It starts with Jodi (no, no, what are you doing) sitting in a bar, wearing blue like the rest of Crowley's recent victims. She's getting this horrible red drink that might as well be poison.
She's on a date WITH CROWLEY. He changed out the gray tie for the special "date with a demon" red one.
They do a fade from close up to further away and you can see they've been there a while because the restaurant has emptied out quite a bit.
Then Crowley gets down to the business we all know that he's there for. The red lines on the cloth aren't too different from the ones on the floor of the powder room where Jodi goes.
Another great overhead shot.
The light in the MoL library isn't too different from the bar. Did they call it off in time?
They are going to do a prisoner exchange with the tablet so they have to go find out where Kevin hid the tablet. What an awesome sign.
I'm not sure who Dave and Paul are but Phil's Smokin' Hot Chili Pepper Pot is probably for this episode's director, Phil Sgriccia. Martha's Kick Ass Chili is maybe for Kim Manners and his "kick it in the ass." Chili Con Carnage and Burn Twice Chili are options too.
Another great angled shot as Kevin mends the tablet.
Then Dean gives Kevin the key. What? They haven't made spares? If you can lock your car keys in the trunk....just sayin'.
Hunter jacket, hoodie and red and blue. You have been assimilated, Kevin.
Cool shot of the Impala arriving home to Singer Salvage.
As if this episode wasn't going to rip your heart out as it was.
Bobby's car. I get why he's gone but have I mentioned I miss Bobby as a living, breathing character? Ad nauseam, I know, I know.
There's something about this shot where the guys' faces look like they have more of a family resemblance than usual.
As the camera comes around, you can see that Dean is standing a couple of feet in front of Sam and they briefly look about the same height.
I'm sure there is some sort of calculus equation that makes that possible. Do they get a contract from Crowley because this isn't for a soul, in which case the deal is sealed with a kiss?
I'd read the fine print too.
Crowley gets overconfident. The wreck of many a dastardly villian, along with the obligatory monologue.
Where were these last week when they had Abaddon in the barn? Did they realize they couldn't let that happen twice?
You probably don't want to be the one getting that look.
You don't want to cause this look.
Lots of red and yellow along with blue.
Metatron is reading another story, in this case Rumble Fish by S. E. Hinton. She's a big fan of the show and has been on the set. There is so much meta in the rodeo poster. I think the rider is roping a sheep. Sheep and lambs show up in the Bible a lot as victims of sacrifices. Cas is being roped in and led like a sheep. Sam's being led like a lamb to the slaughter.
While they are sitting there, the Red Coat Laundry Service drives by. Everything comes out pink.
Naomi has blue light coming in her windows now.
Red, white and blue at the bar
Before the bartender gets his gun.
Then red light comes in from that side.
All green here.
Postcards and flyers including the Dinosaur Museum in New Mexico, a Texas steer sandwich, Texas longhorn cattle and flag.
Pickled eggs on the bar, long horns over it, penguin with a top hat behind the cash register and lounging lady on top the register.
The poor guy gets his head shoved into a cooler full of beer but it made for a cool shot. Texan Star, El Sol, and (first assistant director) Johnny Mac's cranberry lemonade. 8-P
Blue and red clock behind Cas. Time to find the rest of Team Free Will.
Another neat fade from one scene to another with the crucifix over the image of Cas.
I just really like this shot.
Keys still in the trunk lid. Don't let your brother do your Examination Of Conscience. He tends to bring his own trunk full of baggage. I wish this scene would have had a different dialog. Even when Dean was under the specter's influence, he didn't blame Sam for soullessness, only for not coming to find him when he got out of the cage.
Reverse of the first time we saw Sam in the Pilot.
I don't really know how to do a write-up of this episode without talking about Sam's confession experience. At this point, they've pretty much come up with a SPN version of Confession. I've only had experience with the Roman Catholic version and you don't go and talk to air and whoever might be listening. The intimidating part can be that you are actually talking to a priest. Sometimes it can be a comfort. Theology aside, absolution can be freeing but at a certain point you also have to be willing to forgive yourself. You have to let it go. Sounds familiar.
I don't know at what point Sam will ever let any of it go. How far do you take atonement or penance? I think that was part of what Sam thought the trials were about for himself. What about 200 years in the cage? SPN revisits the idea of forgiveness almost as often as death.
