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Supernatural "The Great Escapist" Review: Total Recall

Supernatural S08E21: "The Great Escapist"

I know I get grumpy about Supernatural's habit of screwing around for half the season before cramming an actual story into the last handful of episodes with about as much grace as a roomful of Honey Boo Boos, and I'm still not ready to condone the practice because we've been burned in the past. But I will say this:

THAT WAS SO AWESOME I AM SO EXCITED OMG OMG OMG.

Okay. I'm okay. I just needed a moment. 

So Crowley had Kevin in his clutches after all and tried to get him to reveal the secrets of the demon tablet by orchestrating a highly elaborate ruse with two of his demons masquerading as Sam and Dean. This inadvertently led to him losing his half of the demon tablet when Kevin figured it all out—because the demon-chesters were "too polite"—and Booger Metatron (Curtis Armstrong!) swept in for the save. 

Crowley was a busy dude, though, between his directorial debut and his saving-Cas-from-Naomi-just-so-he-could-torture-Cas-himself thing. He lost his half of the demon tablet, but managed to get the angel tablet away from Castiel—and it was a glorious display of fine Supernatural gore that made me really happy about the decision to eat dinner unusually early dinner last night. He had the word of God inside him. Literally

Back in the Batcave, Dean tried to make the ebolarific Sam eat some soup and they squabbled like the married couple they are deep down inside before one of those "If you're reading this, I'm dead" emails popped up from Kevin. They assumed he was dead. Garth also appeared to be MIA probably because DJ Qualls is Leginow. Dean threw stuff because feelings

Luckily, Kevin had uploaded all of his progress on the demon tablet and sent it along to the Men of Letters research mothership (Seriously, why wasn't he just taken there from the start?) and Sam recognized one of the symbols in the notes from a random elective he took at Stanford between eight and 12 years ago. I'm not sure if this was meant to be typical brainy Sam or just one more random memory spurred by his ongoing metamorphosis into... something. The memory stuff didn't seem as pronounced until after the brothers went to Colorado and Sam started "resonating" in Metatron's presence, so it could go either way, really. 

Sam's randomly remembered, hyper-specific memories came as a result of resonance with the word of God, according to Booger Metatron. His memories came without much rhyme or reason and some were seemingly unimportant altogether, like the recollection of Dean and the farty donkey, but then there was the memory of Dean reading him a Knights of the Round Table comic and the revelation that even at an incredibly young age, Sam was aware that he was different than the rest of his family. He remembered thinking that he could never go on a noble quest like Arthur and his knights because he wasn't "clean" or "pure" (theoretically because of his demon blood) which is kind of a horrifying revelation considering he was supposedly, like, barely older than a toddler at that point. Those boys are sooooooo damaged. 

Sam isn't/wasn't the only defective one at this party though. Naomi eventually caught up to Castiel and she was very frustrated with Castiel's long history of effing everything up. Apparently this habit goes all the way back to Egypt and Moses and the sheep's blood/kill-all-the-first-borns thing. Naomi's shenanigans in the first half of the season weren't her first foray into reprogramming everyone's favorite wayward angel and frankly, she's sick of his shit. Frankly, when Cas told her, "Bite me," I was kind of expecting her to actually do it. Idk .

When we met up with Booger Metatron (Boogertron?), we got that whole backstory at gunpoint: he was plucked from the secretarial pool to pen the God's word before the big guy left. After God departed, the angels whined about their father abandoning them for awhile, then decided to enter the bitter alcoholic phase of their daddy issues, which is when Metatron decided to hide among the hairless apes-- that's us!-- and that's where we are today. The angels want the tablets because one ring to rule them all, or in this case, at least two, possibly more, tablets to rule them all. 

Despite the insane amount of exposition delivered via lip flapping present in "The Great Escapist," the pace never suffered from feeling bogged down (Ben Edlund <3) and it appears that the pace going into the final two episodes of the season has been set at breakneck. I'm okay with that. With Metatron plucking Kevin from Crowley's grasp and Castiel making a rather great escape himself, the gang is already back together and united, as Sam said, going forward in their chosen direction: pulling the lever, closing off Hell. 

I'm excited, but also a little apprehensive, mostly due to Metatron's line right before Kevin woke back up. He told Dean that he had to think, "What will the world look like after it's done?"-- meaning the world following the closing of Hell. There wasn't time to go into it in better detail because then Kevin woke up and it was all "C'MON DEAN TIME TO GO SAVE THE WORLD NOW," but I'm starting to think that maybe this isn't going to happen after all. 

Then again, we can't just leave Sam wandering around with a 107 degree fever indefinitely. Soooo...


What did you awesome kids think of "The Great Escapist?"


CASE NOTES


– Third trial = cure a demon. Hey! Ya'll should cure Meg! Meg is awesome and...oh...right. (Still bitter.)

– Metatron's blah blah about storytelling being the "true flower of free will" was a nice nod to Chuck's role in Season 5, especially after the reveal in "Swan Song." 

– Smart Castiel Sighting: Hiding from his peers in Biggerson's because the sameness of the chain restaurants scrambled their angel radar was pretty ingenious until it got a whole waitstaff slaughtered.Oops.

– Badass Cas Sighting: Did he just shove a bullet into that angel's head with his bare hands? He did, didn't he?

– Oh, hey, angel bullets are a thing now.

