Supernatural on CW

2006, TV Show

Supernatural Episode: "Trial and Error"

Season 8, Episode 14
Episode Synopsis: Sam and Dean try to close the gates of hell, after Kevin deciphers the tablet and learns that one person must complete three tests designed by God to achieve the task. The first mission is to kill a hellhound.
Original Air Date: Feb 13, 2013
Guest Cast Osric Chau: Kevin
Full Episode
click to playclick to play
Season 8, Episode 14
Paid | iTunes
Length: 42:32
Aired: 2/13/2013
Also available on Amazon Instant Video and VUDU
play more info

Supernatural Episode Recap: "Trial and Error" Season 8, Episode 14

Kevin Tran makes a significant return in "Trial and Error." After hardcore focus complete with considerable harm to his health (headaches, nose bleeds etc.), he's finally able to give the Winchesters the first big lead in their quest to close the Gates of Hell. It all results in one of the brothers passing a huge test. Mind you, this is the first of three challenges that'll need to be faced.

When the flashback portion of the season came to an end (still miss you, Purgatory scenes), I was kind of worried about what the second half of the season would bring. I had no idea where this show was headed other than the whole closing the Gates of Hell business. Then the Men of Letters story was introduced. The Winchesters got a home base of operations. Things started to open up in an encouraging way.

What transpired this week was probably one of the best episodes of Supernatural in recent history. It had shades of Season 2's "Crossroad Blues" with the whole sell your soul to the devil/goofer dust/hellhounds angle. The brothers were working in tandem at that ranch. They disagreed but not in an overbearing way. They flirted with girls, laughed at each other's jokes. They protected a family. They wore hellhound-seeing glasses and they looked hot doing so. This had an old school vibe, but not in a stale way. It all felt fresh and exciting.

There were three specific brother-type moments in "Trial and Error" that may have caused me to tear up. Not many shows can get this type of reaction out of me. In fact, it's been awhile since this show got such a visceral reaction out of me.

1. Dean got his own room.

For some reason, seeing Dean put the finishing touches on his room in the new bunker really affected me. Maybe it's because I've been watching Supernatural since Season One. It was just so satisfying to see Dean make sure his room was picture perfect:

Dean: "I'm making this awesome. I've got my kickass vinyl. I've got this killer mattress. Memory foam -- it remembers me."

An excited Dean topped it all off with a photo of himself with this mother. That really got to me. I loved Sam's reaction after Dean exited the room. He got the lay of the land -- including a look at the photo of Dean and Mary -- and he liked what he saw. I think he was happy for Dean in that moment.

2. Dean decided he's the one who will take the test.

Oh Dean. He still thinks the worst of himself. He calls himself a grunt. And he still puts Sam's life ahead of his:

Dean: "I'm a grunt, Sam. You're not. You've always been the brains of this operation. And you told me yourself that you see a way out. You see a light at the end of this ugly-ass tunnel. I don't. But I tell you what I do know. It's that I'm gonna die with a gun in my hand...'cause that's what I have waiting for me. And that's all I have waiting for me. I want you to get out. I want you to have a life...become a Man of Letters, whatever. You, with a wife and kids and...and grandkids...living until you're fat and bald and chugging Viagra. That is my perfect ending."

Just hearing these words broke my heart. I thought he had moved past this fatalistic way of thinking.

3. Sam's speech urging Dean to let him take the test.

It was a great Sam moment. And it really got to me. Especially this part of his speech:

Sam: "I see light at the end of this tunnel. And I'm sorry you don't. I am. But it's there. And if you come with me, I can take you to it." Dean: "Sam, be smart." Sam: "I am smart. And so are you. You're not a grunt, Dean. You're a genius. When it comes to lore -- you're the best damn hunter I have ever seen. Better than me. Better than dad. I believe in you, Dean. So please, please, believe in me, too."

Jared did a great job here, although I feel Dean does believe in Sam. Dean can believe in Sam and still want to make sure he's safe and out of harm.

Now let's talk more about Sam being the one to take the tests. On one hand, it makes sense. He's the one that saved Dean from the hellhound. He wants to have a purpose. He wants to prove his commitment to the hunt and what they will accomplish should they succeed. Because Sam sees the light at the end of the tunnel he feels he can win the trials and come back alive, an optimistic view considering how things usually end for the boys.

