November 16, 2017
“I just need a damn win.”
Sam and Dean are still standing in the street gawping. Cas calmly says he was dead and then he annoyed an ancient cosmic being and now he’s back. That’s good enough for Dean. He says, “Welcome home, pal,” and puts his arms around his angel. HUGGING! YAY! HUGGING!
Cas tells them he was in the Empty. Sam asks him what it was like. Cas is like, ‘Uh, empty? A great nothingness? The name kind of says it all’.
Jack reacts in confusion when Castiel walks into the Bunker. He says they burned the angel’s vessel. “What’s burned stays dead.” *cough* unless it doesn’t *cough*. None of them are sure how Cas is back – Jack isn’t even sure he’s the one who did it – but they’re all too happy to question it. EJ and Cas hug. YAY! MORE HUGGING!
Jack proudly shows Cas what he’s learned while his father has been gone. He holds his hand over a pencil. It floats into the air. He can move the pencil!
And! And! He found a case! Zombies! He stage whispers to Cas that he knows what zombies are now. Dean is flummoxed by Jack’s new research-fu abilities, but the boy simply says he learned by watching them.
Also, on first watch I was impressed that Jack (and Alexander Calvert) can touch type, but I discovered on the rewatch that he was just drumming his fingers over the home keys. JACK’S TYPING IS A LIE and now I’m questioning everything about him.
Jack gives them the bullet – a pocket watch buried with its owner 20 years ago was recently sold at a pawn shop. The dead owner’s grave was then discovered to be empty. Jack dramatically concludes by saying this means the dead are rising in Dodge City, Kansas.
Dodge City you say? Every nerve in Dean’s body begins to tingle.
Sam gently poo-poos Jack’s assessment of a great undead horde in the heartland, but Dean says they should check it out. They’ve done more on less, so. Cas and Sam are too surprised to object.
“Alright, well. Two salty hunters, one half-angel kid, and a dude who just came back from the dead. Again. Team Free Will 2.0.”
Dean scampers off to grab his gear and pack his serape.
They check in to the Stampede Motel and RV Park. Dean’s face lights up like Christmas when they walk into their room – the Wild Bill Suite. It’s like the Time-Life Old West book series (with the look and feel of hand-tooled saddle leather) threw up all over the place. Dean could not be happier.
Dean deserves more joy like this in his life.
He eagerly points out the gallery of famed gunslingers on the wall and begins rattling off fascinating facts about them.
“He really likes cowboys.”
“Yes. Yes, he does.”
Sam and Dean settle into their room. “Yes! Stirrup hangers!” Sam snarks that he can’t believe Dean brought his own hat. Dean can’t believe Sam didn’t. Sam notes Dean’s upbeat mood and says it’s good to see his brother smile. Well, Dean asked the Universe for a big win and they got Cas back. That’s a pretty damn big win in his book.
A big enough win that, if only for this one night, allows Dean to rest.
For what may be the first time since Season 3, we see Dean in bed, under the covers, asleep. Also, ACTION STATIONS! ACTION STATIONS! DEAN IS WEARING A SINGLE LAYER!
Jack offers Cas the couch. He says he doesn’t sleep much. The angel says he doesn’t sleep at all. They eyebrow at each other and for serious y’all …
I’m not sure if they so much cast Alexander Calvert as they grew him in the CW labs from Misha’s DNA.
Cas and Jack talk into the night. Jack expresses confusion about the angels. He thought they were supposed to be good but then there’s the whole trying to kill him thing. Cas says that in Heaven, ‘good’ is a relative term. There’s a dark edge to his tone.
His expression changes when Jack mentions his mother. Cas tells him that Kelly was a very brave woman who believed her son would do amazing things. That he would change the world for the better. Cas says he knows that Kelly was right. “That we were right.”
The moment is broken by a ping from the Dodge City sheriff’s department. Jack is up out of his seat and at Dean’s bedside before Cas can stop him. He taps on Dean’s shoulder. Dean awakes with a cry and pulls his gun out from under his pillow. He has it cocked and pointing at Jack before his eyes are even fully open.
Jack takes a step back and manages not to sonic scream Dean through the wall. Dean squints at the boy and then at Cas before nestling back down in his pillow.
“I told you. He’s an angry sleeper. Like a bear.”
