BOBBY SELLS HIS SOUL TO HELP STOP THE APOCALYPSE/DEAN GOES HEAD TO HEAD WITH DEATH — Crowley (guest star Mark Sheppard) tells Bobby (Jim Beaver) he will give him the location of Death (guest star Julian Richings), the fourth horseman, in exchange for his soul. Knowing Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) need that fourth ring to stop the Apocalypse, Bobby reluctantly agrees. Sam and Dean confront Pestilence (guest star Matt Frewer), but he unleashes a deadly virus upon them, so Castiel (Misha Collins) must intervene on their behalf. Dean has a meeting with Death to discuss Lucifer, and an unholy alliance is formed at a very high price for Dean.
Phil Sgriccia directed the episode written by Sera Gamble.
Bobby sells his soul to Crowley in return for the location of Death. Meanwhile, Castiel must intervene when Pestilence infects the Winchesters with a deadly disease, and Dean makes a deal with Death.
An elderly woman, Celeste, is visited by her doctor… Pestilence, posing as Dr. Green he tells her that she’s infected with three different diseases, and then infects her with chicken pox. Pestilence then explains that he’s using her as a blending dish for diseases and then watches as she expires.
One Day Earlier
Dean and Sam meet at Bobby’s house and Dean is angry to hear about Sam’s plan to let Lucifer possess him. They get a call from Castiel, who explains he’s in a hospital with no idea how he got there or survived. Dean tells him about their plan to get Pestilence, but Castiel says that his power is drained and he’s essentially human. He needs money for food, travel, and pain medication. Before he hangs up, Castiel apologizes for thinking Dean would give in to Michael.
Dean and Sam go to the Serenity Valley Retirement Home, following Brady’s directions. They finally approach a security guard and pretend their grandmother is there, and then knock him out. They try to spot Pestilence on the security cameras and finally notice him posing as a doctor, distorting the camera images. They go after him, but a demon posing as a nurse spot them first and goes to warn Pestilence after he finishes with Celeste. Pestilence insists on disposing them, disobeying Lucifer’s orders. He calls the demon over, embraces her, and then activates his ring.
Throughout the hospital, everyone is stricken with illness, including Dean and Sam. They stagger to Celeste’s room and then collapse before they can do anything. The demon nurse hauls them in and Pestilence boasts that they will die slowly and painfully. He’s interrupted when Castiel arrives, but Pestilence strikes him down. However, Castiel manages to resist long enough to grab the knife and cut off Pestilence’s figure, and then kill the demon nurse. They recover but Pestilence tells them that it’s too late and teleports away.
Back at Bobby’s, the brothers consider Pestilence’s last words. Bobby tells them that a massive storm is building up that will set off disasters killing three million people. He figures that they can at least catch up to Death there. When they wonder how Bobby figured out Death’s location, Crowley appears and tells Bobby to explain. Bobby admits he traded his soul temporarily so they could find Death, and Crowley refuses to return it, warning he’s keeping it for insurance until after they stop the Apocalypse.
As they prepare to leave, Sam says that he agrees with Dean that he’s too weak to take on Lucifer. However, he doesn’t know what else to do. Crowley arrives to show them a newspaper article about Niveus Pharmaceutical distributing their new vaccine. They realize that the vaccine is filled with Croatoan virus and will be distributed nation-wide.
Death arrives, driving his grey car. When a man shoves past him, Death merely glances at him and he dies.
Castiel and Bobby pack explosives, and Castiel admits that he feels useless. Bobby has no sympathy for him. Sam prepares to leave with them while Dean goes to find Death. Before they go, Sam and Dean wish each other luck, and Crowley appears with a rusty mystical scythe, capable of killing anything… including Death. He then invites Bobby to get up, and explains that he added a clause allowing Bobby to walk again.
En route, Bobby and Sam tell Castiel about Sam’s plan. Castiel notes that both brothers tend to exceed his expectations, and Sam could resist Lucifer. However, he warns that Michael has chosen Adam has his new vessel. Worse, if Sam agrees and fails, it will be a major cataclysm. And finally, Sam will have to consume massive amounts of demon blood to withstand the strain of containing Lucifer.
The next morning, the trio gets to Niveus as the first truck leaves. They knock out the driver and jam the gate, and the demon guards realize something is going on. They seal the doors, while Sam and the others get the humans out. They go inside and discover the demons have infected the remaining human workers with the vaccine. Sam and Bobby have no choice but to gun them down, but they hear others in the building. Sam goes to investigate, telling Bobby to stay behind with the demon-killing knife.
In Chicago, Crowley locates Death by tracking down all the reapers nearby. However, he scouts ahead into the warehouse and discovers that Death isn’t there, much to his surprise. Crowley is eager to leave before the storm hits, and assures Dean that Bobby will get his soul back since the bargain failed.
Sam rescues more of the human workers and then goes hunting for more.
Dean and Crowley get back in the Impala and Dean wonders how he can possibly evacuate the city. Crowley finds Death in a restaurant, tells Dean, and then leaves.
Sam clears the building except for one last infected victim. Bobby is out of ammo, and Castiel arrives to shoot the last infected man down.
Dean enters the restaurant and finds all the staff and patrons dead. The scythe heats up in Dean’s hand and he’s forced to drop it. It appears on the table next to Death, who invites him to sit down for pizza. Death notes that Dean is of no more consequence to him than a bacterium. He explains that he is old beyond imagination. Dean reluctantly takes a bite of the pizza and Death explains that he’s as old as God, perhaps older, and will eventually reap God as well. When Dean wonders why he’s still alive, Death explains that Lucifer has him bound by a spell. Death wants Dean to disarm Lucifer. He offers Dean his ring, but warns that there are conditions. Dean has to do whatever it takes to put Lucifer back in his cell. Since only Sam can do it, Death wants Dean’s promise to let Sam jump into the pit. Dean agrees and Death warns that he can’t cheat his way out of his promise.