– Nitpicky stuff: "You rode a farty donkey" is the new "You're bossy and short," but it was established in "Croatoan" a bazillion seasons ago that the Winchesters have never been to the Grand Canyon.

– "Are you on the crack again?"

– "He's like a villain from Scooby Doo." OMG Sam Winchester come watch Scooby Doo Where Are You? (the finest of the Doos) with meeeee. 

– So the trials are purifying Sam (probably) and changing him. Changing him into what? Is the super-memory here to stay? That would be a pretty handy trait for a Man of Letters. Just sayin'.

– Kevin's sass is glorious. Osric Chau, why you so awesome? (Please don't kill Kevin, Supernatural, pleeeeease.)

Comments (164)
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If the gates of hell are closed where do all those bad souls go? Float around earth messing things up even more? All humans go to heaven? I can not wait to see how this is resolved. Now we have to wait until fall. Finally got rid of winter and I am already looking forward to it? There is just something wrong with that.
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They're NOT going to close the gates of hell. Of course not. That would shatter the earth's balance between heaven and hell, good and evil. Somehow Sam will decide not to do it at the last moment.

Or maybe he will do it and they'll spend the next season trying to reopen them.
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The final trial kinda rubs salt in the wound of Meg's death considering she would have been THE PERFECT CANDIDATE YOU BUNCH OF RUDE TEASING BUTTMUNCHERS!
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One thing though, in the beginning of the episode, why weren't those two fake-me-out sam&dean demons affected by the holy water Kevin sprayed them with? Were they just shapeshifters? Why would they be working for Crowley, though?

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Late reply to this comment but I live in England and only just watched this episode. I assume the water didn't work as it wasn't actually Holy Water seeing as the world Kevin was trapped in at the time was created by Crowley.
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Oh an one more thing: Tablets.
So far, we have Leviathans, Demons and Angels. And something tells me, there will be more. What do you think they are? Here are my most probable (maybe) options I could think of, (if you can think of any other ones, go ahead and tell me. :D)

Monsters

Fairies

Paigan Gods

Halflings (anty-christs and those half angel things- even though they havent brought them into the show yet.)

Ghosts
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Succubus?? Centaur, Thor would be a sweet cameo, Cult of Mithras, Celtic Druids, Baphomets, they did fairies... the tiny naked chick and the leprecaun were both fairies, Malach (The angel that served as Lucifer's general in Paradise Lost) I want Sam to go to the dark side but for a good reason and for Dean to accept that Sam is a better hunter when on demon blood
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I meant what other tipes of tablets, Like the angel tablets and demon tablets. If there are other tablets, what would they be?
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The Genesis Tablet....... The Forbidden Tablet........ The Origin Tablet.... Death's Tablet...... The Reaper's Tablet....... It's gotta go beyond angels and demons, so I'm thinking either something to do with the beginning or something to do with the end.... The Judgement Tablet?? HAHA.. I don't know... but something deep and profound, but not as dominating as the GOD Tablet... that would be too much right now
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ANGEl. BULLETS. I didn't know how I felt about them until Cas pulled that awesome move and sticking it inside that angels brain (U GO CAS WOOHOO).

SCOOBY DOO!!!!!!!!!

Ok, the grand Canyon thing, you know that Russell has been talking about that on Tumblr right? He even had a secret message: HEODORTO

Does ANYbody see a word there? because seriously, I can't figure it out... :X
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I said this last week but it's really, really nice to see the show address these characters' histories. Makes me optimistic that the third trial is going to be meaningful in a bigger way that carries back to the early memories of the show.
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I agree that Sam is coughing the remaining demon blood in his system. Please stop with the Angel bullets. Still wondering also if Castiel is a very powerfull Archangel but doesn't remember. If hairless apes seal hell's doors the angels will run wild, maybe that is why Naomi is so interested in recovering the Angel tablet. Oh... I still think that Chuck was "God". Remember what it was said in the Garden... God is on Earth, and the profeth writes the story, and vanishes??? very suspicious...
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I'm thinking Metatron should have had some copies of Chuck's books stashed in the room...
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I don't think so. Remember that he didn't know who the Winchesters were.
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I know he didn't - just that would have been amusing if he did.
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Biggest question I had after this episode: when hell closes, is there going to be "bad" and if there is, what is bad, where do those who do bad go - is purgatory going to be overcrowded or well..it's a can of worms after that really.
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1. Kevin Tran, advanced effing placement and sass queen extraordinaire. Yay!
2. Speaking of purifying Sam, I have a feeling the blood he was coughing up was the demon blood in his system, and his body is fighting to recover from any ill effects it left him with. Just a thought.
3. WE DID NOT SEE MEG DIE! Yes, she was captured by Crowley and stabbed, but this has happened before! Hopefully our sassy demon slunk her way out of that one, too.

