Stars: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Mark A. Sheppard, Osric Chau, Kim Rhodes, Amanda Tapping, Curtis Armstrong, Alaina Huffman
Writer: Jeremy Carver, series created by Eric Kripke
Director: Phil Sgriccia
Network: The CW, Wednesdays @ 9 PM
Original Airdate: May 15, 2013

A lot happens in SUPERNATURAL’s Season 8 closer “Sacrifice.” Probably the best and most satisfying thing that occurs is, for once, Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) put each other ahead of the quest. There is also the near-humanization of Crowley (Mark A. Sheppard), some intriguing reversals and an Aziz Ansari shout-out. On the other hand, by the end of the episode, we’re wondering if we’ve seen the end game of Metatron (Curtis Armstrong) or just part of his plan, and how exactly all of this is going to work.

There is also so much going on in “Sacrifice” that one gets the feeling that more is happening than our minds are able to absorb in one viewing – hey, maybe covert angel Naomi (Amanda Tapping) has been messing with the audience as well as the characters.

With Crowley about to snuff out the life of Sheriff Jody Mills (Kim Rhodes), Sam and Dean finally accede to Crowley’s demand to hand over the demon tablet and abandon the trials forever. But – psych! – it turns out the boys just fake surrender in order to get physically close enough to Crowley to subdue him so that they can hold him prisoner in an abandoned church. This is so that Sam can perform the third trial, which is to heal a demon –Crowley.

For this to work, Sam has to be cleansed, so he makes confession in an empty confessional. He has to inject Crowley with his blood. Crowley is incredulous.

Meanwhile, Metatron has Castiel (Misha Collins) performing angel trials. The second one requires Castiel to get a Cupid’s bow. Then Naomi and her agents show up and kidnap Metatron. Naomi begins poking around in Metatron’s brain, but not before she asks why he decided to surface now.

Castiel goes to Dean for help in retrieving Metatron, Sam assures Dean he can handle Crowley by himself and Castiel and Dean go to Kevin Tran (Osric Chau) with the angel tablet. Castiel informs Kevin in no uncertain terms that Kevin will not ever get a normal life, as he is a Prophet of the Lord and will remain so for the rest of his existence. Kevin tries to translate the angel tablet.

At the church,Crowley bites Sam. When Sam leaves the room for some first aid,Crowley tries to summon some demons to free him. Abaddon (Alaina Huffman) arrives, but it turns out that she wants to take control of Hell from Crowley. Sam incinerates Abaddon. Crowley expresses gratitude. He also starts to say un-Crowley-like things, such as wondering how he could possibly find forgiveness for the things he’s done. It seems that the healing is working.

Metatron turns the tables on Naomi. It turns out that the Scribe of God doesn’t want to lock all the angels in Heaven so they can settle their differences. Instead, as revenge for having to flee after God left, Metatron wants to send all the angels to Earth. He has tricked Castiel into performing preliminary rituals that will allow this to happen.

Dean is horrified to learn this – and more horrified to find out that if Sam will die if he completes the third trial. (This is quasi-verified when Kevin’s preliminary translation of the tablet indicates that Metatron has been lying.) Dean goes to Sam to tell him to stop the ritual. Sam says he doesn’t care if he dies. Dean and Sam have a heart to heart, with Sam confessing that he can’t take letting Dean down one more time, and Dean telling Sam that absolutely nothing is more important to Dean than his brother. Sam stops the trial, briefly gets sicker, then feels better.

In Heaven, Metatron has killed Naomi. He removes Castiel’s essence (at least, that’s what Metatron says he’s doing) and sends Castiel back to Earth to live a human life.

Sam and Dean see a lot of lights falling to Earth out of the night sky and realize these are angels falling to Earth. We see Castiel in a forest, looking perplexed. And so the season ends.

Since we really don’t know what a planet full of angels will look like – will they kill humans, fight demons, battle each other, sit back and watch cartoons, all or none of the above? – we’re really not sure what our heroes will be dealing with on this front come Season 9. As the gates of Hell remain unlocked and Crowley still seems to be its boss, we haven’t heard the last from that quarter, though as Sam and Dean have given up on their quest to seal Hell (and Sam saved Crowley from Abaddon), Crowley may be a little more mellow next time around.

Then again,Crowleymay remain the same evil mover and shaker he’s always been, but it was certainly intriguing and even a little moving to see Sheppard play him in a moment of doubt and remorse.

Armstrong makes Metatron an interesting villain, even if he is a version of the picked-on-in-the-playground kid taking revenge. We feel bad for Castiel, who has made the wrong choice yet again, but seeing Cass turn drill sergeant on poor Kevin is a striking moment.

Any time this show (or any show) gets definitive about God, it makes for some unsettling moments. Of course, Metatron may not be a reliable narrator, but this bit is a little saddening, as is the depopulating of Heaven.

Of course, the big news here is having Sam confess he’s at the point where he’d rather die than disappoint Dean again and having Dean finally get to say Sam is more important than the gates of Hell, Heaven, Purgatory or anything else. It’s not a teary goodbye “promise to live your life” which never seems to work out well anyway, but rather one of those moments where the subtext becomes text and we feel curiously relieved that it’s finally been stated aloud (not that this makes the angst any less). With “Sacrifice,” SUPERNATURAL honors its fundamentals, gives its leads a chance to show their acting chops, and gears up properly for next season.


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Article: TV Review: SUPERNATURAL – Season 8 – “Sacrifice” – SEASON FINALE

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