November 14, 2019
Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the LORD tests the heart.
Black Forest, Colorado. Three identical blonde girls toast to their annual camping trip. Seriously, are they sisters? Cousins? Clones? Ashley startles at the sound of rustling coming from outside the tent. After mocking Ashley for being an unemployable philosophy major, Julie goes outside to prove there’s nothing there. And also get more rum.
She is promptly murdered.
Nameless blonde wearing a bucket hat creeps to the tent’s opening to zip up the flap. She is snatched out into the darkness and also murdered.
And THAT is why nature is terrible and you should never go outside.
Sam loads up the gear bag and checks his phone. There’s a string of text messages to Cas, but no replies. Also, Sam spells the angel’s name “Cass.”
Dean returns from the supply run. He’s delighted by his discovery of ghost pepper jerky. Sam cautions that he isn’t going to like it, but Dean scoffs. I challenge that Dean doesn’t know what a ghost pepper is. I mean, the name alone implies that it’s a pepper so hot it will snatch your soul from your body. Also, I don’t believe that Dean has never seen the chili cook-off episode of The Simpsons.
While Dean tries not to vomit or wander off on a spirit quest to find his soulmate, Sam reports that the mountain lion case in Colorado has now reached five victims.
Sam dozes in the car as they drive. He sees himself sitting at the table in the Bunker’s library. He’s wearing the End!Verse Lucifer’s white suit. HE’S WEARING LUCIFER’S WHITE SUIT. Dean approaches from behind. He aims the Colt at his brother’s head and cocks the hammer. He whispers, “Please forgive me,” before pulling the trigger.
Sam smiles. He knows the Colt won’t kill him, but he appreciates the effort.
The bullet explodes through Sam’s forehead. He slumps forward onto the table … and just as quickly sits back up. He closes his eyes and the wound heals. Sam opens his eyes; they glow red.
“Poor, faithful Dean. We both knew it had to end this way.”
Dean bursts into flame. He screams at the fire consumes him. Sam never turns around. He just tips his head to the side, basking in the heat.
Sam jerks awake in the front seat. His gaze immediately goes to Dean, trying to ground himself in the present. Trying to ground himself in a safe space where his brother is not on fire. Dean encourages Sam to tell him about this latest bad dream. He says he’ll Freud Sam. It will keep him awake until they hit Colorado. YES, SAM. NOW WOULD BE AN EXCELLENT TIME TO TELL DEAN ABOUT THE BULLET VISIONS.
Sam does not tell Dean about his dream.
They arrive the next morning at the Black Forest sheriff’s department. Sam asks if they’re going in Fed. Nope—Fish & Wildlife! Dean pulls out the Agents Hamill and Ford IDs last used in Season 1 in “Dead in the Water”.
“Wow! That is a deep cut.”
Dean says Sam looks like a baby in his ID. He’s not wrong. Dean says he looks exactly the same. Nothing has changed. He is also not wrong. Sheriff Dignan would beg to differ. She gives Dean’s ID the stink-eye but says nothing about Sam’s—OR HIS HAIR.
RIP Sam’s Season 1 college boy hair.
The sheriff is skeptical that a mountain lion is responsible for the deaths. She says they don’t get many big cats. And sustained attacks aren’t characteristic for bears.
“I mean, unless the bear’s psychotic.”
The sheriff admits she doesn’t think these are animal attacks at all, but they had to tell the papers something. The scenes are too clean. There are no body parts torn off—just hearts ripped out. The boys silently, ‘Yahtzee,’ to themselves.
They visit the only survivor—Ashley—in the hospital. She has a laceration under her left eye that looks like a bloody tear has fallen down her cheek. She seems uncomfortable speaking in front of the nurse, so Sam asks him to step out in the hallway to answer a few questions.
Dean reassures Ashley that whatever she saw, they will believe. He sits on the bed next to her and tells her that whatever she’s about to say, they’ve heard worse. They’ve heard weirder. Ashley takes a deep breath and says she and her friends were attacked by a man—one with claws and fangs.
