When last we left Dean he’d been given information about how to stop Michael that threw him for a loop. What was it and what is his response? Read on, and find out!

Old Pained Nick

I’m going to be brutally honest here and say that despite my affection for Mark Pellegrino’s excellent portrayal of Lucifer, I do not care a bit about the Nick storyline. So when we opened on Nick torturing a demon to find out who hunted Abraxas, the demon that killed Nick’s family, I tuned out a little—until said demon mentioned that the hunter was in Hibbing. Because that means a likely appearance from one of my favorite sheriffs, Donna Hanscum, and that made my ears perk up.

Man on a Mission

Back at the Bunker, where storylines are happening that I care about very much, Dean packs up books and tools for some sort of handyman adventure and you can color me intrigued. Sam, knows that something’s up with Dean, especially when Dean wants to road trip alone, when he’s going to visit mom, and…and this is the big tell…Dean hugs him. Nonchalant hugs are not a thing these brothers do, so WTF is Dean preparing for? (Side note? I’ll take any small hug I can get. For a moment I thought Dean was going to kiss Sam’s head, and while that would have been out of character I would have paid good money to see it. Just sayin’.)

Sam calls Mary (who is Bobby-less as he needs “some space”) to tell her about the hug and its alarming nature. She promises to take care of Dean. Sam finally notices the missing books and he’s even more intrigued than I am.

Prima Donna

Dean is in Hibbing, so he visits sweet Donna, and they catch up over the best burgers in Minnesota. Donna can’t get a word in edgewise, with Dean asking about Jody and the girls, how Donna’s getting over her breakup with Doug, and how sheriffing’s going. But I love that Donna sees right through it and says she knows the sitch, and she’s worried about him. Dean doesn’t want to talk. He’ll “make it through”. Then he calls Donna his “D-Train” and hugs her intensely too, and seriously, WTH is going on with him?

(Side note? Moment of appreciation for Jensen Ackles’ eyelashes. That is all.)

Pumpkin, Pie

Dean finally makes it to Donna’s cabin, and to Mary, just in time to hear shots being fired and damn, if Mary isn’t one hell of a gunslinger. She’s dispatching pumpkins with her gun in explosions that rival those of Gallagher and his watermelons (God, I am aging myself by using that comparison). I loved Mary’s genuine delight at seeing Dean—her smile’s dazzling, isn’t it? And when he wants Winchester Surprise for dinner? It’s remarkably endearing. Mary leaves to get groceries (in Guam, apparently, judging by the length of time she is gone) and Dean proceeds to the workshop shed to get to work. On something.

Dean sees Donna’s pin-ups on the wall, mystified by the “type” she digs, fighting the constant banging of Michael in his head, but more important sees the 8-track tapes and player (yes, I know what they are, and yes, we had them when I was a kid, and yes, I am REALLY aging myself now) and he listens to the very cool song “No Time” by the Guess Who as he welds and cuts and does all sorts of metallic things, looking very good doing it.

Pull Over

So Nick is looking not for Donna, but for Mary, it seems. Unfortunately, Donna finds him first and though she manages to ID him and cuff him, thanks to a very well placed paperclip, he manages to undo the cuffs and get free. Donna puts up a fight but Nick ends up tasing her with her own equipment and man, I was disappointed in this scene. I think Donna should have fared better, honestly. She’s a hunter and a good one. You telling me uninhabited Nick is stronger than any of the monsters she’s killed? I’m side-eyeing.

Dinner for Two

Mary arrives home to a cozy dinner set up and Dean’s offer to join her as another terrible cook and make the casserole of his dreams. (Who is he kidding? He can cook. We remember those amazing burgers he made for Sam in the Bunker.) Anyway, she knows something is up but she gives him another beautiful smile and goes along with it—before doing the right thing and calling Sam, who, despite his reassurances that he’ll give her time to get to the bottom of things, is already on his way to Hibbing.

