February 7, 2019
THEN: “Dad’s on a hunting trip. And he hasn’t been home in a few days.”
The boys pop in to Precious Pawn, but they’re not interested in what’s on public display. The wad of cash Dean flashes at the owner gains them access to the good stuff in the back. It’s a treasure trove of mystical objects. Your hands of glory, gris-gris bags, dragon’s breath, creepy dolls …
Sam says they’re looking for a specific item—the skull of Sarah Good, executed during the Salem Witch trials. Owner removes the skull from his safe and winds up his sales pitch. He says he got it for a song at a flea market. Dean cuts him off. Actually, the skull belongs to a hunter called Bart Camp. Or did, until someone cut him in half a week earlier and cleaned out his place.
Owner weighs his options; talking his way out isn’t one of them. He drops the skull and grabs the glass atomizer holding the dragon’s breath. Sam and Dean dive for the floor as a gout of flame erupts over their heads.
Owner picks up a massive scimitar. He explains that it’s called the Chrysaor and can cut through anything. It sliced up Bart with just one swing. But for a big fella like Sam, Owner thinks it might take some work.
He raises the blade above his head. Dean drops him from behind with a single shot.
“They always talk too much.”
Sam flips through the Owner’s inventory ledger, astonished (and probably more than a little delighted) at the number of occult objects it contains. He guesses they should probably take it all home.
Oh, that sword is definitely going back to the Bunker.
A group of teens are hanging out outside the Lebanon Vista Theatre. Eliot is telling tales of the two mysterious men—some say they’re brothers—who live outside of town. He says he was, in fact, standing in this very spot when he heard a *BAM* from the trunk of their car and the sound of shallow breathing.
Say, that reminds me … whatever happened to Garth after the whole Michael thing went down at Christmas?
Eliot questions where the boys even come from? Them or their weird
psychic sidekick with a trench coat or the kid with the dumb Bambi look on his face all the time.
Max and Tracy dismiss Eliot’s story just as the Impala pulls up to the curb. The boys walk across the street to the liquor store. I challenge that Dean would ever leave Baby without at least giving the kids a warning stink eye, but he seems unbothered. I guess living in a town population 218 for almost ten years gives one a sense of security.
The boys are warmly greeted by store clerk Jackson. Dean tells him to double up on their usual. Sam is still poring through the ledger. He rattles off a few of the highlights: hangman’s rope, fairy dust, John Wayne Gacy’s cigar box. Dean calls it 31 flavors of weird. Sam says it might just be what they need to take Dean’s mind off of … things.
Oh, does Sam mean the enraged archangel hell-bent on destruction who’s been riding shotgun in Dean’s head lo these past two months? That thing?
As Sam scans the ledger’s pages he pings on one item in particular, the baozhu, a pearl with the power to grant whatever one’s heart desires. The answer to all of their problems is sitting in a box in Baby’s back seat.
Dean glances out the window just in time to watch the Impala roar past the store.
He runs out the door and charges across the street towards young Eliot. The boy bleats that he doesn’t want to die. Sam is like, why do you think you’re going to die?
Sam, have you met Dean?
Eliot tells them Max took the car. She’s new in town and he doesn’t know where she lives. Sam heads to the post office to check with the one person most likely to point them in the right direction. Marta clarifies that he, a creepy grown ass man, is asking her, a federal employee, to give him the address of a teenage girl. Does she have that right?
Winter’s frost thaws when Dean walks through the door. He greets Marta by name and asks after her grandson. Because of course Dean takes time to chat with the mail lady when he stops in to pick up Sam’s monthly shampoo delivery from Amazon.
Dean explains that they just need to talk to Max. If Marta could help them out he would really appreciate it. Dean leans on the counter and gives her the full face of the sun, but Marta is a professional! She can’t just go giving out addresses all willy-nilly!
Dean places his hand on Marta’s hand and says please. Marta’s pantaloons explode.
From the post office, they head to the pizza parlor where Max’s mom works and learn that it’s skip day. The kids are all off partying in an old house on the edge of town. Stacy pulls a stuffed bear out of one of the boxes. She declares it awesome. She is not at all concerned that its mouth appears to be sewn shut.