Later, Dean brings the four rings together. Bobby arrives and admits that he’s glad but sore that he can walk again. However, he admits that he may not be able to enjoy his legs for long. Dean shows how the rings attract each other, and wonders what Death will do to him if he discovers he lied. They wonder whether they should trust Death, but Bobby admits that Sam may be able to pull it off. He figures Sam will beat Lucifer, or die trying, and asks Dean what he’s afraid of. Losing… or losing his brother.
Review by Gaelic
5.21 – Two Minutes to Midnight – Gaelicspirit review
Oh, for the love of…. I really think the writers sit in their Room of Plotting and think up ways to kill us. Slowly.
Also, as this is the one before The One, I wanted to offer you with a gift. If you recall, back in the ramble for Point Of No Return, I included the lyrics to a Fuel song called “Innocent.” My friend kumaproogey snagged on to this idea and created a fantastic vid, telling a story of our boys’ tortured souls and yearning for simpler times.
Hope you enjoy!
Here is the YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAskTFFkpsU
Here is the downloadable link: https://www.yousendit.com/download/O…R0ZkMnV4dnc9PQ
Okay! Now, on with the rambling!
I’m thinking that the THENs for this season are really to keep this complicated, spider web of a story straight in anyone’s minds who might, possibly be foolhardy enough to be a casual viewer. I still hold out a smidge of hope that we’ll get some kind of rousing classic rock next week (though at the rate of things, I doubt it’ll be Carry On My Wayward Son) to kick us into this final battle of the season, but that’s only because I tend to look on the bright side.
Apparently deciding that we needed to be reminded how disgusting Pestilence is, the writers opened with a particularly disturbing scene that if inserted where it actually happened would have slowed down the cadence of Winchester pain, and really, why do that? “Dr. Green” (aka Pestilence) visits is favorite patient, Celeste and informs her (and us) that she’s basically dying of a myriad of diseases. In fact, he tells her that she’ll be dead in 5, 4, 3, 2… Celeste vomits pea soup (or so it appears) all over Dr. Green…and dies.
One day earlier, we’re back at Bobby’s and Dean is Not. Happy. as he rails about Sam’s Grand Plan to say ‘yes’ to Lucifer and then take over his own body long enough to jump into the cage. When Dean finds out that Bobby knew, he growls a bit: “Thanks for the heads up!”
Dean’s standing between the two of them—Bobby in his wheelchair in the archway between the kitchen and his, um, office…Sam leaning against the kitchen counter…Dean’s head is on a swivel between them, his eyebrow arches kicking into overdrive.
Dean (looking at Sam): “You can’t do this.”
Sam: “That’s the consensus.”
Dean: “Alright. Awesome. End of discussion.”
His phone rings and then, hilariously, he points at Sam and says, “This isn’t over.” Heh. Such a big brother thing to say. Cas is on the phone. He looks…rough. He’s in a hospital bed and…he’s hurting. Apparently he appeared unconscious and bloody on a shrimp boat somewhere (scared the shrimpers) and now he’s…well, he’s human. He’s calling for money for an “air-o-plane” ticket, food, and preferably pain meds.
Dean: “Bobby will wire you some cash.”
Bobby: “I will?”
Yeah, no kidding. Of all of them, it has to be most difficult for Bobby to get money. Unless the junkyard business is doing really well. Cas tells Dean he owes him an apology because Dean said ‘no’ to Michael.
Cas (in his classic, back-handed compliment way): “You are not the burned and broken shell of a man that I believed you to be.”
I think Cas and my mother should get together and trade compliment tips and techniques.
Dean, looking slightly pained and a bit chagrined, replies: “Thank you…I…appreciate? That.”
And the boys are off to get Pestilence’s ring. Sometime later, they realize that “Dr. Evil’s” lair is actually a nursing home. Sam wonders what now—they aren’t going to be able to tell if someone is demon, human, or…Pestilence himself. Dean is scoping the place out with binoculars and sees a security camera. Ah-ha!
They wander the halls for a moment before finding the security office. Dean enters, hesitantly, and says he’s, “looking for my Nana, Eunice Kennedy.” Well, if you’re gonna pick a grandma…why not a successful one? The security guard tells him to go to the front desk and Dean hems and haws for about two point five seconds before stepping in and clocking the guard, knocking him flat. And that must’ve been one helluva punch ‘cause the guys end up hanging out in that room for hhhhoooooouuuuuurrrrrrsssssss.
Sam: “Eunice Kennedy?”
Dean: “That’s the best thing about improv, Sammy. You never know what’s going to come out of your mouth.”
*laugh* Man, I’m gonna miss these guys after next week. That’s the crazy thing about this show. Regardless of who we gravitate toward and if we think the writers treat our ‘favorite’ characters fairly or if the complexities of the recent plotlines have messed with our general overall feeling about good and evil in the world as we know it…these guys got under our skin a long time ago and they’re…family.
With all the good and the bad that comes with it.
They guys basically grow old watching the security cameras. Well, Sam’s watching. Dean is pretty much falling asleep, or pacing to prevent himself from falling asleep. And why not? It’s not like they’ve had a break from The End Of All Things. Even the President gets to go to Camp David once in awhile. Not our boys.
ANYWAY, after awhile, they see a weird blimp/fuzz on the camera following a particular doctor around. And then we’re back with Dr. Green and Celeste. The boys sneak from the security room through the halls carrying their chosen weapons—Dean with the shotgun, Sam with The Demon Killing Knife. A Demon!Nurse ‘senses’ them and scurries off to tell Pestilence.
