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Oh Sam and Dean, how you can rip my heart out and in the same moment fill me with hope. I felt like I'd been waiting 4 seasons for that conversation. Through all the mistrust, the walking away, the fights, the angry words, I never once doubted that a powerful love was always there, but I still longed to hear them tell each other just how much they mean to each other, because they both needed to hear it, as did we.
But I've jumped ahead. You know, I think "Sacrifice" may be my favourite finale ever. I can't remember ever being so completely surprised with where a finale took us. Not only that, the emotional ruin I was left in was a good one, one that filled me with optimism.

One of the wonderful things about "Supernatural" is that all the characters are so profoundly human, even the non-human ones. The same emotions that rule us, rule them, for good and bad. It means that we can connect like we do. It means that we can feel sympathy for characters like Crowley for instance, as he went through the changes being brought on by the demon cure, as he yelled out that he just wanted to be loved, as he asked Sam, no Moose, but Sam, where to start asking for forgiveness as he bared his neck for the final injection.
What an amazing performance. Mark Sheppard has always sunk his teeth right into Crowley and given that character and the scenery around him, a damn good chewing. But I would never in a million years have thought he could make me actually feel sad for Crowley, make me actually see that there was once another side to the demon, something long ago lost, but maybe still lying dormant deep within.
Having said that, part of the great joy of Crowley is that he's an evil bastard! I'm assuming with the trials incomplete, he will go off and lick his wounds for a while (once he gets out of that chair) and then revert to his former glory and be back, black hearted and red-eyed as ever!

I think we pretty much all picked that Metatron was not what he seemed. Of course, I didn't think he was a pissed-off whiney douchebag! Honestly, these angels and their temper tantrums! You were mean to me so I'm going to kick you all out, because I can! I'll look forward to this one getting his comeuppance next season.
The aftermath of the spell masquerading as the angel trials was completely unexpected. Every single angel sent hurtling to earth in a spectacular, fiery pyrotechnic display. I totally did not see that coming!

And Castiel has lost his grace, because he was a dumbass"¦again! Oh Cass. You know, I'm just going to say it"¦Cass has broken heaven twice. Remember when he said this in "The Man Who Would Be King", "but I was so full of confidence, of mission. I see now that was arrogance...Hubris..." Um. What's changed exactly. Yeah, I know his intentions are always good, but you would think after the whole Crowley/Leviathan thing, the angel would get a clue. Awww I feel mean. I'm just totally exasperated! At least he finally had the sense to ask Dean for his help"¦terrible timing and part of me was like, why the hell should he drop everything for you now? But then, this is Dean we're talking about. For a moment I thought Dean was going to say screw you and for a moment I was like, what the hell is Dean thinking, but, it became pretty clear pretty quick that story wise, Dean needed to be in proximity of the angel tablet, because it was going to give him something imperative to do with Sam and the trials.

Now Cass is human or rather, a powered down angel. What exactly is that going to mean? Will the other angels know that he unintentionally assisted Metatron with following through on his evil master plan to take over Heaven and will they hunt Cass down because of it? I'm assuming that part of Cass' redemption will be ousting Metatron and returning the angels to Heaven. I hope he gets the opportunity to do this, as he really needs a win! Maybe then, that will be the end of the angel storyline because the balance will finally be restored.
It did pop into my head, that they do have one powerful angel left that still has his mojo intact. Michael. Of course, getting him out of the cage without setting his brother free is probably something that would be impossible to achieve. But it's food for thought.  There may also be clues on the angel tablet, but surely Metatron would be all over that!
Ok, back to what I was saying earlier.

Oh Sam and Dean, how you can rip my heart out and in the same moment fill me with hope. I felt like I'd been waiting 4 seasons for that conversation. Through all the mistrust, the walking away, the fights, the angry words, I never once doubted that a powerful love was always there, but I still longed to hear them tell each other just how much they mean to each other, because they both needed to hear it, as did we.

As Sam poured his heart out to Dean I couldn't help but see a little boy (in a very large body). One who always looked up to his older brother, one who had been, "Following you around my entire life. I mean, I've been looking up to you since I was four, Dean. Studying you, trying to be just like my big brother." We know, because Sam told us, that he's always felt like he wasn't pure, we know because Sam told us, that he looked up to his brother, we know because Sam told us, that he always felt like a disappointment to his father, "You know what most dads are when their kids score a full ride? Proud. Most dads don't toss their kids out of the house." But we didn't know, at least not for sure, because Sam's never told us quite so completely, how all of this affected him, how all of this undermined his confidence in himself and who he is or how it made him think Dean saw him.
Jeremy Carver told us that season 8 was all about perception and here, with Sam and Dean was the most important element of it. Two brothers so close that they can't see each other. Two brothers misunderstanding each other at every turn and too bull-headed to talk about it, until at their weakest, most vulnerable moment, where they have no other way forward but to reach out.

Dean loves Sam fiercely; I've never doubted that for a moment. But it's that powerful love that translates into powerful hurt. He is wounded as deeply as he loves. When the one person he loves the most lets him down, he lashes out with angry words. This is how he reacts. Dean is painfully human and tragically flawed. In this raw and gut-wrenching conversation between the Winchester brothers, Sam finally tells Dean how much those words cut him to the bone. Every time Sam has let Dean down, Dean has let him know in no uncertain terms and Sam has then attached all of that to all of his other insecurities, about not being pure, about not being good enough for his father, about not being the brother he thinks Dean wants. There Sam's hurt festers, just like Dean's hurt festers.
In season 4 things started to go pear-shaped for the Winchester brothers. Sam fell in with Ruby and lied about the demon blood. Dean lied about Hell. This is where all the big secrets really started. The brothers seemed to drift apart, come back together drift apart over and over. In season 5 they tried to make it work, but Dean couldn't let go of what he saw as Sam's betrayal, choosing a demon over his own brother. Then Dean realised that his brother was more important to him than anything, that they're all they've got, but more than that, they "Keep each other human". For a brief shining moment, it looked like maybe the brothers could find a way to be brothers again. At the very end, as they stood on the precipice of the apocalypse, they stood united. Then Sam threw himself in the pit and one brother was no more. In season 6 Sam had no soul. This wasn't his fault and he shouldn't be blamed for it and it's hard to say that Sam should have told Dean something was wrong, even though he knew something was, because he didn't have a soul, so why would he think to tell Dean? That one could go around and around and around! But Dean was deeply injured by Sam both physically through the vampire thing and emotionally through the vampire thing, which ended any chance of a relationship he might have had with Lisa and Ben. Maybe Dean shouldn't have hung on to this hurt like he did, but it was pretty epic, it'd be hard to let go of something like that, who here is that perfect and Dean's far from perfect. Season 7, it wasn't so much that there was any specific angst between the brothers, it was just that it was all kind of gloomy and oppressive and they were so far away from where they once were, I wasn't sure if what they once had was even retrievable. There was still the love, you could see it in little ways, or in epic ways as when Sam was on the verge of dying from sleep exhaustion, but...
I think one of the main issues was that neither task at hand in seasons 6 and 7 felt particularly personal in nature. They didn't feel like it was life or death for the brothers. Season 6 even finished with a cliff-hanger that rested with another character, something I always saw as a colossal error.
Then in season 8, the lens was turned back on to the Winchesters; this was once again their story. It was rocky, but anything good is hard earned. As the season moved on, I started to see method to what initially appeared to be madness. These two had to get to a place where they wanted to be together, where they needed each other again and that wasn't going to come easy. Nothing wonderful ever does. Everything needed to be stripped away before it could be rebuilt. Like starting from scratch.

