The scene opens with Crowley walking through the hallway in his lair. He looks anxious. Suddenly, his way is blocked by two demons wielding angel blades -- one of the demons is Guthrie, Crowley's assistant and one of his high-ranking demons. Crowley turns around to evade them, but two more demons prevent his escape. He is quickly surrounded by several demons who begin attacking him. They stab him with angel blades and he dies.
Next, we see that Crowley has fallen asleep on his throne and we realize the sequence we just saw was a nightmare. He wakes with a start and Rowena is standing right next to him. She “seems” very concerned that he’s sweating and has obviously had a bad dream. Crowley insists that it’s nothing, refuses to talk to her, and calls her an evil bi*ch. He walks past her and leaves the throne room. After he leaves, Rowena reaches behind his throne and removes a hex bag. She looks at the bag and kisses it. We realize that Rowena was using the hex bag to curse Crowley and cause him to have the nightmare.
As the episode opens, Dean is alone in his room thinking about the massacre at Randy’s house. He is clearly distressed about what he did. Meanwhile, Sam and Castiel are talking in the bunker’s library. Castiel is very worried about Claire, who is refusing to talk to him. Sam tries to convince Cas that he tried to do the right thing by Claire. As they are talking, Cas says that whatever Randy did, he didn’t deserve what happened. Sam agrees – at the exact moment that Dean walks into the room. After an awkward pause of a few seconds, Dean acknowledges that Sam and Cas are right. He realizes that he has crossed a line and now he is a “stone cold killer”.
Dean now seems desperate to get rid of the Mark. The three of them discuss the fact that they have found nothing helpful in the lore so far, and Cas suggests that the Mark may predate the lore. Cas also tells Dean that the Mark can’t simply be cut off or burned off – that it will take a powerful force to remove its effects. He mentions that there may be something in the demon tablet, but then says he has an idea.
Meanwhile, Rowena is skulking around Crowley’s lair, looking through his things. Guthrie catches her. As Rowena is lying her way out of the situation, Crowley walks in with paperwork that he has to sign. He signs the documents and gives them to Guthrie, who leaves the room.
Alone with Crowley, Rowena tries to convince her son that he is surrounded by individuals he can’t trust. She tells him not to trust Guthrie or anyone else. She tries to convince him that she is proud of him and wants the best for him – as any mother would. Crowley sneers at her assertion, asking her why she abandoned him and disappeared for 300 years. She tells him, apparently not for the first time, that the locals were going to execute her for witchcraft, so she had to leave. Crowley asks why she never sent for him, instead of dumping him off at a work house as a child. Rowena says she had an opportunity to study with a great and powerful witch, that she was still in trouble with the Grand Coven, and that it was no environment for a child. When Crowley persists, she says she will not apologize for being a “career woman”. Rowena also says that now that she is back, they can be a family. Crowley is clearly unconvinced, but doesn’t say anything.
Next, we see Castiel waiting at the playground where the door to heaven is now located. Suddenly, the sandbox glows and swirls, the heaven door opens, and two angels appear. They are standing with a man who has a hood over his head. Castiel addresses one of the angels, Ingrid. He thanks her for her help, and tells her that he can eliminate a great threat to humanity, but he will need “his” help – gesturing toward the hooded figure. Ingrid reminds him that she is taking great risk helping him, and the prisoner must be returned intact. She hands over the prisoner and disappears as the heaven door takes her and the other angel back into heaven.
Cas removes the prisoner’s hood and we see that the hooded man is Metatron. Metatron teases Cas – telling him that his stolen grace seems to be holding up, but it won’t last for long. As he is talking, Cas is walking him towards his car. As they approach, Sam Winchester gets out of the car. Metatron seems amused.
Back at the bunker, Sam chains Metatron to a chair inside the bunker’s dungeon. Sam tells Metatron that they need to know how to remove the Mark of Cain from Dean’s arm. Metatron is initially surprised to learn that Dean is alive, and not a demon. Sam’s cryptic answers to Metatron’s questions lead Metatron to conclude that Dean is human, but has “gone nuclear” because of the Mark. When Sam persists, asking Metatron if he knows how to remove the Mark, Metatron implies that he might. He warns Sam that if he expects any help from him, he’d better keep Dean away from him. Sam tells Metatron that he killed Dean, so he doesn’t care what happens to him. As they are talking, Dean emerges from the shadows, glaring malevolently at Metatron, who now looks worried.
