Supernatural Season 9 Finale Review: How to Train Your Demon

By MaryAnn Sleasman

May 21, 2014

Supernatural S09E23: "Do You Believe in Miracles?"

OH. OH SNAP. Supernatural went there! The show did it! I spent a good chunk of "Do You Believe in Miracles?" being angry about this and angry about that and WTF is with all the underwhelming character deaths this season... and then Dean died and became a demon and it was AWESOME. 

I screamed. I screamed and we were in the middle of some really nasty weather and my shinier half came running because he thought, like, a tree had gone through a window or something, and I was like, "DEAN WINCHESTER IS A (PROFANITY) (PROFANITY) DEMONYESSSSSSS."

"That's all?"


Anyway, you fine people do understand. Look at this face.


That is the face of a geriatric show that realizes its time is limited and doesn't give a crap anymore. Sometimes that sort of attitude backfires and we get "Bloodlines," but sometimes it gives the cast and crew the freedom to irreparably alter their landscape of the characters. For most—if not all—of Supernatural's run, the roles of Sam and Dean have been clearly defined, and the writers have strayed very little from the Dean-is-good, Sam-is-bad dynamic. 

That sort of thing can get tiresome after awhile. The jabs about Supernatural repeating the same story over and over again have been coming since at least Season 5, and the tone of the ribbing has definitely changed. The comments about the meaninglessness of major character deaths, the static character development, the parade of lesser apocalypses went from being tongue-in-cheek references to Supenatural's "pattern" to showing increasing frustration with the show's inability and/or unwillingness to get out of its narrative rut. 

Season 9 wasn't without its flaws—Abbadon's death was rushed and underwhelming, Gadreel's apparent death aborted any possibility for a proper resolution to his story, "Bloodlines" was f*ing terrible, and Sam n' Dean spent pretty much the entire season loathing one another which, even for them, is a record. 

However, it can't be said that Season 9 didn't strive to do something completely different. The Winchester-conflict-of-the-season felt organic and justified in a way that it never really has. Castiel spent some quality time as a mud-monkey, and was very obviously altered by the experience. Sam got to be an angel for a hot second and it only took six seasons for the prophetic words of Dean's dream-self  in "Dream a Little Dream of Me" to come true, but finally—finally—Dean is a demon and Jensen Ackles will get to put on his best evildoer face. For someone who was disappointed that Abaddon's threat of possession never came to fruition, this is a surprising treat. 

Demon Dean also sets up Supernatural for a potential resolution to one of the most haunting failures of its other occasionally demonic brother: Sam not saving Dean from hell at the end of Season 3. It'll be interesting to see how much of Dean's true self remains in his new demon-bod. Despite all the bloodlust, in the end, Dean realized that the Mark of Cain was altering him in a way he didn't like. In Dean's mind, his greatest fault was getting off the rack in hell and torturing other souls, not just because it was one of the seals to release Satan, but because it was also the first step toward becoming a demon the old-fashioned way: through endless torture and soul-altering cruelty. In Dean's mind, the absolute worst thing he can become is the sort of thing he'd want to hunt. He was even willing to let Sam die back during the demon-blood days, rather than see his brother transformed into some sort of monster. If this new Dean is even slightly self-aware of who he is and what he used to believe, then Crowley isn't going to have the great and terrible weapon of mass destruction he thought he was getting. However, if Demon Dean is completely unaware of the man he once was, then Sam's gonna have his work cut out for him. 

It's a good thing he learned how to cure demons last season, amirite?

Word is still out on whether Season 10 is going to be Supernatural's last season. Personally, I'm leaning toward it being the final one. The path laid out in Season 9 and "Do You Believe in Miracles?" leads to an interesting narrative that feels like something the show needed to save for last. Sure, Metatron was merely imprisoned at the end of his reign, which means a jailbreak is always on the table for him, and Crowley is still out and about and pulling Dean's demonic strings, but for the most part, the Big Bad of Season 10, if we're to judge from the Season 9 finale, is no outsider: It's the Winchesters themselves. 