Supernatural is so good, but I swear if they have a Winchester/Cas/Kevin/Charlie did-they-or-did-they-not-just-die finale cliffhanger, I will be SO pissed.
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Meg got stabbed in the chest, got all glowy like demons do when they get stabbed, fell down, and didn't get up. The two demons on the show that survived being stabbed through the heart (Alistair and Abaddon) weren't even brought to one knee. Meg may have been a higher ranked demon, but she's not up to Alistair or Abaddon's level. I'm 99% Crowley killed her.
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Good review. And excellent episode! It was entertaining, had a good pace and some plot twists, the actors gave a good overall performance too. Kevin's character has clearly evolved in the good direction. The war between angels and demons is always interesting to watch and I'm always happy to see Crowley and Castiel (big fan!). Not being in favor of the closing the gates of hell quest, I enjoyed the scene between Metatron and Dean when the former says that it all came down to our choices at the end.
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This....is the kind of review that almost makes me want to watch the show again. And it lost me way back in the middle of S5, so that would be a lot of catching up, if I decided to bother. hmm.
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I love that after a few mediocre episodes things really picked up on this episode, I love Supernatural. Cas is solid and so is Kevin. I find angel bullet rather silly please make that thing it's last appearance. Crowley with monitors, staff directors chair and a cell phone. Guess who caught up with technology eh?
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Your writing style is hilarious.. :D Thanks for this review.. !!
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first thought for me was also cure meg XD and then I remembered... to say it in kevin's words " she's dead you bastards"
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Fantastic episode. Dean said purgatory was "pure" and Sam thinks the Trials are "purifying" him... very interesting ... connections? Jared Padalecki kind of made me cry with his performance, that even as a small wee child Sam knew something was wrong with him, and Dean hearing about it for the first time. Jared was freaking brilliant, those range of emotion.

Kevin was so bad ass, so Dean-like in his taunting of Crowley and he didn't know he was going to be rescued by Metatron. So now Kevin is my second favorite side character after Charlie. Whoa, Cas was kind of smart in this one! He just might move into the slot of the sixth favorite still-living side character for me. What in the world is happening, everybody is actually likable.

I still don't think Sam is turning into an angel because unlike demons, angels were never people, just bunch of soulless dickbags. It's the Trials, not tablets, that are changing Sam. Makes me wonder if Dean do the Trails to seal heaven and if that changes him too, purifying him since 1) no human is pure or clean and 2) Dean's torture of souls has got to be weighing on him and he was on his way to becoming a demon before the angels decided he has done enough to break first seal to jump start of the Apocalypse. Sam was infected with demon blood but Dean took actions that put him closer to demonhood.
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Solid episode, considering that it was mostly a set up for the end of the season and had a lot of exposition to deal with. My theory is that, with Hell closed (so demons can't access Earth and influence it) there is a shift of power to angels, who haven't been arsed to mess around with humanity (except for Gabriel) for a few thousand years, but now have a vested interest in screwing with Winchesters (and Co.) But Crowley has the angel tablet, which gives instructions on how to program angels (and he can already buy some help) so my guess is, Winchesters seal Hell (for now) but Crowley either takes over Heaven, or makes a deal with Heaven, so next season, that's where the threat comes in. Have to wait and see! And incidentally, the sacrifice this time may not be the life of a Winchester.
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I was really impressed by the sheer amount of exposition they managed to get through relatively painlessly. The episode could have easily turned into a giant info-dump that was painful to sit through, but this was actually really exciting and interesting. Yay!

I'm really excited to see where the angel tablet stuff goes and I agree that it might not be a Winchester doing the sacrificing this time, even if Sam is lookin' baaaaaad.
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What does closing the gates of hell really means? does this mean both ways? no coming out and no getting in? well, then when the bad guys dies where do they go?
I think maybe that what was Metatron referring to!
How about if there is a way to close gates of Heaven too?
Earth will be very crowded with plenty of ghosts... this is really stupid of the Winchesters.
and I think there should be a Warning on the demon tablet ... what r the consequences!

love this show :D
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I believe the gates were originally closed in the first two seasons. It was blocked by the devil's trap. In the season finale, the devils's trap was broken and the gates of hell opened. Demons were able to get out of hell (along with John Winchester).

Closing the gates again would just keep the demons in.

I'm making a total guess here, though. My memory isn't what it used to be.

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I seriously doubt they'll close the gates of hell cause what will they hunt next fairies or more of the greek and norse gods?
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Greek and Norse mythology are awsome! More fan of Odin and his kind,but still both awsome. Real shame how they treat them in Supernatural. And not just these 2...
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if they still have a way to purgatory, there is a way to hell... indirect but still a gate :D
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if they still have a way to purgatory, there is a way to hell... in direct but still a gate :D
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This would have to be in the top few episodes for the season. Having said that even if the story itself was flat (which it wasn't even nearly. it was ace) Jared Padalecki's performance in this episode was the best I can remember ever seeing from him. He was brilliant in this episode. I don't want this show to ever end.
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if they close off Hell, they still have to deal with Heaven.
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Did anyone else pick up that Cas might actually be an arch angel instead of the regular garrison angel he always has said (and likely believes because Naomi wants him to) I don't know what impact that has on anything but it vaguely makes me want to review who may have always been missing from the actual rotation of the arch angels who haven't been mentioned yet in spn lore.

I am more convinced than ever that Sam'sturning into an angel but one who might still possess his free will.

