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Metafiction. This seems to be Supernatural's wheelhouse, especially in its own mythology episodes, and "The Great Escapist" is no different. The show often refers to its own skeleton, its existence as story, and that we are indeed watching a show---all the while keeping us engaged and moved by the story transpiring in front of us. Here, however, we are reminded that this show is---regardless of plot points---a character driven story in many ways. It is the character's actions that set off the chain reactions that set up what will and does happen---from the littlest decisions to the biggest choices. As usual, these choices will have consequences yet to be determined.
We start the episode with Kevin, trapped in a fake trailer working on the Demon Tablet for the Third Trial. A loud persistent knock draws him to the door, wary and cautious. He is visited by a triumphant Sam and Dean, handing him the other half---Crowley's half---of the tablet, but it is all wrong. Sam and Dean are off---especially when Sam says cheerfully, "So, uh, Special K, you keep your nose to the God-stone, we're gonna drive out and make a lotta noise a long way from here, keep the safeboat safe for you."
As they leave the boat behind and go through a rippling wall, we realize that our---and Kevin's---suspicions were correct. They were not the real Sam and Dean. Instead, as they approach their "director" we realize they are demons, working for Crowley. It is the first metafictional moment, punctuated by Crowley's line, "I was born to direct." He is even shown sitting in a director's chair as smug as ever.

As we shift from the overt metaficitonal, we find ourselves at the Men of Letters Bunker, the real Winchesters dealing with Sam's deteriorating health. Dean is as much the caretaker as ever, bringing in a bowl of their father's hot chilli to cure what ails Sam. The exchange sucks us directly into the story, making us feel both brother's anxiety and love all at once. Sam doesn't want his brother to worry, doesn't want to be a burden, and wants nothing more than to keep moving. Dean wants nothing more than to take care of his little brother, see him well again, and do what he must to make that happen. They are on opposing sides yet all together on the same page all at once. It's captivating in its sequence, telling a human story with the most subtle of gestures and words. Sure, Sam's condition is supernaturally created, but the reaction on both brother's part is exquisitely human.
To deepen this, we see them watch Kevin's video, and we become Sam and Dean here, entering the story as character ourselves. We are moved---as the brothers are---by Kevin's painful outburst, by his harsh statement that he is dead. Our hearts shatter for the young prophet as he finishes, "You guys are gonna have to try to figure out the rest. I'm sorry. I know it was my job, but I"” but I couldn't...I'm sorry." His video is humanity stripped bare before us, pulling us into his tragic story.
As we pull away from the video, we see the Winchesters react---as we might wish to do in their situation---as Dean swipes everything off the table in fury. They quickly take action, Sam's struggle sidelined as they try figure out what might have happened to Kevin and what to do next. Dean's broken statement, "We should've moved him here," sums up all the emotion of the scene, punctuating how human the brothers really are.

Castiel's story takes center stage as we watch him sit in a Biggerson's, alone. He seems haggard yet at peace. His story contrasts nicely with the human story of Kevin and the Winchesters. He is a supernatural creature, passing through this human realm on the run. We're reminded of that fact when he tells the waitress, "You know, I remember when you first discovered it. Before you started brewing it, you'd just chew the berries. Folk tale is true, by the way, you learned it from the goats." As we transition with him from Biggerson to Biggerson, we are reminded that his story is otherworldly. His running from Naomi's angels is also a nice foreshadowing---another subtle layer of Supernatural's metafictional tendencies---for Metatron to come.
The Winchesters need to figure out what Kevin has left for them in his notes. They need to find the Third Trial, head in a direction, do something before Sam gets worse. They are surrounded by their protective new home, and yet the tension is thick and stifling in the scene. Sam may be sick, may be stumbling on wobbly legs, but he refuses to sit still or to hang back. As they dig into the notes, it is Sam that discovers Metatron's signature---and connects it to an old memory, from his time at Stanford. Much like Castiel's fleeing, it is another subtle foreshadowing---this time to Sam's vivid childhood memories surfacing. He IDs the signature to a small Native American tribe in Colorado, and against Dean's better judgment, persuades him that they must go there by emphatically stating, "I'm only gonna get worse. I mean, until we get back to the real job, until we find the third trial "” we're out of prophets! We're not gonna figure out what Kevin couldn't! I'd say we go to this messenger of God who wrote it in the first place!"
In true Supernatural fashion, however, we see them cut through this plot breakthrough with its typical tongue in cheek humor as Sam chides Dean, "You're not"” you're not really supposed to say Indians, it's..." It keeps things a bit light in a moment of tension, allowing for a bit of a laugh---all the while adding yet another layer of humanity to Sam and Dean.
The angels, meanwhile, make Castiel stop---in brutal fashion. The waitress Castiel had befriended at one Biggerson's has had her eyes burned out, surrounded by everyone else murdered viciously. She pleads incessantly for Castiel to stop, her voice raw with pain. It isn't unlike the psychic Pamela that lost her eyes to Castiel oh so long ago. Castiel does stop---and we see that he has regained some of the compassion he had acquired in season 5. He may be a supernatural being---an angel and warrior by nature---but he is not without emotion.

