“I know what it’s like to see monsters. And I know that when they’re gone? They never really go away. Me and my brother—we’re the guys that stop the monsters. We’re the guys that scare them.” Shiver and swoon! It’s the mid-season finale before the winter hellatus, and that was a hell of an opening statement to start on. Let’s get to it!

Party On, Garth

We open on Michael and his monsters killing a holiday party full of people on a highrise office floor, simply chosen because Michael “likes the view.” Michael is borrowing the meatsuit of a highly classy looking woman, and his portrayer, Felisha Terrell, brings a gravitas to the role that perfectly echoes Jensen Ackles’ portrayal of him. Michael’s got monsters stationed all around Kansas City, waiting to strike at midnight on Christmas Eve and cause a bloodbath. But…but…BUT…that’s not the interesting part. The interesting part is that one of his two new volunteers to “enhance” is none other than our own beloved Garth Fitzgerald IV. And I swore to Chuck that if the show just brought that sweet man-wolf back just to kill him? THEY WOULD HAVE ME TO ANSWER TO. I loved the way Garth said “Still am” when told by Michael that he was Dean’s friend, and, as long as I’m talking, the beard he sported. But the sweetest (and most worrisome, considering) note was that Garth and his beloved Bess have a new member to the pack, an unnamed daughter I hope we someday get to meet.

Cereal Killer

Jack, being a kid, devours cookie crunch cereal in the middle of the night and he and Cas have a talk. When Cas acknowledges the weirdness of dying and coming back to life (although admitting that it’s something of a right of passage around there), Jack admits he is worried about his mother in Heaven (have I mentioned how touching it was to watch them meet?) Cas calls Naomi “complicated” but devoted, which is a generous but truthful way of saying it.

They talk Cas’ deal and Cas isn’t worried because he doesn’t see being happy any time soon. (So you’ve watched this show, then.) And then he and Jack indulge in Krunch Cookie Crunch and Cas admits that he stole the decoder ring from the box and the secret password is Cookietacular and they are just generally adorable.

Spies Like Us

So Garth is spying for the boys (so whew, he’s not joining Michael, but oh no because it looks like they’re going to off him and I SWEAR TO CHUCK…) and Sam is worried because, you know, it’s Garth, man. Sam pulled him out of retirement to do this job, and he knows it’s on him if Garth is hurt or killed. Dean reassures him, a little bit cocky, it must be said, that they are poised with info and intel and potentially….The Newton-Dee Hyperbolic Pulse Generator…commonly known as The Egg that just might drive Michael out of his meatsuit and make him eminently more trappable. Arthur Ketch managed to find and steal it but, in the heat of pursuit, decided to mail the egg to the boys to get it out of play and into their hands. Of course, it’s Christmas, and the shipping center is closed so NO EGG FOR YOU.

This helps them not at all, despite the fact that he paid certified priority express. Sam appreciates his efforts (“Do we?” snaps Dean, cracking me up) but they need the egg now. And then the first weird, comical musical cue that happened a couple of times in the episode. Things seemed too serious to have sitcommy music in the background at this point. But I went with it.

Bottoms Up

Garth takes Michael’s enhanced super blood, despite knowing one in seven explode when they drink it. “Russian roulette odds,” he says, “I like it.” And although he intended to spit it out Michael forces him to swallow it and SO HELP ME CHUCK IF THEY KILL HIM…(you can see, watching this episode was stressful for me.) Michael tells his right hand wolf to catch Dark Kaia and the spear and Garth watches intently despite the intensity of the change, prepared to offer this info to the gang.

Planning for Success

The boys figure out that the egg is in Joplin Missouri, at a shipping facility. They excitedly talk about breaking in, and Cas’ devious little look is particularly funny. Garth calls with the info, looking like he’s going to get walked in on at any moment and seriously, man, my heart can’t take the suspense of “will they or won’t they” in the kill him department.

As much as it seems impossible, Dean is stoked. They have intel on the location of the spear, they know where the egg is, they have Rowena’s trapping spell, they even have amped up angel cuffs, courtesy of Alterna-Bobby (love that dude). The new plan is for Cas and Dean to go get the spear, for Sam and Jack to go get the egg, and for all of them to meet at Kansas City’s Hitomi Plaza (a Die Hard homage that now explains some of those musical cues) and stop Michael. Easy peasy. Not.

Trash Heaps

Cas remarks that Dean seems happy, despite a broken tape deck which meant no road music (THE HORROR!). And Dean is happy, especially after their no-strings-attached win of getting Jack back (whomp, whomp…). Dean tells of how Michael tortured him, and how now he wants to trap him and kill him. And he says it with viciousness that really portrays his anger and bitterness and why hasn’t Jensen Ackles been nominated for an Emmy again?

