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The scene opens with Dean kneeling in the center of a room, surrounded by bloody, dead bodies. He’s holding a bloody knife in his hand and looks dazed. It appears that he’s the one who killed all the people in the room.
Suddenly, Dean wakes up. He realizes he was having a nightmare and sits up on his bed in his room at the bunker. He’s sweating and breathless. When he sits up, he looks at the Mark of Cain on his arm and is clearly distressed by his nightmare.
Next, the scene switches to a Youth Transition Center in Pontiac, Illinois. An officer is escorting a young, blonde woman along a corridor. The girl hurls insults at the guard and fights to get away, but the guard has a firm hold on her arm. The officer presents the girl to an administrator at the facility, reporting that the girl was arrested for shoplifting. The shop owner doesn’t want to press charges, but the administrator sends the girl to isolation for 48 hours as a punishment. The officer escorts the girl to a large isolation room with a bunk and little else. As the administrator and an associate watch through a viewing window, the girl throws a tantrum. The administrators discuss how the girl is a frequent problem, and her name is Claire Novak.
An undetermined amount of time passes, and we see Claire still sitting in the isolation room. An administrator opens the cell door to inform Claire that she has a visitor—her father. Claire seems surprised when Castiel walks into the room and greets her.
As soon as the administrator leaves Castiel and Claire alone to talk, Cas tells Claire that he’s not her father. Claire’s response is hostile, but she asks Cas if her father is still “in there”. When Cas tries to explain how her father’s vessel was destroyed by an archangel, and her father is now in heaven, Claire responds with further hostility and orders Cas to leave.
Claire tells Castiel that he took everything from her, but Cas tries to tell Claire that he came to help her. When Cas asks where Claire's mother is, Claire replies that a few months after Castiel left with her father, her mother dropped her off at her grandmother’s house and left to go find herself; she never returned. After Claire’s grandmother died, Claire was sent to a group home and lived with several foster families before landing in her current group home facility.
Castiel apologizes for what has happened to Claire and offers to help her in any way he can. Claire responds by asking Castiel to help her escape from the facility.
Later, Castiel and Claire are sitting in the head administrator’s office, trying to convince the woman that Castiel is Claire’s father and he has been away on business (as an exterminator) for several years, but he is back now and wants custody of Claire. The administrator doesn’t believe the ruse and denies the request.
Later that night, Castiel returns to the facility. He knocks a guard unconscious and helps Claire escape. Castiel takes Claire to a diner for something to eat. As Claire is eating, she comments that Cas has changed and is more likeable than he was before. Cas tries to tell her that he was very self-assured and mission-driven before, but now he knows that there is no “righteous path” and that the world is just full of people who make mistakes trying to do their best.
When Cas asks Claire where she wants to go next, she tells him that he can take off. She says she understands that he feels guilty, and she’s grateful that he helped her escape, but she doesn’t want anything more from him. When Cas insists that they should stick together, Claire pretends to agree with him. But she secretly steals his wallet and takes off, telling him that she needs to use the restroom. When Cas gets to the register to pay their bill so they can leave, he realizes that he doesn’t have his wallet and that Claire has tricked him. He rushes out the door in time to see Claire hitch a ride and drive away.
DEAN AND SAM:
At the bunker, Dean is in the library watching “The Three Stooges” on his computer and laughing heartily when Sam walks in and offers him a grilled cheese sandwich. Dean happily accepts the food and eats hungrily, turning the screen so Sam can also see the program. While Dean eats and continues laughing at the program, Sam watches, but is clearly still concerned about Dean. When Dean isn’t looking, Sam gazes at the Mark on his arm, and his expression changes to a look of worry.
Rowena is still chained to the wall in Crowley’s dungeon when the door opens and Gerald brings in another female prisoner. He chains the woman to the wall next to Rowena and prepares to walk out. Before Gerald leaves, Rowena begs to speak to Crowley, noting that she’s been in the cell for weeks and wants to apologize to he son. Gerald ignores her and leaves.
