The Official “Advanced Thanatology” (13.05) Live Recap Thread

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I’ll also be simul-recapping on Wayward Children.

Recap of death, both little d and big D, including some of Dean’s greatest deaths hits and Dean killing Death, plus Billie from last season getting killed off.

So, we can expect something about death this episode.

Cut to Now in Grand Junction, CO, in the woods at night. I’m sure whatever is about to happen will end well.

Two Doomed Teaser Teens are about to jump a fence to get in somewhere. With video cameras. It’s an old mental hospital and the pretty, bigger boy (Evan) is far more into it – too into it – than the other. Evan recounts to the boy a story of a man there who used to slice open patients’ skulls. The other boy suggests that maybe the culprit should cut open Evan’s skull to make him shut up. Good idea.

Up the stairs they go, recording all the way. The other kid hesitates, but Evan shames him into going up. We also find out that another kid, Mike, wisely “punked out” and didn’t come.

Upstairs, they find hospital beds, lots of dust, and a small OR with plague masks on a shelf. Evan tells the other kid to take one and put it in his bag. They hear a creaking noise, but Evan dismisses it. Evan is brave until the creaking gets louder and they hear whispers. They both run downstairs, where Evan gets knocked down and drilled by a ghost in a plague mask and butcher’s apron. The other kid gets bloodied, but breaks free and runs out of the house, Evan’s screams in his ears. He loses is camera in the process, so so much for evidence.

Title cards.

Cut to Dean having a PB&J sandwich for breakfast as Sam walks in. Sam comments on this, opens the fridge, and hands Dean a beer. “Live a little,” he says. Dean, who had previously demurred, asks Sam what is going on with him. Sam deflects and starts relating this case he found, which is, of course, about the DTTs we just met.

By the way, Misha Collins is listed as third lead.

Sam gives the other kid a name – Sean Rader – and says he was found wandering down the road, incapable of saying anything but the single word, “monster.”

Sam suggests they go without Jack, since Jack is binge-watching Sam’s sword and sorcery movies, and says they should go work a case themselves. In case any fans were wondering about Jack’s longevity as a recurring character, he’s getting the Kevin-in-MOTWs treatment this week.

In daylight, they pull up to a house in suits. Dean is surprised when Sam hands him his favorite fake ID – Agent Page, but Sam just brushes it off. They’re interviewing Sean’s mother, who says the doctor says Sean is physically fine, but psychologically traumatized so he can’t speak.

Dean goes to talk to Sean, who is drawing pictures of a figure in a plague mask (shades of “Dead in the Water”), while Sam interviews the Mom (who, yes, Eva, was in “Trial and Error”). She says that Sean, Evan and Mike were “inseparable” and that Mike is insisting he doesn’t know anything about what happened.

Dean tries to get Sean to talk to him by saying he sees monsters in his dreams, but that he and his brother are the things that monsters fear. Alas, it doesn’t work.

As they get back the hotel, Sam suggests they go to a strip club, called the Clam Dive (ewwwwwwww), which he read reviews about online. Dean calls him on this, too, and how Sam has been nice to him all day, but doesn’t let Sam squirm out of it this time. Sam admits he’s very worried about Dean, that Dean is “in a dark place” and too depressed to care about people and saving them, anyway.

Dean insists he’s fine. As his hand hovers over the front desk call bell, he says will fight his way out of his funk the same way he always does – “with bullets, bacon and booze [ding!] a lot of booze.”

Sean later wakes up from a nightmare. His mom rushes in and comforts him. He actually says something besides “monster” – “okay” – and his mother is relieved at this breakthrough.

But it’s shortlived, as soon after, the ghost with the drill appears in his room and breaks through his skull (for some reason, Sean gets out of bed to meet the ghost).

Sam wakes up in the hotel to the alarm in the morning and is concerned to find Dean’s bed empty. But then he hears snoring and finds Dean passed out on the floor, a spilled beer next to him, his tie around his head, a pink bra around his neck, on top of one of his shoes. I so want a screencap of that.

Though concerned that this isn’t quite what he had in mind, Sam quietly gets dressed and leaves to interview the remaining kid, allowing Dean to sleep it off on peace.

Mike is working at a barn, moving some hay bales (sure don’t miss doing that). Mike is nervous and Sam works out of him that his friends went to “the old Meadows place” and he was too scared to go. Poor Mike is genuinely worried about them.

Back at the hotel, Dean, in dark glasses and still in his suit (sans tie) from the night before, is eating a ton of bacon at the complimentary breakfast. When Sam comes in and snarks about it, Dean says, “What happened to you being nice to me?”

Sam pulls out a large bottle of booze.

Dean [taking it]: “You are forgiven.”

Sam fills Dean in on the Dr. Meadows, who was a creepy psychiatrist who experimented on his patients back in the 1960s. He gave them lobotomies and continued to keep and experiment on those who survived. He was eventually caught and executed.

Dean notes that one of the photos has a mask similar to the one Sean drew. Sam calls it a “plague mask” (got it in one) and says Dr. Meadows was wearing one when he was arrested. They had to rip it off. Sam also later says that Meadows was cremated, so maybe he’s attached to an object Sean took from the house (you know, like the mask Evan stuck in his backpack).

Sam gets a call. It’s from Penny, Sean’s mother. She says Sean is missing. After she comforted him the night before, she went to bed. It then got very cold, so she went into his room to see if he needed a blanket. He had simply disappeared.

Both brothers immediately guess it’s a ghost, probably Meadows’. Dean feels guilty about not trying harder to get Sean to talk, though Sam says Sean might still be alive.

