|recap added by journalbookbinder
Deep underwater; somewhere in the Pacific...
The Ma'lak box sits on the ocean floor and there's muffled banging coming from inside. It's Dean lying inside the box. He hears creaking metal as the water pressure presses in from the outside. The box is creaking like it will break. He starts to panic; banging harder, scraping at the inside with his nails. He uses the light on his cell phone to see. His face contorts in fear (the camera right over him as if mounted on the inside lid of the box) as he bangs harder and water drips in. He yells for Sam. His cell phone battery starts to die and the light fritzes out leaving him in total darkness screaming for Sammy. (I try to leave out editorial comments, but this is one of the most terrifying scenes in all 14 years of Supernatural. Jensen killed it, so much so, that while filming he said that some of the crew were crying.)
Dean bolts up in bed. His watery, eternally-buried-alive grave was a nightmare. Sam shows up at Dean's bedroom door saying he didn't mean to wake him. Dean looks down at his hands with bloody fingertips and sees blood tracks on the wall next to the bed where he was clawing at it in his nightmare. He tosses it off as a bad dream and tells Sam he's fine. Sam asks if he wants to talk about it. Dean deflects, telling Sam that Sam should get some sleep.
Sam tells Dean that what he's planning to do is not business as usual. It's okay if he's scared. Dean says he didn't say he wasn't scared, but it doesn't matter. It's his only choice. Sam tells Dean that they know they can always die in their line of work, but what Dean's planning is far worse than death because Michael, an archangel, could keep Dean's body alive, buried, but
alive for eternity in the metal box.
Dean says he gets it, but the only other option is Michael getting out and ending the world; like Billie's books (all but one) said. Sam says there has to be another way. Dean wants to know what that "other way" is and Sam has no reply. Dean says "exactly" and leaves the room.
Elsewhere, a woman is bound and gagged. A man is pouring salt into a large box/human-sized aquarium of water and he stirs it up to dissolve it. He carries the helpless woman to the box, dumps her into the water, gets a knife, and cuts her arm so she bleeds into the water. She tries to struggle, but ultimately bleeds out, dying in the tank as the man holds her under. He hears whispered words in his head and raises his hands over his head as if taking it all in.
Elsewhere, Nick is cuffed to a hospital bed. The deputy guarding him brings him some food and taunts him as he does. Nick asks when he's getting out. The deputy says Nick's wanted in four jurisdictions, so he's not getting out anytime soon. Nick says that what happened wasn't his fault. The deputy sarcastically replies that it was because he was possessed by Satan. Nick insists to him that possession is real. He says Lucifer left him, but also changed him.
The deputy doesn't believe him. He tells him he's done, buried, going to be locked up for the rest of his life. Nick looks worried and sad at the same time.
Elsewhere on Dean's road trip to self-destruction:
The Impala engine cuts out as they stop at a rest stop. They're towing the Ma'lak box on a trailer behind the car (first time the Impala has a trailer hitch). Dean turns to Sam, wanting to make sure he's "with him" on this; still willing to seal him up in the Ma'Lak box and dump him in the ocean. Dean's worried that Sam won't go through with it after what he said the night before. Sam confirms that he gave his word to Dean; he promised to help him, but points out that he hates it and Mary hates it and they didn't even tell Cas and Jack. Dean says he didn't tell them because he doesn't like goodbyes and he doesn't want to "get shaky on this thing". Sam says that wouldn't be the worst thing. Dean reiterates that this is the only way to stop Michael. He tells Sam not to think about how this trip will end. Dean gets out of the car and walks the short distance to the restroom.
Sam takes out his phone and calls Cas. He asks if Cas has found anything. Cas asks if he could talk Dean out of it. Sam says no. Cas tells Sam he's found no way to extract and destroy Michael. Rowena went through the entire Book of the Dammed and found nothing. Cas told her to go through it again and she swore at him for asking. Sam tells Cas to keep going. Cas wants to talk to Dean. Sam says it wouldn't matter. He's never seen Dean like this. He won't listen to Sam. If Cas can't find something, Sam tells him Dean will be gone.
Elsewhere, the man who drowned the woman is looking for his next victim. He snags a guy in a back alley. He drags him back to the same place he murdered the woman. He mutters Bible verses as he puts on gloves, lays the man on a tarp, and cuts his throat. The man struggles briefly and dies. The killer carves something into the dead man's chest. He hears whispered voices and says "I am the Lord".
