Jeremy Carver, I am your bitch.
Yes, I’ve said that before, probably so much that it’s lost all meaning. But as spitting mad as I was over last week’s waste of time, I put my full faith in the SPN showrunner to come through for us. To give us something that felt like a “Supernatural” episode, aka people in character, no bogus stretching of canon, something I could be engaged in from the word go, and yes, MOVING THE STORY FORWARD. For me, all the essential boxes were checked, and I was left an emotional wreck at the end of it. In other words, it was the perfect season finale.
I know, expectations are high for any finale, especially when the season has left us with so many questions. “Do You Believe In Miracles?” is a focused script though, and one that gets to the point as much as it can in the limited space of 42 minutes. It shows far and away how dramatically more skilled Jeremy Carver is at his job than most of his writing team. So much so, I’m starting the petition drive to get Carver to write more than 2 episodes a season. How about 22? :)
I’m satisfied with the way each storyline was tackled in this episode. No, my issues with season nine are still very much alive and I am not insisting that what Carver did in “Do You Believe In Miracles” makes up for everything, but it made me happy enough where season ten is looking promising. And that’s the reaction Carver set out to get.
The Angel Arc
Metatron and his megalomania, no matter how much we felt about the arc in general, had to be resolved. They made the mess, Carver had to clean it up. What I love about Carver’s writing is how scenes don’t feel forced. Even though I have tired of the whole Metatron thing with his “epic” story and monologuing antics, in this episode it played out so much better. For one, Curtis Armstrong was given some very meaty dialogue to work with. Through Metatron’s pontificating this time, I understand why he thinks he should be the next God. He’s just as good as the old one, why not? He knows how to push a brand, give the people what they want. His speech to Dean about his view of humanity makes way more sense than anything uttered by the angel so far this year. It just goes to show, it’s the writer, not the character.
The angel conflict had to end with Castiel, not Dean or Sam. It was Cas’ fight. I would have been very disappointed if Castiel killed Metatron. He’s been saying all season he’s tired of the killing and he just wanted to bring his people home. Many doubted how genuine that sentiment was, and that doubt was raised countless times. Even Metatron had the theory as to who Castiel was really trying to save. “The angel tablet, arguably the most powerful instrument in the history of the universe, is in pieces and for what again? Oh, that’s right, to save Dean Winchester. That was your goal, right? I mean, you draped yourself in the flag of Heaven by ultimately it was about one human, right?
Yep, that’s Jeremy Carver skirting that fine line again. Andrew Dabb did it last week too when Castiel couldn’t kill Dean as a show of faith to the angels. Since they love pushing the “Destiel” envelope, I’ll take a paragraph or two to explore. I have no doubt that Castiel cares about Heaven and will do anything it takes to save it, but he won’t kill his human friends. I’m convinced that if he had to save Sam he would have done the same thing. The plan in place at the time though was the save Dean. However, I’m also convinced that Castiel wouldn’t let any human die. That’s because Castiel has never forgotten the angels’ main mission from God, protect humanity at all costs. Gadreel said the same thing in his sacrifice. “The only thing that matters in the end is the mission. Protecting those that would not, and could not protect themselves. The humans, none of us is bigger than that. We will not let our fears, our self absorption, from seeing it though.”
Castiel could have easily gone off the rails on Metatron for killing Dean, but he didn’t. There are many fans out there that believe that Castiel’s actions were all for Dean and only for Dean and while we won’t know for sure one thing was clear, the angels believed in him. It all rests in the eye of the beholder, but keeping Metatron alive does send clues that Castiel’s motives to bring the angels home with no killing was the genuine one. That no killing rule extended to angels and humans. He stood by his principles no matter what. Will it be enough for his past transgressions? That’s up to each individual angel but redemption was never Castiel’s goal. He just wanted to help, and he inspired others like Gadreel to seek their redemption. Cas now gets to choose whether to live or die. Considering Misha Collins is a confirmed regular for season 10, I’m guessing he chooses life.
