Season 8 Episode 14

Trial and Error

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM Feb 13, 2013 on The CW
out of 10
User Rating
228 votes

By Users Episode Review

  • Supernatural "Trial and Error" Review: Here Doggie, Doggie, Doggie...

    With the Winchester Mission Statement finally reading "Save the World AND LIVE," it seems that the series has turned its gaze toward the future... and the future looks pretty good.

  • Episode Summary

    Kevin translates the tablet and finds the way to close the gates of Hell. He tells Sam and Dean that in order to do so, one person has to face three tasks designed by God, one of which is killing a hellhound, and the brothers argue about who should complete the tasks.


    Who was the Episode MVP ?

    • brought me back to the good seasons past :)

      it's so nice to see them be all domestic and finally have a place to settle and call 'home' :)

      I just know those pills are going to backfire

      love Sam tell Dean not to give up on a future
    • Awesome episode. Perfect supernatural from start to finish.

      Good episode... and we finally get to see what a hell hound looks like.
    • Don't deal with the devil!

      I just finally caught this episode, I still have 2 or 3 to catch up on, and thought it was great. While I am not a huge fan of the grand arc the show takes at times, this was a great episode along the current arc, closing the gates of hell. The story itself with the pitiful family and the hired hand was interesting and it was great to find out they had sold their souls to Crowley himself! It was also interesting to see Kevin going bonkers trying to find the solution to closing the gates and the reason he was running himself dry doing it. And finally there was Dean's and Sam's brotherly love showing through although it didn't turn out the way Dean planned it. Just a great episode and I wonder if this is setting the show up for the grand finale and end of the series this season? I'll hate to see it go but not too many shows make it to eight seasons to begin with. Now I have to update that last statement as Supernatural has been renewed for a 9th season, woohoo!moreless
    • Trail and Error

      I saw this episode and had very high hope for it and the episode managed to deliver on my high expectations of it. The highlight of the episode for me was the brotherly bond between Sam and Dean that we havent seen in a while and i havent felt that since the end of season 5. The graphics were amazing and both brothers sacrificing themselves for their brother was awesome. Jeremy Carver you have returned Supernatural to basics. Cant wait to see what the other trails are and how they face them and what will the consequences be.moreless
    • Finally the stakes are raised!

      With the last few weeks being centered on the Men of Letters, we FINALLY get back to the main plot of the season- closing the gates of Hell. Kevin manages to decode the tablet and tells Sam and Dean that one of them needs to complete three trials before gaining the power to close the gates. Dean, being the angsty suicidal guy he is, decides to do the trials, the first being to kill a Hellhound. This makes sense because he knows how they operate, given that he made a deal himself and was torn apart by one in season 3. To everyone's surprise, it's SAM who kills the Hellhound, completing the trial, and telling Dean that unlike him, Sam isn't planning on dying and plans to have a life after it's all over, and wants to share the post-hunting life with Dean.

      This is a great episode because it actually gives Sam something to do now. Sam was originally the main character of Supernatural; Dean wasn't even introduced until 10 minutes into the pilot, and only about three episodes of season one centered around Dean. After the season premier of season 2, though, I noticed that the seasons slowly began shifting the focus off of Sam and more onto Dean. Dean was the one who killed Yellow Eyes, saved the world from Lucifer by snapping Sam back to reality, killed Eve, killed Dick. What really has Sam done in the series? Killed Lilith and jumped in a hole with Lucifer inside him. That's pretty much the major accomplishments that Sam has done. Heck, after season 5, the series could've been called "the Dean Show" because Dean seemed to do EVERYTHING while Sam stood on the sidelines watching. But in this episode, Sam now has the responsibility to ultimately beat Crowley and close the doors, leaving Dean as the helper for these trials. The show has gone back to the mechanics of season one with the focus on SAM, not Dean, though there are plenty of issues that Dean needs to resolve on his own as well. Cas is being manipulated by Naomi, and Benny has a bloodlust now that he may or may not be able to control.

      I also like how the trials for closing Hell are explained mid season instead of the last for or 5 episodes like the past few seasons. It gives the boys more time to come up with a strategy for facing the Big Bad, instead of the typical "we get a Deaus ex Machina way to deal with the problem as the season ends!"moreless
    Danay Garcia

    Danay Garcia


    Guest Star

    Alisen Down

    Alisen Down

    Alice Cassity

    Guest Star

    Francis X. McCarthy

    Francis X. McCarthy

    Noah Cassity

    Guest Star

    Osric Chau

    Osric Chau

    Kevin Tran

    Recurring Role

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (6)

      • Dean: I haven't had my own room... ever. I'm making this awesome. I've got my kickass vinyl. I've got this killer mattress. Memory foam--it remembers me. And it's clean, too. There's no funky smell. There's no creepy motel stains. (Sam drops a gum wrapper on the floor) Really?
        Sam: Sorry.

