8.23 Sacrifice

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Title Sacrifice
Episode # Season 8, Episode 23
First aired May 15, 2013
Directed by Phil Sgriccia
Written by Jeremy Carver
On IMDB Sacrifice
Outline The Winchesters kidnap Crowley, and Sam begins the final trial. Castiel tries to also complete his trials and succeeds, mistakenly causing the angels to fall from Heaven.
Monster Crowley
Timeline May 21, 2013
Location(s) Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Lebanon, Kansas
Houston, Texas
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Jody Mills is on a date with a man that she thinks is named Roderick, but is actually Crowley. The two get along great and Crowley claims to have lost someone special too, reminding Jody of the deaths of her son and husband which visibly upsets her. Jody goes to the bathroom to calm down, but falls under a spell Crowley casts that causes her to choke on her own blood—unbeknownst to her, there is a hex bag in her handbag. Sam and Dean call Crowley and demand he stop, and he offers them a deal, using the little time Jody has left to force the issue. The deal is that they stop the undertaking the trials to close the Gates of Hell and give him the demon tablet, and he will stop killing Jody and everyone else they've ever saved. Dean agrees on the condition they trade the angel tablet for the demon tablet and Crowley agrees if they say "I surrender."

In order to make the deal happen, Kevin digs up the first half of the tablet where he hid it, ironically under a sign depicting the Devil. Kevin puts the tablet halves back together and gives it to Sam and Dean. In return, they give him the key to the bunker, telling him to wait there.

At the ruins of Singer Salvage Yard, Sam shows Crowley the demon tablet to prove he has it while Crowley shows them the angel tablet. Crowley produces a contract many yards long, and Dean insists on reading the fine detail. As he does, he gets close to Crowley and snaps the handcuffs on him that they found in the bunker—ones covered in spell-work that trap Crowley.

An angel named Nathaniel approaches Naomi with the news that one of their freelance operatives has spotted Castiel in Houston, Texas. To Naomi's shock, Nathaniel reveals that Metatron has been spotted with him.

Metatron tells Castiel that the second trial is to obtain the bow of a Cupid. Metatron has ascertained that Dwight Charles — a bartender — will be shot by a Cupid's arrow. He and Metatron start watching Dwight, but Naomi arrives. She orders an angel to kill Castiel but, after the bartender shoots the angel and Metatron tells Castiel to stand down, she just leaves with her henchmen and Metatron.

In her office in Heaven, Naomi straps Metatron to a chair. Despite having never met in person, Metatron recognizes her as the angel that was supposed to "debrief" him after God left Heaven. Naomi tells him that the archangels wanted to know the secrets in his mind and she now wants to know why he came out of hiding and what his plans are. Naomi tortures Metatron and is shocked by what she finds, asking him why he is going with the plan that he is. Metatron tells her how elated he was to become God's scribe and how dispirited he became when God left. Metatron believes he left paradise in their care, but he berates the archangels and the rest of angelkind for refusing to accept God's departure and leaving the world alone, forcing him to flee his home. He questions Naomi on how they could do all of that without expecting his retribution in return.

Sam and Dean take Crowley to a small church to undergo the third trial — to cure him of being a demon. They secure Crowley in the middle of a devil's trap. Sam needs to confess his sins in order to purify his blood to use on Crowley. Dean lists a number of things Sam has done — working with Ruby, killing Lilith, letting Lucifer out, losing his soul, and not looking for Dean when he went to Purgatory.

Castiel arrives, telling Dean he needs his help in undertaking the trials. Dean is reluctant to go, but Sam insists he will be fine. At the bunker they give the angel tablet to Kevin, and ask that he translate it to find out what the remaining trials may be.

Cas and Dean return to watch Dwight Charles at his bar. They see a delivery woman, Gail, arrive at the bar. They think she will be the one that Dwight falls in love with. However, she is actually the Cupid, and she causes Dwight and his regular customer Rod to fall in love. Outside the bar, Dean and Castiel tell the Cupid that they need her bow, which appears as a mark on her hand. She tells them how chaotic Heaven is, and willingly helps them.

Meanwhile, Sam has continued injecting Crowley with his blood. At one point, Crowley bites Sam and, when he leaves to get a bandage, Crowley creates a makeshift goblet of blood with his hand and uses the blood to send a call for help. Abaddon arrives, and throws Sam through a window, but she tells Crowley she is not there to help him. She reveals that she's there to take over ruling Hell. However, Sam douses her meatsuit with holy oil, setting her on fire, and she vacates the body and leaves. Crowley, who is obviously regaining his humanity, tries to bond with Sam, tearfully declaring that he deserves to be loved.