The boys roll up to the party house in a vintage pickup. Dean frets over Baby, but Sam is more concerned that the backseat is empty. Dean marches into the house, gun in one hand, FBI badge in the other. He barks at the teens to clear out.
Sam points out the open cigar box sitting on a table. His breath frosts in the air.
“A serial killer clown. This is like the best-worst thing that’s ever happened. Because you love serial killers, but you hate clowns.”
Sam puts the box in the fireplace and douses it with lighter fluid. He flick-flick-flicks the lighter that won’t light as the ghost of John Wayne Gacy manifests behind Dean. Eliot, Max, and Tracy run back into the house as the cigar box catches and the spirit flames out.
“That was a ghost!”
The three teens sit on the sofa trying to process as Sam explains that there is no rational explanation for what they just witnessed. Sam says he and Dean hunt things. Evil things that shouldn’t exist. Dean adds that they’re damn good at what they do.
And if most people knew the truth of what was out there, “they’d lose their friggin’ minds.” So despite Eliot’s sense of vindication, they’re all going to keep what happened a secret.
The boys drive back to the Bunker and I guess just leave the truck at the party house? Did they finally spring Garth from the trunk and let him drive it home? Anyhoo, Sam sorts through the boxes and finds the pearl tied up in a silk bindle.
Dean is ready to light that candle. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, there’s no need to get Cas or Mary’s hopes up. Neither one are quite sure what to do. Sam supposes that you just hold the pearl and concentrate on what your heart desires.
Dean says that desire is Michael out of his head. Seems to me he should be a little more specific. Michael safely removed from his head with no lingering physical or mental effects and rendered well and truly no take backs dead as a doornail seems like the more prudent desire.
Dean gives the pearl a dubious look, closes it in his fist, and concentrates. The lights begin to flicker and then switch over to lock-down red. Sam turns just in time to fend off an attack from something that wasn’t there before. Both boys end up on the floor after an embarrassingly short struggle. There’s the sound of a shotgun being racked and a voice, barely above a whisper, tells them not to move.
The lights turn on and John Winchester is standing over his sons.
Which, you know, would have been a badass reveal if Show hadn’t announced Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s return 3 months ago.
John has a confused. Isn’t Sam supposed to be at Stanford? And what happened to his hair?? He thinks it’s 2003. Sam tells him it’s 2019.
They pour the whiskey and break out the DVD box sets. John tries to make sense of all he’s just learned.
So, they’ve saved the world—more than once. And it’s all true. “God. The devil. You boys smack in the middle. Now you live in a secret bunker with an angel and Lucifer’s kid.”
That about sums it up. Also, they were briefly cartoons. That was awesome.
And don’t forget about the time travel, which Dean says they’ve done a few times. He adds that Henry Winchester is the one who helped them find the Bunker. John seems conflicted at the mention of his father and the Men of Letters. There’s a whole backstory of hurt and loss that flashes across John’s face. Well played, JDM.
John tries to reconcile how much time has passed. How much he’s missed. He wishes he had been there to see it, but he says it’s fine. He went out taking out Yellow Eyes. That was the point, right? Get the thing that killed mom.
Dean, who has been basking in his father’s presence is suddenly like, oh shit.
Yeah … about that …
Mary’s voice calls out from the hallway. John’s face crumples like maybe he’s just imagining it, but then he turns and she’s there. He smiles and gladly accepts it as just another happy turn of fate. Mary wobbles like the floor is suddenly made of jello. They move towards each other like magnets and then they kiss. AND THEN THEY KISS.
Dean holds his breath, watching in amazement as the fondest hope and dream he’s held on to since he was 4-years-old finally comes true. Sam taps him on the arm like, dude we should leave before clothes start coming off.
Dean is on the verge of giddy but Sam is too freaked out to ride the wave of happy. They’re messing with time and that won’t end well. Dean shuts him down. He tells Sam to stop. He wants just one family dinner. All of them. Together. That’s all he wants. Can Sam just give him that?
John pokes around the library while Mary makes up a shopping list for Dean. 3 lbs pork. 3 lbs beef. 3 lbs American cheese. 1 bag Fritos. 1 large bottle hot sauce. 1 large bottle Zantac. Sam laughs remembering how Dean tried once to make Mary’s casserole when they were kids.
