Holy Mark of Cain … Dean’s a demon!
“Supernatural” has long perfected the art of a season finale, and Tuesday’s (May 20) Season 9 finale, “Do You Believe In Miracles,” was no different. The fate of the world once again rested on Sam and Dean’s more-than-capable shoulders, and they were armed with an angel who had their backs — Castiel — and the tool to help them take down their big bad — the First Blade plus the Mark against Metatron — all while finally confronting and resolving their brotherly issues. The brothers would win just in the nick of time, but one of them would lose their life. The other brother would make some sort of deal to bring them back, jeopardizing their own life, and the cycle would continue onto the next season with the roles in reverse. It’s kind of predictable, but it clearly works and each season gets better and better, with the stakes higher and higher. Fans certainly aren’t complaining.
But what’s so incredible about “Supernatural” as a whole is the way that it comments on itself and gives new meaning to the word “meta” over and over again. When Dean lost in his final fight against Metatron and the angel calling himself God stabbed him clear through the chest with an angel blade, he died. Sam cried, hugging his brother’s lifeless body, and brought it back to the bunker and tried to summon Crowley. He was trying to make a deal — and once again Jared Padalecki showed how far he’s come as an actor since Season 1 with his heartbreakingly, devastatingly amazing performance of Sam’s crippling grief and desperation. But unbeknownst to Sam, Crowley was already sitting beside Dean’s body in the next room, talking to the lifeless body of his most-of-the-time foe, sometimes friend, saying how predictable this whole situation was.
You see, he knew something that Sam didn’t. There was another story that went along with Cain and his Mark and his Blade that Crowley never mentioned (he made sure to point out that he didn’t lie, he just omitted — that’s going to be important, probably, next season). Long ago, Cain tried to kill himself with the Blade to escape the curse of needing to kill to survive. But the Mark wasn’t ready to let him go, and it brought him back … as a demon. Crowley knew the story was true earlier that day when Dean didn’t want to eat his cheeseburger. He wasn’t himself. And so Crowley pushed the Blade into Dean’s hand and yelled at his corpse to open his eyes. When Dean finally did, they were pitch black. The eyes of a demon.
The Season 9 finale took the “Supernatural” finale formula and flipped it on its head. No, it took the entire series and flipped it on its head. Dean has become the one thing he and his brother and their entire family and network of friends have hunted their entire lives. The past few seasons have begun to deal more and more with the idea of monsters that aren’t all evil, but Sam and Dean have still struggled with not judging all monsters the same. And now Dean himself is the very thing they’ve always hated — he even told Sam before he died that it was better this way, since he didn’t want to become what the Blade and Mark were making him out to be. It’s too late for him, though. He’s a demon. Let’s say that one more time to let it sink in: Dean is a demon.
This takes Dean’s “Odd Couple” relationship with Crowley to the next level, to say the least. Is Season 10 going to focus on Crowley training Dean in the dark, demonic arts? Or will Sam try to find a way to save his brother (predictable but definitely wanted)? Here’s some food for thought to mull over until Season 10 begins: Doesn’t Sam already know how to cure a demon … ?
Dean’s supernatural status aside, how great was it to see the brothers finally back in a good place with each other, albeit only for a minute before Dean died? All season long their relationship has been so toxic, so damaged, that it was hard to imagine that they would ever get back to a good place with each other again. And that was painful and hard to watch. The heart at the center of this show, what fans come back for year-after-year, is the love between these two brothers. Seeing them with no love between them this season put off a lot of fans, so hearing Dean tell Sam, “I’m proud of us,” and seeing the look they shared as Dean was dying was like taking a deep breath of oxygen after drowning for months, letting the air fill your lungs in sweet, sweet relief.
Sure, with Dean as a demon next season, their struggles are far from over. Sam is going to be dealing with grief over losing his brother, Dean is probably going to struggle with losing his humanity, and things will be complicated — like always. But at least Sam and Dean are back to a place of understanding with each other, which is something they have lacked all season long.
And as for heaven, Metatron didn’t get away scot-free after stabbing Dean. Castiel and Gadreel snuck up into heaven, and were immediately caught and imprisoned. Gadreel sacrificed his life and blew himself up to allow Cas to escape the cell, finally proving that he wasn’t as selfish as all the angels always thought him to be. Cas then tricked Metatron into talking about how he deceived all his angels and all the horrible things he’s done while Cas secretly broadcast it over Angel Radio, and the army turned on their new “God” and threw him in heaven’s prison.
Of course, things aren’t all perfectly resolved up in heaven. Cas is still in danger of his stolen grace burning out and killing him. He doesn’t want to be the leader in heaven, and since the real God is still M.I.A., there’s no one to lead the angels. And though Metatron is locked up in jail, he’s still alive, and could still cause trouble up there. All those problems combined with the Winchesters’ woes means Season 10 has a lot of ground to tackle.