“Back and to the Future”
October 10, 2019
THE ROAD SO FAR
Bob Seger gently nudges open the door on the final season with the painfully on the nose “The Famous Final Scene.”
Just let it wash over you. Just take it in …
Dean was Michael and then he wasn’t. Sam had a beard and then he didn’t. Jack had a soul and then he didn’t. John came back and we were all like, YAY! Nick came back and we were all like, him? Really? Nick tried to bring Lucifer back and we were all like,
Jack killed Mary and it was some bullshit and she deserved better. Chuck came back and one day Cas will learn to STOP HELPING but today is not that day.
“Story’s over. Welcome to the end.”
You guys. I thought I was ready for it to be over. I’m not ready.
Team Free Will is in the cemetery fighting off Chuck’s Hell risen revenants. Damned souls zoom through the air above them. Fighting fighting fighting. Smiting smiting smiting. Seeing an opening, Cas throws Jack’s rapidly cooling corpse (™ TWoP) over his shoulder and makes a run for it. The boys clear a path and smash into Show’s final title card.
They shelter in a mausoleum while the revenants howl outside. They all take a moment to acknowledge Jack’s death—“He didn’t deserve this”—and then it’s back to dealing with the situation at hand.
The iron-banded doors are keeping the revenants from getting in, but the boys’ options for getting out are not many. Cas can’t fly then out because I guess even after 7 seasons his wings still haven’t grown back? And he can’t smite the revenants en masse (like he did the Jefferson Starships in Season 6) because reasons?
I really wish Show would just pick a lane with Castiel’s powers and stay in it.
So it’s go outside and be ripped apart or stay inside and starve to death.
“Well, I wouldn’t starve.”
While Dean rants about Chuck and his general squirrelliness, Sam hears something coming from one of the crypts. He thinks it’s running water, maybe a drainage pipe or a sewer line. Time to Shawshank this bitch!
Sam and Dean chip away at the brick while Cas just stands there watching? Because he also can’t smite masonry? But it’s cool because the revenant inside the crypt breaks through it for them.
Okay, these boys clearly did not watch “The Long Night” or they would know that a tomb might not be the safest place to hide when the undead rise up and start walking around.
Or maybe they did watch “The Long Night” and THEY JUST COULDN’T SEE ANYTHING.
You know who’s also back up and walking around? Jack!
Have you heard the good news? Evil Jesus is risen!
Cas can see behind the face and knows it isn’t Jack; it’s a demon.
And y’all, he is a delight! I hope we get to keep him and enjoy watching Alexander Calvert have some fun.
The demon—Belphegor—cops to it and roots around in a pile of party trash while the boys gawp. He comes up with a pair of white Ray-Bans—a necessary accessory when there are two gaping black maws where your fool eyes used to be.
Belphejack calls it “blending.”
Cas calls it defiling Jack’s corpse. He backs the demon up against a wall and orders him out, using the point of his gladius for emphasis. Dean tells the angel to stand down when Belphejack squeaks that he can help. Jack is gone and they need the help; if they don’t like what the demon has to say, then they can stab him.
Belphejack is familiar with the Winchesters and their work—he reads the papers—and assumes this whole “Hellmouth” thing is them. He scoffs at the notion that God is responsible before realizing, oh shit, they’re serious.
The demon downshifts and gets back to giving them his bonafides. Belphejack says he isn’t a crossroads demon nor is he a black-eyed goon looking to feast on virgin puppies. He’s just a guy who punches a clock and torments souls. He likes his job. He likes Hell the way it is—or was. And while he can’t put the souls back and lock the doors behind them, he can get the boys out of their pickle.
He just needs a handful of graveyard dirt and some of Castiel’s blood.
Cas is reluctant—and rightly so—to just go handing over bodily fluids to a demon they’ve just met and have no reason to trust … but they need the help. The angel slices into his hand and lets his blood drip down onto the dirt. Belphejack closes his fist over the dirt and then claps his hands together.
The pounding at the door stops.
Outside, the ground around the mausoleum is littered with inert corpses.
The boys and their new demon friend drive through the night. Sam calls the internet, but the worldwide zombie apocalypse hasn’t yet hit the news. Dean wonders if they’re dealing with a localized event. Belphejack allows that could be possible … but 3 billion souls have just been released from Hell. They have to go somewhere.
But they could buy some time by containing the ghosts. And their helpful new friend just happens to know a spell.
What’s that about anyway? Have we ever seen a demon other than Crowley (RIP) use magic? And he was an outlier, as he said himself in Season 8—“Son of a witch, actually. My mommy taught me a few tricks.” Who is this guy, really?
The demon says the spell effectively creates a mile-wide salt circle. No ghosts in, no ghosts out. Sam is immediately on board but Cas points out that there’s a town in the dead zone. So Dean says they’ll do what they do best—lie and get everyone out.
