Sacrifice is the 23rd episode, and the season finale of Season 8. It aired on May 15th, 2013.
With Crowley poised to undo all the good they've ever done as hunters, Sam and Dean find themselves cornered. But with Kevin's help, the Winchester brothers bound into one last play against The Demon King. Metatron initiates a plan with Castiel to take on Naomi and the bureaucracy of Heaven.
Sheriff Jody Mills meets a guy named "Roderick" who is none other than Crowley himself on a blind date. They make small talk and bond about their respective losses over drinks, before Jody excuses herself to the bathroom to apply more make up. Crowley lays out a hex that causes Jody to start choking and spew blood; Sam and Dean finally call and agree to deliver the tablet and surrender. A short while later, Sam and Dean greet Kevin Tran digging up the tablet, and offer him the key to the Men of Letters bunker.
Still hanging with Metatron, Castiel wonders about God's demeanor as they observe a barkeep soon to be hit by a Cupid's arrow as part of their next trial to close the gates of Heaven. Meanwhile, Sam and Dean meet with Crowley in Bobby's old yard. Dean protests the absurdly large contract Sam is to sign aborting the trials, but then he snaps a pair of the Men of Letters' demonic handcuffs on Crowley. Dean presses his little-known advantage over Crowley as the brothers reveal Crowley himself is the third trial.
Castiel and Metatron are still drinking at the bar when Naomi's Intelligence Soliders appear and take Metatron hostage. Meanwhile, Sam and Dean set up a Devil's Trap inside an abandoned church to start the ritual, and Sam reluctantly begins the confession needed to purify his blood. As Sam prays, Castiel appears to Dean and reveals that Naomi has captured Metatron and he needs Dean's help.
Up in Heaven, Naomi questions Metatron, asking why he so readily allied with Castiel, turning her mysterious drill on the angel.
Back on Earth, Dean reluctantly agrees to follow Castiel in banishing the angels, and leave Sam behind to continue the trial on his own. His blood purified, Sam begins to inject Crowley with the first dose, Sam's arms glowing in the process.
Dean and Castiel explain to Kevin Tran, who's already had enough of the supernatural business, that he needs to decipher the angel tablet. He initially tells them that he will not attempt to decipher this tablet in 6 hours when the last one took 6 months and cost his mother's life. Castiel convinces him otherwise by jacking him up against the wall.
At the church, Sam injects Crowley with a second dose. Crowley bites open Sam's arm in the process. Sam runs out of the church to tend to his wound, and Crowley uses Sam's blood and time alone to place a desperate call to any demon who'll listen that the King of Hell needs help immediately.
Back in the bar, Castiel and Dean watch as a mysterious woman delivers a shipment of beer to the bartender, seemingly catching his eye. The woman leaves, as both the bartender and a male patron suddenly bond over their mutual appreciation of an infomercial bow, surprising Dean. Realizing the woman to be the Cupid, Castiel and Dean confront the woman outside and demand her bow.
Meanwhile at the church, the ground begins to shake and splits the Devil's Trap when Abaddon enters, and she throws Sam out of the building and demands Crowley step down as the King of Hell. Surprised to find her not on his side, Crowley attempts to bargain with Abaddon before Sam reappears and douses the demon with Holy Oil, setting her ablaze. Abaddon vacates her burning vessel, and flees out the broken window. Elsewhere, Dean and Castiel's Cupid agrees to hand over her bow, hoping Castiel can finally fix all the discord in heaven, while Metatron resists Naomi's torture.
With Sam's blood taking effect, Crowley begins to ramble about he and Sam having bonded over the experience, likening them to Hanna and Marnie of HBO's 'Girls,' and pleading that he deserves to be loved. After another injection, Crowley begs Sam to help him begin to confess his sins, offering up his neck for the next round. Meanwhile, Kevin informs Dean and Castiel that none of Metatron's trials appear on the actual tablet, as Naomi herself appears to the pair. Naomi reveals that Metatron plans to banish all angels to Earth, and so she offers her help to Dean, pointing out that Sam will die if he completes the trials. She has come to realize the error of her ways and offers Castiel the chance to return to Heaven before disappearing, but he doesn't believe her.
Castiel teleports Dean to the church to stop Sam before returning to Heaven to find Naomi with the drill through her head, and Metatron free of his restraints. Dean stops Sam just before he completes the trial, though Sam insists on finishing regardless of the cost of his own life. Sam protests that Dean views him as a screw-up, and would rather align with angels or vampires than his own brother, but Dean points out how much he's willing to sacrifice for his brother's life. Sam finally agrees, uncertain how to expel the white-hot energy within him, while Dean gives him a comforting hug, holding him close, and urges him to simply let it go, the energy disappears for a while, but the next moment Sam feels a great pain and weakens further.
Upstairs, Metatron restrains Castiel and non-fatally slices opens his throat to remove his angelic essence, the last piece of his own plan. Metatron urges Castiel to live his life on Earth, marry, die, and later return to Heaven to tell his story, and then Castiel awakens on Earth. Sam doubles over in pain and the brothers rush outside, as Kevin Tran sees all the equipment in the Men of Letters base whir on and an electronic map lights up indicating that the entire world is under supernatural activity.
Heavy winds buffet the brothers as they finally view Metatron's handiwork. Streaks of light begin raining from all directions of the sky, as angels fall to the earth and lose their wings in the descent. Castiel, Sam and Dean look on uncertain about the future and their lives.
- Dean Winchester
- Sam Winchester
- Kevin Tran
- Jody Mills
- Dwight Charles
Featured Supernatural Beings
- Carry On Wayward Son by Kansas
- Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-a-Lot
- Nice To Be With You by Gallery
- As part of his plan in Clip Show, Crowley is still killing people Sam and Dean have saved. In the teaser, he comes close to murdering Jody Mills before Sam and Dean apparently agree to stop the Hell trials.
