Supernatural, Season 9, Episode 23: “Do You Believe in Miracles”
Written by Jeremy Carver
Directed by Thomas J. Wright
Airs Tuesdays at 9pm (ET) on The CW
Over the course of Supernatural’s ninth season, the Winchesters have faced two major threats in the form of Abaddon and Metatron. Having successfully vanquished the former, the brothers’ attention has turned to the latter over the past few episodes. Metatron, however, has proven to be a trickier enemy to deal with, as he has relied on cunning to stay a step ahead of his foes, whether by recruiting Gadreel to kill Kevin or brainwashing Angels into killing themselves for Castiel. This week’s season finale sees the brothers, with the help of Castiel and Gadreel, make their final stand against the former tablet scribe, in an entertaining episode that deals a major blow to Dean.
Metatron’s arc over the course of the season has been a fascinating one. In many ways, his desire to be seen as a hero fits in both with the character of Metatron in particular and the characteristics of Angels in general. As someone who is clearly an avid consumer of fiction, the ability to write one’s own story is understandably appealing to the scribe, and the ability to posit oneself as God and write the rules is something many Angels would have leaped at, given the chance. In fact, Castiel’s actions following his gain of power in season seven is, in many ways, similar to Metatron’s actions towards humanity this week. Metatron surviving to the end of the season opens up a lot of potentially intriguing directions for the character. With his deceit now exposed, it’s unlikely that the Angels are going to trust him again. However, Metatron is also unlikely to give up so easily. In addition, with Michael and Lucifer in a cage and Raphael dead, Metatron joins Castiel as the first leader to have survived a loss of widespread power. Metatron has also proven himself to be effectively manipulative, and Castiel’s unwillingness to take control of the Angels opens up a power vacuum. The combination of experience, manipulative ability, and lack of a powerful opposition means that Metatron continues to remain a viable threat to the well-being of Angels and humans. What type of threat Metatron poses in jail, and how Castiel and the other Angels deal with it, is likely to be an exciting storyline.
Dean becoming a demon is also an intriguing development. As season three showed, becoming one of his worst enemies is something Dean has feared for a long time. While the Winchesters now know how to cure demons and restore their humanity, Dean continues to have an unpredictable variable on his side in the form of the Mark of Cain. His change to demonhood and how it affects his relationship with the Mark holds a lot of narrative promise. It’s possible that Cain’s ability to ignore the side effects of not killing came from the fact that he was a demon. If this is the case, Dean will have to make a decision on whether he’d rather be human and fight the urge to kill that comes with the Mark, or remain a demon and keep the Mark neutralised. Neither option is an appealing one—both pose a threat to Dean’s humanity— and this means the elder Winchester may soon have to determine whether his humanity is more important than survival. In addition, Dean will also have to figure out how to deal with the other ramifications of being a demon. How Crowley reacts will also be worth seeing. The King of Hell’s final monologue seems to indicate he truly regrets what has happened to Dean, but at the same time, he considers Dean’s current condition an upgrade of sorts. How Dean deals with his new situation, and how Sam, Crowley, and Castiel affect his decision are likely to make for a compelling watch.
Overall, this is a strong episode that ends the season on an appropriately grim note. While it’s sad to see Gadreel go this week, it’s good that he comes to the revelation he does before his death. Beginning with presenting himself as Ezekiel and tricking Dean into letting him possess Sam, Gadreel’s actions throughout this season have been motivated by an attempt to rehabilitate his image. This has allowed Metatron to manipulate Gadreel into actions many others would have balked at, and to see Gadreel finally commit to a cause bigger than his own rehabilitation is, in many ways, the perfect end for the fallen Angel. The revelation is made more poignant by the fact that Gadreel’s final actions are a result of his own thoughts and are not prompted by manipulation from anyone. How the Angels deal with the immediate power vacuum will also be worth keeping an eye on. While Castiel is unwilling to take on the top role again, he may be willing to act as a mentor to another Angel, which could open the door for someone like Hannah to take the reins. This would be particularly interesting, as Hannah is clearly not power-hungry, which would make her reign markedly different from those of her predecessors. On the other hand, having gotten a taste of free will, the Angels might also decide to try autonomy, which is likely to make for an equally intriguing watch. It’s good to hear “Carry On My Wayward Son” open the season finale once again, as that’s a wonderfully distinctive aspect of Supernatural. While the season as a whole has been a little uneven, it has nonetheless been interesting to watch the competing battles for dominance in Heaven and Hell, as well as learning more about the Men of Letters and the effects of the Mark of Cain. With the Angels no longer fighting for control over each other, Hell now firmly in Crowley’s grasp, and Dean a demon who still has the Mark of Cain, next season holds a lot of promise, and it will be worth tuning in to see how it all plays out.