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From emerging the monotone washout of purgatory to ancient tablets and secret bunkers to angels and their wings burning against a night sky - welcome to the wonderful world of Supernatural, where you never really see the end coming no matter how hard you look!

In the end "Sacrifice" wasn't about closing the gates of Hell. Or Heaven. It came to down to what it always comes down to and that is love. For Sam and Dean the brotherly love between them drove Sam to want to not fail his brother, but allowed Dean to get through to him and stop him from finishing the trials. It meant Dean wasn't willing to sacrifice his brother, instead making the point that they had gained so much knowledge and could save so many lives with that - but he wouldn't lose Sam for anything. For Castiel it allowed him to be a tool, led by the promise of fixing his home and family. For Metatron, his love and devotion to God twisted him darkly (like Lucifer), leaving him with an obsession for revenge and a taste for blood. Even Naomi, in the end, was reaffirmed by the love of God and the understanding of the Angel's duty to protect humans. Not that it did her any good ultimately, but A for effort I guess.

For all the speculating, guessing, bad feelings and wild assumptions this episode took a dark direction that this reviewer definitely did not see coming and ended with a final, chilling scene. Angel and their wings burning in the ether against a black night sky is an unsettling image, to say the least. "Sacrifice" was well written, clever, deliciously dark and macabre and left us poised for something completely new venturing into season nine.  

Curing Crowley - "We just shared a foxhole, you and I."

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Of course the big question was, and actually still is whether Crowley would be cured - after all that was the third trial. Mark Sheppard, as always, delivered each and every moment he was on screen. I sincerely hope that Crowley is not cured, or not permanently, so that we can continue to see the snarky SOB King of Hell we've come to know and love these last years. Some of the best moments include the realization that he was trapped in the enchanted handcuffs, biting Sam ("Biting Crowley?! Really?!") and realizing Abaddon wasn't his cavalry.

Speaking to Abaddon, she had a much smaller role than expected in this episode. If Crowley is cured (though the spell was not finished so I wonder how that works) perhaps she is in line to be the new big bad for season nine. You know, after Metatron, because he has that maniacal dictator thing going for him pretty good at the moment too. On that note, I still wonder whether Crowley's progression to good post-Abaddon encounter was an act or not. Wasn't it brilliant though, to show his out of character leanings via television references and brothers in arms quips? ("You're my Marnie, Moose"¦I deserve to be loved!"). As the final trial never finished nor was the final part of the curing ritual complete, one does wonder how long the curing effects will last on Crowley - who, last we saw, was quietly chained to a chair during Sam and Dean's sweet brother moment. 

What was interesting was how Sam "purified" his blood for the trial - simply using the confessional box but not speaking to anyone directly such as a priest. This was the only part of the entire procedure that lacked ritual, as far as we saw, and as a result it left me questioning whether the cure would work with Crowley. 

Metatron Madness:  "Do you have any idea what it would be like to be plucked from obscurity to sit at God's feet to be asked to write down His word? The ache I felt when He was gone?"

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Anyone else yelling "I knew it!" at their TV? Wow, could that guy switch from good to bad in a flash. Some of the best Supernatural plays are the characters whose true agendas we don't see coming or can't fully predict no matter how apparent they seem to be (see: Ruby) and Metatron earned his place on that list last night. The plan was never to close up Heaven and repair the mess that had been made with warring factions of angels but simply vengeance. How long has Metatron been simmering on this idea? It became clear as he sucked out Castiel's grace and sent him to earth as a mortal telling him to return with a "story" that somewhere as he stewed in his hobbit hole over the centuries, Metatron had gone stark raving mad. Not unlike Lucifer, Metatron's "specialness" in the relationship with God was the first stone laid on this path to insanity. For all the problems free will has caused mankind, the obsessive love that the angels were driven to have for their creator sure hasn't done anybody any favours either. The Metatron storyline was well done over all: it was simple, fresh and despite our suspicion of the scribe - unexpectedly twisted. 

Merely Mortal: "I'm not wrong. I'm going to fix my home."

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Poor Cas, can't quite seem to back the right side no matter how good intentioned his convictions. There were many good moments with Castiel in this episode, such as him questioning the bar tender about the personal ads. An important moment though was when he confirmed with Metatron there would be no killing for this trial though. It seems the nephilim's death still weighs on him and somehow, despite the mistakes he makes, this is important - he wants to do the right thing. And one day, he'll get there fully I'm sure. Poor Cas. 

Like much of the episode, this was another area that ended unexpectedly. Though it was difficult to determine, it did not appear as though Castiel was without memory in the final moments of the episode so perhaps season nine will see poor Castiel trying to make his way through the world as a human - maybe a hunter again - with Sam and Dean. The last few weeks have hinted on several occasions at Castiel failed though earnest attempts to interact with the human world - all leading up to Castiel the Man? Humour possibilities aside, this presents an opportunity to grow Castiel's instincts and hone his fighting skills. 