I never had a problem with how season 8 started, because I trusted that the reason we were being forced to face such a confronting storyline would be made clear as time went on. The season finale gave me that reason and I don't know that without the Sam not looking for Dean pain, we could have ended up where we did or if it would've felt so significant if we did - for me anyway.
We will never know exactly what brought Sam to the decision not to look for Dean, only that, as he said, he didn't know Dean was alive and didn't know where to look. I always chose to take Sam's explanation on face value, assuming that Sam tried to move on with his life after a calamitous loss. But each time it was raised, Sam didn't want to discuss it. When Dean first returned and asked about Amelia "There was a girl," Sam said, "There was. And then there wasn't. Any more questions." But the defensive way he said any more questions, sounded more like, I'm not answering any more questions. When Meg asked Sam about not looking for Dean, Sam said nothing, when Bobby asked Sam about not looking for Dean, Sam said nothing. For me, this wasn't Sam not being given the opportunity to talk about it, it was about Sam not wanting to talk about it, because it was written all over his face, he felt awful. If you feel shitty about something, generally speaking you don't want to discuss it. In hindsight, I even think it was written all over his face in the first episode. He thought his brother was gone and it turns out he wasn't"¦ How horrible would that feel?

But through all the hurt and insecurities which erupted as anger and mistrust, the brothers still chose to put those things behind them, or at least on the backburner and stick together. As the personal nature of their quest turned very personal, they began to cling to each other. That old bond, that powerful love of theirs started to show itself again. Season 8 was the first time in a long time that I felt maybe the Winchester brothers would be okay"¦because though they've always stuck together in the past, even when they wanted to walk away from each other, this time around, they chose to stick together. The Universe (and Carver) threw roadblocks in their way, in the form of other people, in the form of other choices, but they still chose to move forward together, even at the loss of those other people in their lives. That was their first shaky step, and it grew from there.
So we find ourselves with the brothers face-to-face in a tiny, damp church. Sam is on the verge of death and a huge question hangs in the air, Why shouldn't he die for the greater good?
"If you finish this trial, you're dead Sam."

Once upon a time, I think Dean may have backed this play; he did at the end of season 5. But this is a man who has grown through epic loss and now knows there are some things more important than beating the bad guys and that something is Sam. The brothers, alive, together can do equal amounts of good as one dying for one cause. But beyond that, Dean needs Sam and he may not have told him that and he sometimes may have not shown him that, but he does and he always has and he needs his brother to understand"¦
I watched in awe as my boys stood face-to-face, anguish etched into their lovely features. Dean's heart visibly breaking, Sam's heart visibly broken. Years of sorrow rising to the surface and spewing out in pained and desperate words"¦
Sam:"You want to know what I confessed in there? What my greatest sin was? It was how many times I let you down. I can't do that again. What happens when you've decided I can't be trusted again? I mean, who are you gonna turn to next time instead of me? Another angel, another -- another vampire? Do you have any idea what it feels like to watch your brother just...
Dean:"Hold on, hold on! You seriously think that? Because none of it -- none of it -- is true. Listen, man, I know we've had our disagreements, okay? Hell, I know I've said some junk that set you back on your heels. But, Sammy...come on. I killed Benny to save you. I'm willing to let this bastard and all the sons of bitches that killed mom walk because of you. Don't you dare think that there is anything, past or present, that I would put in front of you! It has never been like that, ever! I need you to see that. I'm begging you."

It was a long time coming and when it happened, it felt so good.

Sam asked how he could stop, because it was inside him. He wasn't just talking about the trials... He was talking about everything. Then Dean wrapped his brother's hand and pulled him into a hug and told him to let it go brother, let it all go. He wasn't just talking about the trials... He was talking about the hurt and he wasn't just talking to Sam, he was talking to himself.

And there they stood, two brothers, each other's stone number one, finally being honest with each other. Together, because that's where they want to be.
Yeah, I cried, I may or may not be crying now.
For a season where one of the main criticisms I saw was that Sam had no voice, I feel like I know Sam better than I ever have. I've seen him in a new light in season 8. Someone whose hope still burns like a tiny candle inside of him, someone who has learned from past mistakes, someone who has carried a torment deep down since he was a child, someone who yearns for his brother's love just as much as his brother yearns for his. I see a strong man and yet so broken, so like Dean.
And for the first time, I feel like maybe Sam can be happy driving down crazy street next to his brother.
In the end, I saw the sacrifice as not Sam or Dean but what they will sacrifice for each other, the chance to put the creatures that destroyed their family behind locked gates forever, because if they did, it would destroy the only family they have left.

I said in my preview and to just about anyone who would listen, people on twitter, people at work, strangers walking past me on the street, all I wanted from this season finale was the brothers, alive, side by side, ready to face whatever new catastrophe befalls them, and I got that. There they were, just the two of them, huddled together, hanging on to each other, leaning against their home on four wheels as the sky fell around them. I owe Carver a damn fruit basket.

"Sacrifice" was beautiful written, with excellent pacing, breath taking performances from all concerned (special shout out to Padaleski"¦man), visually STUNNING, those falling angels, absolutely surprising and set up a corker of a story for season 9, oh and no-one I really cared for died (sorry Naomi, you took too long to come good). We now have a plethora of characters to pepper through the Winchester's lives and there was even visit to an old friend's car-yard. Bobby was in this finale, even though he wasn't. I thought that was a lovely touch.
When Jeremy Carver took over as show runner of "Supernatural", he said that for him, he always saw the brothers and their relationship as the centre of this story. His past episodes have illustrated that again and again. I feel like JC lived up to his promise for season 8, allowing the brothers and their relationship to take centre stage once more.
As we roar towards the end of this beautiful journey (not the imminent end, I'm thinking another 2 years (season 10 or bust), season 8 and the road we took makes me feel like we may end this series where we started off, 2 brothers, together, driving the back highways of America in a shiny black Chevy, saving people, hunting things, the family business. And that's all I've ever wanted.

Okay, that's me out for season 8. On a personal note, I want to thank everyone for the encouragement. It's been my first full season writing for The Winchester Family Business and helping Alice and Ardeospina out with admin duties and I've had a blast. Occasionally I hit a rough patch, but it was always your enthusiasm and unbridled support for me that has made me pick myself up and plough on with my glass perpetually half full.


I'll be seeing you through hellatus. We'll get through this stupidly long break between seasons together, just like the Winchester finally are!
Thanks everyone!


# Grace232 2013-05-18 11:18
Thanks you so much, Sweetondean. I said on one of the other reviews how much I loved this episode, and I appreciated all of those reviews - all of you who do reviews and analyses here are so talented - but your wrap up really brought it all together for me. It hit on all the reasons I loved this episode and this season, and why I finally got over the stuff I did not like in the beginning of the season. For me, those things became so much less impactfull than what has come after. Carver managed to bring together the two best elements of finales for me - the brothers together and breathtaking cliffhangers. The hellatus is always hard, but this time, with the brothers really together, physically and emotionally, like they were at the end of the first two seasons (my favorite season finales for where the brothers were), and cliffhangers as amazing as seasons 3 and 5 (my favorite cliffhanger finales), it will be the most difficult for me. I expect to do much more skulking on this site to get me through.
# sweetondean 2013-05-18 18:15
Thanks Grace!

I'll keep an eye out for your skulking, you'll be in good company! ;-)
# st50 2013-05-18 11:20
Fabulous review, sweetondean.
Thank you for this, and all the others this season. Thank you for your enthusiasm and glass-more-than -half-full views. Always.

I've made no secret that I hated the beginning of this season. Didn't like it, didn't understand why they went there. The not looking thing for me was a horrible thing to do to Sam, and totally unnecessary -for me, personally. But I'm glad that it helped you to see into his heart and soul.

I'm somewhat mollified by the where the brothers are now. Talking. Learning about each other. I do hope you are wrong that we'll never know how Sam got to that point where he could walk away from Dean, from Kevin, from helping people.... It'll never sit right with me.
The rest of it - the hurt, the guilt, the self-doubt, self-loathing, the feeling of being a monster, dirty, evil..... the pain of letting his brother down, how Dean's words cut Sam to his core... All that I already knew. All that I already understood.