After a search where there are clearly no Michael monsters (that can’t be good) they do find Dark Kaia, or, really, she finds them, holding her spear to Dean and warning him they can’t take it from her. Dean tells her they merely want to ask. Yadira Guevara-Prip is reliably good as Kaia, standing Dean down as he explains that Michael is going on a killing spree, and if she isn’t going to give it to him, she should kill him. (Cas, all the while, looking over Dean’s shoulder like Don’t. You. Dare.) They barter their way to an agreement—they can have the spear if they use Jack to send her home to The Bad Place, so she can protect the people of her homeland. And she hands it over, and I think, there’s no way this can work. Is there?

A B and E

Jack taught himself how to pick a lock using the internet and Sam is hella proud. They get the box and head for their car, Jack with a jaunty little “Happy holidays” and I wonder when the Winchesters will ever celebrate Christmas again, since they haven’t for eleven years, it seems.

Of course nothing is that easy. Sam gets knocked out by one of Michael’s monsters and Jack is abducted. And then, she-Michael appears, holding the egg. Which he promptly melts like so much Christmas chocolate. He knocks Sam out cold, making it back in time to overhear Garth talking to Dean, and then saying, “Garth, let’s talk.” And I seriously cannot take it anymore and am considering fast-forwarding just so I can know one way or the other if Garth makes it.

Final Call

Sam calls Dean and Cas, telling them the bad news, and (aside from a small gloat about having the spear) they are upset about Jack. They all agree to meet in Kansas City, and Sam says he won’t go in alone but he’s a dirty, dirty liar.

Jack and Michael talk, Jack rejecting him all the way, and Michael monologues about the destruction of the new world, using an insurgency from within. And he will spare Jack so that Jack can see, as eons pass, that his loyalties fade as his powers grow, and he becomes more like Michael all the time.

Don’t Lose Your Head

More Christmas music plays as Sam goes in alone (SAM!!!) and beheads Michael’s loyal one and two and I think this must be why people call Die Hard a Christmas movie. Sam finds Jack and frees him from his bindings and then protects them as he hears approaching footsteps. Luckily, it’s just Garth, and they all leave together. Wait—what was I saying? “Just Garth”? Because when Michael gets in Garth’s head and commands him to kill Jack and Sam, Garth shows just how vicious he can be, as much as he tries to fight it. It’s kind of sad, hearing Garth struggle and apologize as he attacks, and I am grateful when Sam chokes him out and, when Cas and Dean arrive, they tie him up and put him in the Impala with a “Sleep tight, buddy.” Garth lives! Thank Chuck. Good job, show.

Backup Plan

Sam has called in other hunters to protect the city. “In case we lose up there.” “I wouldn’t bet against us,” says Dean, attempting to brandish the spear the way Kaia does and failing adorably. They discuss the plan and then the following exchange:

Dean: “So, zero element of surprise.”
Sam: “Walking right into a trap.”
Cas: “Which is set by a full power archangel.”
Dean: “Impossible odds. Feels like home.”

And that makes me swoon.

Then they walk into battle to “Ode to Joy”, and, again, I really didn’t get it except now that people told me it was another Die Hard reference it means I really need to see that movie.

Alterna-Tree Topper

Cas goes in first, and Michael basically kicks his ass, as we knew he would (featuring some pinball-esque wire work that was kind of cool.) Then Sam and Jack appear and Michael twist their guts into knots until Dean pops out with the spear and attacks, and, to the show’s credit, it is clumsy because Dean never wields such weapons as that. Michael disarms him handily, and almost chokes him to death as he reminds Dean that by letting him in, the bloodshed is all on him. “Dean!” Sam shouts, tossing Dean the spear. Dean cuts Michael, growling that that’s gonna leave a scar, and backs him up to the wall in total control. Is this it? IS HE GOING TO KILL MICHAEL?

“Kill him” Jack shouts. “Dean?” Sam urges. And then, calmly, as Cas calls his name, Dean walks to the window and snaps the spear, turning to the others with glowing white eyes. “No,” Sam whispers. “Yeah,” Michael says, with Dean’s lips.

Apparently Michael left Dean because Dean was fighting so hard to get back to his family, but he left the door open just a crack. He wanted to break Dean so completely that he would be quiet. “And he is. He’s gone,” Michael says. And then he snaps his fingers to begin his war and the screen cuts to black.

Whew! That was intense. And now our holiday mini-hellatus begins. See you next time on January 17, for episode ten, “Nihilism”. Happy holidays!

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