Demon!Nurse: “They have a track record with Horsemen.”
Pesty wants to take what they did to his brothers out of their “healthy young asses.” The nurse, though, reminds him that they’re not to harm the vessels.
Pesty replies, building up volume and ferocity as he speaks until he’s screaming full-on Max Headroom-style: “If Satan wants them so bad HE CAN GLUE ‘EM BACK TOGETHER!”
Demon!Nurse is like, um…okay…. Pesty motions her to bring it in and hug it out, then he twists his ring and people start coughing up blood, spewing green vomit and dying all over the place. Blech! Oh, and baaad, too, because the boys come around the corner and are hit with the wave of sickness that completely weakens them.
They start coughing—really chesty, wracking coughs—and their vision blurs. Sam rasps that they must be getting close, but Dean’s coughing so hard he can only nod. They stagger against the walls, stepping over bodies, unable to see much of anything clearly. Dean sags against the wall and Sam goes to him, trying to pick him up and move him along, but he’s too weak and they kinda tangle up and fall against the opposite wall, Dean passing out. Sam makes it to the doorway, his knife raised.
Demon!Nurse helpfully opens it for him and chirps :“The doctor will see you now!” Sam collapses through the doorway.
And then? I started breathing again. I’m not really sure when I stopped, but I took a HUGE breath at that point…guh. That’s all I’m gonna say. ‘Cause I know you know.
The nurse drags Dean’s limp body into the room by one arm (ouch!). Both boys are bleeding from the mouth and Sam seems to be the only one who is more-or-less aware. Dean’s eyes flutter once or twice. Pesty gets up and begins the Traditional Bag Guy Monologue, though I have to say, I truly enjoyed the delivery of both Bad Guy Monologues in this one. I think it might be a tossup which Horseman was my fav of the four: Pestilence or Death.
And…how weird was that sentence?
Pesty says that they could have scarlet fever…or meningitis…or maybe the syphilis. Sam looks up at that. Dean just groans. Pesty grabs Sam by the hair and snarls: “However bad you feel now, it’s going to get very, very worse.” He rambles on about how disease gets a bad rap for being all chaotic and stuff, but that’s really the people. Disease is really very simple, you see: divide and conquer.
“That’s why in the end, it always wins.”
Yikes…that…actually makes some scary bit of sense. *frowns*
Dean tries to reach for the Demon Killing Knife, which, while noble and very Dean, isn’t too smart because seriously, unless Pesty put his hand on the floor and held very still, Dean wasn’t going to be doing much with that knife in his condition. Pesty stomps on Dean’s hand and Dean cries out in pain, then pulls his hand close to his body when Pesty releases it.
Pesty: “Gotta wonder why God pours all his love into something so MESSY and WEAK.”
This? Is why, despite how much I love Matt Frewer, I think Death is going to win the Favorite Horseman Contest. Because he’s pretty much the only one who doesn’t angst about why he doesn’t understand that God loves us more and God puts all his effort into us and blah. He basically doesn’t care that God loves us more or whatever. That’s pretty much God’s problem as far as Death’s concerned. But Pesty has to get all…you humans are lower than pond scum; I mean what is the deal here….
We get it. We’re flawed. And that? Is why we’re made of awesome. Just as Gabe. He’d tell you.
Anyway, Sam is writhing on the floor and Dean is curled in on himself and the situation is looking rather bleak when suddenly Cas slams through the doorway all “Here I’ve come to save the day!” Only…whoops, he’s human. And he starts to stumble and cough and falls to his hands and knees spitting up blood.
Pesty is staring at him, highly amused that Cas is an occupied vessel without “a spark of angel in ya…” Bounding up (like literally—he bounced up super-fast), Cas grabs the Demon Killing Knife and chops off Pesty’s ring finger. Must’ve had some spark in there! Demon!Nurse rushes him, he stabs her, and she gets all glowy and dies all over him.
The boys jump up—all better—and Dean grabs the finger with Pesty’s ring. Pesty is standing off to the side, clutching his ruined hand and says ominously, “Doesn’t matter. It’s too late.”
First thing I thought? Oh, God, what did he give them that they won’t be able to cure? And then? I remembered last week and the Croatoan vaccine. *gulp*
Back at Bobby’s, they add the third ring to the mix and tell him about Pesty’s last words. Dean’s sitting backwards on a chair again and just looks…tired. He says they’re freaked out that Pesty might’ve planted a bomb somewhere and really needs some good news. Bobby tells them that Chicago is about to be wiped off the map. Storm of the millennium. Something like three million people are going to die.
Cas, in that perfect, dead-panned way of his, says: “I don’t understand your definition of ‘good news’.”
BWAHHH!!! Seriously, I laughed for a good minute about that one. I had to pause my TV. I must’ve really needed that levity because that cracked. me. up.
Bobby continues by saying that DEATH is going to be there, they can get the ring, blah blah blah. Sam finally asks the question I’ve been waiting for since the closing moments of last week’s episode. How does Bobby know this.
Lamely, Bobby says that he…had some help.
Ta-da! Crowley. “I barely helped at all. Hello, boys. Pleasure, et cetera.”
Bobby confesses about his soul and Dean EXPLODES. Well, not literally, but you know what I mean. He gets up and demands that Crowley return Bobby’s soul. Sam, though….
Sam: “Did you kiss him?”
Sam: “Just wondering….”
Both brothers look at Bobby expectantly. Bobby denies. Crowley’s like, I beg to differ and shows a pic on his iPhone (or whatever) of the lip-lock. Heh.
Dean shakes that off after taking a moment to process and faces off with Crowley, demanding he give Bobby’s soul back. Crowley, though, points out that they kill demons, which he is one, and he knows that as long as he has Bobby’s soul, they won’t kill him. So, until it’s all over and he walks away clean, he’s keeping that leverage, thank you very much.
