Mark Watches ‘Supernatural’: S08E23 – Sacrifice

In the twenty-third and final episode of the eighth season of Supernatural, this is clearly something y’all were waiting for me to see. It says something about my life that I have had people waiting over a year to watch a moose cry. I’m making jokes about this because it’s easier to deal with the pain with humor than to actually think about what just happened. I’m going to end this ridiculous introduction now.

Honestly, this was one of the better season finales on this show. LET’S TALK ABOUT WHY THAT IS.

Crowley

I’m going to jump around here a bit, if you don’t mind, because there are a lot of pieces that make the whole what it is. Now, I am utterly furious that this episode has cliffhanger’d me on LITERALLY EVERY PLOT that was currently active at the beginning of the episode. One thing I really wanted to know was whether or not Crowley was acting during the final third of this episode. (Regardless of that outcome, Mark Sheppard deserves a lot of credit for an unreal performance here.) It’s hard to tell because there’s such a thin line between the two possibilities. That subtle change – where Crowley is babbling about Girls and then he’s suddenly begging to be loved – is one of the most electrifying things I’ve seen on this show. And yet, I still couldn’t quite believe that Crowley was truly being healed. Look, he’s perhaps the craftiest character on this show. Despite that Gabriel played the Trickster role already, I think it’s easy to see a lot of that personality in Crowley as well. So how could I know it was real? I wanted it to be real; the possibility of Crowley being healed was way too fascinating to me. But I don’t really get what I want on this show, do I? DO I???

Jody Mills

Well, I got Jody Mills, so PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING IS OKAY, REVIEW OVER.

It was nice to see her, though I’d like an episode she actually stars in because SHE IS ONE OF THE BEST CHARACTERS ON THIS SHOW. I’m thankful she’s still alive.

Metatron / Castiel

I genuinely did not suspect that Metatron was up to anything here, y’all. Not once did I question his act. Not once did I think he was manipulating Castiel. Now I understand why the show waited so long to introduce this plot line. I came into “Sacrifice” concerned about how cluttered and overflowing this episode might feel, given that there were so many things unfolding at once, but this did not feel like either of those descriptors at all. The pacing for “Sacrifice” is certainly a lot faster than most of this season, but it works well placed at the end of the season. That’s particularly the case for Metatron. He comes across as a cowardly and reticent in his appearances prior to “Sacrifice.” I wonder how much of that was intentional. Was he always waiting for an opportunity to get revenge against the archangels and their supporters? When Sam and Dean showed up to his hotel room, did he suddenly realize that he has the perfect means to enact his revenge? I imagine that’s the case, which explains why he decided to save Kevin. Kevin was a means to an end, a way to win trust so that he could move closer to Castiel.

Just… holy shit, y’all. The ramifications of this are going to be huge, and not just for Heaven. This means that Metatron is the ONLY angel left in Heaven, though. Yes? ALL OF HEAVEN TO HIMSELF???? But what is that compared to Castiel, who ISN’T AN ANGEL ANYMORE??? Oh my god, I genuinely feel terrible for Cas, who wanted so badly to right the wrongs in his life, and instead, he ran straight into the arms of someone who manipulated him.

Kevin

I’m glad the Winchesters finally realized that they should stick Kevin in the Men of Letters bunker. ABOUT TIME. It’s the safest place imaginable for him! Does that mean he’s going to be around in season nine to help out the Winchesters? What about his mother? Is she actually dead? I know that this show doesn’t let its characters have a life outside of hunting, but I’d love to see Kevin get the chance. Which means I won’t get that, but OH WELL.

Misty-Eyed Boy Talk

look

LOOK.

I poke fun at Winchester angst, I know it. The show often thrives on it, sometime sheightening the drama just so we can see the Winchesters fight and argue and take shots at one another, and then they emote and awkwardly hug and avoid feelings and it’s a fairly repetitive cycle. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes it feels like the show is doing it just because that’s what they’re supposed to do. (That feels more the case for season eight than any of those that came before it.)

The show alternates between treating the emotional journey between these two brothers super great and… well, not so great at times. It depends. I’ve mentioned being tired of Dean’s manly refusals to talk about feelings during this season’s reviews, and that’s a good example of something that just builds conflict, but doesn’t hold any real meaning for me. So why, then, does the big dramatic confrontation between Dean and Sam finally feel so true and genuine here in “Sacrifice”?

Well, let’s be honest about biases! I was going to like that final scene because SAMMY BEING A GIANT BALL OF TEARFUL EMOTIONS. That alone was enough to make me feel like we were getting a scene that, frankly, felt like it was overdue. Look, even if Dean didn’t ever think he was treating Sam in a way to make him perceive their relationship as he does here, that’s still how it happened. Sam still feels like his one big sin – the only thing he confessed to purify himself – is that he is a constant disappointment to his big brother. And how could he not feel this? Everything that Dean lists as a suggestion to Sam about what to confess prior to the start of the third trial is one example after another of Dean’s disappointment. After the experience of the past year, it makes sense to me – heartbreakingly so – that Sam would come to believe that his death would end a long string of disappointments.

This is what Sam needed. He needed to hear that even if he had made mistakes in the past, that doesn’t mean Dean doesn’t love him, that he’s an endless disappointment as a person, that he isn’t needed in the here and now. I mean, these two put aside the chance to close Hell forever in order to repair their relationship in some way, to give themselves the opportunity to LIVE. Is it foolish? OF COURSE IT IS. But it has to be. We have to see them willing to put family in front of their job instead of the other way around. For once, the sacrifice isn’t a Winchester.

Fallen Angels

LITERALLY ONE OF THE COOLEST, MOST CHILLING MOMENTS OF THE WHOLE SHOW. The music, the horrifying beauty of it, the potential. Y’all, I’ve made my issues with season 8 pretty clear. I AM REALLY FUCKING EXCITED FOR SEASON 9. This is such a fascinating thing to make the Winchesters deal with, on top of the fact that they still have Crowley AND Cas is a human AND Abaddon is still out there in the world AND Naomi is dead AND my feelings. Whew, these are going to be some fun predictions.

The video for “Sacrifice” 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.
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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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