As Sam and Dean drive, Dean hears Michael pounding inside his head. Dean starts talking to Sam, asking if Sam ever thinks about when they were kids. He says he wasn't always the greatest brother to Sam. Sam tells him he was the one who was always there for him. Dean was the ONLY one who was always there for him. Dean practically raised him. Dean replies that he knows things were dicey with their dad and he didn't look out for Sam the way he should have. He tried to keep the peace, but sometimes when he was away it was because John sent him away; he didn't just run out on Sam. He thinks Sam knew that. Sam says he left that behind a long time ago; he had to. Sam asks Dean to please stop this. He doesn't want to have a conversation that sounds like a deathbed apology if he's trying not to think about how this trip of theirs is supposed to end.
In Nick's hospital room, he's praying to Lucifer, saying Lucifer owes him a reply. The deputy thinks he's praying to God and tells Nick that won't help him. Nick asks to use the bathroom. The deputy passes him a bedpan. Nick pleads his case for a little dignity and the deputy uncuffs him so he can use the bathroom. Nick head-butts the deputy, hits him with the bedpan, and stomps on his skull. He goes to the closet and gets his clothes.
In the Impala, Sam's on his tablet and tells Dean he thinks he found them a case. Dean reminds Sam that this trip isn't about finding a case. Sam says he knows, but it's on the way in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Shouldn't they help if they can? Dean grudgingly agrees as long as it's on the way, saying "One last case for the Winchester boys."
Sam doesn't want Dean to go there, reminding him this could be the last one, but he forges ahead and tells him about the case. There have been several murders. Sam describes them and shows Dean the image of the "graffiti" carved in both victims; it's Enochian.
Sam and Dean show up at the door of the brother of the most recent victim. Turns out it's his very slightly younger twin brother. He tells them he can't believe his twin is gone. They were very close; best friends. Losing his big brother is like losing a part of himself. (Cue looks back and forth between Sam and Dean, considering how Dean plans to end his life to save the world.) He never knew it could feel this bad. The brother asks about the graffiti. Sam says it was an ancient language. Dean asks if the man's brother was religious or knew anyone who was. The brother says there is one guy; Tony Alvarez, a friend of his brother's. Alvarez was always quoting stuff that sounded like it came from the Bible. He looks at the Enochian, then shows Sam and Dean a photo of Tony. He has a tattoo in Enochian on his arm in the photo. Sam translates the tattoo, saying it means "the word".
As they leave the house of the victim's brother, Dean wonders if Tony Alvarez is possessed by an angel, but Sam points out there aren't that many angels anymore. They decide to ask Cas.
Dean calls Cas and Cas is overjoyed to hear from him. He tells Cas he and Sam are working a case. Cas says that's so good to hear and goes on to say that that must mean that Dean's desperate plan must have been called off. Cas knows all about Dean's plan. Dean shoots
Sam a look for telling Cas. Dean says he's fine with his plan and they can talk about it later. Cas tells him he's making a terrible mistake. Dean changes the subject, asking Cas if the name "Tony Alvarez" means anything to him. Cas says yes, Tony is next in line to be prophet after Donatello dies. Dean thanks him and goes to hang up but Cas stops him, telling him they need to talk. Dean says he can't handle it right now, thanks him, tells him it's good to hear his voice, and hangs up.
Dean looks at Sam and says, "Really?". Sam replies that it's Cas, he had to tell him.
Dean tells Sam that Tony's a prophet and a killer, but the previous prophet has to die in order for the next one to be activated. Dean wonders if that means Donatello's dead.
We see Donatello, on a ventilator, in a hospital bed.
Dean calls the facility where Donatello is being cared for, posing as his nephew who's called before. He is alive. Sam doesn't know why Tony is "off the bench" if Donatello is still alive. They go to find Tony to ask him.
At Tony's house, he's not there, but they find a room with walls covered in hand-written Enochian. Sam goes through the papers on Tony's desk and finds Polaroids of the victims along with photos of people who might be future victims. Sam reads the walls. It's all about the slaughter of the firstborn and the word of God and divine intervention. Dean reminds Sam
that Alan's brother was the older of the twins; the firstborn, and the first victim died in saltwater; salty, bloody red water like the Red Sea. Dean wonders aloud what Tony has planned next? Sam reads a passage on the walls about fire.
In the Polaroids, Dean sees the name of a manufacturing company on one of the boxes holding a victim's body. They go to the old factory to find Tony.
