Classic rock and brotherly devotion. Curses and witches, angels and texts. Wow. Another spectacular episode. It truly feels like the show of yore is back, and, with a bunch of different directions to go, it looks like this season’s end will be the most intense ever. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen. For now though? Let’s concentrate on this episode, where Charlie tries to read a damned book, Cas gets gracfeul, Metatron finds an inner demon, Sam makes a mother of a deal, and Dean wears a sweatshirt. Wait. What?
1. Meanwhile, in Starling City…
We open on a badass in a hood, slinking through dark city streets, armed and dangerous. Huh. Is Arrow airing for two hours tonight? No. Wait. It’s Charlie! Charlie freakin’ Bradbury! Trying to stay one disguised step ahead of two dudes who wanna read her book, if you know what I’m sayin’. (No really. They wanna read her book.)
Unfortunately for her, one of the dudes has the coolest gadgety thing since the Time Turner in Harry Potter and he uses it to track her down. (Seriously? Make replicas, prop department, and TAKE MY MONEY.) Charlie proves she really did learn something in the Battle for Oz as she pops out of a dumpster, stabs a guy, holds the other at sword point and asks who he is. He has a southern drawl reminiscent of Benny the Vamp, and he tells her his family wants their book back. “Sorry, Gambit,” Charlie replies, staring at the dude’s wrist tattoo. “Finders keepers.” Gambit tells her he knows “she tiptoed through the tulips in Russia and stowed away on a train in Alaska” and what I wanna know is can we see that backstory? Please? Gambit says his people will find her and Charlie replies by running, getting shot for her trouble, but managing to hang on to the Book of the Damned.
2. Lethal Weapon
Remember in school, when you were forced to partner with someone you couldn’t stand for a project and it was pretty much the worst thing that ever happened to you? Yeah? Well, welcome to Cas’ life. Cas and Metatron are cruisin’ to find some sweet grace (not a euphemism) and Metatron is babbling about how Alanis Morrisette doesn’t understand irony and Sussudio makes no sense (word up, Metatron.) He becomes that human you pray won’t sit next to you on a plane and waxes lyrical on humanity and words and goosebumps and it is clear that Cas has zero effs to give, prompting this delightful call to Sam:
Cas: “Can I just kill him now?”
Metatron: “You know I can hear you, right?”
Sam: “No. We need him alive for now. Look, after he gives you your grace back you can do whatever you want with him.”
Cas: “Well, I’d like to kill him slowly.”
Metatron: “I am, like, two feet from you…every word, crystal clear.”
Metatron’s blathering and taunting giggles earn him two punches in the face from Cas, but I’ll tell you what: I love the little jerk. Curtis Armstrong, as I have said previously, is a huge favorite of mine, and he imbues Metatron with such a snide yet intelligent tone. He reminds me of Crowley, in a way. He sees the bigger picture and wants to command his part in it, and while his plots are evil they are thought out and, in a lot of ways, even reasonable. Armstrong has made him the guy we love to hate, and not just because he ran Dean through with his blade.
3. Boy’s in the Hood
I’m sure other things happened at the beginning of this scene. I mean, I kind of remember Dean telling Sam that the Mark of Cain is a curse, and it can be removed, and that Rowena is Crowley’s mom, and some other stuff too. But all of that fades into the background, because DEAN IS IN A HOODIE. And that is downright adorable. We approve of all types of loungewear here at S&C. Sweatshirt FTW!
Charlie distracts me from my revelry as she calls Dean from a phone booth, which she (and I) didn’t even realize existed anymore. She confesses she got shot (which upsets the boys) and asks if they knew dental floss works great for stitches. (Of course they do, Charlie. You’ve read all the fan fic. Haven’t you read Changing Channels?) She goes on to say she only passed out twice and now her wound is minty fresh. (And I am super glad she didn’t use the cinnamon floss. ‘Cause that would BURN.) She tells them she found the book but can’t translate it. All she knows is that it’s a spell book for creating or undoing any type of damnation there is. The boys guide her to one of Bobby’s safe house cabins. She asks them to bring snacks. And also? Every Men of Letters decoder ring they got.
The boys pack, including a much better safe box than the one that held Bela’s rabbit’s foot. They jump into Baby and blast The Boys Are Back in Town, which delights me and both Winchesters. Dean is in a fantastic mood, air drumming his heart out. Sam turns the song off, glad to see Dean happy, but needing a broment.
