Mark Watches ‘Supernatural’: S09E23 – Do You Believe In Miracles?

In the twenty-third and final episode of the ninth season of Supernatural, I GENUINELY DID NOT EXPECT THAT ENDING. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.

Well, shit. Supernatural surprised me.

That’s a big deal to me because this has not been my favorite season. While I’ve enjoyed a few episodes a great, I think I’ve never complained or criticized it as much as I have during season nine. The stories were too complex at times or not developed enough. The tone could waver all over the place. I don’t think I need to write more about the utter misstep that was Kevin Tran. I appreciate that there’s been a massive update to the mythology of heaven – the payoff for this episode alone was pretty damn awesome – but it’s been a little stale at times.

I guess I’m happy that “Do You Believe In Miracles?” is not disappointing at all. I feel like there’s closure where it needs to be. There’s potential given to us that will guide season 10. (HOW HAVE I MADE IT TO THE TENTH SEASON OF A SHOW.) There’s a hell of a suspenseful run up to that final scene. AND CURTIS ARMSTRONG, Y’ALL, HOLY SHIT.


You know, I’ll miss Tahmoh Penikett’s Gadreel. From the way he spoke to his incredible sincerity, I found myself drawn to this character, one who was desperate for validation and redemption. Could I have used more of him? Certainly. But I feel like I got a good understanding for what kind of character he was within this universe, enough that I knew how devastating it was for him to end up in Heaven’s jail again. He spent an untold amount of time there, dreaming of a life outside in the world. So that’s why I get his decision to break Castiel out through use of the Enochian sigil from “Stairway to Heaven.” On one level, it did prove to Hannah that he was telling the truth. It certainly got Castiel out of imprisonment. But I also suspect that he died because he could not live another moment behind bars. Could you imagine getting freedom like that, only to have it taken away while you know you’re doing the right thing?

RIP, Gadreel.

The First Blade and The Mark of Cain

Do I have to edit my comments in the last review? It’s so much more messed up than it ever was, and it’s still an understatement to say that. The opening scenes of this episode showed us definitively that there really was a point of no return for Dean, and he crossed it long ago. (OH, HOW LITTLE I KNEW, Y’ALL.) I don’t think this show has ever been so ruthless and so frightening with its leads. We’ve seen Dean and Sam fuck up and misjudge shit time and time again. We’ve seen them make colossal mistakes. We’ve seen them do things they come to regret.

And it never felt like this. There’s a brutality to Dean that eclipses his time in Purgatory. There’s a ferocity that’s beyond Sam’s demon blood addiction and his time without a soul. It’s related to that sensation that one of the Winchesters had finally gone too far. It’s not that Dean is unforgivable here; it’s also very obvious that the Mark of Cain has done this to him. The show isn’t trying to tell us that he’s become a terrible person now. That doesn’t make this a comfortable experience to watch, though. It’s awful seeing him speak so poorly to Cas and Sam. It’s miserable watching him knock out Sam, validating Sam’s own fears that he’s not good enough to be a partner to his brother.

Obviously, there’s that one thing I will talk about extensively at the end of this that’s clearly the REAL point of no return, but just in terms of the Winchester brothers’ relationship, this episode felt like one of the biggest changes to their dynamic, though it wasn’t a good one.

The Search for Metatron

Metatron’s journey – so brilliantly acted by Curtis Armstrong, my gods – is a strange, but immensely consistent one. I did not think that Supernatural could do a meta-textual character well after Chuck/God, but holy shit, y’all. Metatron works because every writer who handles him understands his characterization. He is, more or less, an entitled, unpopular nerd. He spent centuries as the scribe of God, unacknowledged and ignored by the greater angel populace, waiting until he could swoop in and get his due. But was his due something he truly deserved?

Metatron’s entitlement is part of his personality, and I don’t think you can divorce that from this story. Look no further than his “Marv” character, a perfect example of the horrible way in which Metatron views humanity and his own place within it. He had to create a version of himself, a down-on-his-luck homeless man, that miraculously cured people with no expectation of reciprocation. He preyed on the emotional and spiritual vulnerabilities of people largely forgotten by society so that they’d quickly devote themselves to him. He did all of this so that he could have what he felt he deserved.

But how can you deserve love and affection for something you faked, though? Metatron’s need to be the center of attention inspired him to manipulate the story. This was never his to begin with, but his delusional view of himself and the world made him feel like it was. He reminded me a lot of Warren from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, only a lot more powerful and more manipulative.

I think it’s important, though, to acknowledge how much his obsession with the Western story form played a part in his downfall. Metatron viewed himself as the underdog, the kind of character within a story who finally gets his due after deposing all of the unworthy, foolish villains. He saw himself as the guy smarter than everyone else in the room, and while he certainly was steps ahead of the competition for most of the season, that arrogance ended up being his downfall. It’s hilarious to me to think about how he ruined his plans because someone as genre-savvy as Metatron should have known that villains should NEVER openly reveal their plans at the last moment. IT’S VILLAINRY 101.

Which is precisely why it’s so fucking funny.

The Inevitable

Look, this is a show where the Winchesters – particularly Dean – die. A lot. The first time it happened for either of them, it was incredibly shocking. Then it happened again. And again. And then Dean died like a thousand times in that one episode. So having a Winchester die might be momentarily upsetting, but this is Supernatural. The show will find a way to bring them back. It’s inevitable.

That doesn’t mean I expected Metatron to be able to take down Dean. I thought that the First Blade and the Mark would provide Dean with the upper hand he needed, and I anticipated that Cas would break the Word of God. Even when Dean was stabbed with an angel blade – which genuinely did surprise me – I knew there were still close to ten minutes left in this episode. He’s not dead! I told myself. Something else could still happen! (Spoiler: That something was Sam crying, WOW NOT OKAY.) (Spoiler: It was also Dean telling Sam that he was proud of them. EVEN LESS OKAY.)

But the inevitable was not Dean’s resurrection or whatever the fuck you call this. It was the Mark of Cain. You can see me very clearly pick up on Dean’s strange behavior. Like Crowley, I noticed that he turned down a hamburger, which is an affront to ALL that is holy. I also picked up on Crowley’s marked sense of interest in Dean. Crowley knew something he wasn’t telling Dean about the Mark of Cain. I THOUGHT I WAS READY.

I don’t know how the show will deal with this going forward, but this honestly felt like the most refreshing and shocking thing Supernatural has done in years. It’s undeniably risky because Dean is not possessed; the Mark of Cain turned him INTO a demon. Like… holy shit. There’s so much potential here, and I desperately hope that this show doesn’t simply cure him in the first episode of season ten. NO, LET’S EXPLORE THIS, PLEASE. Just… wow. Holy shit. Bravo, Supernatural. It took you all season to truly surprise me, but you did it.

The video for “Do You Believe in Miracles?” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– The Mark Does Stuff Tour 2015 is now live and includes dates across the U.S., Canada, Europe, the U.K., and Ireland. Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be the remainder of The Legend of Korra, series 8 of Doctor Who, and Kings. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!
– If you would like to support this website and keep Mark Does Stuff running, I’ve put up a detailed post explaining how you can!
– Please check out the All Mark Watches videos for past shows/season are now archived there!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in Supernatural and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.