Dean drags himself out of bed only after the coffee is ready. Sam checks out Jack’s new lead. The victim – a Dodge City deputy – was covered in bite marks. Like from a zombie! Or anything else that has teeth, growls sleepy Dean. Sam says he and Jack will check out the graveyard while Dean and Cas head to the crime scene … just as soon as Dean is done his coffee. Sam and Jack suit up.
Once they do arrive, Dean cautions that local law isn’t likely to trust big city folk, so they’re going to have to blend. Dean accomplishes this with boots, a cunning silver bolo tie, and his own hat. I don’t know if he so much blends as looks like a walking cologne ad.
And I say that with admiration, not judgment.
Cas is forced to wear a too-small plastic-y straw hat from the motel gift shop. He finds it absurd. Dean reassures him that it’s not that bad … before admitting that yeah, actually it kind of is.
Dean straightens his bolo and tells Cas to just act like he’s from Tombstone. The movie. Dean grouches that he made Cas watch it. Cas absently says it’s the one with guns and tuberculosis.
“I’m your huckleberry.”
“Exactly. It’s good to have you back, Cas.”
Agents Russell and Kilmer introduce themselves to Sergeant Joe Philips. They get a hard stink eye in return, but the sergeant doesn’t challenge them. He doesn’t have it in him. The victim was his nephew.
He does wonder what the Texas Rangers are doing there. Dean full body beams. I like to imagine he’s suppressing a delighted giggle. He says they’ve been tracking a fugitive and there could be a connection between the cases. Philips says they’re welcome to poke around, but warns if he catches up with their runner first, there won’t be much left of him to take back to Texas.
Sam and Jack startle the crap out of Athena Lopez, the psychobilly mortician. She pulls off her headphones and calls shenanigans that Jack is an FBI agent. “Did his parents sign a permission slip?” I will note that Jack’s suit is the same shade of tan as Castiel’s trench coat.
Well played, Show.
Athena directs them to the grave and yup, it’s empty. The coffin is resting next to it on a wheeled stand. Jack says the police report noted the coffin was damaged by rats. There’s a Jaws-sized chunk bitten out of one end.
After a brief examination of the grave, Sam determines they’re dealing with a ghoul. Dean declares himself sick and tired of fighting things that look like other things – until Jack’s traffic cam-fu reveals that the ghoul has taken the form of Dave Mather. Dean calls him one of the greatest gunfighters ever. He scurries off to get his boots. He’s near giddy with delight.
I call shenanigans now if Dean doesn’t get to have a showdown with Dave.
Jack remembers a photo he saw in the mortuary and IDs Dave as Athena’s boyfriend. Dean suggests they keep it simple. “Tell her the guy she’s banging eats dead people and we’re here to kill him.” They go for the better choice and lie instead. Athena tells them Dave went to the bank.
Team Free Will 2.0 is outside waiting when Dave exits the bank with a sack of stolen folding money. Athena’s dream of being a special effects makeup artist doesn’t come cheap and Dave is a supportive boyfriend.
Sam says they can do this someplace else, quick and quiet. Dave draws instead, but Sam shoots first, hitting the ghoul in the shoulder. Dean fires and misses? Like, by a lot? What?
President Oprah is not here for your nonsense, Show.
SHOOTING SHOOTING SHOOTING SHOOTING. Jack is like, I’ve got this, chumps!
He breaks cover and takes two slugs to the chest. He smiles and throws a blast of energy at Dave. It sends the ghoul flying – along with the security guard who ran out of the bank at the same time. Dave hits the pavement and runs off. The security guard is thrown into a column. The back of his head connects with a sickening metallic clang.
Jack pleads with Cas to heal the guard but there’s nothing the angel can do because his powers come and go at the whim of the writers. And even though Jack can summon the shedim from the depths of Hell and make the pencil float, he apparently can’t resurrect the dead.
The boy sits in stunned silence while the adults regroup. Sam tells Cas that this isn’t the first time Jack has hurt someone. It’s just the first time he’s hurt someone and they didn’t get up. Dean suggests that Sam and Cas take Jack back to the Bunker before the cops get involved and things get complicated. I’m not sure why they both need to go. Nothing good ever comes of the boys splitting up and there’s still a ghoul to gank, so. Dean ignores me and says he’ll deal with Dave.
