A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 9×23 (Open your eyes)

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Sam and Dean’s climactic tale settles into season 9’s finale, “Do You Believe in Miracles?” Never to stray away from leaving the audience hanging, season ten promises to begin with a new perspective on how a favored character will exist…as a demon.

Unbeknownst to my original theory, Sam and Dean were not thrust into a brother versus brother battle to stamp the end of the show. Instead, Sam and Dean manage to set aside their woes and frustrations and deal with Metatron as they intended. While the new direction of the show leaves me excited at the development, I can’t help but wonder if my expectations for an angelic finale was raised too high. Let’s quickly recap.

Sam and Castiel force Dean into a holding cell at HQ and then search for Gadriel who fled after Dean’s vicious attack. Dean summons Crowley to break him out and steal the first blade. Meanwhile, Metatron tells his new angel followers that he’s going on a trip and will explain himself when he returns. He travels to Indiana and ressurects a woman who was hit by a truck. Everyone nearby witnesses the miracle and a video catching the moment is uploaded online.

Sam and Cas find Gadriel and heal him. Afterward they devise a plan to find and destroy the angel tablet which is giving Metatron his strength. Sam finds Dean in Indiana and the two track down Metatron, leaving aside their differences for the moment.

Gadriel pretends to capture Cas and is allowed entry into Metatron’s domain but are both soon captured and placed in an angelic prison. Cas tries to reason with Ingrid who has sided with Metatron, but she won’t trust him. Gadriel submits to his fate and carves a sign on his chest and then stabs himself. He ignites and destroys the prison, allowing Cas to escape. Gadriel’s sacrifice convinces Ingrid to ally with Cas again.

Dean and Sam prepare to face Metatron but then Dean knocks his brother out saying it’s not his fight. Dean finds Metatron, who is protected by homeless people who have seen his miraculous acts. They allow him entry and he finds Metatron sitting alone. After Metatron fails to get through to Dean about how God didn’t care about humanity, the two battle. Metatron easily has the upper hand while Cas searches Metatron’s office for the angel tablet. Sam recovers and searches for Dean, and only finds him just as Metatron stabs Dean in the chest with an angel knife.

Metatron returns to his office and finds Castiel and the broken tablet. Cas goads Metatron into revealing his agenda which the angels overhear. Together they capture Metatron and put him in the angel prison.

Sam tries to carry Dean away, but Dean is mortally wounded. He tells Sam that he’s proud of “us” and then collapses into Sam, who hugs and cries over the death of his brother. After returning Dean back to HQ, Sam summons Crowley to force him to save Dean. Crowley appears in Dean’s room and reveals that he kept a specific story about Cain from Dean. Cain killed himself with the first blade and became a demon because of the mark. He then places the blade in Dean’s hand and tells him to wake up. Dean’s eyes open and they are black.

 

All it took was seeing Crowley appear in Dean’s room and I understood what the last frame of the episode would be. It’s a fascinating idea to turn Dean into a demon. I’m not certain if this was speculated by the fanbase, but kudos to any who called it early. My money had always been on a brotherly fight, one to settle an age old problem. Considering the amount of hellish changes Sam has gone through over the years, I’d say it was high time Dean received more of that “special” treatment. In some ways I can see Dean having a new sense of fun with his transformation. But the priority question is, will he still be “Dean” Dean? Becoming a demon is no picnic and from dozens of examples in the past, humans that become demons rarely maintain any form of humanity. I like this new concept, it’s fresh and offers a new layer of Sam and Dean relationship SNAFU.