I have been feeling for awhile that no one ia thinking through the consequences of success. So you close the door to one way or the other. Super. But where will a soul designated for one place or another go? If there is no evil will good overrun and be corrupted? And vice versa. I am hoping this is what Cas' instinct to protectangel tablet from angel and human.
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Cas had mentioned in Purgatory that he was a Seraphim, the level below Archangel. I'm guessing God's upgrade after his second death in season 5 caused him to move up in the ranks, but he still got his ass kicked when faced against Raphael with no help.
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I forgot about that, I think I was concentrating too much on trying to see how on earth Dean should be feeling guilty about Cas being left behind or if Benny was going to do anything to cause Dean to betray Cas (so obviously nothing happened like that so I wasn't thinking Cas was going to stay there for penance and so I wasn't paying attention to him too much.
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Closing the gates just means demons can't get to Earth, souls would still pass through if they were intended for Hell.
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Maybe, but it could be one of the "what the world will be" after thing that Metatron was talking about.
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" free will means to be just that 'free of influence from one or the other"

Yesssss! Wouldn't that make a great end-game for the eventual final season? Like, wouldn't that ultimately be the best saving of the world that Dean and Sam could leave behind?

I think the series has struggled to top the "epic-ness" of the apocalypse in recent seasons, but something like that, the struggle for TRUE free will, that could definitely carry the series through the rest of it's run (assuming that run is one or two more seasons and personally I'm pulling for two just because ten is a nice number) and give a fairly satisfying ending on par with saving with world from physical destruction back in S5.
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No, Sam always eats a salad :)
And Dean would have pie.
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I wonder if this lends more credence to my theory of Sam turning into a sort of different kind of angel, just to make the battle of free will be that much more concrete to the audience. I mean, we understand what it means through Cas but he has been kind of bucking the system since we've known him.
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That would definitely a an interesting inversion of Cas. His story has highlighted his attempts to get out of the just-following-orders angel mindset for years, and I don't want to say that it was easy for him or anything, but he DOES do it often enough that I don't think we always get the full understanding of just how hard of a concept free will is for the rest of the angels. Forcing Sam to assume the role would be a way to drive that point home, certainly.
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Yes, me too. I am going to break out my Catholic mysticism knowledge here, but angels generally don't like humans because they are jealous of them, God, who they thought of as their father, made them, but decided he needed something better, made humans in his message but gave them the gift of free will and a soul, both of which were things the angels didn't have. This led first to the war in heaven in which Lucifer fell, but I think the idea of the Nephilim came out of this idea too. There was a segment of angels who didn't feel jealous so much as envious and wanted to be among the humans rather than just resentful. They generally kept their angelic powers. If I am recalling correctly, at least one arch angel made this decision - who I believe is the actual Angel of Death (not the personification of death, but different). It sort of is like the Prometheus story.
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If Sam has to cure a demon, I hope they cure Crowley. Now ironic would that be?
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but i like Crowley just the way he is :( lol
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That's so true. I just keep thinking of the poor sucker that's been his vessel for centuries...
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I think that's his own body. Which is why he had to protect his bones when the boys went to Scotland and threatened to burn them.
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Yes, yes, that's right. Good catch! So Crowley's not that bad after all.
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Perhaps Sam is right in the trials purifying him. Maybe they are even turning him into an angel, one pure and untainted like the others are.

My guess is that the gates of either Heaven or Hell can be closed only by one who is pure, pure good to close Hell and pure evil to close Heaven. Closing the gates are so difficult because there is no one who is pure one way or the other. Demons were once human, as are a lot of the supernatural creatures on the show, so there is that sliver of humanity keeping them from being pure evil. Even Lucifer had very human reasons for doing what he did, feeling betrayed by his family. Angels have lived eons in a war and this keeps them from being pure good.

The reason why I think it is possible that Sam is becoming an angel is how his body has been affected. Maybe he is manifesting what the angels call his grace,the energy and aura of an angel. His body is simply too weak to handle it and it is burning him out from the inside.

Meanwhile, Crowely now basically has a demonic version of the Colt, a gun able to kill angels.
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While demons were once human, they went to hell for a reason, and they are corrupted further into demons, and think about it, there has never really been a good demon on spn - perhaps ones that weren't as bad as some, but still had an agenda based on sin - such as revenge, etc. Does Meg saving the Winchesters (and Cas) really weigh out all the people she's killed? NO. At best, she'd go to Purgatory, monster hell. The tablets were designed to help humanity confront monsters, so only humans can use them, they don't have to be pure or corrupt, but using the tablets has a price. Cas does not want Dean to use the angel tablet because he is afraid the demon tablet is killing Sam, and he does not want that to happen to Dean. Eventually Crowely will run out of bullets, as his supply of angel blades would diminish.
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Yes, most if not all of the demons on the show have been motivated by sinful motives but those motives are still very much human motives. Ruby was motivated by her devotion to Lucifer, Meg and Crowely by their self serving nature. A good person can still have sin in their hearts and likely get into heaven just as an evil person can do a good deed and still go to hell. There is no pure creature on the show.

As for the tablets, you may be right in that they may have been made for humans, still based on free will of course. It is up to the humans to determine which one they would use.

But if it is the case that the trials are purifying Sam then the same would go for one using the Angel tablet. If one is making Sam pure good, then the other would make who ever underwent those trials pure evil, something which would be interesting to see.