As they drive, they come upon a car by the side of the road. Lights on, radio blaring, blood-spattered on the inside of the windshield. Dean asks Sam if the scene looks familiar. Sam says it looks like a Woman in White. He flashes back to the Pilot. He says it could be their Woman in White.
The boys are forced to confront the possibility that if she’s back, then they’re all back. Every last ghost or vengeful spirit they’ve ever killed … from the OGs like Constance Welch to the newbies like John Wayne Gacy. Who is at this moment stalking a mother and daughter through a birthday party turned murder house.
It is legit intense and terrifying.
The mom carries her kid into the garage but isn’t able to open the door. I wonder why she doesn’t just back the car through the damn thing and drive away. I decide to always have my car keys on me.
The boys arrive in Harlan, Kansas the next morning after stopping to pick up two very convincing blue FBI windbreakers. Dean says he and Sam will handle the evacuation while Cas and “Crowley, Jr.” get the spell ingredients. The angel balks. He says he can’t even look at Belphejack much less go grocery shopping with him.
Castiel gets out of the car and joins Sam who is calmly explaining to the flummoxed sheriff that the benzene pipeline outside of town has sprung a leak and they need to clear folks out ASAP before they start getting sick. The sheriff offers up the high school as an evacuation point. Cas confirms that its five-mile distance will be enough.
As they talk, Dean casually reaches into his pocket and pulls out the Equalizer. He puts the gun in the glove compartment on top of the cigar box of fake IDs and a few folding maps that I imagine have been in there since the late 70s.
Belphejack is like, hey! That’s shiny! What is it? Dean tells him to mind his beeswax.
I’m sure having the magical ‘can kill anything including the person who fires it’ gun just laying around all willy nilly won’t come back later to bite them in the aspirations. I’m sure it will be fine.
Belphejack distracts himself by people watching. He observes that people are crazy good looking now. Back when he was human, folks were ugly. Had a lot of humps. A lot.
Also, everyone worshipped this giant rock that looked like a huge penis.
So yeah. Good looking people. Dean checks out the two guys walking by but the record skips when Belphejack says Dean is gorgeous.
Dean doesn’t seem to mind that a demon is flirting with him, but he is squicked out that the demon is wearing Jack’s body while doing it. Belphejack is mildly apologetic. He says he would have jumped into another one at the cemetery, but those meatsuits were a little too wormy for his taste. Difficult to blend.
Into the brief, awkward silence Belphejack asks an awkward question. So who was Jack anyway? Dean considers the question a moment before answering.
“He was our kid … kind of.”
Dean changes the subject back to the spell. What exactly does the demon need to cast it? Belphejack says he doesn’t need much—just a big bag of salt and a human heart.
As the town evacuates, Sam and Cas go door to door to ensure that no civilians are left behind. Sam enters a home that I’m pretty sure was also used as Amelia and Jimmy Novak’s Heaven house in Season 10’s “Angel Heart.” Cas enters a house across the street and finds two dead teen girls, victims of Bloody Mary.
And given that I am still, to this day terrified of Bloody Mary and it’s the episode that got me fully, 100% hooked on Show, I am taking her reappearance as a personal shout out. SHOUT OUT!
Also, do you think we might finally, definitively learn what Dean was guilty about? I have a theory and it would be nice to know how far off I am.
Sam follows a trail of blood into the garage where he finds the mom and daughter improbably still alive after hiding out all night on the very tippy-top of a very high shelf.
How in the Futurama heads on a shelf did they even get up there??
Also, I wonder when the Milford Academy began admitting women? You can always tell a Milford Man.
Sam helps the elves down from their shelf but has to put his shotgun down to do so. Which is fine, but maybe pick it back up again, like immediately? Before the ghost of John Wayne Gacy can reappear and stabby stab you?
Cas shoots the killer clown ghost with rock salt and kneels next to Sam. He passes his hand over Sam’s wound, healing it and his jacket. Cas tells the gawping mother that he’s an angel … and a tailor! Sam picks himself up off the floor and fills in the rest of the blanks. The clown was a ghost and he’s just a guy.
Sam groans when he puts weight on the arm that he—Chuck—shot himself in. But no, it’s good, it’s fine. Castiel covers the bullet wound with his hand and Sam is rocked with a vision. I thought at first it was a memory of Lucifer and Hell, but no. This is new. Sam sees himself bathed in the red light of things that are NOT GOOD. His eyes are in shadow—demon black? It’s hard to tell. He watches a bearded Dean crumple to the floor of the Bunker. He hears Dean say, “Sammy, please.”
He sees himself tilt his head with a sharp snap.