Quickly his compassion boils away into anger as he confronts Naomi. He is appalled by the actions of his fellow angels, and declares with fury, "We were supposed to be their shepherds, not their murderers."

Supernatural runs with the metafictional baton here, calling out to Castiel's fall in season 5 as Naomi retorts, "You're the famous spanner in the works. Honestly, I think you came off the line with a crack in your chassis. You have never done what you were told. Not completely. You don't even die right, do you?" His association with the Winchesters, slowly over time, made Castiel less obedient and learn to embrace the possibility of free will. Destiny was not written in stone---but shaped by action and choice. It is a clear example of how character driven the show can truly be. And Castiel, showing just how far he has come, replies as he has learned best, "In the words of a"” good friend... bite me."

The fake Sam and Dean return to Kevin, this time to collect a grocery list from the prophet. Their behavior is better than the last performance, but we---and Kevin---can tell that this is all farce. Kevin is trapped in a strange play, so far playing his part perfectly. He knows that this is fake and he has no qualms about taking advantage of this fact. It is his choice, his actions that dictate what will happen, all despite Crowley's attempts to direct. The story isn't going to be written the way the King of Hell demands. His character instead has chosen his own path.

No scene is more metafictional than when in the hotel room we watch Sam and Dean's exchange. It harkens back to "Playthings," when Sam had gotten drunk and demanded that his brother kill him if he ever became evil. Considering what they are undertaking---closing the Gates of Hell---it is a nice tie in to see Sam punch drunk here. Even their stay in the hotel is reminiscent of "Playthings," as they are the sole guests. And like there, Dean convinces Sam to get some sleep while he continues to work the case alone, talking to the hotel manager---trying to get any leads on Metatron.
Here we learn what Metatron is really all about---even if we have yet to meet him. Story. He loves story and everything that goes with it. It is what he has demanded from the tribe, and the manager tells Dean, "He claimed that this was the home on Earth of the Great Spirit's sacred messenger, and that if they'd make offerings, their blessings would be many."
Story. That's what it has always been about. There is power in story. A good story with great characters can linger forever in our hearts and minds. These characters can become like old friends to readers and viewers. It can teach us about the human condition and show us truths about ourselves we may never learn any other way. Story allows us to experience someone else's life---walk that mile in their shoes---all while never leaving ourselves. Story is one of the most human endeavors. It is also one of our oldest inventions---and we seem to never tire of inventing new characters and new realms. Supernatural revels in this often, enriching its own story by acknowledging this fact.

Sam, in tune with Metatron in a weird way, stumbles down the hall to discover what Dean has learned. It, too, is a great metafictional element. It was Sam that was connected directly to the Yellow Eyed Demon. He was the a "special child," chosen. It was Sam that was connected to Lucifer. This is yet another direct connection. He sees the manager placing boxes of books in front of a door---and he knows that this has to be where Metatron is. He just doesn't quite know why. Unfortunately, he is becoming so sick and unsteady on his feet that he can only make it back to the room and collapse, while trying to call Dean.
Dean reaches him in time---Sam's temperature is dangerously high at 107 degrees---and he submerges him into a frigid ice bath. The life saving measure is extreme, certainly, but it is absolutely necessary. It also reminds us how far the brothers will go for one another---never giving in or giving up. Sam tells Dean what he has seen, and they know now they are on the right track. Metatron is here---and they are just one step closer to getting what they came for: the Third Trial.

The other Tablet, the Angel Tablet, however is up for grabs. Castiel is the chew toy in the middle, and Crowley and Naomi are tugging figuratively on each arm to determine just who will win the prize inside. It is Naomi, as Crowley asked, "Let's see who blinks first," that flutters away before the Angel Blade Bullet can strike her. It leaves Castiel in a far more perilous situation---reuniting him with his former business partner in the worst way.
He tells him that he knows the truth. Castiel hasn't let go of the Tablet. He hasn't stashed it anywhere---well aside from his own gut---and this also calls out to when the Leviathan resided in the angel. Crowley fishes the long sought after Angel Tablet free and gloats with glee. He has won---for now.
Kevin's story continues to be the story within the story---and we see him relish in that fact. He knows these demons aren't bright enough to catch on to his tricks. He puts on a good act of struggling with the Tablet, unable to figure out the Third Trial, and tells them that he does indeed need the other half. He tells them, "It's not too far from here," and we see the fake Winchesters exchange a look of triumph. Unfortunately for them they don't see his small smile, knowing that he has caught them for sure.
In fact, as they go to Kevin's "10-20," the demons disrupt Crowley's moment of triumph to tell him they've been tricked by the prophet.