Heading into season 10, Dean and Sam's roles have been completely reversed. Dean is a baddie and Sam has to save him. We don't really know how the trials work, or if Sam can just pick up where he left off, but theoretically, by curing Dean, Sam will finally complete the third trial and close off hell for good. He may also die, so there's that drama, but whatever, you and I both know that he's going to cure Dean. The writers can't introduce "cure a demon" to the arsenal and then not use it when it really matters: when Dean needs it. 

Castiel's Season 10 story is a little less clear, and "find new grace or die" seems pretty run-of-the-mill by comparison to the Winchesters' arc, which has literally been nine seasons in the making. With Metatron in prison, heaven is once again without a leader, and in the wake of Cas's victory over Metatron, it seems that the lemming-esque angel crowd is once again giving Cas that starry-eyed hero-worship stare. I loved Castiel as a commander of an angel army and if Season 10 sees Castiel picking up where he left off—restoring order and civility to the angel ranks, teaching them how not to be awful, and, of course, looking for his grace—then that would be alright. I'm just concerned by how that will work alongside the epicness that the Winchesters are now set up for. So much of the psychological baggage they're unpacking goes way, way back: Dean's time in Hell, Dean being a "weapon," Sam looking for redemption and a place in his own family. I just don't want Castiel's story to feel tacked-on for the sake of giving Castiel screen time. 

Overall, "Do You Believe in Miracles?" certainly tripped in places, but it was fast-paced and game-changing in the way that Supernatural's best finales are. Nine seasons in, and we're still exploring new territory.


– Dumb Winchester Sighting: Okay, Sam. Lock bloodlust-crazed Dean in a room full of stuff he can use to escape. Brilliant idea. Oh, and then stick the magical semi-sentient monster blade in the first box you see, in the middle of the first place Dean will probably look, and lock it up with something Dean could've probably picked when he seven. With his eyes closed. YOU ARE IN A FREAKING MAGICAL BUNKER. TRY HARDER. 

– "Like winning a People's Choice Award—not quite the same thing, is it?" Wooooow. Rude? Was that rude? 

– "I'm proud of us." STOP IT. 

– What's on your Season 10 wishlist? SAM CURING DEAN. SAM DURING DEAN. Ahem. Go on...

– Oh, and more spellwork. The fact that Sam and Dean (but mostly Sam) keep overlooking the valuable potential of learning a few simple spells is frustrating. 

– Thanks for reading this season! See you in September/October! <3

What'd you think of the finale and the season overall? What's on your Season 10 wishlist? 

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  • ethanrall Jul 29, 2014

    I think the god that has been gone for so long will show up, and be pissed. Not that he is unknowing to all that has happened. Of course he knows. He's just pissed that they managed too screw everything up so badly (speaking about angels I mean.) Sam and Dean however, have done nothing but fight for humanity, the same thing every single angel in this series has said it was their mission to protect at some point, and yet have failed almost entirely. Yes Demon dean is a game changer of sorts, I'm sure Crowley has a agenda for him. Who wouldn't? We forget that dean isn't just any demon, he's a knight. Which means, the only thing that can kill him. Is him. Other than curing him, which the only way too stop a knight other than killing them is too put a devil trap bullet. Honestly, I'm excited too see where things go. But Sam has been good for a long time, Dean has always been on a selfish spiral that he can't let his family die. Even if they want it too be their time. I'm not mad he brought Sam back. But like Sam said, Dean did it for Dean. Because Dean needs Sam too feel good. I love Dean to death, but I'm not unknowing to his character flaws. Dean is a shoot first questions later kind of guy. Black and white, if it looks evil it is. Sam sees the world in a different light because he HAS been the bad one looking for redemption. Lets not forget, Sam may have finished the starting of the apocolypse, But Dean started it. Now as for Demon Dean. Dean in the end is becoming what he most feared he would. And that is no one else fault but his his own. In the end, I'm excited too see what all happens.

