January 24, 2019
THEN: “They all end the same way now. Except one.”
Sam is in the library digging back through the angel lore looking for anything that might help them with Michael. He says he can use some help, but Dean thought he might take Baby out for a spin. Maybe swing by Donna’s cabin and visit Mary.
Dean’s energy feels a little squirrelly. Sam is surprised that he wants to make the trip solo, but he doesn’t press. Dean walking behind him and wrapping his arm around Sam’s shoulders, however, prompts a worried call to their mother.
“He hugged me. We don’t hug. I mean, we do, but only if it’s literally the end of the world.”
Dean stops for lunch with Donna. The two of them housing burgers is a mood. Did he think she was joking when she said it was the best burger in Minnesota? Dean declares them the best in the world!
He asks after Jody and the girls. Donna says she helps out with training as much as she can. Just the month before they took down a vetala nest. Donna boasts that Miss “I don’t want to hunt” Alex took down two all by herself.
After telling him that things were rough after the breakup and New Doug is working private security up in Duluth, Donna wonders if Dean has any more questions about her … or if they can talk about him now? She knows he was possessed. Again. And that Michael is still hitching a ride in his head.
Donna subscribes to Sam’s newsletter, so.
Dean puts on his brave face and says he’ll make it through. It’s all they can do, right? He thanks Donna for meeting him.
“I couldn’t come through town without seeing my D-Train.”
He gives her a big hug, but it’s not their usual goodbye. This is starting to feel like Dean’s farewell tour.
There’s more hugging (yay!) when he gets to the cabin. Mary suggests inviting Sam to join them if Dean is going to stay a few days, but he shuts that down. He says he doesn’t want Sam there. Mary wonders if something is wrong, but Dean hand waves that he’s just hangry. Long drive. Hasn’t eaten. He’s starving, in fact.
This is a lie.
But shooing Mary off to the store to pick up the ingredients for “heart attack on a plate” Winchester surprise gives Dean the time he needs for the real reason he’s there.
Oh, and don’t forget the pie.
Dean pulls a bag full of small power tools and angelic lore books from Baby’s trunk and sets up in Donna’s shed. He pops an 8-track in the player and gets to work. Cutting, welding, grinding. Cutting, welding, grinding. Cutting, welding, grinding.
Handy building things Dean is one of the finest Deans.
Sam notices the items missing from the Bunker and calls Mary again. She agrees that something is going on with Dean, but says there’s no need for Sam to come. Just give her some time. She’ll talk to Dean.
Sam is already in the car on the road. He drives faster.
Over dinner, Dean tells Mary the story of his childhood effort to replicate her casserole with bologna, Kraft American singles, and a hotplate. It starts with wee!Sam shoplifting the ingredients (I’m assuming because the boys had run out of food. Again.) It ends with John coming home and angrily throwing the whole burned mess into the trash.
Dean offhandedly says it probably reminded John of her … He concludes his heartwarming tale with a compliment to the real thing, but the mood has shifted. Mary says sometimes she forgets just how much she missed while she was dead. How much Sam and Dean just … were left to raise themselves in a life she never wanted for them by a father broken by grief?
Dean says she’s here now. And even though the last couple of years have been a little rough—*cough* ditching them at every opportunity, choosing a bunch of alternate universe randos over them *cough*—just knowing that she’s here and alive has meant everything to him. And to Sam.
I mean, how great is this, huh? Just the two of them eating a meal like people. Not fighting any monsters. There are no clouds on the horizon … Dean falters and takes a sip of beer to help swallow down that lie.
Later that night, Dean is sacked out on the sofa sawing logs. Mary follows her gut out to the shed. What she finds is nothing good. She hurries out of the shed and walks right into Nick.
Dean is woken up by the persistent chirping of Mary’s phone. The phone is sitting next to a hoof lamp that I am both drawn to and horrified by. Anyhoo, it’s Donna calling with a warning. She pulled Nick over on a tip about a creepy guy in a murder van. He got the drop on her and now he’s coming for Mary.
Mary is like, Nick … why am I in the back of a murder van? He explains that she came across two demons on a recent hunt. One of them was Abraxis, the demon who murdered his family. And if Nick had just asked her about it like a normal person, Mary would have lied and said Abraxis was dead—not trapped in an Enochian puzzle box.
Enochian puzzle box? Is that even a thing?