I always felt the only thing that Sam had to hold onto, keep himself upright, was Dean.... So how did he walk away? How did he 'not look' for the only thing that held him together? I do still hope they revisit that.

Otherwise, I am glad of the proof that Carver understands that the show is 100% about the brothers. Together. United. I'll take that, and hang on to it for the summer.

On to Season 9, 10, and beyond. As far as they'll take us.
(Just being able to say that means that the season was a success, in spite of it all. :-) )
# sweetondean 2013-05-18 18:28
Thank you! You know why.

I'm glad you're somewhat molified and I'm hoping this is the beginning of a journey for the brothers towards a bit more healthy conversation.

I've always loved Sam and I don't want it to sound like I haven't, but Dean, Dean I get. I don't know why, but I connect to him on so many levels (some not polite to discuss ;-) ).

So for me, Sam has been a bit of a revelation. I'm not sure if this is because it's the first time I felt that he wasn't afflicted by some heinous supernatural curse. Even though the trials ended up being that too, they somehow emphasised his beautiful humanity as opposed to emphasising his 'difference', which I think has beein pointed out enough. That and his tragic, impassioned words in this back end of the season. He needed to say all of that stuff and I'm so glad he did. He's so much more than the demon blood running through his veins and I'm glad that the show finally seems to understand that. If that makes any sense at all?

I may have a passion for Dean, but my true passion is for the brothers, both of them and I feel like they've been returned to me. I'm a happy fan. :roll:
# KELLY 2013-05-18 19:21
sweetondean, wonderful review and I love your excitement and love for the show and how it reflects in your reviews, even when my opinion differs, they are a joy to read.

My thoughts just echo st50. I think the reason is that while I don't really favor either brother I do think I have a easier time understanding Sam. I relate to Sam more personally, whereas I adore Dean partly because he reminds so much of my older sister. So kind of like you in the reverse.

So though I'm with st50, I NEED to have a reason that Sam didn't look because for me it would take something catastrophic for Sam not to look. And I need to know what that was. Even though he doesn't express it in the same way Dean does I fully believe Sam adores Dean and depends on Dean just as much if not more than Dean does on Sam. But by leaving the reason he didn't look open it leaves this huge blank space in a character I've always felt I've completely understood, even when he was making terrible mistakes. But this doesn't feel like a something he would do so I feel at a loss.

I was reading Gerry Weaver's review at blogcritics and I thought it had an excellent point. I also need for Dean to hear the reason. He has such abandonment issues and I always felt like he feels like he needs (and maybe loves) Sam more than Sam needs him. I think with Sam's confession he is starting to understand that is not this case but if this remains unresolved it feels like it will always be there hanging over them on top of all their other unresolved issues.

My fervent wish is that this is just the start of the conversation.
# st50 2013-05-18 21:48

But by leaving the reason he didn't look open it leaves this huge blank space in a character I've always felt I've completely understood, even when he was making terrible mistakes. But this doesn't feel like a something he would do so I feel at a loss.
Exactly right, Kelly.
I was floundering at the start. On top my personal reasons for not liking this whole storyline, I felt I'd lost touch of SAM. It was almost like Soulless had returned, but there was never any confirmation of what was 'off'.
Until they explore it further, I simply can not go back to the first half of the season. (Which is a damn shame, since the Purgatory stuff was HOT! :oops: )
# st50 2013-05-18 21:42
:-) Sweetondean
I also need the brothers. Together. Love 'em both, although Sam's got my heart. And yes, it feels like they're returning - to us and each other. Thank Chuck! ..... The possibility is there for an even stronger bond, if they keep talking! (Ha! Like that'll happen. ;-) )

I've been reading a bunch of the posts, and I've been surprised by the number of people who hadn't seen this side of Sam. I guess it's a really good thing to have allowed him to speak these words. Finally. So for that, also, I thank Carver.
# prix68 2013-05-20 08:51
Absolutely awesome, dead on review. I also seem to connect more easily with Dean then Sam. My husband says it's because I'm a first born who was responsible for two younger siblings growing up. I felt I finally understood Sam's feelings better with this fantastic episode. I always knew Dean loved Sam above all else and assumed Sam knew as well. Glad Sam was able to unload this heavy burden to a more mature and open Dean. Kudos to JC, I haven't been this touched by a brother moment since a "A Very Supernatural Christmas".
# Trucklady 2013-05-18 11:43
Dang it Amy! You had me crying all over again reading this. Wonderful review again from one of my favorite admins on here. I rewatch that episode more times then I can count and the water works just come everytime it gets to that final bro scene. Like you said, finally we got what we have been wanting all along. For those two guys finally opening up and saying what they never would or could before. Jared's performance was just out of this world. He slammed that scene and yes as much as I love Dean/Jensen, Jared just outshined him in that one. Not that Jensen didn't do a bang up job because he was awesome as always but that was Jared's time to shine and boy did he.

I too saw Metatron for what he was although didn't expect him to be quite so vindictive. I hope there is a way for Cass to come back next season and put that guy in his place.

Like you also said, Naomi took too long to come around and remember what their real mission was and become the good girl again but she did keep her promise to Dean and gave him the most important piece of information she could have before it was too late.

Kudos to the sound people for the intense music score played while the angels were falling. That just intensified that ending so much more than it already was. As if my heart could take anymore breaking at this point, it just shattered watching all those angels falling from heaven.

And then there is MS/Crowley. What a amazing performance from him. At first I was thinking he was just too strong of a Demon to be affected by the purified blood but then he became this whole new person that one would never have dreamed was inside all that meanness. I really did love the junk yard scene though as one of my favorite Crowley/guys scene. He was really thrown off his high horse when he realized they had him, and Dean finally getting to get a piece of him, "Damn it feels good!" was an epic line for him.

Thanks again for a top notch review. It's going to be a very long summer but we have each other right? Next angst will be waiting for the BluRay/DVD to come out to see all the outtakes and extras that come with it. It will get me through until Season 9 starts up.
# sweetondean 2013-05-18 18:32
Oooo I just got all excited about the DVD release and gag reels and extras! :D
# Alice 2013-05-18 12:22
Just beautiful! So well said. I've been struggling with getting my review together because this episode was so damn good, I'm in novel territory! How do you put into words how wonderful this entire hour was? You hit all the main points with eloquence and feels. I started tearing up again when I went through your words on the big brotherly scene.

Jeremy Carver did such a perfect job with this script. He captured something that was missing all of last season (except for one ep), and missing often (with various writers) this season. He brought heart to this story. Oh Sam and Dean, you've killed me dead. I'm so amazed this can happen in a finale for the eighth season!

Thanks again for the great review. So much to ponder this hellatus, and no doubt we'll pour through every second for clues. Now I've got to get back to finishing my analysis.
# sweetondean 2013-05-18 18:07
Thanks Alice! I know what you mean, it was a tough one to try and get into some kind of concise thought!

You know, at the end of this episode one word kept going through my head. Proud.

I was so damn proud that Sam finally said to Dean all that's been hurting him. I was so damn proud of Dean and his wonderful words of love in response. But mostly, I was so damn proud of this show. THIS SHOW.

This little show on a tiny network. A show about ghosts and demons and all sorts of crazy things...and yet, it is one the most beautifully made shows on TV and one of the most compelling stories I've ever fact, the most compelling story I've ever seen.

