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Finally, The Right “Sacrifice” || Supernatural Season Finale

I gave up writing reviews of “Supernatural” a couple of seasons ago. I was feeling too negative about the direction it had taken and didn’t see the point in sharing that with fans, who clearly, still loved it. Makes sense, Right? I never wanted to be one of ‘those’ people. You know the ones; they make inflammatory statements to drive up the hits on the Web Pages.

I think I had fallen out of love with the show. If I’m to be honest, it was when Kripke’s original five year story ended. I will admit to being a member of ‘that’ club. I would have been thrilled if “Swan Song”, in its original incarnation, had been the series finale.

Season 8 was pretty good. I had my concerns like many viewers. Sam (Jared Padalecki) didn’t look for Dean (Jensen Ackles) while he was in Purgatory? What? Amelia? Dean and a vampire hanging out? At times, it was a little too out-of-character for my taste.

Sacrifice”, the finale of Season 8, was amazing. I actually would have to rate it in my top five episodes. Why?

Well, I felt, for a lot of the season, that Dean was directionless. I know there’s been a lot of consternation from some Dean fans. He was part of the plot but I just couldn’t find a destination. He’s been through the wars. During season 8, I felt like Dean was a satellite with a degrading orbit. The target was there and as he spiraled down he got closer and closer.

And then, Sam became the one who had to undertake the trials. I know a lot of people were frustrated by that; I was intrigued. Once the trials began  Dean had a task; he was going to keep his brother alive.

For some people, I get that ‘taking care of Sam‘ wasn’t enough. But I saw Dean’s role as far more complex than that.

Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) Winchester in "Sacrifice" ©The CW

Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) Winchester in “Sacrifice” ©The CW

Dean is now the key stone in the Men Of Letters plot. It is where he belongs. It’s a place for him to feel like he fits. He always seems to have struggled with that. At least, until he embraced his killer hunting instincts in Purgatory.

Dean has grown. Throughout the course of the 8th season he has struggled and adjusted. At first, he seemed ready to accept a one-way trip back to purgatory. He fought his urges and didn’t fit into his old life. He befriended a monster, he lost trust in his brother, and he felt like he was nothing more than a grunt.

Ultimately though, Dean came to the conclusion that he was happiest when he was behind the wheel of his car with his little brother at his side.

Then Dean’s world began to unravel, yet again. And a remarkable thing happened. After 8 years of dying for each other – Dean had to convince Sam to live for him. This is a novel concept for Winchesters. It took some convincing. Sam knows better than anyone the mistakes he’s made over the seasons and didn’t want to let his older brother down again.

Sam's (Jared Padalecki) outpouring of grief over letting his brother down ©The CW

Sam’s (Jared Padalecki) outpouring of grief over letting his brother down ©The CW

And what of Castiel (Misha Collins)? The angel that seems to divide fandom, graceless, is now human. I don’t want Castiel to become a third wheel at the bat cave. Why? A couple of reasons. It doesn’t do his character justice if all he becomes is comic fodder for the black-humored show. The angelic friend of the Winchesters has earned more than that.

Nor do I want Castiel to become the “fourth” Winchester. Sam, Dean and Baby make three in my book. Dean has never been more clear than he was in “Sacrifice”, that nothing comes before his brother.

“Don’t you dare think that there is anything, past or present, that I would put in front of you!” – Dean Winchester

Dean (Jensen Ackles) assuring his brother nothing is stronger than the family bond ©The CW

Dean (Jensen Ackles) assuring his brother nothing is stronger than the family bond ©The CW

Their greatest strength is their greatest weakness: Family. But these two characters keep each other grounded. They’ve gone from being young men – Dean reckless and cocky, Sam insolent and compassionate – to sharp, efficient hunters. After 8 seasons, they still rely on each other.

They’re not ordinary people anymore. Their edges are rough, their moral compass is pointing in an entirely different direction. But this time, they’re starting from a different spot. They’ve decided to live.

Interesting.

Heading into the summer hiatus what does that leave us with?

Crowley (Mark Sheppard), The King of Hell is tainted with a bit of humanity and captive. Sheriff Mills (Kim Rhodes) may be dead or alive (I believe! I believe! I believe!). Castiel is human. Our dear Charlie (Felicia Day) is alive and well somewhere. Kevin (Osric Chau)  isn’t going back to Advanced Placement any time soon because he’s still the living prophet.

I haven’t had enough time to ponder the fallen army of angels. Does it mean they are all dead or will there be an increase in the population of socially inept, blunt humans with poor fashion sense?

The Winchester brothers are still in a bit of a bind. Dean may have convinced Sam to abort his attempt to complete the trials but the youngest hunter did not look well.

Hell is still open for business and Crowley is going to be on more of a rampage than ever before.

I can’t go without mentioning the acting. As usual Kim Rhodes gave us a lovable and realistic woman to love. “It’s not a date until I cry.”

