It’s interesting. I’ve been watching Supernatural as it aired (though not live on television) since season 7. It feels like I just started watching the show yesterday but in only a few days season 10 will air and I’ll be thrust back into a fictional world that I love so much. Season 8 will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first time that I watched a Supernatural episode as it aired on television. I watched the finale unfold and it was a really spectacular experience. So, it got me thinking: what was the craziest thing to happen in Season 8?
Metatron’s betrayal is the clear choice for me. If this were an article about the most long-term consequences event, I’d pick Sam not finishing the trials. But Metatron was supposed to be a good guy! He was supposed to be the one who helped them finish off all evil in the world and restore peace to a place that hadn’t had any since Lucifer fell.
And it was so surprising! We’ve been burned by angels before, of course; the only good angel is a dead angel, except for (though sometimes) Castiel. I fell for Metatron’s act, believing him to be on their side; even as the “Heaven Trials” started to get more and more brutal, I justified those actions because, hey, you’re closing Heaven; it’s not exactly going to be picking flowers and writing poems.
But I think it was more that I wanted to believe. Keeping this commentary strictly within the realm of the show (and not making it meta, in which I could criticize the show for just about everything), I wanted the Winchesters and Cas to have an ally that stuck around. I wanted someone to not be a secret bad guy or die in the next episode.
And, of course, I picked a violent sociopath whose only difference from Lucifer and Crowley is that his symbol is a halo instead of a pitchfork. Metatron’s been a solid villain for the show.
Going into lit class mode here (No! Wait! Stay!), Metatron’s villainy serves as a perfect reminder of who the Winchesters can never trust. Every single villain (yes, even Abaddon) has been a very paternal, administrative evildoer. Every single top-line villain in this show has been about building an empire and ruling over it from on high. There’s been plenty of world-ending baddies, of course; baddies who only care about death and destruction. But the most powerful Big Bad’s did it for a reason. Lucifer and Michael wanted to end the world because it was protocol, for Christs sake. Abaddon became much more formidable when she went from “crazy infiltrator murder demoness” to “Queen of Hell.” Metatron’s greatest strength is that he looks like a weakling, a bureaucrat; nobody took him seriously as a threat.
And how close Metatron came to actually winning! Imagine: if Sam had gone through with the trials, died, shut the gates of Hell; that only leaves one Super Power. Metatron would’ve had no problems with ruling Heaven AND Earth, because demonkind wouldn’t have acted like a buffer against his conquest. If Sam finishes out the trials, and Castiel his, then all angels are on Earth and all demons are in Hell and Metatron is alone in Heaven. He has no competition except for the humans who don’t have the kind of firepower (or knowledge of the supernatural) to really fight back. It would’ve been Dean, Sam, and Castiel v. Everyone else.
Once again, this relates back to the true Big Bads of the show. Every time the Winchesters are on the brink of losing the fight, they manage to swing it, because the villains don’t appreciate one thing: humanity. Angels and Demons are bound by protocol; they have strict, concrete rules that they have to follow. Angels especially; most of them are no more than toddlers in grownup clothes. Lucifer, Michael, Abaddon; it doesn’t matter. The one thing they always forget is that humans are weak but cunning; they can’t throw people with psychic powers but they can sure as Hell make a deal with a demon and get a really powerful sword.
Metatron’s twist was both surprising and weighty; I felt this season really built up hope that the WInchesters would make real progress in the fight against evil. I would’ve even appreciated a split Dean/Sam show, in which Sam fought from above and Dean on Earth. But Metatron’s trickery (or writer misconduct) didn’t allow that to happen.
Now, it’s up to the individual whether this counts as good storytelling; an argument could be made that it’s laziness and lack of fresh ideas more than it is a commentary on the cyclical nature of evil. But that’s up to you.
What do you guys think was the biggest plot twist of season 8?
[Photos via CW]