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.


Meg could come back but if the character comes back she could be played by another actress. Rachel Minor who last played her might still be ill. Anyway the demon we know as Meg will be in Hell not Purgatory, Aj. Just because a back door links Hell and Purgatory that doesn't mean demons and monsters are crossing between the two different after lifes. I wonder if Crowley has discovered this and closed it up. I sure can't say I was bored with the episode and I can't say it was wordy. Since when has Ben Edlund been speechy? The answer is never.


Aj, Meg is the demon daughter of yellow eyes/ Azazel may be brought back but she would back from hell. Demons got to Hell. Monsters go to Purgatory. Even though there is a back door linking purgatory and hell, monsters and demons are segregated.


This season has been amazing and this episode is just more proof that season 8 is really season GR8. There are so many questions to be answered and the answers will probably lead to more questions. The writers, producers & directors seem to have very good ideas as to where the show is going through at least next season. Love this show more each week. Hate that there are just 2 more episodes this season, but so glad we have season 9 to look forward to.


Good episode (one of the VERY few this season and I liked last week's Pac Man one, too.) I was impressed with Jared's performance in this episode and it was LOVELY to see Sam and Dean as... well, Sam and Dean! Welcome back boys, WHERE have you been this season?? I'm going to watch the final epsiodes with caution though - please, please, do NOT bring back vile, loathsome, repellant Amelia (played by a very poor actress, to boot) and ruin it. Please no. I'm pretending that Amelia never happened.


Richard - it was Metatron that threw Crowley across the room when he rescued Kevin.


So the trials are 'purifying' Sam? What if he didn't have the demon blood to begin with? What would they have done to Dean? Could there be something more. Are they killing Sam or doing something different? It would be wild if they were turning Sam into an angel.


I'm curious as to who flung Crowley across the room and burned him like that, too. When a prophet is threatened, it was the job of the Archangels step in to protect them. We saw that way back when Chuck/Prophet was threatened. But all the Archangels are gone, or they would have stepped in back when Crowley cut Kevin's finger off. Gabriel and Raphael are dead and Michael and Lucifer are in the Cage.


I loved everything about this episode, and you're right about Sam having a lot of good lines.


Cure Crowley; if he gets locked up in hell, i'll miss his sense of humor... Or maybe resuscitate Meg and cure her so she can order a pizza from Castiel... But whatever happens, please don't bring Jared's wife back coz her acting sucks big time!!!


HELLO? Technically Meg is not dead because if they wanted to they could go to purgatory and get her. Secondly, if the gates of hell was closed it would not stop the evil in the world because people can be naturally evil.For the newbies their were a couple of episodes discussing this. As it is in heaven so it must be on earth. Power, corruption etc. As for this episode, I kind of nodded off. This was boring like this whole season. When did SPN turn speechy.

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