THEN: Some editor takes the lyrics of “Carry On My Wayward Son” pretty literally, and all the other important trial stuff.

NOW: Sheriff Jodi finds herself on a blind date with Crowley, and we all know this can’t end well. Of course, Crowley knows all about Sheriff Jodi’s awful family nightmare, and he uses it to get her to open up and actually like him! To even think he’s sexy!! The hand holding is what makes it UGH. Poor, desperate, Jodi.

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Yup, Jodi is the next person on Crowley’s hit list. The King of Hell’s phone lights up to the strains of “Baby Got Back” (hee) while Jodi is in the ladies gathering her nerve, and he gets the Winchesters to make a deal: Swapping of the tablets for Jodi’s life. He wants Dean to say, “I surrender.” but we only get a glare from Dean as the title card explodes one last time this season.

Kevin is off digging up the Demon Tablet, and Sam and Dean meet him on the side of the road. The boys finally, FINALLY give Kevin the key to the Cave of Letters, and the boys go off to meet Crowley at the long abandoned junk yard that was Bobby Singer’s home. They are sad.

Crowley pops up with his “Hello, boys.” opening, and is anyone else weirded out by how sunny and light these scenes seem to be? I mean, not the story, but the actual locations? Must have been a few gorgeous days in Vancouver, eh?

I mean look, not a cloud in the sky!

I mean look, not a cloud in the sky!

Anyhoo! Crowley rolls out one of his massive contracts, and Dean insists on reading it before he lets Sammy sign it. Sammy looks extra-crispy awful, by the way. Just when Crowley thinks he’s got the boys where he wants them, Dean snaps some demonic handcuffs on him and the boys break the news, “You’re the third trial, Crowley.” Crowley turns a little green, even in the bright South Dakota (Canadian) sunshine.

Meanwhile, Marv (Metatron) and Castiel are scoping out the next Angel trial. Euphemisms for sex are lost on Cas. Heh. The second trial is retrieving Cupid’s bow, and they have the next poor sucker to fall in love on the list in their sights. So of course, Castiel is reading the personal ads to speed up the process.

While those two are nattering on, one of Naomi’s minions pops into the office to inform her that Metatron (Marv) is out and about and Naomi is none too pleased. So she sends a couple of minions to grab Marv, and after the bartender wings one with the shotgun from behind the bar, Marv tells Cas  to let them take him.

The boys drive Crowley to the cutest little abandoned church ever, and lock him up with irons and a devil’s trap. Sammy is feeling good about their prospects, even though he looks like shit. He goes off to confession to purify his blood, and Cas pops in asking for Dean’s help. Castiel tells Dean about the angel trials and his earnestness is very cute. Sammy tells Dean to go help, because he wants everything shut down. Cas and Dean leave and poor Sammy looks like he is about to keel over.

Sam starts the trials, and we know it’s working because his arms start to light up. On the second shot of blood, Crowley grabs Sammy’s arm and bites him, extracting just enough blood to use as one of those demon phones to call in back-up. Oops, didn’t see that one coming.

Sammy closes in for the next injection, the place starts rumbling, the devil’s trap breaks, and Abadon walks in the door. Unfortunately for Crowley, Abadon has got a grudge against the King of Hell. She wants to be the new ruler, and just as she kicks the shit out of Crowley, Sammy shows up, tosses holy water on her, and sets her aflame. She smokes right out of her fiery meat suit.

Sammy resets the devils trap, and Crowley is quite perturbed. Suddenly, Crowley starts nattering on about deserving to be loved. Looks like he has started to cross over into an emotional soul once again. Crowley is confused. Heh. The time comes for the next injection, and Crowley asks Sammy about his confession. He wants to know where to start to look for forgiveness. He is beaten and crying, and he willfully lets Sam inject him.

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Dean waits at the bar for Cas, who is apparently off searching for a suitable companion for the bartender. Cupid shows up in the guise of Gayle the delivery lady, and she touches the bartender and his pal Rod sitting at the bar, and we all realize that this is the person we have been waiting for. We got ourselves a couple of bears, ladies and gents!

Dean and Cas are outside waiting for Gayle, and Cas draws his sword and insists on her bow. On the promise of setting things right up in Heaven, Cupid hands over her bow peacefully.

Kevin calls Dean and tells him that none of the things that Castiel has mentioned about the trials are on the tablet. Naomi shows up and Kevin hears the whole conversation to come. She says that Metatron has been lying all along, trying to break Heaven as an act of revenge. She tells them that Sam will die if he finishes the trials (duh?), and if Castiel wants back in, she will listen. Dean rides Cas back to the abandoned church, and stops Sammy just as he is about to finish the trial. Cas flits out to go fix heaven, and finds Naomi dead by the hands of Metatron.

Seems as though it wasn’t trials Metatron was doing, but a spell. He takes Castiel’s grace and send him back to earth to have a normal life.

Sam’s arms are lit up like light sticks, and he is crazed with his task. And then Sammy breaks our heart when he tells us that his greatest sin was letting Dean down over and over. The little brother is sure his big brother doesn’t think he is good enough. Dean gives the Big Speech to save Sammy, and bandages up his little brothers hand and tells him to just let it go. HUGS. Sammy crashes to the ground in pain. Dean calls out for Cas, but Cas is in the woods somewhere, wandering around as a simple human it seems.

Kevin starts to leave the Cave of Letters when the whole place lights up with alarms and lights, and Dean, then Castiel, see the night sky light up with falling angels. Hundreds of them. Ruh-roh.

Quotes!

Dean: “You left the Demon Tablet under the devil? Seriously?” Kevin: “What? I was delirious.”

Dean: “All right, listen, this is a secret lair. No keggers.” Kevin: “I don’t have any friends.”

Crowley: “You’re gonna move your lips all the way up, aren’t you?”

Castiel: “Would you say you are looking for a partner in crime? Or uh, someone who is into nurse role-play and light domination.” Bartender: “Brother, it’s 10am on a Tuesday…” Marv: “We’ll have two drafts, please. You’re not the most subtle tool in the shed, are  you?”

Dean: “Oh hey, how about what you did to Penny Markle in the six grade. Why don’t you lead with that?” Sam: “Well, that was you.” Dean: “Carry on.”

Castiel: “Do you really think it’s wise to be drinking on the job?” Dean: “What show have you been watchin’?”

Dean: “Talk first, stab later.”

So that’s season 8. Here’s the thing… we spent all freakin’ season waiting for the gates of Hell to be slammed shut, and we had a couple episodes added on to convince us that shutting the gates of Heaven was a good and true idea as well, AND NEITHER HAPPENED. Is this the first time we’ve come to the end of a season without anyone finishing the task they started pursuing at the beginning? Not only did no gates close, but the whole story took a sharp turn with the angels falling and Metatron suddenly the big bad.

This is not to say I didn’t enjoy the turn, it just felt really jarring. And while it was nice to see Dean decide that Sammy dying once again was a bad idea – even if it was pretty obvious to all of us that Sammy was DYING, Dean – why did we have to watch Sam suffer like that for no real good reason? I don’t know, but I was entertained. And we still probably have mean old Crowley to kick around, who is one of my favorite Supernatural villains ever, so there’s that.