In a lot of ways, Supernatural Season 8 felt split into two parts, where the first half centered on flashbacks with Sam and Dean trying to reunite and the latter half focused on the tablets and the larger repercussions involved.
While the outset seemed to stumble along trying to figure out a direction that would be both fresh and entertaining, the final stretch of episodes started pulling things together and reinvigorating the series towards an outstanding finale.
Let's wait out the hellatus together as we rundown Supernatural Season 8 in our latest TV Fanatic Report Card...
Best Episode: Hands down the finale, "Sacrifice" earned best episode, and for me certainly ranks up there for top episodes for the series. The tablet story came to a head, revealed a great twist with Metatron, delivered top performances from all the actors and most notably Jared Padalecki and Mark Sheppard, a dramatic Winchester brothers moment, as well as a jaw dropping and visually cool final scene with the angels falling from the sky. This was an all out Supernatural effort where everyone from the writer, director, actors, effects, and everything in between was on top form. This was a fantastic game changing way to lead into next season while reminding viewers that this show has still got it.
Worst Episode: Ultimately, "Bitten" still takes the title as worst episode. I appreciate the effort and risk to try something new, but with very little of Sam and Dean, and a collection of characters that felt pretty much one note, it was hard to invest in the hour. Luckily, the latter half of season eight had a pretty strong run of episodes, especially leading up to the finale, so it was far easier to pick this one out as the bottom of the pack.
Best Character: This one is tough because both Sam and Dean had major moments throughout the season both physically and emotionally. Plus, they're the Winchester brothers, so what's not to love? Yet, I'm going to give it to Crowley. He upped his game proving just how ruthless, powerful, and downright evil he could be. With cunning manipulation and a villainous master plan to kill off all of Sam and Dean's saves, he was a force to be reckoned with. Follow that up with a dramatic transformation towards a humanized version of the King of Hell complete with a desire for love and a penchant for HBO's Girls. Kudos to Mark Sheppard for making this character the one you love and hate with equal passion.
Worst Character: Sorry, Amelia, but even with the rest of season eight unfolding, you still get to be worst character. Maybe it was the lack of chemistry between Amelia and Sam. Maybe it was the fact there wasn't much to her in the flashbacks. Maybe it was because she was pretty much gone as soon as she had arrived. It's not that the concept of Sam wanting a normal life was bad, it was just Amelia never seemed to really make that option feel strong enough to be believable. I expected her to pop up in the finale with respects to Crowley's plan or some sacrifice Sam would have to make, but rather she disappeared like the over illuminated cheeriness of the flashback scenes she was involved in.
Best Romantic Relationship That Never Was: I never thought I'd say this, but there was something rather fun, fresh, and flirty with Meg and Castiel in "Goodbye Stranger." Not only did the episode allow Meg to really grow as a character, but it was so easy to smile when she and Castiel would talk to each other. Would it have worked out, angel and demon? Guess we'll never know because Castiel lost his grace and Meg sacrificed herself. Oh, what could have been.
Best God Trial: The final trial was never fully completed although it was interesting, and the second felt a little too easy (even if we did get to see Bobby again). Yet, the first trial not only got the ball rolling on Sam and Dean's real quest, but it had them looking a lot like Clark Kent or some type of hipster with those glasses. What's more, the visuals of the hell hound in blue tint weren't cheesy or ruined the scariness of never seeing them before. It was a cool concept to have to kill one and the moment where Sam gutted it only to be covered in blood was gross and fitting for a Supernatural task. Just another day at the office, right?
Hopes for Season 9: While this season brought some more struggle to Sam and Dean's relationship, the finale helped really bring them back together despite the major odds. It'll be nice to see that continue and get a good portion of next season with the brothers working together and on the same page as a unified front.
At the same time, I'd love to see how Castiel handles his human form (also Crowley, right?) and perhaps interactions with the fallen angels. It'll be interesting to see what them cast out of Heaven means. Also, might we ever see Supernatural's version of God?
I hope the fallout of the finale isn't wrapped up quickly, and instead actually dealt with as a new turning point for both the brothers and the series as a whole.
Really, I'm hoping that Season 9 takes the strengths of the finale and runs with it towards a new story arc that spans the one season and feels focused amidst the side quests. I'm hoping that the character focus and growth is combined with the overall larger story, while garnering the sense of stakes, scary, and humor that we've come to know and love after eight years. There's still plenty of gas left in the Impala tank and I'm excited to see where the next journey goes.
Overall Grade: B+
Your turn TV Fanatics! What did you think of Supernatural Season 8?
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.