Sam’s worried—trying not to get his hopes up about the book. Dean says they are (over) due for a win. And if they do? Win? He wants a real vacation. On a beach. “When was the last time either one of us was on a beach?” he asks. “Never,” Sam admits. “Never,” Dean agrees. “Sand between our toes, Sammy. Sand between our toes.” And Dean turns the music back on and is again the cutest and I have two thoughts. One? This is a very smiley episode considering its title. And two? I assume the beach thing would involve shirtlessness so how can I make that happen?
Newly human Metatron is eating Belgian waffles and pretty much making sex noises, to Cas’ hilarious disgust. “Oh. Em. ME!” he moans (ha!) raving about the taste. Cas just looks sad, knowing that to him? The waffle would be mere molecules. Fortunately, Metatron steers him back to disgust by discussing the sorcery of the digestive system and I don’t think Cas wants a waffle anymore. Metatron asks if Cas misses humanity and it’s clear he does. But not enough to empathize with Metatron. “Can’t we be besties?” Metatron asks, and Cas leans in, hate coloring every part of his expression. “No,” he growls. “Because you killed my friend.” (See, Metatron? Mess with the Dean, you get the wings) Metatron thinks he should get over it. “NEVER.” Cas says. But Cas’ hate doesn’t last long. Metatron’s stomach rebels and he needs the bathroom. Cas is thrice disgusted, leading him past someone armed with an angel blade and taking him to the john.
Later, outside the diner, Metatron says, “Sorry about the mess. I guess I’m lactose intolerant.” “Let’s never speak of it again,” Cas replies, and usually I am not a toilet humor person but their disgruntled chemistry is pretty spectacular so I laugh anyway. Cas and Metatron are prevented from entering the pimpmobile by an angry Cupid. (Hey, new band name! They can open for the Surly Bobbys!) There is a fight, of course, and can I just say that Cas dropping his angel blade into his hand from his shirtsleeve will always be mega cool? Anyway, Cupid almost kills both of them but they save each other. Metatron turns over Cupid’s blade to Cas, who snarls “This changes nothing.” “You’re welcome!” Metatron replies.
5. Cabin in the Woods
The boys arrive at the cabin and hug Charlie gingerly. She tells them a story about a nun that is actually really interesting (sorry, episode sixteen.) Apparently, 700 years ago, a nun locked herself away after having “visions of darkness.” She spent decades making the book, with pages made from slices of her own skin, painted with her blood. Charlie goes on to tell more history but Dean can’t stop staring at it. It is a siren, and he’s the sailor.
Sam turns the pages and Charlie’s voice fades from Dean as he looks at it, mesmerized. Sam calls out to him and suddenly? The book is in Dean’s hands. Sam looks concerned, and Charlie? Scared to death. Dean admits it’s not a good idea for him to touch it and leaves to go get the rest of their crap. “What the hell was that?” Charlie asks. “He’s not getting any better,” Sam says. They need to find the cure. Fast. Charlie puts Dean on tattoo research. The tattoo looks like an Ed Hardy t-shirt. Apparently Dean thinks so too, because he refers to those who have it as “the douche clan.” Sam apparently figures out that the Book is an ancient Sumerian dialect and even has a rough translation key, but—get this!—it’s in code. “An entire book of unreadable text that’s also in code. Great,” he says. Dean glares. “And you call yourselves nerds?” he says, shaking his head. “Come on. You got this!” Charlie agrees. “He’s right. Let’s get our Alan Turing on and decrypt this bitch!” (Recapper’s note: if you have no idea who Charlie is referring to—and even if you do—check out the film “The Imitation Game.” ASAP. If not sooner. It’s amazing.) Sam sees Dean longing for the book and suggests to Charlie that they stick to his notes for a bit. He puts the book away, and then? It’s a Book in a Box. Which is the first song that Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg will sing on the Angry Cupids’ new album.
6. Violence in the Library
It turns out that Cas’ grace has been stowed away in a library. Metatron believes it would be safe there because nobody goes to libraries anymore (Not true, Metatron! My family does, and yours should too.) Cas wants his grace, and he isn’t above squeezing Metatron’s leg wound to get it. Metatron says he had another angel hide it. “You know, in case someone tries to TORTURE THE INFORMATION OUT OF ME!” Cas has even less effs to give. “Where. Is. My grace.” he demands. Apparently there are clues hidden in Metatron’s favorite books that will lead to the grace. Cas finds the first: “What is the maddest thing a man can do?” Metatron claims he has no idea what it means. They will have to work together. Cas is thrilled. And by “thrilled” I mean “pissed.”
As they search, Metatron muses “We really do make a good team. Like a buddy comedy without the comedies.” “And without the buddies,” Cas replies. Metatron thinks Cas’ commitment to heaven is ridiculous. “Who are you now?” he asks Cas. What is he doing? And what will he do when he’s done? Hannah has restored order, so heaven doesn’t need Cas. “So tell me, Castiel, truly,” he asks, “What is your mission?”