Sam guesses that since Meadows held his “patients” prisoner at his house, that might be where Sean is.

At the house (which looks remarkably like the one from “Regarding Dean” and “There Will Be Blood), Sam’s EMF goes off like crazy, but Dean spots the ghost first. Behind Sam. Sam gets knocked aside and then the ghost goes after Dean. Dean gets thrown up against a wall and the doc goes after him with his drill.

Sam dispels the ghost with iron before Dean can get trepanned and up the stairs they go, looking for Sean. They find the office. Dean notices the line of masks and correctly guesses they are Meadows’ tie to this world (the missing one is not mentioned). When he touches one, they hear the ghost scream in another part of the house.

Sam starts laying down a line of salt in front of the door while telling Dean to burn the masks. Dean does so as the ghost blasts away the line of salt and comes after Sam. Fortunately, it goes up before it can attack him (nice effect).

Problem is, as the Brothers are exiting down the hallway, their breath mists up again. Sam suggests one of Meadows’ patients is still trapped. Dean guesses a *lot* of them are still trapped. They run to the stairs as doors slam and lights burst. On the stairwell, Dean asks why the ghosts can’t become visible and Sam guesses they’re not strong enough to “pierce the Veil.” Dean grumps that they can kill the Brothers, though.

Dean decides he needs to take a shamanic soul trip to the Veil to lead the ghosts (as a psychopomp) out of this life after asking them what they still want. While Sam protests, Dean pulls out a case with two honking huge needs – one that will kill him and one that will bring him back (yes, this is medically stupid; let’s just roll with it) – and stabs himself with it, after telling Sam to give him three minutes and then bring him back.

As an upset Sam gently lays Dean’s body down, Dean reappears as a fetch nearby. He tries to attract the attention of a wandering spirit, but is ignored. He then sees a red-haired woman (apparently a Reaper) who tells him she can lead him out of this world. He introduces himself briefly as Dean and says he’s busy, then leaves. As he does, she looks horrified, recognizing the name.

Apparently, Reapers can fly again and aren’t really angels, anymore. Or something.

Sensibly, Sam lays a ring of salt around Dean’s body and holds vigil as thunder crashes. Meanwhile, the panicked Reaper is in some kind futuristic archive, calling out “Dean Winchester is in the Veil!”

Dean is following the ghost from before, but it vanishes into a wall, still ignoring him. Then he meets Sean. Sean is dead. He tells Dean what happened. The ghost appeared in his room and possessed him. He then took the mask and put it on, going back to the house. Then he took the mask off and put it back, and the ghost made him trepan himself with the drill. He says he misses his mom.

Dean apologizes. Sean says Evan is also there, but they can’t leave. Dean says he’s going to help Sean go “to a better place” and asks him where the doc put his body. Then he runs up the stairs to where Sam is trying to revive him. But it’s not working and Billie (you know, the Reaper Castiel killed last season) appears in a long coat, with a scythe. She says, “We need to talk.”

Dean asks her how she is “alive” after Castiel killed her. She says that when an “incarnation” of Death is killed, the next Reaper killed takes its place. Not sure how that works when the Winchesters were the ones who started the trend of killing Reapers, but okay. Anyhoo, she was the next Reaper killed, so she got promoted.

She then takes him to the archive (which she calls her “Reading Room”) and the archive is full of shelves with a W on them (one might even say they’re infinite). He asks if he’s dead – that is to say, if he’s permanently dead. She says that depends on him. He tries to leave, but she says she’s not giving him a choice, per se. She wants to know how he crossed over to an alternate reality. It turns out even she doesn’t know how.

Dean acts cagey and insists on a deal. His deal is to let the ghosts in the Meadows House move on. She agrees immediately and the red-haired Reaper who sounded the alarm on him appears in the house and leads all the ghosts (including Sean and Evan) to the other side. Billie says it’s done and Dean asks how he can know. She says he can’t, so he gives her what she wants to know. He tells her about Jack and the “little rip” and that yes, he and Sam went to the other reality and it sucked.

Billie explains that the entire “multiverse” they both live in is a “house of cards” that could easily be “knocked down by some big dumb Winchester.” Dean allows that “that sounds like us.”

But Billie’s not done. She says Dean’s changed. She asks why he didn’t throw being sent back into his deal. He says he figured that was already off the table and he wasn’t coming back this time (so he kinda lied to Sam back there). Billie says that no, it’s more. He’s lost his feeling invincibility, that he can win even the highest stakes. She also correctly susses out that he really wants to die (but hasn’t he for a long time now?).

Dean shrugs this off: “What do you want me to say? It doesn’t matter. *I* don’t matter.”

But he’s in for an unpleasant surprise as we finally get back to the season 11 storyline season 12 summarily dropped.

“Don’t you?” Billie says, the first shot off Dean’s bow.

It all comes pouring out. “I couldn’t save Mom. I couldn’t save Cas. I couldn’t even save a scared little kid. Sam keeps trying to fix it, but I just keep dragging him down.”

Dean says if it’s his “time,” he’s okay with that. He’s “not gonna beg.”

Billie then points out that everything “on this shelf” is a record of how Dean dies. She doesn’t say if any of those deaths will stick, just that his “choices” determine how he goes out. Eventually. Maybe. She affably, almost cruelly, dangles the possibility that someday, he might actually die a permanent death and then informs him that none of the deaths recorded in that enormous archive says he dies right then.


