The Great Escapist is the 21st episode of Season 8. It aired on May 1st, 2013.
When Sam and Dean receive a distressing video message from Kevin Tran, they set about trying to uncover the Third Trial. The boys make a discovery that sends them to a casino in Colorado, to find a mysterious recluse who may be able to fill in the holes in Kevin's research. Meanwhile, Crowley is on a winning streak. Castiel tries to elude Naomi and the angels hunting him.
Kevin Tran awakens back on the boat, quickly interrupted by a knock at the door from Sam and Dean. Despite forgetting the "secret knock," a curiously chipper Sam and Dean present Kevin with the second half of the demon tablet, and leave him to translate. Outside the boat, Sam and Dean walk through a barrier that reveals their true identities as shape-shifting demons, finding Crowley in a director's chair with cameras watching the boat, having orchestrated the entire situation.
Back in the Men of Letters base, Dean continues to attempt treating a weakened Sam, though Sam reminds him the illness is mystical in nature. An e-mail from Kevin Tran arrives, revealed to be a video file that Kevin programmed to send in the event of his disappearance, declaring himself most likely dead with instructions to recover his research. The boys soon find that Garth can't confirm the finding, nor does it appear a new prophet has been activated.
At a Santa Fe Biggerson's restaurant, Castiel chats with a waitress, but soon realizes that more angels are on the way to track him. Castiel disappears, confusing a waiter, as we see two well-dressed angels disappointed to have missed him. The angel Ion reports back to Naomi that Castiel seems to be evading them by setting up shop in the identical Biggersons' around the country. Castiel finally returns to the Santa Fe branch to find all the customers dead, save for his waitress, whose eyes have been burned out of her skull as the two angels finally catch Castiel.
Looking over Kevin's notes, Sam recognizes a repeated symbol from his Stanford days, and uses the library to identify it as a territorial Native American marker related to the messenger of God, Metatron. Sam presses Dean to visit the modern-day grounds to find any clues that Kevin Tran couldn't, but upon arriving at the hotel in Colorado occupying the space, the location seems bizarrely empty.
While Kevin tasks the fake Sam and Dean with going on a lunch run, the real Dean notices Sam's increasing wooziness, and sharpened memory of their childhood. Dean investigates the local Native American museum, observing that the Two Rivers' tribe leader asked of the people an offering of "stories," while Sam awakens and woozily explores the hotel hallways, seeing the desk clerk deliver packages filled with books to a nearby room.
Back at Biggersons', Naomi tortures Castiel and tasks Ion with searching the other restaurants for where Castiel might have hidden the tablet, to no avail. Crowley suddenly appears and shoots down Naomi's subordinates, having melted down angel blades into bullets. Naomi departs before Crowley can kill her as well, while Ion rises and reveals himself to be in Crowley's employ. Meanwhile, Dean finds a passed-out Sam back in the room and has him submerged in a bathtub filled with ice-water. When Sam awakens, Dean explains that his temperature was 107 and he had to force it down. Sam explains that he can sense that Metatron is in the hotel.
Castiel finds himself bleeding from a bullet wound in Crowley's office, wherein Crowley realizes that Castiel's possession of the tablet broke Naomi's hold over him. As such, he wouldn't have let the tablet off his person, and Crowley reaches into Castiel's wound and painfully removes the tablet from within the angel's body. Just then, Crowley's demon Sam and Dean call to reveal that Kevin tricked them into walking under a devil's trap, forcing Hell's King to depart.Sam hazily leads Dean toward the mysterious hotel room, remembering a comic Dean had read him as a child, and that from a young age Sam must have known he could never be as good as the knight from the comic. Sam suggests that the trial's effects might be purifying him, before the brothers enter room 366, finding it stacked with books, and a mysterious man holding a shotgun to them. The brothers identify him as Metatron, though he professes to have no knowledge of any Winchesters, or the fate of any of his fallen angel brethren.
While Castiel argues with Ion for his betrayal and forcibly removes the bullet from his own abdomen, Crowley kicks in the door to the boat and finds a smirking Kevin, having realized the deception from the fake Winchesters' politeness. Meanwhile, Metatron realizes that Sam's current state stems from his "resonance," or proximity to the word of God, and near-completion of the trials. The angel explains that he went into hiding after God himself disappeared, and the archangels began mismanaging the universe in His absence. Instead, as scribe of the Word, Metatron kept himself occupied by reveling in the various stories and books of humanity, watching man create universe unto his own right, though Dean argues that real-life tragedies like Kevin Tran's death happen while Metatron did nothing.
Castiel manages to overpower his captivity by planting the bullet in Ion's eye, while Kevin Tran defiantly asserts to Crowley that the Winchesters have the advantage in the trials, and Crowley has lost his leverage. Crowley threatens Kevin into obedience, until Kevin suddenly glows with angelic light and knocks Crowley back, singeing the demon's face as he disappears.
Having rescued Kevin, Metatron questions Dean if he understands the consequences of the trials, and closing the gates of Hell, though Kevin wakes before the discussion goes further. Kevin reveals that he managed to recover Crowley's half of the demon tablet, as Metatron explains the third trial: the curing of a demon. Unsure of what that means, Sam and Dean drive off again, before finding a bloodied Castiel in the middle of the road begging for their help.
Featured Supernatural BeingsEdit
- Whipped Cream by Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass.
- Fake Sam: Special K, you keep your nose to the God-stone.
- Castiel: I remember when you first discovered it. Before you started brewing it you'd just chew the berries. Folk tale's true, by the way, you learned it from the goats.
- Naomi: There was that day back in Egypt not so long ago where we slew every first-born infant whose door wasn't splashed with lamb's blood. And that was just P.R. You have never done what you were told, not completely. You don't even die right, do you?
- Castiel: In the words of a good friend, bite me.
- Sam: I'm gonna follow the hotel manager, Dr. Scowly Scowl. He's like a villain from Scooby Doo.
- Sam: You really haven't heard of us? What kind of angel are you, we're the frigging Winchesters.
- Crowley: My demons were too polite? Well I'll be a son of a whore.
- Metatron: What you brought to His Earth, all the mayhem, the murder, just the raw, wild invention of God's naked apes, it was mind-blowing.
- Metatron: But really, it was your storytelling. That is the true flower of free will. At least, as you've mastered it so far.
- Metatron reveals himself to be a regular angel, though when Kevin reads the demon tablet, he is mentioned as an Archangel.
- Metatron talks as if Lucifer was banished after God left, despite both Lucifer and Michael claiming he was banished before it happened.
- Metatron's description of the Archangels doesn't appear to match any of their motives, except Lucifer.
- Sam and Dean talk about one time when John took them to the Grand Canyon, but in Croatoan, Dean said he had never been to the Grand Canyon.
- Antagonists: Crowley and Naomi
- This is the first episode to be directed by Robert Duncan McNeill since Season 1's episode Skin. He also directed Jensen Ackles in an episode of The CW series Dawson's Creek titled "Instant Karma!."
- Castiel was last seen in Goodbye Stranger.
- When he confronts them, Metatron shows he is so isolated from the outside world that he has no idea the archangels are all either dead or imprisoned. To this extent, he does not even know who the Winchesters are. This latter revelation is surprising because the brothers are infamous in the supernatural world due to their destined (and ignored) roles in the Apocalypse.
- This episode marks the 50th appearance of Castiel.