Supernatural Episode 8-20 Review – “The Great Escapist”

Sadly there are only a scant few episodes left in Supernatural this season yet there are still a ton of questions left to answer – where is Castiel, where is the angel tablet, what will the third trial be just to name but a few. After taking a respite from the main arc this year which has been all about the two T’s – tablets and trials, it is time to get to back to the nitty gritty of this story. The role that “The Great Escapist” has to play  is a difficult one as it needs to catch the audience up all the while remaining fun, dramatic and awesome to watch. This normally is a tough task but luckily writer Ben Edlund is up to the challenge and has brought us a doozy this week that does all that and more.

 Our story begins with the prophet Kevin Tran passed out on the ship where he has been working on translations. He is quickly joined by Sam and Dean who have exciting news – they managed to find and steal Crowley’s half of the tablet. It is funny that they should skip over something that could be a rather plot point so fast. Well you right to suspicious. In reality these are not Sam and Dean but rather Crowley’s soldiers playing their roles to attempt to get Kevin to translate the tablet before the real Winchesters know whats going on. I guess if you can’t beat ’em — trick ’em.

There is then a hilarious scene where Crowley is sitting on a director’s chair surrounded by light, sound and video techs that are monitoring the scene in the ship like a film. Crowley then breaks down their performances and offers advice on how to play the parts correctly. He even supposes that if he wasn’t so busy he would be a fine actor himself which is quickly echoed by a yes man. As I said before…hysterical. 
Back at the Men of Letters HQ, Sam is getting sicker and sicker on account of the trials and Dean attempts to nurse him back to health. Dean then receives an email from Kevin which is in fact a video that he has set up on account of his death which also has all his research into it. This is quite the emotional little scene as Kevin vents his anger and “God, the Devil and anyone in-between” before admitting his failure at solving the tablets. As you might expect Dean doesn’t take this well. Although Kevin has seen and done a lot, he is still looked upon as yet another life thrown away by the war between angels and demons. Don’t worry thought he is actually okay.
Later on we finally catch up with one of my favorite characters – Castiel, who makes a delightful return to the series. In yet another hilarious bit, it seems our favorite angel has been dodging Naomi and her “helpers” for quite a while by leaping quickly from various Biggerson’s restaurants around the country. Due to their high similarity from location to location they can’t seem to track him down. However Naomi being as ruthless as she is simply goes to one of the restaurants and massacres everyone except for a woman she lets live only after exploding her eyes. Castiel’s helpful nature causes him to pause long enough to be caught and which point she snaps her neck. As you would expect they are after the Angel tablet. Oddly enough Crowley appears and saves the day with his new weapon which I am dubbing “The Angel Killer”. Which if you must know is an Angel Blade melted down into bullets. As I said before…kick ass.
Crowley after doing exhaustive research has figured out that Castiel was only freed from Naomi’s “spell” by touching the tablet and since he has remained free he must still have it on him….or should I see in him. There are options on how to get it out of him but Crowley opts for the old classic of ripping it out of his chest and leaving a bloody mess as he does it.
After looking over Kevin’s research, Sam notices a symbol appear again and again which is the signature of The Metatron aka the scribe of God. Sam remembers seeing it before from his days at Stanford. It turns out that a native american tribe used as a territorial marker called “The Messenger of God”. Sounds a little far fetched to me and Dean seems to agree with me as he equates the whole thing to the “trial sickness” but is eventually convinced since it is the only lead they have. Taking in some of the sights, Dean learns that the messenger of god protected the tribe and asked stories be offered to him as tribute.
Sam and Dean learn that the Metatron has moved into the hotel which they are staying and instead of having stories told to him, the tribe keeps him happy by giving him fairly consistent delivers from Amazon. Another hilarious plot point by Edlund. After stepping into his “library” the boss confront the messenger of God holding a shot gun to their heads. The moment they are in his presence Sam begins to “resonate with the holy word” because he is so far along with the quests. We learn that the Metatron is not an archangel and before being asked by God to assist him in his work wasn’t really that special. After God disappeared the Archangels began fighting over the word of God which they needed to control the universe. The Metatron then went into hiding and was content to let everyone go about their way no matter what their intentions
In a bit of meta from the Metatron, he extols the virtues of storytelling as it is the greatest expression of free will. He also waxes philosophically by saying that it is as close as mankind can get to being a God as the writer gets to lord over a universe and shape it to whatever he wishes. In a redeeming gesture to the nice but self serving speech, Sam and Dean call him a coward for sitting on the sidelines and allowing good people like Kevin Tran to suffer.
Back at the ship, Kevin has figured out that the Sam and Dean of the past few days have been fakes and leads them to a Devil’s Trap. Crowley then comes to confront him and rather than asking where the tablet is or what it says his first question is how was he able to see beyond his wonderful directing. It turns out that his demons were too nice offering to do things the real Winchester’s would never do. Crowley then attacks Kevin in an effort to get the translation. Touched by Kevin’s story the Metatron gets involved by transporting him to the library and scalding Crowley in the process.
Kevin informs Sam and Dean that the final trial is to “Cure a demon”. What this means and who the demon will be is still a mystery. The episode concludes with Dean slamming on the breaks as to not hit a body in the middle of the road who turns out to be Castiel. Wow. Can’t wait to see what happens next week.

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