This episode, co-written by Andrew Dabb and Robert Berens, is titled “Red Meat.” The episode employs a similar storytelling technique as last week’s Thompson episode “Safe House” in which two stories are happening contiguously.

The cold open begins with a fight between Sam and Dean and two werewolves. The fight is intense and it ends with Sam being shot, recalling a few earlier cold openings from previous seasons, such as season one’s “Faith” and season five’s “Dark Side of the Moon” where one of the brothers seems mortally wounded. The episode does tend to invoke many previous episodes, some of which I will note as I summarize.

After the cold open, we see the brothers back in the bunker. They are still working on the Amara/Casifer case but given that they are getting nowhere, Sam suggests they take on a case, much like Dean did last week in “Safe House.” The episode shifts back and forth between the “current” Sam and Dean case and how they got there.

Back in the present, we see that the boys were saving two hostages. As Dean tries to save Sam, we realize there is no cell service and they are stuck in the woods. The hostages, newlyweds who are honeymooning in the woods, are injured with the wife seeming to have life-threatening injuries. The husband, Corbin, tells Dean that basically Sam won’t survive but his wife can so they have to leave Sam behind and get going. You can imagine how well that went over. As Dean is trying to figure out a way to get Sam and the couple back to civilization, Sam is left behind at the cabin with the couple. We see that the husband has been bit. He goes to check on Sam and then says Dean won’t leave Sam and they need to survive, so he suffocates Sam and Sam dies!

We see that during the investigation, the brothers track the information to a bar and are sent to the cabin by the bartender but as we see, the bartender and bouncer are kind of the head of that werewolf family and the boys are being sent into a trap.

Back in the present, Dean comes back and finds Sam prone and dead on the floor. He tries to save him but too late. The husband is screaming about his wife’s injuries and Dean agrees to get them back to town for help. He leaves the cabin and we see that he is crying over Sam’s fate. Dean gets them to the hospital and Michelle, the wife, is recovering. The doctor checks Dean out and he tries to leave but a deputy arrives and stops him by taser. Back with Corbin and Michelle, we start to get the first hint that Corbin is changing. He lies to his wife about Sam and then admits that he feels good.

Dean awakes and is determined to get back to Sam. Michelle catches up to him and they end up in the pharmacy. Dean assures her that there are worse things out there than werewolves and he takes some pills out and we realize he’s going to kill himself. He explains that he’s gonna find a way to help his brother. Michelle agrees to stand watch as Dean chugs the pills.

We get a shot of Sam’s prone body, ala Season Two’s finale, “All Hell Breaks Loose II”, accompanied by a reanimated Sam.

The parallels between Sam and Dean continue, like last week’s Bobby and Dean, as Dean falls and Sam falls down the stairs after the bartender and bouncer show up. As Dean encounters Billie, who is about to reap him, he tries to strike a deal, ala “All Hell Breaks Loose II” again and also the season 6 “Appointment at Samarra.” Billie refuses and then tells Dean that Sam is alive. At the cabin, Sam is fighting the werewolves, with a gut injury, and eventually triumphs.

Dean gets back in his body and is revived. He tries to leave again, now that he knows Sam is alive, but again is stopped by the deputy, who handcuffs him. The doctor and deputy leave. We hear Corbin losing it and when the doctor opens the door, he attacks her. Michelle releases Dean from his handcuffs and he makes it outside.

We see that Sam is back at the Impala and calls Dean, since he has a signal. The call is intermittent as Dean tells Sam where he is and Sam tries to warn Dean about Corbin. We are not sure if Dean understands as we cut back to Michelle, who runs into the prone (perhaps dead) body of the doctor. The deputy shows up and just as they are about to talk, he is killed when Corbin rams his hand through the guy’s midsection and we see his newly grown claws. Michelle is shocked and afraid as Corbin promises her that they will be together and she will feel good.

Dean shows up and tries to stop Corbin. They fight and Dean is being suffocated when we hear a gunshot. Corbin drops dead as Michelle screams. Corbin’s falling body reveals the injured Sam holding the gun.

In the concluding segment, we see Michelle and Dean talking and Michelle explaining how Corbin had not been a killer but he’d ended up doing this all for her. She says that she just watched the man she loves die so there is no normal now. The episode ends with Sam and Dean leaving the hospital and Dean lying about what he did when he thought Sam was dead.

A solid and emotional outing for the unique co-writing partnership of Andrew Dabb and Robert Berens.

Thoughts, Feelings, Speculations

1. Since this was a MOTW, there was little to do with the mytharc but we did see Billie. What is your take on how she will fit in, if at all, as the season progresses toward its end? Will the answer always be no, do you think?

2. What did you think of the episode as a whole? What were the strengths and weaknesses?

3. Do you think Corbin was made bad by being a werewolf or was that impetus in him the whole time?

Leave your feelings and other things below!