I found this to be rather interesting. Last week, so many of the comments to the ramble were about Dean’s audacity to trust a demon after the lesson they both (should’ve) learned through Sam’s experience with Ruby. I never bothered to think about the flipside—a demon ‘trusting’ two hunters to not kill him while he was busy exposing his unmentionables long enough to help them fight a mutual enemy. Huh. Not big epiphany or anything…just your basic…huh.
Dean’s out digging through the Impala’s trunk when Sam joins him, leaning against the car with a heavy sigh. Aside? This is a great shot of the two of them framed with the junkyard in the background and the Impala there for the ‘family meeting.’
Dean: “Let me guess, we’re about to have a talk.”
Sam grins and it’s, quite frankly, adorable.
Sam: “For the record, I agree with you about me. I’m too weak to take on Lucifer. I know how screwed up I am. You, Bobby, Cas…I’m the least of any of you.”
Dean turns away with that pained look you get when someone you love puts themselves down and you don’t have words more adequate to combat what they’re saying than don’t say that.
He just sighs out an, “Aw, Sam.”
Sam: “It’s true. But, I’m also all we’ve got.”
Dean’s listening to this. Which surprised me at first—I mean, three years ago? Dean would’ve been all fire and denial and like hell!. But…so much has happened, and he’s seen Sam do so many things he not only never imagined but never thought possible. The fact that he’s listening to Sam and not shutting him down, I thought, spoke volumes about their progress as partners first, siblings second.
Sam: “If there was another way…but I don’t think there is. There’s just me. I don’t know what else to do except just try to do what’s gotta be done.”
OMG, how much do I love this guy? SERIOUSLY. That was perfectly timed. He even had the fingertip-drawdown-hand-motion. Hee.
But on a more serious note? I want to get back to that “what’s gotta be done” comment from Sam. I thought about this off and on through different scenes still to come, but I’m just gonna talk it out here because it took me until the last moment to settle with my thoughts on this.
I struggled with why everyone—EVERYONE—fought so hard against Dean saying yes to Michael because he thought it was what had to be done…and yet when Sam implies the reverse, the only one fighting against it is Dean. It’s not like Dean was like, Hey, I know! I’ll go be a hero and say yes to an Archangel and save the world!! He resisted, he fought, he tried everything up to and including a prayer for help and he was just spent. Literally spent.
And then it hit me.
Awhile back in a ramble I’d said I didn’t want Dean or Sam to say ‘yes’ because they were world-weary and broken. If they were to say yes, I said I wanted it to be with full knowledge of what they were doing and what it would mean. I wanted them to say yes with vengeance and fire. And that was the difference I missed for most of the episode—until the end. Sam isn’t defeated with his plan. He isn’t suggesting he say yes because he’s so destroyed and broken he has nothing left. He has them all: Dean, Bobby, Cas. And he has their faith as well.
Not only that? But I started thinking that this says a little bit more about angel vs devil then Dean vs Sam. Michael promised to return Dean’s body, sure, but only after he’d fought Lucifer and wiped out the world as Dean knew it and ‘won’ this big battle that the angels are totally jonesin’ to have. Lucifer hasn’t made any such promise to Sam. AND they have a plan to ‘trap’ Lucifer where there was no such plan for Michael. There’s a distrust with the angels and a fear with the devils and it seems to me that humans have an easier time conquering their fears then they do regaining trust.
Okay, I just had to talk that out a little at this juncture. Moving on!
Crowley hands Sam a folded newspaper and Sam reads aloud that Niveus Pharmaceuticals is preparing a crap load of ‘vaccines’ to combat the nationwide outbreak of swine flu. HA! I knew it! I felt rather bright having connected those dots at the beginning of last week’s episode. Especially when Crowley had to spell it out for the boys. Hee.
Crowley: “You two are lucky you have your looks.”
So, that was indeed the background to Pestilence’s ominous last words. Crowley says something about the boys stocking up on…everything because this time next Thursday (hee)…and then “O’ Death” starts playing and I missed the rest of Crowley’s snarky comment. We’re suddenly in Chicago and see a white classic car (couldn’t tell the make, though—anyone know?) pull up. DEATH emerges and takes a walk. He brushes up against a man in an overcoat on a cell phone and within moments that man falls to the ground, dead.
Duh duh duhhhh.
Back at the junkyard, Bobby is packing up…land mines? I think? Cas comes out and is…pensive. He’s talking about how it’s the 11th hour and he’s useless. Starts to bemoan what he used to be. Bobby’s like, seriously? You’re gonna bitch to me? Basically tells Cas to cowboy up and start helping. I started to think about The End at this point.
I mean, Cas is human, Sam wants to say yes, Dean’s already wearing the coat, when’s Chuck gonna arrive, y’know? And then I remembered that in 2014, Bobby’s empty wheelchair had a bullet hole in the back of it. *gulp*
Next thing you know, the boys are saying rather stiff, awkward, I don’t really want to think about what it is we’re about to do goodbyes.
Dean: “Good luck stopping the whole zombie apocalypse.”
Sam: “Good luck killing Death.”
UUUGGGHHHH…I know splitting up was really the only way they were going to get it all done, but I really, really, REALLY hate it when my heroes split up. That’s just…when things generally go bad. I was officially tense starting in that moment. I honestly hadn’t been too terribly tense prior to that, but it was triggered in that moment.
Operation Squeeze Pillow To Death had begun.
Sam: “Remember when we used just…hunt wendigos? How simple things were?”
Dean: “Not really.”
Gaelic (whispered): Yeah. And I miss it.
Sam goes to give Dean the Demon Killing Knife when Crowley shows up with what I think he called a “Death Scythe.” Rumored to kill angels, demons, and Death himself.
