Zachariah (Supernatural)

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Zachariah
Supernatural character
First appearance "It's a Terrible Life"
Portrayed by Kurt Fuller
Information
Species Angel
Abilities Body manipulation
Human possession
Memory manipulation
Teleportation
Telekinesis
Time manipulation

Zachariah is a fictional character portrayed by Kurt Fuller on The CW Television Network's drama and horror television series Supernatural. An angel, he first appears in the fourth season and helps manipulate the series protagonist Sam Winchester into releasing Lucifer onto the Earth. In the fifth season, he attempts to convince Dean Winchester into serving as the human vessel for the archangel Michael to start the apocalypse. The opportunity to play an angel initially excited Fuller because it would give him the chance to break away from his streak of playing villains. Despite turning into an antagonist in the series, the actor was very proud of the role. Fuller has been met with universal praise for his portrayal of the character, with critics especially noting Zachariah's sinister humor.

Plot[edit]

Zachariah debuts in the fourth season episode "It's a Terrible Life", in which he motivates series protagonist Dean Winchester to resume his attempts at preventing demons from releasing Lucifer from his imprisonment in Hell.[1] When the prophet Chuck Shurley receives a dark vision of Dean and his brother Sam in "The Monster at the End of the Book", however, Zachariah warns him against alerting the Winchesters.[2] His true motives are revealed in the season finale "Lucifer Rising", in which he explains that the angels have been running Heaven in God's absence for many years. Zachariah imprisons Dean and admits that Heaven will allow Lucifer to be freed because paradise on Earth can only be attained by defeating Lucifer during the apocalypse. The angel Castiel, who has become friends with the Winchesters, rescues Dean at the cost of his own life. However, Dean is too late in stopping Sam from killing the demon Lilith, an act he was unaware would break the final seal imprisoning Lucifer.[3]

In the fifth season premiere "Sympathy for the Devil", Zachariah reveals that Dean is destined to serve as the human vessel for the archangel Michael in the coming battle against Lucifer. When Dean refuses, Zachariah tortures the Winchesters by inflicting various diseases upon them. However, Zachariah is shocked when Castiel appears, and flees after restoring the brothers out of fear that God resurrected Castiel.[4] Sam and Dean later have a falling out and go their separate ways.[5] Zachariah uses this opportunity in "The End" to send Dean to an apocalyptic future in which he never became Michael's vessel; Lucifer now controls the planet using Sam as his own vessel. When Dean is returned to the present, though, he still refuses to become Michael's vessel because he realizes that he must rejoin Sam to keep him from becoming Lucifer's vessel.[6] Zachariah makes yet another attempt in "Dark Side of the Moon", taking joy in both physically and psychologically torturing the brothers in Heaven after they are killed by fellow hunters for their involvement in freeing Lucifer. God intervenes again, though, instructing his angelic emissary Joshua restore the Winchesters' lives.[7] Michael gives Zachariah one final chance in "Point of No Return". He resurrects Sam and Dean's deceased half-brother Adam under the false pretense that he will take Dean's place as Michael's vessel. In truth, Adam is an unsuspecting bait to lure in Dean, who finally acquiesces when Zachariah tortures Sam and Adam. Using Michael's descension as a distraction, however, Dean kills Zachariah with an angel sword.[8]

Development[edit]

A smiling Caucasian man wearing a red polo shirt.
Fuller expected to portray a "really nice guy" like Barney Fife or Andy Griffith.[9]

The character of Zachariah is portrayed by Kurt Fuller, who broke his habit of not auditioning for episodic television because he was so impressed by the series.[9] At the time, Fuller was unaware that the character would be revealed as an angel.[10] Upon learning of the character's origins, Fuller was excited at the chance to break his tradition of portraying villainous characters.[11] However, Fuller noted, "Then I got the script for my second episode and I wasn't so nice. By the third episode, I was stealing people's lungs and giving them stomach cancer. So I've just decided that apparently I'm incapable of playing a nice guy. I turn all my characters bad. I'm the meanest man on TV..."[9] Although Fuller did prepare for the role by researching angels, he did not allow that to influence him, as the stereotypical concepts tend to "[get] away from the spirit of the show".[12] As Fuller explained, "The script will tell me how this particular angel acts. Besides, this show does not strictly adhere to anything, so I made a decision to really use the script as my 'bible'."[10]