Donna meets the boys at the cabin. A deputy radios in that murder van was picked up going into a storage facility outside Grand Rapids. Sam is like, yeah … maybe they should have kept closer tabs on Nick. Dean snaps that Nick wasn’t just going to walk it off. He was Lucifer’s vessel for years!
Sam defends helping Nick as an act of compassion. He says what happened to Nick could have happened to him. And I’m not sure if he means being possessed by Lucifer or being driven mad by the devil’s torment, but it doesn’t matter. The whole point of this scene is for Sam to say they don’t give up on people and Dean to tell him to learn to walk away because FORESHADOWING!
Mary and Nick arrive at her storage unit. The combination to the door lock is Dean’s birthday. Nick searches through the warded lockers until he finds the puzzle box. I have so many questions. Why does Mary have a head in a jar? Why does a woman who spent her entire life in Lawrence, Kansas have a lock-up in northern Minnesota? Who paid the rent while she was dead? That would have been a very special episode of Storage Wars.
Nick says he wants to talk to Abraxis. Mary reminds him that a demon needs a host. Can’t be Nick. Mary raises her shirt to show him the large anti-possession tattoo on her ribs. Can’t be her. So he presses the night watchman into duty.
The next problem is getting into the box. After failing on his first attempt, Nick picks up a power drill and bores a hole into the thing. The demon comes spilling out. Mary he recognizes, but Nick not so much. Abraxis has killed a lot of families. Nick needs to jog his memory. When he does, Abraxis can’t believe Nick is up walking and talking under his own steam. He thought the big man had him on lock.
Nicks asks the demon again why he killed his family. Uh, to leave you broken and vulnerable to Lucifer’s manipulation so you would say yes to him? That seems pretty obvious. But Nick needs to hear Abraxis say it. Which the demon will be happy to do as soon as Nick kills Mary slow and bloody.
The cavalry arrives before Nick can slice Mary’s throat. Nick tells Sam he’s doing what he has to before breaking the trap holding Abraxis. The demon at least has the courtesy to tell Nick he was just following orders. Nick was chosen by Lucifer, but Abraxis says he wasn’t special. Just a dart at the phonebook.
Dean begins reciting the exorcism ritual, and when was the last time we heard one of the boys bust that out? Abraxis slams Dean into the wall putting a stop to that. Nick uses the distraction to grab the demon from behind and plunge a gladius into its chest. Abraxis sparks out with an impressive death scream. It’s like Andres Cantor calling a World Cup goal lung capacity scream.
Nick resets himself for a fight. Sam tries to talk him off the ledge, but yeah, we’re well past the point of “take it easy”. Nick takes a swipe at Mary with the gladius. Donna drops him with a well placed shot to the leg just below the knee.
Sheriff Hanscum did not come here to play.
Sam follows Donna as she hauls Nick out to her car. He tells Nick he’s sorry. That he couldn’t help him. That he didn’t know how. Mostly Sam is sorry for the people Nick hurt. The people he killed. He says their faces will haunt Nick for the rest of his life. That part Sam isn’t sorry about. He tells Nick he can burn.
Mary tells Dean that she’s seen what he’s building in Donna’s shed. And they are all going to have a very serious talk, young man, about it when they get back to the cabin. Right after he tells Sam.
The next morning Sam and Dean stand before a large metal coffin. How long was Mary gone? Just how far away is that grocery store? Dean says it’s a Ma’lak Box. Secured and warded, once inside, nothing gets out.
Not even an archangel.
Dean and Michael, trapped together in a metal box at the bottom of the ocean, for all eternity.
Dean says it’s the only sane play he has. Because Michael will get out. Dean can feel the archangel in his head. He can feel the door giving.
And then there’s Billie.
He tells Sam about his conversation with Death, and the one book that doesn’t end with Michael getting out and burning the world to ash. He says there’s only one way this ends right. He thunks his fist down on the lid of the box. This is it. Billie gave him the recipe. All he had to do was the work. Dean says it’s fate—something that he believes in now.
When logic won’t sway Dean, Sam tries emotion. He calls Dean out for planning to leave without even telling him, but I mean, is Sam really surprised? The last time these two were in this situation, Dean ended up killing Death Prime. Of course Dean wasn’t going to tell Sam! He’s the only one who could talk him out of it.
And Dean insists he won’t be talked out of it.
So Sam can either let him do it alone or he can help. Either way, Dean is doing this.