Dean’s like, yup. That’s a werewolf. Werewolves are real. Monsters in general, are real.
I mean, Dean is super compassionate about it, but what? Since when do the boys admit the truth to a victim all willy nilly right out of the gate? Wasn’t the whole thread of last week’s episode about how they shield civilians from the truth? Carry that weight so they don’t have to?
Anyhoo, Dean says he and Sam hunt the monsters and kill them. It’s what they do. And whatever comes at Ashley, they will handle it. Dean promises he will protect her.
Bless her heart, this poor girl is totally going to die so Dean can have more man angst and guilt.
Ashley gives Dean a name—Andy May—and Sam comes up with an address in short order. Andy and his brother Josh live in the cabin in the woods where Dean interrogated Kaia Ren last season in “The Scar” AND I’VE TOTALLY BEEN THERE!!
The May brothers lie—badly—about knowing Ashley or having any knowledge of the attacks. Josh balks when Sam offers him a notepad and silver pen—in case they have questions later. Dean votes they just go ahead and shoot the wolf brothers now. Sam doesn’t argue, but a call from Ashley sends them back into town.
Really? You don’t think it’s better to just deal with the werewolves now?
Ashley has been released from the hospital and is afraid to be alone. That seems like a problem that could have been resolved by KILLING THE MONSTERS, but here we are at the Sleepy Bear Inn. There’s something else that’s nagging at Sam. He wonders if this case doesn’t feel just a little too easy. Dean says easy is good. He likes easy.
Or, as Dean once said way back in Season 6, “Being easy is pretty much all upside!”
The boys get Ashley settled into a room. She asks Dean to stay with her. Just until she falls asleep. She asks him if he likes his job. Dean sits down on the twin bed next to Ashley’s and considers the question. His answer is that he does. He doesn’t say that he “embraced the life” when he was 16 after a—wait for it—werewolf hunt. He does admit that there’s a lot of bad … but it feels good to help people.
Ashley asks if Dean ever wanted to be anything else. I wonder if Dean still remembers wanting to be a fireman when he grew up? Instead, he says Jimi Hendrix. The real answer is, not really.
“I’m where I’m supposed to be.”
Ashley says she just graduated from college. And now her friends are gone and she has no idea what she’s going to do with her life. Dean smiles thinking about the possibilities that are still ahead for Ashley. He simply tells her she has plenty of time. The girl tips her head back against the wall and says it’s all just so random and awful.
That sounds familiar …
“Wouldn’t it be great if everything was just … planned out for you? If it was all just already decided?”
Dean gives Ashley a look, but he doesn’t seem to ping on just how on the nose her words are.
Sam comes into the room later that night and finds Dean asleep and Ashley gone. I call shenanigans! There’s no way that Mr. 4 hours a night sleeps with a knife under his pillow let two werewolves waltz into the room and snatch Ashley.
Is … is Chuck writing this story?
They go back to the May brothers’ cabin. The werewolves bolt as soon as they hear the door being kicked in. The boys find Ashley—alive—tied up in a bloody abattoir.
Wait, is Sam somehow writing this story?
They barely make it to the front door when the werewolves attack. Fight fight struggle fight. Both boys lose their guns. BUNGIE! Andy picks up Sam’s pistol. Josh has Dean pinned against the wall. Andy fires … killing his brother. He says Josh promised, but he was never going to stop …
This is the part where Sam and Dean pack Andy off to live with Garth and Bess, right? He didn’t want this. He never wanted to hunt people. He spared Ashley in the woods because he didn’t want to kill her. That’s not how their father raised them. Andy is going to get a fresh start, right?
Yeah, no. He declares himself a monster and turns the gun on himself.
The boys are like, okay?
Andy falls at Ashley’s feet. She peels herself off the wall where she’s been cowering and gingerly steps around his body. Dean reaches out to her, asking if she’s okay. She jerks her arm away and yells at him not to touch her. She loses her balance and tumbles backward, impaling herself on a pair of broken deer antlers. The tines erupt through her chest and belly.
