May 27

Naomi, the Angels, and Free Will

Originally published January 20 2013 on Tumblr.

I’m not sure if I loved “Torn and Frayed” (there were some things that really bothered me about it) but it has given me a lot to think about in terms of what Naomi and the angels are doing and why they might be doing it. These are some of my thoughts on who I think Naomi is, parallels between what’s happening to Castiel now and what happened to him in “The Rapture” (and why that doesn’t mean he’s always been controlled by Naomi), and how Naomi and The Room might fit in with the angels’ struggle with free will.  Mind you, this probably isn’t where they’re going with it, but it’s been interesting to think about in the meantime.

There’s been some speculation about whether or not Naomi is actually an angel.  Which is an interesting idea, but I personally really really hope that sheis an angel.  I want the angel/ Heaven part of this storyline to be about the angels, not about some other being moving in and taking over Heaven.  Because they are in the process of becoming entirely new creatures, and that is fascinating.  I want to see that story play out, and I want Naomi to be part of that story.  Right now they aren’t dealing with it too well, and it’s destroying them. And Naomi might be part of a faction that wants to fix everything by returning to start, by remaking things the way they used to be.

Perhaps Naomi was the one whose job it was to “fix” wayward angels.  And I think the “room” that Cass is called to is where she did that work.  Maybe it was something that didn’t happen all that frequently–angels becoming so wrapped up in humanity that they forgot their mission–and that is why she told Cass that “not many have” been in that room before. This room may be where Cass was during the events of “The Rapture.”  Naomi seems a bit surprised when he tells her he hasn’t been there before, and her reply is “Few have”–which doesn’t mean he hasn’t been there.  It’s been suggested that if Naomi was the one doing the reprogramming in The Rapture, then she has possibly been controlling him ever since.  Which would be a horrible idea, because it wipes out all of Cass’s character and story development? But I don’t think there is any reason to move from “Naomi was his deprogrammer then” to “Naomi has always been controlling him.” I think it is possible that the angelic reset used to be a one-time event—you pulled up the old programming and you had the old angel, the servant made to do nothing but carry out the will of Heaven, back.  But now everything’s changed.

We know that Heaven is a mess due to the upheaval caused by the aborted Apocalypse, the civil war, and Godstiel.  Crowley stated that it’s in such chaos they don’t even notice a missing angel–and apparently he’s right, as they didn’t notice Samandriel was missing until he called for help.  We don’t know exactly how bad it is, but we do know that (according to Ben Edlund) the angels’ home has been destroyed.  Which is an interesting choice of words, because it indicates that Heaven is not just changed or damaged or in a state of upheaval.  It has been obliterated. Which makes me wonder…Is this room all that is left? Is everything outside of this “room” just chaos?   And the angels are…going through some very difficult times. Castiel told the angels that God wanted them to have freedom, then after fighting a war for that very thing, declared himself to be God and told them that what they needed was not freedom but to be controlled–and then slaughtered them.  Point is, Heaven’s a mess, and the angels are a mess.  It’s probably a pretty safe assumption that the situation was different and relatively stable in comparison back in the breaking-of-the-seals days.

The parallels between what is happening to Cass in “Torn and Frayed” and “The Rapture” are very clear. We know the reprogramming was torture back then – Anna pretty much states flat out that Cass is being tortured in “The Rapture.”  I don’t think that has changed.  I think it is possible that this level of micro-control was never necessary for Naomi before.  Back then, every once in a while, an angel would start getting too close to humanity, start getting human ideas about things like freedom and choice, and she would be the one to go in and reprogram them, remind them of their essential coding: You were created to be an angel of the Lord.And that always worked. Now it doesn’t.  And why doesn’t it work anymore?  Because of the idea of free will that Cass brought back to them–specifically, the idea that God intended them to have free will. Because free will is something they know about, something belonging to humans, something that was not theirs, something they had to fall and become human to have.  But there was Castiel, telling them that free will wasn’t a human thing.  It’s an angel thing, too. Maybe it’s just an existence thing.  And he’s not just telling them this. He’s proof of it. He helped change the story whose ending they all knew was destiny.

And maybe Cass was wrong. Maybe God didn’t intend for angels to have free will. Maybe, as Raphael said, they weren’t built for freedom, they were built to follow.  Maybe free will is just part of the essential coding of the universe–even God couldn’t program it out of his celestial soldiers.  It’s there.  And now the angels know it’s there–whether they like it or not. And so Naomi’s old reprogram/reset doesn’t work anymore.  Because now there’s something else that answers “You were created to be an angel of the Lord” with “And you can decide what that means.” You were created to serve God and obey. But you have choices. You can say no. You can decide that this may be how the story was written, but that isn’t how it’s going to end. So she’s become desperate, she and whoever “they” are that Samandriel mentions. It didn’t really stick with Cass at the end of season 4—an episode and a half (more or less) later, he’s thinking for himself again and siding with humanity (with the Winchesters.) Hence, the micro-controlling.

I’m not sure who “they” are–more enforcers of the old angelic programming, possibly.  I’m also not sure whether I think Naomi is working with them or being controlled in turn by them.  I’d prefer that she is working with, or even in charge, because I like her as the face of what’s going on in Heaven, and there’s still plenty of room for her to be ambiguous.  Honestly, what I’d like to think is that she believes she is working to restore angelkind and Heaven.  That by controlling and attempting to “fix” this “flaw” in the programming she will be restoring the angels’ true nature and everything can go back to normal. So many are dead, so many are lost, and she’s trying to repair what she can because that’s what she’s always done. And maybe she’s scared and desperate, not just because of whatever’s on that angel tablet, but because she knows it’s not working.  That it can’t work. They can never go back. They can never make things the way they were before.

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