First thing is first: the CW recently renewed Supernatural for a 9th season. Not only is that spectacular news, but it makes it easier to see the path the show will go on. The previous two episodes have focused on the “men of letters” and other secret societies in the world. This gives the show a clear foundation for next season. It also means that the writers can focus the last chunk of the season on the main event – closing the gates of hell.
In last night’s Trial and Error, Kevin Tran worked in a tireless montage to finish translating his half of the demon tablet. For his efforts he found his answer and won himself a very Lost-esque bloody nose. Seriously, all that was missing was some Mama Cass from that opening scene for it to be any more of a Lost homage. Kevin regained consciousness and called up the Winchesters before he could faint once more.
While not integral to the plot it was a novelty to see just what Kevin pulled them away from. The Batcave has given the brothers a new home base just as much as it’s given them a home. Dean was cooking dinner for his brother, and was decorating his room – guns, vinyls, and a picture of his mother. Dean is about 34 at this point, and the thing he was most excited about was having his own room. Also his bed:
I’ve got this killer mattress. Memory foam. It remembers me.
So they go and check on Kevin who seems to not be doing so well in the health department, but who does know their next step. Basically in order to slam the gates of hell shut, there are three Herculean style labors that God has set up for one person to complete, the first of which is taking out a Hellhound and bathing in its blood. YUM!
So the boys head to Idaho to the Cassity Farm – where 10 years a ago a family struck it rich so they think some demon deals went down. They meet Ellie who manages the farm and Carl who married into the family. The boys take a job shoveling out stables, and later that night Carl gets himself shredded by demon dog. Whoops.
The rest of the Cassity clan show up for the wake and they are the most dysfunctional crew ever to grace a dinner table on the CW. They are also hilarious. Their bickering was fantastically cruel.
Dad: That was back when Margo was fat, and Cin was sober.
Cindy: Get cancer and die, old man.
Dad: You first, sweetie.
Sam suspects that someone other than Carl made a deal with a demon and the brothers hang around to see just who else starts hallucinating. He also happens to hear about how 10 years ago a charming English salesman met the family. What was his name? Oh yeah. Crowley.
Kevin calls with a neat trick he found – by burning a pair of glasses in holy fire, the boys will be able to see the hounds without, you know, being pursued by them. That’s some lore that would have come in handy 5 seasons ago. Also it turns out Winchesters in glasses is a thing I never knew I wanted until I saw it and I really think they should wear them always. You know. For science.
Turns out that Margo Cassity – the youngest who ran off to Paris and got skinny – also made a deal; she dies gruesomely in the woods.
After handcuffing the remainder of the family Dean explains just why he is in such a rush to get through God’s trial. This is heartbreaking speech #1 of the night:
Dean: I’m a grunt, Sam. You’re not. You’ve always been the brains of this operation. And you told me yourself that you see a way out. You see a light at the end of this ugly-ass tunnel. I don’t. But I tell you what I do know, is that I’m going to die with a gun in my hand. Cause that’s what I have waiting for me, that’s all I have waiting for me. I want you to get out. I want you to have a life, become a Man of Letters, whatever. You with a wife and kids and grandkids, living til you’re fat and bald and chugging Viagara. That is my perfect ending and it’s the only one I’m gonna get. So I’m gonna do these trials and I’m gonna do them alone. End of story.
Dean goes and discovers that poor sweet farmhand Ellie, who knew her time was up and was dancing to the Divinyls, also made a deal to save her ailing mother. The hound comes for Ellie and Dean misses his shot to kill it. Before he can get back up, Sam steps in. He guts the dog, and gets a Flashdance worthy bath in its black blood. (It’s also the first time we have seen a Hellhound on screen and it is a very cool, barely-there, CGI monster.) Sam has stepped in front of his brother, as they so often do for one another, and is now the chosen one for completing God’s obstacle course.
Dean wants to go find another hound, but Sam shuts that down. This is heartbreaking speech #2.
Sam: Closing the gates. It’s a suicide mission for you. I want to slam hell shut too, okay? But I want to survive it. I want to live, and so should you. You have friends up here, family. Hell you’ve even got your own room now! You were right, okay? I see light at the end of this tunnel and I’m sorry you don’t, I am. But it’s there. And if you come with me, I can take you to it.
Dean: Sam, Be smart.
Sam: I am smart, and so are you. You’re not a grunt, Dean, you’re a genius. When it comes to lore- you’re the best damn hunter I’ve ever seen. Better than me, better than dad. I believe in you, Dean. So please, please, believe in me too.
Sam completes the spell, some shiny light happens, and he is officially marked as having completed the test.
Although the brothers had their issues at the beginning of the season, it seems as though when Sam made his choice to stay on the mission, he did it so that he could bring his brother a happy ending as well. Dean has had a self-loathing issue for a very, very long time. And it was nice to see Sam verbally shake Dean to his senses.
I really don’t know how much longer Supernatural will stay on this track of awesome episodes, but I am thrilled to have been here for it. Let’s hope it keeps on going – nine episodes and two trials to go.
Here are some of the best quotes I didn’t get to above:
Dean: [to a horse] I hate you.
Dean: Crowley. Poncey guy, about yea big, mountain of dicks.
Sam: Are you sleeping?
Kevin: Not really.
Dean: Are you eating?
Kevin: Hot dogs mostly.
Dean: Sure, yeah, breakfast of champions. Look, I’m gonna feel dirty saying this you might want a salad… and a shower.
Kevin: I know and I’ve been getting headaches and nosebleeds and I think maybe I had a small stroke.
Side rant: KEVIN. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. For each time Sam told Kevin to slow down and sleep, Dean told him to hurry up. Now while Dean was in a rush to meet his own end, I think it may have convinced Kevin that he shouldn’t ever stop. I will so not be OK if Supernatural decides to off yet another human I love, and yet judging by the number of times I wrote “I’m worried about Kevin” in my notes last night, I fear that’s where this is leading.