As for Cas, he does not believe anyone should have the power of the tablets, human, angel, or demon. It is just too much power for any being to have.
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Cas is protecting the tablet *from* Dean, not protecting Dean from the tablet. Cas is found of humanity but he's proven time and time again that his priority lies with his nature. Cas feels heck more guilt for the choas he caused in heaven than his many murders of innocent humans during his Godstiel phase or knowing abandoning Sam to suffering needless centuries in Lucifer's Cage. Every time Dean prays to Cas on Sam's behalf, Cas ignores Dean. Dean even yelled at Cas for ignoring soulless Sam's prayers and demanded that Cas always answers Sam.
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"Third trial = cure a demon. Hey! Ya'll should cure Meg! Meg is awesome and...oh...right. (Still bitter.)"
This was pretty much my exact thought process. :)
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that last little line of metatron's...if they close hell and if they close heaven...will that mean the world will get full of ghosts cuz nobody will move on to the next level, into the light at the end of the tunnel blah blah there'll b no tunnel, right?
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Shit, Naomi, not Jessica.My bad, sorry. that's all your fault Jess.
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Well, they went with Metatron after all. But as you put it, it was AWESOME. Just the way Metatron grabed Kevin and roasted Crowley is one of the best all time in the series. Still. since the tablets are in Sumerian, I am not completely giving up on some Mesopotamian Mayhem yet.
Honestly, this is going to remembered as being the hottest episode in the series. Sam explaining how going through the Trials is purifying him, the whole Crowley trying to duplicate the Brothers from a Kevin who knows better. I mean there was not one bad scene, not one bad subplot in there. Okay,I felt bad that the diner people got massacred by Jessica et al; but a good episode of Supernaturalwithout a few corpses there ain't. if you follow my drift.Btw, have you noticed how bitches are very often called Jessica? (Suits).
So curing a demon is numero trez in Trial and Cas shows up wounded.Is there, perchance, a hint heyar? He did contain the dastardly Purgatory Leviathans, after all and did end up in there.Wait and see, I guess.
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I cannot believe there are only 2 episodes left!! This was a great episode and I love how the last few of the season always are the best
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Great episode. Can't believe there are only two episodes left!
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That episode was what I was hoping for from the last few of the season.
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The fact that you were able to remember something as far back as "Croatoan" is truly remarkable. Especially something that obscure.
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Nah, I only half remembered it. Research was required to nail down which episode it was mentioned in. But thank you, regardless!
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Well put, MaryAnn! As usual. Alright, perhaps with the exception of that Honey Boo Boo metaphor (whyyyyyyyy did you have to do this; it's gonna haunt me now).

So... whoa. Just whoa. That is the Supernatural we want. This episode could've easily belonged in a much stronger and balanced season - the fact that it was penned by Ben Edlund came as a no surprise. The guy needs to do that more often (especially instead of certain two hack writers).
I also felt that Jared Padalecki got his chance to shine, and that he nailed it. He absolutely made Sam's struggle work on so many levels. I did appreciate the throwback to the demon blood in Sammy's veins - how it has always eaten away at him (now a reference to his former powers would be in order!).

Metatron (does anybody else thinks Transformers upon hearing this name?) turned out to be quite a bookworm. Fitting for a scibe. Just minding his own business and enjoying a quiet, cloistered life. While I expected something more grandier, it did feel strangely alright - especially upon finding out that he was fairly low in angels' hierarchy before being chosen by the Boss himself.
This scene also made me remember that Supernatural is a very ambitious show at its roots, tackling some of the most important questions humanity has to offer. There was a confirmation that God has indeed left of his own volition, there were some philosophical musings on free will and what it meant to be a creator. This epic framework has largely been missing from the series in the recent seasons, despite so many celestial and demonic beings entering the scene (quite a paradox).
The only weak moment of the episode came to me with the sight of a self-righteous Winchester. I hate when they do that, go about accusing others and seeing everything in a plain black & white mode. Hypocrisy is bad - it's not like the humanity was essentially innocent and everything could be blamed on supernatural beings.

It was amazing to have smart and badass Castiel back, being all himself. He is a fighter. Naomi has shown her true colors for good, and that scene of carnage was quite shocking. I hope she gets her due. I'm still not sold on this whole reprogramming thing, but I'm letting it slide for now.

Crowley really runs Hell like a modern corporation, doesn't he. The elaborate lengths he can go to, the resources, the technological advancement (R&D department!). He is even into role-playing, but perhaps he should've played Dean himself after all. He almost had it all... but almost makes a big difference.

I wasn't much of a fun when Kevin was first introduced, along with that whole idea of Prophets and God Tablets (perhaps I just hated on almost everything related to season 7, and by extension, Leviathans). I didn't care much for him throughout the first half of season 8, either. But he has been gradually growing on me, and I do love the evolution here. Mocking Crowley like this and standing his ground, that was a strong moment. Let him live, Supernatural!

Wonder where the third trial will take us, and what will come out of it all... A lot of hope and expectations for the final episodes.
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I don't think Sam and Dean are self-righteous, everything comes down to interference of demons and angels - their mom would not have made a deal for John, then got Sam infected with demon blood, etc, etc, etc, not to mention all the people they've seen screwed by angels and demons in their lifetimes - which is why they bring up Kevin to Metatron, it's also the only way to convince Metatron to get off his ass and help.
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They certainly have plenty of reasons to blame both angels and demons. But that doesn't make generelizations alright, or justifies looking for a scapegoat.