What did bucket hat blonde say in the tent about deer not being big enough to hurt them?
The boys recoil in shock and there’s something about Dean’s loud, “OH!” that’s just really funny to me. They gawp at Ashley’s body trying to process what … just … happened. Silence hangs in the room.
“Well, this is a bitch.”
Morph into the Trickster. Morph into the Trickster. MORPH INTO THE TRICKSTER.
Ashley is not the Trickster.
She groans as she sits up and then gets to her feet. She arches her back and the antlers slide out of her body and clatter to the floor. Ashley pouts and says she’s disappointed that Sam doesn’t remember her.
And then her eyes flip white.
WHAT? HOW? WHAT? WHY???!?!?
Lilith says she was dead, sleeping the big sleep in the Empty when the boss brought her back.
Oh, no. No. Please no. Don’t say Lucifer, don’t say Lucifer, DON’T SAY LUCIFER.
Lilith rolls her eyes. She says God brought her back. Oh thank … whoever.
But how does that even work? Amara said that Chuck was diminished. Capable—at best—of a few party tricks. Pulling a demon out of the Empty seems like a pretty good party trick! Isn’t the Empty its own cosmic entity? One capable of assaulting Heaven itself?
Or was that all part of Chuck’s story?
Is that now going to be the answer for every future retcon or exploding of canon? Chuck wrote it? Because good stories need to have some kind of internal logic. They need rules. Otherwise, everything is meaningless and nothing matters.
Anyhoo, Lilith says she was supposed to get rescued and in a moment of sweet relief seduce Dean, but obviously that’s not happening now, so. It’s the way that Lilith tests the waters with that statement that makes it poetry.
She wishes that Chuck sent her there to kill them, but Lilith says that’s not how this story goes. She’s here for Chuck’s magic gun.
“I’m not calling it that.”
Dean considers arguing the merits of the name but doesn’t. Instead, he says if Chuck wants his little toy back, he can come get it himself. Lilith is delighted that the boys are opting for the hard way. She loves the hard way. Sam pulls out Ruby’s Knife while Dean draws a gladius. They barely take a step before Lilith knocks them both off their feet with a blast of white energy.
Sam is knocked unconscious and slips into another vision. In this one, he’s punched repeatedly by Dean before being thrown off the Map Room balcony. Dean is wearing the red shirt of doom.
This isn’t Dean. It’s Deanmon.
Sam lands hard on the map table and bounces onto the floor. Deanmon hauls him up and beats him again some more. He gets Sam backed up against the wall, grabs him by the throat, and lifts him up into the air. The First Blade is in Deanmon’s other hand. His eyes flip black. He guts his brother with the blade. Deanmon watches as Sam’s life slips away, enjoying the moment. He drops the body with a thud.
Sam jerks awake on the floor of the cabin, alone but for the rapidly decomposing corpses (™ TWoP) of Andy and Josh May. Dean is in the car with Lilith, driving back to the motel to “retrieve” the gun. He asks her why. Just … why?
“Because, of the three potential vessels, Ashley had the best hair.”
Dean clarifies—why is she helping Chuck? Lilith says she died to free Lucifer from the cage … and then the Winchesters went and screwed it all up. And while, yes, that was just another one of Chuck’s stories, she can’t hurt him.
And isn’t this game fun? Lilith pokes Dean in the shoulder. Didn’t he like the part where he bonded with the victim? Lilith slips into character as Ashley and repeats the “everything planned out for you” line. She laughs and says it’s one of Chuck’s. Word for word.
“God, he’s not exactly Shakespeare. He’s more of a low rent Dean Koontz.”
Lilith complains that she had to listen to his whole—quote—‘writing philosophy.’ As well as Chuck’s very weird, very pervy, obsession with Dean.
Lol. Chuck is a Dean Girl. As one is.
