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After nine seasons, how does a television show make you audibly gasp at its final reveal? Shouldn’t all the magic be gone? By now we should know every trick and be able to telegraph every plot twist. Coming out of the final commercial break, I’m sure all of us were expecting a “Deus ex Machina” solution to Dean’s death. We’d seen it countless times over the course of nine seasons. Sam and Dean die, come back, and everything works itself out after a few episodes. When a show is centered on two brothers “saving people and hunting things” you just know they won’t stay gone for long.
Sure enough, Dean was revived before the end of the episode. We knew that was coming. It was when Dean’s eyes opened we realized we’d been played: Dean Winchester is a demon! Of all the cliffhangers we’ve been left with over nine seasons, this one might be the juiciest. I mean, come on, that final shot was incredible! Crowley’s monologue clued us in about what was coming but that didn’t lessen the impact of the big reveal. Tying Crowley’s final line back to what he said in the diner about “howling at the moon” was brilliant. It was a chilling note to end the season on and a great picture of what’s in store for Dean. That beast we saw in the final episodes has officially been unchained. Is it possible Crowley’s been pulling a long con with Dean all season? Setting him up with the First Blade, withholding the story about Cain killing himself and becoming a demon, and hoping he died in battle and came back with black eyes? That’s one way to recruit a new second-in-command!
Dean told Crowley that Hell isn’t complicated (unlike Game of Thrones and shower sex). It was easy to dismiss this line initially. After all, Crowley was just making conversation. Now it sticks out like a sore thumb as tragic foreshadowing. Dean’s going to become all too familiar with the inner workings of Hell next season. His death and demonic resurrection raise all kinds of questions. Is his soul gone? Is it in Heaven? Hell? Or is it still in his body, twisted beyond recognition? We know demons can be cured, so there’s still hope we’ll see Dean as a human before the series ends. Much like Dean struggled to convince Sam to keep on living, I expect Sam will struggle just as mightily to force the cure on Dean. It’s not the Winchester way to listen to reason.
Villains this season have spent too much time gloating and ultimately getting killed by an unconscious Winchester or an ally with impeccable timing. Metatron proved his ruthlessness by grabbing that angel blade and finishing the job. Of all the close calls Dean has survived over the years, it was jarring to see fate finally catch up with him. I still remember how scarred I was after Dean’s death in the Season 3 finale. I can still see the blood spurting up from Dean’s chest as it was ripped to shreds. *Shudders* Yet after all that, it was gut-wrenching to see Sam break down crying holding his brother’s body. This season has been rough for Sam and Dean. They’ve spent most of these 23 episodes at odds over the correct course of action or blaming each other for acting dishonestly. But when the chips are down, blood is thicker than water. Sam’s crocodile tears were a heartbreaking reminder of that.
I asked in my last recap that the writers spare Metatron and I’m glad they listened (thanks guys!). The power-hungry scribe of God was fully fleshed out in this hour. We see now that during God’s reign, Metatron was the power behind the throne. While God lacked compassion for humans, Metatron took pity on them and noticed their suffering. He wanted to heal them and lead them and pray for the sins. He only asked for the recognition he deserved. After spending centuries out of the spotlight, Metatron wanted the glory that came with sitting in the boss’s chair. That makes him a complicated character, something Supernatural has struggled to develop at times. He has noble intentions (meet humanity’s needs) and selfish desires (seeing his name up in lights).
In the end, he was exposed for the fraud he was in front of all the angels. Gadreel’s sacrifice allowed Castiel the opportunity to turn Metatron’s own hubris against him. While I’ll miss Tahmoh Penikett in the role, I’m glad Gadreel ended his life with dignity and honor. His life was marked by his failed attempts to do the right thing (sound like another angel we know?) and he finally redeemed himself. I got giddy at the sight of Castiel and Gadreel riding to the playground together. Gadreel’s failure to understand Castiel’s pop culture reference reminded me of the Castiel from earlier seasons. With the Bloodlines spinoff dead, I could see an “angel buddy cop” spinoff looming. We’ll never get that, tragically, but Gadreel finally did the right thing and helped Castiel undermine Metatron. Thankfully the angels spared his life, which means we’ll be treated to a Winchester-Marv rematch sometime next season. Will Dean be rocking the black eyes for that showdown? Only time will tell.
As I look back on Season 9, I’ll remember these 23 episodes fondly. They weren’t the strongest stretch for the show, yet they weren’t the worst, either. This season was built up as the “angel season” and that more or less delivered. Our main antagonist was an angel, there were rival angel factions who occasionally clashed (but mostly ran around like decapitated chickens), and an angel killed Kevin. But this was also the demon season. Crowley and Abaddon’s clash received its fair share of screen time and the denouement didn’t disappoint. At the heart of everything was the deterioration of Sam and Dean’s relationship. Lies and betrayals were eating away at what was once an unbreakable partnership. I speculated that the brothers would never recover from the damage their relationship incurred this season. That scene in the warehouse proved me wrong. “I’m proud of us,” Dean said. I’m proud, too.
This finale delivered in spades by wrapping up the season’s big storylines while leaving others dangling for next season to explore. We know what soulless Sam looked like. What will demonic Dean mean for the show, and how will it affect that unflappable Winchester bond? Time will tell. In the meantime, I think we should all celebrate the fact that after nine seasons, Supernatural can still amaze us.
Line of the week
“What happened to you being okay with this?”– Dean
“I lied.” – Sam
Next season on Supernatural
Dean’s a demon. I can’t wait!