He doesn't look like he's had a great burden lifted. Watching this scene, I realized I was yelling at Dean not to leave.
The crew built the church for these scenes.
The scene fades to Sam withdrawing his blood.
Now the glow goes right up both his arms.
All the crosses all the way through this season seem to have led to this one. I don't really know how they could have made the point that Sam was supposed to be the sacrifice any clearer. Thing is though, as a crucifix, it's incomplete and maybe that mirrors Sam too.
Cool shot of Crowley.
Awesome shot of Abaddon's boots. She was such a kick ass character. It's too bad she had to abandon Josie's body.
Sam ends up on the glass, arms spread wide.
Abaddon is gone for now. How is Sam still upright after that fall though the window?
We leave Sam and Crowley for a bit and get to Metatron. And I thought going to the dentist was bad. Blue light all over Naomi now.
We visit Kevin who has grasped the life of a hunter by the neck of a brandy decanter.
He thinks he's out. That's not how this works. Points for trying though.
And what little chance for rest he might have had is shattered.
Then we go back to the red and blue bar.
For having his head put though a pane of glass, the bartender is in pretty good shape.
Archery is on the TV while they're waiting for a cupid to come with a bow.
I'm glad the cupid arrived wearing clothes. They must have changed the cherub dress code since My Bloody Valentine.
Lots of red, white, blue, stars and eagles which in some ways is ironic because these guys didn't get to pick who to fall for.
After she does her cupid thing there is an ad for a bow on the TV.
I like how the bartender gets a beer sign halo.
More red and blue. The cupid gives up her bow of her own free will and sacrifices her hand.
Then Naomi arrives with red light.
Her character was just starting to get interesting. She sacrificed her mission as she saw it to come find Dean and Cas. There is a touch of the forgiveness theme here too.
Red light here too.
Back to Sam. Jared really sold this whole section.
I think it's possible Sam has his own Plaid Shirt of Angst now. Plaid shirt of pain..of exhaustion?
Mark did a lot with his face and body language to show the changes in Crowley's nature.
He later asks about how he can earn forgiveness for everything he's done so we're back to where we started with Sam in the confessional.
Even after all this, I don't think Sam has an answer for that.
Crowley's not even fighting it now. Letting go in his own way.
Nice touch to make the hand slice with the demon-killing knife.
What is that light? Is it like an angel's grace or a soul?
So Sam is going to die if he finishes the trials. The light at the end of the tunnel is him being overtaken entirely by the arm glow. He would be the sacrifice.
The most heart-breaking part of this is when Dean tells him that he'll die finishing the trials and he just answers, "So?"
Cas's grace filling the vial was pretty cool.
Such a small vial for such power. So Cas sacrificed his grace unwillingly. He's been looking for forgiveness and redemption for quite a while now. It hasn't led him anywhere good.
Glowing and bleeding. How can Sam's body come back from this?
Dean bandages Sam up like so many other times they've done this for each other. So Sam and Dean sacrificed closing the gates of Hell.
Dean tells Sam to just let it go. I don't think it's going to be as simple as that. After all that, Jared probably needed a hug just as bad as Sam.
So Cas ended up human in Jimmy Novak's body. I wonder if Cas'll remember anything.
Where does this leave the almost healed Crowley? Besides seriously messed up. What is going on with the person possessed by Crowley? How can he become mortal in a borrowed body?
The whole section with the bunker lighting up....so cool. I love all the things we keep learning about the batcave. Some of the shots are taken tilted or chopped up. It seems to add to the panicky feeling.
It looks like an early version of NORAD still powered by vacuum tubes.
The angels were kicked out of heaven like Lucifer was. Do they still have grace? Will they need vessels? What a mess.
Does Cas know what's happening?
I love this shot.
He doesn't look too broken up about it.
There was something about this whole last sequence that reminded me of The Return of the King after Sam and Frodo escaped exploding Mount Doom. Maybe it's because of so many references to The Hobbit this season.
At least they are by the car so they can get Sam to a hospital.
All in all, I thought this was a pretty good way to round out a season that had fits and starts. They have several different directions they can take the plot. I hope they take the time to figure out what story they are trying to tell before they put pen to paper. In regard to this season, I guess I have to take Dean's advice and let it go.
Caps from homeofthenutty and gallicka.