Billie says that since she got her promotion, her vistas have been expanded, as it were, and she realizes how important the Winchesters – how important *Dean* – are to the SPNverse, which does not thrill her at all, since they are humans and, well, Winchesters. Just like Chuck, she does say, “You and your brother.” But just like Chuck, there’s that little pause before “and your brother” (and the cold reality that Sam’s death has been dangled in front of Dean too many times as a motivator to indicate Sam’s importance is the same to Chuck and Death as Dean’s importance). It’s as though she knows that Dean can’t bear to hear he has to carry this load completely alone. He’s already lost too much. She then tells him that he’s got work to do, though she won’t give him any details. All she does, really, is impress on him that he is (or has somehow become) an indispensable cog in the operation of the SPNverse.

Dean says, “Hmm.” He says that a lot in this scene and each time … well … it’s an interesting reaction because it shows how he’s just taking it in and calmly assessing stuff that would put any other human in a corner, gibbering.

And then, Dean finally drops his cloak of indifference to his mother’s fate and tries to ask about her. But Billie snaps her fingers in the middle of his question and he wakes up to a very relieved Sam and a very quiet house.

The next morning, the coroner’s office brings out several dead bodies, including Sean, Evan and a bunch of skeletons. We see Sam comforting Penny and then he walks past the row of skeletons on a tarp to Dean, who is sitting on the trunk of the Impala. Dean asks out Penny is and Sam says, basically, about as you could expect. Sam then asks Dean about his spirit trip and why he came back after the drug didn’t work. Then he asks about the ghosts, which are all gone. Dean tries to duck it for “another time,” but Sam points out these generally don’t happen (this is not entirely fair, since Dean has opened up later on in the past, but Sam does deserve an explanation this instance, I think, and sooner than later).

So, Dean tells Sam he saw Death, who is now Billie, and that she sent him back because “we’re important” and “we have work to do.” He admits he has no idea what that means.

Sam then asks him if he’s okay. Dean decides to be honest. “No, Sam, I’m not okay. I’m pretty far from okay.” He admits that he’s losing faith in the Family Business, that the recent losses have become too much. “I just need a win. I just need a damned win.”

They get in the car and drive away as we get a montage of bodies coming out and Penny seeing her son one final time and weeping, to Dean driving as the Impala goes through a field of grain and Sam sleeps, and to Billie opening a book in Dean’s huge archive. Goodness, is that Steppenwolf? Why, yes, it is. “It’s Never Too Late.”

Oh, but there’s a coda, people.

In the car, Dean gets a call as Sam wakes up. Dean is so shocked that he’s speechless. We switch to the Impala coming down a city street, still at night, past a storefront church with a neon-blue cross, Steppenwolf still on the soundtrack. As the car stops and the Brothers get out, Dean looks shocked, almost shell-shocked, as someone by a payphone turns around. It’s Castiel, looking bewildered and then starting to smile as he sees Dean.


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58 thoughts on “The Official “Advanced Thanatology” (13.05) Live Recap Thread”

  1. I am watching Nightmare and it just hit me: Jensen looks like a stripper who is playing a priest. You know how they have a cop show up to break up the rowdy party and then takes it ALL off? THAT is Dean in the scene where they go to Max’ house. Stripper!Dean.

    I am still bummed they did not show Jensen in shorts washing Baby in BABY or more of the mechanical bull in Regarding Dean. Of course the gym instructor in ASS ‘or’ the bed scene in Phantom Traveler were both Hubba Hubba for ME.

  2. CC I got a shot for the first time on Monday (into my right shoulder, which has a ‘massive’ rotator cuff tear that the surgeon explained to me is not repairable and I will then probably need shoulder replacement — no fun, don’t want, I’m gonna hold my breath). It ‘did’ take away the pain golly two days without pain killers will take a while to get used to again; BUT I wonder how long will the relief last?

    1. When I first started to get them it just took the edge off of the pain for a few weeks. Shots have to be at least expensive months apart. Every soft structure muscle and tendon in my shoulder was irritated, a branded, inflamed.
      Gradually stiff healed and the effects lasted longer.
      I started in 2015. This year the I was actually pain-free for four months before getting the last shot.
      I am actually to the point where I can do things to strengthen the muscles which helps tremendously.
      I do standing push-ups in the shower at an angle which had given me guns and pecs. More importantly the strengthening has improved use and reduced pain.
      The syndicate didn’t kill Mulder because Mulder’s dad was in the syndicate too and because Mulder was also a successful experimentall subject. Both he and Krycek were immune to the black oil. Mulder was part of their plan all along to actual resist the alien takeover.
      The Supernatural mytharc nonsense regarding psi kids and Azazel does not mesh well with the late true vessel stuff. Kripke was throwing things at the wall to see what stuck. The angelic mytharc came out of the need to resurrect Dean. I don’t think he had much of a plan besides making his avatar special snowflake Sammy the best ever, and he failed at that miserably for many fans. This show would have tanked without Manners elevating the story arcs and jensen’s iconic performance. Also some damn fine casking of secondary characters who could create magic from the scripts. Cas, Crowley, Alastair, Death, Azazel, Zachariah, Uriel, Ash, Ellen, old Bobby, Pamela, Michael… they were all a cut above.

        1. I notice that about auto-correct and enjoy having to figure out the word that was meant. Like somebody said “Blake’s” above and in context I read BLAME. What “I” hate about auto-correct is that it won’t let me misspell words. Like I like to write T E H Googul but it won’t let me. I have to write the Googul. (I just spelled it T E H but it autocorrected to THE; I am an ignorant computer user and don’t know how to turn off autocorrect for those cases when I ‘want’ to misspell something for effect.)