  • ramaguardado Jul 20, 2014

    So another finale that ends with one of the winchester being dammed or dead, so the next season can start with the other brother making a big sacrifice to save him?
    It looks like writers cant think of anything else to finish a season, either kill one of them for good or stop messing with this rewritable finales.
    I hope you fans dont get offended by this, but dean with demon eyes is not new, i just hope season 10 brings something new, or gets back to how it was in first 2 season, all about hunting evil "the family bussines".

  • Ebonylovesdean Jul 10, 2014

    I loved the finale and I also loved season 9 and I don't care what ppl say spn still rocks ! And I was shocked to see a demon dean. I loved that idea btw. I disagree with Maryann sleasman for most of the reviews but whatever. I still enjoyed all the seasons of spn and I can't wat for season 10!

  • nicoleengelhuber Jun 29, 2014

    Ok, when I saw Dean's black demonic eyes it was all I could do not to scream. But... they can cure demons. They have done it before, this is kind of a no-brainer. I'm sure they will come up with some reason that they can't, but still, the solution is pretty obvious.

  • AuntSueNihgCh Jun 22, 2014

    I never could understand the Dean=Good, Sam=Bad vibe. Every time you look around Dean is guzzling beer, noshing beef, and chasing women. He has an explosive temper with a black and white attitude. He never has an atta-boy for Sam and he comes down hard every time Sam goes even the tiniest bit out of line. Those are not traits of a good man.

    Sam, on the other hand, would rather date than notch his bedstead; eats like he'd like to live past 50; and is always trying to please his brother. Whenever Sam leaves anything out of his narrative to Dean, his dear ol' bro stomps on him for lying to him. Sam looks for the humanity in the monster while Dean insists there is no humanity in monsters and blows them all away. He even comes back and takes care of the ones Sam has helped rehabilitate. Sam sounds like a great guy.

    So why again is Sam the bad guy (but he likes dogs and wouldn't hurt a hair of a changling baby) while Dean is the good guy (who makes friends with the hunter who decides to off Sam)

  • Ebonylovesdean Jul 10, 2014

    I disagree with you! Plus Sam did sleep with a demon chick so maybe that's were the Sam-bad comes from. And dean doesn't smoke. And nothin wrong with dean having one night stands. Dean is not a bad guy or Sam either. They are both good guys even tho dean is more awesome:)

  • DaRelMays Jul 04, 2014

    not to insult you but those are all pretty superficial reasons....the kind of stuff people say about serial killers in their neighborhood. Neither person is without flaws but Sam has made the most bullheaded decisions that have endangered the world. Dean smoking, drinking and screwing like a champ hurt no one but Dean and some ladies along the way. Sam didnt rehabilitate that lady either she had just recently killed someone. I'm assuming you are some denomination of christian because your qualifications of what defines someone as good or bad seem based off of some imposed morality for others. Sam has constantly made terrible decisions.

  • Ebonylovesdean Jul 10, 2014

    I agree but dean doesn't smoke. And sure he drinks and sleeps around but it's nothing wrong with that. But no matter what dean is awesome.

  • Gyrannon Jul 23, 2014

    Time to add fuel to the fire...

    Dean is a hypocrite when he demands that they are honest with each other. Sam makes some small lies here & there, Dean blows up like he just released Satan again. But when it's Dean's turn to tell the truth, Sam RIGHTFULLY gets pissed off, but instead Dean once bashes him in about the past...
    Dean blames Sam for things he has no control over. Last I checked, it was Azazel who pretty much destroyed their entire family, but nope Dean blames Sam. They were in agreement that Lilith has to die, but when Dean finally finds out that Ruby IS using Sam to kill Lilith to release Satan - something that Sam was COMPLETELY unaware of, but nope lets not blame Lilith, or Ruby, or The Angels that WANTED & PLANNED for the Satan to be released, lets lay it all on Sam. Then, Sam literally sacrifices himself to play as a punching bag for Michael & Satan in a more Hellish place than Dean was in.
    Then after getting out the cage, then getting his soul back, then Sam makes another mistake that Dean blows up yet again about - Dean decides, "I'll remind Sam about how he was fooled by Ruby, and that I STILL blame him for it."