Sam gasps back into the present, rocking back on his heels. Cas is aghast! He says he can’t heal the wound. There’s an energy inside it … he’s never felt it before.
So yeah, like Sam said. It’s fine.
Dean walks out of the hardware store with a big bag of salt (because they don’t already have salt in the car, what?) He growls on the phone to Rowena that they need her, so move her ass.
“ … Move your exquisite ass, please.”
Dean hands the salt to Belphejack and catches the demon staring. Turns out, he’s a fan. He didn’t want to say anything in front of the others, but Belphejack got a chance to watch Dean work when he was in Hell with Alastair. Now that’s reaching into the wayback machine! The demon says what Dean did to those souls wasn’t torture, it was art.
Dean pushes those memories and emotions way, way, way down and tries to shrug it off. He says it was a long time ago. Belphejack smiles and says it depends on how you look at it. Dean would rather not, thank you. Instead, he asks what it’s like Downtown with everything going on. Belphejack says one minute he was filleting people for eternity, as you do, and then every door in Hell sprang open.
“Every door? Even the Cage?”
Even the Cage.
Dean sits with that information for a tick. He asks about the archangel and can barely say his name. Belphejack says last he heard, Michael was just sitting there. But if he got out … the demon shudders. But hey, it’s not like Michael is one to hold a grudge, right?
Dean does not ask about Adam.
“So, about that heart.” Cue the distant sound of screaming. The sheriff is dead by the time Dean and Belphejack reach him. The demon is like, cool, punches through the man’s chest and rips out his ticker.
Dean’s breath frosts in the air just as Constance Welch materializes behind him. She says she remembers him. He took her home. Which, actually, that was Sam, and he drove Baby through the front of her house to boot, but Dean doesn’t have time to correct her. He’s too busy hurtling through the air and crashing hard into a dumpster.
Sam and Cas, mom and daughter are beset by ghosts as they hurry through the streets of the deserted neighborhood. Sam shoots one, managing to spray Cas with rock salt in the process. That feels like a call back to the first time we met Castiel.
The Woman in White menaces Belphejack long enough for Dean to come to and find a length of iron rod. He calls her “Casper” before dispelling her.
Dean pours out a pile of salt and Belphejack places the heart on top of it. He actually touches the salt and can demons do that? Anyhoo, a few words of Latin and a pulse of energy flares through the town.
The barrier ends just a few hundred yards from where Sam and Cas, mom and daughter are standing. They hustle towards safety while pursued by Gacy, Lizzie Borden, Bloody Mary, and some Lurch looking rando ghost. Running running running y’all, it is literally FOUR DRIVEWAYS AWAY running RUNNING RUNNING. They cross the line and the barrier holds.
The ghost of Gacy howls in rage. Sam breathlessly tells him to shut up. Well, I guess you just got told, ghost of John Wayne Gacy.
Team Free Will +1 regroup and drive the civilians to the high school. Dean suggests they don’t mention the whole ghost thing. Or the angel thing. The little girl who hasn’t spoken a word all episode pipes up and says, “Thank you.” Didn’t Dean say something maybe in Season One about the pay being lousy and no one ever thanking them? That’s nice. I like that.
Sam walks mom and daughter into the school and takes the pulse of the town. He tells Dean people are asking a lot of questions. He figures they’ve got a day, maybe two, before the real FBI rolls into town. Dean agrees that they’re in a crunch, but first he wants to take care of Sam’s shoulder.
He checks the wound and realizes there’s no exit. Sam is aware. He says it hurts a little, but not much. He doesn’t mention that Cas couldn’t heal him or the whole neck snappy vision thing. Because that’s nothing to worry about.
Dean dabs at Sam’s shoulder with the burny antiseptic and reminds Sam of when they were kids and he would tell Sam a corny joke to distract him before ripping the bandaid off. That’s sweet and also a reminder of how these boys raised themselves.
Dean muses over the illusion of free will. He says even when they thought they had a choice, they were just rats in a maze. He wonders at all that they’ve done … what does it even mean?
“It meant a lot. We still saved people.”
And yeah, maybe Chuck threw another end of the world at them for his own amusement. But Sam says Chuck is gone. It’s what he does—he gets bored and pulls the ripcord. He moves on and starts another story.
And Sam thinks that’s a good thing.
Because if Chuck has bailed on their world, then it’s just them. “For the first time, it’s just us.”
“If we win … when we win this, it’s just us. And we’re free.”
“So you and me versus every soul in Hell?” Dean likes those odds. Sam smiles. He does, too.
The angle switches so we’re looking at the boys from inside the trunk. Sam reaches up to grab the lid and we flashback to Pilot Sam closing it.
“We got work to do.”
Supernatural airs Thursday at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern) on The CW. Follow her on Twitter @Watcher_Whitney.