Standard recap of the season so far, including Jack and a quick cut of the MOTW from “Nightshifter.” Gee, I wonder what the MOTW will be this week?
Cut to Now in Madison, Wisconsin, where a man is entering his house and turning on lights. A woman is waiting for him. She says hi and he says she’s dead. She approaches him, says she missed him, and then stabs him to death before walking out.
Cue title cards.
In the Bunker, Sam is back from a food run and Dean is doing research. Dean grunts when Sam ask him how he’s doing. Dean has found the case of DTG (who was murdered by his dead wife), but is hesitant to take Sam along and leave Jack. Sam suggest they take Jack along. My response is identical to Dean’s: “Oh hell, no.”
Dean figures that as long as Jack is at the Bunker with them, he’s not out on the loose doing something awful. Which is actually a good point. Sam doesn’t like it, though, and Dean points out that maybe Sam’s just mad because his plan to use Jack to rescue Mom isn’t going so well. Sam then not only crosses that line, but swandives over it by asking if Dean is okay with the idea of their mother dead.
The look Dean gives Sam could blister paint. In the Antarctic.
Anyhoo, Sam ends up going to ask Jack if he wants to come along. Jack at first says no, correctly citing Dean’s reference to him the previous episode as “an interdimensional can opener” as a sign that Sam is “using” him. Sam then turns this around by appealing to Jack’s grief over his mother by talking about how Mary is trapped on the other side of the rift Jack created and saying that no, really, he still cares about Jack, and he won’t let Dean hurt Jack, especially if Jack shows himself making an effort to be good and win Dean over. Jack naively buys the Puppy Dog Eyes o’ Doom hook, line and sinker. But it’s still pretty cold.
In the car, in their FBI suits, the Brothers are getting ready to interview a witness to the killing and explaining about ghosts and revenants to Jack. Of course, the recap has already pretty much spoiled which MOTW it is, but hey, let’s just roll with it.
Sam tells Jack to check out the crime scene while Dean tells Jack to stay in the car. Jack checks out the crime scene, but he’s got nothing. The Brothers also get nothing when the EMF shows no reading on it. Dean says that means a revenant, but when they dig up the wife’s grave (Dean has Jack dig the hole while he has a beer; Sam has issues with this for some reason and compares Dean to John), they find an intact body, very dead. So, they burn the remains, explaining to Jack that his mother can’t come back because they burned her bones, and go to Plan B.
Meanwhile, somewhere on a dark and empty soundstage, Castiel is wandering around, confused.
He’s also being stalked by something dark and oily.
That night, a middle-aged woman gets a flat tire and calls in for help. Then she sees her son in the backseat. He eats her. At the crime scene the next morning, the Brothers are confused. Dean sends Jack on a food run. Sam complains that Jack isn’t their “intern.” Make up your mind, Sam. Either you want Jack to prove himself to Dean in some way, or you don’t.
As Jack returns with food, and confusion over how human interactions work, the Brothers discuss a connection between the victims – both of them were seeing a therapist who may or may not be a genuine medium. Dean snarks about psychiatrists. Considering his previous very-negative experiences with them, this is fairly understandable. But it still doesn’t mean he’s not the one on TFW most desperately in need of therapy right now.
Dean points out that patient confidentiality means they can’t go in as FBI, but he really hates Sam’s idea for all three of them to go in as patients. They meet an odd dude on the steps going in (whom Dean and Sam ignore, but Jack cheerily greets) and an officious assistant inside. Dean is pushy about wanting to see the therapist today. She then comes downstairs and introduces herself as Mia Vallens and asks if they have a recent bereavement. Jack says his mother just died. Sam says it’s their mother and they’re all brothers (you know, as if the idea of Jack as the kid brother character weren’t already obvious).
She invites them in and immediately clues in that Dean is hostile to therapy. Sam snarks at Dean about it, saying he’s not dealing well with his grief, and Dean gets hostile. He says that he’s dealing just fine, seeing as how he’s actually acknowledging their mother is dead, while Sam is in denial.
Sam gets angry and yells at Dean that at least Dean “had a relationship” with Mary, that she was always calling him. And then he storms out of the room.
This was a head-scratcher for me, since Sam was the one last season insistent on giving Mary space and telling Dean to leave her alone, then asking Dean how she was doing instead of texting her himself. Mary was very distant at first and Dean had to put in a lot of work to make that relationship continue, work Sam chose (for various reasons, some good, some not so good) not to do and tried to discourage Dean from doing. So, it seems a bit odd to get mad at Dean now about it.
Anyhoo, Sam storms out, gets some water, and spots a stairway to an upper story that has a privacy sign on it. Which, being a Winchester, Sam naturally doesn’t respect. He totally goes up there.
Sam immediately hits paydirt with blood on the pristine banisters and the shower curtain in a bathroom. He also finds shapeshifter goo in the tub. Oops.
Back in the exam room, as Dean openly drinks booze in front of her from his flask, Dr. Vallens has Dean’s number, pointing out that he just drove one brother out of the room and the other (Jack) is terrified of him. She says that if Dean wants to hold onto his anger, that’s okay, but he’s using it against everyone else.