After 8 seasons to be so totally caught of guard by where that story ended up going? I'm so damn proud of this show! :roll:
# Joyful 2013-05-20 23:44
Yes Amy, my thoughts exactly! I have often said to people, this little show, OUR little show has done so much with so little (funding, network support etc) and it's because of the heart and soul it contains. From the wonderful creation of these brothers and their flawed but strong as steel relationship (like diamonds, yes?!) to the awesome portrayal of these characters by our favourite' boys', it hits all the right buttons :-) I loved the finale, and definitely feel that it would have to be in the top 2 or 3 finales. That scene at the end... wow.... so powerful, and as soon as Dean started speaking I said "there's my Dean" because I knew he would know just what to say... sniff.... a big thankyou goes to the cast and crew as usual! Also, thank you heaps Amy for your great reviews, full of fun and hope and thoughtful insights. At times, it has been the only ray of light in the online world, and you should be congratulated. Thanks also to Alice and the other reviewers, for making me think even deeper about our boys and their story. See you in Sydney! :lol: (only 10 days to go!!!)
# sweetondean 2013-05-21 00:01
Thank you so much! See you soon!! :D
# galen 2013-05-18 12:43
Sweetondean - brilliant review as usual. Was there ever a more emotional impact contained in such a simple, small word as "so". That exchange between Sam and Dean was superbly written, directed and acted. Jensen was excellent in his reaction as usual, but a real kudo goes to Jared for expressing so much in such a simple word. I literally gasped when he said it.
You captured so many of my thoughts about this episode. The brothers had to hear, and I mean really hear, what the other was saying. Brilliant. I never thought an episode would replace by all time favorite "Mystery Spot", but this one did. Thanks and look forward to your thoughts during the hellatus.
# sweetondean 2013-05-18 18:34
Oh that "so". I let out a small wibbly noise when Sam said that. That scene was so wonderful. It was an amazing episode.

Thank you :-)
# LoveMyCas87 2013-05-18 12:50
Lovely review!!! Just wanted to tell you, you are probably my favorite admin, I love reading your reviews, you have a way with words my dear. Congrats on all yiur reviews this year, they are all great..
When you said you didn't think you could feel sorry for Crowley, but then you did, I was completely in sync with you. Yes, all the actors did an amazing job this season and especially the finale...But Mark Sheppard brought tears to my eyes, telling Sam he deserved to me loved...Then asking Sam for forgiveness, I nearly lost it. That man is awesome, I never ever thought I would feel bad for Crowley, and he has me tearing up just like the Winchesters do! Again, lovely review, keep writing, you're awesome!
# sweetondean 2013-05-18 18:35
Awww schucks! Thanks for your nice words and support! :-)
RGNYC Rebecca
# RGNYC Rebecca 2013-05-18 13:04
Thank you SweetonDean for your review. I loved this episode so very much and Sam finally getting to voice his pain. This episode was a masterpiece of filming, acting, and story. The angel wings burning off as the first angel fell though the atmosphere was stunning and yes the music and the lighting and the camera angles as the Angels fell! So much potential for next season(s). Supernatural is the only TV show that I can watch the same episodes repeatedly. I've already watched the last 3 several times and a re-watch of this and other seasons will help me through hellatus. I count on your reviews and others comments to enhance my experience of the show and am so glad you stuck out through the tough times. All the best to you for a peaceful hellatus. xoxoxo -RG
# sweetondean 2013-05-18 18:36
I watched it 3 times the night it screened. I just needed it. I needed it!

Thanks for the lovely' s to a speedy hellatus!
# LEAH 2013-05-18 13:23
Beautiful as always sweetondean! The support thing is a two way street. Your reviews are always so heartfelt and optimistic.

I am going to be brief and just say that I think that the brother scene at the end was possibly one of the most affecting and pivotal of the entire series. I, like you, have never wavered in feeling the depth of the brothers love for one another. However it was so cathartic to finally have a scene that expressed it so well. Sam's pain, finally verbalized. The word love was never uttered but that scene screamed it.

The set-up for next season looks great. Lots of food for speculation. We are going to need it :-) My respect for Jeremy Carver has increased due to this finale.
# sweetondean 2013-05-18 18:13
Thank you Leah!

And I agree, but maybe we had to wait this long for that conversation, because as grown men, it seemed to mean so much more.
# Gwen 2013-05-18 15:39
What a wonderful review. And thank you for the hug pics too.

That brotherly scene is probably my favourite brotherly scene ever. It was gut wrenchingly painful and also utterly beautiful at the same time.
The boys' speeches, all their pain and all their love for each other, Sammy's tears, the hug (and the way Sam was clinging to Dean's jacket :cry: ), Dean telling Sam to let it all go with all of us and the boys knowing that he wasn't just talking about the trials right then, Sam's "so?", Dean's gentle smile as he was bandaging Sam's hand and reassurring him that they'd figure it out like they always do. My heart was shattering and full to bursting at the same time, if that's possible.
My heart hurts for poor Sam; to feel unclean since he was tiny, to feel that he was a disappointment to his dad and now we learn he feels that he is a disappointment to his big brother, the one he'd been trying to be like since he was 4 years old. No wonder he finally broke apart. Hopefully now Dean's words - God, I LOVED Dean's words - will help him to start healing all that brokenness. I really hope the wonderful communication between these boys in this episode continues into S9, these boys have to keep on talking now. I sure want to hear it.

Everybody was fabulous in this episode. Jared was fantastic. Loved Jensen and MS too, as always. The Crowley scenes were fabulous. Loved the visual of the angels falling at the end and the boys huddled together in the rain, loved all the lights going off in the MOL bunker, loved that atmospheric church - great location.

I am one who had huge issues with the first half of this season and Sam's storyline. In fact after 8.01 I only started watching properly again with the episode with their grandfather. But this finale and the relationship we now have between the brothers has made me feel a whole lot better about the season. SPN is all about the brothers for me and this episode pretty much shouted their love from the rooftops. :lol:
# LEAH 2013-05-18 15:52
Hi Gwen, nice post and I agree with everything you said. I forgot to mention that sweet and loving look Dean had on his face when he was bandaging Sam's hand (or snot ragging as Tim said :-) ) I am so glad you did!
# sweetondean 2013-05-18 18:09
Oh yes, when Dean banaged Sam's hand and whispered words of encouragement, telling his brother they'd work it out like they always do, with that softness in his eyes and that tiny gentle smile... GAH! I loved every single word out of Dean's mouth :sigh:
# Bevie 2013-05-18 16:41
I'd like to contribute to Carver's fruit basket, sweetondean, as I agree it's been 4 LONG YEARS to get to this place. The place I've been longing for ever since "Lazarus Rising". Whew! What a relief! :P

Agree with all you've said in this review, so just want to say how grateful I am you have been here and will be here next season and perhaps time to time during the hellatus? Your reviews and comments never fail to brighten my day, so thank you, sweetondean. :-)
# sweetondean 2013-05-18 18:37
Thank you Bevie :-)
# Becky 2013-05-18 16:58
Once again, I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed your writing! Looking forward to your season 9 reviews!
# sweetondean 2013-05-18 18:38
Thanks Becky!
Moose Girl
# Moose Girl 2013-05-18 17:43
I loved your review. Thank you so much for sharing.

There's so much I could comment on, but I'll say only two things. First, your insight on the father/son relationship between the boys is spot on. I've always seen Sam as a boy who is desperate for his father's approval, and this father is Dean. Not John, not Bobby. It's the only one he ever knew, the one who was always there for him.

The second point is what I heard a reviewer say. To him, Dean's choosing his brother's life over the greater good is a step back for the character, because he let Sam jump in the pit in Swan Song. Well, I can't agree with that. Though I think Dean was so incredibly brave back then, knowing as we know what losing Sam meant to him, I can only applaud that this time he decided that nothing is worth the life of his brother. Like you say, there are more important things than defeating the bad guys. :cry:
# sweetondean 2013-05-18 18:12
No... it was a huge leap forward for his character and to be honest, a very different situation.

But I saw this as Dean finally coming to a place where he realises that the family business doesn't take centre stage of family.

Remember when Sam said he'd take Dean to the light at the end of the tunnel? Now I see that journey as one they both take, togehter as equals.

It was perfect.
# NoLieFe 2013-05-18 17:43
Sweetondean, It's always a great pleasure to read your positive overview !
This finale is the most beautiful I had ever seen.
The angels rain was a so unexpected blow theater and the grand finale of fireworks.
My god, the scene of two bros = I felt my tears poured down my cheeks and my heart bleed for them (and like you said) full with a warmth.
I'm always stuck in these unforgettable 40 minutes
This episode is a real gem, an extraordinary TV show : Jeremy Carver, you are my hero !
# sweetondean 2013-05-18 18:41
Thank you!

