‘Supernatural’: We don’t get a choice!

“Drag Me Away (From You)”
October 22, 2020


There’s something you and Sam need to know …”


The boys drive through the night—seven hours yet to go. Dean complains, wondering why they’re going back “there”. Yes, Travis was an old friend—haven’t seen him in 25 years, old—but they’ve missed funerals for much closer friends. Hunters. Sam simply says this is different. And what else are they going to do? Sit around the Bunker and wait for the world to end?

Sam wonders at Cas just up and bailing on them. He asks if the angel said anything to Dean before he left. Did they get into a fight or something?

HAH! I love that Sam just assumes. Dean says no to both—it’s just Cas being Cas. So wait, did Cas not tell Dean about Jack? Did he just leave that ellipsis hanging out there? What? Dean’s phone buzzes with a text. 

Has he told Sam yet?

Oh. Dean was lying and withholding information from Sam. Of course. It’s like I’ve never watched this show before.

Sam scolds Dean for texting and driving—they did a whole PSA about it, come on! Dean puts his phone away and the subject drops.

They arrive the next day at the Rooster’s Sunrise motel. Dean gives the building the stink eye. He says it looks smaller. 

“Yeah well, we’re bigger.”

As they exit the car we flashback to their previous stay and Wee!chesters! Who doesn’t love a good Wee!chester flashback episode? Bless you, writer Meghan Fitzmartin, for giving us this final season treat.

I will note that teen!Dean is wearing Converse All Stars and wee!Sam is wearing Vans. That feels very on point for the characters. Dean is also wearing the Samulet.


The boys tuck and roll out of the car as John drives away. Dean grumps that he should be hunting with their father. Sam doesn’t need him—Dean was babysitting him when he was Sam’s age. 

Because John is the worst.

Dean notices that Sam is hiding something under his jacket and manhandles his brother until he gives it up—a dog-eared copy of the 1991 American College Guide. Dean snarks that these better be haunted colleges. 

True fact—my freshman dorm was 100% haunted.

Sam says he picked it up at their previous motel. Dean teases that Sam’s imaginary friend said it was bad to steal. Yeah, Sully also told Sam that he can be whatever he wants to be, so you can just stick that snark in a sack, young man.

Sam is defiant. He says college is what normal people do. Dean downshifts from dubious to dismissive. He reminds Sam that they’re not normal. Not to mention they barely go to school. Does Sam really think there’s a college that would even let him in?

“This, Sammy? This is our life.”

Sam wilts. The words seem to physically weigh him down. 

Man, teen!Dean is kind of a dick.

Sam sits on the end of the bed looking at the college guide like it’s a key to a door he’s never going to unlock. The Family Theme toodles in the background all like, you’ll make it, Sammy! Don’t give up! 

Also, let’s talk about this week’s motel. I mean, I dig that shade of orange and the wallpaper would be super cute and retro kicky as a fabric pattern, but together it’s just A LOT. THERE’S A LOT GOING ON WITH THE DECOR OF THIS ROOM IS WHAT I’M SAYING.

Sam puts down the book and starts unpacking. Underneath his bag of toiletries are a hunting knife and a revolver. Sam is about 10 here. He was 9 when he told his father he was scared of the thing in his closet and John gave him a .45.

Well played, Meghan Fitzmartin. Well played.

Out in the hallway, Dean is busted stealing candy from the vending machine. The girl, Caitlin, says she won’t rat Dean out if he teaches her his Fonzie ways. Dean presses 1-2-reset on the keypad with his left hand and gives the machine a firm whack on the side with his right. It spits out a not!Henry bar. 

You are a lying liar who lies if you say you’re not going to try that at your next opportunity.

Caitlin accepts the offered confection. She says she and her brother Travis saw the Impala earlier. She wonders who Dean’s dad is—Knight Rider?

What! This Metallicar slander will not stand! But she’s just messing. Caitlin quickly proves she knows the difference between the Most Important Object in the World and a Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am.

Adult Caitlin is waiting for the boys in the motel’s diner. She has a haunted look on her face. She gives them both hugs when they walk in. Yay! Hugging! Sam asks how she’s holding up and Caitlin admits she blames herself for Travis’s death. She says he had a rocky life. She encouraged him for years to get help and she was thrilled when he started seeing a therapist. It really seemed to be helping. 

And then Travis’s doctor started asking questions about that winter and what happened at the motel.

The doctor encouraged Travis to face his fears—literally. So he checked into Room 214 and that’s where he died. But Caitlin doesn’t believe her brother took his own life. And that’s why she lied about the funeral—it was held the week before. She had to be sure the Winchesters would come … because Caitlin thinks “she” is back.