On the other hand, I would have loved to have seen Dean be the one to take on the three tests. The last time it was up to one of the boys to make a massive sacrifice, Sam became Lucifer while Dean was denied the chance to say yes to Michael. It took Dean a long time to get on board with Sam's plan, but he came around. And so his younger brother wore Satan's meat suit into hell and he saved the world from the apocalypse. It would have been nice if Sam could have been the one to realize Dean really wanted to do this and let him.

Having said all that, I'm a big supporter of not judging before I see the whole story. It's all about the journey and so I'm very interested in how this last part of the season plays out.

Random Thoughts

-"Crossroad Blues" scenes were featured in the previously recap. Awesome.

-Poor Kevin Tran. He's singularly focused on closing the Gates of Hell. He just wants to go back to his normal life. You can't blame him for running himself ragged over this. I just don't know if he's ever going to get back to normal. It's going to take a lot just to get him out of this whole thing alive.

-When are we going to see Sam's room?

-I knew Dean could cook. I knew it! Of course, he can make great burgers. Loved that he got Sam to not only eat a burger but to savor and enjoy it. He even took it with him when they left to join Kevin.

-Shouldn't Sam have known that Dean could cook? Dean helped raise him.

-Kevin Parks directed "Trial and Error." How cool is that? Parks is the First Assistant Director on the show. You can tell the Supernatural crew is a family and it's a creative and encouraging place to work as well. Everyone from actor Jensen Ackles, writer Ben Edlund, cinematographer Serge LaDouceur and now First A.D. Kevin Parks have all gotten a chance to direct episodes. So great.

-Prison Break's Danay Garcia played Ellie, who sold her soul to Crowley in order to insure her mom's good health. Knowing her time was almost up she put the moves on Dean. Can't blame her.

-Francis Xavier McCarthy was billionaire Noah Cassity, the J.R. Ewing of this Cassity family. McCarthy is a veteran character actor that has been in 21 Jump Street, Melrose Place, The Practice and NYPD Blue. Coincidentally, he was in an episode of the original Dallas series.

-That was Tamara Braun playing the bitchy Cassity named Cindy. Braun made it big on soaps as Carly Corinthos on General Hospital, but also starred on All My Children (where she was the lesbian lover of Erica Kane's daughter, Bianca) and she won a Daytime Emmy for her role on Days of our Lives. She recently guest starred in an episode of USA Network's Necessary Roughness playing Dani's sister.

-Ellie (to Dean): "I like it. The whole Clark Kent look." Hilarious, especially since Jensen was the runner up for the Clark Kent role on Smallville - the role that went to Tom Welling, of course.

-Can Sam and Dean please break out the glasses again in future episodes?

-Dean's face going all hellhound was awesomely scary and so reminiscent of "Crossroad Blues."

-I hope we'll see Ellie again. I liked her chemistry with Dean.

-Congratulations on a Season Nine renewal for Supernatural. Wow. That's huge.

 

show less

Kevin Tran makes a significant return in "Trial and Error." After hardcore focus complete with considerable harm to his health (headaches, nose bleeds etc.), he's finally able to give the Winchesters the first big lead in their quest to close the Gates of Hell. It all results in one of the brothers passing a huge test. Mind you, this is the first of three challenges that'll need to be faced.

When the flashback portion of the season came to an end (still miss you, Purgatory scenes), I was kind of worried about what the second half of the season would bring. I had no idea where this show was headed other than the whole closing the Gates of Hell business. Then the Men of Letters story was introduced. The Winchesters got a home base of operations. Things started to open up in an encouraging way.

read more

Related Links

Other Links:
Supernatural
Tags:
TV Recaps

Are You Watching?

Loading ...
Premiered: September 21, 2006, on CW
Rating: TV-14
User Rating: (10,355 ratings)
Add Your Rating: 1 stars2 stars3 stars4 stars5 stars
Premise: Two brothers hunt demons, ghosts and other supernatural entities as they investigate crimes caused by paranormal forces.

Cast

Shop

Supernatural: Season 7
Buy Supernatural: Season 7 from Amazon.com
From Warner (DVD)
Usually ships in 24 hours
Buy New: $14.95 (as of 8:31 AM EST - more info)
Supernatural: Season 6
Buy Supernatural: Season 6 from Amazon.com
From Warner Home Video (DVD)
Usually ships in 24 hours
Buy New: $19.59 (as of 8:31 AM EST - more info)

More Products

TV GUIDE Users' Most Popular