    And now its finally Dean's turn to be bad, although I guess everything was forgiven when Dean tortured souls in Hell, which bring me to correct some people - Sam wasn't the only one tricked by a Demon, and sure he did break the last Seal, but Dean broke the first Seal, but yeah lets forget about that.

    They have BOTH made some HUGE mistakes, they have both lied to each other, but which one remembers the mistakes of the other brother more... That would be Dean. Lets not forget, Gadreel makes a deal with Dean to take over Sam body - the result: Kevin dies by Gadreel using Sam's body, an though it was more Dean's fault, Sam feels greater guilt.
    Then we finally see Cain, but who better to take up the mantle, lets give it to Dean, it's his turn to be in Sam's position (Power Hungry, Need to Kill, and more explosive than ever) when the darkside was coming around (Demon blood).

    And now Dean has become the very thing that he hates the most, a demon. But honestly, I don't think Crowley should play with him - remember that Cain MADE the Knights of Hell who are MUCH stronger than Crowley's demonkind, and now Dean has pretty much become Cain's equal.
    If Crowley plans on using him, Dean will inevitably become just like Abaddon an then Dean will undoubtedly finish where Abaddon left off at - Crowley dead. But there's another possibility, Crowley doesn't forget friends, an thanks to his "junkie" side he's become less ruthless an more friendly, so chances are, he might not try to change him at all - though he was cheering for Dean as he stabbed Abaddon, it was pretty clear that Crowley was pretty blown away (in a shocking sense) at how much Dean had changed when Sam & Crowley witnessed Dean turn Abaddon's head into bloody mush.

    Here's what I hope: Dean looks for God, then does what Death was going to do - Kill him. Cause seriously, with all the ridiculous crap that's been going on, what has he been doing all this time? I know Dean would be happy as hell to do it, an I doubt Cas would stop him since SO FRICKING MANY angels have died all because he decided to go on a vacation...
    That's honestly what I hope for - Dean & Sam for all their hard work & ridiculous sacrifices, and NUMEROUS heroics, they are rewarded with the option to LITERALLY stick it to THE MAN.

  • DaRelMays Jul 29, 2014

    at best his good intentions have constantly turned out to be not only wrong but damaging. They have not been "general" bad as in sleeping with loose women and alcoholism to cope with your issues....Sam stands up and says to everyone that he knows whats best and runs in brashly...which you think is heroic or something...and he is ALWAYS wrong....the entire show. Name one choice between choosing good or evil...or doing what other good and evil characters say and Sam has always chosen the evil side(even when he thinks he can double cros the evil he has been wrong...Satan told them what would happen and Sam still insisted on going, sure that he could overpower Lucifer...wrong again....Benny, wrong again and got the other hunter killed.....what has Sam ever done but be the drama of the show..OK Dean and every other hunter drink and has psycho-social problems....Sam Winchester has ruined the world and life for everyone around him multiple times...Dean has made a deal that would have killed only him...started torturing souls in hell cause, guess what, not expecting to ever leave and that was purely plot since how in the history of the world has no other "righteous man said yes to getting of the hooks"....and finely Dean was wrong about letting Gadriel in...the score card just doesnt add up unless you are a christian and count Dean's sexual exploits and neediness with his brother as him doing something wrong

  • DaRelMays Jul 29, 2014

    you can't constantly choose a bad boyfriend over your family or a drug addiction in the early stages and expect people to say oh it was the dealer's fault... or they didn't know they would end up an addict....SAM constantly CHOSE, willingly chose, to do the wrong thing....Angles, when he still believed in them as good, told him to stop drinking demon blood, Dean begged him and trusted him around every corner...Sam Winchester is a liar and hypocrite almost the entirety of the show.