It is with the brothers that the heart of the story---as always---resides. We see this in the painful exchange between Sam and Dean before they encounter the elusive Metatron. To connect to the Scribe of God's love of story, Sam tells Dean about a story they shared as children. In Sam's shaky voice, we can almost see two little boys huddled around the Classics Illustrated comic book, one reading to the other. It is a quiet and tragic moment, punctuated as Sam says, "I remember... thinking, uh, I could never go on a quest like that. Because I'm not clean. I mean, I w"” I was just a little kid. You think... maybe I knew? I mean, deep down, that"” I had... demon blood in me, and about the evil of it, and that I'm"” wasn't pure?" It is in this single moment that we truly learn why Sam has undertaken these Trials. Despite redeeming himself by taking Lucifer back to Hell, Sam still feels he has much to atone for---much of which was not his doing.
Dean's soft answer, "Sam, it's not your fault," isn't just from one brother to another. It is through Dean that the viewer says this to Sam, too. It makes this conversation all the more powerful---the use of metafiction here to include the viewer within the conversation and human moment.
As the brothers enter Metatron's sanctuary, story surrounds them and us. Volumes upon volumes of books are stacked all around, a physical manifestation of the metafiction of the episode. Metatron, as he appears with gun in hand, seems less like an angel and more like a frightened human. He asks, "Who sent you?"

The brothers take a seat across from him and introduce themselves. He doesn't know who they are, convinced that they are sent by Lucifer or Michael. Metatron has used the books surrounding him to hide from the realities of the world. He has no idea of the Apocalypse, no knowledge of who the Winchesters are, nothing since he wrote the last word on the Tablets. Metatraon, here, stands in for the ever absent God---abandoning his creation to depart to destinations unknown. Here is a figure the brothers can unleash their anger at---absent of God himself.
And Sam does.
Meanwhile, Castiel is held hostage by Crowley's new angel partner, Ion. He is expressing more and more the tendencies that made  him a steadfast ally in season 5---and he realizes that all the other angels---especially Naomi are wrong---they "aren't machines for them to program and reprogram. That wasn't what this was meant to be." He knows that there is more to what has happened since they thwarted the original plan---starring none other than Michael and Lucifer.
Crowley, distracted by Kevin, is confronted with his "character" directly. Kevin has called him out in his scheme to trick the prophet into translating the Demon Tablet for him. He is smug and self-assured as the frustrated King of Hell stalks into the room. He has the upper hand. Kevin knows what is on the Tablet---Crowley does not. He tells him where it all went wrong, "It started when they forgot the secret knock. But really, it"” it was the way they acted. I don't think on their best day Sam and Dean would go into town and get me a barbecue dinner, not when there are leftover burritos in the fridge."

Crowley had tried to hard to sell the story he had created for Kevin to star in---and the skeleton collapsed around it easily.
The Winchesters learn why Metatron---a scribe---appreciates story so well. He tells them, "And it was something to watch. What you brought to His Earth, all the mayhem, the murder. Just the raw, wild invention of God's naked apes... it was mind-blowing. But really... really, it was your storytelling. That is the true flower of free will. At least as you've mastered it so far. When you create stories, you become gods, of tiny, intricate dimensions unto themselves. So many worlds!"
It is this statement that is most metafictional of all. Supernatural has been built on the choices of Sam and Dean---and others in its story---shaping what happens on its landscape. It is because Dean retrieves Sam from Stanford to search for their father that Sam is drawn back in---it opens up the opportunity for Azazel to kill Jessica. It is because John sells his soul for Dean's life that opens the path for Dean to do the same for Sam. It is Sam's desperation to save Dean from Hell that allows him to walk the dark path that leads to Lucifer. It is, in many ways, free will within their story that has made it what it is. And in terms of metafiction, it speaks to our own free will beautifully.
Metatron is right. We humans create stories---have been telling them as soon as we learned how to speak---and in them we become someone else, something else. We see places that we have never been---real or imagined---and meet unforgettable people. In story, we can experience every possibility out there---and see their consequences in detail.
But for Sam and Dean---much as Chuck's work rubbed them the wrong way---they have no time or patience to indulge in Metatron's glee in story. Sam grabs the rifle barrel, pointing it squarely at his chest and demands, "Pull the frigging tigger." While this angel has been hiding in story, the world has been burning around him---and he could have done something to stop it.

