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Supernatural: Season 8 Finale, "Sacrifice"
Wow! What a gut wrenching way to end the season, right guys? Some of the plot points were pretty predictable, but I doubt that anyone saw the falling angels as a possibility.
Here is my current overall rating for episode 8x23, "Sacrifice":
What did you think of this season?
I thought that what happened to Naomi was a shame. The problem with Supernatural most of the time is that the fans often wish a female character dead - only to find that to be the case. I personally know a lot of Destiel fans hated Meg's existence - until she was unceremoniously killed and never mentioned since. Well, Naomi, I am sorry to say, experienced much of the same fate.
Naomi was a great character. Hard, manipulative, cunning, and strong-willed. She was so bad, but you could tell, she thought she was doing what was best for Heaven. In a way, I feel that she is an extension of Hester from Season 7; while Hester embodied the wreck left behind after a war, filled with anger and grief, Naomi embodies the wreck left behind in the leadership roles after a war. Though we are told that she is running Heaven and that she's been behind the scenes this whole time, it's probably a safe bet to say she hasn't always been running Heaven, but rather was quickly promoted due to all of the higher-ups being dead or in the Pit. She is extremely adept at her job of playing "IT" for the angels, fixing up whatever angels she felt needed fixing. When it comes to leading, however, she often looks more stressed, panicking at times when calmness is needed, and allowing worry to bleed into her actions. The truth is, Naomi doesn't have much of an idea of what she is doing, so she defaults to Dean Winchester: Since he caused Castiel to side with humanity, he must be the problem and must be stopped; hence why she wanted Castiel to kill him.
However, we see in this episode that yes, she is loyal to Heaven's mission, but that she became misguided in trying to actualize this goal. However, I feel that the way in which she was killed, a simple off-screen death to reveal the true villain, was a bit bad. It reminded me of Season 4, where Lilith had to die to make way for Lucifer. Although it is an exciting plot twist the first time around, it begins to be misogynistic when a character with so much potential is "fridged" just so the male can take over as the antagonist.
Metatron, now called Meta-ass by the fan base, was a bit predictable. Fans saw his betrayal coming all the way from 8x21, when he debuted as an on-screen character. His collection of books, combined with his claims that he never heard of the Winchesters, raised hundreds of eyebrows. Chuck's books, Supernatural, the Winchester Gospel, whatever they are called, were mentioned just one episode prior to his debut episode, and then mentioned again in 8x22, when Crowley used them to find the survivors of the Winchester tale. If Metatron collected thousands upon thousands of stories, was it really plausible that he could manage to never read Chuck's books? Fans cried foul. "We're the freaking Winchesters," indeed, Sam.
This, combined with his insistence that he is nothing but a 'secretarial' angel also got fans in an uproar. Supernatural isn't exactly known for great continuity (Adam is just about forgotten in the Pit, and how many times have they used "Christo" to identify a demon since it was first used?), but they are known to get their general facts right for at least a season. For Kevin Tran, the prophet, to specifically call Metatron an archangel, only for him to deny that several episodes later? It was a plot hole that couldn't be missed.
Just as a lot of the last episodes of the season reflected Season 6, Castiel's teaming up with Metatron seemed suspiciously similar to Castiel's alliance with Crowley, but I'll talk about that a bit later. The point is, time after time, they made Metatron seem really sketchy to the audience, and lo and behold, he became the villain of Season 8. I think it was fairly well done, in that Carver never felt the need to spell out why Metatron shouldn't be trusted, indicating trust in the intelligence of the viewer, and when it did it was great and heart-wrenching.
Okay, for one, can I say, perfect acting. Mark Sheppard really outdid himself with this episode. For the first time, the audience saw something other than the demonic businessman. Rather, we saw Crowley become reckless in desperation, going as far as to bite Sam and make an impromptu 911 call. Then we saw him completely lose his cool (and his accent, apparently) and rant about his wanting to be loved. Finally, we saw him resigned and almost human, asking where he could even begin to look for forgiveness.