  3. OK season 1 is on TNT again.

    I have a question that always confused me, kind of like WHY did the Initiative or the Consortium or whatever they were not just kill Mulder. They had the ability, the idea that he would be a ‘martyr’ well boo-hoo, better to get him out of the way.

    Anyway, WHY did no demon go after Dean in Season 1? HE ‘was’ the one keeping Sam on the straight-and-narrow (or at least non-demonic) from the get-go.

    So it makes me wonder, I know you know we know that Lucifer and Michael were in collusion for their vessels. Was Azazel not in on the actual plan? He was involved in the Psy Kids and also the Croat virus (I assume he was working with human scientists at Niveus to develop the virus because THAT takes a while) but do you think he knew about the big fight at Stuhl? It seemed like Azazel was really the purest of the pure for ‘his’ Father; I can’t figure out if he knew or not.

    As for YED ‘knowing’ that Dean was going to kill him, I feel sure that YED believed he could get around that. All he had to do was keep The Colt out of Dean’s hands; he just ‘had’ to play with the puppy though and Dean got to the gun and blew him away.

    ALSO Dr Ellicott did not do the ‘flame out’ ghosts always seem to do. I thought they showed ghosts flaming out before but Ellicott just turned into ash and dissolved. So the body burned but there were also ash remains of the specter. Just confused. When people talk about canon, I generally figure OK for canon but the writers can ‘explain’ things differently or ‘more’ fully (like Reapers are a branch of angels like the Cupids are — OK — but then Tessa could not have been ‘possessed’ in IMTOD, right? So they needed another workaround. Should not angels have been unpossessable (new word)?

    We ought to have a vote on who was/is Best Villain. I vote YED because Fred Lehne did a GREAT job. I wonder if YED exists in the AU. I also liked Dick Roman but I thought Edgar was even better.

  4. I also watched The Exorcist (on ‘your’ recommendation Paula) and noticed “that guy” who ‘did’ play Dr Garrison in Bedtime Stories but I always think back to when he was on One Life to Live. He played one of those semi-messy good guys; I ‘think’ he died when somebody put a bomb in a wedding cake…but don’t quote me.

      1. That kiss was great. He seems great. However I am suspicious because of all of the lion and cub talk from the demons. They really want to corrupt Tomas and neuter Marcus.

        1. I get the impression that Marcus needs to stay “pure” to retain his role as God’s vessel. I felt bad for him and was glad he seems to have gotten his mojo back, but still…would having a nice boyfriend, as well, be so terrible after all he’s sacrificed, already?

          I’ve just wanted to smack Tomas all season. Dammit, he *knows* better, yet here he is, jumping from Lust last season feet-first into Pride and Envy this season. Kid, buy a clue.

          Am I the only one who feels really sorry for Andy? It’s as though the demons are intentionally targeting good, even saintly, people in distress this season, as opposed to the more venal ones who supported the Chicago cult last season (pretty spectacular way to wrap up that loose end this past week).

          1. I definitely feel sorry for Andy. His grief is palpable, it’s a,sign of how deeply he loved his wife, and he neglected himself and his needs and put on a brave face for his kids. He is noble and admirable and Cho does a magnificent job of showing the character’set layers. I sensed something off and pegged him as the possessed one straight away because of Cho’s nuanced performance. The ancient Greeks had a concept that to live a good life below the radar of the gods one espoused the nothing to excess rule. Andy’s grief was in excess and that made him vulnerable.

            Last season the demons appeared to operate by the 7 deadly sins which still meant basically good people could be corrupted. The sister was envious of her older sibling and unlucky enough to be her mother’s daughter.

            Marcus got his MOJO back last year when he momentarily expelled the demon from the girl in the water. And I believe the sisters also helped to restore his faith and strength with their compassionate approach to exorcism. I am not sure why he feels lost again unless he is stupidly comparing himself to Tomas.

            Tomas avoided falling prey to pride last season but oh boy is he prideful about being chosen by God for his visions. The dying demon strongly implied they have been manipulating the cub for some time. I had thought that God spoke to Tomas through the visions of Marcus and through Mr. Rance last season. Whoa if they have been manipulating Marcus through Tomas. Losing Tomas would completely break Marcus. They seem afraid of him bigly and try to break his spirit rather than kill him outright.

          2. I do like the idea of a gay excommunicated priest having a direct conduit to God. Organized religion often sucks especially when it is hypercritical and pejorative on social issues.

            I find the idea that the autistic boy was so easily co-opted disturbing. Someone on the spectrum or mentally ill can be fundamentally good.

          3. I like the “Magic negro” despite the trope. It’s nice that his faith has given him structure and a road to survival. And I like it’s his personal faith in God and personal adherence to a code of behavior that guides him. It works for him yet he loves and accepts his makeshift family regardless of their belief systems.

          4. Alicia Witt is well cast. Now that she has matured her facial expressions give me the Willie’s. Maybe it’s just too much botox… no judgement… actresses are under tremendous pressure.
            I have been considering Botox for migraines however my derm said once you do the forehead you usually have to do the eyes. I do not want that crazed wide eyed look.