Cas is all, dude! How did you get that? Crowley reminds him that, hello, King of the Crossroads right here, folks. And then…an interesting piece of writing that was saved for me only by the wonderful emotion that crossed the faces of the boys and Bobby. Crowley tells Bobby that he wasted his Crossroads deal—that you can get more if you phrase it differently. Well, sure. That’s pretty much true of, well, anything. Crowley says he added in a clause on Bobby’s behalf and…he gets his legs back.
Crowley: “What can I say. I’m an altruist.”
What I loved was the eyebrow-raised wordless exchange between the brothers, Bobby’s slack-faced wonder as realization sank in that he could move his legs, Dean’s gaping shock, Sam’s little-boy grin, and the moment Bobby and Dean looked at each other and both looked like they could cry. That? Was fantastic.
What wasn’t quite as fantastic for me was this uber-generous demon. I do want Bobby to walk again. I do. And I have a feeling it’s going to play into the finale in some respects—not to mention there’s still the fact that if Crowley doesn’t hold up the other part of his deal, in ten years time (I assume) Bobby gets hauled off by Hellhounds. I just…thought it was a slap-dash piece of writing. Kind of a oh, crap, we have another season, we need to do something different with Bobby…I know! Legs!.
*shrug* That’s just me, though. Don’t stone me. Like I said, still love that our favorite uncle is mobile.
Anyway, Bobby, Sam, and Cas jump into the Mystery Machine and apparently Sam tells Cas his Big Idea. The mere fact that he’s telling everybody pretty much telegraphs that this is the way they’re going to go. I have thoughts on that, but I’ll save it to the end. Cas, surprisingly, doesn’t think it’s the worst idea he’s ever heard.
So…Sam has gone from an “abomination” to exceeding Cas’ expectations. Perhaps becoming basically human has something to do with that. Perhaps seeing them fight—for each other and against The Big Bad against seemingly insurmountable odds—has something to do with that. In any case, Cas has changed his tune as far as Sam’s concerned and I decided to go with it.
However, Cas tells him there are a few things Sam should know.
First—Michael has a new vessel: Adam. Okay, that? They just slipped in there, then moved on. But…ARGH! I didn’t like that. I get that Lucifer found a Plan B Vessel in Nick, so it stands to reason that Michael could find one, too. And unless Nick’s a long-lost cousin from Mary’s blood line or something, I guess the Plan B Vessel doesn’t have to be The Chosen One…but I still thought it lessened this HUGE importance they’d put on Dean saying yes to Michael this whole year. Having Adam be a decoy was one thing. Having him actually be a vessel is another. I’ll wait until all is said and done before I make my final stance on if I like this twist or not, but right now, my gut is saying harrumph.
Anyway, since Michael has another vessel, it means if Sam does this thing and fails to take back over his body, then The Fight of The Millennia will happen—only not with Dean. With Adam. *again with the harrumph*
The other thing, oh by the way, is that Sam will have to drink more demon blood than he ever has before. You think they might’ve mentioned that before??? I mean, jeeze, Cas, if you aren’t an angel anymore, technically anyway, that means you didn’t just get this intel while riding in the back of the van. It means you knew this for awhile now. Why couldn’t you have brought it up before?! I’m not sure why that changed things so much for me, but it did. Nick is apparently drinking GALLONS (gack) of demon blood to keep the vessel from exploding (yikes!). So, Sam will have to, too. Only…I’m not sure why because Sam’s supposed to be The Chosen One.
Anyway, there you have it.
Bobby: “And how is this not the worst plan you’ve ever heard?”
Gaelic: THANK YOU!
Okay, so they’re at the vaccine warehouse place and are going to plan C-4 (dang!) around the building and blow it up before any of the trucks can leave, only…whoops! One truck is leaving.
So…Cas hijacks the truck and Bobby and Sam break into the warehouse. The demons inject a few civilians with the Croatoan virus and Bobby and Sam blow about a half a dozen people away. Sam hears a girl screaming, hands Bobby the Demon Killing Knife and goes after her. Bobby stabs and kills a demon, then looks after where Sam ran off to with this…look. I didn’t quite get it in that moment.
Over in Chi-town, Dean and Crowley are walking toward their own abandoned warehouse. Crowley suddenly, inexplicably, suggests they stop for pizza. Dean’s like, huh?? And then Crowley points out the building saying Death’s in there.
Dean: “How do you know?”
Crowley: “Have you met me?”
Apparently there are a ton of reapers around the building. Crowley boffs in to investigate then returns almost instantaneously to say, whoops, sorry, Death’s not there. He wants to go and Dean’s all, hello! 3 Million people are about to die. Which, is why Crowley wants to leave. I didn’t really get Crowley’s behavior in Chicago. He wanted to stay, he wanted to go, he was just…rather erratic to me.
Back at Croatoan Central, Sam shoots one Croat off a girl, Bobby shoots another, Sam hauls a girl and another man out of there, then goes back for more. Bobby has that look on his face again. It looked almost…suspicious. Like he didn’t think Sam was really Sam or something. I started thinking all kinds of things. I even suspected something hinky was up because they showed Sam with a handgun killing a Croat and then the next time you saw him he had a shotgun. I did NOT know where they were going with that at first.
Back in Chicago, there’s this whole dance between Dean and Crowley where Dean is trying to figure out how to get 3 million people out of Chicago in ten minutes and Crowley finally finds Death—in a pizza shop, no less. That was just…odd that whole pizza thing. Maybe I missed something subtle, I’m not sure. But it doesn’t matter because the next several minutes with Dean were fantastic. And not in the ‘fantastic, but…’ sense…just fantastic. Ten-sion.