Once the women are alone, Rowena tries to make small talk. We learn that the other woman is in prison because she went “upstairs” without authorization. She'd made a deal with another demon to get herself smuggled out of hell. Now that Crowley knows what happened, he’ll torture her until she reveals who helped her. When the woman asks Rowena what she’s in prison for, Rowena replies that she was a horrible mother.
The scene momentarily switches to Crowley’s throne room. Crowley is lamenting to Gerald about how terrible a mother Rowena was. Gerald offers to kill Rowena, but Crowley says he wants Rowena to stay alive.
Later, Gerald returns to the cell and brings Rowena before Crowley. Once in the throne room, Rowena tells Crowley how proud she is of him. Crowley berates Rowena for running out on him when he was 8 years old. Crowley also complains that he didn’t have a father, but Rowena tells him he was conceived during a winter solstice orgy and she never knew who his father was. Rowena confesses that the locals ran her out of town, so she had no choice except to leave him behind. She insists that she’s back now (hundreds of hears later) and wants the two of them to be a family. She also tells Crowley that he can trust her and she wants to help him.
After Crowley and Rowena talk, Gerald and Crowley return Rowena to her call. Before Crowley leaves, Rowena tells him that she knows who has been smuggling demons upstairs. She accuses Gerald, who denies it, but Crowley doesn’t believe Gerald. The other woman in the cell backs up Rowena’s story (which is a lie). Angry, Gerald tries to kill Rowena for lying, but Crowley kills him first and releases Rowena from the cell. Before Rowena and Crowley leave, the other woman asks Rowena about their deal (Rowena told the woman that if she lied, she’d get them both released). Rowena dismisses the woman and leaves with Crowley.
DEAN, SAM, AND CASTIEL:
It’s the next morning in Pontiac, Illinois, and Castiel has apparently called Dean and Sam with an “emergency”. When they realize that his emergency is that he found Claire but she ditched him, the Winchesters seem initially uninterested in helping him, asserting that Claire lied to him, robbed him, and took off – clearly indicating that she doesn’t want anything to do with him. Castiel tells the Boys that he feels responsible for Claire, and wants to make sure she’s safe. He appeals to them again for help, and they reluctantly agree to help him find her. Sam offers to go talk to the administrator at the group home, while Dean and Cas wait at the diner to see if she’ll return.
While Dean is eating at the diner, he asks Cas why he is so determined to find Claire and reunite with her. Cas replies that he’s hurt a lot of people in his life and he wants to try to fix some of the harm he’s done. Dean reminds him that there are some things he should let go, like the people he couldn’t save and the ones he let down. When Cas asks Dean if that what he does, Dean admits that it’s the opposite of what he does.
As they’re talking, Cas asks Dean how he’s doing and if the Mark is still affecting him. At first, Dean pretends that he’s fine, but Cas knows otherwise. When Cas persists, Dean recalls his nightmare and asks Castiel to kill him if he is taken over by the Mark. Dean says that he can’t become a demon again, and that not only won’t Sam be able to kill him if it comes to that, but Sam will try to stop Cas from doing it, too. Dean asks Cas to promise to kill him if he turns evil. The scene cuts away before we hear Cas answer.
At the group home, Sam is talking to the administrator who interviewed Castiel and Claire. The woman tells Sam that Claire is a bright girl, but she’s troubled. The facility managed to place her several times, but she repeatedly runs away. The woman also tells Sam about a boy named Dustin Tate, who befriended Claire while he was at the facility. She tells Sam where Dustin works (at a fast food place called the Weiner Hut) and suggests that the boy may know where Claire is.
Claire arrives at a house, where Dustin and an older man (Randy) are waiting for her. Randy had apparently sent Claire out three days earlier to steal for him, but she got arrested and ended up back at the group home. He is disappointed that the only money Claire brought home is the $200 in the wallet she stole from Castiel. Randy confesses that a loan shark (Salinger) he owes money to is coming to the house that night to collect, and if Randy doesn’t have the money (which he doesn’t), things will get violent.