Cas, lost at first, becomes enraged. “Shut up,” he says. And keep looking.” Metatron sighs. “Well, cannot say I didn’t try.” He reaches into his leg wound to finish writing the Enochian that will send Cas into agony. He watches Cas suffer, knowing he’s won.
“Poor Castiel,” he says, as Cas rolls to the ground. “Swam so far just to drown in shallow waters. Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?” And he gives an evil grin and it is AWESOME!!!!! And with that? Curtis Armstrong solidifies his place amongst my favorite television villains of all time. OF ALL TIME.
7. The Damnation Game
“Okay: even the Bletchley Circle couldn’t crack this thing!” Charlie says. Charlie’s got nothing. And Dean’s glad, because Charlie’s pursuers? The Styne family, whom the Men of Letters can trace back to the 1800s. They’ve used spells from the book to profit—they even helped the Nazis. “So what?” Sam asks. “We’ve faced worse. Dean doesn’t care that they can’t translate the book. In fact? He doesn’t want them to. It is dark magic, and it will come at a price. And if it is calling to him? To the MoC? It wants Dean to use it for evil. Dean wants it destroyed–they will find another way to fix the Mark.
“Like what?” Sam asks. Dean doesn’t know. Charlie asks if he’s giving up, and Dean says no. He doesn’t have a death wish and even if he did? He can’t die. He will just fight until… “Until what?” asks Sam. “Tell me. Until what, Dean? Until I watch you become a demon again? Until then? I can’t do that. I won’t do that.”
Charlie and Sam want to translate the book and deal with the consequences later, but Dean says no. The boys argue back and forth, prompting an important declaration from Sam that we all needed to hear.
Sam: “I can’t lose you.”
Sam: “Yeah really.”
Dean: “You change your mind on that? Because that’s not what you said last time.”
Sam: “Oh, come on, man, you know I didn’t mean…”
Dean: “This is my cross to bear, Sam. Mine. And that book is not the answer. Now we gotta destroy it before it falls into the wrong hands. And that includes me.”
Dean needs some air, so he goes for Charlie’s snacks. “And Sam?” he says as he leaves. “I’ll get my vacation. But not today. Not like this.” And as heartbreaking as it is to let the book go, we know he’s right.
Later, at the cabin, it’s truth or dare time. Charlie asks, so Sam confesses about his latest time of dying. Charlie sums it up: Dean saved him, and in doing so did something Sam didn’t want, and Sam said something that hurt Dean. Yep. Pretty much. “Brothers,” she sighs.
Charlie sums up hunter life and it is depressing. She wanted to open a startup and marry ScarJo. Sam muses about Stanford, and doing one more job. He mentions Jess, stammering over her name, and how he went on to one more job and one more job at first truly thinking that then he would go back to law and his life. “You’re the Dread Pirate Roberts of hunting,” Charlie says, making Sam smile wistfully. Beautifully. Sam goes on—he really understands that hunting is his life and he loves it. “But I can’t do it without my brother—I don’t wanna do it without my brother,” he says. “And if he’s gone then I don’t…” and he trails off, eyes shining with tears. And Charlie gets it. And I hope everyone in the fandom who thinks Sam doesn’t truly love Dean gets it too. Because, through Jared Padalecki’s talent, it’s all right there in his eyes.
8. Amazing Grace
As Sam declares his love for his brother, Cas is dying painfully in the library. Metatron starts his real search with the clue “What two things do you need to succeed in life.” Metatron laughs. “Ignorance and confidence,” he says making Cas realize that the clues are quotes from books. “So did you and Samateur hour really think I wouldn’t have a backup plan?” Metatron asks, pulling out the demon tablet as Cas struggles to find Don Quixote by Cervantes, the hollowed out book that hides his grace. Metatron heads for the same volume, tablet in hand, disappointed to find that Cas has beat him to it. “Oh well,” he says, before he takes off. “One out of two ain’t bad.”
“The maddest thing a man can do is let himself die,” Castiel gasps, swallowing his grace and blasting the library to bits. And then Cas has a massively badass reveal of his old self, shining and keening, displaying his tattered Gadreelian wings. And, just like it was when Samdreel revealed himself, it. Is. AWESOME!
