the angels' conversations. It's only later that we find out it's because she's one of them. I like how Sam and Dean protect her from all the forces wanting to get their hands on her -- angels and demons alike. What I was kind of squiggy about was Dean and her hooking up. To me, it seemed forced. Perhaps too much of an effort to polarize the brothers by having Dean with an angel while Sam was with a demon.

What are your thoughts? Do you like how the writers are portraying angels? What are your views of Castiel and Uriel and where their character journeys might take them? What do you think of the Anna/Dean hook-up?


phouse1964 said...

I am fine with how the Show is portraying angels. I don't believe that any one thing is perfect so the fact that some angels and not as "good" as others and maybe some demons are not as "bad"? I am cool with that.

I also see why the Show decided to have Dean sleep with Anna. I don't think it was so much Dean/Anna and Sam/Ruby things as much as Dean needed to somehow find himself worthy maybe. That a creature so "good" would find him worthy after all he has done.

I can't wait to see what happens the rest of this season. I have a feeling it will be another long, long summer for us Supernatural fans!

sarah said...

I am reminded of a quote from the movie The Prophecy:

"Did you ever notice how in the Bible, when ever God needed to punish someone, or make an example, or whenever God needed a killing, he sent an angel? Did you ever wonder what a creature like that must be like? A whole existence spent praising your God, but always with one wing dipped in blood. Would you ever really want to see an angel?"

- So I'm thinking that they have done a good job so far with the angels. And I already expressed my hope for some Dean/Anna and Sam/Ruby babies.

The match ups seem rather poetic. The "bad" boy going with the angel... the "good" son going with the reformed demon.

Christie Kelley said...

Great post, Trish! You just knew you'd see me over here, didn't you.

I am loving this season of Supernatural. I was starting to get a little, can I say it?, bored with the show. Not that I would have stopped watching Dean, I mean Supernatural. But this season with the angels has been awesome. I love that fact that they are warrior angels.

I wasn't sure about Dean hooking up with Anna either. But I really hope this week is a new episode!

Trish Milburn said...

phouse1964, I think that's an interesting insight, about Dean finding himself worthy. And yes, it'll be a long summer. But at least we have another season to look forward to, and we'll have lots of fun things to do here on the blog this summer to get us through.

Trish Milburn said...

A very appropriate quote, Sarah. Well, if Sam and Dean do have babies, I'm sure they're be beautiful ones. :)

jo robertson said...

Sorry I'm so late popping by, Trish. What a super analysis of the "angel advent" on Supernatural. As you know I LOVE that show. It's the teenage girl in me, I think LOL.

I love both Castiel and Uriel. I love how they're "soldiers for God" or "soldiers for good," whatever. They're unrelenting in their single-minded purpose.

Maybe I'm remembering wrong (and WHEN are they coming back, btw, I'm so sick of reruns), but my impression is that the angels' purpose is to stop (I read "destroy" in this) Sam because his powers are so extraordinary that he can upset the balance of good and evil in the universe. Didn't the creators toy around with the idea of Sam being the son of evil? Right now Sam's committed to fighting demons, but we always have that feeling that he can flip. Since C and U see everything in black and white, I think they'll be quick to turn against Sam. Sam's the chosen one and I think he's poetentially more powerful than all the angels.

Or, I could be so off the mark.

I wasn't so crazy about Dean hooking up either, except that it gives Anna another dimension. And it certainly isn't beyond bad-boy Dean.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

The only problem I had with Dean/Anna was that they had no chemistry and her acting was mediocre. (I don't know why they can score so high with women like Tess and Pam yet fail so miserably with bigger, more important roles!) Luckily, "Anna" was destroyed when she got her grace back, so there should be another actress portraying her when she returns.

The show does return on 3/12, this week, though there are only 8 episodes left so we'll probably have another break. FYI, they were just filming ep 4.21, per Jim Beaver. :)

I really don't think Dean was raised just because of Sam. The angels don't seem to be all that concerned about him. They haven't been ordered to take him out, but they easily could, and hell on earth is a big deal. I think both Sam and Dean are tools to the bigger powers, be they Lilith and Alistair or the angels. Tools in a war that could be devastating (remember the seals!).

One of the questions asked yesterday of Misha was if he thought Castiel would fall, and he thought he would. Cas comes pretty close to having the emotions that Anna claims angels don't have, so I believe he would, too.

But you know what? The way Kripke and Co. operate, we're probably either all WAY off, or all correct, but in a very simplified way compared to what they're really doing with things. :)

Regardless, I'm loving every minute!

CrazyFox said...

Supernatural has always captivated me from the beginning. I've always loved to watch sam and dean kicking bad guy (and sometimes each others) butt/s. but i have to say that having been with it since the start and being a huge fangirl, the fourth season has been my favorite so far. the others are great--they each have their funny moments--but i think they're really getting into the overall picture with the fourth season. I can't wait to see what they come up with in the way of Castiel and the other angels. I can almost compare him with a child--a curious observer in a new world. and the more he hangs around Sam and Dean especially, the more i think he's going to become more 'human' in a way. I have no doubt that by the end of season 4 and possibly by the beginning of season 5, he'll have 'fallen' or something equivalent of that. I also agree with sarah's quote from The Prophecy. it's very fitting with the angels. *has inspiration to draw now....XD*