For years, Supernatural (SPN) fans waited for Destiel to become canon.
Is Destiel canon?
Well, it finally happens in its final season. Sort of… it’s a little more complicated.
Castiel was introduced in Season 4 of Supernatural after he gripped Dean “tight” and raised him “from perdition,” fans thought there was something more than just a simple bromance going on.
Destiel is, of course, the pairing of Dean Winchester and Castiel the angel, and is therefore also known as DeanCas.
The show avoided the question for years. Fans debated it fervently, guessing as to the true intentions of the show’s writers.
The actors were largely uncomfortable with the idea as well. But Supernatural eventually did. It made Destiel canon, but not in such a perfect resolution that fans may have wanted.
In SPN’s Season 15’s episode “Despair,” Dean and Castiel carry out an attempt to kill Billie. Angered by the attempt, Billie attempts to kill Dean as the “living incarnate of disorder.”
Dean and Castiel go to hide and put a spell on the door to keep out Billie. But that spell is only temporary and Dean turns to Castiel to say that he’s sorry for putting them in harm’s way again.
The angel then realizes that The Empty is the one thing that can stop Billie and appear on Earth once Castiel experiences true happiness and take him somewhere worse than hell.
This agreement was made when Castiel saved Jack from the cosmic entity.
Since making the deal, Castiel shares how he has wondered “what my true happiness could even look like” as he knew that the one thing he wants “is something I know I can’t have.”
However, in that moment, Castiel acknowledges that “happiness isn’t in the having. It’s in just being.”
Castiel tells Dean:
“Ever since I pulled you out of hell, knowing you has changed me. Because you cared, I cared. I cared about you, I cared about Sam, I cared about Jack. But I cared about the whole world because of you. You changed me, Dean.”
And then Castiel says the three words: “I love you.”
Destiel shippers have been waiting to hear those words for roughly a decade.
Then Castiel is pulled into worse-than-hell dimension and dies. Dean is left sobbing on the floor.
Though a tearful declaration of love, many people are thoroughly unsatisfied.
And for various reasons:
1. Dean didn’t react to Castiel’s declaration of love. So, the whole thing was, in the end, very one-sided, so the audience is largely left “queerbaited” – Dean displays a very straight and masculine image throughout the series.
2. Castiel was immediately killed after his declaration.
3. It continues SPN’s long-running trope of killing off its gay characters.
But it’s still a big deal to fans of the show. Maybe killing off a beloved character wasn’t perfect, but Castiel finally saying I love you and confessing his feelings confirmed what fans have predicted since his appearance in “Lazarus Rising.”
At the same time, Dean didn’t get the chance to either return or reject the feelings, or at least explore what could come next.
Castiel is instead eaten by The Empty.
The trend of “burying your gays” continues. Show writers were known for adding gay characters only to kill them off later, sometimes even in the same episode.
Not all unlike Tara Maclay’s death in Buffy The Vampire Slayer, which was also widely criticized.
When “Despair” aired on The CW, Destiel even managed to trend on Twitter. The inclusion of Destiel was long overdue.
But fans didn’t exactly like the way it was done and SPN standing by its “bury your gays” tradition.
The parallel message that comes out of it is that being LGBTQ is a “crime” that deserves hell.
The “real” interpretation is that Castiel sacrificed himself for someone he loves. But given Supernatural’s perception that it’s prejudiced against LGBTQ people, it ended up giving fans a weird vibe after waiting for so long.
Dropping bits of queerness along the way was enticing for LGBTQ fans, but never committing to it fully helped to not put off other fans.
After all, it comes down to ratings and getting the most people onboard as possible.
Yes, Destiel is canon in SPN.
But Cas was killed off like many LGBTQ characters in the series and Dean didn’t get a chance to respond to Castiel’s feelings.