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Supernatural - Season 9 Speculation Time

The countdown has begun toward the season 9 finale, so it’s speculation time. This year we have a number of storylines in play and lots to talk about, so let’s begin.

Dean and the MoC – This is obviously Dean’s big year. Dean has been getting progressively dark since the season premiere, when he prayed in the church – an open call for all angels – and in an effort to save Sam's life, agreed to a deal with an angel he knew as Ezekiel to help him possess Sam and then to lie to Sam when Sam woke up so that Sam won’t be able to expel the angel. The lies continued, as Ezekiel convinced Dean he needed more time to repair a dying Sam and Dean got used to having an angel on hand to save dying friends or be summoned for information (the effect being temporarily turning Sam off).

Things started to spiral when Ezekiel killed Kevin while in Sam’s body, Sam emotionally shut Dean out after learning the truth, and Dean agreed to go on a road trip with Crowley (never a good idea). Dean has a history of dealing with unpleasant thoughts by pushing them down to a dark, fatalistic, self-loathing place, rather than dealing with them. Sam’s had some luck over the years in getting Dean to address some issues (such as the reasons behind Dean’s season 3 death wish, or Dean’s lack of hope in season 5), but Dean is pretty far gone now. Plus, Sam seems to be working through his own issues right now.

Intensifying what was already there – a repressed inner desire for violence – is the Mark of Cain. Dean is becoming stronger now, particularly when in possession of The First Blade, but this transformation has made him more bloodthirsty and has dulled his emotional, human side. To see where this may lead Dean, we can look at Cain’s story. Cain said his brother was working with Lucifer, so he made a deal with Lucifer instead to take Abel’s place in Hell. He killed his brother – sending him to Heaven – and became a demon, strong enough to create and kill the Knights of Hell, and obviously more powerful than Crowley. He renounced his demon side when he fell in love, and is now living in exile.

So what does this mean for Dean?
- Will Dean become a full demon, and to do so, will he need to kill his brother and/or make a deal with Lucifer? He seems compelled in that direction, but Dean has always differed from Cain, Michael, and even John, in that he was never willing to consciously consider killing Sam. But with Sam and Dean barely speaking now, have things changed? And if yes, what would incite Dean to make this final move?
- If Dean does become a demon, or even if he doesn’t, does Dean take a leadership role in Hell? Or, as Crowley seems to be manipulating him for some purpose (firstly to kill Abaddon, but Crowley is never that simple), would Dean end up working as a servant to Crowley, Abaddon, or Lucifer?
- Cain told Dean some vague and ominous things. Cain told Dean he will want Dean to use the blade on him, and that the blade comes with a steep cost. Speculation is that Dean is losing his soul, but this is unconfirmed.

Sam’s Role – Sam started off this year badly physically damaged from having started, and then stopped, the trials – so far damaged that he was said to be unhealable by human methods. At the end of last season, he was on a mission to close off the gates of Hell, but more personal to Sam, he sensed he was purifying his blood of the demon taint. He dropped out of the trials before the process was finished, was hospitalized, and then became unknowingly possessed by Ezekiel/Gadreel for the first half of the season. When he found out what Dean had done, he was angry and told Dean they could work together but not longer be brothers. He seems to be noticing the Mark of Cain and is becoming increasingly concerned about its effect on Dean.

A popular online theory is that Sam will talk Dean down and save him, finally redeeming himself from what he has perceived as a series of failures when it comes to his brother. But can Dean still be reached by words? He’s clearly hearing things from a skewed perspective now, as he keeps repeating that Sam said he wouldn’t try to save him, which is not what Sam said. The power-of-love save fits with the show (see Swan Song), but the power of love only goes so far. Ask Adam. And in season 4, Sam was not brought back by the power of love. He was brought back by learning that Ruby and Lilith had manipulated him into letting Lucifer out of his cage. Hard lessons.