  • DaRelMays Jul 29, 2014

    small lies that invlove drinking demon blood.....small lies that get people killed, small lies that release satan on earth....small lies huh? You are being delusional to back Sam. I'm not picking a Winchester. I'm saying that Sam Winchester is and has always been damn near the anti christ and self righteous the entire time

  • Angie_28 Jun 15, 2014

    When is it coming back on does anyone know? I know that they're still writing it from what I read!

  • Aeidail Jun 11, 2014

    I think a lot of us saw the Dean is a demon happening a while ago. And it's probably going to be interesting. I don't see that Sam needs to complete the trials to cure Dean. It's assumed Gadreel fixed whatever changes happened from the previous trials, so there should be no closing of hell. Which is good, because the people that end up in hell would make some nasty ghosts. I don't get why Sam is calling for Crowley instead of Cas. We've already seen him bring people back to life. He has a whole garrison of angels. Surely someone has enough angel juice to fix Dean.

    I think Supernatural has to end but there are a few loose ends I'd like tied up before it does. I want to know what happened to Chuck. Also, the antichrist kid. And I think Adam. Although what shape he'd be in, I have no idea. I feel like to end properly, all the heaven and hell stuff needs to be resolved. It's supposed to be hard to get out of hell. That needs to be a thing again, instead of Crowley popping back and forth as he likes. The angels need a big boss. Maybe bring back Gabriel, or even Michael, someone to get them all back on track who isn't going to try and be God. Maybe the Winchsters get so sick of the rubbish they pull the plug, open the box and let the Angels sort out the mess. I think its telling that all my ideas go back to season 5 stuff.

  • nicoleengelhuber Jun 29, 2014

    Season 5 was one of the better ones. Well except for the ending.... But yeah, there are a few loose ends they kind of forgot about. I mean, Adam and Michael are in the Pit, literally dealing with the worst pain ever possible and no one seems to remember! Oh, and they probably didn't call Cas because his "grace" is all messed up. I forget if the Winchesters know about that, though.

  • Cwayne02 Jun 20, 2014

    I've had a feeling for a while now that the show is going to end with an epic plot twist and God will return to heaven and resolve everything and will explain where he has been this whole time.

    I also have a feeling that the series will end with Dean dying. Not sure why I feel this way, just a gut feeling I guess.

  • Angie_28 Jun 15, 2014

    If anyone's going to lead Heaven, it's going to be Cas. I think if they're going to end this arc on season 10 they will have to wrap up his character :( Perhaps they will have Chuck come back as he is God and give Cas his wings back. It would be nice to see Gabriel again at some point though. Adam is done I think, he went down to Hell and I think they will leave it at that though I'd like to see a nice end for him too. Curing Dean won't end the trials, I think you're right in that Gadriel ended that by healing Sam. But curing Dean could still hurt Sam and I hope they don't go down that road as I'm kind of sick of seeing Sam get hurt all the time at the expense of a selfish man who doesn't let people make their own choices. Maybe Sam will feed him his blood to make him Crowley-human for a bit and we'll see soulless Dean for quite a while, would be interesting but I think it's going to be very sad to watch I think :(

  • Aeidail Jun 16, 2014

    If this is going to be the last season you know it's going to hurt. I don't know about Cas leading heaven though. I like Cas better as an angel, but after everything that's happened I don't see him being able to give up earth or Sam and Dean. But the angels can't keep being a factor on earth, or it will never end. It used to be they weren't allowed to take vessels they just chilled in heaven. So I think it needs to go back to that. Cas wants to fix everything, it's why he did badly last time. And yeh, I'm not worried about Dean. We'll get him back fairly quickly I think, it's just going to be about getting rid of the mark. I feel like leaving Adam was too easy for them. Dean has a choice, he saved sam, and then no one really mentioned Adam again, not even when Sam was going crazy. I feel like it's an issue that needs to be addressed. Maybe make him a demon. Lucifer would have liked trying to turn him against Michael.