Brotherly Love: "Don't you dare think that there is anything, past or present, that I would put in front of you!"

"Dean was so strong and sad and brave. And Sam..ugghh!....the best parts are when they cry!" If anything could describe the emotion of the final exchange between Sam and Dean, it's probably this quote from Chuck's book editor. 

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Sam was absolutely devastating to watch, talking about being a disappointment to Dean. Physically he was completely wrecked: sunken, sallow face, haggard eyes, exhausted and overwrought doesn't do justice to the look the genius make up department managed to achieve here. Emotionally, that isn't even a fraction of where he's at. Sam is shattered, his self-worth completely fractured and thinking he needs to make this sacrifice so he doesn't fail his big brother. As for Dean, this man was just so hurt that Sam could think, even for a second that he would be disappointed or put anybody before Sam, after everything. The expressions on his face were pure desolation at these notions. Curse those wide, unblinking green eyes - break your heart every single time.

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Dean begging Sam to let go of the trials and Sam, looking ever so the little brother here, asking how to let go because he can feel it inside; then we have that great hug. This was one of the best Sam and Dean moments, definitely among the top ten, because not only was there a full confessional of feelings but there was a fall back into the big brother/little brother roles which always makes for a great broment. These two men have the most dysfunctional relationship of anybody ever but at the same time probably one of the strongest, if not the strongest relationship, going.

"Angels. They're Falling."

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The final moments of this episode were nothing short of artwork. To use of a cliche term - that final scene was epic. Supernatural finales have been grandiose before certainly, but somehow this was on an entirely different level. There are the global implications. Certainly, Lucifer rising or averting the apocalypse had worldwide impact - just not that many people were aware. A large-scale angel meteor shower on the other hand, was likely witnessed. Visually speaking this was a beautiful vista: Kevin in the bunker with alarms blaring, Sam and Dean watching against the Impala, Castiel (the mortal) watching among the trees in awe. It was shocking and horrible and where to even begin with this crisis? 

Final Thoughts

Closing the door on Heaven in this manner, however temporary, puts the playing field somewhere new and interesting for season nine. Though it almost seems like a pre-season four world, at the same time all the knowledge about celestial spells and beings exists so it isn't quite the same. Furthermore clearly Metatron didn't expel himself or lose his own angel abilities and one wonders: did his spell work on all angels, or only those in Heaven at the time the spell was cast? There must be a reversal right? What do all of these former angels now mortals mean for earth? All of these questions will no doubt be tackled throughout season nine; in the meantime we're back to a world without angel teleporting, super-healing, time travel and all the other toys that the Feather Brigade offered. Not that I haven't enjoyed the angels - but I'm kind of looking forward to some of that "good old days" feel again. 

Now - is it October yet? Please?
 

Comments  

sofia
# sofia 2013-05-17 09:38
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This was one of the best Sam and Dean moments, definitely among the top ten, because not only was there a full confessional of feelings but there was a fall back into the big brother/little brother rolls which always makes for a great broment. These two men have the most dysfunctional relationship of anybody ever but at the same time probably one of the strongest, if not the strongest relationship, going.
Amen! You hit the nail on the head. Great review.
elle
# elle 2013-05-17 10:07
Thanks sofia!
LoveMyCas87
# LoveMyCas87 2013-05-17 10:29
Awesome review....I agree with Sofia, you hit it right on the head with the comment about their relationship. I do wonder though, the angels have fallen (and yes we say their wings burned away) but are they mortal? Are they powerless? Naomi said that they are being banned from Heaven like Lucufer, but Lucifer still has his powers even if he is in the Cage....So I wonder if they will be more like Anna and not know they were angels, or if there will be thousands of angels with some power walking the Earth. I think it would be nice, if all the angels, realized like Naomi, that they should be protecting all of Creation. Maybe Sam and Dean willl help them, guard them on Earth, until they can find a way to reverse the spell and send them back to Heaven...I don't know, already going crazy thinking of theories and we have months! AHHH!
kekerico
# kekerico 2013-05-17 13:29
Since when the angels lost their power,lucifer fell and never lose his powers.
lkeke35
# lkeke35 2013-05-17 13:42
@lovemycas: I will see you an "are they Mortal?" and ask the question "is this even a remotely good thing". I'm sure Sam and Dean will find new allies but quite frankly there were more than a few angels who had attitudes towards humans that were little different than Lucifer's feelings about them. They may have new allies but they also have a whole lot on new eenmies too. Although I think you're correct to ask the first question. We don't know that they're mortal.

And what happens to the angels already on earth?
Well one thing we can be certain of next season is that a some point there will be some Angel/Demon buttkicking going on. (And if there isn't, then JC needs a head exam.)