Randy and Dustin convince Claire to rob a convenience store. They tell her that because she’s under 18, she won’t get into trouble.
Sometime later, Dustin arrives at the Weiner Hut for work and is met there by Dean, Sam, and Castiel.
They force him to tell them where Claire is. Off screen, Dustin tells them the store Claire is planning to rob.
DEAN, SAM, AND CASTIEL:
Next, we see Claire in a convenience store. She’s wearing a black, hooded jacket and carrying a gun. She plans to rob the place, but Castiel stops her before anything can happen. He takes her outside into the alley behind the store, where Dean and Sam are waiting by the Impala.
Dean and Sam try to talk to Claire. She remembers them, but blames them as much as she blames Castiel for ruining her life. Claire blames Cas for killing her father and for causing her mother to leave. We learned that Claire prayed every night as a child for Cas to bring her father home safely, but Cas never answered her prayers.
Dean and Sam continue trying to appeal to Claire, and they accuse Randy of using Claire to steal for him. Claire insists that Randy was there for her when nobody else was, so he’s the closest thing she’s had to family. She utters a profanity at Cas and the Winchesters and storms off down the alley.
Later, Dean, Sam and Castiel are at a bar. Dean orders drinks for the three of them and they talk about Claire and about family. Cas blames himself for what happened to Claire and is disappointed that he won’t get a chance to make it up to her. Cas also laments that he never knew his own father, who was always distant, but he still loved him. During the conversation, Dean and Sam admit that John wasn’t perfect, but they both loved him and he was there when they needed him. As the conversation continues, Dean tells an anecdote about when he was a teenager working a case in New York City with his father. After John, Sam, and Dean were at a hotel for the evening, Dean sneaked away to a night club and got drunk. John found him and brought him back to their hotel, but Dean was angry at the time and lashed out at John for embarrassing him. John replied that his job, as Dean’s father, was to raise him right, even if it meant Dean didn't like him. After their talk, Castiel is very concerned that Randy is bad news and convinced that Claire is in trouble.
Back at Randy’s house, Claire arrives without the money she was supposed to have stolen from the convenience store. When she gets there, Salinger and his goons are there and Randy is in trouble. When Salinger realizes Claire doesn’t have the money, one of his goons pulls a knife on Randy. Claire pulls out her gun, but is easily disarmed by another one of Salinger’s thugs.
Salinger makes Randy an offer – if he can have Claire, he’ll forget Randy’s debt. Randy agrees, selling Claire to Salinger to pay his debt. Salinger’s goon drags Claire upstairs. Moments later, Salinger enters the locked room where Claire is being held and tries to assault her. As Claire tries to fight Salinger, Castiel and the Winchesters arrive. They burst into the house and fight Salinger’s thugs. Castiel gets to Claire just in time to save her from Salinger and takes her back downstairs.
Dean is the last one out, but before he can get out, Salinger sneaks up behind him and breaks a bottle over his head. Dean falls to the floor and the goons surround him. As Dean starts succumbing to the Mark, he warns Salinger and his thugs not to attack him. They ignore him and a fight breaks out.
Outside, Castiel and Sam usher Claire into the Impala. Claire cries and clings to Castiel. When the group hears a crash and commotion inside the house, Sam realizes that Dean isn’t with them and rushes back inside. Cas and Claire follow him. Sam arrives in time to see Dean on his knees, holding a bloody knife, surrounded by dead bodies. He has killed Salinger, Randy, and all the other men in the room. We recognize that this is the vision from Dean’s nightmare.
Claire screams and Castiel shields her vision, but it’s too late. Castiel is horrified by the carnage, and ushers Claire out of the house. Sam rushes to Dean and drops to his knees next to his brother. Sam demands to know if Dean had to do what he did. Dean is dazed and mutters that he had to do it, but he didn’t mean to. Sam remains next to his brother as the camera pans out and we see the extent of Dean’s actions.