Tony has another victim tied up. He's begging for his life. Tony spills gasoline at the victim's feet as he recites Bible verses. He's going to burn him alive. He lights a match. He lights the gas. Sam and Dean rush in and Sam knocks Tony down. Dean puts out the fire and cuts down the victim, telling him to run. Sam and Dean work to keep Tony on the ground. Tony says he's doing God's work; carrying out his orders. Sam tells him he didn't hear God's word. He killed innocent people.
Dean tells him he's just a psycho. Tony seems to be struggling with the thought that he killed innocent people. Sam and Dean talk off to the side about how this could be happening with Donatello still alive.
Tony gets up from the ground and runs at them. They struggle and Dean's gun falls to the ground. Tony gets his hands on the gun, raises it to his chin, and fires before Sam can stop him. (There's a flash to a locked door that looks like the walk-in cooler where Michael is trapped in Dean's mind right before Tony pulls the trigger; referencing Dean's plans to commit suicide by watery burial maybe?). Tony dies.
In the Impala, as they drive, Sam's on the phone with Cas reasoning that this might not end with Tony Alvarez. The next prophet might be wired wrong too. Cas figures that the natural order has been upset with Donatello between life and death, creating a premature, malformed prophet. Sam figures all future prophets will be messed up as long as Donatello's around. Sam asks "How do we end this?". Dean replies, "You know how." They have to kill Donatello to restore the natural order.
Nick breaks into an empty house. It's his old house where his family was murdered. It's the first time he's been back there since he was possessed by Lucifer. He has flashbacks, remembering the night when his family was murdered and he said "yes". The room gets suddenly cold. Nick has tears in his eyes as he remembers. He turns to see a woman. It's Sarah. The ghost of his dead wife. She recognizes him instantly. Nick sees her and asks, "Is that you?" She seems glad to see him. He asks, hopefully, "Lucifer?" (since Lucifer took her form in order to get Nick to say "yes" all those years ago). Her face falls. She says no, she's not Lucifer. She's his wife. She says she's being held in the house by unfinished business; her unsolved murder and the murder of their son Teddy. Nick says he misses her; he never thought he'd see her again. He's sorry.
She says no, he's not sorry. Nick insists he's been working to avenge their deaths. He found what killed them. The demon Abraxis killed her, and Nick killed Abraxis so now she's free, she can leave. Sarah asks what about Lucifer? Nick says he's dead. Lucifer is dead. Sarah says her unfinished business isn't just about how she died; it's about Nick. She was there that night and she saw what Lucifer did to Nick; that he chose Lucifer and wanted him. She realizes he still wants him. Nick says Lucifer chose him, not the other way around. Sarah accuses Nick of coming home to find Lucifer, not find peace. She asks Nick to reject Lucifer right now, on the spot, and if he does, she can leave this house where she's been trapped for years and move on to find peace. She demands that Nick reject him, but he can't. She begs. Nick, crying, says he can't reject Lucifer. He's sorry.
She can't believe Nick won't do it in order to free her. She says he can't reject Lucifer because he IS Lucifer. He doomed her to stay trapped in their house forever. He also doomed himself. Nick says he's sorry, but he has to leave. He has to go wherever it's darkest. Wherever Lucifer is. He leaves the ghost of his wife alone, eternally trapped in the empty house.
Elsewhere, Sam and Dean are visiting the facility where Donatello is being cared for. They pose as his nephews and say they want to discontinue life support so Donatello can die. The doctor agrees that this is a humane choice.
Another doctor walks in. It's Cas, dressed as a doctor. Sam and Dean play along. The real doctor says that there's really no brain activity with Donatello; just some babbled words sometimes. Sam and the doctor walk away, talking, leaving Cas and Dean in the hallway alone.
Dean thinks it's suspicious that Cas has shown up there all of a sudden. Cas says that Donatello's situation is his fault, though necessary, he wishes there had been another way. Dean says he knows the feeling. Cas tells him not to compare this situation with his suicidal plan. Dean tries to stop the conversation; saying they'll talk about it later. Cas says that, according to Dean's plan, there won't BE a "later". Dean tells Cas that if he's his friend, he'll understand that he has to do this and he can't try to stop him. It has to be done. Cas replies, "So then, this is goodbye?" They stare at each other.
Sam walks back in with a video that Donatello's doctor made of Donatello talking. He's saying the same thing that Tony Alvarez was writing on the walls of his house and carrying out on his victims. Cas theorizes that Donatello's mind is trying to rebuild and re-order the words of God. Somehow that garbled message was being transmitted to the next prophet, Tony, who completely misinterpreted it as a command to commit murder.
