Damn! That was depressing. So depressing I had to watch two previous well-loved Supernatural episodes (“Trial and Error” and “Pac-Man Fever”), portions of Celebrity Apprentice, and buy something on QVC (a mouse scanner) before I was able to go to bed.
Watching the teaser, I thought “Poor Tommy” (from the second-ever Supernatural episode “Wendigo”). He survived these past eight years, only to have his head blow up. As it turns out that’s the whole point of the episode. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Last week the Winchesters a) learned the third trial to close the gates of hell is to “cure a demon,” whatever that means; and b) rescued a beat-up Castiel lying in the middle of the road. Back at their Men (of Letters) Cave, Sam is researching how to “cure a demon,” Castiel is recuperating, and Dean is acting like a spurned 15 year old by ignoring Cass. Dean’s upset that Cass didn’t come when called, and now he’s all pissy. Real mature, Dean.
Sam finds an old home movie and Dean finds a dungeon in the Men of Letters basement. The movie is of a couple priests trying to exorcise a demon in said dungeon. The Latin isn’t quite the same and there’s a hand-cutting part of the ritual that’s new to the boys. When the priest forces his bloody hand onto the demon’s mouth, the demon apparently escapes and the woman being possessed is more or less burned to a crisp.
It turns out the priest was trying to “cleanse” the demon rather than exorcise it. Apparently he was successful on his 19th try by injecting a demon several times with his own purified blood—purified by having gone to confession. I’m not sure I can see the Winchesters going to confession, but who knows.
Our heroes decide to perform a trial “cleansing” on Abaddon, because they know where she’s buried. This is majorly stupid because a) the Winchesters have to sew her back together, ala Frankenstein, because they’d cut up her body before burying it in cement; and b) Abaddon is a first order demon, more powerful than ordinary demons. (You may recall Ruby’s demon-killing knife didn’t work on her.) Why didn’t they just summon a crossroads demon to experiment on? If things had gone wrong, they could have just killed it with Ruby’s knife.
Once Abaddon is reassembled (minus hands), Sam gets a call from Crowley (whose phone number is “666, ” heh). Both brothers decide to take the call and leave Abaddon, although Dean does tell the uber-demon to “Stay.” Guess what. She doesn’t. She mind-controls her separated hands to remove the Devil’s Trap bullet in her skull and escapes. But that’s the least of the Winchesters’ troubles right now.
King (of Hell) Crowley is killing everyone the Winchesters ever saved. He’ll stop if the boys hand over the demon tablet and stop the trials. He’s already killed Tommy and some “cupcake lady” named Jenny Klein from an episode I don’t remember. But the kicker is Crowley’s third victim. He sends the boys to Indianapolis, where they meet up with Sarah from “Provenance,” the first woman Sam had been attracted to since Jessica. (And dang, is Taylor Cole gorgeous!) They ward her room against all things demonic, but Sarah begins choking at midnight. They eventually realize it’s a spell; but while Sam and Dean frantically search for a hex bag, Sarah dies. Dean slams the phone receiver against the wall in frustration. It shatters, and voila, there’s the hex bag. Long time fans of the show aren’t necessarily surprised; but this death is particularly cruel as Sarah had married and had an eleven-month-old daughter.
Meanwhile, left behind because of Dean’s hissy fit, Castiel tries to make up by buying all of Dean’s favorites at a convenience store where he’s intercepted by fellow free-thinker-angel Metatron. Over coffee and crepes, Metatron reveals some of the secrets of the angel tablet. Like the demon tablet, it identifies three trials that will close the gates of heaven. Conveniently, Metatron knows what the trials are because he wrote the tablet.
Meta and Cass agree closing the gates would be best. It would force the angels to duke it out in heaven rather than bring their power struggle to earth. Castiel is willing to perform the trials since he believes he’s the reason heaven is such a mess. The first trial is to kill their kindly waitress. Castiel balks at it, but Metatron explains she is a Nephilim, the offspring of an angel and a human, which he says is an abomination. Fortunately for Cass, when they approach her that evening, she turns out to be not as sweet as thought, so it’s not terribly hard for Cass to kill her with an angel blade to the neck.
I like the introduction of the angel tablet trials and the attempt to close off heaven. With the first trial completed, will we learn of the other two in the season finale. Will completing them have the same effect on Castiel that the demon tablet trials are having on Sam?
Last week Metatron warned Dean that closing the gates of hell would come with a price. I read a theory that the price would be Sam’s life; that Dean would have to make the choice between closing the gates and saving Sam. I love this theory. It would put the onus for completing the trials on Dean. Some fans have complained that Sam gets all the mythology, while Dean is merely a bystander. (I don’t agree, but I do understand how some Jensen Ackles fans would be annoyed.) If this were the case, Dean would play the most important role in completing the trials, making the ultimate decision. Think of all the angst-fodder this would give Dean in season 9!
However, after this episode, I think the price may the lives of all the people Sam and Dean have saved over the years. They’ll have to decide if the lives of (7 seasons of 22 episodes + 1 season of 16 episodes – 3 saves already killed =) 167 people is worth ridding the world of demons forever.
[Photos credit the CW]