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Recap / Supernatural S 08 E 23 The Sacrifice

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Recap of Supernatural
Season 8, Episode 23

Dean: Angels. They're falling.

"What's that old expression? Success has many fathers, failure is a Winchester."
Crowley to Sam and Dean

Written by Jeremy Carver.

Directed by Philip Sgriccia.

Air Date: May 15, 2013.

In a restaurant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Sheriff Jody Mills is on a blind date with Crowley, whom she knows as Roderick. He is quite charming, and they are the last two in the restaurant when Crowley brings up the subject of loss. Jody becomes tearful as she recalls the loss of her son and husband. While she goes to the bathroom to fix her makeup, Crowley takes out a picture of Jody and starts to recite an incantation, which causes Jody to collapse and begin coughing up blood. As the incantation ends, Dean calls Crowley. Dean says they will stop the trials to close all the gates to Hell if Crowley stops killing the people they have saved. Crowley demands the Winchesters also give him the demon tablet, and Dean agrees if Crowley gives them the angel tablet.


Dean and Sam meet Kevin at a weathered roadside billboard for Dave and Paul's Chili Pot Restaurant, which has a picture of a big red horned devil. Kevin digs up the half of the demon tablet he buried there, and reunites it with the other half in his backpack. Dean gives Kevin the key to the Men of Letters' bunker, and tells him to lay low. Dean and Sam take off in the Impala with the demon tablet, after Kevin tells them they are doing the right thing.

Metatron and Castiel are sitting at a bus stop in Houston, Texas.


Body Count:

For this episode = 2 humans and at least 1,000 angels (though no specific number is given).

For the series so far = At least 1062 angels, 908 humans (of which 7 were witches), 132 demons, 50 vampires, 48 ghosts, 36 Jefferson Starships, 20 gods, 19 zombies, 10 hellhounds, 7 skinwalkers, 6 changelings, 5 djinn, 5 shapeshifters, 5 werewolves, 4 ghouls, 4 Leviathan, 3 dogs, 2 Amazons, 2 arachnes, 2 kitsunes, 2 reapers, 2 rugarus, 2 Thule, 2 vetalas, 1 crocotta, 1 dragon, 1 fairy, 1 familiar, 1 Khan worm, 1 lamia, the Mother of All, 1 okami, 1 phoenix, 1 Purgatory creature, 1 rakshasa, 1 rawhead, 1 shojo, 1 shtriga, 1 siren, 1 Titan, 1 wendigo, 1 whore of Babylon, and 1 wraith.