Adding another possibility to where this story can go is the reemergence and increased frequency of subtle references to Sam’s past demon blood powers/addiction. Sam, when he started with the trials, became consumed with the idea that he could purify his blood. He also tried a purification of Crowley through a blood transfusion ritual. We’ve seen Crowley become addicted to human blood, a development that seems to have little purpose other than confusing Crowley and mirroring Sam’s past blood addition.

In addition, the psychological conditions for Sam to start using his powers again are in place. In season 4, Sam became a power addict after being powerless to watch his brother be dragged off to Hell.  Sam’s trigger has always been a feeling of loss of power, or control, and this season began with the biggest example that could possibly effect Sam, and that was an extended possession that ended with his body being used to kill an innocent friend. There have been continuous situations recently to make Sam feel powerless - being constantly tied up or hearing diminutive comments like Metatron referring to him as Dean's little brother. We recently saw a MOTW episode in which the guest character, Alex, mirrored Sam in a lot of ways. She was a human living in a monster family that hunted humans, as Sam was a monster (or so he believed) living in human family that hunted monsters. Sam never wanted to hunt monsters and tried to run away, and Alex never wanted to hunt humans and ran away. There was also a symbolic reference to the blood as Sam was almost completely drained of his blood, as Alex began a transformation into vampire and was losing her humanity. Again, another symbolic connection to the demon blood storyline.

Finally, Sam’s boy-king destiny and his powers in the early years were about him leading a demon army against humans. His powers were designed to let him control demons.  Coincidentally, Abaddon, we learned through Sam’s discovery, is building a demon army. It was never made clear what, if anything happened to Sam’s powers. Are they still there, repressed because Sam thinks they’re evil? Does Sam need demon blood to trigger them? Of did they get burned off in Hell? The show has never conclusively addressed these questions one way or another.

Is the show setting us up for a Dean vs. Sam season 10? If Dean goes darkside and can’t be redeemed through the power of love, it will be a pretty short fight if Sam doesn’t have any supernatural power on his side. Dean seems to be currently aligned with Crowley, and Sam has shown increasing distain toward Crowley, to the point of suggesting killing Crowley when Crowley was within earshot. Could this be a set-up to a Sam/Abaddon alliance on one side, vs. a Dean/Crowley alliance on the other?

Cas and the Angels – Yes, this sounds like a ‘70s band. Cas has had a bumpy road this year, having lost his angel powers at the close of season 8, experiencing a brief time living as a human, and now finding himself in the middle of an angel civil war. Metatron warned Cas that he would burn through his stolen grace, but can Metatron be trusted? Is Cas’ true grace still attainable up in Heaven? Also up in the air is the question whether Cas can, or should, lead the angels against Metatron.

After a few seasons of seeing so many angels murdered at the hands of their own, part of me feels like we’re witnessing the extermination of the angel race. That ending would align with the season 5 episode The End, in which Cas gradually loses his powers because all of the angels had “left.” The circumstances are different now, but we may be heading toward the same end – a human Cas with no other angels left. Or, we may be heading toward an end where Cas becomes the angels’ new leader, and with his unique experiences with humanity, is able to guide them toward a better and smarter future. What’s on the horizon for angels – evolution or extinction – or something else?

And we still have Metatron to deal with. It was hinted in a recent episode that Metatron has been manipulating reality, playing God by rewriting the story. And that begs the question, how long has Metatron been up to this? Was he messing with reality as far back as the start of season 8, when we saw a dark figure watching Sam outside Amelia’s, and was he behind Dean misremembering what had happened in Purgatory? How powerful is Metatron exactly? Or is it possible that Metatron isn’t just playing God, but that he IS God? And if he is, what does he want? This wouldn’t be the first time Supernatural took a figure that’s supposed to be good and turned it around.

Finally, we saw the sort-of return of Gabriel. This appears to be an illusion created by Metatron, but could this just be a gentle introduction to the return of the real Gabriel further down the line? And if so, what role would he play in all of this?  If Metatron's not God, could an appearance of God be in the works?

So speculate away in the comments! Three more episodes before we’re on summer Hellatus. How do you see this going down and the season wrapping up?

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