Dean follows suit, telling Metatron about Kevin's suffering. "He became a prophet, of the Word of God. Your prophet. Now, you should've been looking out for him, but no! Instead, you're here, holed up, reading books." Sam punctuates it by stating coldly, "He's dead now. Because of you."
This confrontation forces Metatron to make a choice---to remain being the reader or become the player.
Kevin forces Crowley's hand further, telling the King of Hell point blank, "You have no idea what's on this Demon Tablet. Right, the power you could have gotten with this, if you weren't running around like a chicken with his head cut off."
It is one comment too far and Crowley snaps, trying to kill the prophet. This becomes Metatron's moment. He must choose to act now or never---and as Kevin is strangled to death, he chooses to intervene, rescuing the young man. Metatron is no longer just the reader. He has stepped into the role of player, of doer, and that fact has changed things for him certainly. Kevin arrives in the Scribe's library, unconscious. The angel heals him, letting him recover from the trauma.
Despite needing to learn that lesson himself, Metatron tells Sam and Dean about their intent to close the Gates of Hell, "It's your choice. And that's what this has all been about, the choices your kind make. But you're gonna have to weigh that choice. Ask yourself: what is it going to take to do this, and what will the world be like after it's done?"
It certainly is meant to be taken as a warning. The brothers see this effort as a good thing. Demons won't be able to possess or torture humans. No one will be sent to Hell in making a deal. Mayhem and murder wrought by demonic forces will stop. But what adverse effects could there be? That is the question Sam and Dean must ask and answer before they attempt the Third Trial.

The Third Trial. To cure a demon. How? What does it mean? And if one can be cured, can this be a tool to use rather than banishing all demons forever?
We are left with the brothers on the road, heading in a direction. They are pondering what has been told to them by Metatron and about the Third Trial when they must stop short for someone in the road: Castiel.
Reunited with their angel ally, just what choices will they make next? How will the Winchesters shape the story going forward? Will they indeed close the Gates of Hell---or will they stop short of pulling one of the "great levers," heeding Metatron's warning?
Supernatural has been driven by character---and it is in the metafiction of character that we will discover that answer. After all, it is what this show does best.
Curtis Armstrong introduces us to Metatron. He seems unassuming, rather ordinary in appearance, not unlike their first encounter with another "scribe"---Chuck---as he holds a gun on the Winchesters and demands to know what they want. Quickly, we can tell that he is more, his disappearing and reappearing tells us that he is---despite his skittish appearance---an angel. As they sit and discuss, Armstrong makes Metatron come to life, telling us that he was a simple secretary in Heaven's hierarchy, hand picked by God himself to write the tablets. In his performance, Armstrong makes certain that we can tell Metatron is different than the other angels. Sure, the lines may have been written, but he seems more human, more in touch with things---all while being ignorant completely of everything that has transpired since he finished the tablets eons ago. Armstrong shows Metatron's disbelief in Sam and Dean's story about Michael and Lucifer's demises---and the angel's disdain for what his fellow brothers have turned Earth into after God's abandonment. Armstrong's voice drips with contempt as he delivers the line, "And they cried, and they wailed. They wanted their father back. I mean, we all did. But then... then they started to scheme. The archangels decided if they couldn't have Dad, they'd take over the universe themselves." Conversely, he puts all the wonder and awe he can muster when he delivers the line, "And it was something to watch. What you brought to His Earth, all the mayhem, the murder. Just the raw, wild invention of God's naked apes... it was mind-blowing. But really... really, it was your storytelling. That is the true flower of free will." Armstrong makes Metatron, another supernatural being, seem both human and otherworldly all at once. He makes him an intriguing figure, one that had mastered hiding from everyone and everything better than anyone else. And yet, we can sense somehow that in the way Armstrong carries himself there's much much more to this Scribe of God. It'll be interesting to see where they take his character next.
Amanda Tapping has unmasked Naomi's cruelty in this episode. She is vicious, domineering, and angry in all her interactions. Naomi still has much mystery surrounding her---and that continues, especially as we take into account that she refers to Castiel as "angel." The emphasis Tapping put on this word makes us wonder: what is Naomi perhaps? She is self-assured in her carriage, certain of her triumph to come---especially when she finally has her quarry in Castiel within her grasp. We see her frustration in Tapping's facial expression as Crowley crashes the party. Now that she has been chased off from the Tablet, what will this conniving angel try next? It'll be interesting to see what new layer Tapping will bring to Naomi in the future---and what role she'll play in the fight over the Angel Tablet.