Oh, but first, they skip us back to Sam and Bobby at Croatoan Central. Sam says ‘all clear’ which, y’know, famous last words, and he’s jumped by a Croat. Bobby is out of bullets (of course) and suddenly the Croat’s head explodes (managing to get NO BLOOD whatsoever on Sam) as Cas shows up with a shotgun, surprised that they actually serve some purpose. Part of me wondered if Sam was so gung-ho with saving everyone because in the back of his mind he knew that while they could potentially dismember him, he wouldn’t get the virus. We already know he’s immune to it.
Bobby: “Can we commit our act of domestic terrorism already?”
Okay, and we have Dean vs Death. A showdown he’s faced many times before and always lost. *gulp* Everyone in the pizza shop is dead as Dean sneaks in. He’s trying to creep up on the Horseman with that scythe thingy. Suddenly his hand starts to shake and he is forced to drop the weapon as the handle heats up. Death, in a very calm voice, thanks Dean for returning the weapon.
That didn’t go as planned.
Death invites Dean to join him. Dean does, though he is holding his body almost inhumanly tense. He looks as though he’s barely breathing. It wasn’t Death the actor in this scene…nor, really, was it the fact that it WAS Death that Dean was speaking with that got me so wired. It was watching Dean coiled like a spring. His eyes darkening with fear and understanding, his lips barely parted as if he couldn’t draw in enough air, only moving his hands and eyebrows.
Death obliges us with the usual, you are utterly insignificant and I am ancient and mighty Bad Guy speech. He talks about this being one planet in one solar system and all of that. I’m currently reading a book called The Book Thief and interestingly enough, it’s told from the perspective of Death. As if Death is an entity and not a moment. So far it’s a highly entertaining and intriguing book. But the voice in the book and the utter calm surrounding this Horseman were eerily the same. I think I’ll probably be picturing this actor as I continue to read.
As they’re talking, the storm of the millennia is churning outside, lightning illuminating Death’s pale face and flat brown eyes and the rain framing Dean’s tension beautifully.
Death serves Dean pizza. Heh. Dean takes a very hesitant bite—it was served by Death after all—and concedes with his eyebrows that it’s good. He asks Death how old he really is.
Death says he’s as old as God. Maybe older. Neither of them remember anymore. I almost got this strange impression of…royalty as he spoke. As if he were really just too refined to bother with muck like War and Famine and Pestilence. His brothers were weaker and had deserved to be defeated, but Death would even one day reap God.
Dean is shaken by this statement, by the concept that God could die. Which, y’know, personally to me is utterly ridiculous, but we’re not talking about my personal convictions. We’re talking about the reality that our TV heroes live in. And that is definitely a scary concept especially considering the fact that Dean was told God is on Earth.
Dean: “This is way above my paygrade.”
Death: “Just a bit.”
Dean wants to know why he’s still alive. And Death lets the hammer fall. Lucifer summoned him with a spell—that hoodoo he was performing in the middle of the field back when we thought The Colt would work. And now Death is bound to Satan and he does NOT like that.
Death: “He made me his weapon. I’m more powerful than you can process and I’m enslaved to a bratty child having a tantrum.”
Okay, on one hand? HA! You’re so all-powerful and yet Lucifer trapped you. Take that, Death. On the other hand? Lucifer got a little too big for his britches and grabbed a tiger by the tail with this one. Take that, Satan. Either way? Good for Team Free Will.
Dean is confused, thinking Death is insinuating that he can unbind him. Which, it did kinda seem like that. But Death, of course, has to insult Dean once more because that’s just the way these Bad Guys Are. They enjoy insulting the ‘mud monkey’ humans, and yet…Dean’s right. The humans are the ones they really need to be afraid of; they’re the ones killing demons and angels.
Death tells Dean he understands that Dean wants his ring.
Dean’s like, uh, yeah.
Death: “I’m inclined to give it to you.”
Dean: “But…what about Chicago?”
Death: “I suppose it can stay. I like the pizza.”
He takes off his ring and starts to hand it to Dean, then says that there are conditions. Of COURSE there are.
Death: “You have to do whatever it takes to put Lucifer in his cell.”
And there it is. The whole reason we had Sam telling everyone and their brother about his Big Idea. Because Dean was the only one against it and now he’s backed into a corner.
Death: “Your bother. He’s the only one who can stop Lucifer. I need a promise. You’re going to let your brother jump right into that fiery pit.”
What was he supposed to do in that moment? He’s sitting across from DEATH. He says no, they don’t get the ring, they’re screwed. He tries to fight, he’s killed, they don’t get the ring, they’re screwed. He literally had no choice and you saw it travel across his face like waves. His throat was working overtime and his face visibly paled. He can barely push out enough air to say a stuttering ‘yes’ and has to repeat it.
Guh, my gut hurt for him. To be stripped of choices—to be forced to verbally make such a sacrifice. Even if Sam hadn’t yet actually done anything, Dean was verbally acquiescing to Death’s demands and in his heart sacrificing the one person he loved more than anyone—more than himself—for the sake of saving the world. That right there is Dean’s true burden. Not sacrificing himself, not this time. But having to be willing to sacrifice his brother.
My heart hurts just typing that out. Puts me a bit in the mind of another sacrifice of a similar nature that coincides with the whole religious overtones of the plot. And that’s all I’ll say about that.
Death reminds Dean that he can’t cheat him, then asks, “Would you like the instruction manual?”
We don’t hear the instructions, but as the camera pans away from the pizza shop, we can see that the storm has passed. I just hoped Dean’s able to slip away unnoticed because a pizza shop full of dead people is not something you really want to be associated with.
And can I just say? It was freakin’ hard to make sure I wrote ‘Death’ and ‘Dean’ in the right places through that whole section. Typo minefield, man! Whew! LOL.
