|“||Basically, God built a series of tests, and when you've done all three, you can slam the gates.||”|
The Trials of God are a series of tests designed by God himself, in order to seal the gates of Hell. The three trials involve bathing in hellhound blood, saving an innocent soul from hell, and curing a demon. During these trials the health of the one doing them rapidly decreases. According to Castiel, Sam's participation in the Trials of God had affected him at a subatomic level.
The Trials to Seal HellEdit
- 1. Kill a Hellhound and bathe in its blood. - Achieved by Sam Winchester, in "Trial and Error".
- 2. Save an innocent soul from Hell and deliver it to Heaven. - Achieved by Sam Winchester, in "Taxi Driver".
- 3. Cure a demon. - Almost completed by Sam in "Sacrifice". Achieved with a different demon in "Soul Survivor" but the trials were stopped, so it had no effect.
Effects of the Demon Trials:Edit
The demon trials create an extremely dangerous effect on the person, as the body and soul are converted and changed, causing intense pain while their arms glow a white light. It was revealed in Sacrifice, that the person who completed the trials would die. Though Sam stopped the trials before completely curing Crowley, the damage to his body was already fatal: all of his major organs were burned and it took the angel Gadreel possessing him for a number of months to heal the damage. After Gadreel was expelled by Sam, it was indicated the damage wasn't fully healed, but that it had healed to a point that Castiel over time could finish the job with his own abilities which he eventually did.
In "We Need To Talk About Kevin," Sam and Dean first learn of the possibility of closing the gates of Hell from Prophet Kevin Tran who read about it on the Demon Tablet though he didn't know more beyond that including that trials needed to be done. At the time, the group thought only a spell was involved. To this end, in "What's Up, Tiger Mommy?", the Winchesters and Kevin and Linda Tran work to get the tablet or at least the spell from Plutus' auction. They fail and Crowley ends up with the tablet along with knowledge of what they were planning from Linda's mind.
After Castiel retrieves half of the tablet in "A Little Slice of Kevin", Kevin works on translating the tablet to find out how to close the gates of Hell. In "Trial and Error" he finally succeeds in deciphering the relevant section and calls in Sam and Dean, letting them know that its a series of trials and that the first and only trial he has deciphered so far is to "kill a hound of Hell and bathe in its blood." To this end, Sam and Dean track down a family who they believe made a deal with a Crossroad Demon ten years before for oil while Kevin works on trying to find a way to make a hellhound visible to them. Eventually, using glasses scorched with holy fire, Sam is able to fight and kill a hellhound with the Demon-killing knife and is soaked in its blood in the process. After convincing Dean to let him do the trials, Sam recites the spell and officially starts the trials.
During "Man's Best Friend With Benefits" and "Remember the Titans", Sam shows signs of being negatively effected by the trials, coughing up blood. Castiel later explains that the trials are affecting Sam on a sub-atomic level and even he can't fix him.
In "Taxi Driver", Kevin deciphers the second trial: "rescue an innocent soul from Hell and deliver it unto Heaven." Sam and Dean summon a Crossroad Demon for information on how to sneak into Hell to perform this trial and then make a deal with rogue Reaper Ajay to get Sam into Hell. In the process, they learn old friend Bobby Singer is trapped in Hell due to Crowley and decide to rescue him. Ajay gets Sam into Hell through a portal in Purgatory, but Crowley learns what they are up to and kills Ajay to trap Sam. Sam rescues Bobby from Hell, but like Crowley planned, they become trapped in Purgatory. At the same time, Kevin hides the rest of the tablet rather than working on the third trial out of fear of Crowley and Naomi reveals to Dean how Sam got to Hell. Finding Ajay dead, Dean calls upon his vampire friend Benny Lafitte to die so he can go into Purgatory and get Sam and Bobby out. Benny agrees and rescues Sam and Bobby from vampires. Sam carries Bobby's soul out of Purgatory in his arm while Benny stays behind to hold off more vampires. On Earth, Sam attempts to release Bobby's soul into Heaven, but is blocked by Crowley who recaptures the soul. Naomi appears, drives Crowley off and releases Bobby's soul from Crowley's spell, allowing him to ascend to Heaven and completing the second trial.
Sam is affected even worse by the trials and is left in a weakened state following the second trial to the point Dean tries to leave him behind in "Pac-Man Fever."
In "The Great Escapist", Sam, who is steadily getting worse, and Dean track down Metatron, Scribe of God and writer of the demon tablet and convince him to rescue Kevin from Crowley. Kevin escapes with the second half of the demon tablet and he and Metatron let them know what the third trial shown on the second half of the tablet is: cure a demon. They are left confused by what this means but during "Clip Show" work with Castiel to search through the Men of Letters archive to try to find a way to do this. Eventually they find the recording of a strange exorcism performed by Father Max Thompson and learn of his successful efforts to turn a demon human again, effectively "curing" them of being a demon. Learning how the ritual works, Sam and Dean decide to attempt it on Abaddon, but she escapes instead.
In "Sacrifice", the Winchesters pretend to agree to a deal Crowley offers them, to stop killing people they've saved in exchange for giving up the trials and capture him instead to use as the third trial as he is keeping all demons away from them. They take him to an abandoned church where Sam confesses his sins and starts the ritual while Dean works with Castiel on what he believes is the trials to close Heaven. Over the course of eight hours, Sam injects Crowley with purified blood and he becomes more and more human while Sam's arms glow and he gets sicker and sicker as a result of the trials. As Sam is about to finish the ritual and close the gates of Hell forever, Dean stops him as he has learned from Naomi that doing so will kill Sam. Sam at first doesn't care, but is eventually convinced to stop the trials, "letting them go" and getting rid of the glowing that appears in his arms. However, Sam is so weakened by his efforts at that point that he collapses.
In "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here", the trials have severely damaged Sam's body, causing burns on all his major organs and for him to be dying. In order to save him, Dean allows the angel Gadreel, secretly posing as Ezekiel to possess Sam in order to heal him from the inside.
Slowly, between "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here" and "Road Trip", Gadreel heals most of the damage the trials caused to Sam's body. When Sam expels him with help from Crowley in "Road Trip", he is strong enough to survive without an "angelic pacemaker" and Castiel is able to finish healing him normally in "First Born" though his body starts to revert to the state it was in after the trials when Castiel starts removing left-over grace from Gadreel. This is stopped when Castiel finishes the healing without removing all the grace.
The trials also have an effect on Crowley as while he reverts mostly to his usual self with the ritual to cure him unfinished, he retains human emotions and an addiction to human blood.