Although Fuller expected Zachariah to die in the fifth season,[13] he deemed the character's death in the hundredth episode as "a little early".[14] Fuller felt proud of the role,[13] noting, "I was actually very upset that he was dying, because it honestly was a part of me that died."[15] Despite Zachariah's demise, the actor expressed interest in returning to the role if ever asked to.[14]

Characterization[edit]

Upon receiving the role, Fuller was told Zachariah was "a Morgan Freeman-type with a lot of equanimity". Although Fuller based his performance on this concept, he felt the character ultimately ended up resembling Donald Trump.[10] The actor admitted that he himself typically comes off as a jerk, even when portraying good guys, so he chose to play Zachariah as a boss. Fuller found that Zachariah's introduction as Dean's boss "was a great way into it".[16] In regards to the character's initial friendliness to Dean, the actor explained, "You don't get what you want by being a complete jerk, so you use a little threat, enticement, and appeal to their best natures or the part of them that wants to do good. Just like in life, you can't dominate someone and get what you want. You will only get resentment and they will try to screw you any chance they can. That's what I was trying to avoid."[13]

As the series progresses, Zachariah's true intentions are revealed. Fuller decided to fully embrace the character's decisions. He deemed Zachariah a "genius", explaining, "Zachariah knows what he is doing is the right thing, and he's really doing it all. If people would only understand, he's doing it because he knows what's right."[11] Due to the character's self-righteousness, Fuller noted that Zachariah "can be funny, strong, pathetic, cool, or do whatever he has to do". Of these characteristics, the actor especially enjoyed Zachariah's sense of humor,[17] and also admired his ability to manipulate people. As Fuller explained, "It takes a lot more creativity... Anybody can blast somebody out of a building. That's easy, but to talk them into jumping out of the windows is much harder."[18] The actor also liked Zachariah's sadistic nature, noting that the character "took such relish in it" and "just loved what he did".[14]

"The tragedy of Zachariah is that he had so many tools at his disposal, so many things he could do, and he just couldn't pull it off. [His death] is sort of satisfying, though, because he's really gone to the dark side and the dark side cannot win, no matter how powerful it is."
 — Kurt Fuller on Zachariah's failures[19]

The character finds humans to be an "inferior incarnation of life"[15]—Fuller believed Zachariah's long-awaited paradise on Earth "would be completely malleable humans serving Heaven"[20]—and the actor likened the character's willingness to kill millions of humans as breaking a few eggs to make an omelet.[11] For Fuller, the prospects of "getting a big promotion" in Heaven initially motivated Zachariah. The character's animosity towards Dean thus stems from him being in Zachariah's way, with Dean's determination and intelligence leading to contempt from Zachariah rather than respect.[15] By Zachariah's final appearance, Fuller felt that the character "has really cracked" due to his rivalry with Dean. The actor posited, "He's fifty-two percent revenge, forty-eight percent still trying to make his plan work."[15] Nevertheless, Fuller found Zachariah to be the "hero of the story", attempting to "save all of eternity and maintain the proper balance between Heaven and Hell".[21]

Reception[edit]