John remembers, too. He remembers getting angry and throwing the meal—hot plate and all—into the trash. He says he screwed up a lot with Sam, didn’t he? Sam’s shoulders hover up around his ears before he huffs out a grunted breath, but says nothing. John gently presses. He wants to know the truth.
Sam looks like he wants to jump out of his skin. He says he doesn’t want to talk about that. The words hardly even want to come out of his mouth. John’s tone takes on a hint of an edge. He reminds Sam that he didn’t have a problem talking about it before he left.
Sam says for him, that fight was a lifetime ago. He doesn’t even remember what he said. He allows himself to admit that John did some messed up things … but he tells John that when he thinks about him—and Sam thinks about him a lot—he doesn’t think about their fights. He thinks about John on the floor of that hospital.
He thinks about how he never got to say goodbye.
13 years and that loss is still just as raw. Jared kills in this scene. Well played.
John puts a steadying hand on Sam’s shoulder. Sam is taken aback by the touch and doesn’t quite know what to do with it. They both apologize and, not for the first time, Sam absolves his father.
He says John did his best.
“You fought for us and you loved us. And that’s enough.”
And then the plinky piano of the Family Theme starts up and hits me right in the feels.
Sam rides with Dean into town on the grocery run. He’ll get the food, Dean will get the booze. Dean strides into the liquor store and tells Jackson to give him his best stuff. It’s celebration time! Jackson is like … and you are?
Sam says hello to Max as he walks out of the grocery. She glares and calls him a weirdo. When he walks past the post office, Marta drops the blinds on him, which doesn’t seem that odd, given their earlier interaction. But when he sees Dean’s “blue steel” mugshot from “Folsom Prison Blues” posted in the window, Sam realizes that something has gone very wrong in the timeline.
He jogs over to the car and tells Dean they have a problem. Oh, Dean knows. He holds up his phone and hits play on a YouTube video.
“Invest in a treadmill desk. Don’t drink coffee. And stick to a raw food diet. I mean, god bless kale, am I right?”
Thank you for coming to Sam’s TedTalk.
Dean also knows about the whole wanted fugitive thing. He Googled himself as well.
“Lot of beheadings.”
Dean wonders if there are now two sets of them, but Sam says it’s more likely a temporal paradox. They pulled John from 2003, so time is self-correcting.
He says if they don’t fix things, they will become the other versions of themselves. Dean takes that as a mixed basket. He’s cool, but Sam is … ‘ugh’. Sam’s more concerned about what else has changed.
The sound of wings. Zachariah appears. Which would have been another amazing reveal if Show hadn’t spoiled Kurt Fuller’s return, too. What is a surprise is that he’s joined by Castiel.
“I don’t understand that reference.”
They walk into the pizza parlor. Zachariah tells Max’s mom he needs to know who’s been messing with time. Max’s mom is like, “Buzzuh?” The angel explains that they sensed a “disturbance in the Force” and Heaven isn’t super fond of those. Not to mention that Lebanon has always been a little “muddy” for them. Some sort of … interference.
Max’s mom is like, “Buzzuh?”
Sitting together at a table, Max, Eliot, and Tracy are like, “Buzzuh?”
Zachariah says they’re going to tell him who’s been playing Back to the Future, or Castiel, his original trench coat, and sex hair is going to murder them all. Because he is an angel of the Lord.
The bulbs in the light fixtures explode in a shatter of sparks. Castiels’s eyes flare blue and he reveals his wings. Standing across the street, the boys notice the bright white light glowing through the pizza parlor windows.
They burst through the door and quickly usher the civilians out. Then the remaining four stand gawping at each other in surprise. Castiel squints at Dean like, “Who is this ‘Cas’ you speak of?” I remember how high-key bothered I was the first time Dean used the nickname, allll the way back in Season 4’s “Metamorphosis”. Good times.
Zachariah’s confusion coagulates into understanding. “You. This is all you.” His voice drips with the loathing and contempt we’ve come to know so well from him. The boys aren’t surprised by it either. But Castiel denying them sets them both back on their heels.
Fight fight struggle fight. While Cas hands Dean his ass, Zachariah tries to choke the truth out of Sam. What did they do? He leans in closer as Sam struggles to form words. This Zachariah doesn’t yet know that being within arm’s reach of a Winchester is a terrible idea. Sam pulls the gladius from his belt and shoves it into the angel’s chest.