  5. As I have been saying for a while Dean’s m.of. is to spiral down into dark despair and depression which coupled with his low self worth lead him to believe he’s a failure and that the only good thing he might do is to sacrifice himself to take out something evil.
    It’s his fatal flaw. We have seen it again and again. And since unlike Sam it is not about hubris and stroking his ego. Therefore any situation will do.
    We saw him trade his life and soul for Sam’s life in season 2, say yes temporarily to Michael in season 5, die in season 6, be the one to go against Dick in season 7, try to be the Trial doer in season 8, take on the, offer himself as collateral to save Sam in 9, take the Mark in season 9, commit suicide by Megatron in season 9, go on multiple suicide missions in season culminated by calling Death to take his life in 10, sacrifice himself by taking the death kiss in season 11, sacrificing himself in season 11, repeatedly risking himself to save Mary in 12.
    He lost Cas and Mary and failed to kill Lucifer and Jack. He undoubtedly Blake’s himself for it all. Of course he is going to sacrifice himself because he’s desperate for the win, desperate to do one good thing. The only thing that surprises me is how well it was done and that they went there textual lyrics.
    Having Cas back is nice but it’s not the win Dean needs and it probably will lead to a gaping hole torn between the two universes. Dean is so going to say yes to Michael to get the win. It’s the universal solution to every problem that they could potentially have: Nuclear!Jack, Lucifer, Asshole!Michael, braying Asmodeus, Shaheen, the Bad!Place Apocalypse.
    Dean behaving this way is no surprise. My complaint about Carver’s years was that although they explored,Dean’s tragic flaw they omitted the resolution and character growth that Sam got with his redemption arc. Now Sam’s hubris is not heroic and Dean’s obsessive need to sacrifice himself to get any win is heroic. I think Dean’s flaw is going to lead to some magnificent mytharc if the writing continues at this level. So yeah!

  6. It was on of the best episodes in a long time. Yes it seemed to reference Chuck’s firewall speech to Dean but I think Billie knows more than she let on. I time Sam will get Jack to open the rift and the two worlds merge and that Apocalypse becomes this Apocalypse and Dean says Yes to Michael to save the world and to get that win… mic drop.
    Simply put she would not have cared about the rift if it was a one time thing now closed and we also know Sam has the big Winchester feet have been looking for.
    I squeeze when Dean said he needed a win because I have been saying his need for a win will lead him to say yes to Michael. He is exactly in the minds state for that to happen even if I am surprised that he admitted it.

    1. Oh the shot thing was also a reference to that season 6 episode in which Dean kills himself in the doctor’s office to deal with Death for Sam’s soul and becomes death for a while.

    2. Hold off on the mic drop. Dean saying yes to Michael. Dean being important to the story? A story that will not be hijacked and handed over to another character? That will last more than a few episodes and truly be addressed? Allowing Jensen to really sink his teeth into? After MOC/Purgatory/The Darkness/DemonDean… my money is on probably not. Sadly. We’ve been burned so many times. Plus Singer is still at the helm too.

      1. It absolutely set up. I am 100 percent on this.
        I even previously posted about Dean being in that dark place when he would do anything self sacrificing and desperate for a win before the episode aired and then squeeze Dean says this out loud.
        So yes. Much droP.
        Sam has assumed the caretaker role and Dean is all up in the mytharc.

    1. Dean wasn’t doing it *to* Sam. He just wanted out and to go on a high note.

      Besides, all I could think about during that last conversation was how many things Sam had done to push Dean to that point, all the mean and hideous speeches he made about how useless Dean’s faith in the Family Business was and how weak and needy Dean was. I wonder if Sam even remembered them.

      So, I think that’s something Sam needed to hear.

      1. He may not have been doing it “to” Sam, and he had specific reasons within their mission, but actions have consequences and they do affect others. If Dean has a fatal flaw it is his assumption, in times of stress, that actions like this ultimately hurt only him. In better and more rational moments he is aware that this is not true.

        In this case, he acted quickly and unilaterally (one might say rashly). He placed his welfare in Sam’s hands before considering other alternatives or giving Sam a chance to prepare. He also endangered Sam in the process. Those three minutes were critical. After all, they knew there were other ghosts present, even if the mad doctor himself had been dispatched, and ghosts are inherently dangerous within the SPNverse. The three minutes that Sam had to protect his body until he could be revived left Sam himself unprotected. Dean could very well have found Sam on the other side of the veil with him. I know he thought that he needed to find out what was going on to save Sean, but at that point they did not even know if Sean was still alive. On the other hand, if Sam had died and Sean had still been alive, where would their mission have been.

        This is all in direct contrast to Dean’s spirit walk in Appointment at Samarra. In that case he had time to rationally consider alternatives and he contracted with a practicioner who had clearly decided to accept the possible consequences in exchange for a fee. He was endangering nobody else. It is true that Bobby would have grieved and possibly blamed himself, but he wasn’t present or physically involved.

        Now I am fully aware of all the abuse, lies, and general toxicity Sam has heaped on Dean over the years. I am aware that Sam’s actions have endangered Dean a number of times, both intentionally and unintentionally. I am also aware that Sam has greatly contributed to Dean’s suicidal tendancies and any guilt he has in relation to Dean’s death is completely deserved in a karmic sense.

        I also know that Dean was fine with, and possibly hoping for, permanent death (though I sometimes wonder why; he knows that death does not guarantee oblivion, hell is terrible and he is lukewarm about heaven). Nonetheless, Dean endangered not just himself, but his brother and his mission. I am sure his mental illness, which is very bad right now, contributed to this lapse in judgement. This is a reason, and a sympathetic one, but reasons are not excuses. Thinking “but I didn’t mean for that to happen” doesn’t cut it where consequences are concerned. And I’m sure we would call Sam out for similar actions, even if the show never does. So at the end of the day, I still think Dean owed Sam that explanation.

        1. I’m not just talking about previous seasons. I’m talking about this season. That Sam and Dean are at odds over what to do about Jack and whether or not to rescue Mary, I get. That Sam thinks it’s worth the risk to open the rift and that they do have to do something about Jack if they can’t just kill him, I also get. But it’s incredibly dangerous to open the rift again, to the entire SPNverse, yet Sam thinks it’s okay to do it. And Sam’s not crazy. He’s just selfish.