- Crowley uses the name Roderick on his date with Jody. Weekend At Bobby's had revealed that his name as a human was Fergus Roderick MacLeod.
- Crowley references the events of Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid by reminding Jody of the deaths of her husband and son.
- Sam, Dean, and Crowley meet at Bobby's house to negotiate. Bobby's house had been destroyed in Hello, Cruel World and had not been seen again until this episode.
- Crowley unfurling the contract he had written up for the Winchesters' surrender mirrored a scene from Survival of the Fittest when he was writing up a contract with Dick Roman.
- Castiel continues the Heaven trials which Metatron had tasked him with in the previous episode. It is revealed that the "trials" are actually steps in a spell which is used to banish angels from Heaven.
- The brothers use the demon cure on Crowley. The plot of the previous episode centered on them first learning about it and then trying to use it on Abaddon before she escaped.
- When Sam Winchester must make confessions to make his blood pure, Dean suggests that Sam confess about Ruby in Season 3 and Season 4, freeing Lucifer by killing Lilith in Lucifer Rising, losing his soul in Season 6, and not looking for Dean when Dean and Castiel got trapped in Purgatory in the seventh season finale.
- Dean also suggested that Sam confess about what he did to Penny Marshall, in 6th grade. Penny Marshall is an actress, director, and producer famous for playing Laverne, on the 1970's sitcom, Laverne & Shirley.
- Another cupid is introduced, although this one is far more subdued (and clothed) than the one we had met in My Bloody Valentine. This cupid also interacts directly with the people she is matchmaking, rather than doing so invisibly like the one from My Bloody Valentine.
- Having learned in Clip Show that Crowley has become the new King of Hell, Abaddon attacks him.
- Naomi reveals that completing the trials will kill Sam, thus explaining why Sam's health has deteriorated so much since he started the trials in Trial and Error.
- Sam cites Dean's friendships with Castiel and Benny Lafitte as examples of how Sam hadn't been there for him. Dean counters by reminding Sam of how he had killed Benny in Taxi Driver to save Sam. Dean also reminds Sam of how their mother had been murdered by a demon in Pilot.
- This marks the second time that grace has been mentioned; the first time was in Heaven and Hell. Additionally, the scene of the angels falling to Earth like meteors fits Anna Milton's description of her fall from Heaven.
- Dean: The Angel Tablet comes to us.
- Crowley: On what grounds?!
- Dean: On the grounds that you're a douchebag and no douchebag should have that much power!
- Metatron: (about God) Larger than life, gruff, a bit of a sexist. But fair, eminently fair.
- Crowley: What's that old expression? Success has many fathers, failure is a Winchester.
(while talking about things to say at confession)
- Dean: Or how about what you did to Penny Markle in the sixth grade? Why don't you lead with that?
- Sam: Well, that was you.
- Dean: ... Carry on.
- Castiel: (to the bartender) Would you say that you're looking for a partner in crime? Or someone who's into nurse roleplay and light domination?
- Castiel: Do you think it's wise to be drinking on the job?
- Dean Winchester: What show you been watching?
- Crowley: Band of Brothers? The Pacific? None of this means anything to you? All those motels, you never once watched HBO?
- Crowley: Girls. You're my Marnie, Moose. And Hannah, she just needs to be loved. She deserves it, don't we all? You, me, we deserve to be loved. I deserve to be loved! I just want to be loved.
- Kevin: I should've mentioned this six months ago, but the sports metaphors? You want to motivate me? "Magic" cards, Skyrim, Aziz Ansari.
- Dean: What?! Yeah, I don't know what those words mean.
Dean: You finish this trial, you're dead, Sam.
- Sam: So?
Sam and Dean's full conversation:
- Sam: (pointing to Crowley) Look at him! Look at him! Look how close we are! Other people will die if I don't finish this!
- Dean: Think about it. Think about what we know, huh? Pulling souls from Hell, curing demons; Hell, ganking a hellhound! We have enough knowledge on our side to turn the tide here. But I can't do it without you.
- Sam: You can barely do it with me. I mean, you think I screw up everything I try. You think I need a chaperone, remember?
Dean: Come on, man. That's not what I meant.
- Sam: No, it's exactly what you meant. You want to know what I confessed in there? What my greatest sin was? It was how many times I let you down. I can't do that again. What happens when you've decided I can't be trusted again? Who are you gonna turn to next time instead of me? Another angel? Another vampire? Do you have any idea what it feels like to watch your brother…
- Dean: Hold on, hold on. Do you seriously think that? Because none of it, none of it is true. Listen man, I know we've had our disagreements. Okay, Hell, I know I've said some junk that sent you back on your heels. But Sammy, come on. I killed Benny to save you. I'm willing to let this bastard and all the sons of bitches that killed mom walk because of you. Don't you dare think that there is anything, past or present, that I would put in front of you. It has never been like that, ever. I need you to see that. I'm begging you.
- Sam: How do I stop?
- Dean: Just let it go.
- Sam: I can't. It's in me, Dean. You don't know what this feels like.
- Dean: Hey, listen, we'll figure it out, okay, just like we always do. Come on, let it go, okay. Let it go, little brother.
- Antagonists: Crowley, Metatron, and Abaddon.
- The Season 1 finale of Arrow, which aired one hour before this season finale, was also called Sacrifice.
- The first episode to actually show an angel's wings, apart from Astral Projection or in the event of an angel's death.
- This was the first season finale not to feature Bobby Singer.
- The song Crowley sang was Changes, by David Bowie.