I thought for sure that Dean would be KITT. I guess I should know better by now that with Supernatural, assumptions are mostly a fool's errand. I've not seen the original knight rider, but I can appreciate the driving sequence all the same - it was grand.
It's great to see the boys working in tandem again, picking up the fragments of each other's ideas and running with them. Such as when Sam proposes that the Trickster isn't a Trickster and Dean puts the rest of the pieces together to get Angel. There were some great lines in this episode, no question, but Sam and his trunk were pretty awesome. My favourite part of the KITT bit was Sam asking Dean, Should I honk?
Regularly Scheduled Programming - œGrumpy, Sneezy or Douchy?
Time for the big reveal and I'm speechless. Holy. Crap. Okay, so after Cas' second flicker out, I had my money on the fact that the Trickster, was actually an angel “ specifically, Zachariah. What a twist. Gabriel. The name Gabriel means œstrength of God and he is well known for being the messenger of God, Gabriel being the one who brought news to the Virgin Mary of her impending Immaculate Conception and birthing. Gabriel is said to have a horn that brings about the end of time “ it is believed that at the end of days he will blow this horn, as in, the apocalypse. So now we know that for the most part, all the major players (with the glaring exception of God himself) are on the board and it's all a matter of who moves where at this point.
I truly felt bad for Gabriel, he's like the child in a divorce and he just wants the fighting to end because he can't stand to watch his family tearing each other to pieces anymore. He ran off and became a Trickster to get away from it all. Wow. Dean has a great line here: œWhat did daddy say when you ran off and joined the pagans?
Two brothers that loved each other and betrayed each other. You think you'd be able to relate. The way Gabe breaks things down, “Dean, the big brother obeying the absent father (Michael) and Sam, the little brother, rebelling against Dad,“ this was a very intriguing plot point as it wasn't something I'd thought about before, certainly not the depth of the parallel between Sam and Dean, Lucifer and Michael. Gabe brought some matter-of-fact elements to the table which was thoroughly satiating. (Didn't see the ring of holy oil-fire coming, but that's become a great tool “ Thanks Cas, for the knowledge in the art of angel-trapping.)
Gabriel throws out another familiar phrase during this exchange, one that, like ˜destiny' keeps rearing its ugly head: œit was always you “ the Winchester brothers just can't seem to escape the agenda that the universe seems to have mapped out for them. One brother has to kill the other “ quite the blow there. Dean keeps his head and takes control of things very well “œNo, that's not going to happen - quite the emerging leader. Meanwhile, Sam looks positively crushed by this revelation. He has a very devastated expression on his face and he's speechless. Dean is seriously unhappy now. His threat to Gabriel is pretty black “ burn the angel alive “ yeah, he's pissed and you should bring Cas back, stat. By the time he reappears, Castiel has figured it out now too and though the angels don't talk much, but they communicate the way only family can through a glance and I'm not quite sure if it's hurt, anger or a mix.
This Trickster-is-Gabriel answered a major question for me, what was the motivation of the Trickster in having Sam watch Dean die over and over again? He explained that:
There's a lesson here¦this obsession to save Dean? The way you two keep sacrificing yourselves for one another? Nothing good comes out of it. Just blood and pain. Dean's your weakness. The bad guys know it too. It's going to be the death of you, Sam. Sometimes you just gotta let people go.
Watching this scene again, with the knowledge that we've gained in Changing Channels makes it a very powerful watch. I'd always wondered why the trickster cared if Sam and Dean sacrificed themselves for one another, or why it'd matter if it leads to their death. Now it's clear “ blood and pain doesn't mean just for them, but for everyone.
Dean's reactions in this final part were especially potent. There's irony in the fact that he accused Gabe of not being able to stand up to his family, because of course that is something Dean truly has had firsthand experience with inside his own family. Also, that Dean recognized it was an angel because someone only gets that worked up over family was very observant of him. I think Dean can relate well because he's been in between both Sam and John, recognizes the passionate anger that only family can inspire. Dean has come a long, long way since last season, as has Sam. In Dean's case, he's matured quite a bit and the signs of leadership are really beginning to shine through brightly. Letting Gabriel go free was an especially telling move on the part of Dean. First, that he makes the decision they're going to let Gabriel go and neither Sam nor Cas question this (probably equal parts trust in Dean, shock at the new information and the fact that the brother's are pretty well in sync again). Second, he makes a point of not being a dick like the angels are:
We don't screw with people the way you do. And for the record, this isn't about some prize fight between your brothers or some destiny that can't be stopped. This is about you being too afraid to stand up to your family.
Dean's incredibly sick of being a pawn in this game, that much is clear “ he's had it with the destiny crap. The final shot of Gabriel, wet and in the slowly dying ring of fire was a very poignant shot “ he looks sad and I can't help but feel sorry for his position with his feuding brothers. I like to believe that Gabe let the boys go is because Dean struck a chord within him and I hope this means we'll see him again before the season's done. Gabe as a player for team-Winchester would bring a great dynamic to the show.
I wish I was back on a TV show. How Meta, Kripke. And an appropriate way to leave us, I think. Given the hugeness of what we've just learned, the quiet ending fits in that the boys need time to recoup and process, much like the audience.
This was quite a powerful episode and ended on a sombre note again, except that Dean's attitude really fueled the idea that the boys are going to start fighting back. I look forward to the Winchesters being a little more proactive and a little less reactive in this big game of Apocalypse Now.
So, episode eight down and only two more before the holiday-hiatus, is your Supernatural-deprivation Survival Kit stocked and at the ready?