  • Angie_28 Jul 10, 2014

    I agree, I liked Adam and thought that they just abandoned the character far too easily. We already have demon Dean now and it's possible the actor is just busy and can't come on the show again. But it does add weight to the very specific bond that Sam and Dean have: that they would literally leave anyone to the wolves to save each other. I actually started to notice watching seasons 7 and 8 over again how controlling Dean is over Sam. I mean, it's borderline abusive, always putting him down, never thinking he's capable of anything. It's why Sam can't let him go, it's a kind of twisted need for his control. Cas and Dean are quite similar in that they think everything is their responsibility to fix but I think Cas is different in that he can see his mistakes and learn from them whereas Dean can't. Cas could eventually realise that his time with the boys is done although I wouldn't want him to go! Would be interesting if demon Dean actually turned against Crowley and tried to take over Hell, Cas ruling Heaven and Dean ruling Hell, Sam ruling Men of Letters dungeon stuff! Could be interesting!! :)

  • AC050276 Jun 10, 2014

    My wishlist?....for there to be a s11 and so on, but thats not realistic. There will be a final one, and thats that. Just one question God going to show up for once? Or should I say the God...the one that left the Angels in heaven? The one that has such an amount of power that all this fighting and demon stuff doesn't really matter. The one we (most of us) pray to? The one that knows how all this will turn out...good luck Sam and Dean!

  • RobCS May 28, 2014

    I don't get it. Cas gave up his angel army because he wouldn't kill Dean. And yet, after he hears from Metatron that Dean is dead, he doesn't race off to try to save Dean once Metatron is behind bars?? And Sam is summoning Crowley instead of calling for Cas and some angel assistance? And after years of saying they want Crowley dead they inexpicably let him go the other week? I have been watching since episode one, but I've gotten discouraged by all of these things that go against the basic continuity of the characters.

  • ramaguardado Jul 20, 2014

    When i saw bloodlines i was hoping the winchester will say at the end "we've been centered on angels for too long and let places get overcrowded with evil things", but they went just "ahhh well send other hunters to help" like we have seen other hunters since uhmmm,...cant even remember.

  • Angie_28 Sep 13, 2014

    Yeh, we haven't seen other hunters for ages! But I reckon they just kind of know of Sam and Dean, when they call, they will be there. Much like when Sam had his breakdown, they called some random hunters off of Bobby's list. :)

  • Angie_28 Jun 15, 2014

    Yeh, it would have made more sense to call Cas but I think he knew Cas couldn't bring him back. Sam keeps saying we have to kill Crowley but I think he's more attached to him than even he knows. I reckon this will be the shove he needs to end Crowley for what he's done to Dean but I think Crowley will manipulate Sam into thinking Dean will be better with Crowley around. Cas knew Dean was dead already so there wasn't much he could do, no doubt the next season will see him go straight to the bunker, he still has a 'big picture' mentality in some ways as much as he likes to think he doesn't I reckon! :)

  • MichelleHood24 May 27, 2014

    Dean died and I actually cried, when metatron slid the angel blade into him ......... he's died before but for some reason this time it just felt final and it hit me and then BOOM HES A DEAMON, DEAN IS A FREAKING DEMONNNNN AHHHHHHHHHH YESSSSSSSSSS :). When this happend I too was screaming like a crazy person and my brother who was in the other room thought I had hurt myself and was in danger or something, and then he turned and saw DEANS beautiful DEAMON face he just turned around, walked away and laughed. I'm going to miss Gadriel I was hoping they could have explored his character alittle more. Metatron should have died, an angle blade to the scull would have been fitting. I can't wait to see where they take every thing that happend.

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