In a series that has become known for having season finales that end with a cliffhanger, this one was the,ummm…cliffhangiest! Crowley is continuing to go after those whom the Winchesters have saved and now targets Jody Mills, an old flame of Bobby’s. Sam and Dean find themselves having to agree to Crowley’s deal to stop the trials and trade the demon tablet for the Angel tablet. But the boys manage to take Crowley by surprise with a pair of demon strength handcuffs. They also discover that the demon they have to cure with the third trial is Crowley himself!
Castiel and Metatron are working on completing the second angel trial when Naomi kidnaps Metatron, leaving Castiel behind. Sam begins the purification process in an old church by injecting Crowley with his own blood. Abaddon attempts to stop the process not to save Crowley, but to take over Hell for herself. Sam manages to dispel Abaddon from her human host and Crowley soon sheds his evil, crying and showing remorse for his actions. Sam knows the cure is near but Naomi warns Dean that Metatron intends to expel all demons from Heaven as revenge against them. She also warns him that the trials will kill Sam.
Dean manages to stop Sam from completing the trial seemingly curing him of the illness he’s been feeling. Castiel returns to Heaven to find Naomi dead. Metatron captures Castiel, stealing his Heavenly grace and returns him to Earth to live life as a human. As Sam and Dean leave the church they begin to feel a strange rush of power in the air and look up to see thousands of objects hurtling to earth like meteorites. They are the angels of Heaven that Metatron has expelled.
Wow…where to begin! This finale had just about all of the supporting characters doing an about face…Metatron, the seemingly shy, quiet scribe of God who has remained hidden for thousands of years suddenly reveals himself to be one badass son of a gun! Curtis Armstrong has made a career of playing quirky characters in commercial roles so his sudden change of demeanor came as one of the biggest twists in the show’s history. It’s no coincidence that led the Winchesters to Metatron. It seems clear that Metatron put these events into motion in order to get his revenge against all of the angels. Armstrong was simply brilliant, showing an evil side that he’s not known for and did so with gusto!
Naomi and Crowley also had their epiphanies as well. Naomi (Amada Tapping) admits that the Archangels had lost their way and failed to protect humanity. Mark A. Sheppard gave his most emotional performance yet as Crowley. As Sam’s begins to strip away the evil, Crowley at one point laments that “All I want is to be loved.”
We’ve wondered where the protagonists might come from if indeed the Winchesters managed to close the gates of Hell. Well not only did they not do so, but instead its Heaven that is shut down and the world is filled with a bunch of unemployed angels. So I guess we now know that the main story point for next year will be finding a way to re-open Heaven and return the angels to their rightful home. But we also don’t know where this leaves Crowley…he was nearly cured. Does he revert back? Is he stripped enough of his evil that another demon takes over hell? This was one hell of a shocking conclusion to season 8 but also an outstanding one!