Back at Bobby’s, Dean’s playing with the rings. They suck together like magnets. One ring in the middle, the other three framing the outside. He looks deep in worried thought and when Bobby walks up he rattles a few things to make some noise and not startle Dean too bad.
A total aside? This whole last scene—especially the final shot—captures how amazingly good looking this guy is. It’s part the way he uses his face, sure. I mean the play of emotions grabs me by the heart and doesn’t let go. But Jensen is just good lookin’, ya’ll.
The sun hit his face and lit up those green eyes and amplified every expression until I felt my eyes burning from forgetting to blink. Okay, I just had to say that.
Dean: “How’d it go with the Rockette’s audition?”
Bobby: “High kick’s fair. Boobs need work. Walked up and down stairs all night for no damn reason. I’m sore!”
LOL! Aw, Bobby. You wonderful, genuine, messed up, loveable curmudgeon of a guy. I don’t begrudge him his legs, and I’m so glad he has them back. I am. I just…I didn’t really buy the manner in which they came back to him. I kinda thought they wouldn’t go with the “magic healing” for him. *shrugs* Ah, well. What’s done is done.
They each get a beer and Dean shows him the magnet ring trick.
Dean: “What do you think Death does to people who lie to his face?”
Bobby: “Nothin’ good. What did you lie about?”
Dean: “That I was cool with Sam driving the bus on the whole Lucifer plan.”
I kinda trembled inside for Dean right here. The fear that had to have been coursing through him in that moment he said ‘yes’ to Death…. I mean, he had to be tangled in so many thoughts: what would Sam do, what would Dad do, what if Sam heard this, what would he think, how can I say that I’d let by brother do this when I’ve been there and I know what Hell is like, how can I not say I’ll let my brother do this when we quite literally have no other shot at getting this ring…
His only saving grace in that moment had to have been the thought that SAM was the one to come up with the plan. It wasn’t something someone else informed them they had to do. It was something Sam designed and decided he was good with as long as everyone else was. It wasn’t something Sam was going to sneak off and do on his own. It wasn’t something Sam was going to do because he’d lost faith in himself or in Dean. It was something he would go into clear eyed and sure-hearted.
Dean and Bobby talk about Death’s ‘sob story’ and whether or not he might have a bird’s eye view of the whole situation. Dean’s like, what happened to you being against this?
Bobby suddenly rouses to Sam’s side, too, and I finally got the explanation for that weird look he gave Sam back at Croatoan Central. It seemed like a pretty big 180 from the tongue lashing he gave Sam on the phone last week, but then, I suppose having a demon give you back your legs even when you hadn’t asked for that and surviving a Croatoan attack might be enough to shift one’s thinking….
Bobby: “I’m not saying Sam’s not full of character defects…but back at Niveus I watched that kid pull out one civilian after another. He must’ve saved ten people. He never stopped, never slowed down. We’re hard on him. But in the meantime, he’s been running into burning buildings since he was, what, 12?”
Dean, grudgingly and with an expression of pain unique to one who has been in the position to protect that person running into burning buildings and has known that there really isn’t anything standing between that person and the dark, says: “Pretty much.”
Bobby: “He’s got a darkness in him. But he’s got a helluva lot of good in him, too.”
The thing about Bobby’s speech, to me, was that it didn’t put Dean down while it raised Sam up. He wasn’t saying that Dean hadn’t been doing anything while Sam was busy saving people, hunting things.
What I heard was more that Bobby was lumping both himself and Dean into the category of warrior: You are an undisputable soldier, Dean. You pulled your brother from a fire when you were four. You raised him up right. You protected him—with your life when it came down to it. You overcome your own demons and your own darkness time and again so that you can rise up over and over to be there for him. What you have to see now is that this person you saved, raised, and protected is a different brand of soldier. His darkness is unique to him. As is his light. He—like his brother—is his own brand of hero. And it’s time for you to let him do his own heroic things.
Dean stares at Bobby and it’s an almost ethereal moment where the light hits his face and erases all shadows except for the ones that lurk in his eyes.
Bobby: “You know Sam will beat the devil or die trying. So, I gotta ask you, Dean. What are you afraid of? Losing? Or losing your brother?”
I don’t think it’s an ‘or’ question. He’s afraid of both. And part of me thinks that though he’d never admit it, he wanted to say ‘yes’ to Michael when he was so low and so broken because that way he wouldn’t be faced with this painfully impossible choice. Who do you choose, Dean? The world? Or the person you love the most?
*wants to weep a bit*
I’m reserving judgment about Sam’s existential struggle with the devil trapped inside of him until I see what he can pull off. He’s surprised me before. And the glimpse of a battered-to-Hell Dean has me wondering if that whole ‘fight’ between the brothers that several people in the comments to rambles have eluded to is actually going to be Dean fighting for his brother who is in turn fighting the devil for control of himself.
I don’t see Dean allowing Sam to go into this darkness alone. I still have this mental, symbolic picture of Samwise gripping Frodo as he dangles over the pit of fire in Mount Doom. The writers have taken us on this exhausting, unimaginable journey with two brothers, and the only reason Dean was pulled back from the ledge was because of Sam. Their unity. If anything is their destiny, it’s that they battle this together, even if together means that they’re both fighting Sam’s body, in a way.
As for Bobby and Cas? I really don’t know if I feel any safer about them. I would love Cas to be returned to his angel status, even if it’s through sacrifice. I love his dry wit and odd humor, but I love him as an angel. If he becomes human, it would be better (for me) if he ‘fell’ and chose it, not had his angel-ness beaten out of him because he fought on our side of the field. And Bobby…it would be interesting for him to go into Season 6 sans soul…and would be a good reason to bring Crowley back. Give them a couple of plot lines right there, trying to save Bobby’s soul.