Adult Sam scans Room 214 with the EMF meter—Yay! EMF meter!—but it doesn’t so much as chirp. Dean reads over the coroner’s report and doesn’t see any reason to question it. They both agree—this doesn’t seem to be their kind of thing. Dean is particularly insistent—Travis was troubled, the MO is wrong and—AND—he killed it.

Oh. There it is. It can’t be the old monster, because if it is, then Travis’s death is on Dean.

Young Travis tries unsuccessfully to hack the candy machine. He walks away, dejected, but rushes back at the sound of a spin and a drop. He reaches into the machine and a pale, wrinkled hand grabs him back. 

Travis struggles and cries for help as the machine goes crazy and the monster hisses and cackles, grimacing at him from the other side of the glass. Dean and Caitlin come running to help and Travis is able to slip free. He sits huddled on the floor, knees drawn up to his chest, speechless and quaking with terror.

When Travis recovers, he insists that he’s not crazy. There was something in the machine! Sam is all like DOOT DO DOO. Dean hangs up a call with Bobby. John is at least two days out of range, not that he would be any help if he wasn’t. Caitlin thinks getting parents involved is a little extreme, but with a nod from Sam, Dean cuts to the chase. 

Monsters are real and Dean and his dad hunt them. “It’s kind of the family business.”

Dean starts asking questions. Caitlin shows them a playground memorial to three missing kids, all of them taken weeks apart over the past few months. Dean seems to focus on one, a boy wearing a Little League uniform.

The Scooby Gang grab a stack of newspapers and huddle up in a back room at the motel. Sam spreads out a map of the city and uses Peanut M&Ms to mark off possible related locations. He creates a snack perimeter around the abandoned town cannery.

Proximity and “abandoned” are all Dean needs to know. Sam warns that they don’t even know yet what they’re hunting, but Dean says he’s got a gun and a knife. He’s good. Sam tries invoking their father, but Dean insists that John would want him taking charge. He shuts down Sam and Caitlin’s attempts to come with him—“This ain’t the freaking Goonies.” He’s got this.

Caitlin is like, YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME, and follows Dean to the cannery. When it’s clear she’s not leaving, Dean gives up and warns her to stay behind him. He moves cautiously through the abandoned building while Caitlin teases him about being scared. 

They come to a doorway and Dean shines his flashlight over a heavy tarp. The front end of a blue bike sticks out from under it, along with a baseball cap. Dean finds a key from the motel and pulls back the tarp. He recoils at what he sees but quickly recovers because even at 14 he’s a professional.

Dean shows Caitlin the key and tells her the monster isn’t there. He turns her around and pushes her away from the room, making sure she doesn’t see what’s inside.

Sam and Travis hang out at the motel and play Boggle. Sam tries to reassure the younger boy. He tells Travis not to worry. Whatever it is, Dean will kill it.

Sam quickly finds four words—SAM, KILL, YOU, NOW. Travis has found six words! TRAVIS, DEAD, DEATH, KILL, YOU, and NOW.

Well, that’s not at all upsetting.

The boys back away from the table as it begins to rumble and the Boggle pieces begin to shake. They settle and then explode up into the air. The lights go out. Sam calls out a warning as the monster comes out of the wall and grabs Travis. The two boys struggle with it as Dean and Caitlin come into the room. 

Sam pushes Travis free and Dean steps in between his brother and the monster. She bats the gun out of Dean’s hand. He slashes at her with the knife, taking off four fingers. They roll underneath the bed. Dean recovers and stabs her once in the side. The monster howls and disintegrates in front of them. The large ring she was wearing remains on the floor where it fell.

Adult Dean walks down the hall, bypassing the candy machine. This case has obviously gotten under his skin if he doesn’t even try the Fonzie trick for old time’s sake. He stops short when he sees the boy at the end of the corridor. The lights begin to flicker and the boy creepy ghost speed walks until now!Dean and teen!Dean are face to face. 

The boy nods at Dean’s hand. The one that’s now holding a knife. He tells himself he failed. He knows what he has to do. “Say hi to Travis.” Dean slowly sinks to his knees. He bows his head and holds the knife with both hands, pointing the blade at his belly.

And can we just pause here and talk about HOW GOOD THIS EPISODE IS? This is some quality, Season 1 Monster of the Week goodness! I mean, I know damn well Dean isn’t going to pig stick himself, but I was still yelling at the TV. WHERE IS SAM? WHAT IS HAPPENING? DEAN, SNAP OUT OF IT!!

And just in the nick, Sam rounds the corner, calling Dean’s name until he does, indeed, snap out of it. Dean looks over his shoulder at Sam and then down at his empty hands. His face goes hard. He says Caitlin is right. 