Fuller received universal praise from critics for his portrayal of Zachariah. Maureen Ryan of Chicago Tribune felt Fuller was "absolutely spot-on as the overly chipper and slightly sinister" character, and loved the actor's ability to "[wring] the humor out of almost every one of his lines while still remaining scary under Zach's bluff exterior".[22] John Kubicek of BuddyTV found Fuller perfect at "balancing that fine line between comedy and evil". While Kubicek admitted he would miss the character, he was excited to see Zachariah die "in as awesome a way as possible".[23] Zack Handlen of A.V. Club similarly called the character's final scene "satisfying", but was "a little sad" to see "such a well-realized bad-guy" leave the series.[24] Tina Charles of TV Guide also enjoyed Fuller's time on the series and felt he "can do no wrong in [her] book as Zachariah".[25] She liked that the character could go "toe to toe with Dean like no other",[26] and considered him "downright evil" despite his motives.[27] Likewise, Diana Steenbergen of IGN deemed him "definitely a villain that it is easy to hate".[28]

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  1. Cairns, Bryan (October–November 2009). "Far From Heaven". Supernatural Magazine (Titan Magazines) (12). 
  2. Knight, Nicholas (2010). Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 4. Titan Books. ISBN 1-84856-738-3. 
  3. Knight, Nicholas (2010). Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 5. Titan Books. ISBN 1-84856-739-1. 

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Writer: Sera Gamble, Director: James L. Conway (March 26, 2009). "It's A Terrible Life". Supernatural. Season 4. Episode 17. CW.
  2. ^ Story: Julie Siege & Nancy Weiner, Teleplay: Julie Siege, Director: Mike Rohl (April 2, 2009). "The Monster at the End of This Book". Supernatural. Season 4. Episode 18. CW.
  3. ^ Writer: Eric Kripke, Director: Eric Kripke (May 14, 2009). "Lucifer Rising". Supernatural. Season 4. Episode 22. CW.
  4. ^ Writer: Eric Kripke, Director: Robert Singer (September 10, 2009). "Sympathy for the Devil". Supernatural. Season 5. Episode 1. CW.
  5. ^ Writer: Sera Gamble, Director: Phil Sgriccia (September 17, 2009). "Good God, Y'All!". Supernatural. Season 5. Episode 2. CW.
  6. ^ Writer: Ben Edlund, Director: Steve Boyum (October 1, 2009). "The End". Supernatural. Season 5. Episode 4. CW.
  7. ^ Writer: Andrew Dabb & Daniel Loflin, Director: Jeff Woolnough (April 1, 2010). "Dark Side of the Moon". Supernatural. Season 5. Episode 16. CW.
  8. ^ Writer: Jeremy Carver, Director: Phil Sgriccia (April 15, 2010). "Point of No Return". Supernatural. Season 5. Episode 18. CW.
  9. ^ a b c http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidethebox/2010/03/supernatural-kurt-fuller-on-jensen-ackles-jared-padalecki-and-more.html
  10. ^ a b c Knight, Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 4, p.144
  11. ^ a b c http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MakYl2tt9eo
  12. ^ Cairns, p.42
  13. ^ a b c Cairns, p.45
  14. ^ a b c http://www.tv rage.com/news/6702/exclusive-a-conversation-with-kurt-fuller-part-1-of-2
  15. ^ a b c d Knight, Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 5, p.141
  16. ^ Cairns, p.41
  17. ^ Cairns, pp.40-41
  18. ^ Cairns, p.44
  19. ^ Knight, Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 5, p.95
  20. ^ Knight, Supernatural: The Official Companion Season 4, p.114
  21. ^ Cairns, p.43
  22. ^ http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com/entertainment_tv/2010/04/supernatural-100th-episode.html
  23. ^ http://www.buddytv.com/articles/supernatural/supernatural-recap-100th-episo-35925.aspx
  24. ^ http://www.avclub.com/review/supernatural-point-of-no-return-40187
  25. ^ http://www.tvguide.com/tvshows/supernatural-2010/episode-16-season-5/dark-side-of-the-moon/192272
  26. ^ http://www.tvguide.com/tvshows/supernatural/episode-1-season-5/192272
  27. ^ http://www.tvguide.com/tvshows/supernatural-2010/episode-18-season-5/point-of-no-return/192272
  28. ^ http://www.ign.com/articles/2010/04/16/supernatural-point-of-no-return-review