As they drive, Cas tries to find the words to reach Jack. The angel says he’s killed people – friends, people who didn’t deserve it, people he loved. He’s killed a shit ton of people actually, and take it from him, it will never get easier or hurt any less. He calls what happened at the bank a mistake and says that Jack can move past it. He can be better. Castiel believes that. He says he has to. Sam chimes in and Jack snaps at them to stop. He’s not quite ready to be forgiven.
Sergeant Philips is already at the mortuary when Dean arrives. He says the bank teller recognized Dave’s voice and prints from the robbery match ones found at the murder scene. He tells Dean he doesn’t intend to take Dave alive. “This is family business.” Dean tells Philips to aim for the head.
The two men realize they’re being stalked by the ghoul as they make their way through the cemetery. Dean moves forward to flush Dave out while Philips covers him. There’s a low rumbling sound and then a hand pops up through the dirt. The ghoul grabs Philips by the ankle. By the time Dean turns around there’s nothing but a big hole and empty space where the sergeant was just standing.
Dean peers down into the void and sticks his head in the hole. He comes out of it just as quickly.
When did Dean get all squeamish and weird about small, dark spaces? Dean forces himself back into the hole. He slithers in head first, groaning as he goes. He crawls through a tunnel and I think gets his broad ass shoulder stuck? It’s hard to tell. He spits dirt out of his mouth as he wrenches himself free.
And okay, I could see how a guy who once had to dig himself out of his own grave might find this current situation upsetting. Fair play.
Dragging himself through the tunnel. Dragging himself through the tunnel. Dragging himself through the tunnel. Dean finally emerges in – well, tumbles out into – the mortuary’s embalming room. He picks himself up and hurries over to Athena’s side. She’s gagged and bound to her desk chair. He hears a groan from the other side of the room and helps Sergeant Philips sit up. Philips says he’s still kicking, but just barely.
Dave walks into the room, gun drawn. Dean slowly stands and turns to face the ghoul. Dave taunts that, even if Dean were armed, he wouldn’t be fast enough. Dean agrees. He’s not. But Philips is. Dean takes a step to the left. Philips has Dean’s shotgun braced on his arm. He fires a single shot and Dave’s head explodes.
“Happy trails, cowboy.”
When the dust settles, Philips asks Dean what just happened. Dean tells him a guy named Dave killed his nephew – and the security guard – tried to kill him, and was shot dead for the trouble … “and I was never here.” Philips is like, seems legit.
Dean returns to the Bunker. Says it was the usual. “Killed the bad guy. Saved the girl.” News that Dean took care of the bank thing is met with righteous anger from Jack. He asks how that’s good. He demands to know the name of the guard he killed. He asks if the man had a family. Dean says, yes. He did. There’s no judgment in Dean’s tone or expression, just a kind of understanding. He knows this guilt. He invented this guilt. He knows Jack can’t be coddled or protected from it. Jack has to own it and learn how to live with it.
Sam tries again to give the kid an out. He’s like, hey this life is hard and mistakes get made and that’s a bummer. Jack morosely wonders if he’s not just another monster. When Jack finally raises his eyes, it’s Dean he looks at. It’s like Jack is looking for confirmation – almost hoping that Dean will condemn him for what he’s done.
But Dean doesn’t.
He says that, despite what he once thought, Jack is not a monster. And if he is, then they’re all monsters, because they all have blood on their hands. But it’s not that simple for Jack. He wants to make the world a better place, but even doing one good thing seems out of reach to him. He worries that if he stays he’ll only end up hurting them. All of them. He can’t bear the thought.
“You’re all I have.”
I just want to wrap him in a blanket and feed him soup. Jack says he has to go. And then just after saying he doesn’t want to hurt them, he zaps them all with a burst of energy that sends them flying across the room. I mean, THE BUNKER HAS COLUMNS TOO, KIDDO. With a final whispered, “I’m sorry”, Jack disappears.
There is the sound of wings. Jack has wings, y’all.
And even though the zappy zapp happened first, tell me this doesn’t look like wings.
I wish Show remembered that Jessie existed. Those two should totally hang out in Australia. If anyone can help Jack on his journey, it would be the Antichrist.