The three regroup over beers. Dean apologizes and admits he didn’t want to believe Caitlin. She doesn’t seem to think he has anything to be sorry for. She says she didn’t have any proof—just a feeling. Despite Sam backing him up, and allowing that they all thought Dean killed the monster, Dean isn’t ready to let himself off the hook for Travis’ death.

Sam keeps them on task. What do they know about what they’re dealing with? Caitlin says the monster plays with people. She lures them, drawing it out. Dean adds that she can shapeshift to look like other people–him, as a kid, for example. 

Oh, and there’s the whole nest thing. 

Dean tells them what he saw in the cannery that winter.  A bunch of bodies. Dead kids, all about the same age they were back then. Caitlin realizes that’s what Dean was hiding from her. Dean supposes the monster keeps them there to feed. He seems lost for a moment in the memory.

Sam wonders why Dean never told him any of this. Dean admits it was because he’d never seen anything like it before. He says he had nightmares about it for the longest time. But after he killed it—or, thought that he killed it—Dean phoned in the bodies, let the authorities take care of it, and shoved it down the old memory hole to come out in spurts of violence and alcoholism. 

The look on Sam’s face—it’s an acknowledgement that, in some ways, they had very different childhoods.

And I just want to send ALL THE FRUIT BASKETS to writer Meghan Fitzmartin for being so thoughtful with this timeline and the way in which it informs Dean’s character. This episode takes place two years after “A Very Supernatural Christmas” when Sam first learned that monsters are real. 

It’s set between “Just My Imagination” and “Bad Boys”. So we know John has taken Dean on at least one hunt, but he has perhaps been shielded to some extent from the worst of it. Dean seems ambivalent about his future when he and Sam arrive at the motel. It could be that his handling of this case is what prompts John to more fully involve Dean in hunting, setting Dean on the path to “just sort of embrace it” two years later.

Kudos Meghan Fitzmartin.

Dean apologizes and says he should have told Sam. Sam is like, uh you were a traumatized child. It’s cool. They were both just kids … and they used to keep a lot of secrets from each other.





And come on. It’s not like these dummies have ever stopped lying and withholding from each other. I mean, wasn’t Sam still hiding his gunshot visions like, six episodes ago?

Anyhoo, Mr. Truthy tells Sam and Caitlin to hit the lore while he picks up dinner. He orders two burger meals and a veggie burger. And then proving he’s a good brother even if he’s a lying liar who lies, Dean asks the waitress if they have arugula salad or kale.

They have iceberg lettuce with ranch.

“Good for you.”

Order complete, the waitress walks away and Billie appears at the counter next to Dean. Yay! Billie! She’s vexed to find him working a case, now of all times. She says she just came from one of Chuck’s worlds. She watched a whole planet burn alive until it was reduced to a cinder.

Dean is like, not to make light of galactic genocide, but what else is new? What’s new is that it was the last one. The snark drains from Dean’s face. Billie says Chuck will be back on Earth Prime soon. And when he comes, there won’t be a moment to waste.

The pieces are falling into place. Dean has Amara on the hook. Billie has given Jack his final orders to complete his transformation. Dean wonders how Billie talked Jack into turning himself into cosmic TNT? Billie says she told Jack the truth—as she sees it. That the only way he can ever earn Dean’s forgiveness for killing Mary is to free Dean from Chuck’s hamster wheel, once and for all.

Is she wrong?

Dean rolls his eyes but he doesn’t deny it. I don’t care for Billie manipulating Jack. I don’t care for it. I am going to be so very cross if Show gives her a heel turn and suddenly—ta-dah!—Billie has been a bad guy all along.

The thing that I’ve enjoyed most about the delightful Lisa Berry’s take on the character has been her mix of detachment, compassion, and malice. If she’s an antagonist, ultimately it’s against disorder and chaos. Because rules.

Billie tells Dean this is the last time he’ll see her … until the end. According to Chuck’s book, she’s not in this part of the story, so.

“This is on you, Dean.”

And he needs to tell her now … do they have a problem? Dean considers how to answer that question and finally settles on, “no.” Dean growls through gritted teeth that he wants Chuck dead. He needs Chuck dead. He doesn’t have to like every part of the plan. 

Billie asks how Sam feels about the plan and quickly realizes he doesn’t know. She doesn’t care why Dean is hiding the truth, she just needs him to fix it. She doesn’t like loose ends. She doesn’t like disorder. 

Sam taps away at the research-fu. The boys’ room has the same patterned wallpaper and carpet as Room 214, but it’s a much more soothing shade of green. Caitlin scrolls through lore on her phone and is like, your life sucks. Sam responds that “normal” doesn’t save people from monsters, so. He’s just sorry they couldn’t save Travis.