Osric Chau has really grown in the role of Kevin Tran. He has grasped the character and totally made him his own. He's also made us see just how hard it must be for Kevin to be thrown into this difficult situation without warning---even after a year of being immersed in it. We see that most in Chau's performance as Sam and Dean watch Kevin's video. Chau makes Kevin sound tired and resigned to his fate at the beginning. There is a sadness in his tone. But as he breaks and screams at the camera that he's dead, we sense just how difficult all of this has been---and Chau makes it a heartbreaking moment for the young prophet. It brings an undeniable human element into the story, reminding us---and Sam and Dean"”why they do what they do. Chau also shows us how smart Kevin is in nuanced performances with the demon versions of Sam and Dean. We can tell that he's picked up on the fact that they're not the real deal in his responses and interactions. Chau makes sure to keep Kevin's cards close to the chest by continuing to make it look as if he's working on the Tablet for the Winchesters---but as he gives the faux brothers a grocery list we can tell he's not only testing them, he's having a bit of fun. Chau also shows us Kevin's steel---something that has been growing steadily stronger throughout the season---as he not only taunts Sheppard's Crowley with his confident body language and facial expressions, but his flippant attitude. Chau also gives us a proud Kevin when he is finally reunited with the real Sam and Dean, clutching the other half of the Demon Tablet. The way that Chau delivers the line, "Second half of the tablet. And I got it. Third trial. I didn't tell Crowley," is filled with such relief and joy. He has completed his task---now it is up to Sam and Dean to hold up their end of the bargain so Kevin can be safe. It'll be interesting to see what happens to Kevin in these remaining episodes---or if he'll be around much in season 9.
Mark Sheppard continues to play the crafty Crowley with panache. He is every inch the villain, and yet we can't help but thrill in his portrayal of the King of Hell. He is smug, cruel, and diabolical in his treatment of others---and while we enjoy watching him interact on screen with others---we can't help but delight in his frustrations, too. Sheppard makes Crowley larger than life, always seemingly one step ahead of his adversaries---most of the time---and as the season has gone on we've seen Sheppard show just how Crowley enjoys being one of the major players in the forefront. He is taunting to Castiel, flippant to Naomi, and vicious with Kevin. And yet, Sheppard shows us that while Crowley has tried his damnedest to convince everyone that he has won, we can't help but sense some apprehension in his altercations with Kevin. It's subtle, but as he screams, "You know what? I've already won. I have the angel tablet, you little smudge," we have to wonder just who Crowley is trying to convince---Kevin or himself? As we enter the last two episodes and head towards season 9, it'll be curious to see what happens to the King of Hell.
Misha Collins breathes life into Castiel---even when he  isn't saying anything at all. As the angel sits quietly in the montage, drinking coffee and interacting with the staff, we can sense that Castiel is rebuilding  his strength. The Angel Tablet may have broken Naomi's connection, but he is also taking this time on the run to rebuild himself. It is all over his face, and Collins sells it well here. As we see him interact with others, we see Castiel's steel return, as he resists the plans of others to do what he must. Even after he is shot and wounded badly, we can tell that he is not going to quit. Castiel reminds us much of the angel we came to know in season 5, and that is much to the performance by Collins. His endearing awkwardness is back. His compassion is back. Castiel is an angel---but he seems more human here than he has in ages. He has learned well in his time with the Winchesters, and we can sense that Castiel is now putting those lessons to good use. He will make something out of nothing as he is being held captive by Ion, Crowley's new angel partner. He will do what he needs to do to survive and to fight back against the angels. Now that he has been reunited with Sam and Dean, it'll be interesting to see how much he's become his own angel again.
Jensen Ackles gives us many different Deans---from the impostors to the loving and protective brother. From the demon Dean to the real deal, we can see Ackles strength as an actor shine through. It's amazing how just a subtle performance can change the character---for those paying close attention could pick up on quickly that the Dean in the beginning wasn't quite right. There was just something off, not quite all there, and while this Dean sounded like the real one on many levels, it is that slight shade of difference that Ackles brings here that tips us off to the truth. Even before the dramatic reveal that demons were pretending to be the brothers, we could tell just through body language and carriage that it wasn't actually Dean Winchester. As we see the real Dean again, we're moved by just how human his character is, contrasting with the demon version earlier. Ackles shows us just how very human Dean is in the reaction to Kevin's heartbreaking video. He is overcome with anger and anguish, brushing everything off the table onto the floor in a fit of emotion. Ackles shows us Dean's caution and concern for Sam well in his body language and voice when dealing with Sam both at the Bunker and at the hotel. He puts patience into Dean's stances and facial expressions. Dean may not always be considered a patient person, but Ackles proves through his performances that time and time again that Dean most certainly can be when the circumstances require. He is also the frightened older brother under the patient face---no more so than when confronting Sam after the ice bath. Ackles shows us how utterly heartbroken Dean is by Sam's confession about feeling impure by stating quietly, "Sam, it's not your fault." They don't have to have a big discussion or a deeper moment. This statement says it all---and Ackles puts all of Dean's emotions into it. When confronted with Metatron, we see Ackles shift Dean into his cautious mode, trying to assess this new angel and his threat. He knows it is a tense situation and they must tread carefully---and when Sam loses his temper we see Dean make peacemaker, stepping in between. Ackles shows that Dean is trying to make everyone calm here. At the end, we see Dean trying to reassure Sam, making sure that they are doing the right thing, all the while reassuring himself.
Jared Padalecki proves in this episode that he can handle any version of Sam thrown his way. At the beginning, before he even delivers the "Special K" line, we can tell through Padalecki's tight performance that this is most certainly not Sam Winchester. It is in subtle cues and body language. He has grasped Sam's character throughout the eight seasons playing him to play this demon Sam with a slightly different shade. It's Sam---but not Sam all at once, and it is incredible to see how well he's managed to bring that to the role. As the real Sam, he pulls on all of our heart strings and our fears as we watch him shake, shiver, and wobble on unsteady legs. Padalecki shows us all of Sam's inner turmoil here in outer-ways, be it through sickness and fever or later his anger with Metatron. We can't help but laugh a little through the tears as we see an overtly tired---almost a recreation of his drunken stupor in "Playthings," as Sam tells Dean about the donkey ride all those many years ago that both had forgotten for eons. Padalecki knows just how to pull out the bits of humor hiding underneath the sorrow here. It breaks out hearts to hear him sincerely say that he felt impure as a child when Dean would read the exploits of Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable to him. Padalecki's voice resonates with Sam's anguish here---his eternal struggle with what had been done to him as a baby---and all the pain that followed. It's gripping, moving, and all together tragic. We really feel for him when he emerges from the icebath, shaking and shivering in confusion and anxiety. Padalecki shows us all of Sam's sides in Metatron's room, confronting him about leaving the world to the angels and demons and to suffer when he could have done something to prevent it. He puts all of Sam's steel into the line, "All the time you've been hiding here, how much suffering have you read over? Humanity's suffering! And how much of it has been at the hands of your kind?!" We also can sense that undying hope in the final scene between the brothers, as Sam professes that he feels better now that they have an actual direction to go in. But what waits for Sam in these last two episodes?