      • Dean: Look, I'm gonna feel dirty saying this, but you might want a salad and a shower.

      • Sam: So, what--God wants us to take the SATs?
        Kevin: Yes. Uh, He works in mysterious ways.
        Dean: Yeah, mysterious douchey ways.

      • Ellie: And, well, her last album was a bunch of holiday songs for dogs. My favorites were "Jingle Bark Rock" and "Don't Pee on This Tree: Happy Arbor Day."
        Dean: So she's the Devil?
        Ellie: Pretty much.

      • Dean: (cooking) Impressed?
        Ellie: I do like a man who can handle his meat.

      • Dean: (to a hellhound) Oh, so you're Crowley's bitch. I guess pets do really look like their owners.

    • NOTES (2)

    • ALLUSIONS (10)

      • Sam: Trials, uh, like, Law & Order?
        Referencing the long-running TV franchise, created by Dick Wolf starting in 1990 with Law & Order. There have been three spinoffs since then, with episodes often drawing on headline-grabbing real-life crimes as the basis for its fictionalized plots.

      • Dean: Get between him and Clifford the big dead dog.
        Referencing the gigantic (25') tall) red dog, Clifford the Big Red Dog, first published in a series of books in 1963 written by Norman Bridwell. Initially a runt, Clifford grows to giant thanks to the love of his young owner, Emily Elizabeth. The books were made into an animated PBS series starting in 2000.

      • Dean: Well, let's go visit the Beverly Hillbillies.
        Referencing the TV series The Beverly Hillbillies, starring Buddy Ebsen as Jed Clampett, the grizzled patriarch of the hillbilly family. When he finds "oil in them there hills," he moves his family to Beverly Hills and comedy hijinks ensue.

      • Cindy: Keep it coming, Ken Doll.
        Referencing the Mattel doll, Ken (aka Ken Sean Carson), perpetual boyfriend/husband/significant other to Barbie (Barbara Millicent Roberts) since 1961.

      • Dean: Do not let J.R. and the gang out of your sight.
        Referencing the primetime TV soap opera Dallas (1978-1991, CBS), which features the rivalry between two Texas families, the Ewings and the Barneses. J.R. Ewing, played by Larry Hagman, was the oldest son and the one responsible for most of the scheming and backstabbing among both families. The series was continued on TNT in 2012.

      • Ellie: The whole Clark Kent look.
        Referencing the secret identity of Superman, the comic book character created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in Action Comics #1 (June 30, 1938). Arguably the most recognized comic book character in the world, Baby Kal-El was rocketed from the doomed planet Krypton, landed on Earth, and gains superpowers under the yellow sun. Assuming the identity of mild-mannered Clark Kent, Superman fights a neverending battle for Truth, Justice, and the American way, and has appeared on radio, television, cinema, video games, and novels among other media.

      • Dean: See, I get Old Yeller out there.
        Referencing the novel of the same name by Fred Gipson (1956), subsequently made into a Disney movie in 1957. Old Yeller is a Labrador Retriever/Mastiff adopted by a young boy, Travis. When Old Yeller is bitten by a rabid wolf, Travis is forced to shoot his beloved dog in a tearjerking scene.

      • Dean: See if I can't gank Huckleberry Hound.
        Referencing the animated blue-furred Southern-accented dog created by Hanna-Barbera in 1957 and originally voiced by Daws Butler. He first appeared on TV in The Huckleberry Hound Show as the featured character, but later teamed up with other Hanna-Barbera characters such as Yogi Bear on a variety of programs.

      • Dean: If Landshark comes knocking, you call me.
        Referencing the sketch character from Saturday Night Live, played by Chevy Chase. Described as "the cleverest of all sharks," the Land Shark's modus operandi involves going up to young women's apartments, posing as a plumber, delivery man, door-to-door salesman, dolphin, etc. They would inevitably open the door and be eaten. The Land Shark first appeared in a parody of the original Jaws movie, in SNL's first season.

      • Noah: We're the damn Waltons.
        Referencing the 1970s TV show The Waltons. The story is told through the eyes of John Boy, who wants to be a novelist, goes to college, and eventually fulfills his dream. The signature scene that closed each episode was the voice-overs, where each character bids the other good-night: "Good night, Mary-Ellen." "Good night, Jim-Bob." "Good night, Elizabeth." "Good night, Ben," etc., until the last good-night from John Walton, Sr. to his son: "Good night, John-Boy." "Good night, everyone." The show ran on CBS from 1972 to 1981.