Supernatural’s latest episode “The Trap” saw Dean and Cas create their spell to trap God, but it failed; what happened to stop the spell from working?
In the Supernatural episode “The Trap,” the Winchesters almost manage to create a spell to trap God; however, it fails because Sam has lost all hope. Yet, there are still some questions regarding what, exactly, happened. It’s not too surprising that Dean and Cas’ spell didn’t work, though. Supernatural’s final season has been all about the boys trying to take down the final big bad — God himself — and having that succeed in episode 9 would have left them with a very empty second half of the season. It was possible that there could have been more happening here, of course, such as if Dean or Cas had been stuck in purgatory, had failed to find a Leviathan blossom, or if Chuck actually killed Sam — any number of detours could have happened.
Instead, Supernatural went for the slightly more straightforward route, and broke fans’ hearts at the same time. Dean and Cas, after a little misadventure, did manage to find the Leviathan blossom and create the spell. The result was a small orb filled with smoke, and from their conversations, it is clear that if the orb was smashed in front of God, he would be locked away, and Cas would take the Mark of Cain — the key to that lock. Things were made even simpler by the fact that Chuck had taken Sam and Eileen hostage, so Dean and Cas were able to track them using Sam’s phone, and show up at God’s feet with the spell that would trap him. What could possibly go wrong?
For once, it wasn’t the spell itself that failed — it was Sam. Cas could not smash the orb, as he would be the one taking the Mark, and Dean was busy grappling with a God-possessed Eileen while Sam freed himself. Which left Sam with the orb at his feet while Dean shouted at him to smash it — and he refused. While Dean and Cas were creating the spell, Chuck had been showing Sam a future where the Winchesters succeeded: one where everyone they loved dies, the monsters take over, and the boys themselves are turned. Believing him, Sam finally loses hope and refuses to complete the spell, leading God to scoop up the orb and destroy it. It looks like the boys are back to square one, although the final scene of “The Trap”, between Billie and Jack, suggests that everyone’s favorite Nephilim may just be able to ride in with an answer.
There are still some questions about this, of course. For one thing, Cas’s inability to break the orb and take the Mark isn’t explained in any real depth — it’s simply accepted that this is part of the spell. This is not a huge problem, as spells in this universe tend to come with some caveats. However, a bigger question is why the spell doesn’t have any effect when Chuck smashes the orb. Presumably, this is being waved away by the fact that he is God, and has the ability to destroy the spell himself as long as he can get his hands on it, but it’s another level of this magic that isn’t entirely explained in-universe.
The real reason that the spell didn’t work, of course, is that it just wouldn’t make for great storytelling. For a final season, seeing possible futures and the Winchesters (in one reality or another) lose all hope has much greater dramatic impact than having them skip to the finish line with a simple(ish) spell. The writers are also clearly trying to answer any potential ideas fans might have about established spells or lore that the Winchesters don’t try, so it’s great to see them work through any in-universe possibilities, and fail at each one. What’s left, when all the spells have failed, will be an answer that the fans hopefully won’t expect, and cannot argue — and it seems that it will be one that keeps the Winchesters and their dynamic at its core (rather than technicalities of lore or power). Which is exactly as it should be.