Those angels raining down is probably the most breathtaking visual scene of the series, huh?

JC did us proud!
# cleverlylemon 2013-05-18 17:58
Yes, yes, yes. Loved your review. Loved it.

I, too, have always been a Dean girl. I have loved Sam because Dean loves him and because of the brother bond over the seasons. But I don't think I ever truly understood him until this episode. I was so spellbound by him when he was 'pouring out his heart' that I jumped when Dean interrupted him. Mad props to Jared, he knocked it out of the park.

This is how I felt after watching All Hell Breaks Loose 1 and Mystery Spot and Swan Song and Death's Door. This is classic Supernatural. This is pure gold. This is the rip-your-heart- out-shaking-bre ath-how-do-I-re cover-from-what -I-just-saw kind of Supernatural that Carver brought back to us.

Yes, we all owe him a damn fruit basket.
# sweetondean 2013-05-18 18:42
Yup, Jared totally nailed that scene. Sam's pain was something I felt, physically. So amazing.

Thanks for your comment!
# Amyh 2013-05-18 20:29
SweetonDean, thank you so much for your reviews and especially this one. As well as your Sam sized HOPE for all things Supernatural.

I think...well... I know I'm like st50 above said. I'll never understand why Carver had to create a 'betrayal' for Dean to be angry about Did Carver think there wasn't enough actual issues to use to make our beautiful scene in "Sacrifice" work? (Soulessness exempt since that was ALL on Castiel).

I would love your opinion, sweetondean. Do you think Carver will build on "sacrifice"cont nue making the brothers relationship strong? Let them continue talking? Or wiill Carver use 'Sacrifice" as a way to tear the brothers apart? I mean, i get that like Dean said they have new tools to cure demons.....but it takes an entire day to cure one demon. How many many formally possessed people whose lives are ripped apart will they be able to witness before Sam and Dean regret not taking that final step in finishing the trial? before Sam thinks he has once again failed.

Knowingt how much the writers love the brothers in conflict with each other I worry about this. Worry desperately about this.
# sweetondean 2013-05-18 20:48
Hey Amyh (weirdly I too am an Amy H!)

I do think that we will build on this. I can only look to Carver's past episodes like "A Very Supernatural Christmas" and "Mystery Spot" and "Point of No Return" which were very Sam and Dean centric. I can only look to what he said when he took over the show, that the brothers were the heart and soul of "Supernatural" and what he has done this season in restoring the brothers to a place many of us thought may never be possible again. I think he gets them and I think he gets their story and the importance of it.

There has been a lot of contrived conflict over the last couple of seasons which has done way more harm than good. I don't know why JC made the choice he did for the beginning of this season, some of us are ok with it and some will never be able to look past it...that's the nature of stories and how we all perceive them differently. But I wonder, if when Carver rejoined the show, he saw such a void between the brothers and such a loss of heart in the show, that he felt he had to simply start them again, reboot the brothers. Like I've said from the beginning, I never viewed Sam harshly for choosing to not run all over looking for a brother he didn't know where was or didn't know was alive or dead. He could have driven himself crazy (again) simply looking. I admired him for trying to make a life for himself - at least one of them deserves a life, particularly if the other one is gone.

And I don't believe they will feel bad about not slamming the gates. I think that at the end of that scene it was painfully clear to each other how much they mean to each other and how important family is - above all else. Besides, there are so many more evil sons of bitches out there other than demons. They were only getting rid of one thing, what about all the other creatures they fight on a daily basis that kill and slaughter innocents?

So yes, I've had faith since the beginning of the season and I feel like my belief in where all this was going for Sam and Dean was rewarded.

I hope very much that this is the beginning of better times for their relationship. But hey, their brothers and grown men living in each other pockets, facing life and death situations every day, if they didn't disagree or fight, I'd think there was something seriously wrong!

I hope I answered your question. Thanks for your comment (loved the Sam sized hope line :D )
# st50 2013-05-18 22:00

So yes, I've had faith since the beginning of the season and I feel like my belief in where all this was going for Sam and Dean was rewarded.
I honestly congratulate you on keeping the faith. That took Winchester-like strength, hope and stubbornness.
Sam and Dean would be proud.
# sweetondean 2013-05-18 23:03
I am nothing if not stubborn.... ;-)
# Trucklady 2013-05-19 18:22
So yes, I've had faith since the beginning of the season and I feel like my belief in where all this was going for Sam and Dean was rewarded.
I am with you on this one sweetondean. I hung in there all season just knowing that JC would bring it around. You don't get to sit at the head of the table without knowing what you are doing.
# st50 2013-05-19 18:36
You don't get to sit at the head of the table without knowing what you are doing.
Sure you do. Anybody can sit in the chair. The real issue is, once you sit down, how long can you keep your table surrounded by friends and family, instead of empty chairs?
How long can your buffet keep everyone sated and happy?

;-) Sorry. Couldn't resist. ;-)
# Trucklady 2013-05-19 19:05
I was just trying to give Jeremy some kudos for pulling this off when so many were in doubt of him. Guess I shouldn't have used the metaphor or maybe I should have just added IMHO.
# st50 2013-05-19 19:08
No, no. Your comment was fine. It was a sad attempt on my part for humour.
# Trucklady 2013-05-19 20:06
That is one problem with emails and blogs. It is hard to decipher moods and see facial expressions to know the feel of the conversation. Your double smilie faces should have been a clue. No worries here, we are good. :-)
Moose Girl
# Moose Girl 2013-05-18 21:46
I could kiss Jeremy Carter. I'm in love with my show again and it was badly shaken after the last two seasons. Is it perfect? Maybe not, but it's a huge improvement. The boys love each other and Sam is a character again, someone with a voice.

Besides, Jeremy Carter wrote some of the best broments in the show's history. A Very Supermatural History ad Point of no Return, I'm looking at you. Oh, and the Amulet, of course. :-)
Moose Girl
# Moose Girl 2013-05-18 21:48
Sorry! :oops: I mean A Very Supernatural Christmas.
# sweetondean 2013-05-19 17:39
It sure was one hell of a broment! I love Carver for giving us that!
# fanotheboyz 2013-05-18 21:59
Thanks S.O.D. for the spot-on review. Yours is the one I wait for. It's not that I don't like the others; they are wonderful and I read all of the WFB writers' reviews, but yours always leaves me feeling hopeful, like this finale.

I know a lot was left undone, maybe for season 9, and I'm ok with that. I love my boys together. I love it when it's them against the world. Next season they can maybe fill in some blanks, but for now, I'm good. Nothing could have been better than that clinging, teary hug. I would have liked a few tenths of a second more on Jared's face after he delivered his lines. Something felt a little short there, but they only have 42 minutes, so we got the best from it.

I love these two more than ever and gosh, Jensen and Jared hit it home! I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall after that scene was filmed. Knowing these guys are such good friends, there must have been some 'hugging it out'. I guess we'll never know. The moment is really theirs personally, but I just know they were as relieved for their characters as we were. It had to be emotional for them, too.

I don't know how to make it through this hellatus after that big emotional ball of energy, but I'll be stopping by for all the WFB writers and waiting expectantly for Season 9!
# sweetondean 2013-05-19 17:38
Thank you! :-)

I've said the same, I would have like to see the inbetween of the scenes, because Jared's performance was a physical and emotional tour de force and Jensen said it took it out of Jared, leaving him with a "hangover", so I wonder how they managed that emotional place inbetween takes?

Can't wait for season 9...are we there yet?
# PENNY JAIME 2013-05-18 23:31
I think that was Jared's best performance. I know he made me cry. My heart ached for him when he told Dean about his confession.

