Supernatural season 8 episode 21 review: The Great Escapist

Review Caroline Preece 6 May 2013 - 07:00

Supernatural begins the run-up to its always reliable season finale. Here's Caroline's review of The Great Escapist...

This review contains spoilers.

8.21 The Great Escapist

Despite Supernatural’s tendency to be a bit hit and miss around the middle of its seasons, one thing we know the team can deliver is brilliant finales. This episode was the start of this year’s build-up and, as endgame missions go, closing the gates of hell is a pretty monumental one. The brothers (and now Kevin and Metatron) don’t just want to defeat the latest bad guy, they want to cut off the demon population entirely, and it sounds almost too good to be true for a show about demon hunting.

The episode begins, as it so often has lately, with Kevin looking a little strung out. Waking up with post it notes stuck to your face is a sure sign that you need a break, in my experience. Sam and Dean arrive and hardcore fans across the world scream – why is Sam punning?!? It’s because Crowley has sent two of his minions on a fact-finding mission, posing as the Winchesters and handing over their half of the demon tablet to gain his trust. Despite the real Sam and Dean receiving a ‘if you’re watching this then I’m dead’ video message, however, they’re not going to get one over on Kevin that easily.

Assuming that he’s a goner, the brothers set about finding some new leads. Off to Colorado they go, with Sam on death’s door and Dean holding everything together by the skin of his teeth. Once Sam starts ‘resonating’ with nearby angel Metatron, things get even more worrying for the youngest Winchester. With Sam remembering random facts from his past and fainting at inopportune moments, it’s clear that they’re going to have to get a move on if Jared Padalecki’s going to keep his series regular role next year (spoiler: he will). Even John Winchester’s cure-all kitchen sink stew didn’t make him feel better.

My favourite thing about this episode was the reveal of Castiel’s hide-and-seek game with Naomi, which involved travelling from one Biggersons restaurant to another. Because of their ‘sameness’, the angels couldn’t track him down to an exact restaurant, so decided to slaughter the entire clientele of one just to stop him. It’s a powerful image, even by this show’s standards, and Castiel doesn’t come off too well from his subsequent encounters with Naomi and Crowley. Cleverly, he hid the angel tablet in his own gut, but Crowley had no qualms about reaching in and pulling it out. It looks like Dean is going to have yet another invalid in the Impala.

This week’s episode also contained the necessary exposition dump from key player Metatron, who explained the current mood of the angels to Sam and Dean. The stuff about storytelling and free will was interesting, and reminded me a lot of Chuck. I’ve still not given up on Chuck’s return and reveal as God by the end of the show, by the way – for me, that would be the only sensible way to end it. Right now, though, the angels want the tablets so they can gain power in God’s absence, and the newly reformed gang will have to complete the third trial (curing a demon) before crap hits the fan.  

Going forward, it’s lovely to have Castiel, Kevin, Sam and Dean back together again, and an extra angel can’t do them any harm either. Unlike at this time last year, I’m actually looking forward to seeing what will happen in the season finale, and hope that the show doesn’t cop out of closing the hell gates. What happens next, or “what the world will look like” as Metatron wonders, would be very interesting to see and, if we don’t get the chance, then the writers are going to annoy a lot of people. I’d also like to see a demon other than Crowley be cured, but can’t recall one that we like enough now that Meg has departed.

Next week we take a look back on Supernatural history, but let’s hope the episode’s title, Clip Show, is more of a joke than a description. Penultimate episodes of this show are usually awesome, so I’m excited.

Read Caroline's review of the previous episode, Pac-Man Fever, here.

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