Best Lines of the Week:
Metatron: When you create stories, you become gods of tiny intricate dimensions unto themselves. So many worlds.
Sam: You really haven't heard of us? What kind of angel are you? We're the frigging Winchesters!
Sam: You rode a farty donkey.
Kevin: You forgot the knock. What's the point of a secret knock if you don't use it?
Dean: They taught Word of God at Stanford?
Sam: You're not"” you're not really supposed to say Indians, it's..
Castiel: In the words of a"” good friend... bite me.
Dean: No, hey, uh, little big man? You should get some rest.
Crowley: I'm the daringest devil you've ever met, love.
Sam: It doesn't matter anymore. Because these trials... they're purifying me.
And now we're left with a crucial question: how does one cure a demon?


# Valgal 2013-05-08 07:35
Far Away Eyes-
Loved your analysis. I think that is what keeps me a fan of SPN. The characters of Sam and Dean continue to evolve and as they do, we see the layers that make them unique. We see how Crowley can replicate a physical version of Sam and Dean, just like the Levithans did, but to effectively capture who they are is way beyond his talents. Crowley says, "I was born to direct." This implies a script that has already been written. All that is necessary is for the players to act out or interpret their roles. However, Sam and Dean aren't acting-they are flesh and blood human beings who we know believe in free will. Whether or not they act consciously, we see they never lose their humanity and the ability to act using that as a motivating factor in their decisions. I think it is interesting that Crowley misinterpreted their characters. When Crowley asked Kevin how he knew it wasn't the real Sam and Dean and learned he made them too nice, I laughed. How could Crowley be so off in his interpretation? Is it because Crowley misinterprets their ability to show empathy and compassion as being nice? Does he understand what really motivates them? It makes me wonder: How well does Crowley remember "being human"?

As for the angels, Naomi tells Castiel that he came out wrong and that even with his adjustments he just can't be made "right." That's why the angels can't figure out humans. While Crowley thinks humans can be manipulated because they are "nice," the angels think humans need to be fixed and despite their best efforts, Sam and Dean keep exercising their free will. Castiel doesn't stop trying to use his free will because he realizes that is the trump card we humans use. We are perfect in our imperfection and no one shows that more eloquently than Sam and Dean. No matter what situation Sam and Dean confront, their humanity alway shines through when they practice their free will.

There is so much to consider in this episode. I don't know how the rest of the season will play out, but I feel more confident than I did a few episodes ago because we again are being shown as Dean said to Sam, "Those demons, those sons of bitches- we are the ones they should be afraid of." If you don't understand your adversary, as clearly both Crowley and Naomi do not, you are destined for ultimate defeat.

Sam, Dean and Kevin showed us what makes us human. Our ability to persevere, to have compassion, to listen and observe and most of all, to be able to care for the well-being of those around us. They are the heroes in their own stories, in the episode and the heroes we enjoy watching because their humanity celebrates our own.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-05-08 16:36
Thanks for the comment.