  • Accent Relapse: Played with. For some reason, while he's undergoing his Villainous BSoD, Crowley slips into an American accent.
    • Fans have theorized this is because Crowley's meatsuit was a man from New York.
  • Affably Evil: Crowley in the cold open.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: Crowley attacks Sheriff Jody Mills, someone Sam saved from zombies and one of the Winchesters' few friends, in order to get them to surrender.
    Crowley: You have less than one minute before a very dear, attractive, and slightly tipsy friend of yours snuffs it.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Stealing Cupid's bow involves cutting off her hand. She allows it willingly too.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Sam's List of Transgressions include a Noodle Incident at school, but Sam points out it was Dean that did that.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Kevin, of course. Dean tells him he will be a mathlete again before he knows it, and when Kevin gives Dean some advice on how to motivate him:
    Dean: We're on the one-yard line here.
    Kevin: And, I should have told you this six months ago, but the sports metaphors? You want to motivate me? Magic cards, Skyrim, Aziz Ansari.
    Dean: What? Yeah, I don't know what those words mean.
  • A Storm Is Coming: Dark clouds are shown in the distance as Sam gets ready for the final trial.
  • Bad Date: Jody Mills and Crowley at the beginning.
  • Bait-and-Switch: It looks like the bartender will fall in Love at First Sight with the woman making a delivery. Only he falls in love with the man sitting at the bar, whereupon it's revealed the woman is Cupid.
  • Big Ego, Hidden Depths: After repeated injections of human blood by Sam, who is attempting to complete the third trial (cure a demon), Crowley begins to cry and yell about how he just wants to be loved, how he *deserves* to be loved. Crowley, since his series intro has been prided himself on being crafty, sneaky, manipulative and underhanded. The implication is that since he couldn't have the love he desperately wanted, Crowley settled for fear, power, and respect.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Metatron's plan to cast the angels out of Heaven ends in a complete and utter victory for him.
  • The Big Board: On the table board, lights appear all across the map of the world as angels start falling from the sky.
  • Big Red Devil: The red devil in a red high-collared shirt and horns on the billboard for Dave and Paul's Chili Pot Restaurant.
  • Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: The billboard for Dave and Paul's Chili Pot Restaurant has the devil dropping green, red, and yellow chili peppers into a pot he is stirring with a wood spatula over open flames. It advertises the following menu items: chili fire dog and habanero salsa; smoked sausage chili pot; burn twice chili; jalapeno chili verde; Phil's smoking hot chili pepper pot; chili rellano and salsa rojo; chili con carnage; and Martha's kick ass chili.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Sheriff Mills once Crowley starts to work his spell on her.
  • Blood Magic: Crowley takes a bite out of Sam, spits it into his palm and uses it to call for help.
  • Broken Angel: ALL OF THEM. Except Metatron.
  • Book Dumb:
    Crowley: You're gonna move your lips the whole way up here, aren't you?
    • Metatron quotes from Samuel Johnson, then sneers at her look of incomprehension. "Not a big reader, are we?"
  • Borrowed Catchphrase:
    Abaddon: "Hello, boys."
    Crowley: "That's my line."
  • Call-Back: The ending features two Call Backs to "Heaven and Hell" (S04, E10): the Grace vial in which Uriel/Metatron stores Anna/Castiel's Grace, and the angels falling from Heaven like shooting stars (which is what Anna describes her fall as looking like to humans).
  • Captain Obvious: Kevin buried the demon tablet under a roadside billboard showing a devil.
    Dean: You hid the demon tablet underneath the devil? Seriously?
  • Catch Phrase: Dean refers to Crowley as "you son of a bitch".
  • Celebrity Paradox: Crowley is surprised Sam has never seen Band of Brothers. Presumably after "Changing Channels" the Winchesters avoid watching any show with the Trickster in it.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • When Crowley first meets Jody, he says, "Words cannot begin to describe the injustice that that picture does to you." He later uses the photo from the dating service to perform his spell.
    • Sam is shown pouring holy oil from the jar in the Impala. He later uses it to incinerate Abaddon's vessel and force her to flee.
    • The demon-binding handcuffs could be seen hanging on the wall in the Men of Letters dungeon.
  • Commonality Connection: Crowley uses the fact that Jody lost her husband and son to make a connection with her.
    Crowley: We do share something, you and I.
    Jody: What?
    Crowley: Loss.
  • Confessional: Before starting the last trial to cure a demon, Sam has to be pure of blood. He needs to do this by repenting for his sins in the confessional in the church, although there's no priest involved. At the end he reveals that he considered letting Dean down so many times to be his greatest sin.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Dating Service Disaster: Sheriff Jody Mills ends up on a date with the King of Hell.