Lilith sighs and says it always ends the same. One brother killing the other. Chuck could end the world in so many ways, but he likes that one. She supposes that’s why Sam and Dean had to see the werewolf brothers die like they did.
They get to the motel and Dean is like, whoopsie! They didn’t actually bring the gun. Lilith smiles and slashes the air with her finger. A cut opens up on Dean’s left cheek. She asks Dean if he’s familiar with the concept of “Death by a Thousand Cuts.” Another slash and a matching Inigo Montoya cut begins bleeding on Dean’s right cheek. Two more cuts to the body and Dean mentally steels himself to be slowly sliced to ribbons.
The door behind Lilith bursts open. Sam steps into the room and shoots Lilith in the forehead with a devil’s trap bullet, putting her on lockdown. Sam demands to know where Chuck is. He pulls out the demon blade and reminds Lilith that he’s killed her before … and he can do it again. Lilith is like, yeah you killed me before because I let you. She’s not feeling quite so generous now.
Lilith’s eye flip white. The room begins to shake. Light fixtures explode. Instead of Sam emptying his gun into Lilith and stabbing her repeatedly with Ruby’s Knife, Dean orders a general retreat. They barely make it out of the door and into the parking lot before Lilith removes the bullet and freezes them in place. “Sucks, doesn’t it?” Through a quick process of elimination, Lilith deduces—correctly—that the gun is in the car.
Oh, if this bitch does something to Baby …
Lilith pulls the gun from the glove compartment, leaving Baby mercifully unscathed. Sam sasses that she can take it. They’ll get it back. Lilith is like, will you though? The boys watch as she melts the gun down to liquid metal. And I’m not really sure why that’s a problem? They can’t use the gun. It may kill anything, but that includes the person pulling the trigger. And they can’t kill Chuck because that will well and truly end all existence as we know it.
Back at the Bunker, Sam calls Cas. It goes straight to voicemail. Dean is like we left a message, so. Has Dean talked to Sam at all about his break up with Cas? Did he tell Sam anything about why Cas left? Or even that he had left? One of Sam’s text messages seems to suggest no. MAYBE YOU SHOULD TALK TO YOUR BROTHER ABOUT YOUR ANGEL. Instead, Dean’s mind is on Chuck.
“He was supposed to be gone. God was supposed to be gone.”
Sam wonders why Chuck doesn’t just kill them already. Dean says that’s not what he wants. He paraphrases his conversation with Lilith. That Chuck only likes one kind of ending—“You kill me or I kill you.”
Something pings in Sam’s giant moose noggin. He finally—FINALLY—tells Dean that the dreams he’s been having all end the same way. With them killing each other.
“You’re just telling me this now??”
Preach. Sam says he didn’t think anything of it. Just your normal PTSD. He certainly didn’t make any connection to the magical bullet he’s carrying around in his shoulder. But he wonders, what if it’s allowing him to see Chuck’s endings? What if that piece of himself he fired from the gun created a link with Chuck?
What if somehow Sam is in Chuck’s head?
The boys are still reeling. They can’t yet see that this could be a good thing. That there has to be a way they can use it. I mean, Sam and Cas were able to use the BMoL mind hack machine to get into Dean’s head. Why couldn’t they do something similar to get into Chuck’s head and rewrite their story?
Also still not quite sure whey they haven’t asked Amara or Billie for help.
Dean isn’t thinking about strategy or allies or fighting back. He’s too weighed down. He leans forward in his chair and hangs his head. He says it was supposed to be over. They were done. They were free.
What are they supposed to do?
Is their life really just running on Chuck’s hamster wheel until they die? Or until they get boring and Chuck cancels them?
“Or, we fight.”
This week, Sam is assuming the buck up role while Dean descends into hopelessness. Dean, Mr. I’ll Go Down Swinging, laughs at the absurdity of fighting Chuck.
“It’s God, Sam. And he’s coming for us. How the hell are we supposed to fight God??”
Supernatural airs Thursday at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern) on The CW. Follow Whitney on Twitter @Watcher_Whitney.