And let’s just revisit the magnificence of the first time Zachariah died, shall we?
Castiel takes a breather from tossing Dean about the room to slam Sam’s head repeatedly into a table. But, hah hah!, jokes on him when Sam uses his blood for a banishing sigil. Bye, Cas! Bye!
Back at the Bunker, Dean explains the temporal paradox to John, easing into the kicker that, if he doesn’t go back, everything they’ve ever done will be undone. The Darkness won’t be released. Mary never comes back. He says Sam thinks she’ll just fade away.
John simply says, “Okay.” It’s not something he needs to think about. He says him versus Mary isn’t even a choice.
Sam is in the kitchen with Mary. She looks bereft. She braces herself on the counter, trying to keep the thought of losing John again from overwhelming her.
The kitchen timer rings. John suggests Dean give Mary a hand in the kitchen. As Dean walks away, John says he never meant for this. It was supposed to end with him. With Yellow Eyes. He regards his son with admiration and says he’s incredibly proud of Dean. Dean doesn’t quite know what to do with that. It may only be the second time in his life (after “In My Time of Dying”) that he’s ever even heard his father say the word.
John does admit that he’d hoped eventually Dean would get himself a normal life. A peaceful life. A family. It’s an echo from Season 1’s “Salvation”, when John tells the boys that he wants the hunt for Yellow Eyes to be over. That he wants Sam to go to school and Dean to have a home.
Dean weighs those words. I wonder if he’s thinking about Ben and Lisa. About all the times when something else seemed like a possibility. But this is his life. The one he’s made. The one he’s fought for.
“I have a family.”
They sit around the table in silence. Sam moves his food around his plate. No one else can eat. John says they have two choices. They can think about what’s coming or they can be grateful for the time they have together. He reaches over and takes Mary’s hand. He says he chooses grateful.
It’s a moment that seems out of character for the driven man we knew in Season 1, but his exchange with Sam in “Dead Man’s Blood” about the college fund showed that he’s more than capable of introspection. So the family toast to each other and let Bob Segar wash over them, enjoying the time that they’ve been given.
Later, Dean washes the dishes while Sam dries. Sam is struck by how John and Mary were with each other over dinner. He says they just seemed happy. He knows they have to, but it doesn’t seem fair to him to have to throw that away. Once they send John back it will be like none of this ever happened.
Sam wishes it could be different. Doesn’t Dean?
Dean says he used to. For the longest time he blamed John. He admits he blamed Mary, too. He says he was angry. But what if they could send John back with the knowledge of what’s to come? Why stop there? Why not send him even further back, “and let some other poor sons of bitches save the world?”
“But who does that make us?”
Dean says maybe they would be better off, but he doesn’t know who that Dean Winchester is.
“And I am good with who I am. I’m good with who you are. Because our lives—they’re ours.”
And maybe Dean’s just too damn old to want to change that. Or maybe the Mayor of Self Loathing Town is finally able to admit that his life has value. That despite all of their pain and loss, that what he and Sam have achieved—together—has meaning.
Plinky piano. The family gathers in the library to say goodbye. John turns to Mary. He calls her, “my girl.” Then he looks at his boys. He tells them to take care of each other. Sam says they always do. John says he’s proud of them. From the expression on Sam’s face, it’s the first and only time he’s ever heard that from his father. The 4-year-old in Dean just looks lost.
John pulls them both into a hug. He tells his sons he loves them. Dean says it back.
John lets them go and says he’s ready. He takes Mary’s hand and gives her a wink. She somehow manages not to completely break down. Dean looks like the fabric of his reality is unspooling. Because it is.
It’s left to Sam to undo the pearl’s magic. He places it on the table and smashes it with a small stone bowl.
Dean flinches at the crack as the pearl shatters like it’s a gunshot going off.
John glows with light and then fades away.
The hinges on the Bunker’s door squeal as Cas comes in. He sees the state of them and asks what happened.
“Well, there’s a story.”
The Impala is parked along the river. She’s got her spots and Kansas KAZ license plate. John is asleep in the driver’s seat. He answers a call from Dean on his flip phone. He says he’s okay, he just had one hell of a dream. John will see him soon.
THE ROAD SO FAR