  • Deadly Euphemism: "Debrief me? Is that what you call it?"
  • Deal with the Devil: Dean calls Crowley to make a deal.
    Dean: We stop the trials, and you stop the killing.
    • Subverted. The boys had no intention of giving Crowley anything.
  • Death Seeker: Sam, it turns out.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: The two halves of the Demon Tablet glow orange-gold as they are reunited.
  • Distress Call: Crowley does this, using Sam's blood after biting him in the arm.
    • Cavalry Betrayal: Too bad Abaddon was the only one to answer Crowley's distress call.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Kevin in the Men of Letters bunker. It gives him the Liquid Courage to tell Dean and Cas to get wrecked when they demand he translate the angel tablet in just six hours. Until Cas yells at him for avoiding his duty as a Prophet, anyway.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Dean gives Kevin the key to the Men of Letters' bunker.
    Dean: All right, listen, this is a secret lair. You understand me? No keggers.
  • Empathic Environment: The television shows a man bow-hunting when Cupid turns up.
  • Evil All Along: Think Metatron is a good guy? Wrong. He wants to make Heaven completely angel-free out of revenge and cast them all down to Earth. He ends up succeeding.
  • Eye of Newt: Crowley uses a candle, a cloth with symbols painted on it, Jody's photo with a symbol drawn on her face in red, a small bundle of bones, and a hex bag placed in Jody's purse.
  • Eye Scream: Naomi interrogates Metatron with the same drill she'd used to hack into Castiel's settings.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Sam's reaction to the revelation that closing the gates of Hell will require a Heroic Sacrifice on his part.
    Dean: You finish this trial, you're dead, Sam.
    Sam: ...So?
  • Faux Affably Evil: Metatron. He keeps up the pleasant veneer even as he slits Castiel's throat and steals his Grace to complete his ritual.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Crowley tries this on Sam after Abbadon is defeated. Sam can only shake his head in disbelief.
  • Foreshadowing: Take a look up at Continuity Nod. All those things Dean suggested? Sam disappointing Dean was a reoccurring trend in them.
  • Friendless Background: When Dean warns Kevin not to have a kegger at the bunker, Kevin replies, "I don't have any friends."
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Metatron was a minor functionary in the Celestial Bureaucracy when God plucked him from obscurity to write his Word. Now he wants revenge for being driven out of Paradise, and has the means to carry it out.
  • Generic Graffiti: The bus stop in Houston where Metatron and Castiel are sitting is covered in graffiti, including an advertisement featuring a cowboy.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar
    Crowley: Where's the stone?
    Dean: You show us yours, and we'll show you ours.
    Crowley: Really, Dean? I'm trying to conduct a professional negotiation here, and you want to talk dangly bits?
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: After Crowley finds he can't teleport, he resorts to punching Dean in the face...only to find that Dean can hit harder.
  • Grandpa God: Metatron's description of God.
    Metatron: Who? Oh. God? Mm, pretty much like you'd expect. Larger-than-life, gruff, bit of a sexist. But fair—eminently fair.
  • Heel Realization: Crowley starts to become aware how bad he really is when Sam performs the ritual on him to cure him of his demonhood.
    • Naomi has one about the angels' charge to protect humanity once she understands the full scope of what Metatron's trying to do.
  • Heroic BSoD: Castiel watching the angels fall.
  • Heroic RRoD: For a moment, Sam looks like he'll be fine when Dean talks him down from curing Crowley...then screams in pain and collapses.
  • Hey, That's My Line!: Crowley regarding Abaddon's use of "Hello, boys."
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Sam and Dean use Crowley for the third trial (curing a demon) after what he started in "Clip Show"...which he did to get them to stop completing the trials.
  • Holding Hands: When Jody becomes tearful, Crowley puts his hand over Jody's hand, and she places her hand over his.
  • Karmic Death: Naomi, as far as we can tell. Metatron apparently took the drill she had used to dig into his, Castiel's and other angels' brains and ran it through the back of her skull. It doesn't always take a sword to kill an angel, it seems.
  • Holy Burns Evil/Kill It with Fire: Sort of. Sam lights up Abaddon's host body with holy fire, but the demon smokes out.
  • Hot as Hell: Crowley completely charms Jody on their date.
    Jody: [talking to herself in the mirror] He's attractive, though, right? He's hot.
  • Humanity Ensues: For Castiel and thousands of other angels, with the (probable) exceptions of Metatron and Naomi (who was already dead).
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: Crowley, of all people.