At that moment, Sam bursts in and belts out that she’s a shapeshifter. Dean also draws down on her and they accuse her of killing her patients, while a confused Jack looks on (Jack’s confused a lot in this episode). Dr. Vallens insists she’s never killed anybody (though she is a ‘shifter). Her therapy involves shifting into the form of a dead loved one who died suddenly so grieving people can find closure, and that’s it. She’s very surprised to hear that two of hers are dead. She knows the Brothers are Hunters (duh) and insists she has an alibi. And it checks out.
Meanwhile, Castiel calls out his stalker, who turns out to be some entity that rules the Empty (where Castiel is). Except the Empty is “nothing” as Castiel says, the nothing that existed before God and Amara even existed. Yeah, whatever. It doesn’t hold together if you think about it very hard. Anyhoo, said entity (which looks just like Castiel) isn’t thrilled that Castiel woke him up, since none of the other angels and demons who died and came there for an eternal sleep ever did, and he hates being awake. So, he tortures Castiel to find out what’s going on.
He also brags that even God has no pull in the Empty. We know for a fact that’s not true, since God has brought Castiel back from the d-e-a-d more than once, as well as saying he could conceivably reconstruct even the archangels given enough time. Yay for LOL!canon.
The Brothers question Dr. Vallens about who could be killing her patients. She says she used to be with another shifter, named Buddy, who liked to hurt people, “ruin their lives,” and then kill them. She bailed, but he may have found her and stalked her. Patients and staff are in and out of her house all the time, so anyone could have seen her files (HIPAA violations! HIPAA violations everywhere!). She suggests maybe her assistant for a suspect. Poor guy. Dean goes to check him out. Jack volunteers to come along, to Dean’s displeasure.
At the place, Dean tells him to “stay in the car.” Jack says he wants to help, that Sam told him about his “plan to save your mother.” Dean straight-shoots that “Sam’s plans don’t always work out.”
It turns out the assistant isn’t the shifter, just a dude with several cats.
Sam has a conversation about closure and her method with Dr. Vallens (I am pretty sure this is the same actress as the one who played the doomed fake psychic in “The Mentalists.” I liked her) while he scrolls through her CCTV footage. Eventually, he finds one with the flashing eyes of a shifter. It is, of course, the weird guy who greeted the Brothers and Jack when they first came in, a guy named Driscoll. Dr. Vallens says he’s only been seeing her for a few weeks.
Meanwhile, Castiel’s Empty half is complaining that Castiel won’t let him sleep. Castiel suggests the entity send him back so that he can help Sam and Dean. Instead, the entity shows him the worst hits and sins of his life.
Sam decides to check out the shifter himself (at no time does anybody make any attempt to check whom they are really speaking with). Dr. Vallens tells Dean and Jack when they get back. Jack asks to talk to her and tells her about his mother. She takes the form of Kelly (God, are we ever going to be free of that insipid character?) and hugs Jack. He says he’s afraid because he wants to believe Sam and his mother that he’s good, but most of the time, he doesn’t feel any emotions at all. “Kelly” tells him that what matters is what he does, not what he is. Bang that on-the-nose dialogue home, Show.
Meanwhile, Dean is calling Sam and eventually Sam calls back, saying he found the real Driscoll and he’s dead. But it wasn’t actually Dean who took the call. Dean is unconscious on the floor. It’s the shifter. It knocks Jack out (Jensen Ackles had fun with that) and then rips its own face off to reveal Driscoll!shifter.
Back in the Empty, the entity is beating on Castiel, trying to get him to go back to “sleep” rather than return to the world and back to being a “disappointment.”
Castiel takes the beating, but tells the entity it can’t make him sleep. He’ll fight and they’ll both go insane, or the entity can send him back.
Back in the world, Dean wakes up only after he’s chained to the mantle. The shifter wants Vallens to kill them, but she refuses. Dean gets knocked out trying to warn Sam (after encouraging Jack to use his powers to snap the cuffs), but the shifter uses Sam’s voice to lure him in and like an idiot, Sam walks right into the trap.
Jack panics and throws the shifter into a wall. Sam then shoots the off-kilter shifter. What is it with these easy kills for Sam? I totally get that Jared Padalecki is tired of getting injured doing stunts (he’s had some doozies over the years). Who can blame him? But that doesn’t mean the way they’re just handing kills to Sam these days is fun to watch.
Later, Dr. Vallens tells the Brothers and Jack that she will take care of things with Driscoll. Apparently, that will ruin her career. It’s not too clear what consequences she’s taking on besides saying she killed him.
Back at the Bunker, Dean visits Jack in the kitchen and tells him, “You did good today, Jack,” then leaves. Jack smiles to himself, this time not so creepily.
Dean also hands Sam a beer and apologizes for provoking Sam at the doctor’s office. He admits that Jack may be more useful than he previously wanted to believe. Sam, as usual, flips and plays Devil’s Advocate – what if Mary is actually dead? What if he’s in denial. Dean says that Sam needs to “keep the faith” for them both, since he can’t right now.
Meanwhile, Castiel wakes up in a field. Or is it Castiel and not the entity? Who even freakin’ knows, anymore?
We need your help!
Contribute monthly via Patreon (which includes perks), make a one-time donation through Paypal, or buy us a coffee.
I’ll also be simul-recapping on Wayward Children.
Like this column? You can help keep it going by contributing monthly via Patreon (which includes perks), making a one-time donation through Paypal, or buying us a coffee.