As for Sam and dean's relationship: In all ourmetas about Sam's personalty, what I never saw mentioned wasWhat does sam think Dean thinks about him. We always talked about how they view each other but usually from our lofty perch as viewers. It didn't seem to occur to any of us that Sam would think Dean doesn't love/trust him. or rather we sort of knew it but paid not much attention to it. (Yes, WE know Dean loves Sam above everything but does Sam know that?)

What's really strange? For all Sam's talk of being impure he never saw that Dean is quite honestly the one person on earth who sees his purity of spirit and that has nothing to do with his blood content. There's a part of Dean that really does think of Sam as innocent/ pure in a way that Dean is not and will move Heaven and Hell to protect that. (Of course dean would see himself as having utterly failed that goal many times.)
love2boys
# love2boys 2013-05-17 15:56
Great review! And the pictures you chose! Fabulous. I loved it. You summed up every character. Whew! :-)

lkeke35 said:
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As for Sam and dean's relationship: In all ourmetas about Sam's personalty, what I never saw mentioned wasWhat does sam think Dean thinks about him. We always talked about how they view each other but usually from our lofty perch as viewers. It didn't seem to occur to any of us that Sam would think Dean doesn't love/trust him. or rather we sort of knew it but paid not much attention to it. (Yes, WE know Dean loves Sam above everything but does Sam know that?)

What's really strange? For all Sam's talk of being impure he never saw that Dean is quite honestly the one person on earth who sees his purity of spirit and that has nothing to do with his blood content. There's a part of Dean that really does think of Sam as innocent/ pure in a way that Dean is not and will move Heaven and Hell to protect that. (Of course dean would see himself as having utterly failed that goal many times.)
To me, that was just a beautiful way to put that. I have always felt the same, but as usual, could never verbalize it. Heartbreaking. :cry:
Trucklady
# Trucklady 2013-05-17 17:55
Love the review Elle. So very well written and touched on everything I was feeling especially the part about the boys. Jared's performance just put me in tears. How that man has grown before our eyes. They all have but I really saw it and felt it with those last few minutes of this finale. The chemistry between those to Js just brings out the best in each other.

lkeke35 Just loved your viewpoint on Dean seeing Sam's purity. That entire statement was so beautiful.
Kristina
# Kristina 2013-05-17 18:48
So maybe I missed this part, but why is everyone thinking that all the angels that fell are now mortal? Yes Anna was cast out and mortal but that was because they took her grace first, like Metatron did with Cas. But the other angels still had their wings, you can see them in the close ups, so if they were just cast out by force but still have their grace, why wouldn't they have their powers and memories? Like I said maybe I missed this but it doesn't make sense to me. Anyone have any thoughts on this, because I'm not seeing the same thing. :0)
E
# E 2013-05-17 20:18
I think that the Angels who fell still have their grace, but their wings were burned off in the fall; you can see it happening clearly to one angel. This will keep them from being able to return to heaven when they want to. I think that they will be more like Lucifer though; have powers, remember everything etc.. but not be able to get back to heaven. I don't think all the fallen angels will be mortal, just Cas.
debbab
# debbab 2013-05-17 21:41
You captured the purity of the episode with all of its heart and soul. I had to wait a bit before watching again and it still took my breathe away in the final scenes the second time. Sam out the Church window reminded me of earlier season when Sam and Dean run from Azazel. So many memories of the series and yes it did make Sam and Dean all the more heroic against a beautiful night sky of falling angels. Sam seems to feel the one that plunges into the lake. If Cas still has his memory, what is he to do? He is so unequipped to be human, at least Crowley once was human and has memory, but alas the spell is not complete but Sam can live- with what changes? Cas cannot help heal him. Metatron cast a spell- which can be undone- mission season9 as well as new bad asses that were set free- are all fallen angels doomed to be evil or human? I will hold that last artistic scene with the silence as one of the most mature and unpredictable and yes amongst the best finales of the show. On to Tuesday in October.
Chelsie
# Chelsie 2013-05-23 12:47
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The expressions on his face were pure desolation at these notions. Curse those wide, unblinking green eyes – break your heart every single time.
Jensen's acting was nothing short of amazing in this episode. Dean was the leader, trying to help and protect everyone he could, but he couldn't and he had to choose.
Jensen's facial expressions alone tell the story of Dean's feelings, his love and his pain. Jensen owned every bit of every scene he was in.

Jensen has been an unsung hero in this second half of the season. He didn't have the flashy, in your face storyline, but he had the hard (I would argue harder) role of having Dean be everything to everyone, having Dean react to everything going on around him, being strong, yet being sympathetic and empathetic, motivating others, leading others, and making the tough decisions.

Simply put, Jensen was just amazing!