Researching the lore. Researching the lore. Researching the lore. Sam finally hits on something. Check this out—the Baba Yaga. He says it’s a witch that feeds on children’s fears using hallucinations. The source of her power is contained within a ring. 

Caitlin asks Sam to zoom and enhance the illustration on his screen. She says it’s Travis’s ring.  The one that fell under the bed when Dean cut the witch’s fingers off. The one that their mom sucked up in a vacuum that winter and gave to him. His lucky charm. Caitlin says the stone in the ring was all busted up, but Travis thought it looked cool. He got it fixed just a few weeks before … 

Caitlin goes charging out of the room while Sam is busy spinning theories. She pops her trunk to search through Travis’s belongings for the ring … but it’s not there. The ring has been reclaimed by Baba Yaga.

Dean returns to a frantic Sam who brings him up to speed on the monster and a missing Caitlin. Dean is like, so we find the witch, “junk her Precious” and game over? They split up to search the motel for the witch’s nest. Sam thinks he has her … but it’s just the desk clerk toking up in the back office. Little privacy?

Dean contemplates the haunted snack machine and continues down the hall until he reaches Room 214. With a click and a creak, the door swings open. Dean reaches for his gun. “I’ve seen this movie before.” He walks into the empty room. The door behind him slams shut and when he turns back around he’s in the cannery.

He retraces his steps to the Baba Yaga’s nest. This time when Dean pulls back the tarp, wee!Sam is underneath. The old feelings of shock and horror wash over him and press him back against the wall.

The Baba Yaga is waiting for him when he walks out of the room. After shooting her, Dean asks the witch if he isn’t a little old for her. She agrees that she prefers children, but all those hungry years managing luxury rental properties in New York have left her starving. 

She attacks and fight, fight, struggle, fight. Sam hears the commotion and jumps when he pushes open the door. Caitlin is unconscious on the bed. Dean is pinned to the floor. Sam stabs the witch in the back and she tosses him into the wall. She reaches down for Dean and he YOINKS her ring from her finger.

Dean kicks her away from him and smashes the ring with the butt of his gun. It explodes in a flash of green energy. The same green energy erupts around the Baba Yaga, consuming her as she screams. Sam, Dean, and Caitlin watch as the witch burns away to nothing.

Dean walks Caitlin to the door after she checks out. She thanks him for all he’s done. She teases him a little bit, asking if was scared. Dean says he always is. Caitlin smiles and says he really has changed. Teen!Dean would never have admitted that. What is it they say about getting older? You tell the truth more because you know that lies don’t make anything better.

Dean pulls her into a hug and we flashback to their first goodbye. He left Caitlin with a number to call if anything ever happened that’s … you know. I love this detail! It’s 100% Bobby’s number which means Caitlin kept the number all these years and probably ended up talking to Garth (Yay! Garth!) who put her back in touch with the boys. 

It’s the little details that make a difference.

John pulls up in the driveway and honks. Sam wonders what they’re going to tell him. Dean chuckles and says they tell him Dean handled it … with a little help.

“We do make a good team, right?”

Sam agrees. Yeah, they do.

The boys drive home and Sam tries calling Cas again. Dean tells him to hang up and rips off the bandaid. Billie says it’s go time. Chuck is done with all the other worlds and when he comes back they’ll have to act fast. Also,

“Jack’s going to die.”

Dean says it was always part of Billie’s plan. Jack has known this whole time and is ready to sacrifice himself like the Winchester he is. 

“In order to kill God and Amara, Jack has to die.”

Dean stares straight ahead at the road as the words tumble out of him. Sam is like … Billie told you all of this while you were grabbing burgers? 

Yeah no, that part about Jack dying? Dean says Cas told him before they left. Before they even got the call about Travis. Sam has a rage aneurysm. He thought they were past this! How could Dean keep him in the dark about this? Dean snaps that he knew Sam couldn’t handle it! He didn’t trust Billie’s plan to begin with and started second-guessing when Amara entered the mix.

You guys … YOU GUYS. Have we slipped into a Bizarro World where Sam says not to do the thing and Dean is the one who should listen? 

Sam asks if Dean is really telling him to sit back and shut up and just let Jack kill himself. Yes, that’s exactly what Dean is saying. Dean shouts that THIS IS HOW THEY END CHUCK. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY THEY’LL EVER BE FREE. So he’s sorry, but they don’t get a choice.

Mr. “You always have a choice and I choose to keep fighting” says they don’t have a choice?

Dean tries to explain and then to apologize, but Sam is done. He shouts at Dean to stop. Just don’t. Don’t. Just drive. 

Supernatural airs Thursday at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern) on The CW. For now. Follow Whitney on Twitter @Watcher_Whitney.

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