I agree wholeheartedly here. Crowley thought he could manipulate the situation---in particular Kevin---and get his way. I don't think he truly understands Sam and Dean as well as he thinks he does. He might have been a loose ally in season 5 when they faced Lucifer, but I don't think he understands why they wanted to stop the Apocalypse. All Crowley wanted to do was survive at that stage. I don't know that Crowley remembers being human---and the question has been raised in many ways if Crowley ever was a human or is a demon.

I think you also hit it with Naomi. She wants to be in control of things so badly, and she just can't make everyone else do what she says. She can manipulate everyone in various ways---but Sam and Dean know better. Despite her meeting with Dean and then helping the brothers to send Bobby's soul to Heaven, Naomi has chosen to stay in the shadows away from the Winchesters. I think she put all her chips on using Castiel as her gateway to forcing the Winchesters to do what she wanted---and that failed.

I love the fact that Sam, Dean, and Kevin are human and despite a lot of supernatural creatures trying to fix things, they are the ones truly in control here. It's going to be interesting to see how they use that power. It is this story that inspires so much, I think---that we, as fragile as we are, have a lot of power. We can shape things around us, but only if we put our minds to it.

Thanks again!
# Amyh 2013-05-08 08:45
What a beautiful review; it moved me.

One concern i had while reading this is that i remember reading at the beginning of the season was Carver said the boys would be proactive this season. But....if this is all a script by Crowly (and naomi?) then this is just yet another season of the boys being manipulated to some end. This isn't proactive. This is the boys simply being chess pieces and Crowly (and Naomi?) are the chess masters. And that is simply sad. And frusterating not in a good way.

What made me feel better is i had a thought. Crolwy and Naomi (?) mayube the chess masters moving Sam and Dean where they want BUT their free will creat some very surprising moves; they alter the game sometimes minutely...all becasue of free will. Crolwy (and Naomi?) may be chessmasters but they are also struggling to stay ahead of Sam and Dean...soometim es struggling to keep up.

Crolwy once said he doesn't underestimate The Winchesters but as his fake Sam and Dean have shown....he's done just that.

So i feel better though i still don't care for the never ending manipulation story. After 8 seasons dmons and angewls shouldn't be able to manipulate them so easily..sort the very least the boys should be able to do as Kevin has. See though the slight inconsistancies and realise they are being manipulated and turn the tables around.

Unbtil Sam and Dean can do what Kevin did they will continue to be chess peices easily moved around; occassionaly being a spanner in the workd.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-05-08 16:43
Thanks for the comment.

I think the Winchesters are the chess masters this season. They are the ones that decided from the beginning, as soon as they knew it was possible, to close the Gates of Hell. What Crowley and Naomi have done largely since then is react.

Crowley will steal the Demon Tablet. He'll kidnap Kevin. He'll torture future prophets and make Kevin read things off the Tablet to him. Crowley sets up elaborate ruses as he does in this episode to even glean what Sam and Dean are really up to. He wants to think he's "born to direct," but he's really not in control the way he thinks he is.

Naomi has also been trying to figure out what to do about Sam and Dean. At first her plan was to use Castiel as a spy, but she should have realized that the Winchesters would be wary after everything in season 6. She wants to be in control---but as we've seen her frustration mount the last few episodes we've seen her, we can tell that she is losing any grips she had on just about everything in her operation.

IF anyone has been a pawn or supernaturally manipulated this season, it's been Castiel. He's been a bit of the chew toy between Crowley and Naomi, and they have been trying to tear him apart to get what they want along the way. He's just now using what Sam and Dean taught him to fight back on his own, I think.

Sam and Dean took on the Trials of their own choice. No one told them to do it. No one is telling them that it is their "destiny." Metatron isn't manipulating them. He didn't even know who they were, and then he warned them to think twice before completing the set. I think Sam and Dean's actions this season have proven that this show is character driven----every one else is really reacting to them more or less.

I hope some of that made sense.

Thanks again!
# love2boys 2013-05-08 13:02
Your analysis was beautiful and thought-provoki ng. As usual, I am unable to come up with anything more. You thought of everything.

As I watch these last episodes and read all the reviews, I have been having the most uncomfortabe and disturbing feelings: What are Crowley and Naomi? They just can't be what they say they are. I know there are tons of show quotes that prove me wrong here, but couldn't they just be hiding behind these species names?

I don't know how to describe this thought/feeling adequately, because I am now posing as a writer even though I am just a fangirl.
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-05-08 16:46
Thanks for the comment!

I'm glad you liked my analysis. I know it was a bit late!

I am wondering the same thing. Naomi's comment of "Angel," to Castiel threw me. It'd be like me saying, "Human." Awkward. I think that Crowley and Naomi are the same kind of creature, though. They're different, but I think they're from the same kind of thing perhaps?? I don't know. It's just weird that they're so connected. I hope we get answers, though!