There were quite a few cases throughout the show's history where Winchesters gave in to self-righteousness, unfortunately: mistreating Castiel and having a go at him more than once, mistreating Benny, killing off Sam's monster friend and taking a moral high ground; and those are only the most recent ones. My foggy memory tells me that some things could be digged out even from the earlier seasons.
It bugs me, because I can never tell whether it's supposed to be an integral part of their characters, or is just a slip in the writing that goes against what they should be like. I only know that I tend to notice these moments, and they put me at odds with our hunters. Rare as it might be.
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Fantastic episode! I'm glad that Kevin's alive and reunited with the Winchesters. I feared that he was dead and frankly, we need more Asians on television that are this awesome. Loved badass Cas since he managed to hide the angel tablet in himself (genius tactic among other various things. I wonder if they're gonna cure a demon that we already know or someone who's new. Since most of the demons that the Winchesters have encountered so far are dead (besides Crowley), I think it's someone who we have yet to meet. But I'm wondering if it's Bela. After all, she did end up in Hell and it's been mentioned once that people who end up in Hell become demons after a couple of centuries. Metatron's house reminded me of Bobby because of all those books. So many books. Anyways, just wanted to say MaryAnn, that reading your reviews are always fun and enjoyable because of your genuine enthusiasm and passion for the show. Keep up the great work! #SAVETHEBATCAVE
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When Crowley was attacking Kevin, did anyone think either God or another Arch Angel was on that entire "Prophet-protection" thing Chuck had going for him? I was so pumped for a Chuck cameo.. Still good though.

Also, watch Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated!, not only is it the best of the Doo's, it's one of the best series that have aired so far this decade. It's one long continuing story, there are real relationships, all of the other Hanna-Barbera cartoons are somehow in the same universe, and the sole mention of Scrappy was "We don't talk about that!".
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All the archangels are dead - Lucifer, Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, so there is no one to protect Kevin, or he would not have been snatched by Crowley in the first place. Metatron is sometimes an archangel in lore, sometimes not, but now he would be the only angel with powers close to that, which is how he was able to save Kevin this time.
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In regards to Metatron's warning: What i think he's really warning dean about is Naomi and the other Angels, or at least those in command. With the gates of hell closed, who will fight the angels? With all the demons gone, or at least unable to claw their way back up to earth, the angels would be left unchecked, and as the most powerful beings around. And as we've seen, Naomi and the other Angels have no problems killing humans, so if the Gates of Hell are closed, whats to stop the Angels from just completely taking over the Earth.

A few thoughts: We have another season of Supernatural on the way (Awesome!!!), if the gates of hell are closed for good in the season finale, it is my personal opinion that next season will end up being a "close the gates of heaven" story line, because Naomi, if she isn't killed by the finale, and/or the other Angels are out of control. And if next season ends up being the last season, then that would be a fitting end to the series, heaven and hell playing no part in the world, while good and evil can still exist in humans, just no angels and demons, *possible loophole: if they are already on earth when the respective gates are closed, they probably wont be forced into heaven or hell.*

Another loophole to closing the Gates of Hell for good: Purgatory. Are we just suppose to forget about that secret backdoor that skips right over the gates? will that backdoor disappear also or will it remain, creating only a detour through purgatory? Even if the door needed to be opened from purgatory, if you recall they never resealed it, so it is possible monsters are slipping into hell, or demons into purgatory.

One last thought: in the event that next season is the final season, God will make an appearance. Something in a Morgan Freeman...haha jk, i dont care to make guesses so far out, but it is my belief he will make an appearance, especially if next season is about closing the gates of heaven.
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I thought it was confirmed to go to season 10?
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im not sure if it is, i only know for a fact that there will be a season 9
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The humans would have to get hold of the angel tablet, that gives instruction on how to control and reprogram angels. That's what the tablets were, instructions for humanity to survive against monsters, but strangely, they were all scattered and lost. I like how you remembered the hole from purgatory into hell, but monsters can't get out of purgatory unless they ride a human soul, I'm assuming it might be the same for demons.
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you're forgetting about reapers. the one sam used to get into purgatory was originally on Crowley's payroll, so it stands to reason he has more than one reaper at his disposal.
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Damn Ben Edlund knows how to write a great episode. I like 'Boogertron'. Great review.. Mark Sheppard and Amanda Tapping have been excellent each time they've been around this season and neither disappointed here. All the random parts floating around this season actually starting to make sense. Edlund is the best. They can't kill Kevin after killing Meg.)
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Good episode, loved Booger's cameo as Metatron. I also don't think he's just a run of the mill angel. I thought Lucy, Michael, Gabriel, Alex Cord, Raphael and Metatron were archangels. These Supernatural episodes that tie back in with the lore of Season 5 are great. I keep hoping Chuck shows up one of these episodes, but doubt he will inorder to keep up the trend of God not showing up when we want him to.

Crowley plan to trick Kevin with fake-chesters was pretty clever. I'm also assuming the demons weren't burned by the holy water cause Crowley wouldn't leave holy water there in the first place. Yeah I figured out how dumb I was as I finished writing that sentence.

I almost went Super Saiyan when divine light started pouring out of Kevin. I probably would've achieved it if Lamar showed up whipping a demon killing javelin using his limp wristed throwing technique.

2 episodes left, keep it up!
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I'm sorry, I'm just too emotionally devastated over the fact that Mythbusters just wrecked a couple of Impalas in their season opening to make a proper comment.
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If I remember correctly Kevin read from the Hell tablet that there was a personal note from the "Archangel" Metatron, so I'm not entirely buying Metatron's claim of being a normal angel. Also Metatron's arrival and smiting of Crowley, who was threatening a prophet, seemed very much like the archangel's appearance in THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK in season 4. Lilith bailed and was not harmed, and I'd bet that
Crowley will do the same next time.