          Dean, on the other hand, genuinely feels he is dragging Sam down, that Sam would be better off without him, not helped by Sam undercutting him with Jack and questioning his judgement all season (even though Sam is the one who wants to do something really questionable). We can argue that Dean ought to know better, but he *can’t* know better. He’s sick. It’s a delusion. Even when faced with the truth that he is more necessary than pretty much any other humans (not to mention lots of supernaturally powerful beings), all he says is “Hmm.” And this delusion is, unfortunately, reinforced by the weak faith those around him have in him.

          The other thing is that Dean felt this was a sure way to get rid of the ghosts. They were surrounded. They weren’t likely to get out of there by other means. There wasn’t a lot of time to argue with Sam about it and Dean is a very experienced spirit walker.

          And he did go in there, at least consciously, believing he would come back in three minutes. He even gave Sam the means to do so. It wasn’t until he encountered Billie that he appeared to give up on the idea completely and even then, he bargained with her to get the ghosts to pass on, to give Sean peace and save Sam.

          I know Sam has come a long way, but I wish he would drop all the projecting on Dean and Dean-blaming (interspersed with some useless self-flagellation every now and then) and be honest: “I miss Mom. She sacrificed herself for us. She could still be alive. And dammit, we’re the Winchesters. Surely, we can figure out how to get her back without letting something else ugly through.” I think Dean would actually find that argument persuasive, certainly more than “I can’t believe you don’t care Mom is gone and anyway, she could be alive and let’s use this kid to get her back, so stop being such a meany to him.”

          Dean’s crazy. Sam doesn’t have that excuse.

          1. This is interesting: what I notice is that Sam has a ‘plan’ and it generally works, he games things thru.

            Dean often times goes along but something happens and he has to have a PLAN B that is just his (I am thinking especially of Mommie Dearest, when nobody knew he’d ingested Phoenix Ash and ‘won the day’) or does something on the spur of the moment (Love Hurts when Dean kisses the wife to stop the Curse from killing her). Sam does not appear to have that kind of immediate thinking (and if anybody has a Sam ‘spur of the moment’ thing I’d like it; the best “plan” Sam came up with was setting Alastair on Castiel and Uriel in Heaven and Hell, GREAT plan.) It’s like Dean is ‘tactical’ while Sam is ‘strategic’ if that makes sense.

            So, yeah, Dean had a GREAT immediate response in this episode; it makes sense. But it was obvious to me that SAM did not know that Dean had put that box of syringes in there (and JESU KOHANI those were monster needles). This is something that should have been discussed. They have African Dream Root in their trunk for gosh’ sake. That is a similar situation, one would be ‘out’ the other would have to protect the body. Now a lot more serious because he would be DEAD but heck, I find them analogous. BUT here I find Dean did something he had never discussed with Sam before. I don’t agree that because Sam has done stupid, idiotic things Dean has free rein here. Sam looked frantic to me when the second shot did not work. (Of course, these guys deal with life-and-death situations all the time so they usually ‘can’ function in a frantic situation, but boy, Sam was unable to think of the next thing here. Of course, ALSO, the whole thing may have been resolved in an extra 10sec of ‘real’ time so there might not have been a time for Sam to ‘game’ it out.)

            1. The problem with Sam’s plans is that they work, but he never thinks through any consequences beforehand. So, he’s always caught flatfooted when those consequences immediately kick into effect. Killing Lilith and lifting the MoC fairly leap to mind here, not to mention deciding to work with the LoL (let alone Grandpa Shady, for that matter). If Sam’s plan is to get Jack to open the rift back up to rescue Mary, the show’s history is just about 100% in favor of it being a colossally stupid idea that will have horrific consequences. Sam’s plans always are and do. And this is coming from someone who is hoping Mary *will* come back and not get pointlessly killed at the last minute to generate brotherly mangst in her sons.

              As for Dean killing himself, ultimately, that’s his life and his choice. And Sam abrogated *any* right to have a say long before his umpteenth delivery of the “I’m pretty sure the world would be a better place without you, Dean” speech he tends to give his brother whenever he’s mad at him over something. It’s not just that Sam has said and done mean things. It’s that Sam has actively encouraged his brother to go off himself (or do something equivalent) several times in the past and then always been horrified and outraged when Dean actually went ahead and did it. Sammy, honey, it’s time to grow the hell up and get a learning curve with that. Whenever your brother’s on a ledge, STOP SAYING “JUMP!”

              And the African Dream Root might have worked if they hadn’t been trapped on the stairs by the ghosts (which does also kinda explain why Sam was afraid to do anything else but try to wait and then revive Dean). But they were. What’s more troubling is why Dean had that case on him.

          2. I have been surprised that they are letting Dean frankly point out Sam’s flaws… he uses people, he’said contemplating a very dangerous plan that could lead to lives list for selfish reasons, and that Sam’s plans have a way of backfiring.
            For the first time these obvious criticisms have been made in text and not just by ethical fans

            At the same time they have Sam assuming the human caretaker role that Dean had during seasons 1-5. And yes this is another clear mirror that we are heading to a Winchester Apocalypse and Dean!Michael.
            Personally I don’t like Sam’s snotty exasperation with Dean. Give me grumpy Dick Dean anyday over Snotty, “sensitive” Sam.

            1. They do seem to have flipped roles. This does not appear to please some Sam fans. Hmm, but it was good enough for Dean for eight and a half seasons.