  • I Lied: Metatron to Castiel.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: The boys pull this one on Crowley.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    Castiel: You really think it wise to be drinking on the job?
    Dean: What show you been watching?
  • List of Transgressions: Dean eagerly provides a number of sins that Sam could confess, from Ruby to not rescuing him from Purgatory. However Sam just sees this as reinforcing the idea that he's always let Dean down.
  • Love Is a Weakness:
    Crowley: You know why I always defeat you? It's your humanity. It's a built-in handicap.
  • Loophole Abuse: Dean tries to pull a fast one on Crowley by signing the contract not to undertake the Trials, when it's actually Sam who's doing them. Crowley pulls him up.
  • Never Split the Party: Dean is rightly cautious about leaving Sam alone with Crowley. Ironically Sam handles himself well — it's Castiel who gets blindsided because he doesn't have Dean to watch his back.
  • Magical Gesture: While taking to Dean on the phone in the teaser, Crowley places his thumb and index finger beside the flame on the candle, preparing to snuff out the flame, and with it Jody's life, if Dean refuses to surrender.
  • Magical Incantation: Crowley says, "Manu mortis accessio spiritus vitae recedit." This roughly translates to "Hand of death increase the disappearance of the life spirit."
  • Manipulative Bastard: Metatron is revealed to have been manipulating both Castiel (by getting him to collect spell ingredients under the guise of completing the angel trials) and the Winchesters (by withholding some crucial information about the demon trials, namely that they require Sam to sacrifice his own life).
  • Man Bites Man: Well, Demon Bites Man, in this case. While being held prisoner, Crowley bites Sam in the arm. Sam shrugs it off as a petty "screw you" from Crowley, but actually, Crowley needs Sam's blood to call for help.
    Sam: What the hell, Crowley? Biting?! Seriously?!
  • Mirror Monologue: Sheriff Jody Mills talks to her refection in the bathroom as she applies lipstick and tries to sort out her feelings.
    Jody: Oh, this is crazy. This is crazy. [laughs] I'm crazy. He's attractive, though, right? He's hot.
  • Motive Rant: Metatron, after Naomi's finished digging through his brain. After God's disappearance, he says, the archangels drove him out of Heaven because they wanted Naomi to "debrief" him (i.e., find out what was written on the tablets) and set about ruining Paradise.
    Metatron: But you and your archangels couldn't leave well enough alone. You ran me from my home. Did you really think you could do that to me and there'd be no payback?
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Abaddon gives one to Crowley, who is tied up.
  • No Demon Should Have This Power: Dean's argument for why Crowley needs to give them the angel tablet in the trade.
    Dean: On the grounds that you're a douchebag, and no douchebag should have that much power. Deal or not?
  • No Social Skills: Castiel of course, as Metatron notes.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever Dean did to Penny Markle in the sixth grade.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: The fake angel trials Metatron recruited Castiel to complete. Turns out they don't lock the angels in Heaven. They do the exact opposite: kick them out and banish them to Earth.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Yeah, Crowley doesn't like this change-up one bit.
    • Naomi when she gets wind of the fact that Metatron is with Castiel. It gets worse when she finds out Metatron's true intentions.
    • Dean when he finds out that the final trial is meant to kill Sam.
    • Every member of the main cast when the sky lights up with falling angels.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Crowley has been careful to keep his demons away from the Winchesters, but unwittingly delivers himself into their hands.
  • Pals with Jesus: Castiel asks Metatron what God was like, as only four angels have ever seen God.
  • Pizza Boy Special Delivery: Lampshaded by Dean.
  • Precision F-Strike: It's immediately apparent that Metatron is a malevolent character when the heretofore soft-spoken and polite angel traps Castiel and reproves him by saying "You should have listened to the bitch!" (Naomi).
  • Read the Fine Print: Much like in last season's finale, the contract in Crowley's pocket unfurls to a ridiculous length. At least Dean is smart enough to skim through it, but that turns out to be a trick to get close to Crowley and cuff him.
  • Reality Ensues: Kevin simply doesn't have the time to translate the Angel Tablet, so there's no way of establishing if Metatron is telling the truth until it's too late.
  • Recurring Riff: "Carry On Wayward Son" by Kansas plays during the The Road So Far. This song first played during "Salvation" (S01, E21), and has played for the Season Finales of Season 2, Season 3, Season 4, Season 5, Season 6, and Season 7. It is the closest thing Supernatural has to a Theme Song.
  • Redemption Equals Death:
    • Castiel expects this to be his fate if he successfully completes the angel trials.