What can you say about Jensen. Amazing doesn't begin to cover it (or him!). I loved the line in the bar; "What show have you been watching?". Priceless!

Angels falling, best special effects of ANY show! Stunning! Carver has set us up good for several seasons (as promised). I think they need to bury Smallville and do 12, just saying...

To all the cast and crew of Supernatural, BRAVO!!!!
# sweetondean 2013-05-19 17:35
The guys really knocked it out of the park (again) with that scene. Jared's performance was visceral. Everyone did an amazing job!

And ok...12 is my new goal! I could get on board with this! :D
# LEAH 2013-05-19 18:01
I can get behind that. :-)
# Trucklady 2013-05-19 18:24
And ok...12 is my new goal! I could get on board with this!
Oh hell yeah. I'm right there with you on that. Season 10 is not near long enough. I'd like to see it break all kinds of show longivity.
# Chelsie 2013-05-23 12:59

What can you say about Jensen. Amazing doesn't begin to cover it (or him!).
I completely agree!

As elle said in her review
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!
# sweetondean 2013-05-23 13:06
Jensen has become such a lovely actor. Watching his creative journey has been one of the great joys of this series. He brings so much to Dean by using so little. Subtle nuances in his performance can change the entire way you read a scene. His performance in season 8 has been stunning at every turn. The emotional fortitude he has instilled in Dean in the back half season 8 was one of my favourite parts of the story. I sing his praises all the time. He is an amazingly talented guy.
# LEAH 2013-05-23 13:51
Chelsie, I couldn't agree more. I have loved this actor since I first saw him shed his OMT in Dark Angel. I remember thinking, this is a beautiful young man, but more importantly he could tear you to pieces with his acting. Beauty and charisma do not get you anywhere if the acting is subpar. He has come so far from those days and in the latter half of the season can still amaze me with his depth.

Right now Jared is getting some very much deserved recognition for his performances. Jensen and Jared will be praised many more times as we go along this summer. It will be my pleasure to add to the accolades!!
# st50 2013-05-23 14:05

Simply put, Jensen was just amazing!
Yes, he was! And has been since the pilot. :-)
This episode had some incredible performances by everyone involved, but, as usual, it's the Js and the way they interact that I've responded to.

I must admit to having watched Jensen in Dark Angel, and having been very intrigued. He's just such a natural talent. Amazing. But the way both he and Jared just turn everything up another notch when they're given scripts like this one..... There are no words.

In a fairer world, Jensen would've already won awards for the work that he does. I think Jared has had award-worthy episodes, too.

Luckily for us, they both seem content to stay with this little show, and humbly accept the simple praise of their audience, over the golden statuettes they could be receiving elsewhere.

Lucky us. :-)
# LEAH 2013-05-23 14:26
Yes st50, very luck us. I don't think I am exaggerating much to say that these two are one of the most compelling duos that have ever been seen on TV. I go waaaay back. :-) If this show had been on a major network or cable, I think they would have awards coming out their ears (assuming it wasn't cancelled right away).
# nappi815 2013-05-19 00:04
awesome review sweetondean...t hanks for all your optimism and all the silver linings you've found in ea. and every episode.

i thought the scene with sam and dean was the most pivotal broment ever shown on this show, with sam's declaration about being unpure a very close second. ben and jeremy have done in two episodes what hasn't been done in four years...they gave sam his voice....and dean has got clarity...for the first time ever, dean really sees sam....kind of like when you first get glasses...i remember when i was nine i could see, but not so clearly...the board was blurry, i could'nt see the tv from far away, i couldn't make out faces from a distance...then i put glasses on for the first time and in that moment i saw the world with such clarity...what a different view..i could see so clearly ...that's how i equate this conversation between the was so amazing and so over due...i cried of the sheer relief of it...

what an amazing thing carver having sam speak, every action he's ever taken makes sense in a way that may never have made sense to some before, past and present....sam' s instant dislike of benny is understandable now...sam's willingness to always sacrifice himself...littl e things...and even in taxi driver, sam's willingness to bring benny back for dean means so much more than i thought it much sam really loves his be willing to bring back the vampire sam feels dean prefers over him...(at the time)...i can honestly say that on rewatch, i will be able to appreciate instead of get aggravated by the first half of the season...

but i think i may have to disagree with you on that we'll never know why sam chose not to look..
carver said in an interview that this was still an open wound for both boys and for the audience....he also said it would come up in unexpected ways...well as awesome as this speech was, it didn't really get into that specific issue, which is still an issue with dean...

yes, this conversation was the first step...a pivotal conversation, which as i posted elsewhere is the winchester dam breaking....the re's no reason any more for either brother to feel the need to hide any truths from ea. other for fear of disappointing the other...i think this conversation has led to what carver had been striving for all season...a mature, honest, strong relationship between the boys...and i believe he's succeeded....

but this is only part one of a two part eppy...there's still more to come...i still feel that some of our questions will be addressed...lik e who told benny about the portal, who was watching sam....which i myself am leaning towards it being metatron...who as if he claims has been planning this payback for a long time, would've been following the boys all along...they did have their parts to play didn't they.

i also think that sam and dean will discuss sam's time. carver mentioned no one left on the sidelines and it could come up in an unexpected way....well my hope is and fingers are crossed that , since sam is so sick right now, so physically and emotionally broken, that he may just sort of bring it up to dean...if sam thinks he's dying he may want to confess to dean about what really happened when dean disappeared from the lab...

i just think that it's not out of the realm of possibility that this can happen, so i'll hold on to hope that it's indeed possible....i just think it's something dean needs to hear and something sam needs to get off his chest....i'm pretty sure we as the audience wouldn't mind knowing... :lol:

i think carver started something wonderful, and i have no doubt that he won't continue it...
# sweetondean 2013-05-19 17:29
I hope this is the start of a much more honest conversation too, and I hope you're right, I hope we do hear more from Sam, because the door's been opened now and I'd like to see that closeness and understanding continue. As you say, Carver started something wonderful...her e's to more of it!
# Ale 2013-05-20 16:01
but this is only part one of a two part eppy...there's still more to come...i still feel that some of our questions will be who told benny about the portal, who was watching sam....which i myself am leaning towards it being metatron...who as if he claims has been planning this payback for a long time, would've been following the boys all along...they did have their parts to play didn't they.
Nappi815, I think you're right. Metatron looked like he was planning this revenge for a long time. He didn't act in the spur of the moment. I think he was the one watching Sam leave Amelia, the one that brought Don back and the one responsable for telling Benny the way out of Purgatory. That would be great, a reason to see Benny again, and motivation for Sam and Dean to get rid of that bastard. Metatron thought he knew with who he was messing with, but he knows nothing. Sam and Dean will kick his angelic ass (with some Castiel help, I believe. Cas is great when he is under Winchester orders) ;-)
# KG_SPN 2013-05-19 03:53
Jeremy Carver told us that season 8 was all about perception and here, with Sam and Dean was the most important element of it. Two brothers so close that they can’t see each other.
I couldn't stop thinking about this scene after my first & second viewings ... not just because it was so compelling and heartbreaking and wonderful ... but because I'd been waiting all season for a big reveal around the perception theme (as Jeremy Carver had mentioned). But, in the end, it was the brother's perceptions of each other ... and I so loved that :-)

This was a wonderful finale & I can't remember feeling such awe over the final 10 minutes of an episode. First the brothers' moment, and then, the sight of the angels falling. It was just incredible ... and a huge shout-out should go to the great VFX crew (not just for this episode, but for the effects all season).