Mark Sheppard surprised me a little with his subtle character changes as he waffled between human emotions and demonic anger.

But the final scenes, primarily between Jared and Jensen really blew me away. Jensen has a remarkable ability to convey a thousand emotions with his face. He hardly needs lines.

Jared Padalecki stunned me. Sam’s heart-wrenching confession about all the times he has let his brother down was so raw it was painful to watch. Padalecki is not a master of the ‘one manly tear’ like his co-star. Jared cried like he felt it.  He looked haggard and scared and determined and I believed every single moment of it. Every moment. Bravo!

Sam and Dean stick together ©The CW || Jared Padalecki & Jensen Ackles bringing their A game to the show

Sam and Dean stick together ©The CW || Jared Padalecki & Jensen Ackles bringing their A game to the show

For a while I was worried Sam wouldn’t give up his task. But Dean is right. They’ll figure it out, like they always do.

Bring on season 9. Is it September yet?

|| C. Kinzie, Kamloops

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7 thoughts on “Finally, The Right “Sacrifice” || Supernatural Season Finale

  1. Got to say that I did love the finale. I know, I know, it wasn’t perfect. Nothing is especially in the Supernatural world. I’m with you, I don’t want Castiel to become the funny sidekick. I want him to have a purpose in the storyline. I loved Castiel during Season 4-5 because he was relevant. There was a reason for his presence. I like the character and I respect greatly the actor but again if they’re just keeping Castiel around for comic relief it’s a insult to the character.

    I believe! I believe! I believe! Jodi Mills has to be alive because I want her to show up at the Batcave and take up residence as the new MOL Den Mother to Dean, Sam, Kevin and newly human Cas, with an occasional visit from Garth and Charlie. There’s got to be enough room for a little estrogen in that there bunker.

    The Boys. **deep sigh** Have to say that I totally agree with you. I’ve told friends that Swan Song to me was almost the perfect ending of this series and I honestly probably would have been content with that as the series finale. Season 6 and 7 were hard as a fan, there were some bright spot but more low but we muscled through and got to Season 8. The start, to be honest, I wasn’t in love with. Amelia? Really? Really???? Not looking for Dean? Whatever? So not in character The Carver. Can only think that it was The Carver’s breaking in period and getting a feel for the Boys again.

    Frankly, Jared and Mark were a joy to watch. They nailed the scenes all the way through the episode and I enjoyed every last second of it. If Jensen was anymore expressive with his eyes I’d hate him but as it is, I love how he gets his feelings and emotions across just with a look, which he’s perfected seeing as Dean isn’t into the “chick flick” moments.

    Jared, shown through this and seriously blow me away. From his appearance over the final few episodes culminating in the finale and his manly crying (messing and snotty) it was a performance to behold.

    I’m counting the days already to Season 9.

  2. Great article. Don’t forget there’s also Abbadon-smoke on the prowl. Cas with his powers can make for good comic relief in his cluelessness, when used sparingly enough — Cas betrayed and his grace ripped out is tragic, and I hope Show doesn’t squander that on throwaway humor. Can’t wait for Season 9!

  3. Loved your review and the fact that this episode brought you back on top of the show. I really have to say my relationship to the show as a fan has changed a lot and with s8 kind of came to reflect and accept those changes. S6-7 where in denial and the kind of force excitement to capture the early days of ‘OMG-this-is-a-dumb-genre-show-that’s-not-actually-dumb-but-rather-brilliant!’ that just wasn’t there anymore – bright spots and very deep abyss – but while I have to say that is gone, I’ve still got that feeling of ‘what, fall season without Supernatural on? NOOOOOoooo way, the world would be a strange and scary place!’. I’m still a fan but a more mature fan, a more demanding fan as well and a fan who is glad to have stuck with S8 to give it chance to get over the growing pains and develop into a dramatic and new and deep season arc with lots of room for more. Absolutely loved the ensemble performances in the finale (Even though I wish that Sheriff Jody had a bigger role and she so ain’tn’t dead!) and looking forward to what they’ll make of it in the Fall. YAY

  4. Totally.. And man I loved that scene with Sam and dean. They nailed it.. And Mark Shepherd was awesome.. Can’t wait for season 9

  5. I love the supernatural series because the writer did his reseach well. Demons not having real form and all that is exactly what the bible says. But the sword of the angel that anyone at all can take and kill any angel with it do not sound rigth at all. For the bible make as understand that the sword of the angels r flaming sword. And how can demons handle such a sword and even kill angel with it. It do not fix up .

  6. Mark Sheppard and Jared Padalecki blew me away with their performances in this episode. While it’s not surprising that Sheppard can pull off such a feat, Padalecki really impressed the hell out of me. Ackles gets most of the praise on this show for his abilities as an actor but after this episode I think it’s about time that people start giving credit where it’s due to Jared. Bravo, Mr. Padalecki for delivering such an amazing performance.

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