              Catching up with The Exorcist. On the latest episode. I see Marcus’ hot love interest is played by Dr. Garrison from “Bedtime Stories.”

          3. Maybe Billie knew she would be Winchester collateral damage and was destined to be NU!Death since Tessa and Death were killed by Dean. It was the most likely scenario.
            And her introduction screamed soon to be NU!Death.

            Nobody wants to be Dean’s reaper.

          4. This is odd but last week when Sam said Mary ‘loved Dean best’ I checked out their rooms. DEAN is in a block of rooms at LoL that begin with number 1 (113 or something) and Mary was in 115 (which appears to be their ‘guest room’) and SAM is in a block of rooms that begin with a 2 (215) and Jack is in a room like 217. So she had a room closer to Dean but it could just be it was the agreed-upon guest room. BUT in that case it still seemed to have bugged Sam that her room was one corridor over.

            Paula, you have mentioned numerous times that Dean is mentally ill. Would you call it PTSD? That he lives in a constant state of hyper-awareness is all I can think of. That he is more ‘intense’ does not mean mental illness per se. Or is it the PTSD from the time as a 4yo he saw his mom on the ceiling? It seems to me that Dean can get along in bunches of situations….he was ‘ok’ in prison or on the movie set or at Sandover. I know that It’s a Terrible Life was a foolie, but I think Dean ‘was’ excellent at his job.

            1. I think the show has always indicated, from the Pilot onward, that Mary and Dean were closer. I mean, Mary only remembers Sam as a baby and Sam doesn’t remember Mary at all. All the romantic stuff about mother-child bonding from birth aside, they are complete strangers to each other. It’s rather different for Mary and Dean. This is on top of the part where they already made it explicit that Sam and John had more in common, and were actually closer in some fundamental ways, than John and Dean, so having Mary be All About Sam (as she appeared to be in “Home”) would have been too cruel. Dean needs *some* special bond with someone in his family.

              As far as Dean’s mental illness, severe PTSD is a given. He probably has some attachment, defiance or antisocial disorders, too. He’s also canonically an alcoholic at this point (functional or not is even an open question) and abuses prescription meds. He’s also tried pot and LSD, though it doesn’t appear he’s ever tried, or would ever try, harder drugs.

              As far as the source of PTSD, all of the above. It is not uncommon for people to suffer PTSD that is piled on previous PTSD from previous traumas, thus magnifying it more than if there had been only one big trauma.

              Dean’s ability to play roles temporarily, as in prison or in “Hollywood Babylon,” is not necessarily a healthy thing. It can be a separation of self much like what you see in extreme dissociation. What Dean can’t do is play “normal” for any long period of time.

        2. This is one of those times I feel I need an upvote.

          Sam looked pretty hysterical to me while he was waiting for the 3min countdown and THEN when the shot did not work…Sam was pretty hysterical.

          I liked Billie. Pete said, I wonder if she liked pickle chips.

          1. I think Billie works much better as the new Death. Her attitude finally makes sense. Before, when she was trying to throw the Brothers into the Empty, not so much. The actress was fine. It was the character that needed a soft reboot.

          2. Those needles look similar products the ones used to inject into joints. Long and thick those are. I endured a shot today through my back and into my bursa.

    2. The suicide wasn’t intended to be permanent. It was when he saw Billie that he realized his chance of a return flight just went from 75% to 0 in no time flat. People keep saying how selfish and weak Dean was for not making a deal or asking to return to Sam (cause, Sam and also for everything Dean is leaving him to fight on his own) but I think that if Deans tank wasn’t completely empty at the beginning of this case then he was running on fumes. Adding the realization of his failure to save the “kid” after his stroll on the other side and it was the proverbial straw and camels back. Tanks empty. Then Billie shows with her mind games and he figures his goose is cooked. In his frame of mind he has no fight left to care. Is he thinking straight? Hell no. The mans depressed and emotionally exhausted. I love how people are judging him for not dealing when every time he does these same people bitch at him for doing so. If Billie hadn’t gotten the upgrade she probably would have made sure he stayed dead.

      Curious to see if that is really our Cas or the imposter or blend of both. EntiCas! Castity! I’m pulling for EntiCas.

      People are upset that the win Dean was saying he needed ends up being Cas’s return. As in Destiel. I think the win just represents the idea that in spite of it all they got one of their own back and that raises the idea that perhaps hope isn’t dead. It’s a check in the win column after all those negatives.

      Sorry, I think I’m rambling. It’s late.

      1. I agree with everything except I don’t think the win Dean needs is Cas. Dean needs to actively get them a win because he blames himself for the losses. And yes not being able to save that kid Who the proverbial last straw
        Cas sure looked like Cas but I too expect Oily! CAS. Except that Cas us unaware of his,dark passenger just like Jack is unaware of his dark half and Nice Shifter was unaware that her dark half was pretending to be her.
        I expect this dark half/dark passenger motif will also involved Mary!Lucifer and,Dean!Michael as well as the upcoming Frog and Scorpion episode.
        And I am amazed at how well Dabbler and Hacks does this mytharc subtext so well at the same time they typically write meh episodes with lol everything.

        1. I don’t know what Dean could’ve done re Sean (Shawn?) in his case. ‘Pushing him harder’ might have led him to shut down. People give various scenarios but at THAT moment Sean just could not talk about it. If he could’ve pointed out the mask (and that was SO creepy, like those crazy animal heads in Plush) they might’ve had a better place to start but that is NO guarantee they would’ve gotten to Salt and Burn the ghost before he killed Sean.

