When Supernatural fans first met Cole, he was a military man on the hunt for Dean Winchester, whom he blamed for his father’s death. The bad news for him, however, was that tying up and torturing Sam Winchester didn’t get him anywhere, because Dean Winchester was a demon at the time. Needless to say, Cole lost his first fight with Dean.
Flash forward a bit, and Cole, played by Travis Aaron Wade, returned, having done his research about how to take on a demon. But the thing was: Dean was back to being a human… and Cole still lost the fight. So now, what brings the military man back into the world of the Winchesters? Sadly, it’s not the mystery of the monster who killed his father—though that will come up–but rather a buddy who has fallen to the Khan worm. To refresh your memory: The Khan worm was one of Eve’s creations. More specifically, it killed Rufus.
We talked with Wade about his return to the show, how Cole fits in with the Winchesters, and whether this episode will be his last. Here’s what we learned.
Cole has a personal attachment to the case of the week. Once again, Cole finds himself in the world of the Winchesters, but it’s not because Cole has suddenly become a hunter. This time, the case is more personal. “A buddy of mine—we served together in the military—his wife has contacted me and says that he’s acting abnormal and she feels that he’s very ill and thinks that maybe it’s PTSD,” Wade says. “She’s not quite sure what’s going on with him, so she calls his best friend to come in and help. But the boys are already hot on the case, so we kind of run into each other and I’m not quite sure I want them helping my friend because I know the way they help.”
The Winchesters and Cole need each other. “Civilians have a very difficult time gaining information from the military,” Wade said. “But someone who has military experience or military contacts has something valuable for the boys that they’d probably have a hard time getting. So I’ve got information that can get them information.”
With that being said, don’t expect the Winchesters to welcome Cole with open arms “And I don’t think they want anybody riding in their backseat,” Wade added. “But I’m an asset to them, and as long as I’m an asset, they’re going to have to work with me. And I need their wisdom and experience as well because I think they’re pretty good at tracking.”
Yes, there will be “weird” bonding. Up to this point, Cole’s interactions with the Winchesters have always involved violence, whether it be torturing Sam or fighting Dean. And yet, their past has created what Wade described as a “weird” bond. “A lot of people tend to bond with the person they’ve been in a fight with,” Wade said. “I think there’s a natural occurrence within men once they’ve slugged it out, more so with me and Dean because we went toe-to-toe and we got a chance to fight each other.”
As for Cole’s relationship with Sam, Wade described it as a bit “softer.” “I think [Sam] is a little bit more sympathetic. There’s a bonding that happens when you beat and torture someone. There is an actual scientific name behind it. It is an interesting phenomenon. So many people I know that have been through that in the military end up having some connection with their torturer.” [Editor’s note: He’s referring to Stockholm Syndrome.]
And yet, at the end of the day, Wade added that the bond between the three men is ” frictional,” if nothing else. “It’s not smooth,” he said with a laugh.
The Khan worm infects Cole. “There’s a history with the Khan worm with the show,” Wade said, bringing us back to the days when Dean killed his own cousin while under the influence of the Khan worm. And this time around, it sounds like the worm is just as lethal. “The Khan worm essentially dehydrates you and kills you, but it turns you evil prior to that so you’re on the hunt for liquids, essentially—blood or water, whatever you can consume because the thing is eating you alive. As you try to survive, you’re capable of doing possibly anything. I’ve been infected and I’m trying to save my best friend who’s been infected, so we’ll see how the boys are able to help me, if they’re able to help me at all. It could be bad. It’s not the easiest thing to survive.”
Odds are, Cole and Dean will fight again … but Wade would rather not. Considering Cole’s infection—and his past with Dean—it’s not a stretch to say that these two will at least attempt to harm each other again. However, on a more personal note, Wade would love to stop hitting Jensen Ackles. “The more I hurt the boys, I think I lose fans,” Wade said, laughing. “Even on set, I’m like, ‘Do I really have to punch him?’ Because if I hit these boys, if I touch their faces, these female fans come at me, personally. They want to take out Travis, so it’s a very sensitive subject when it comes to hurting the J2’s.”
The mystery of Cole’s father isn’t over yet. For most fans, the intrigue surrounding Cole is all about the monster that killed his father. According to Dean, it was something that he’d never seen before and still hasn’t seen since. So are we about to be introduced to yet another supernatural creature? Not quite yet, though Cole is still on the case. “You’re going to get a few bits and pieces of what he’s about. Essentially the show is about the boys and we’re there to support them, but I think what’s interesting about Cole is that he has a similar storyline to the boys. Where their mother was killed, his father was killed,” Wade said.
“Even though he identified it wasn’t Dean that killed his father, still something did. So I think there’s going to be hints in there. He wants to know what infected his dad that made Dean kill his dad. He’s still going to be on that search, especially with having a family and a wife and a son, he’s going to want to know if this thing’s going to come back and affect him.”
And for Cole, solving that mystery means soaking up all the knowledge the Winchesters have to share. “He wants to spend as much time with the boys as he can, because they’ve obviously learned this world,” Wade said. “He’s a military guy, and I know firsthand that if we’ve got a source that knows more than we do, our job is to stay with that source until we know as much as they do.”
Dead or alive, Cole could come back in the future. When asked about a future return to the show, Wade said: “The potential in the supernatural world is endless. Death does not mean dead. There’s always a way to either stay alive if you’re lucky, or if you’re not lucky, to come back. There’s so many ways this can go but I know I’ve enjoyed working with everybody involved. The fans have been incredible to me and the production has been incredible to me, so whether I come back alive or whether I come back dead, it’s been a fun ride. It’s been great.”
Supernatural airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.