I also am thinking there's a possibility that Sam's experiences at the end of each trial may NOT be purifying him. Sam has demon blood. At the end of each of the first two trials Sam has suffered pain, with the second being stronger than the first. The pain has also came with an inner glow from Sam. When the 3 trials are complete everything demonic will be locked away in hell. What's the chances that Sam comes closer to locking the demon blood (and himself) away in hell also. The closer Sam gets to completing the three trials the closer he gets to locking himself in hell. The closer Sam gets to locking himself away the more intense his pain and reactions become. If this is the case, then how is Dean going to react when he realizes that Sam is about to be locked away in hell forever ?

Maybe I'm wrong about all of these things. While some people think that Sam is changing into an angel, I can't remember any season ending on a great note. Let's see ... season one = car accident, season 2 = gates of hell opened with hundreds of demons escaping and Dean sells his soul, season 3 = Dean goes to hell, season 4 = Lucifer is freed from hell, season 5 = Sam and Adam go to hell and are locked in the cage with Michael and Lucifer, Season 6 = Castiel declares himself a god, season 7 = Dean goes to purgatory and Bobby's ghost is sent into the afterlife. I see absolutely no reason that season 8 will end differently, meaning on a happy note. After all, the SUPERNATURAL crew must have SOME way to torment us in the off season.
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I'm considering that "curing a demon" might be mean Sam himself, and they aren't going to like this definition of "cure."
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God gave Sam a special pass into heaven every time he died (except when he caged Lucifer) since angels and demons were always manipulating his life to be Lucifer's vessel. Sam's body is infected, not his soul which is good and pure, as evident when Death brought him back in season 6, all shiny without blemish.
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Sam's not a demon, so he wouldn't be locked away in Hell, he's done so many great things, in the normal course of events, he wouldn't be sent to Hell, (but this is supernatural) But Dean does fear that using the tablet to close Hell will kill Sam, and he's got himself prepped (he thinks) for that, because both Dean and Sam think the sacrifice is worth it.
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Sorry, I forgot to say that this is a fantastic review and that I enjoyed it very much. Thank you !
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Just want to say, it is so refreshing to read a reviewer who genuinely has love for the show she watches.
When you criticise it is with the better of the show in mind, be it good or bad critique.
Well done!
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Staff
Thank you!
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I liked this episode and I am hoping that the guys' somehow get the angel tablet from Crowley....I just don't want this story to be drawn out into the next season.
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Hi!

"So the trials are purifying Sam (probably) and changing him. Changing him into what? Is the super-memory here to stay? That would be a pretty handy trait for a Man of Letters. Just sayin'."

Someone was floating an idea a few episodes back that Sam may be changing into an angel. I'm not taking credit! But I think, that's a possibility, what else could it mean? The trials are purifying him, perhaps he will become and angel or something else? Some sort of Demi-God?

I have to say I loved everything in this one, we had Kevin, we had Cass, we had everyone XD

Also, I'm so sick of Naomi and I wish that she would die already...

I hope that the finale is going to be AMAZING! XD
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Howdy yourself!

I've seen the angel theory floating around myself and I was kind of on the "yeah no" side of things until this episode. That's definitely on the table now, I think. Or SOMETHING angelic. It really makes me wonder what the effect on Dean might have been since there was, theoretically, nothing that needed purifying with him.

It was REALLY sweet to have everyone back together, and with plenty of time to be awesome before the finale too!
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Yay!

I forgot to add in my post: I love that you are passionate about the show and that you love it as much as every other fan out there. I'm always looking forward to your reviews because they are mostly positive and inspiring and fun to read! XD

I liked the last episode so much, I hope they can sign on Felicia Day to return as a series regular next season! Any ideas if that's even a possibility?
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Thank you! I'm delighted that you put up with my shenanigans! I try to keep it positive, unless my patience has TRULY been tried on an episode. There's usually at least ONE thing to say something nice about.

I have NO idea about Felicia Day. I want to say it's doubtful that she'd be a regular since Misha Collins was just promoted for S9, but I have no doubt that she'll be back in some capacity, especially after the way she took to the (Wo)Men of Letters stuff, plus look how often Jim Beaver and Misha Collins appeared even when they WEREN'T regulars.
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I would tell you what I think but you already did that for me, Mary Ann - and more eloquently than I ever could have. What she said...
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Aw, you're nice. Hivemiiiind!
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Really enjoyed this episode, and i enjoyed the fact that Metatron is actually a cool type of angel, not a warrior, doesn't really have any type of plan, he just lived his life until the Winchesters point out that he has to make a choice. I liked the fact that e seems to have a conscience
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Okay, can someone explain to me how Crowley got passed the demon blocks to kidnap Kevin, or even to mess with his mind? And the blades that are strong enough to KILL ANGELS are NOT strong enough to withstand fire and be melted down into bullets? That's -2 points, Supernatural.