As for Gadreel, his sacrifice did give him the best ending he could hope for. He finally earned that redemption and a cleared name that he sought for a thousand years. He did way more than free Castiel, he inspired Hannah and to believe Castiel and help with the plan to expose Metatron. The angels will talk of Gadreel’s act, tell his story and realize that Gadreel was misunderstood all these years. The fact that Gadreel also earned the faith and trust of Sam Winchester says volumes too. I think all us had Gadreel pegged for death, but wasn’t it more satisfying to see him take his out life in a worthy act of sacrifice than Metatron killing him in retaliation? That kind of brutality happens too often on this show and it’s nice for once to see a death mean something.
I know that several of you are skimming over the angel stuff. It wasn’t a popular plot among many and you’re here to talk brothers. Then let’s do that. Many were speculating we’d get a horrific Cain/Abel situation with Dean trying to kill his brother while off the rails. Given the setup that might still happen in season ten, but I love Carver’s current choice much better. Dean wasn’t too far gone.
It does seem weird that the brothers would have this very long rift only to have them finally mend things within minutes in a trailer park, but it was an effective talk and one that was long overdue. Often I think the writers stretch out these brotherly conflicts just because they’re hard up for material and they think they’re delivering “the feels.” Well Mr. Carver got to show them how “feels” is done.
Sam is clearly worried about Dean. He hates the idea of Dean being used as a weapon, and doesn’t accept the suggestion well from Gadreel and Castiel that Dean is the best chance they’ve got. Suddenly Dean isn’t his partner anymore, he’s his brother again. He’s trying to protect his brother. When it gets personal like that, sudden new life comes to Sam that we haven’t seen much all season. I was so thrilled to see it back.
I laughed when Dean and Crowley did all that leg work just to find Sam standing there, beating them to the punch (love the shot of Sam standing outside the trailer waiting for them from the POV of inside the Impala). “I guess one of us doesn’t need a demon to help follow a clue trail.” Isn’t it nice to see smart and snarky Sam again? That all leads to a critical conversation between the brothers, one that’s been a season in the making.
Dean: Sam, what ever king intervention you think this is trust me it ain’t. I’m not going to explain myself to you.
Sam: Yeah, I sort of got that. I just thought you might like to know that while you two are playing odd couple your real friends like Cas, like the angel you stabbed, Gadreel, they’re out there right now risking their asses to help you win this fight.
Dean: What are you talking about?
Sam: A fight I might add you made that much more complicated when you decided to stab the one angel that could actually get us to Metatron.
Dean: The angel that took you for a joy ride. The angel that slaughtered Kevin. That angel?
Sam: Who you let in the front door in the first place. You tricked me Dean, and now I’m the one who wakes up in the middle of the night seeing my hands kill Kevin, not you.
I loved this conversation because for one, we finally got to hear some of the trauma that’s been going on inside Sam. It shows the profound effect the possession by Gadreel had on Sam. Sam’s been possessed before, but we rarely if ever have gotten signs how much it’s affected him beyond the initial act. Gadreel left a mark, and I’m glad that they didn’t ignore it here. More importantly though, it reminds us why Sam has been hurt deeply by Dean’s act all this time. It reinforces for us that despite all that, Sam is there standing by Dean’s side, ready to go in fighting together. He finishes, “So please, when you say you don’t want to explain anything to me, don’t.” All he needed was time.
As for Dean, well, little brother made sense. After all, Sam admitted to seeing thing Dean’s way too, accepting he was their best shot against Metatron. He even accepted Dean’s terms. “I’m going to take my best shot no matter what...no matter the consequences.” Dean in turn sends away Crowley, choosing the carry on the fight with Sam instead. It just goes to show that no matter what the circumstance, Sam is the only one that can get through. That’s the brotherly bond we’ve been dying to see and when it’s missing things just don’t feel right. That’s why this episode felt right.