Elsewhere, Castiel has returned to the hotel where Claire is staying. She is packing to leave, and tells Cas that things are not going to work. She points out that he “looks” like her father, but he clearly isn’t him, and he’s nothing to her. Cas tells her that he feels responsible for the way her life has unfolded, and he wants to help her. But she rejects him, saying that he killed her father, and Dean killed the last person she considered “family”. Cas reminds Claire that Randy had sold her to a loanshark who was going to hurt her; but Claire foolishly maintains that Randy would have done something to help if he wasn’t being held at gunpoint. She does not forgive Dean for killing Randy, and rejects Cas for defending Dean. She leaves in tears, telling Cas that she has to be by herself.
At the bunker:
Back at the bunker, Metatron taunts the Winchesters about how toxic the Mark is and how a little guy like him is getting the best of them. Dean threatens to torture Metatron if he doesn’t talk, but Metatron – after taunting them further – gives them a tidbit of information. He tells them that in order to remove the Mark, they will need the First Blade.
Later, elsewhere in the bunker, Dean and Sam are in disagreement about whether to get the Blade. Neither of them trusts Metatron, and Sam is worried about the Blade being in Dean’s hands again. Dean maintains that Metatron just said they “needed” the Blade – not that he had to personally do anything with it. Dean reminds Sam that the Blade without him is useless, and the Blade in his hands is trouble for everybody, so Metatron would be unlikely to want the Blade in Dean’s hands because it would be dangerous for him, too. He also tells Sam that if they aren’t going to take a chance and do what Metatron says, they shouldn't have brought him to the bunker. As they are talking, Dean calls Crowley and asks for a meeting. Crowley quickly agrees to meet.
At Crowley’s lair, Rowena overhears Crowley’s brief conversation with Dean. Crowley won’t tell Rowena where he’s going, and teleports himself away. Annoyed, Rowena works a spell that allows her to locate him. Through a type of astral projection, she finds Crowley and the Winchesters in an alley. The Winchesters tell Crowley that they need the First Blade in order to remove the Mark. Crowley refuses, but they convince him that Dean will become too dangerous to everyone – including demons -- if the Mark is not removed, so they don’t have a choice. Dean tells Crowley that he doesn’t want him to give him the Blade – just get it and have it ready when they need it. Crowley reluctantly agrees, telling them that the Blade is buried in his crypt in Guam, with his bones. Rowena has overheard the entire conversation.
While Crowley is still away, Rowena tricks Guthrie into retrieving the Blade and bringing it back to the lair. When Crowley arrives at his crypt in Guam, he finds that the box that used to hold the Blade is empty. Confused, he returns to his lair. Meanwhile, Guthrie has already returned with the Blade, but he refuses to give it to Rowena, saying he will only give it to Crowley in person. Rowena kills him. As this is happening, Crowley walks in. He sees Guthrie dead on the floor and demands to know what happened. Rowena lies, telling Crowley that Guthrie was inciting unrest among the demons, telling everyone that Crowley was colluding with the Winchesters and was going to give Dean the First Blade. She says that when she confronted Guthrie, he attacked her, so she had to kill him. Crowley is confused and wonders how Guthrie could have known about the First Blade and the meeting with the Winchesters. He admits to Rowena that he had a “vision” about Guthrie killing him. Rowena tells him that his vision was a premonition, that there are spies everywhere and he can’t trust anyone.
At the bunker:
Back at the bunker's war room, Cas arrives, having learned that the Boys are trying to get the First Blade back. He is not happy about it, but relents when Dean and Sam explain why it is necessary. As they are talking, Sam tells Cas to let them worry about this, since he has enough of his own problems with Claire. Cas tells Sam that Claire has taken off and he’s worried about her. He asks Dean to call Claire, suggesting that as one “extremely messed up” person to another, maybe Dean will be able to get through to Claire. Dean agrees. Cas texts Dean Claire’s number, and Dean leaves the war room to go make a sandwich; off camera, Dean calls Claire and leaves a message that they need to talk.