I suppose we’ll see. I hope this is worth the read. It’s certainly been a helluva journey. I’m already mentally gearing up for next week. I hope to see you back, those of you who read. And I thank you for your thoughts.
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Official Episode Stills:
Episode Screen Caps:
Celeste: Are you going to cure me?
Pestilence: No. You’re going to die. In 4…3…2… (Celeste vomits and dies) Interesting.
Sam: Hey… what are we even looking for?
Dean: Well, he’s Pestilence so he probably looks sick.
Sam: Everybody looks sick.
Nurse: Sir… the Winchesters are here. We should go.
Pestilence: [laughs] Are you kidding me?
Nurse: They have a track record with Horsemen.
Pestilence: You mean my brothers, what they did to my brothers. The only reasonable thing to do here is to take it out on their healthy young asses.
Nurse: We’re under strict orders not to kill the vessels.
Pestilence: Well, if Satan wants them so bad, he can GLUE THEM BACK TOGETHER!
Pestilence: Disease gets a bad rap, don’t you think? For being filthy. Chaotic. Uh, but really, t-that just describes people who get sick. Disease itself… very… pure. Single-minded. Bacterium have one purpose–divide and conquer. That’s why, in the end… it always wins. So, you’ve got to wonder why God pours all of his love into something so messy… and weak. It’s ridiculous. All I can do is show him he’s wrong, one epidemic at a time.
Dean: (talking on phone with Castiel) We all thought you were dead. Where the hell are you, man?
Castiel: A hospital.
Dean: Are you okay?
Dean: You want to elaborate?
Dean: You sold your soul?!?
Crowley: Oh, more like pawned it. I fully intend to give it back.
Dean: Well, then give it back!
Crowley: I will.
Sam: Did you kiss him.
Sam: Just wondering.
(Bobby looks at them)
(Crowley shows them a picture)
Bobby: Why did you take a picture!?
Crowley: Why did you have to use tongue?
Castiel: You said “no” to Michael. I owe you an apology.
Dean: Cass. I-It’s okay.
Castiel: You are not the burnt and broken shell of a man that I believed you to be.
Dean: Thank you. I appreciate that.
Castiel: You’re welcome.
Dean: That’s the beauty about improv, Sammy. You never know what’s gonna come out of your mouth.
Dean: So please tell us you have actual good news.
Bobby: Chicago’s about to be wiped off the map. storm of the millennium. Sets off a daisy chain of natural disasters. Three million people are gonna die.
Castiel: I don’t understand your definition of good news.
Sam: So Pestilence was spreading swine flu.
Dean: Yeah, but not just for giggles. That was step one. Step two is the vaccine. You think…?
Crowley: I know. I’ll stake my reputation that vaccine is chock full of Grade A farm-fresh Croatoan virus.
Sam: Simultaneous countrywide distribution. That’s part of the plan.
Crowley: They don’t get to be Horsemen for nothing. So you boys better stock up on… well, everything. This time next Thursday, we’ll all be living in Zombieland.
Dean: Bobby sold his soul for this!
Crowley: Relax. All deals are soul back or store credit. We’ll catch Death in the next doomed city.
Dean: Millions, Crowley! Millions of people are about to die any minute!
Crowley: True. So I strongly suggest we get out of here.
Dean: So what, call in a bomb threat, a thousand bomb threats? I mean, how the hell am I supposed to get three million people out of Chicago in the next ten minutes?
Bobby: Can we commit our act of domestic terrorism already? Let’s go!
Death: (concerning Lucifer) Lucifer has me bound to him, some unseemly little spell. He has me where he wants, when he wants. That’s why I couldn’t go to you, I had to wait for you to catch up. He made me his weapon. Hurricanes, floods, raising the dead. I’m more powerful than you can process, and I’m enslaved to a bratty child having a tantrum.
Death: This is one little planet in one tiny solar system in a galaxy that’s barely out of its diapers. I’m old, Dean. Very old. So I invite you to contemplate how insignificant I find you.
Dean: Well, I got to ask. How old are you?
Death: As old as God. Maybe older. Neither of us can remember anymore. Life, death, chicken, egg. Regardless-at the end, I’ll reap him, too.
Dean: God? You’ll reap God?
Death: Oh, yes. God will die, too, Dean.
Dean: This is way above my pay grade.
Death: Just a bit.
Dean: What about Chicago?
Death: I suppose it can stay. I like the pizza.
Bobby: Back at Niveus, I watched that kid pull one civilian out after another, he must’ve saved ten people. Never stopped, never slowed down. We’re hard on him, Dean. We’ve always been. But, in the meantime, he’s been running into burning buildings since he was – what? Twelve?
Dean: Pretty much…
Bobby: Look, Sam’s got a… darkness in him, I’m not saying he don’t. But he’s got a helluva lot of good in him too.
Dean: I know.
Bobby: Then you know Sam will beat the Devil or die trying. That’s the best we can ask for. So, I gotta ask Dean – What exactly are you afraid of? Losing? Or losing your brother?
Death drives a 1959 Cadillac Coupe deVille.
The previous week’s previews of this episode featured extra/alternate shots during Death’s arrival in Chicago: there’s a shot of the license plate on the front of his car reading “Buh-Bye.” Also, when Death brushes off his shoulder, he looks back at the man.
The first scene where we see Death and he bumps into the pedestrian playing with his Blackberry is a literal representation of the phrase “a brush with death,” which refers to a near-death experience, not actually dying.
The episode gets its title from the Iron Maiden song “Two Minutes to Midnight.” The song’s title and subject refer to the Doomsday Clock.
The patient’s vomit appears similar to the pea soup that was used during the famous vomiting scene in The Exorcist.
INSIDE THE LEGEND