From the first moment of “Sacrifice” when “Carry On, My Wayward Son” played over the season recap, I knew we were back to the best of Supernatural.
I was delighted to see the return of Sheriff Mills (guest star Kim Rhodes), only to be horrified when I realized she was on a blind date with none other than Crowley, the King of Hell. He casts a spell and calls Dean to broker a deal, with the Sheriff’s life in the balance. Dean manages to arrange a swap of the angel tablet for the demon tablet, unwilling to sacrifice any more innocent lives, and they agree to meet at Bobby’s old place.
Meanwhile, Castiel and Metatron are awaiting the start of the second trial, which is to steal Cupid’s bow. They’re in luck, as the man they’re watching is scheduled to be shot with Cupid’s arrow sometime in the next twenty-four hours. Unfortunately, before they can put their plan into action, Metatron is kidnapped by Naomi and her cohorts, to be “de-briefed”.
Before Crowley and the boys can switch tablets, Dean claps demonic handcuffs on Crowley. They’re going to use him to complete the third trial, which is to ‘cure’ a demon. The Winchesters find an abandoned church as a storm begins to brew, and secure Crowley inside. Castiel appears to ask Dean for help in completing his trials, but Dean rattles off a list of reasons he can’t leave Sam, which his brother overhears. Sam persuades Dean to let him deal with Crowley while Dean and Cas go complete the second trial off the angel tablet.
Sam goes inside and starts the ‘cure’ but Crowley bites his arm. When Sam leaves to dress the wound, Crowley uses the blood to send a distress signal. He doesn’t get help, however. Abaddon, a demon assumed dead, is the only one to answer Crowley’s call, and instead of coming to his aid, uses the situation to leverage herself into a position of power.
The person who does end up rescuing Crowley is Sam, who lights Abaddon on fire, causing her to exit the church. “You did good back there, Moose,” says Crowley, who then launches into a broken, weepy discourse about how he deserves to be loved. His voice gradually grows softer, confused. He sounds almost…human. He wants to know what Sam asked forgiveness for in the confessional prior to the ‘curing’ process. “Where do I start to even look for forgiveness?” Crowley asks.
Dean and Cas get Cupid’s bow, but Naomi finds them and tells them Metatron is lying. He wasn’t trying to close Heaven, he was trying to expel all the angels. Dean wants to listen, but Cas refuses, thinking she must be lying. When Naomi tells them that her interrogation of Metatron revealed something about the other trial, however, Dean and Cas listen with horror as she tells them what will happen to Sam if the trial is completed. He’ll die. “The ultimate sacrifice.”
Castiel flies home to heaven to discover the truth. Metatron corners him, having killed Naomi. He robs Castiel of his essence and grace, reducing him to a mere mortal. Cas is thrown out of heaven, now seemingly just a man.
Dean goes to stop Sam, but when he tells Sam about the consequences of completing the trials, Sam asks, “So?” Once again, they’re arguing, and it comes out that all Sam confessed was how many times he let Dean down. He knows Dean still can’t trust him, and that he needs to get rid of the demon blood that’s inside him. Dean tells Sam that nothing comes before his little brother, that everything Dean does is for Sam and that he isn’t allowed to sacrifice himself.
As Sam finally relents and ends the third trial before it is complete, Dean looks up to see a sky of shooting stars. Castiel, alone in the woods, and Kevin, in the bunker, know something big is coming. The storm’s raging. Dean grins. “Angels. They’re falling.”
I’m intrigued about where “Sacrifice” has taken this storyline, and where it’s going. Misha Collins returns as a regular next season, which I take to mean he’s going to be one of the boys, with no special powers. He’ll be a bonafide hunter. I’m not sure where Crowley stands, since he was only partially cured. If he returns to his old self, he’ll probably be furious with Sam for allowing him to be so weak. A huge battle on earth between the angel and demon factions seems inevitable. Will the boys let them handle it and go back to just hunting regular monsters, or will the boys have to face a united demon and angel front for trying to shut their doors forever?