Just quickly, my highlights:

All of Sam & Crowley's interactions. I still can't believe I cried over Crowley, especially after what he did in Clip Show. Kudos to Mark Shepherd. And Jared, wow, his performances in the latter part of season 8 have been so remarkable. I hope he is hearing how impressed we all are with his performance :cry:

Capturing Crowley in Bobby's car yard. It was the first time Bobby wasn't in a finale, so it was brilliant that they made us think of him by doing the deal there. Do you think Bobby was looking down at his boys, relishing in the moment when Dean got the upper-hand? :D

I could go on ... but I'll just add that I'd like to contribute to the fruit basket for Jeremy Carver :lol:

Sweetondean, thanks so much for your reviews this year. I don't have many friends that actually watch Supernatural, so I was happy to discover this website last year & I felt very welcomed & encouraged to comment. I have loved season 8, and, like you, I had moments where I couldn't cope with some of the discontent in the comments, but I could always come to your review and the smile would instantly return to my face. Your enthusiasm for our little SHOW is simply contagious and I hope you continue to write reviews through seasons 9 & 10 (I'm being optimistic we'll get there).
# sweetondean 2013-05-19 17:29
Well we know we have 9, I'm pretty optimistic for 10! Let's do this thing! :D
# love2boys 2013-05-20 09:31
Quoting KG_SPN:
I don't have many friends that actually watch Supernatural, so I was happy to discover this website last year & I felt very welcomed & encouraged to comment. I have loved season 8, and, like you, I had moments where I couldn't cope with some of the discontent in the comments, but I could always come to your review and the smile would instantly return to my face. Your enthusiasm for our little SHOW is simply contagious and I hope you continue to write reviews through seasons 9 & 10 (I'm being optimistic we'll get there).
KG, I agree with you here! I don't know anyone who watches SPN. So I loved finding this site, and one of the best parts is SweetonDean! Her reviews and warm feelings are one of the best reasons we keep coming back to WFB.
# njspnfan 2013-05-19 07:15

Thank you for the beautiful review to a truly magnificent episode. IMO this was up there with Swan Song as the best season ending episode ever. Have thoroughly enjoyed your reviews/insight s all season.

I'll go in on the fruit basket too; that would be a fun project for the hellatus - sending Jeremy Carver the worlds largest fruit basket :-)
# sweetondean 2013-05-19 17:30
There may be a fruitbasket project in the works ;-) Stay tuned...
# Trucklady 2013-05-19 18:25
There may be a fruitbasket project in the works Stay tuned...
Oh yes, count me in if you do anything. I would love to be a part of that project.
# cleverlylemon 2013-05-19 20:30
Oh yes! Count me in, too! I was hoping we could do something like that!
# sweetondean 2013-05-19 20:37
Excellent...I have a plan in motion and I'll be getting something out about it this week... :lol:
# LEAH 2013-05-19 20:58
Great. Any way to work in a Dr. Pepper? No? Just kidding!!! Just a little running joke. I will await word on the Fruit Basket Project. :lol:
# love2boys 2013-05-20 09:48
I will join in on a Dr. Pepper basket.

Wait - did you say a fruit basket? Yes, of course. I would LOVE to join in on the fruit basket project! (The FBP.) Just let us know the details.
# Valgal 2013-05-19 12:35
Dear SweetonDean-
Thank you for your review. I always enjoy your interpretations and how often they focus on the emotional growth of the characters from the situations they encounter.

What I most love about SPN is that the characters continue to grow and show us more layers of themselves. The actors are amazing and this season we have seen several writers who capture Sam and Dean's characters and allow them to show us new depths of who they are. As a viewer, I am emotionally attached to these characters because of how they take not only physical risks, but spiritual and emotional ones too. Sam and Dean continue to exemplify courage, strength and what can be accomplished through the power of love. I cannot watch "Sacrifice" without tears because of the depth of emotions portrayed- Sam, Dean, Kevin and even Crowley.

To sacrifice means to give up something in hopes that something good will come about from doing so. Sam sacrificed completing the trials and we saw a new level of closeness between the brothers that we believed existed but had not seen. Dean was willing to sacrifice his desire to shut the gates of Hell and all those demons who had killed their mother so that he could have his brother with him.

It is frightening to give up something that we have put our heart and soul into wanting to complete. This for me is the strength of SPN. It shows us the universality of the human condition. Jeremy Carver's episodes and the strongest writers capture Sam and Dean's characters. Their scripts allow Jared and Jensen and their supporting cast to demonstrate their tremendous acting abilities.

It is the power of love, of family, of friendship and our ability to re-invent ourselves with whatever life hands to us that keeps us "human." No show demonstrates these aspects of humanity better than SPN.
# sweetondean 2013-05-19 17:32
Thank you!

Supernatural has so much heart, it's what's at the centre of all the craziness and it's what keeps us all coming back. I can't wait to see where we're taken next season. This was a truly beautiful conclusion to season 8.
olivia forest
# olivia forest 2013-05-21 01:09
wow. beautifully said valgal. spot on! :-)
# Tiny 2013-05-20 03:13
Thanks Amy! Once again a very awesome review which sums up everything (and more)!

Very well said regarding all characters on Supernatural are so profoundly human, even the non-human ones. I think that's the one thing that I really enjoyed! When we look at demons, angels, witches, werewolves and vampires this season, your point was spot on!! It also once again illustrates Supernatural is so much more than being a genre show, it's a drama.

I love this season and the finale definitely blew my mind!! The last scene was shocking and totally not what I expected! I can't wait for the next piece of news that surfaces about season 9! I really cannot wait!

It's time for a full series rewatch! Which I've started!

Thank you for a great season of awesome review Amy. You're the best!

# sweetondean 2013-05-20 23:03
Thanks Tiny! Supernatural ROCKS! As do you! :D xxxx
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2013-05-20 21:55
Dear Sweetondean,

Apologies for a late comment on your lovely, lovely review of what is sure to become a classic episode. Real life does that. It’s funny though, because I have been living with this episode in my head for days, flashing back to it, over and over again.

I love that the boys have shared such deep and powerful FEEEEELINGS! Words can never be unsaid. That’s a really bad thing when you’ve said something mean or hurtful. But it’s a really wondrous thing when you’ve said something that is a balm to an open wound of guilt, and shame and misunderstandin g. Those words can be played over, and over, and savoured. And the person on the receiving end can get strength from them with each retelling in memory.

I too think Jeremy Carver was quite skilful in how he managed to weave the themes of the season together in this finale episode. And in the end it was about perception, and humanity, and love, and the sacrifice of what you think should happen, to the inevitability of what happens.

I won’t try to go back over the path you so gloriously tread, but I’ll add my own perceptions to a couple of key scenes. (I couldn’t resist saying that!)

1. Sam asking what to confess, and Dean giving him a list… I know a lot of people thing this was further evidence that Dean has not forgiven Sam for his past mistakes, or choices or whatever you want to call them. But I think Dean was giving Sam that list, because he knows those are things Sam wants forgiveness for. Rightly or wrongly, Sam feels tremendously responsible for everything on that list, especially what he did when he was soulless. Sam has always said that he is partly to blame for the crimes of Soulless Sam. So I think it was Dean trying to guide Sam to a place where he could stop blaming himself.

Plus some of the things on that list are partially Dean’s sins too – starting the Apocalypse (who broke the First Seal after all?), losing Sam’s soul (I think Dean still feels bad that it took him so long to figure out what was wrong with Sam, and it meant that Sam’s soul was still being abused all that time), etc. Maybe he was hoping if his brother was forgiven, some of it might rub off on him.

The addition of the “not looking for me when I was in Purgatory” makes sense. The wound is still fairly fresh. And I think Dean is still hurt because he doesn’t understand why Sam didn’t look. But all the other stuff? I think it has been forgiven. But that doesn’t mean Dean has completely forgotten. Think of it as an old injury. Most of the time it doesn’t bother you. But then the weather gets a bit rainy, and the ache returns.

2. Leaving Sam alone with Crowley to go off with Castiel…. I don’t think Dean would have left Sam, if Sam hadn’t told him to go. In their mind, the endgame was to shut down both Heaven and Hell. Dean believed Sam had the situation under control, and that Cass needed his help. In fact, he starts by telling Cass he can’t go because Sam needs him too much. As for having the beer? Two men in a bar, staring at the other patrons but not drinking? That would arouse even more suspicion. I think Dean was acting like a shepherd dog in this episode. He was trying to protect his flock – Cass and Sam, and herd them to their respective finish lines, which meant he had to run between the two.