9. Inconvenience Store
Dean stops at a roadside convenience store to buy kind of the worst snacks ever (Chips, soda and gummi bears, Dean? Really? If she’s gonna pull an all nighter Charlie needs a sandwich!) The “clerk” rings him up and Dean sees his tattoo (and the original clerk that he killed reflected in the anti-theft mirror) and pulls his gun, warning Styne to not move. Styne throws Dean’s change in his face as his crony comes out to hold Dean down. Styne sees Dean’s Mark and asks about it. “What’s it to you, Mr. Styne?” Dean asks. “My friends call me Jacob,” Stine replies. Dean, in maybe the sexiest drawl ever to be drawled, replies, “Well, I ain’t your friend.” Styne asks about Charlie and the Book, and Dean feigns ignorance. Styne monologues endlessly, guessing why Dean wanted the book in the first place. “Power is wasted on the weak,” he says.
Jacob tells Dean that the Book can remove the mark, but it will do far more harm than good. Dean mumbles, draws him closer, and head butts him for all he’s worth. He shakes off the crony and gets his gun, shooting him over and over and over while Jacob takes off. Also? Dean’s phone is crushed. Warning system out.
Dean makes it back first somehow. Jacob Styne is on his tail, two friends in tow. Dean throws holy oil into the fire, intent on burning the book, confessing that the cure is in there but they have to destroy it anyway because the price is too high. Sam is doubtful. Freezes. Two guys burst through the window, knocking Dean and Charlie down, who kick massive amounts of ass in return. Jacob himself bursts in as Sam is hesitating. Dean shoots Jacob’s gun away, and Sam throws the book in the fire. Then, as usual, Sam is almost choked to death (must be Wednesday.) He manages to stab Jacob, which does little. Finally, after what seems like forever, Jacob falls. Sam, upset, looks at the book as it burns.
10. No One Knows What It’s Like to be Fated
Back at the Bunker, Cas and Sam commiserate. Cas muses that he was selfish, and now Metatron has the demon tablet. Sam disagrees. Cas is back, with his grace. He did the right thing. Cas tells Sam that he did the right thing by destroying the Book. They will find another way to save Dean.
Charlie comes back to the Bunker with beer, bitches. She lights up when she sees Cas and it is wicked adorbs. Cas smiles at her so sweetly, and I know she’s gay, and I know he’s asexual, but they are so cute I ship them anyway. Charlie hugs Cas impulsively. “I thought you’d be shorter,” she admits.
Sam takes the beer to the fridge as Charlie moons. She asks Cas if he can cure Dean since he got his mojo back, and Cas looks like he’d love nothing more in all the world, but admits that he can’t. “Do you think you can do anything about my carpal tunnel?” Charlie asks with a giggle. Cas touches her once and cures that and her bullet wound. She socks him in the shoulder with a grin as he tells her to continue wearing her wrist brace at night. “Did we just become best friends?” she asks. And let me answer that for you, Charlie. YES! Yes, you did. Charlie + Cas + Dean = BFFs 4eva. Speaking of whom, Dean comes in, all delighted as well. “Guess who decided to show?” he says, affectionate. Dean asks how Cas has been restored and Cas lies that it was Hannah. “Awesome!” Dean says with a shrug, looking at Sam. “Told you we were due for a win.” He looks back to Cas and says, “Good to have you back, pal.” And for some reason this hurts even more than the painful moments, because watching the love and the friendship and caring for them all so much makes me so afraid I am going to lose one of them. Maybe more than one.
The foursome head to Dean’s clean kitchen to eat pizza and drink beer and enjoy each other as one of the most incredible rock songs of all time, Behind Blue Eyes by the Who, plays. In one of the more adorable things I have ever seen on this show, Charlie shows Cas how to use a cootie catcher, and I think my heart may have melted into my body like Raggedy Ann’s at the sight.
Sam’s smiles are all wistful, wishing that everything was as okay as it appears. The boys toast each other lovingly. Dean roars with laughter, simply happy to be in the company of his friends. His family. Sam looks sick with worry…
…and then we hear him talking to someone. “I don’t trust you,” he says. “I never will. But I need help. And this is right in your wheelhouse.” And “this?” Is the Book of the Damned. Because of course Sam didn’t burn it. How could he, if it holds the key to saving Dean? And the song speeds up as we see the flashback of what really happened in the cabin. Sam substituting another volume in the thick of the fight. Jacob Styne realizing he didn’t burn it and warning him that his family will never stop looking for that book. Sam’s worry, not because the book was gone, but because he had to hide it. Present Sam continues, talking to his mystery confidante. “I need the Mark of Cain off of my brother. And something tells me you can crack this book, and find that cure. The only question is…will you help me?” He slides the book over and Rowena asks with a grin, “Shall we discuss terms?”
And thus? I paraphrase Metatron. Oh. Em. GEE! So much set up. So many things to play out. What will happen next? Guess