Supernatural: The Man Who Would Be King
September 14, 2021 6:44 AM - Season 6, Episode 20 - Subscribe

Castiel tells his story in his own words.


Castiel: Don't worry about the Winchesters.
Crowley: Don't worry about... what, like Lucifer didn't worry? Or Michael, or Lilith, or Alistair, or Azazel didn't worry? Am I the only game piece on the board who doesn't underestimate those denim-wrapped nightmares?

Castiel: You know, I've been here for a very long time. And I remember many things. I remember being at a shoreline. Watching a little gray fish heave itself up on the beach, and an older brother saying, "Don't step on that fish, Castiel. Big plans for that fish." I remember the Tower of Babel, all 37 feet of it, which I suppose was impressive at the time. And when it fell, they howled divine wrath. But come on, dried dung can only be stacked so high. I remember Cain and Abel, David and Goliath, Sodom and Gomorrah. And of course, I remember the most remarkable event -- remarkable because it never came to pass. It was averted by two boys, an old drunk, and a fallen angel. The grand story. And we ripped up the ending, and the rules, and destiny, leaving nothing but freedom and choice. Which is all well and good, except... well, what if I've made the wrong choice? How am I supposed to know? But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you my story. Let me tell you everything.

Rachel: What does God want?
Castiel: God wants you to have freedom.
Rachel: What does he want us to do with it?
Castiel: If I knew then what I know now, I might have said, "It's simple. Freedom is a length of rope. God wants you to hang yourself with it."

Castiel: After supposedly saving Sam, I finally returned to heaven. Of course, there isn't one heaven. Each soul generates its own paradise. I favor the eternal Tuesday afternoon of an autistic man who died in a bathtub in 1953.

Castiel: Those first weeks back in heaven were surprisingly difficult. Explaining freedom to angels is a bit like teaching poetry to fish.

Sam: Look, Dean, he's our friend, too, okay? And I'd die for him, I would. But... I'm praying we're wrong here.
Bobby: But if we ain't, if there's a snowball of a snowball's chance here, that means we're dealing with a Superman who's gone dark side. Which means we gotta be cautious, we gotta be smart, and maybe stock up on some kryptonite.
Dean: [to Sam] This makes you Lois Lane.

Crowley: What are you planning to do about Raphael?
Castiel: What can I do besides submit or die?
Crowley: "Submit or die"? What are you, French?

Raphael: You'll kneel before me and pledge allegiance to the flag, all right?
Castiel: And what flag is that?
Raphael: Me, Castiel. Allegiance to me.
Castiel: Are you joking?
Raphael: Do I look like I'm joking?
Castiel: ...You never look like you're joking.

Castiel: So, that's everything. I believe it is what you would call a... tragedy from the human perspective. But maybe the human perspective is, limited, I don't know. That's why, I'm asking you, father, one last time. Am I doing the right thing? Am I on the right path? You have to tell me; you have to give me... a sign. Give me. A sign. Because if you don't I'm going to cho-- I'm going to do whatever I... whatever I must.

Crowley: [torturing a vampire] Chocula here feels every tickle.
Castiel: What is that good for?
Crowley: Apart from the obvious erotic value, you got me.

Dean: Why are you here?
Castiel: I want you to understand.
Dean: Oh, believe me I get it. Blah blah, Raphael, right?
Castiel: I'm doing this for you, Dean. I'm doing this because of you.
Dean: Because of me. Yeah, you gotta be kidding me.
Castiel: You're the one who taught me that freedom, and free will...
Dean: [interrupting Cass] You're a freaking child, you know that? Just because you can do what you want, doesn't mean you get to do whatever you want!

Crowley: You're distracted, and that makes me nervous.
Castiel: I am holding up my end.
Crowley: Ah yes, but is that all you're holding, huh? See, the stench of that Impala's all over your overcoat, angel.

Dean: You know who spies on people, Cass? Spies.

Redd: I don't know where Crowley is.
Bobby: [Turns knife in Redd's leg] Are you sure about that? We can twist again all the way to next summer.

Castiel: This is hell?
Crowley: Yeah. Problem with the old place was most of the inmates were masochists already. A lot of, "Thank you, sir. Can I have another hot spike up the jacksie?"

Castiel: If you touch the Winchesters...
Crowley: Please. I heard you the first time. I promise -- nary a hair on their artfully tousled heads.

Castiel: Whose heaven is this?
Raphael: Ken Lay's. I'm borrowing it.
Castiel: I still question his admittance here.

Crowley: We'll need expert help.
Castiel: From whom?
Crowley: From experts, of course.

Castiel: I have no interest in talking with you.
Crowley: Why not? I'm very interesting.

Crowley: There's a lot of angels swooning over you. God's favourite. Buddy boy, you've got what they call sex appeal.
Castiel: Thank you.

Bobby: For a filthy, lower-than-snake-spit hell spawn... you seem to turn yourself into a damn fine hunter. I don't know whether to kill you or kiss you.
Redd: Oh, please kill me.


When Sam and Bobby argue that Castiel wasn't fooled by Crowley, Dean says, "He's the Balki Bartokomous of heaven. He can make a mistake." In the 1980s sitcom, Perfect Strangers, Balki Bartokomous is a naïve and well-meaning former shepherd from the fictional island nation of Mypos (which is near Greece and based on Greek culture), who comes to live in America with his cousin Larry Appleton.

When Castiel asks Raphael whose heaven he's in and Raphael replies, "Ken Lay's. I'm borrowing it," he is referring to the former energy conglomerate Enron CEO who was convicted of securities fraud in 2006 but died before serving time.

The title of this episode is based on the 1975 Sean Connery movie The Man Who Would Be King, which is in turn based on the 1888 Rudyard Kipling novella of the same name.
posted by orange swan (3 comments total)
Poor Castiel! How many times have the Winchesters made deals with devils and demons because they were trying to save their loved ones? And Dean won’t even listen, even after that “you’re like my brother” speech? Hypocrite.

To me, a line-up like that seems more like Purgatory than Hell, but I guess it’s a matter of interpretation
posted by sardonyx at 2:49 PM on September 14, 2021

Cute - they named Bobby's demon counterpart Ellsworth.
posted by porpoise at 7:37 PM on September 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

Do we think someone actually tells Mark Sheppard to scream 40% of his lines or do we think he just like. follows his bliss.

Sam and Dean and Bobby sneaking around thinking they're putting one over on Darkside Superman without considering he could just be in the room with them puts a nice point on how out of their league they are if Castiel decides they're not on his side.

For a show that doesn’t do a ton of sight gags, the demon phonebank that’s just assorted bubbling bowls of blood is a pretty good one.

"Freedom is a length of rope, God wants you to hang yourself with it" is both a bloodcurdling jewel of nihilism and a Hot Topic shirt, but I think Castiel's God cares even less than that.
posted by jameaterblues at 9:45 PM on September 14, 2021

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