If the first minutes of ‘Supernatural’ says anything, it’s not to follow up your wife’s answer to ‘what’s for dinner’ with ”Again?” A Milton, Illinois resident finds that out the hard way, getting his face bashed in by his lovely first-grade teacher wife who runs down the evening menu with a gentle voice that belies her brutal hands.
At the Bunker, Sam gets wind of the case and presents it to Dean, who’s both distracted and in quite a standoffish mood. Sam points out his obsession with finding Abaddon, to which Dean replies “What you call being ‘obsessed’, I call doin’ my job.” Once Sam’s out of sight, Dean throws back a swig of liquor for comfort. In Milton, Sam speaks to the sheriff about the homicide, one that gets weirder when the wife Karen is found hanged in her cell with bloody writing all over the walls. Sam touches base with Dean and promises to get out of town if nothing supernatural-y shows up. After cutting the conversation short, Dean replays the events of the Mark—killing Magnus, Cain’s warning—in his head. It’s enough that he dials an unknown party before hanging up before the person can pick up on the other line.
Meanwhile, Bill’s hitchhicking to meet his girlfriend when Mr. Ritchie, driving a St. Bonaventure’s van picks him up. Things don’t go so well for Bill as the van’s engulfed by a white light and Bill’s agonizing screams reverberate through the night. But Bill looks unharmed when he comes into a diner that Sam just so happens to be eating. The young man snaps at the waitress, who threatens to call his mother. His belligerence skyrockets past verbal when he impales her hand into the counter. Sam gets to her before old Billy boy can serve up the coup de grace. Returning to the station, he and the sheriff discuss the additional town locals whose behavior has been less than ideal. It’s not demonic possession as Bill has no reaction to holy water. When Sam asks what he is, Bill answers “Clear…of everything.” Sam calls Dean to fill him in and, as he talks about the situation, it reminds Sam of his once soulless self. When he asks Dean to come on down for an assist, the elder Winchester makes up an excuse of being too busy. Not a secon after he gets off the phone, our good friend Crowley calls Dean out on his brotherly deceptions.
With only a surveillance footage of a St. Bonaventure van, he hears an older woman, Julia Watkinson swearing that the demons are back, and things are starting all over again. When Sam grabs her to chat, she recognizes him as “One of them…Men of Letters.” She tells him how they arrived in 1958, Henry (his grandfather) and Josie, the woman whose body Abaddon now inhabits. They were investigating Sister Mary Katherine, who killed two people before hurling herself off the Bell Tower. Julia was their guide and, during conversation Josie points out to Henry that this is final assignment before they become full members of the Order. Their investigation of the Sister’s room, pre-Inokian symbols give homage to the ‘Knights of Hell.’ Julia recalls that night, when she was taken like others to be vessels for demons. She’s saved the fate by Henry and Josie though the Men of Letters initiates are overwhelmed by a true Knight—the Abaddon. The Knight is curious about the Men of Letters and moves to take possession of Henry when Josie steps in. She loves him and willingly offers herself to Abaddon. When Julia mentions St. Bonaventure, Sam’s brain starts making connections; the van seen in the surveillance footage had that name scrawled on its doors.
It’s a bit of a surprise to find out Dean was calling up Crowley, but why? The King of Hell’s trying to figure that out but it doesn’t take long for him to nail it. Dean’s stalling because, despite feeling powerful from his use of the Blade, he’s also scared. After a bit of needling, Dean refuses to announce the fear of Magnus’s words about the Mark, how he’d “get used to the feelings, maybe even welcome them.” He’s pulled out of his reverie when he catches Jake, a hunter at the bar sneaking out to take down Crowley. He’s able to divert Jake from the suicide mission and, when Crowley meets him outside, admitting to feeding his addiction, Dean jumps in with both feet. It doesn’t matter what he wants or what he fears, it’s all about killing Abaddon. When he walks away, Jake appears next to Crowley; it was a test from the start, one Dean passed with flying colors. And now, according to Crowley, “he’s ready.”
Sam gets to the abandoned St. Bonaventure and is attacked straight away. He gives Mr. Ritchie the business but is stunned by Sister Agnes. Doing what evil machinators do best, she brags on how she is doing Abaddon’s bidding; collecting souls for an army of demons. But it’s not just St. Bonaventure’s; “We have factories spread throughout.” It’s a frightening prospect and Sam begins exorcising Agnes when she grabs him by the throat. When she cuts off his ability to speak, he uses some technological ingenuity—a recording of him speaking the exorcism—long enough to get out of her clutches and slam the demon blade home. He releases the bottled up souls and they return to their rightful owners. Bill watches from his cell as the others are reacquainted with their lost selves.
The case closed, Sam makes his goodbyes to Julia, who calls not warning Henry of her “greatest shame”. Sam comforts her in the fact that what she did today saved lives. A final glimpse into the past shows Henry’s recommitment to their noble calling.
Sam returns to the Bunker and finds Dean nose still digging into the books. “You were right,” he tells Dean, “about finding Abaddon ASAP.” He relays the Knight of Hell’s plan to mine souls for a demonic army and the room is filled by a devastating silence.
Purpose Over the Personal
- Oftentimes we are faced with situations that strike at the very core of our being, shaking our faith or sparking our desires to run. Dean knows about these triggers quite well, especially now that he’s felt the power of the First Blade. Crowley, in his infinite wisdom, puts his devilish fingers on the truth; Dean’s afraid. He’s afraid of what he felt, the draw of the power as well as the responsibility he now holds to preventing Abaddon’s victory. But he finally comes to terms that it doesn’t matter what he wants or feels, he’s all-in with Crowley to take down the last Knight of Hell. The acknowledgment is Dean’s final hurdle and a rather proud Crowley knows the elder Winchester is ready to go once more into the breach.
- It was an interesting jump back in time to find Henry Winchester, questioning his purpose as part of the Men of Letters before, after a fateful night where Abaddon takes control of Josie, he realizes the good he can do in such a position. And despite the possibility of dying for his cause, he realizes saving lives and fighting evil head-on, is worth the risks.