    • The moment Naomi figures out what Metatron is really up to, and what the demon trials will mean for Sam, she wings down to Earth to break the news to Dean and a less-than-receptive Castiel. She offers to welcome Castiel back to Heaven if he truly wants it, then disappears. The next time we see her office, Naomi's corpse is decorating her desk.
  • Right Behind Me: Dean is saying that Sam needs watching, just when Sam walks up behind him.
  • Sensor Suspense: Near the end. The sheer number of angels falling to Earth causes the sensor equipment inside the Men Of Letters Bunker to go berserk.
  • Shopping Cart Antics: The homeless man with the sign in Houston has a green shopping cart full of his possession which has a hubcap and thermos attached to the side.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Soul Jar: Grace Vial, anyway.
  • Stars Are Souls: Well, falling stars are newly-ensouled falling angels.
  • Stock Episode Titles: This title has been used for at least 51 episodes in other Series.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: Naomi's dentist chair.
  • Tears of Blood: Blood leaks from Metatron's eye where Naomi has been drilling into his head.
  • Tears of Remorse:
    • Crowley, as curing him starts to take effect.
    • Naomi, reflecting on the angels' failure to protect God's Creation.
  • Tempting Fate: When Sam thinks they're going to win this time, is it any surprise that things go pear-shaped?
  • Thicker Than Water/Undying Loyalty: The reason why Dean won't let Sam finish the last trial, in stark contrast to their father.
    Dean: I killed Benny to save you. I'm willing to let this bastard and all those sons of bitches that killed Mom walk because of you. Don't you dare think that there is anything, past or present, that I would put in front of you! It has never been like that, ever. I need you to see that. I'm begging you.
  • Two Shots from Behind the Bar
  • Two Words: Added Emphasis: Crowley tells Dean he needs to hear two little words. Those words are: "I surrender".
  • Unwitting Pawn: Castiel to Metatron.
  • Villains Never Lie: Which becomes a plot point — who's telling the truth, Naomi or Metatron? Based on their past history, Castiel has no intention of trusting Naomi. Unfortunately she's telling the truth.
  • Villainous BSoD: Crowley, once Sam's purified blood starts taking effect. He starts throwing out a bunch of references to Band of Brothers and Girls, calling Sam the Marnie to his Hannah and ranting that he deserves and just wants to be loved. Suddenly desiring to be forgiven for all his deeds as a demon, he willingly submits to the rest of Sam's injections.
    Crowley: I'd like to ask you a favor, Sam. When you were confessing back there, what did you say? I only ask because, given my raises the question, where do I start to even look for forgiveness?
  • Violence Is the Only Option: Dean holds back Castiel when he moves to take Cupid's bow by force. Dean suggests they try persuasion instead, which works.
  • Visual Pun: When "Carry On Wayward Son" by Kansas plays during the The Road So Far, a series of decapitations from this season accompany the line "Lay your weary head to rest".
  • We Are Not Going Through That Again: Kevin just wants to be done with being a Prophet and all the trauma it entails. After translating the demon tablet for the Winchesters, he considers his duties more or less complete and reacts rather poorly to learning otherwise.
    • Quit Your Whining: Castiel, rather violently, to Kevin, when the latter refuses to translate the angel tablet.
  • Wham Episode
  • Wham Line:
    Metatron: These were never trials, Castiel. This is a spell.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The last time we see Jody Mills, she's on the floor, choking on her own blood in the bathroom. It's hard to say what happened, because she was literally seconds from death, and even if the spell was stopped in time by Crowley she still has to deal with major internal injuries.
    • Since she's never mentioned in the episode again, it's safe to assume that she survived.
    • She turns up again in Season 9, so she did.
  • Wicked Cultured: Crowley orders Jody a Manhattan. They share a bottle of red wine, and he impresses her with his sophistication.
    Jody: Look at you. The fancy career, the suit. I'm pretty much what I am—small-town girl.
  • Wisdom from the Gutter: Castiel asks Metatron what God was like, when he sees a homeless man holding a sign which reads, "May God bless you. Donations welcome."
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Metatron expels every angel from Heaven out of revenge for having to go on the run from the Archangels after God disappeared.
    • Disproportionate Retribution/Revenge by Proxy: In his Motive Rant, Metatron specifically blames Naomi and the archangels, and by extension the Celestial Bureaucracy, for his exile from Heaven. Two episodes earlier, Metatron asked the Winchesters about each of the archangels by name and learned that two are dead and two are stuck in the Cage, making all four unavailable for his vengeance. Apparently he sees fit to take out his feelings on not only Naomi, but the entire Heavenly Host as well.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: The cupid.

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