Castiel is finally back on Supernatural
... sort of. "The Big Empty" made a big stride towards Castiel reuniting with Sam and Dean (and his foster son Jack) as Castiel was whisked away from the episode's namesake, the void where angels go when they die, to the real world. Castiel is alive and was "resurrected" in a similar field to Dean's grave from season 4. As exciting as it is to have Cas back, the more exciting development of "The Big Empty" was one of the new characters, the unnamed ruler of the Empty. The character made quite an impression and hopefully the episode was just the first appearance of many.
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The Benefit of a Good Evil Performance
Supernatural season 13 isn't hard up for potential season-long arcs or villains to occupy the Winchesters' time. It's more a matter of the show not truly committing to one lane, not just yet anyway. The only solid ongoing storyline is the one concerning Lucifer's son, Jack. Yet it's become increasingly clear that Jack won't be an intentional antagonist, if he ever becomes one at all. The seat of the ultimate boss of Supernatural season 13 remains empty. Although Lucifer and Michael could both make a convincing run for the job, the Ruler of the Empty seems like a more compelling option right now.
It certainly helped that for his (or its) first appearance the Ruler was played by Misha Collins. Misha's ability to play evil was one of the great surprises of season 11, when Castiel became the new vessel for Lucifer. The performance was always just slightly limited by the fact that Collins had to do more of an impression of Mark Pellegrino's portrayal of the character than being able to anything original.
With the Ruler, Misha truly got to stretch his acting muscles and it was a ton of fun. The performance (and character) weren't subtle but it was endlessly watchable. It was obvious that Misha was having the time of his life playing against himself as a vaguely British but definitely pompous entity of cosmic proportions. If the Ruler was played by any other random guest star the desire to see it again probably wouldn't be that high. However, given how amusing Misha was and how much life he brought to the character, it begs for a repeat performance.
A Threat Worthy of a Nephilim (and his Caretakers)
More than just a fan acting challenge though, the Ruler represents a lot of story potential for Supernatural. After spending time with Castiel and delving into his mind, he Ruler knows everything about the angel and, by consequence, everything about Sam and Dean. Anyone having that level of knowledge is dangerous on Supernatural.
The Ruler, by its own admission, also predates God and Amara. The Ruler exists before creation and, it stands to reason, is incredibly powerful. With Jack set to become stronger than an archangel one day, Supernatural is going to need to up the ante in the villain department, especially when it comes to their power level. A being that's older than God could be one of the only things that could stand up to Jack's potential force.
Even the Ruler crossing over to the real world would be an interesting set-up, In "The Big Empty" the Ruler established that it likes to sleep. It doesn't want to be awake and therefore it probably doesn't want to be out in the real world. So for the Ruler to cross over, as it would have to do to be the new villain of the series, there would have be a good reason and motivation.
Perhaps it might even be an unintentional side effect of letting Castiel go from the Void and the Ruler will be looking for revenge. Maybe it just decided that a nephilim like Jack could benefit it in some way and it's grown tired of just being a supernatural gravekeeper. No matter what possible option is chosen it would still represent a brand new direction for Supernatural to take the series rather than the same old angel versus demon conflict.
Would you like to see the Ruler again? Do you think it's better off as a one-episode villain? How did you feel about Misha Collins getting to play evil once again?
(Image courtesy of the CW)