The finale’s plot, as a whole, wasn’t as impressive as I had imagined. I thought big and wanted epic, but realistically I can understand the scale would have been too much for a show like this to tell meaningfully. It was always meant to be Metatron versus Dean, one on one. It was no Samifer versus Dean (and by versus I mean Dean getting repeatedly punched in the face several times) but it was a nice throwback. Dean can really sell desperation when he’s being pummeled to a bloody pulp. As for Metatron, he talked big for a little guy and never had the “ultimate” plan that should have made everyone blink twice at being played. It turns out Metatron was played by Castiel and now suffers in prison because of it. Maybe that’s where I feel the biggest let down was. It could spring several topical debates about how Metatron inserted himself into humanity to show and gain their trust. He was his own mouthpiece believing the tune he sang about blaming God for how humanity turned out. In the end, he was an idealist who served his own means to establish a new monarchy in heaven. He believes in a good story, but wasn’t smart enough to make his own come true.

Gadriel’s sendoff felt appropriate given the context we’ve been given for his character throughout season 9. He was Metatron’s instrument and a shadow from Lucifer’s past. He was probably the last truly recognizable angel the audience could identify with after destroying so many others from our historical knowledge. He died wanting to be remembered for something better other than what he was always known for. Letting the devil in. It was noble and fitting, even if he’s still a jerk for killing Kevin.

Is Castiel on borrowed time? It’s a puzzling question because Castiel needs angelic grace to remain alive. If any other rogue angel messes with him, then you’d think it’s an easy solution, but realistically, Castiel isn’t that kind of desperate angel. He’ll try to find other ways and if not, he’ll quietly accept his fate. He said it himself, he just wants to be an angel, not a leader. We’ve been given a hint that season ten will also focus on Castiel’s dilemma. It could be a simple episode or a seasonal arc. Either way, I doubt he’ll meet any kind of true end.

My favorite scene was the final one. I hung on each of Crowley’s words as he mysteriously explained his hidden story to Dean about Cain’s suicide. Crowley is best when he’s living in passive moments like these. He can battle and crack jokes like the best of the bunch, but when he’s relaxed and serious, his scenes can shine. And it was good there was no music to get in the way of the scene, it added more and more revelation to the plot as Crowley neared Dean’s body. And when Dean’s blackened eyes open the scene is complete. I enjoyed the moment. Not because of the cruel twist of fate on Dean’s soul, but because it makes perfect sense. There was never any hint that Dean was going to try and get rid of the mark once Metatron and Abaddon were killed. Nobody even questioned the possibility of Dean dissolving the mark or passing it along to another. Cain never reappeared wanting the mark back. The only logical course was to complete his transformation into what Cain was and that meant becoming a demon. I’m hoping Dean’s new state will be a season wide arc and not a quick “Let’s get everything back to normal” during the premiere. This deserves to be fleshed out. Sam survived many arcs in awkward and imbalanced situations like Dean’s and could create many new creative outlets for new stories as the brothers face another challenge.

On a side note, there’s a slight sense of circular play at work here. In the beginning of the season Sam is turned into a vessel for an angel, while at the end, Dean becomes the form of a demon. It’s opposite but also strangely mirror-like. Just an observation.

Overall, the episode had a less than stellar plot, but a very strong finish. The angel plot had to be the one to settle in the finale, though I believe Abaddon was a stronger villain in general over Metatron. As charismatic as Metatron tried to be, I just never truly believed he had the ability to follow through with his plan. He tried to act smarter with his storytelling techniques but fell for his own ego. Sam and Dean hit on their usual beats and at the end you saw once more that in the veil of death, Sam and Dean are truly brothers and neither wants to see the other die. It’s Sam’s turn to try and save Dean, also adding to the circular dynamic introduced at the beginning when Dean saved Sam. I believe Sam will try and understand Dean’s new change but also try and undo it with any and every spell he can think of. All we have to go on is Crowley’s humanity and a loose way to purge a demon of it’s demony-ness. Let’s not rush to that quite yet, I want to see how Dean reacts. Will be become evil and sinister? Will Crowley try and manipulate Dean into his cause? How will Castiel treat Dean after this? I like the questions and the uncertainty. As a whole, season 9 was on par with season 7, but no better. Some stand-alone plots really shined, but the over arcing angel story was less interesting than the demon tales. Keep the demons coming, and put the angels on the backburner for season 10. We’ll carry on until this fall. Thanks for reading, everyone!

 

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