          I have to say it yet again, this show out of all the shows I watch does such a good job showing human cost in the ‘monster wars’ and the loss the families left behind feel. The actress that played Mama Sean was so good at that. I even saw Sean’s guilt at getting away while Evan got drilled and I think his guilt was why he could not speak. (Aside from the pee-inducing fear, of course.)

      2. The win is defeating something bad without losing anyone. Losing Cas and Mary without a win was demoralizing; however Dean always ruminates On any loss and that leads to depression.

      3. By people you mean WFB… I keep meaning of write a review but I can’t stand how trigger happy those folks are… it destroys thematic discussion to fixate on a single character so maniacally.
        I couldn’t discuss Carver’s character arcs because they cannot cotton to the idea that Sammy needed redemption. Carver have him a 4 season character arc that flayed his character before giving him redemption. Even if he’s still prissy, snotty with a stick up his arse compared to dirty Dick Dean… at least I have sympathy for Sam and even like him despite his flaws because he recognized his flaws, apologized to Dean and tried to be more responsible.
        The first few episodes clearly had the intent of fanning fangirl wars which of course means high social media results. The bastards.
        I liked this episode enough to write something especially since my Longview thematic read of the showorld since 12:1 is panning out. I done tolds y’all all last season we were heading towards a new and different Apocalypse…

        1. Definitely some peeps at WFB. One in particular is offended that the Show failed to support the spirit of AKF with Deans suicide. That people who are susceptible will see Dean give up and possibly think about doing the same. Good Chuck I hope the show doesn’t start letting AKF influence the writing. Real life. Fantasy. Please keep both separate.

          There is so much gnashing of teeth going on regarding Sam being sidelined over Deans depression and angst. The Dean Show. Yeah Sam getting speaking his mind and getting all the main kills, saving his incapacitated brother, interacting with the main character and supporting his brother is ignoring him. I try to understand but mostly I just skip the rants. Good Chuck.

  7. Now that’s more like it.

    Despite a few head scratchers in the plot – and Billie’s succession of the previous Death reminded me just a bit of Tim Allen in the “Santa Clause”- that was a solid entry into Dean’s highly missed mytharc. I think Sam’s inclusion when Billie was informing Dean of his importance to the SPN VERSE spoke less about Sam’s overall importance than that Dean would not have believed it if Sam was not included.

    That said, the look on his face when he realized he was being returned to the treadrill of his life was heartbreaking.

    It was also nice to see Sam showing some genuine consideration of his brother. After last week’s entry with the grief counselor, this actually seemed like a logical development rather than being random. Its as if Sam actually stopped to think about Dean’s various losses, and realized he could use some kindness and consideration. The clumsiness of his efforts spoke to his sincerity. It’s not like he has much practice being kind.

    And yes, Sam did deserve an explanation from Dean, considering that Dean made him unintentionally complicit in his possible death.

    It looks like God answered Dean’s prayer after all.

  8. Oh, the woman was Sean’s mom. Why do I keep getting that wrong. Bigger dude was Evan, kid with mom was Sean; lastly we got Mike throwing bales of hay around.

    I have been getting them mixed up all night.

    Hey, the red-headed witch may be Rowena! I gather we are getting a return for Rowena! Yippee! And I would love them to put Crowley in a woman’s body, just because I want to see ‘that’ dynamic play out. The woman who did Crowley in Season 11 Episode 1 was outstanding (the way she said YESSSS just got me).

        1. Rowena already tried to kill him and failed because he had the MoC. If he had2taken the Mark she would have kiled him.

          1. I thought that might have actually been what Billie meant. She never did say they were future deaths. After all, Dean has already died of a heart attack. And he came within inches of being eaten/stabbed by ghouls.

          2. Pete just insisted on watching the episode again: Billie said one of his deaths was being burned to death by a red-headed witch.

            If the scene in Inside Man is the one she is referring to (when Rowena tattooed herself with a curse to ‘kill’ Dean, he might’ve been expected to burst into flames) it’s already happened. If it is not a previous episode, it may be coming up.

            I have heard scuttlebutt that Rowena IS coming back, maybe from the AU!Earth.

            1. The showrunners confirmed she’s coming back, but they wouldn’t say how. It appears to be an MOTW, but that’s not the same as saying it’s a one-shot return.

  9. I thought last night was one of the best episodes I’ve seen in a long time. I watched Safe House yesterday and loved the intricacy of the Bobby/Rufus and Sam/Dean dance around the same issues.

    ONE thing SPN does for me is express the grief of those left behind, like Evan’s Mom. Wonderful job. I told my husband that if OUR son at THAT age had had that kind of trauma I would be sleeping sitting up in a chair in his room. I would not have left him alone. But it is also believable that she was giving her kid space. I find most of the deaths we see heart-breaking, it really turned me off ‘police procedurals’ just sort of pretending that everything is ok, that people needed ‘closure’ and now they are ‘ok.’ NOPE. Loss like this is a long-time sorrow. I wonder if Dean will think GOD (Guck? Amuck? YOU KNOW, the creator dude) did it, that God let him go so low and then gives him what he wants. TODAY I saw Don’t Call Me Shurley and there was Dean yelling at Chuck, impassioned, angry, at the end of his tether and suddenly all the noise stopped and everything was fixed. People were back from the DEAD because Dean got pissed.

    I liked ‘care-giver’ Sam too. AND I bet now that they got Castiel back, ‘that’ WAS Castiel, he spent too long staring at Dean not to be Castiel for reelz, TFW will be looking for Mama Mary because now they have Castiel to guide Jack in his powers.

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