Dean tells Mary stories of his attempt to cook Winchester Surprise as a kid, failing miserably, and how it probably reminded John of her, and Mary goes from smiling to thoughtful, acknowledging how much she missed. Dean reminds her she’s here now, and knowing she’s around—alive—has meant everything to him and Sam. He tries to sell her on happy times, but she says he can talk to her about whatever he’s going through. “How I am? Is I don’t want to talk about it,” he insists.

There’s Something You Need to See in the Shed

Mary sneaks out while Dean snores away on the pullout, and she seems to immediately understand what Dean is building, muttering, “No. No, no,” and getting upset. When Donna calls to warn her that Nick is on the way, she gets Dean. She’s too late. Mary’s gone. Fortunately, Sam, who almost ends up on the wrong end of Dean’s gun, arrives just in time to help look for her.

Nick of Time

Nick has plenty of time to detail his plan to Mary, whom he seems to not want to hurt, despite his past performances. (And I am still trying to care about this storyline but I just don’t. Sorry, all.) Mary finally admits that she locked Abraxas away in an Enochian puzzle box, and Nick won’t rest until she shows him where.

The interesting part is that Sam blames himself, and Dean kinda does too. I wondered why Sam was so lenient with Nick, and he explained in this episode that he almost was Nick, and would have been, if Lucifer had had his way. He pleads compassion but Dean doesn’t want Sam to have any more people projects. He needs to learn when someone is beyond saving to let them go. Uh-oh. I think Dean is talking about more than Nick here.

Storage Wars

So Mary has a cool lock-up situation in a storage unit, just like John had, complete with the same booby trap! I do not honestly know how Nick spotted her trap, and I still don’t really care about him so I am sad when it doesn’t go off. Anyway, Nick manages to get the box out of some lockers containing some really gnarly artifacts (Mary, what have you been up to???) and Mary says that Nick’s plan to talk to Abraxas is flawed because a demon needs a host and it can’t be him, and, thanks to a flash of her torso with the anti-possession tattoo, it can’t be her. I was glad to see her tattoo. Not because I have a weird Mary fetish (although she’s a babe and I have definitely done worse) but because it makes sense for her to have one.

So anyway, Nick drills the box open and allows Abraxas to infiltrate the body of the storage facility worker, who is tied up and seated on a devil’s trap. The boys and Donna burst in and Nick sets Abraxas loose and long story short? It turns out Lucifer ordered the hit on Nick’s family so he could use him as a meatsuit, and the reason he chose Nick? THERE IS NO REASON. Wow. I hoped for more, writers. But I guess it works.

Anyway, Nick kills Abraxas and gets taken into custody by Donna (who shoots him in the leg) and Sam apologizes to him as he goes, saying he wished he could have helped him more. Poor Sam. He always feels like everything is his fault. And the hurt on Jared Padalecki’s face sells this scene for me, and I guess I’m a Sam girl for life.

What’s in the BOX?????

It turns out what Dean was building is a Ma’lak Box, a coffin that is warded such that it will hold him and Michael trapped for an eternity. He wants to be dumped in the Pacific, just to be safe, because he knows this is his only play and the only way he can save the world. Sam, horrified, tries to protest but in the end Dean makes his case, telling him he loves him for trying (heart melt) but this is the only way. He tells Sam of Billie’s visit, and that she gave him the recipe to build it. It’s fate. “Since when do we believe in fate?” Sam asks. “Now, Sam. Since now.”

Sam is hurt that Dean did his farewell tour and he wasn’t even going to tell him what was going on. “I didn’t have a choice,” Dean says. “Sam, you’re the last person I could tell—the last person I could be around—‘cause you’re the only one that could have talked me out it.” And while Sam looks on, stunned, Dean continues. “And I wont be talked out of it. I won’t. I’m doing this. Now you could either let me do it alone, or you could help me. But I’m doing this.” And it’s heartbreaking, man. Even more so when Sam agrees in a tiny voice and we cut to black, wondering exactly how they’re going to get out of this one.

The epic Episode 300 is coming soon! But first, we have to make room for episode 299, “Prophet and Loss.” See you next week!

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