Episode 8.21

“The Great Escapist” Review
By Annie Kenney

There was so much to love about this episode and yet it wasn’t quite what I expected it to be. It seemed chaotic and jumbled, too much going on at once and a hell of a lot of story packed into 45 minutes. It could have easily been shown in two parts and it left me feeling quite exhausted!

Jared’s acting in this episode was wonderful and totally off the scale. It was really easy to believe how sick Sam was even without the frightening make up, the deep shadows beneath the eyes and the fevers. The part when Sam remembers his mule trip with his dad and Dean made me want to laugh and cry (you rode a farty donkey!) but the tears started for real when Sam told the story about Sir Galahad and the Holy Grail. For the first time in a long, long time we got a glimpse inside Sam’s head and it was so desperately sad.

There were so many threads in this episode that it is hard to know how they are all going to tie together. Castiel hiding the tablet inside of him (and how gory was that?), Crowley using demons as fake Sam & Dean to try and get information out of Kevin, rogue angels and Naomi being her usual cunning self. Add to that the introduction of Metatron and what might be happening to Sam and the audience’s heads are close to exploding. With only two episodes to go I have no idea what is going to happen.

The acting was excellent. Kevin’s desperation was only matched by his cunning and what a relief to find out he was still alive. Kevin is one of the more interesting new characters in the Supernatural universe and hopefully he will hang around for Season 9. He is also an example of what might happen when an ordinary person is drawn into the realm of the supernatural so the audience can relate to him and wonder what they might do in his situation. Crowley was as sneaky and as snarky as ever and, despite the fact he is truly evil, he is another character you definitely want to see more of!

Metatron – in his sensible dad cardigan was a really interesting angel and nothing like the angels we have met before. The fact that he was a scribe and surrounded by books was extremely clever. The way he hid away from the world and actually knew nothing about what was going on around him was also a really cunning twist. It also led to one of the funniest lines of the night in Sam’s ‘We’re the freakin Winchesters!’

The point of the angel tablet is still not established and neither is the fate of Castiel. There were so many open ends in this episode and, as usual, a whole load of unanswered questions. At least we know what the third trial will be but whether Sam will survive it or not is a matter of concern.

The main criticism of the episode has to be that Dean is becoming nothing more than a concerned carer for everyone including Sam, Kevin and Cas. Dean is almost over protective of his little brother and, although he has always been more anxious about Sam’s safety than his own, he is getting worse. Add to that the fact that it is Dean that always visits and cares for Kevin and the scene with a badly injured Cas at the end of the episode then it looks as if Dean has his hands full.

I would love to see Dean do something heroic and hope that he does, indeed, have some sort of role in the finale and is not just reduced to a hand holding role. Although I adore hurt Sam and protective Dean, in my opinion, the writers have gone a little over the top on this one!

This episode was excellent in some parts and confusing in others. It may be, as the last two episodes play out, The Great Escapist will start to make more sense and become less chaotic but at the moment it feels like we are at the edge of a massive precipice and are about to fall into the abyss.

Hopefully the Winchester brothers can save us all!