It's official: Anything bad that happens to anybody on Supernatural from now on is Dean Winchester's fault. Last night's season finale was apparently aimed at those people who feel as though the "Dean is always right" stuff had gotten out of hand. Spoilers ahead...
The eighth season of Supernatural had reached a creative high point in the past half dozen episodes or so — and last night's finale, despite a frustrating ending, was still pretty great. Showrunner/writer Jeremy Carver wrapped up the "Hell trials" storyline and the "Naomi is a jerk" storyline, with only a modicum of plot-hammering.
But the over-arching theme did seem to be: Dean. What a putz.
The episode ends with angels raining down from the sky, to become (apparently) season nine's version of Leviathans. And Sam is a wreck, having dropped the ball on the one-yard line at Dean's insistence.
Dean hears from Naomi that Metatron — the angel that Castiel only just met the other day — is playing Cas and doesn't actually want to "fix" Heaven. But Dean fails to step in and get Cas to cool his jets until they figure out what's actually going on. At this point, all Cas and Dean know is that Metatron has been "neutralized," so there's not much urgency to rush to Heaven and investigate. At the very least, Cas could have taken a moment to hide the Cupid's Bow he and Metatron got from that other angel earlier in the episode — in case this was one of Naomi's traps, or in case she was telling the truth.
But even if you can forgive Dean's failure to stop Castiel wrecking everything for about the 500th time lately, there's his decision to stop the Three Trials. Which have just achieved their final success, turning Crowley into a nice person who cares deeply about HBO's Girls.
Dean is apparently shocked to hear that Sam will have to die as part of his heroic trials to close the gates of Hell. Even though that's been obvious for months now — what, did Dean think that Sam was going to destroy his entire body with some kind of divine radiation, and perform the nearly impossible cosmic feat of shutting Hell, and then walk away?
Honestly, I was assuming the catch was "Sam dies, plus when bad people die, they don't go to Hell but instead haunt the Earth." Having the catch be "Sam dies" seems like a free pass, practically. I mean, it sucks for Sam and Dean, but they have to know it's a miracle they've even survived this long. And nobody ever gets a death as meaningful as that.
In any case, Dean finally learns that Sam has to die as part of this deal, and rushes over to stop him. I get that Dean is upset, but Sam is absolutely 100 percent right that they are condemning countless other people to die if Sam doesn't go through with this. Countless.
And Dean's counter-argument, that they've learned so much as a result of the trials that now they'll be able to "turn the tide" against the demons? That's like arguing that instead of blowing up an army all at once, you should stab them one by one with a toothpick. Even if it's the best toothpick on Earth.
In any case, this somehow devolves into an argument about whether Dean thinks Sam is useless, which is partly based on something Dean said earlier in the episode and partly an attempt to make all the stuff about Benny and Vet Girl from earlier in the season feel relevant somehow. The upshot? No Hell trials, and now the Earth is crawling with demons and angels.
Good job, Dean!
In any case, the episode was pretty good in spite of that ending — which you can argue is actually in character for Dean, who was not entirely on board with letting Sam jump into the pit back in season five. The good part? Large bits of this episode, particularly the scenes with Metatron, felt as though they'd been written by Ben Edlund, who introduced Metatron in the first place. Particularly the notion that God really is just a loud, overbearing sexist guy.
Oh, and Metatron? I kind of wish they hadn't waited so long to introduce him as a character. His evolution, from bookish recluse who loves stories to psycho who wants to expel all angels from Heaven, feels a bit whiplash-inducing — I sort of buy it, because he's been out of the loop for a long time and then he finds out what the Arcangels have been up to since he fled Heaven. But I wouldn't have minded seeing a bit more of that evolution.
So now we're all set for a season of angel-on-demon action, with Castiel apparently turned into a human and Kevin now in possession of both angel and demon tablets. And Crowley... possibly a nice person now? My hope for season nine is that Dean, Sam, Cas, Kevin and Crowley will all team up, with Felicia Day's Charlie as their perky hacker sidekick, a la Felicity on Arrow. And they'll trick the angels and demons into ganking each other.
That is, if Dean can stop being such a putz.