Trial and Error
8x14 HellhoundThroughGlasses
Production information
Season : 8
Episode : 14
Original airdate : 13 February, 2013
Directed by : Kevin Parks
Written by : Andrew Dabb
Preceded by : Everybody Hates Hitler
Followed by : Man's Best Friend with Benefits

Trial and Error is the fourteenth episode of Season 8 of Supernatural.


Kevin deciphers the first of the Word of God's trials to close the gates of Hell - to kill a hellhound. Sam and Dean track down a wealthy family who have been targeted by Crowley's hellhound, to kill the hound and complete the trial before the hound claims all its victims.

Full synopsisEdit

Kevin is working day and night on translating the demon tablet on Fizzles' Folly, subsisting on hot dogs and aspirin and ignoring his health's deterioration, until he finally makes a breakthrough that shocks him, before collapsing. At the Men of Letters' bunker, Dean is nestling in and making himself at home, enjoying that he and Sam finally have their own indefinite residence and their own bedrooms, before they get a call from a delirious Kevin.

When Sam and Dean come over to see Kevin at the boat, Kevin reveals that he's translated the key to closing the gates of Hell - it's a series of three trials designed by God. Kevin elaborates that after each trial is done, the caster must say an Enochian incantation ("Kah nah om dar") to officially complete it, then after all three trials have been completed, the undertaker can shut Hell down. However, Kevin so far has only translated the first trial - to kill a hellhound and bathe in its blood. Sam and Dean search for any evidence of someone who could have sold their soul ten years ago so that the Winchesters can hunt the hellhound that'll come after them, and they find one that fits patterns - the Cassity family in Shoshone, Idaho, who became immensely wealthy in February 2003 when, in a geological anomaly, they struck oil on their land. The Winchesters set off for Shoshone. But before they leave, Sam advises Kevin that he needs to slow down and take much better care of himself than this if they want to succeed in shutting Hell down and getting Kevin's normal life back.

When Sam and Dean reach the Cassity farmland, they meet the ranch hand Ellie, and get jobs on the ranch cleaning up the stables, in hopes of calculating who sold their soul for the oil. The brothers meet Alice Cassity, the one Cassity who's stayed with the ranch after the Cassity's went their separate ways with their new wealth, and her friendly trophy husband Carl Granville. Sam and Dean immediately suspect that Alice is the one who sold her soul, and track her the next night. While the brothers are following Alice, a hellhound does indeed come - but instead of attacking Alice, it goes after and kills Carl.

In the aftermath of Carl's death, it's announced that all the other Cassity's will be returning to the ranch in two days. Dean is initially angered that Carl's dead since it means they lost the hellhound now that it's collected on the deal. However, Sam then discovers that Carl's deal probably wasn't the only one made and that the hellhound may come back to collect on another deal - as Alice feels completely fine and unmoved by her husband's death, and mentions she only abruptly fell in love with Carl on Valentine's Day, 2003; revealing that Carl sold his soul to have Alice fall in love with him, and was not the one who sold their soul for the oil.

After two days, the other Cassity's arrive - among them: Noah Cassity, an oil businessman and the patriarch of the family; Margot Cassity, the youngest daughter, who ran away to Paris around the time the family struck oil; and Cindy Cassity, the middle daughter, and a highly snarky and unpleasant musician. Ellie assigns Dean to barbecuing the food of the Cassity's dinner, and Sam to pouring the drinks (leaving the latter to put up with the family's uncomfortable and intense arguing). While Sam is waiting on the family, he overhears them remembering a businessman, no doubt the crossroads demon, they saw ten years ago, and Sam is shocked to hear them trying to remember his name - it's Crowley.

Shortly afterwards, Kevin calls Sam and Dean to give them a piece of information on hellhounds which he's translated from the demon tablet - according to the tablet, hellhounds can be seen through objects scorched with holy fire. Dean subsequently goes to the Impala to get a jug of holy oil, and scorches two pairs of glasses over the holy fire so that they can be used to see the hellhound. Meanwhile, Noah and Margot go out hunting for the alleged wolf that's been blamed for killing Carl. Sam unsuccessfully tries to sway them away from it, then, to stop them getting themselves killed if they find the hellhound, convinces them to let him come with them. While the three are hunting among the woods, Sam and Noah get separated from Margot, and find her being ripped up alive by the hellhound before Sam fends it off and flees with a shocked Noah.

Once Sam, Dean and Noah get back to the Cassity house and break news of what's happened, they give them the truth about what's going on with Crowley and the deals and the hellhound. The brothers cuff the Cassity's to the house's living room and protect the entrances with goofer dust, then set about going after the hellhound with the demon knife. Dean refuses to let Sam go after the hellhound with him, and has Sam stay with the Cassity's to protect them - Dean declares he'll be the one to undertake the trials, since in the brothers' experience, one of them dies when they succeed in something as big as this. Dean wants Sam to be the one of them to live and have a normal life once the demons and Hell are gone forever, since Sam is the only one who sees a light at the end of this tunnel, and since Dean sees Sam as being much more worthy of normal life than him.

While Sam stays with the Cassity's as they bicker and point fingers at which one of them could have sold their soul, Dean goes out looking for the hellhound, before he is drawn by music to Ellie's room. Dean finds Ellie partying as her last night on Earth - she's the next and final person the hellhound's after, having sold her soul to Crowley to cure her mother's Parkinson's disease, without knowing about the hellhound or the ten-year deadline. As the hellhound-induced hallucinations begin to take hold over Ellie, Dean puts her in a protective circle of goofer dust, while he goes out to kill the hellhound. Meanwhile, when Alice breaks free and unsuccessfully tries to flee in a rash panic, Sam sees the hellhound through his glasses and that it's closing in on its final target. Dean runs into and confronts the hellhound in the barn, but the hound quickly disarms and wounds him. Sam arrives just in time to save Dean from the hellhound, which pins him down, and Sam kills the hound by slicing its exposed underbelly open with the demon knife, which in turn covers him in the hellhound's blood. Dean gives a dismayed look that it was Sam and not him who killed the hellhound for the first trial.

In the aftermath, Sam and Dean give Ellie a hexbag and have her leave town, so that Crowley can't find her and send another hellhound after her. Sam feels it's pointless since Ellie's soul is earmarked for Hell when she dies either way, but Dean retorts that her soul will be saved if they can shut Hell down first. Dean refuses to let Sam be the one to undertake the trials and in likelihood sacrifice himself, insisting that they can find another hellhound and make sure Dean is the one to kill it this time, but Sam is adamant that he should take on the trials. Sam tells Dean that while the latter doesn't see the light at the end of the tunnel, it is still there, and Sam wants both of them together to make it to the light; insisting that they have friends and as-of-recently a home in their lives, and pleading Dean's trust and support. Dean gives in, and Sam says the incantation to finish the first trial. A pure, glowing internal energy fills Sam's arm, before becoming inactive but remaining there inside him. The trials have begun.








Supernatural Season 8
We Need to Talk About KevinWhat's Up, Tiger Mommy?HeartacheBittenBlood BrotherSouthern ComfortA Little Slice of KevinHunter HeroiciCitizen FangTorn and FrayedLARP and the Real GirlAs Time Goes ByEverybody Hates HitlerTrial and ErrorMan's Best Friend with BenefitsRemember the TitansGoodbye StrangerFreaks and GeeksTaxi DriverPac-Man FeverThe Great EscapistClip ShowSacrifice

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