Supernatural Review: What is the Third Trial?

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We're heading somewhere. The end.

Sam couldn't have spoken more true words at the close of this episode, something that reiterated that final destination and goal for Supernatural Season 8.

And yet, we don't exactly know what that end is going to be beyond trying to complete the third trial. There's as much pointed direction as there is mystery and stakes for the Winchester brothers, in addition to the potential repercussions of closing the gates of Hell.

Which, wonderfully, "The Great Escapist" was able to extend beyond something of a set-up episode for the finale. Not only did it focus heavily on the mythology, bring the factions of angels, demons and and also bring the Winchesters even closer... it managed to provide some real depth to the characters and meaning to their quest.

It looks like writer Ben Edlund did it again and gave viewers another quality hour of television.

Sam, Dean and Metatron

Sam continued to look like a mess, but rather than just a bad hair day, we got a real look into him trying to deal with the effects of completing two trials.

A lot of it looked like a really bad hangover, but there was something about Jared Padalecki's performance that really sold the situation. His hilarious delirium, his stumbling around and the way he gave a variety of emotions due to the varying circumstances of his predicament put Sam on a different level. It wasn't moments of moping or being silently angry or concerned.

There was a sincerity in the way he came out and talked about purifying his demon blood. It's an interesting twist for the character that's not only physically damaged him in the detox, but also emotionally. He's trying to do everything he can to complete the trials, but there's still that level of doubt.

Really, Sam had a lot of great moments and lines, including "You really haven’t heard of us? What kind of angel are you? We’re the freakin Winchesters!"

It was rather refreshing to meet Metatron, but not have him be another incarnation of the angels that seem to be a lot like the agents in the Matrix. More so, not having him give a mini-speech about the Winchesters or their destiny was a nice change.

Even the callbacks to Lucifer, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael not only illuminated the past that Sam and Dean had dealt with, but how solitary the messenger of God had made himself.

I'm always a sucker for the mythology, so hearing Metatron talk about God leaving and the archangels scheming all before he had to run away was enticing. I wanted to know more about it.

But I have to say that Metatron really brought the deep thoughts and heavy dialogue when he spoke with Dean about closing the gates of Hell: "It’s your choice. That’s what this has all been about. The choices your kind make. But you’re gonna have to weigh that choice. What will it take to do this and what will the world be like after it’s done."

That makes things so much less simple than before. It's a fantastic statement that gets you thinking about what closing the doors might mean, as well as the choices Sam and Dean have made through their entire journey.

The central idea seems to be stopping the demons by closing the doors, but Metatron's words implied consequences that could be worse. Is it like the whole balance thing with good and evil? You can't simply just get rid of it, right?

Of course, throughout all of this, Crowley was trying to trick Kevin into helping him decipher the tablets (with some great Sam and Dean impostors), while Naomi went on a rampage to get the angel tablet from Castiel.

Nothing felt like a waste of time, but rather integral to everything taking place.

It was great to see Castiel try and trick Naomi, but it was wild learning that he had been storing the tablet inside him all along. Looks like Crowley was able to get that out of him, and with a rather cool gun that could hurt angels.

Can Crowley ever be defeated? He always seems to get the upper hand on his opponents.

That said, it was definitely different seeing him blown across the room and essentially burned. No quick quip after that moment was there?

There was so much going on, but it all led to the revelation of the third trial: cure a demon.

Cure a demon? What does that even mean?

And of course, Sam and Dean rescuing Castiel on the road. Looks like it's going to be the trio saving the world one more time.

This episode was full of humor, drama, mythology, character, and pretty much everything that an entertaining episode of Supernatural should have. It definitely has me excited to see what's going to happen, as well as left me with plenty of questions and theories to mull over. Or maybe I'll go check out a few books while I wait until next week's episode. That's what Metatron would do.

What did you think? What did Metatron mean about choices? What about the third trial? Will Sam and Dean finally close the gates of Hell for good? Sound off below!


Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (129 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


My take on the whole 'good vs evil' thing is that the end goal is to have humanity on it's own without the demons or the angels using it for their own schemes. Get rid of demons and angels and humanity can focus on taking responsibility for its' own actions without interference. Like Lennon said, "No hell below us, above us only sky".


The eye thing was probably just lighting. Also there's no way that Ion 'possessed' Jimmy as angels need permission to do so from vessels... and they each have specific vessels. They can't use just anybody. Oh SPN fandom. You see things where there is nothing to see. They show has also never shown angels as 'evil.' They portray them as soldiers. Some of them obviously more power hungry than others. Some more cut throat and ruthless. The angels of SPN have never been visages of goodness with fluffy wings and halos that people have made up.


@Richard @effs About Castiel's eye... I didn't catch it during the viewing, but my guess would be that since he is separated from the tablet (as Crowley points out) he no longer is able to break Naomi's hold over him. It is possible that gray eye means Naomi can possibly control him again, or at least zap him up to that office of hers. Not sure, but it was the first thing I thought of after reading about the eye change.


"Can Crowley ever be defeated? He always seems to get the upper hand on his opponents." Hell No...that's why we calling him King of da Hell!!! @effs great catch of the eye... Crowley and Castiel back...Can't wait for next episode.


To those asking how the Metatron found Kevin, and how he could do that to Crowley, I just assumed one that he would know at all times where the Tablets are. Also remember that he wrote the word of god. I'd assume he'd know everything there is to know about fighting/hurting demons.


@effs No, I didn't catch that about Castiel's eye. Interesting. SPN loves to slip in tiny little details like that! In "Torn and Frayed," Castiel is in the White Room, being tortured by Naomi. It showed a drill moving toward one of Castiel's eyes. Perhaps the color change is a result of the drill.


@ Che Che Good points about Metatron and Crowley. Castiel, under normal circumstances, has the juice to easily take out Crowley. Well, maybe not easily but he would win the confrontation. Like you said, Metatron seems to be a lower level Angel. Not as low as the Cupids, but not at Castiel's level, either. Crowley may very well be more powerful than Metatron. If thats the case, then who did that to Crowley? Or maybe Metatron just caught Crowley off guard? In the episode with the pagan gods Mercury and Odin, Gabriel caught Lucifer by surprise and threw him across the room even though Lucifer was more powerful than Gabriel.


did anyone realize that the colour of castiels right iris suddenly turned grey in the last scene, even though he had blue eyes before? and that it was the angels right eye in which castiel put the bullet before. Maybe the angel somehow managed to posses his body...


This episode had so much potential, but finally nothing striking came out of it. Sam and Dean would get the TABLET sooner or later. Tired of seeing Sam and Dean fight "like an old married couple". With every episode Dean wants to be the caring one, but Sam resents this as he wishes to fulfill the trials. Mentioning this a few times is fine, but now literally every episode we get to see a scene in which only this part of their relationship is emphasises. Come on SPN, think of something BETTER. 1/5


Cure a Demon - swallow their pride and cure Crowley, who just got burned. *snicker* I don't buy Castiel just sitting there helpless while Crowley snatched the tablet from him, yet had the strength to kill Ion minutes later. Too convenient. How could a third-level angel Metatron have the wherewithal to find Kevin and knock Crowley off his feet when everyone else has failed? And if he's all that, why not horse-whisper to Kevin to snatch up the Angel Tablet before he beams him back to his hideout? Again, too convenient. As Metatron alluded to, if the gates of Hell are closed, where will all new evil souls go? And is there a means of redemption? Heaven/Hell - Soul Treatment Plant. Finally, the whole Angels vs. Devils, God/Daddy has taken a vacation - kinda makes things easier on the viewer asking "Why doesn't God just step in and stop all this suffering? Why aren't the angels all next to the side of the chosen like the Winchesters fighting the evil of the world?"

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