3. When Sam is told he’ll die, and he says “So”?... I knew he was going to say that, because by that point he was so emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted I think he might have viewed death as a relief. Plus, I think the words of his confession, about being a disappointment to Dean, were still ringing in his ears. I wonder if when Dean told him to stop because he’d die, Sam heard it as “You’ve screwed up again”, which would mean he’d let Dean down again, so what was the point of living.
I also wonder if Sam ever really believed he would survive the trials. He said that to Dean at the beginning, but I’m not sure I totally bought it. I think he had his doubts even then, and choosing to take on the trials was a way of atoning for that perceived list of shortcomings (not the least of which for Sam is failing to look for Dean in Purgatory)

4. Dean telling Sam to stop… I think this was the ultimate sign of hope from Dean. He knows he can not lose Sam again. He knows Sam is his biggest weakness, and that their lives are so interwoven, that when his brother is missing, in Hell, dead, whatever, Dean can not function properly. He knew that if Sam succumbed to the trials, he himself would likely die not long after. There’s no more Bobby to support him. No Lisa to run to. There is Garth, Krissy, Charlie, Kevin and Cass. But they are NOT Sam. Sam is Dean’s light at the end of tunnel. Asking Sam not to finish the trials and therefore die, is Dean’s active way of saying “I want to live”. Even back when Dean said he would do the trials, I don’t think he was being fatalistic. I think he was being pragmatic. When do they ever catch a break? Something this big? One of them is almost guaranteed to die or be irrevocably changed (might still happen to Sam). Dean was just saying I’m willing to take the risk this time so you can have your shot at happiness. And at the end of Sacrifice it was Dean pulling Sam back towards life and hope.

5. Performances.. I think Jared and Mark rocked the house. But I think Jensen was also stellar. Jared/Sam is usually thought of as being the more subtle actor/character of the two. But in this episode, his inside was on the outside. All that pain and guilt and fear was on display. That is glorious, meaty stuff for an actor to dig into. And it was truly his moment to shine. But it shone that much brighter because of Dean’s reactions. The way the last few episodes have been written, Dean has been the subtle one, quietly observing, monitoring, controlling, and absorbing all the new information coming his way. Dean didn’t get any kind of emotional outburst this time (he’s had them in the past) because he was busy carrying, and supporting. But you could still tell how each new revelation was affecting him. One more thing to be processed, and then pushed down and buried. I think that his performance was equally noteworthy. I think JP and JA changed roles (because of the way the characters were written) and they were both excellent at the switch. (I hope I made sense)

Again, I have a written a short novel. Thanks for the review and for giving me so much to think about!

Pragmatic Dreamer
# sweetondean 2013-05-20 23:00
Thanks Pragmatic Dreamer, I always enjoy your comments no matter how long or short!

I agree with all you've said, but particularly about point 4. It's one thing that has stayed with me and with each watch has become clearer and clearer. This was Dean's version of Sam's speech, if you come with me, I'll take you to the light at the end of the tunnel. This was Dean wanting to live, wanting them both to live. He doesn't want that life without Sam and he needs Sam to know that. That is how important Sam is to him.

I keep saying it's the most hopefilled I've ever felt at the end of a finale, even though Sam is stricken, even though the sky is falling, the brothers reached out to each other and both decided to live, for each other. I can't remember feeling so full of hope and joy (and love) for them.

I also agree with you in regard to Dean and Jensen's gentle performance. I've watched Dean taking everything on board week after week and carrying every new piece of the tragic puzzle with such quiet strength - it's been a beautifully subtle performance to watch. Jensen is the master of emotion and never, ever fails to astound me in the nuances he portrays with Dean. Then when Jared and Jensen get to do a powerful scene like this together? I can't see any better out there. They have become wonderful performers. They are a pleasure to watch.

Thanks again! To season 9 and beyond!
# Manstrad 2013-05-21 04:12
I always like your reviews sweetondean! Actually, you are the reason why I landed in this fansite, your enthusiasm and positivity is what caught my attention, but above all, because we watch our SPN the same way... enjoying every minute of Dean, I mean... the episode.

What can I say about this season? wasn't perfect, but, it came very close. Why? because the small mistakes gets over powered by the good stories, the brilliant acting and the excellent entertainment.

Me too want a season 10, actually I want 12! or more, but I said it before, 12 is my wish, so SPN will be the record setting show, the one show that every wanted to beat, but they will not. The show that will be the one every body will talk about as the example of good quality show, with fans to die for.

Thanks again sweatondean, and keep on going, you are the light when everybody is sweating the small stuff!
# love2boys 2013-05-21 13:15
Your reviews are wonderful, SweetonDean. Your faith and "sweetness" shine through in everything you write. Finding this website is kind of a miracle - finding you, who appreciates SPN and writes beautifuly, clearly and (OMC) with faith in the show.

You make fans see that it's ok to be part of the fandom!
Thank you.
# Sylvie 2013-05-21 14:27
:cry: Let me start with that, because that's exactly what I was doing when this cliffhanger ended, bawling my eyes out. Thank you Amy for the wonderful review and all the others you've delivered this season. Despite my sadness, I'm a happy camper. I LOVED this season so very much. Jeremy Carver certainly delivered.

Let's start with Cass. My, oh my, the poor angel cannot catch a break. Maybe next time he tries to fix Heaven he gets the Winchesters on board. The road to Heaven ispaved with good intentions, after all. With all the angels kicked out of Heaven, will Hell finally break loose on earth? The angels will be powerless to stop the demons, and Sam & Dean are only human after all (albeit perfect!). That visual of the angels falling from the sky was pretty damn spectacular.

Lastly, Sam & Dean, finally together again! We waited so long for this moment, and when it finally came, it was well worth the wait. My heart broke for Sam when his only response to him dying with this final trial was "so?" Although, I think I understand his confession. When Dean gives him clues as to what he should confess about, they are things that have seemingly disappointed him, so it's no wonder to me that Sam would see it that way. We all know that's not what Dean meant, but oh, dear Lord, the look on Sam's face when he tells Dean his confession. Just the thought of it is making me sad all over again. :sad: And Dean's speech to Sam, so beautiful.

I think this may be my favourite season finale of SPN. I'm ready for hellatus now, if only so I can compose myself before the next season starts. Happy summer everyone and may all your Supernatural dreams come true. 8)
Moose Girl
# Moose Girl 2013-05-21 22:29
Interestingly, Dean's words to Sam parallel some very beautiful things Jensen said at their last Con about how dear Jared is to him. I love these boys. :lol:
# chokousei 2013-05-24 07:55
You really are my favourite review writer. I have repeatedly watched the brothers' scene over and over again. And it's the best performance of Jared among all seasons IMHO. Moreover, season 8 is better than the previous 2 seasons because as you've said, it's back to focus on the brothers. Although the guests are great, SPN is still a show about the Winchester brothers. One thing though, I still cannot stop wondering about the mysterious figure watching Sam left Amelia in episode 1. Just can't accept the simple answer that he was the husband. But I don't think they'll follow up that story line again. All in all, kudos toJ3, Jensen, Jared and Jeremy.
# chokousei 2013-05-24 08:29
You really are my favourite review writer. I have repeatedly watched the brothers' scene over and over again. And it's the best performance of Jared among all seasons IMHO. Moreover, season 8 is better than the previous 2 seasons because as you've said, it's back to focus on the brothers. Although the guests are great, SPN is still a show about the Winchester brothers. One thing though, I still cannot stop wondering about the mysterious figure watching Sam left Amelia in episode 1. Just can't accept the simple answer that he was the husband. But I don't think they'll follow up that story line again. All in all, kudos toJ3, Jensen, Jared and Jeremy.