Naomi appears on Earth near where Castiel and Dean are talking on the phone to Kevin who has been examining the angel tablet — he cannot find any mention of the trials Castiel has undertaken. Castiel angrily confronts her with his angel blade, but Naomi insists that she is just there to talk, not fight and Dean gets Castiel to hear her out. Naomi reveals what she has learned from Metatron: as revenge for his expulsion from Heaven, he is using Castiel to expel all angels permanently, not close the gates of Heaven. Castiel doesn't believe her, but Naomi insists that its true. She expresses regret for all of her actions, crying and telling Castiel and Dean that angels were meant to protect humanity and somewhere along the line they lost sight of that. Naomi reminds Dean that she told him he could trust her and explains that, while she wants him to close the gates of Hell, she has learned that doing so will kill Sam. God intended for the person closing the gates to have to make the ultimate sacrifice. Naomi tells Castiel that if he wishes to return to Heaven, she is now willing to hear him out and disappears. Castiel doesn't believe her claims and Kevin Tran is unable to back them up with the angel tablet, but Dean does and has Castiel take him to Sam.

When Castiel finds Metatron, he extracts Castiel's grace from him, telling him its the final part of a spell that will achieve what Naomi described. He sends Cas back to Earth, and completes the spell.

Dean arrives just as Sam is about to complete the ritual, and begs him to stop, warning it will kill him. Sam is nonplussed and tells Dean that the sins he confessed earlier were of all the times he had let Dean down. He fears if he does it again, Dean will turn to someone else — an angel like Cas, or a vampire like Benny — for support. Dean is passionate in disavowing this, "Don't you dare think that there is anything, past or present, that I would put in front of you!" he says. Sam says he feels consumed by the trial, and Dean holds him, telling him to let it go. The feeling seems to abate, but suddenly Sam is struck by pain.

Dean carries him outside, and they collapse on the ground near the Impala. Above in the sky are what look like thousands of falling stars. "What are they?" asks Sam. "Angels," replies Dean, "they're falling."




(plays during "The Road So Far" recap of events; also played in 1.21 Salvation, 2.22 All Hell Breaks Loose: Part Two, 3.16 No Rest for the Wicked, 4.22 Lucifer Rising, 5.22 Swan Song, 6.22 The Man Who Knew Too Much and 7.23 Survival of the Fittest)
  • "The Rat Pack" by Christopher Lennertz
(plays in the restaurant where Jody and Crowley meet for their dinner date)
  • "Baby Got Back" Sir Mix-A-Lot
(Crowley's ringtone)
  • "Your Other Man" by Josey James & Waylon Jefferson James (Extreme Music)
(plays in the bar while Cas and Metatron wait for a cupid to show up)
  • "I'm So Blue" by Katie Thompson & Martyn Laight (CPM / Carlin)
(plays in the bar while Dean and Cas wait for a cupid to show up; also played in 4.01 Lazarus Rising)
  • "Nice to Be with You" by Gallery
(plays in the bar when the two guys fall in love)
  • "Changes" by David Bowie
(sung by Crowley as Sam tries to cure him)


Crowley: I want the demon tablet -- the whole demon tablet.

Dean: Fine, but then 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. Deal or not?

Crowley: First, I need to hear two little words -- I surrender.
Dean: All right, listen, this is a secret lair. You understand me? No keggers.
Kevin: I don't have any friends.
Crowley: Where's the stone?

Dean: You show us yours, and we'll show you ours.

Crowley: Really, Dean? I'm trying to conduct a professional negotiation here, and you want to talk dangly bits? The stone. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Slowly.
Crowley: You're gonna move your lips the whole way up here, aren't you? You know why I always defeat you? It's your humanity. It's a built-in handicap.
Castiel: What was he like?
Metatron: Who, God? Pretty much like you'd expect. Larger than life, gruff, a bit of a sexist... but fair. Eminently fair.
Dwight Charles: Help you gents?

Castiel: Yes. Would you say that you're looking for, uh, a partner in crime... or, uh, someone who's into nurse role-play and light domination?

Dwight Charles: Brother, it's 10:00 a.m. on a Tuesday.
Sam: Honestly, for the first time in a long time, it feels like we're gonna win. I'm good.
Castiel: We're gonna shut it all down -- Heaven, Hell, all of it.
Kevin: Okay. Um, it's the angel tablet, which I've never laid eyes on in my life. You want a translation in like six hours when it took me six months and a dead mom to translate a piece of the demon tablet? And according to your own words this morning... this is not what I do. It's what I did. You told me I was out, Dean.
Dean: Anything? You've been gone long enough.

Castiel: No. There was one female, but...
Dean: What?