The brothers resolve to go in there fighting together. It’s the big mantra on this show. The amount of times each brother has swooped in at the last second and saved the other is countless. Dean knocks out Sam though, claiming this wasn’t his fight. That “go it alone” attitude has been devastating to the brothers before (see season four, Sam letting Lucifer out of the cage), and Dean failing to let Sam be a part of this cemented his downfall. Dean’s choice to go it alone got him killed. Those were the consequences he was referring to though, and he had to know it would be the likely result.
You would think after nine seasons nothing these brothers go through anymore could pack an emotional punch, but the closeup on Sam’s devastated face as he watched that angel blade go through Dean just about killed me. When they showed Dean’s bloodied and stunned look back, oh yeah, I started bawling.
Look at this expression. It said it all. It was Dean’s apology, his regret for all he had done to Sam and failing to kill Metatron. The “I’m sorry, I did my best” expression and blanket apology from a dying man that just makes a fan girl all weepy. He wished it could be different, but there was no going back. Taking on the Mark of Cain made things far worse, because now he’s transitioning into something he doesn’t want to be. By accepting his death, he was accepting his consequences for the decisions he made. The fact that the camera lingered for an extra few seconds on Dean gave him the time needed to convey all the guilt and regret that’s been plaguing him for years.
I don’t blame Dean for going it alone though. He couldn’t risk his brother being in harms way, especially after all he’d done with Gadreel. In the rewatch I asked myself if Dean taking on Metatron alone was a death wish. One because he knew he was dying because of the mark anyway. I think yes. It was a death wish that started when he first accepted the mark, no actually before that. It was a death wish that started when his “save Sam at all costs” mentality got Kevin killed.
Because I was already a blubbery mess by this time, Dean’s death in Sam’s arms just kept the waterworks coming. I adore this scene and every bit that went into it. It’s so perfect, so in character for both these guys. Sam sees Dean’s wound and decides they need to find a doctor or a spell. Dean, just inches from death, takes time to throw Sam’s comment about not doing the same for him from “The Purge” in his face. That is so Dean!
Dean: What happened with you being okay with this?
Sam: I lied.
Dean: Ain’t that a bitch.
That’s the type of lighthearted humor that’s been missing between these two and rightfully so it’s happening in the face of death. I miss those days. Remember when Dean was dying in season one’s “Faith” and wouldn’t take things seriously in the hospital? Having a sing along to “Wanted Dead or Alive” in the Impala in “No Rest For The Wicked?” This was that. I question the editing choice of putting that bit in between the Castiel and Metatron confrontation, but it was still perfect.
But then every heart in the fandom completely melts when Dean stops and says the words that shall forever be quoted from now to eternity. “I’m proud of us.” He dies in Sam’s arms! NOOOO!!! DEAN!!!! Sam begs Dean to wake up and then it hits him hard. He holds onto his lifeless brother tight and weeps. It’s poetic, it’s gorgeous, it’s a throwback to the teary death scenes of old and I love it. And I hate it because now I’m an emotional wreck. The way it should be. These brothers shouldn’t hurt so much in season nine, but they do. I cannot possibly say in words how brilliant Jensen and Jared acted out this scene. I ran out of adjectives long ago because these guys always continue to amaze me. They did it again here.
I also love how they took a few frames to show a grieving Sam deal with the aftermath. The framing is incredible. Sam takes his brother’s body back to the bunker and gently puts him on his bed, while Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” perfectly plays in the background. (It’s far more appropriate here than when used in “Route 666.”) The red around Sam’s eyes say it all, he’s been crying for a while. Then there’s a closeup of Sam’s shaken hand pouring whiskey from a half empty bottle into a glass, indicating this is not his first drink. He takes the mostly full glass and slams the contents. We know that Sam only drinks whiskey like that when he’s very upset.
But the best shot of all is the wide shot of a somber Sam in the dark library drinking alone. The room is dark around him, but the control room behind him is well lit. The backlighting that comes through is haunting and accents just how much pain Sam is in at that moment. Bravo to director Thomas J. Wright and Serge Ladoucer’s gorgeous lighting to selling the agony of that scene along with Jared.
