Episode 8.23

“Sacrifice” Review
By Annie Kenney

There are no words to describe this episode. One Supernatural friend of mine said that it was the best finale since ‘All Hell Breaks Loose’ and I have to agree with her. The whole season has been building to this and – forgetting the first eight or so episodes – it has been a classic.

I was holding my breath in the first five minutes and never let it out until the end! What a great opening and a wonderful twist, Jodie Mills looking all glamorous and datable, Crowley looking hot! The tension when Jodie collapsed spitting blood was palpable and fingers crossed Dean said the words that Crowley asked him to. Nice that we didn’t have to hear him say it though!

There were some nice touches in this episode too. Kevin hiding the demon tablet under a poster of Satan; Sam and Dean meeting with Crowley in the ruins of Bobby’s old house. There were nods to the past and the present and it only made what happened more poignant.

Great idea to trick the King of Hell! I love that Crowley’s contracts are always really long and complicated and I actually wondered if he and Sam would kiss if Sam had actually signed it. Excellent that Sam and Dean used Crowley as the last trial but (deep deep down inside) I hoped he wouldn’t be cured completely because he is a really good baddie!

Meanwhile Castiel and Metatron were doing the angel trials and these scenes added much needed humour to the finale. My favourite Castiel is clueless innocent and there was a lot of that on display in this episode. I love how Cas just speaks his mind whatever comes out and I LOVE other people’s reaction to it. Naomi’s intervention shouldn’t have been such a big shock but it was and when she took Metatron away to torture him I was really afraid for him (little did I know!).

Meanwhile back at the fantastic location of that ruined old church on a hill in the middle of nowhere (top marks for the location finders on this one), Sam is unsure what to confess and Dean isn’t afraid to tell him. It is testament to the actors that I always feel awkward and embarrassed during these exchanges and often want to actually look away. I thought it was pretty OOC for Dean to blame Sam for being soulless but I can understand why the writers went there. Poor old Sam – when Dean listed his misdemeanours – you could easily see why he wanted out of his hunting life and went for normal with Amelia.

Meanwhile Castiel steals Dean away to help him hunt for Cupid’s bow. I was really gutted at this at first because I wanted my brother’s together but, knowing what happens next, it was a plot device and nothing more.

This was the only part of the episode that jarred for me because we have already seen a cupid (My Bloody Valentine) and, lore at the time, said they were low grade angels. We saw a big chubby man in pants and it was played for comedy. Here, though, cupid seems to have changed a whole lot! Despite this I really liked this scene. I liked the humour and I liked the twist that the barman is in love with his best friend and I loved Dean’s classic Dean expression another welcome slice of humour.

Back at the church Sam is curing Crowley and – in my opinion – the work between Jared Padalecki and Mark Sheppard is stand out and some of the best acting of the season so far. Crowley’s descent into humanity was both scary and touching and his speech about wanting to be loved left me with a lump in my throat. As for Sam – Jared bought it – he was out of this world and so convincing. As the trial came close to ending I was on the edge of my seat and – scarily – I really thought Sam would die.

The intervention of Dean (physically) and Kevin (on his cell) was quite a relief. I also felt sorry for poor old Cas (who appears to be as lucky as Sam as far as Supernatural goes) who had been duped by Metatron. The fact that he was forced to finally trust Naomi must have been galling and when he got to heaven and saw what had happened his grief and ire were painful to watch.

And so to the best brother moment of the season (of any season for me) when Dean calls out to Sam telling him if he completes the trials he’ll die and Sam, looking awful at this stage, looks up and says ‘So?’. I was already beginning to tear up at this point but when Sam and Dean finally start talking to each other I was gone. You don’t really expect acting like this in TV and the two actors just went with it. Sam’s misery at always letting Dean down, his sadness that his misdemeanours caused Dean to work with others like Benny and Cas. At this point you knew Sam wanted to die, that he was willing to sacrifice himself for humanity, that – despite his earlier speech about doing the trials and coming out the other side – he was ready to end it all. Dean’s reaction was so wonderfully Dean and you could see his Big Brother mode clicking in. His pleas to Sam were so moving and when he took Sam in his arms and told him to let everything go I couldn’t see for the tears that were flowing.

Back in heaven we get to see what a sneaky turncoat Metatron really was. He was angry that while once he was God’s scribe he was now locked out of heaven. He had plotted the angel’s downfall (both figuratively and literally) and now he was going to be in charge. I was actually a little sad and disappointed to see Naomi killed. I had grown to like the character and – with the death of Abaddon – yet another strong female character had bitten the dust!

The climax of the season was breath taking; both beautiful and frightening. The falling angels looked like a million comets just plummeting to earth and the special effects were fantastic. As Dean pulled Sam out of the church and called him little brother I thought I might actually lose my breath all together and the brothers huddling by the Impala, Sam obviously not right and angels falling, it is hard to know how Season 9 can possibly live up to this wonderful finale.

And so before I finish the final review for Season 8 – hopefully not my final review all together – a few thoughts on the Season as a whole.

It was definitely a Season of two halves; the first half with the Purgatory flashbacks, Amelia flashbacks and the brothers estranged was entertaining at times (Episodes like Southern Comfort, Citizen Fang and Blood Brothers) but fell desperately short at others (Bitten – possibly one of the worst episodes ever IMO). Amelia particularly seemed nothing more than an odd plot device, there was little chemistry between her and Sam and she certainly didn’t appear to be the sort of woman Sam would give up hunting for. There was also the (still) nagging problem of Sam not searching for Dean. So OOC and – even now – there hasn’t really been a satisfactory explanation for it.

Benny however was a wonderful new addition and I hope he isn’t truly dead. Ty Olsen did a great job bringing Benny to life (or death!) and he was one of the few supporting actors with a full back story and real depth of character.

The second half of the season with the Men of Letters Bunker, humorous episodes with Charlie (LARP and the Real Girl being one of the stand out episodes of the Season for me.), the trials, Sam and Dean working in tandem and the mystery of the tablets – I wish that the whole season could have been about all of this and I don’t think I am the only one.

So as usual a massive cliff hanger – tons of questions and not a lot of answers – characters who look likely to return and others that you hope might do. So I will leave you with these few choice queries…

What is Crowley now? Still a demon or something else?

What is wrong with Sam? Will he be redeemed? Has he inherited some sort of grace?

What will happen when all the angels hit earth? Will they be the new bad guys or will it be Abaddon?

Will Castiel remember anything or will he just be human again?

Makes you want to tune in for more so is it Season 9 yet…?