I absolutely love Abbadon and her character, but I think that ultimately the third trial was great for Crowley. Although Abbadon as a Knight of Hell has obviously done a lot of horrible things, we as the audience have seen the vileness of Crowley's actions. Of course, since Meg's storyline was approaching that of redemption, I think that she should have survived to face the third trial, but Crowley isn't a bad second choice. I think Sheppard really did an outstanding job drawing so much emotion for such a ruthless character. Well done.
The Winchester Brothers (But Mostly Sam)
Wow, wow, wow, wow. Usually I only really appreciate Jensen Ackle's acting skills, the way he tells the story without too many lines, but Jared Padalecki really stepped it up. He's always had his shining moments - his Lucifer in the episode "The End" was perfect and terrifying, and his Meg in particular was spot on, in my opinion, but I've always seen him as the lesser actor. Well. Season 8 has definitely changed that.
I really only began to notice it with 8x21, where he plays a demon acting as Sam and also delivers one hell of a speech as Sam, saying that the trials are purifying him. As the demon, we immediately know something is up, because he managed to put enough smarminess to make our stomachs crawl. And as Sam, wow. We as the audience have always known that he means to redeem himself with dubious results, but this put the nail on the head: he only wants to finally purify himself and make himself worthy of good.
"Sacrifice" put this at a head when Sam revealed to Dean that his worst sin was not being good enough for his brother, because wow. The dialogue in the last moments of the scene were so crucial to his character, and I'm so glad that, unlike Season 4, when he repeatedly shoved Dean away, he takes Dean's advice and "just lets go."
Speaking of which, I'm surprised at the lack of focus these words have gotten, for they have been said throughout the season by Dean: "He just... let go;" "Sometimes you gotta just let go;" "Just let it go." These words seem to be the arc words of the entire season, since they were said in the opening episode, a middle episode (8x11 to be exact), and at the finale. Perhaps that was the point of the season? To show that sometimes trying to save the world, or holding on to past grudges and what one owes is harmful? That the main characters had to let go? It's an interesting idea for the Winchesters plus Cas, and I know they probably will never learn their lesson.
Destiel and the Cupid Scene
Okay, yes, this does deserve to get its own category. Carver and co. have been developing Dean and Cas' relationship this entire season. It is no longer just an extra thing for drama, it is actually a needed point. Dean refused to leave Purgatory without Cas. Dean has said twice now that he needs Cas, one of which times broke the connection with Naomi long enough for Cas to keep from killing Dean. And Dean's continuous desire for Castiel to stay has been a major point of tension, as Castiel has left him at least five times in this season alone. This relationship has got to go somewhere.
The Cupid scene has possibly been the most blatant Destiel foreshadowing yet. This season has been filled with human/supernatural pairings, but this pairing was now a homosexual male couple, ordained by Heaven, with two very stereotypically manly guys. Dean, as we know, has lived a very very repressed childhood, as his father drilled it into him that he has to be masculine and manly and be a womanizer and drown in alcohol to numb the pain. This hyper masculinity has started to melt away this season as we have seen him accept parts of himself. He has accepted the geek in him, as he enjoys LARPing and Star Trek references, and that's the tip of the iceberg of geek. However, has begun to possibly accept a part of himself even the fandom isn't sure about: his possible bisexuality. Of course, living under his father may have caused a serious question in his mind: can you be manly while liking guys? And, looking at this scene, he gets his answer: yes.
Falling Angels And the Future
Okay, wow, can we say plot twist? I don't think anyone saw the angels getting expelled from Heaven coming. We all thought Cas was going to be trapped behind the doors to Heaven, or perhaps fall so that he would not have to trap himself up there, but no one expected him AND everyone else to fall as well!
This brings us to what Season 9 may bring. Obviously a special focus will be placed on Cas, as Misha Collins has signed to be a regular for Season 9, but hopefully we will see a lot of the fallen angels as well. Could this be a subversion of the episode "The End," especially since we are headed toward the 2014 timeline, which matches with that episode? Or perhaps this will be a slow build, as Kripke did with Seasons 1-5, slowly increasing the intensity until we got to "Swan Song"? Only time will tell, but I'm sure that this next season will be just about as exciting and heart breaking as this one was!