Thanks again!
# LoveMyCas87 2013-05-08 14:11
Awesome review and I had a random idea hit me while reading this...I was to the part of the fake Sam and Dean and Crowley directing when it made me think of what someone said on another thread...They were talking about the someone watching Sam as he left Amelia and how we don't know who it was...Now this is how I connected the two (sorry my thoughts I jumbled just try and stay with me!)

So Crowley tells Sam he is alone and then disappears...Wh at if he didn't? What if he really followed Sam? When Sam and Amelia started opening up to each other she revealed Don was dead. Now call me crazy and I know its just a show but don't you think the military would be sure Don was dead before telling Amelia? They might have said he was missing but why confirm he's dead when he's not? (Ok I really am connecting this I promise.) What if Crowley followed Sam, watched him and Amelia and then had a demon jump Don (Dead Don)? We know that demons CAN be around without them knowing (Sam had them following him his whole life) so what if this demon is staying with Amelia so Crowley can have tabs on the person Sam loves most besides his brother? He could manipulate the situation any way he wanted by instructing the demons...What do you think...too far fetched???

Crowley and Naomi...what a pair...I do believe Naomi is an angel, she's just rude, un caring, manipulative and twists things to work her way...(hmm sounds like a few dead angels I know..) but Crowley...damn I love to hate him! One of the best bad guys ever! First we find out he's a demon..then King of the Crossroads...Ki ng of Hell and Fergus McCloud (I sorry been with a few six year olds all day I may be losing my mind!) we find out he knows Naomi and has for a long long time even though WE have never heard of Naomi or even Crowley for that matter until the later seasons...He also told Kevin that he was "Forever" so I could see him being something other than just a demon. But the lingering question is, who the hell is he???

Quick theory about the final episode/next season....So far the boys have both been sent to/trapped in Hell and Purgatory....We also know they have been to Heaven before but what if this season they get sent to/trapped in Heaven?! That would make it easier to start the arc with the Angel Tablets....I don't know...Thoughts anyone?
# love2boys 2013-05-08 16:31
Hi, LoveMyCas87, Also, remember Crowley knew Samandriel by site when he was "in" Alfie at the auction of the tablet and Kevin.
# LoveMyCas87 2013-05-08 17:28
oooh I forgot about Crowley recognizing Samandriel! I know he was Lilith's right hand man maybe he was another one of the first fallen? May be he is a Knight of Hell?
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-05-08 16:50
Thanks for the comment.

That's an interesting take on Amelia/Don. I don't know that we'll see anything about them again, though. It's not entirely far-fetched, but I'd be surprised if they did go that route.

I'm beginning to think that Crowley and Naomi are the same kind of creature on some level. I'm not sure how, but it seems like they're very connected in many ways. It's fascinating, isn't it??

Ohhh I think it'd be really cool to see Sam and Dean go to Heaven again. Hopefully they'd get to see the real deal this time, not something manipulated or fabricated. It'll be curious to see just how they play out the Angel Tablet in season 9. I can't wait!

Thanks again!
# LoveMyCas87 2013-05-08 17:38
oh I agree...I think we're done with the Amelia/Don story...Althoug h I wish there was an explanation for whoever was watching Sam leave..Even if it was something someone explained while talking to another character...I don't know, I just hate holes in the story. :lol:
# Sylvie 2013-05-08 14:36
Beautiful analysis Far Away Eyes. Ben Edlund is such a great writer, having Metatron wholed up in a hotel room reading novels 24/7, because we all know, angels don't sleep! ;-) I could just imagine him at the dawn of time watching cavemen drawing stories of the cave walls, in essence, even before man found language and writing. Just brilliant. :roll:

Everyone was so spot on in this episode, but might I just say that Jared Padalecki owned it hook, line and sinker. He tears at my heart every time I watch his performance. I think it's his best and I if I could, I would give him an Emmy for it. :-)
# love2boys 2013-05-08 16:36

Everyone was so spot on in this episode, but might I just say that Jared Padalecki owned it hook, line and sinker. He tears at my heart every time I watch his performance. I think it's his best and I if I could, I would give him an Emmy for it. :-)
You said it perfectly. Jared was amazing, beautiful and heartwrenching. He hasn't left my mind all week!
Far Away Eyes
# Far Away Eyes 2013-05-08 16:53
Thanks for the comment!

I loved Metatron. He was an angel, but he wasn't so overpowering. He seemed rather ordinary, more human---despite hiding from everything for eons. I like the idea of him watching humanity evolve and along with it the power for story. That's a neat concept for sure!

Everyone just hit it for me in this episode, made the whole that much better. Both Jared and Jensen just really made me fall in love with Sam and Dean all over again this episode, too. They can really make it happen on screen, can't they?

Thanks again!