To think, Dean’s death isn’t even the tragic part. Jeremy Carver said this season was about consequences, and Dean unfortunately suffered the worst one of all. He was warned that taking on the Mark of Cain would come with a great burden, but in his self loathing he accepted it without reading the fine print. The result is a fate worse than death. Again with the framing, Crowley’s arrival in Dean’s room has a certain art to it, the big demon lurking the shadows, coming to claim his prize.
We finally see what Crowley had intended all along.
“Your brother, bless his soul, is summoning me as I speak, make a deal, bring you back. It’s exactly what I was talking about, isn’t it? It’s all become so...expected. You have to believe me, when I suggested you take on the Mark of Cain I didn’t know this was going to happen. Not really. I mean I might not have told you the entire truth but I never lied. I never lied Dean, it’s important. It’s fundamental. But there is one story about Cain that I might have forgotten to tell you. Apparently he too was willing to accept death rather than becoming the killer the Mark wanted him to be. So he took his own life with the blade. He died. Except, as rumor has it, the Mark never quite let go. You can understand why I never spoke of this. Why set hearts a flutter at mere speculation? It wasn’t until you summoned me, no, it wasn’t truly until you left that cheeseburger uneaten, that I began to let myself believe maybe miracles do come true. Listen to me Dean Winchester, what you’re feeling right now it’s not death, it’s life. A new kind of life. Open your eyes Dean, see what I see, feel what I feel. Let’s take a howl at that moon.”
This speech, not only in it’s wording but in it’s delivery, as if Crowley had regret over the situation, is Emmy worthy. Mark Sheppard killed it. Humanizing Crowley this season was the best decision ever made.
Yes, we’ve had a lot of shockers with "Supernatural," but this is easily the biggest one second shocker we’ve gotten yet. It’s not surprising, it was even foretold if you pay attention to the Cain mythology from “First Born,” but that didn’t make it any less shocking. I’m both intrigued and utterly devastated. Dean Winchester has been resurrected as a demon. The one thing he never, ever wanted to happen to him.
So what have we learned from “Do You Believe In Miracles?” Other than we’ve got some serious s*** going down to start season ten? For one, Jeremy Carver is a magician. Going into this episode we had what seemed like a bunch of random plots and plot threads that didn’t come together all of a sudden come together (some were left dangling of course but for the most part he covered it). I remember this point last year being so thrilled with all the possibilities for season nine after the explosive end in “Sacrifice” where Carver pulled the same wizardry, only to see season nine majorly disappoint. As much as I loved the episode, I am getting weary of Jeremy Carver at the end of each season have to pull magic out of a hat rather than offer a full, well plotted season.
But all in all, this episode was enough to keep me happy until the return of “Supernatural” in October. It’s going to be long Hellatus folks and we have plenty of time to absorb all we’ve been given, but for now, my emotionally wrecked fan girl heart is taking time to heal - Just the way it should be this time every year.
This was such a quote worthy episode. Here are my favs:
Metatron: The problem with you Dean is the cynicism, always with the cynicism. But most people, even the real belly crawlers living in filth, or Brentwood, they don’t want to be cynical. They want something believe in. (Nice inside joke! Jensen lives in Brentwood, or at least he did).
Angel: You just reunited all the angels under the banner of Heaven. I mean that’s like-
Metatron: Winning a People’s Choice Award? It’s not quite the real deal now is it?”
(Ooh, another big inside joke, and quite a risky one. The writer is mocking the audience. I laughed though because we kind of had that coming.)
Crowley: It wants you to kill. The more you kill the better you feel. The less you kill the less better you feel.
Dean: How much less better?
Crowley: Well I would imagine the least less better.
Dean: So dead.
Dean: Game of Thrones is complicated. Shower sex, that’s complicated. Hell ain’t complicated.
Crowley: Excuse me, I’m not exactly demon minion #3 here. As the kids say, I’ve got mad skillz.
Crowley: I guess I’ve been Winchestered.