Cas says he can fix Donatello based on the fact that his speaking Enochian means there's enough left in there to fix. Dean thought he was too far gone, but Cas says that if there's any hope, any spark, he has to try. Dean taught him that.
They barge into Donatello's room and inform his doctor they no longer want to discontinue life support. They kick the doctor out so Cas can work. Sam and Dean wait outside in two chairs at the end of a hallway.
Sam talks to Dean, saying that if Cas isn't right about Donatello, that leaves Donatello trapped in his own body between life and death and it's hard to imagine someone going through that. (He's obviously talking about Dean.) Dean tells Sam not to think about it. Thinking is overrated. Sam says that's easy for Dean to say. Dean says no, it's actually not easy for him to stop thinking. Whatever happens with Donatello will happen. Sam asks, "Then what?" Dean tells him nothing's changed.
They go back into Donatello's room. Cas is holding his glowing hand over Donatello's forehead where he's looking for something in his mind. He finds it and Cas' eyes glow blue as he heals Donatello. Donatello opens his eyes. Dean wants to turn off the life support machines to see if Donatello can live on his own, but Sam's worried that could kill him. Sam doesn't want him to die. Dean says they have to find out and switches off the machines one at a time. It appears Donatello is slipping under, until is eyes fly open. He's alive. Dean's the first thing he sees. Cas
and Sam look happy. Donatello's doctor can't quite believe it. Dean proclaims it a miracle.
A short time later...Donatello can't seem to get enough grape Jell-o, even though he says he'd prefer fried chicken with hot sauce. Dean tells him to take it easy. Dean quietly asks Cas if this is really Donatello and not some evil version that came back instead. Cas confirms it's really Donatello, but he still has no soul. Dean quips "well, nobody's perfect." Donatello asks what happened; did he overwork himself or overload on Enochian? Dean passes the questions off to Cas, telling Donatello that Cas will fill him in. Dean leaves the room.
Dean walks outside and finds Sam leaning against the Impala drinking a beer. He tosses one to Dean. Dean's surprised. Sam says they're celebrating, right? Saving Donatello. Sam tells Dean not to celebrate too much though, because tomorrow morning they're back on track. After all, "No rest for the self-destructive." Sam takes a drink.
Dean says he considers this a win and it's nice to go out on a high. Sam scoffs at Dean's characterization that he's "going out". Dean says he's sorry he used those words. Sam gets and accusing tone and asks how sorry Dean really is. Sam points out that Dean will save Donatello but throw in the towel when it comes to himself. Sam tells Dean that Dean's acting like their entire lives have meant nothing. After all the years Sam followed him and looked up to him and copied him. Dean disagrees that his actions are saying anything of the sort, but Sam continues, saying Dean's asking him to throw away faith and family and everything they've stood for when he asks Sam to help (essentially) kill him. Sam says they're the guys who saved the world; they don't get to check out.
Dean yells back at Sam that he's tried everything; he has to play this one card that he still has. Sam says this looks like their only option today but they might find a different option tomorrow, but if Dean checks out, there will be no tomorrow. Sam tells him that Donatello never gave up, and that's why they were able to help save him.
Sam tells Dean he believes in them. Sam's frustration and sadness boil over and he takes a swing at Dean, punching him in the jaw as he says "I believe in us". Dean looks shocked. He goes to hit Dean again, but Dean blocks him and hauls him in for a tight hug instead. Against Dean's shoulder, Sam says with tears on his cheeks, "Why don't you believe in us too?".
Dean pauses, takes a deep breath, and says next to Sam's ear, "Okay, Sam, let's go home." Sam can't quite believe it. They separate. Dean nods slightly and says again, "Let's go home."
Dean says that maybe Billie's wrong, but he DOES believe in them, all of them (Cas walks up and joins them as Dean includes him in "all of us"), and he'll keep on believing until he can't; until there is absolutely no other way, but when or if that day comes, he tells Sam that Sam will have to take it for what it is. The end. He asks Sam to promise to let him go if it comes to that, and to do then what he can't do now; put Dean in the box. He looks at Cas and says, "You too." Cas looks down at the ground. Sam tearfully agrees.
Dean says, "Now you heard me, let's go home." He touches Sam's face and says, "Don't hit me again, okay?".
Dean climbs into the driver's seat. Cas gets into the back seat of the Impala after taking a look in Sam's direction. Sam climbs into the passenger seat after taking a glance at the Ma'lak box they're still towing.
They drive away, pulling the Ma'lak box behind them.