However, the REST of the episode was AWESOME!! Definitely looking forward to the last two episodes of the season (and also feeling bitter that Meg won't be around to cure....*sigh*....).
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About your demon block question... higher-level demons can find ways around normal demon barriers. Azazel, for example, was able to visit Sam in his dreams despite not physically being there and the house he was in being sealed by salt barriers "All Hell Breaks Loose Part 1." I'm betting Crowley did the same thing, mentally torturing an already stressed out Kevin long enough for him to walk out of the boat, and then snatch him up, put him into that subspace fake boat, and wipe his mind clean so he didn't think he left. Crowley even mentions that he erased Kevin's memory at least once when Fake-Sam flubbed his character.
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Being able to kill an Angel doesn't mean it needs to be invulnerable. Dick Roman was darn near immortal and it took a weak little bone covered in blood to kill him.

Being Angel-killers doesn't mean they're Adamantium or something. Man, I've used that word more in the last weak than my entire life. It could just be some blessed object, or some special metal that doesn't have an insane melting point.

Plus, you know... Hell. They probably have access to some really hot fires down there :-)

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Hmm....well, you DO make a good point about the quality of Hell fire. :-)
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Great great episode, loved the brothers chemistry & the sadness of Dean who can't really help Sam at the moment no matter how he tries. The realization that Sam always thought he was less than good was heartbreaking.

Crowley awesome as always, great "director", gun with angel bullets (only he could think of that) & really hope they "cure" him but he hates being human, would be such a hoot next season (of course he will be returned to his demonic self)

I thought as soon as they found Metatron the 1st thing they would ask him is what the symbol was. Guess with all the hoopla of Sam lecturing him & saving Kevin (how cool was that) they forgot about it. Metatron saying it's your decision makes me think even more now that closing Hell will not be a good thing. Sure demons in, but where will bad "souls" go?

Also it is "confirmed" that God is gone, but left a while ago. Also Metatron called him a He.

Castiel as always was sheer greatness. Having the tablet in him, how he hid in the sameness of the restaurants & shoving the bullet in the other angel's eye, worthy of bowing, saluting, curtsying whatever. Woohoo for being a regular next season.
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According to Kevin, the symbol was kind of his signature. So his signature ALSO appearing on those mountains meant he was there at one point.
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What an episode, again I am crying in the inside for Sam. Good thing Dean but Sam in an ice bath before the fever killed him, though Sam reacts was so good he was so mad at Dean. I have to feel bad for Kevin again Crowley kidnaps him, though I was impressed that he saw though the demons who were posing as Sam and Dean. I not sure what to think of the new guy I guess I get a better thought on him in the next episode, I was happy that Kevin was saved and brought back to Sam and Dean. Dean was taking Kevin missing very hard, I think he cares alot of the kid and it shows Dean has changed over the years. Hes becoming alot like how Sam use to be that is a scary thought. The third Trail stumped me, cure a demon. How the hell are they so suppose to do that? Dean riding a farty Donkey that was so funny, I agree I think Sam is changing into something what he changing into is I think an angel.
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Well, Demons are apparently corrupted souls of the once-living. So curing a Demon might mean uncorrupting the soul and making it a normal soul / person again. With empathy and what-not.

Perhaps via a ritual, or perhaps by getting them to see the error of their ways and renounce the evil part of themselves.
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Poor Sam
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I think the second one is more likely the way. Demons are the broken twisted souls of human, but they only become that way though the choices they make in hell. So I think it needs to be the Demons own choice to be whole again. (I'm thinking like in Harry Potter when they say you can fix a person who's broken their soul to make a horcrux if they are truly repentant of what they've done) I think Sam is going to have to convince a demon to feel sorry for all the chaos it's cause and all the people it's killed.
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Dumb Winchester sighting: who sees an email with the title WATCH THIS VIDEO NOW and opens it without thinking? What's next, sending money to an exiled Nigerian prince?
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If you watch last week's ep. the e-mail box has 3 other e-mails besides the one from Charlie and of those three, the only one they opened was junk mail.
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Truuuue. That's a good one.
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Theory...

The gates of hell are closed now means everyone who dies, goes to heaven...including the bad people who then jack up heaven.
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Closing the gates means the demons can't get to earth, period, does nothing about the passing of souls.
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Do we know that for sure?

Metatron hinted that there might be consequences, that the world might change more than they'd think after their actions.

To me, that means a bigger scope than "your brother might die in the process" So, perhaps a soul -> hell issue? A human-nature-changing issue? etc.

Just saying... I don't THINK we've heard Kevin say that souls will still go there or that closing the gates will still allow Reapers to go there.
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I loved Metatron's warning... there's a lot they could do.

They could do that humanity fundamentally changes if there is no Hell anymore. Like instinctively they'll know there are no repercussions for what they do in life and then act like complete d***-wads.

Or perhaps without hell, the bad souls go to pergatory. Or perhaps just hang around Earth and the place starts filling with ghosts REALLY fast. Or perhaps too many souls in Heaven means it collapses. Or without a place for good AND bad to go, they BOTH good and bad no longer go anywhere.

Just LOTS of directions they could go with that.
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My theory is that ghosts, when they get destroyed, go to Crazy Hell, the level of Hell that Bobby was trapped in. I believe in levels of Hell, because that's the only way Bobby being trapped in a cell would make sense since most souls in Hell are in the Endless Wait Line. I think that closing the gates would basically mean ghosts would be invincible, since, with nowhere to go since they can't go to Heaven, having rejected their Reaper like Bobby or were bad people, they'd simply poof back into the land of the living again... and again... and again...
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Bobby was supposed to go to heaven, but Crowley hijacked his soul.
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or they get split between heaven and purgatory
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