Alone in the war room, Cas tells Sam that Dean seems “calm” considering the effects of the Mark and the fact that Metatron is in their dungeon. Sam admits to Cas that Dean is worried about what will happen if he loses control. In the kitchen, Crowley calls Dean to tell him he has the Blade. Dean leaves the food on the counter and goes to the dungeon to confront Metatron.
Meanwhile, Claire is at a pool hall and has met some drifters. She complains to them about her life, and (without using names or giving details) tells them how Castiel killed her real father, Dean killed her “other” father, and now Castiel keeps calling her and wanting to be in her life. The drifters invite her to hang out with them. Later, the trio is at a trailer park. The drifters offer to “take care” of Claire’s problem for her, so Dean and Castiel will stop trying to contact her. Claire calls Dean back to set up an in-person meeting. Dean agrees to meet her.
At the bunker:
At the bunker’s dungeon, Dean tells Metatron that the Winchesters have the Blade. Metatron tells Dean that the first piece of information about the Blade was a freebie, but all the other instructions are going to cost him. Cold but furious, Dean reminds Metatron of the bad things he’s done -- expelling all the angels, stealing Cas’ grace, using Gadreel to kill Kevin, starting an angel war, and killing Dean himself. Dean locks the door, and replies that he will not pay for anything else as he begins beating and torturing Metatron to get the information. Metatron taunts Dean about his own mistakes, telling him that the more he gives into the Mark, the greater its hold on him will become. We see the Mark glow as Dean’s fury increases.
In the war room, Cas prepares to leave to go look for Claire. They walk to the kitchen and realize Dean is missing. They run to the dungeon. Inside the dungeon, Dean is torturing Metatron with an angel blade and demanding to know how to remove the Mark. Amidst his screams, Metatron says “…behold, the river shall end at the source.” Outside the dungeon, Sam tries unsuccessfully to break the door down, until finally Cas uses his angel power to blast through the door. They break in just in time to stop Dean from killing Metatron.
Sam pulls Dean away from Metatron as Cas frees Metatron from the chair. As Cas takes Metatron out of the room, Metatron taunts Dean, saying he’s going to get worse and if they ever ask for his help again, he’ll choose death before he’ll agree to help them. Cas leaves with Metatron.
Later, we see Dean alone in the library. Sam brings him a beer and the two of them talk. Dean tells Sam what Metatron said about the river ending at the source, but he doesn’t know what it means. Sam suggests that when Cas said that a “powerful force” would be necessary to remove the Mark, maybe he was talking about Dean himself. Sam says that since Cain has been able to avoid killing and succumbing to the Mark for centuries, maybe Dean can fight the Mark, too. As they are talking, Dean gets a call from Claire. She tells him where they can meet, saying that she wants to hear his side of the story.
The next day:
The next day, Dean arrives at the park. Claire is hiding in the trailer, watching as the two drifters – one with an axe and one with a baseball bat – are waiting. Dean gets out of his car and waits on a bench for Claire. He sits for a few seconds before the drifters approach him to attack. At the last second, Claire runs to the door of the trailer and screams “no!”. Dean turns around in time to disarm the two attackers. They are both on the ground and he has the axe. He raises it to strike, but Claire screams “no!”. Dean hesitates for a moment, likely thinking about Sam’s warning to resist the Mark. Instead of striking the drifters, he strikes the bench, sending splinters flying. The drifters scramble up and run away. Dean sees that Claire set him up, but doesn’t try to stop her as she also runs away.
Later, we see Claire walking by a roadside as Castiel pulls up in his car. Claire says she didn't call Cas and asks how he found her. It seems that if someone thinks about an angel, it's like a prayer and the angel can find that person. Claire tells Cas that she thought about what he said, and thinks she should try to do things differently. Cas offers to help her, but she insists that she needs to do this alone. She says she will call Cas sometime. He drives off as Claire continues walking by the roadside.