Castiel: ...I don't think she was female. Anything here?
Castiel: Do you really think it's wise to be drinking on the job?
Dean: What show you been watching? Talk to me. Are you sure about this? I mean, it's one thing me and Sammy slamming the gates to the pit, but you -- you're -- you're boarding up Heaven, and you're locking the door behind you.
Dean: Whoa - talk first, stab later.
Abaddon: Hello boys.
Crowley: That's my line.
Metatron: Do you have any idea what it would be like to be plucked from obscurity, to sit at God's feet, to be asked to write down his word? The ache I felt when he was gone, telling myself, 'Father's left, but look what he's left us -- paradise.' But you and your archangels couldn't leave 'well enough' alone. You ran me from my home. Did you really think you could do all of that to me and there'd be no payback?
Sam: 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.

Dean: Sam --
Sam: What happens when you've decided I can't be trusted again? I mean, who are you gonna turn to next time instead of me? Another angel, another -- another vampire? Do you have any idea what it feels like to watch your brother just --

Dean: Hold on, hold on! 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 set 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.

Trivia & References

"Sacrifice" is the title of the ninth track from the album Book of Dreams by Steve Miller Band, as well as the title track to Motörhead's 1995 album Sacrifice.
The ringtone on Crowley's phone is Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back."
The book Metatron is reading at the bus stop with Cas is Rumblefish by S.E. Hinton.
Crowley: What's that old expression? 'Success has many fathers, failure is a Winchester.'
The actual quote is "Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan."
Crowley: Nice try, Squirrel. Moose is doing these trials, Moose signs.
A reference to Rocket J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.
Metatron: 'Of the blessings set before you, make your choice and be content.' Not a big reader, are we?
Metatron is quoting English writer Samuel Johnson from his 1759 novel Rasselas.
Dean: So this is it? E.T. goes home.
Dean is referring to the eponymous hero in the movie E.T. the Extra-terrestrial who, at the end of the movie, gets to return to his home planet.
Sam: Love the suit.
This might be a reference to one of Hannibal Lecter's lines in Silence of the Lambs.
Crowley: Seriously? Me, seriously? We just shared a foxhole, you and I. We beat back the Tet Offensive, outrun the --the Rape of Nanking, together! And still you're gonna do me like this?! Band of Brothers? The Pacific? None of this means anything to you? All those motels, you never once watched HBO, not once? Girls? You're my Marnie, Moose. A-and Hannah -- she just -- she 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.
The Tet Offensive was a military campaign in 1968 during the American-Vietnamese War.
The Rape of Nanking was an instance of mass rape and murder by the Japanese forces in the Chinese city of Nanking in 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War.
Band of Brothers and The Pacific were HBO mini-series that documented the Allied forces in World War II in Europe and the Pacific theater respectively. Supernatural alumus Richard Speight starred in Band of Brothers.
Girls is a comedy, also on HBO. The main character is Hannah Horvath played by creator Lena Dunham, her best friend is named Marnie.
Kevin: Okay, a-and I should have mentioned this six months ago, but the sports metaphors... You want to motivate me — Magic cards, Skyrim, Aziz Ansari.
Magic: The Gathering is a trading card game.
Skyrim, its full name is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a role-playing video game.
Aziz Ansari is a comedian who also appeared in the TV show Parks and Recreation.


When Crowley is on a date with Jody, his alias, "Roderick", was actually his middle name back when he was still a human.
Sam and Dean travel to Singer Salvage Yard to make the deal with Crowley. They both pause for a moment at Bobby's car — a 1971 Chevelle which has been abandoned and left to rust since Bobby's death.
Crowley bites Sam to get his blood in order to make a makeshift communications device similar to the goblet of blood used by demons.
Castiel: Do you really think its wise to be drinking on the job?

Dean: What show you been watching?

This is obviously a case of breaking the fourth wall with Dean referring to his drinking all the time on the show. See also Meta Episodes.
Deleted scenes: The deleted scenes from this episode included on the Season 8 DVD and Blu-ray include:
  • Sam having a flashback whilst Dean and Crowley are negotiating the deal in Singer Salvage Yard. The flashback includes Dean lecturing Sam about being able to stop all possessions and killings, and asking him what their mother died for. Read the transcript here.
  • A short clip in the church where Sam is sitting opposite a bound Crowley. Crowley notices the demon-killing knife, a syringe, and a gun on the table. He questions why Sam would need a gun. Sam tells him he plans to kill him with the gun when he's human. Read the transcript here.
  • A clip of Dean on the phone to Kevin after Naomi had revealed that completing the trials would kill Sam. Despite Kevin saying he could find nothing suggesting that Naomi was telling the truth on the angel tablet, Dean forces Cas to take him to Sam. Read the transcript here.

Sides, Scripts & Transcripts


Episode Meta